Continuing the theme of last week’s post, but this time collecting my favorites for the small screen. This list is much harder for me to winnow down, mostly because there’s always a tendency for shows that are still on air to bump other deserving series off. What I’m currently binge watching also seems much better than it should probably rate it in an overall list just because of the recency. In the end, I decided to go with the shows I watch over and over again.
1. Veronica Mars
For me, this is the holy grail: smart dialogue, amazing acting, crisp writing. Veronica is a bit of an updated Buffy, without the vampires. Taking on complex issues with wit and humor, and always with a clever twist.
There are two Joss Whedon shows on my list, but for me this is the better of the two. Science fiction with a western sensibility. With such a large, wonderful cast it’s difficult to pick just one favorite. The only thing there is to complain about is that it was canceled far, far too soon.
Captain Jack Harkness may be my favorite character in a show ever. This is a spinoff of Dr. Who that I feel never got the appreciation it deserved and suffered by being the add-on rather than the main event. For my money, Torchwood is a better show. That said, the show falls apart after a few seasons. If you’re going to watch it for the first time do yourself a favor and stop after the second.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What is there really to say? It’s Buffy: snappy dialog, girls kicking butt, just all-around fun. It hasn’t aged as well as some of the shows on my favorites list, but it certainly deserves a high place. If there’s one television show that changed my life, this is it.
All of the best things about science fiction wrapped up in a beautiful red bow. Adventuring across the galaxy aboard a living space ship. Fantastic (and fantastical) characters, and a focus on deep, dark topics.
6. The Wire
A masterclass in dialogue and characterization wrapped up in a frank look at crime and corruption of local government. The content is often uncomfortable, the language is extremely strong, and there is a brutal amount of violence, but it is an amazing show that deserves watching if you can stomach it.
When I want old-timey dialogue and steam trains, this is where I go. A strange, marvelous cast interacts in a dysfunctional Western town. For me, Calamity Jane is a beautiful, perfect character.
Honorable Mention for Lost and the new Battlestar Galactica. They can’t go on the favorite list, just because they ended so poorly in my opinion, but I did enjoy the lion’s share of episodes and do rewatch them often. Much love also for the Good Wife and Justified which could easily slip into any of these spots on the strength of their acting, but miss a little something extra.
Hearts and puppies,