I suppose one of the defining features of a film snob is abhorrence for television. All those commercial breaks, laugh tracks, overwrought dramatics. But in both film and television there’s a lot of crap – you just have to know where to find the good stuff. So as a film fan who does not have cable or those digital boxes to even watch basic channels, here are the shows (past and present) that make me wish I did.
Community: NBC, Thursdays 8pm
After friend Cheri B. and the /Filmcast mentioned the comedy show Community, I gave it a shot. But just like crack, cigarettes, and potato chips, you can’t just have one. Within a week I had watched the entire first season, laughing my silly head off the entire time. My wife coaxed me into watching Arrested Development and 30 Rock, which are fun, but don’t have me laughing nearly as much as Community.
The genius of the show is that it’s working with three different comedy schemes: Mel Brooks style 4th wall breakage, film references left and right (without totally sidetracking an episode and/or becoming annoying [coughcoughFamilyGuycough]), and quality writing. The show swings between these ingredients with Spider-Man like grace. If you’re not feeling one type of comedy, there are others to pick up the slack. Forget Glee, this show is much better.
Breaking Bad: resumes summer 2011
This show is currently at a cross-roads for me: I started it and immediately fell in love. Who wouldn’t want to watch a high school chemistry teacher figure out how to cook and distribute meth? It’s a fantastic drama, with Bryan Cranston (yep, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) doing wonders with the character.
The conundrum is where and how will it end? The third season just finished and I think it has one season, maybe two, to wrap things up. Otherwise the sparkle is dying for me. There’s nothing worse than a good show fading out…
Battlestar Galactica: on DVD
Battlestar of course has finished up as of 2009 with 4 seasons under its belt. Yes, the last season and a half is weaker than the rest of the show – but it is worth the entire ride. Even when it wasn’t packing a solid punch during these periods, it still had some hands down, knock out episodes. Not to mention that among some great characters, you have older male and female leads who get to be wise and awesome due to the nature of their characters. Not something you get to see too often.
The first episodes are known as the mini-series, so if you start watching make sure you start off on the right foot. These episodes alone stand as some of the finest moments of sci-fi storytelling and if you aren’t eager to watch the show after it’s audacious intro, you do not like movies or tv.
Sealab 2021: on DVD
I’m going to shamelessly plug this animated show. I have been sharing this with so many people, I almost feel like I had a hand in making the show. Surrealist animated comedy (each episode is 11 minutes), it’s some of the funniest television I’ve ever found. Immensely quotable and I’m sure a crowd of people hanging out and drinking would find this to be a delight.