Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top TV Picks for 2010-ish

I don't know if you guys knew this, but I'm, like, really good at watching TV. Having commandeered some Netflix control and getting cable this year, my television prospects have broadened and deepened (yes, TV can get deep). I tried to come up with a top ten, but there were some that I couldn't quite remember if they were in 2010 or late 2009, because anything that happened before we got married in June seems like it was like 768127 years ago. I came up with lucky thirteen fifteenish, and I will list them now in alphabetical order with some pictures and half-assed analysis.

1. Bones
 There is very little I would not do if Boreanaz smiled at me in real life. Take note, terrorists.

Reasons: David Boreanaz, science nerdiness, Brennan's awkwardness, sexual tension, dead bodies, murder mystery solving.

2.Breaking Bad
Ridic sweatshirt, Heisenberg waiting for a meeting.

Reasons: I've loved Brian Cranston since making after-work "Malcolm in the Middle" marathons appealing, and his badass science teacher/meth cooker/shaved head character is pretty fantastic. Also, a "cancer saint." The family dynamics (bitches don't need to know nothing) drive me nuts, but I adore Walter, Jr., and have grown quite fond of Jesse, despite his punkass roots. So intense, so worth watching.

3. Community
No explanation necessary.

Overcoming my initial revulsion by Joel McHale's smarminess, I ended up falling in love. Reasons: Abed, Abed & Troy, Abed & Troy's conversations, how bad Britta is at being a girl, Sr. Chang's cartoonishness, silliness, massive doses of sarcasm, jokes about race and gender, have I mentioned Abed? I told my sister he reminded me of a super-awkward male version of her. That's how much I love Abed. And my sister.

4. Doc Martin
 Annoying guy: "The lord moves in mysterious ways." 
Doc Martin: "Yes, he does. Like malaria."
Reasons: Britishness, Doc Martin's ridiculously obtuse personality, sexual tension, nosy townspeople, fish-out-of-water storyline, beautiful scenery.

5. Freaks and Geeks
 Sleazy friend, adorable Bill, possibly adorabler Sam.

I know this show was on over ten years ago, but I just got to it relatively recently, OKAY? Reasons: realistic-looking and acting high school kids, a pair of siblings with a perfect mix of antagonism and affection, everything involving John Francis Daley (now on Bones!), adorable young and thin Jason Segel, almost not horrible Seth Rogen, and most of all, Martin Starr as Bill. I LOVE Bill.

6. Ghost Adventures
Dude, I think that spirit just felt up my biceps.
At first, I thought Zak Bagans was nothing but a ridiculous bro who yells at spirits and over-interprets electronic voice "phenomenas." But over time, Zak's disproportionately gigantic biceps, crazy-ass swept forward faux hawk, and giant black jeans paired with Ed Hardy t-shirts grew on me. He's a relatively intelligent dude, he keeps things interesting, does a decent job producing the show, and also I love how he and Bro #2 Nick make tech assistant Aaron go into scary places alone, like a prison rape shower or a creepy abandoned asylum children's ghost Christmas room thing. He makes adorable faces when he's scared (Aaron does). And I love it. Those are my reasons.

7. Hoarders
 I'm convinced if I watch enough episodes, one day the "disturbing discovery" will be actual human remains, not just cat corpses flattened under years' worth of cat poo.

Another cable find! Reasons: crazy old men who get mad, crazy old ladies who get mad, cringing at all the animal feces and/or corpses in the crazy animal people's houses, family disputes, shoveling garbage, vicarious vindication that I am not, nor will I ever be as crazy as these people.

8. My Boys
Mustache-growing contest!

This was a recommendation from my sister. Slightly cheesy, but endearing. Other reasons why I like that shit: Jim Gaffigan, a lead female character that dresses comfortably and strays from proscribed gender roles, realistic platonic male/female friendships, young people whose social lives revolve around drinking, characters who take board games seriously.

9. Paranormal State
Director's log: this facial hair looks really douchey.

Obvs, I've been watching this shit a lot. Finished season four last night, now I'm waiting for them to show more new ones from season five. I like Ryan Buell's emotional approach, I've become fond of the PRS team, I like how they try to make people feel better more than they focus on collecting scientific evidence (although they do that too), and mostly I like creepy things filmed in night vision followed by solving the hauntees' family problems in cooperation with awesome psychics like Chip Coffey and Lorraine Warren.

10. Parenthood
This show has a very large cast, but this is the cutest kid. Also, a guy named Dax and a pretty lady.

Reasons: it is heartwarming, features attractive actors and actresses and cute kids, it makes me tear up sometimes, but in a good way. OKAY? Also, finally understanding why Kristen Bell might be with Dax Shepard (adorable, talented).

11. Parks and Recreation
Leslie Knope can melt even the prickly government-hating icicles from that majestic 'stache.

I know this show has been on for a bit now, but whatever, I like it. Reasons: Amy Poehler, DUH. Also, Ron Swanson's mustache, April's occasional begrudging almost-smile, heartwarming shit, Leslie Knope's irrepressible optimism.

12. Party Down
Under the awe-inspiring tutelage of Steve Guttenberg (!).

Reasons: Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) and Paul Rudd (adorable)'s involvement, Adam Scott's complete pocket-sized cuteness, sassy Lizzy Caplan's character, MARTIN STARR as an aspiring "hard sci-fi" writer, ridiculous situations, Jane Lynch in the first season for just existing, the inherent irresponsible freedom of working a shit job, broken dreams, amazing guest stars (including innumerable VMars alumni), and just hilarious wonderfulness.

13. Slings and Arrows
 "But Geoffrey, you HATE Darren Nichols!"

I've known about this one for awhile, first recommended by my pal Anne. Anyway, I own them all now and LOVE IT. Canadian. Highbrow. Witty. Darkly comic. Paul Gross. Three perfect seasons of six episodes each. Never meant to last longer, though you miss it when it's gone. Highly recommended.

14. Sports Night
Aaron Sorkin's first pass at the West Wing, but with sports and super-'90s hair.

A long-time West Wing geek, I finally got around to Sports Night last winter. Reasons to love it: Aaron Sorkin (obvs), that chick from Sliders, Peter Krause (also on Parenthood!), and Joshua Molina. I think Sorkin's writing is better suited to a longer format than the 22-minute sitcom, but watching these on marathon (despite being ostensibly about sports) is compelling and over too soon (two seasons). Also, watch for all the future WW stars.

15. Wonderfalls
Only the ones with faces can talk to her. Duh.

Another short-lived gem. Reasons to love: sarcastic female lead, magical realism, cute boys, absurd plots, soul-crushing wage work comedy, general awesomeness. Check that shit out, it's only like fourteen episodes.

Go update your queue and get watching!

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