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TV doesn't all suck!

Posted by phduffy on 2004-02-27 10:11:27
15 forum posts
As some of you may know, I watch very little TV. Mostly just sports, I don't even watch music videos anymore. In fact, when I drove through Toronto and listened to the Edge, I had no idea who half the bands/songs were. (The Darkness? Where'd they come from? New White Stripes? What?) :) So maybe I should watch the music channels again. Although, I don't think we get them.

Anyways, enough of that. I have decided to list 5 TV shows that don't suck. Some of them will be obviously, some of them less so. I'm listing them in random order. The only ground rule is that they will all be fiction. No reality TV, Home Makeovers, Beer shows, etc.

The Office:
I'm cheating a bit here, as I've only seen one episode, and I've seen it twice. Still, rarely does TV make me laugh like this. A good guide to TV comedy is this: If it doesn't have a laugh track, it's probably good. The converse (that if it has a laugh track it sucks) isn't as strong, but there's some accuracy to it.

The Daily Show:
This is pretty obvious. This is where I get most of my news about the States. Plus, Stephen Colbert is hilarious. Steve Carrell used to be hilarious, but I'm no longer sure. And whither Mo Rocca? Anyways, for those of you that don't know, this is the fake news. Complete with fake news correspondents who travel and find real news stories that are ridiculous. (Mr. Sulu 'Pardon me... Young Wet Bitches?)

South Park:
I know what you're thinking... South Park? That's sooo 1999! That's what I used to think. But then I watched it again... and it's even better than the original ones. Remember how the movie was amazing, and the episodes merely good? Well now the episodes are up to the level of the movie. Plus, Kenny doesn't die every epidose, and there's new characters, so it's not always centered around the 4 boys. And Isaac Hayes! (Also, no laugh track)

Curb Your Enthusiasm:
I once read that the problem with comedy today is that it has to have a lesson. Every crappy David Spade movie ends up with him learning something at the end of the movie and being a different movie. While in truly great comedy, the people don't learn anything, and that's why it's so funny. (See Seinfeld, Dr. Strangelove).
If you're not familiar with this show, it's an HBO show, and it's currently on the movie network and Showcase in Canada. It's based on Larry David, the co creator of Seinfeld and one of the inspirations for George. We follow him and his fictious wife around in their day to day lives. The best part is that he really is a prick, and as an episode develops, you can see the seeds being planted for how he's going to be a dick at the end. And it's great! Also, no laugh track.

Da Vinci's Inquest:
Allright, this is sort of the loose cannon of my choices. This is a Canadian show, and it's been on the air for a while now. Da Vinci is the name of Vancouver's coroner, so the show focuses on people dying, and him finding out why they died. On the side, it's also a cop show. But not a cop show like Law and Order (aside: I love Law and Order. The great thing is that you can watch any episode and know what's going on. But that means no long term developments). You have to invest in this show. I first saw this show a little over a year ago,and one of the subplots was the attempt to uncover a dirty cop. Well, it's now a year later, and they're still setting up stings on this dirty cop. Still, a great show, it's Canadian, and it's on at 8PM Sunday night, so what else are you watching? Also makes a great lead in for....

Trailer Park Boys
This should be no surprise. Follows two of the rules we've learned today. They never learn anything, and there's no laugh track. The downside is that each season is only 8 episodes long, and they play two each Sunday at 9PM on Showcase. So you'll quickly see them all. Still, the TPB know comedy. Alot of people like Bubbles best, but I've always preferred Ricky. Consider this classic exchange, which took place after he kidnapped Alex Liefson (sp) of Rush:
"Hey Alex, I just wanted to apologize for what happened earlier. Maybe I was being a dick. I mean, you were definitely being a dick, and I didn't do nothing wrong, but we should have some apologies". I love it! He never learns. One caveat: I do find that in order to truly appreciate it, you have to watch a few episodes and get to know the characters. The more you know them, the funnier it is. ("Hey, can I get some of those Ja-lap-en-oh chips? Ricky, it's jalepeno. - I fucking know that, but that's not what I want, I want the Ja -lap-en-oh).

The Simpsons:
What needs to be said? No laugh track. About four years ago I stopped watching the new ones, but I don't think I agree with those people that say the new ones aren't any good. I just think they had a down period for about two years. One question for all you Simpon's fanatics. Remember back in the day when they used to have a Dr., Dr. Marvin Monroe or something? How did he die?

Okay, this was only going to be 5 shows, and I'm at 7! Nothing too obscure here, but good shows that are worth checking out.

Honourable mentions:
Law & Order - Still great. However, it seems as though now every case is a murder. And they always win. I sort of hate it when they lose, but it's an interesting change of pace
Law & Order - CSI (Or whatever it's called. It's good, but Vincent Denafrio's character is just too smart on this show, and it becomes somewhat predictable) Law & Order: we talk to rape victims doesn't make my list.
The Sopranos
Six Feet Under
These are pretty much acknowledged as the best shows on TV. Personally, there's only so much violence I can take, so I prefer my mob stories in about 2 hour takes (Scarface! Goodfellas! Etc! GTAVC!) so I never really got into it. Same with SFU, I'm not interested in a show that revolves around the life of someone that just died. Everyone I've ever talked to that's seen it loves it though, so give it a chance.
The Wire - This gets here because my dad thinks it's the best thing on TV. Another cop show, the twist is that half of the show is told from the perspective of the cops, and half from the criminals.

Homicide: Life on the Streets - possibly the best Cop drama ever, if not the best TV show of all time. My parents got the DVD's of seasons 1, 2 and 3 for Xmas, and you can really see what a great show this is. Great acting and real issues. It's been off the air for years now, but they play old ones on the Book channel Friday's at 8.

Allright, I know I must have missed something, what did I miss?
  15 forum posts