- Entertainment and Media
Top Ten Television Shows Now Available on DVD
Have you ever noticed that many of the truly intriguing shows get cancelled and the common, predictable shows seem to stay on the air forever? My husband and I have groused about this topic on many occasions. So, I thought I would share some of my favorite shows and leave you with the question: Would you rather be intrigued or watch the same thing over and over?
The following shows are listed alphabetically.
I have always been partial to the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. I think it allows us to explore the human condition without becoming preachy. Sci-Fi takes the question out of everyday life and puts it into a place where we are able to look at it more rationally.
Battlestar Galactica, for example, brings up questions about war and government. What actions are ethical for a government in war? What is acceptable behavior for people at war? When is a government protecting a people and when have they crossed over into dominating those people? All these questions are important questions and people are able to discuss them more peaceably when they relate to an imaginary culture in an imaginary war.
Also, I just find the characters and their relationships fun to watch. The father son relationship between a distant Commander and his son, who despite their differences is still in the military, is beautifully depicted. The camaraderie between the military personnel is fraught with all the typical human foibles. Even if you don't have discussions about the roles of government, this show is good fun to watch.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As you could probably tell from the title, this is another show from the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. On the surface it is the story of a superhero girl who goes to school over the mouth of hell. However, what kept me watching was the relationships between the central characters. The three main characters are best friends. They go through high school and life after high school with all its ups and downs and manage to stay together. There is also a father daughter dynamic with Buffy and Giles and a mother daughter dynamic with Buffy and Joyce. Romantic love is also explored through the lives of each of the characters.
The writing is witty. More witty than would be possible in real life, as none of us are followed around by a team of writers feeding us lines. However, television is always a more glamorous vision of real life. I also loved the fact that each character had a distinct voice and response.
Seasons one through three dealt with the high school experience. First love, both returned and unreturned, was explored. Popularity was a theme often seen. One episode in particularly dealt with the pain of feeling alone and one classmate's near suicide.
Season four was the first year away from home. The girls head off to college and Zander tries to find his place in the workforce. This season includes the silent episode "Hush".
Season five started to get a little dark, what with the death of Buffy's mother. However, the way they showed Buffy responding to finding her mother's body was true to life and very gut wrenching. Season five also introduced a new dynamic--a sister relationship for Buffy.
Season six was truly dark. Zander leaves his fiancé at the altar. Buffy starts an unhealthy relationship that she has trouble breaking off. And Willow deals with the death of her significant other. However, this season does feature the musical episode, which was a delight.
The final season is less dark and has some moments that are actually light and funny. However, it is obvious that it is the last season and each of the characters pays a price as they battle life's evils.
I thought the series did a good job of allowing the characters to grow. Moreover, the show began to address more serious issues as the characters got older. The show was rarely hopeful in its outlook, but it did present an earnest desire to do good despite the odds stacked against you.
This show was only on for one season. I think that whoever was behind that decision should be fired. The character development and the detail of the world being laid in even in the first season make you want to see more.
Because of the fans, who really got behind this show, a movie was created, Serenity. However, I have always found the television shows allow for much more character exploration.
This is a science fiction show created by Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The main character, Nathan, is something of a space cowboy. He and his crew explore "the old west" of space. To spice things up they find that they have taken as passengers a brother and sister who are running from the law.
The possibilities for such a show are phenomenal. Every time I watch the last episode, I am disappointed that there will be no more.
Another show that only had a short run is Jericho. The shows creators took the idea of a nuclear winter and explored what the world would be like if someone actually dropped a nuclear bomb.
This first season explores the aftermath and people's likely responses through the eyes of the small Kansas town of Jericho. Family dynamics are explored through the mayor and his two sons. An air of mystery and suspicion is introduced by the newcomers to town. It really makes your question whether the people around you, in the event of a disaster, would pull together or pull apart.
In the second season they begin to look at the wider world. I miss the character of the mayor, but enjoyed the new characters who were introduced. The avenues to explore were extensive, but I thought the second season lacked that community feel of the first season.
Joan of Arcadia
Another series that only made two seasons was Joan of Arcadia. The show's writers wanted to raise questions about religion and spark debate. The premise is that a high school student, Joan, talks to God, much like Joan of Arc.
The show explores the relationships within Joan's family as well as those of her core group of friends. The second season ends with the introduction of an antagonist and hints of a battle to come. I would have enjoyed seeing what questions the writers raised about evil and its presence in our world. However, the questions they did raise and their incorporation of science make this show well worth seeing.
This show I just found to be good fun. The idea is very simple. The main character, Monk, is a detective with a lot of fears. Each episode he solves a murder. While this is a murder mystery it still manages to be light and funny and the blood is kept to an absolute minimum.
The main characters are Monk, his assistant (she changes as the show progresses), the police captain and his lieutenant. As the show progresses some of the other characters become more prominent, like Monk's shrink.
If you are looking for a light, funny who-done-it, I highly recommend this series.
A relatively new mystery series that I also enjoy is Psych. This show is also light and funny. The premise behind this series is that the main character, Sean, is a keen observer of all the details. And, when he tries to turn in a criminal for the reward, the police suspect he is involved. So, to avoid being arrested he claims to know not because he was involved but because he is a psychic. Therefore, he becomes the police psychic and opens his own detective agency.
This is a new series but, so far, very amusing. The interactions between Sean and his friend Gus, as well as between Sean and the main police detective (who does not believe he is psychic) are golden. Moreover, the show doesn't limit itself to murder mysteries.
This is another series that only made two seasons. It is a fantasy show set in the real world. The main character is a girl who, when asked by the dead, relives the day in order to prevent the death. As the show progressed an antagonist is introduced, who, when the day rewinds, also remembers what originally took place and his intent is to maintain the status quo.
The idea of reliving days was fun to explore and introduced the possibility for a lot of amusement. However, without the relationship between Tru, the heroine, and her brother and her relationship with her boss, the show wouldn't have had the same appeal.
This show has run for a number of seasons. It is a wonderful comedy with a lot of physical humor. The show follows the progress of three doctors through the residency. Also integral to the comic story are the doctor responsible for their training, a nurse, who takes pity of them, and a janitor, who likes to torment them.
Scrubs is an amusing comedy that still manages to develop characters and relationships over time.
This series only ran for three seasons, but it is well worth the ride. The show follows a high school girl whose father is a detective. The first season deals with the solving of Veronica's best friend's murder. The second and third seasons deal more with the characters who make up Veronica's world.
The show deals with some dark issues like murder and rape, but if you are in the mood for a drama it is well worth watching.