Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's On My DVR--listed in a very particular order.

Here is a list of comedic TV shows I am currently recording/watching listed from best to worst with commentary where I feel compelled to offer it:

  1. New Girl - This show is excellent. I laugh out loud at this more than just about all the others combined. I think this show is more in the tradition of Seinfeld, the penultimate sitcom, than anything else on TV. That shouldn't necessarily be the goal for every sitcom, but that is largely because most shows cannot play in that realm. This show is definitely sponge worthy.
  2. Modern Family - The ability of this show to have such a great cast of characters who have such amazing chemistry together is why it is an easy pick at the Emmy's every year. Because one should consider such things, I am 2 parts Jay Pritchett, 1.5 parts Phil Dunphy, and .5 parts of each Mitchell Pritchett and Cam Tucker.
  3. (tie) Parks and Recreation/The Big Bang Theory - Both of these compete well in the Modern Family style of great chemistry among characters. If I had to break the tie, it would be tough. There is a little Sheldon in all of us; he just dares to fully express what we are all thinking. There hasn't been a stronger secondary character than Ron Swanson in decades. He is the Norm of this generation. Parks & Rec would have to get my nod to break the tie simply because it doesn't have a laugh track--I don't need to be told when to laugh . . . ironically, I am channeling Sheldon Cooper in that response. 
  4. [stupid Blogger makes me do this to keep the numbering consistent]
  5. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee - Seinfeld himself couldn't out Seinfeld New Girl, but he comes close with this show. It only loosely fits in the category with these, but blurring the lines of traditional TV is what great TV has always been made of. It is Internet only, so I'm sure to get disapproving looks from Big TV. The hell with it; this one is awesome. My preferred method of viewing: with the wife, drinking bourbon, smoking cigars, in the backyard, after dark.
  6. Community - I'm worried about this one. A few seasons back this would have been competing for the top slots. That said, it will have to burn me good to turn my back on it (see HIMYM below). If I know Jeff Winger, he'll have this one back challenging for that tied-up three spot by season's end.
  7. Louie - About to start its fourth season in May, this one is edgy and on FX for a reason. And all that is what makes it great. This is an adult's sitcom. Grow up and watch it. It is great. Once it is in season, I may very well be reminded that it should be rated higher on this list. 
  8. Family Guy - As opposed to the next show but parallel with the prior show, this one is boundary breaking. If they weren't animated characters, the very serious people wouldn't put up with such insolence. This show makes me cringe occasionally, but it makes me laugh much more often. 
  9. The Middle - This is a very solid show. I'm sure it rings a bit hollow for those who aren't parents; although, I see my own parents in the characters quite a bit. As a parent, it is ridiculously on the mark. It is also fairly wholesome--add a laugh track, and this show could be right out of 1990. The fact the writers can pull this off while being consistently funny is impressive. 
  10. The Simpsons - This show is still funny, but it is not laugh out loud funny any more. It is still important. Many shows on this list are. Modern Family is disarming those opposed to same-sex marriage. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Louie, and Family Guy is telling it like it is. The Simpsons has been doing all that and more for 25 seasons. I'm seeing this one to the end. It has earned it and continues to deserve it.
  11. How I Met Your Mother - This show has jumped the shark. No doubt about it. Do not start it unless you're going back to the beginning, in which case it is probably worth your time. It was amazing once. It is humorous still but tedious now. The flashbacks within the flashback was brilliant and well executed. The magic's gone. The veil has been pierced. We know too much and care too little. I think they let it slip when they made Barney a real person--put him on the straight and narrow. The problem is they sent him there and then brought him back and then sent him again, which is where he needs to go eventually with Robin. But there has been a little too much misdirection. This is true of Ted and the quest to meet the mother as well. We've been too close one too many times. I feel like I have whiplash. The twists and turns were great and made the show, but at some point I just want off the rollercoaster. 
In the non-comedy category I am almost caught up with the epic Boardwalk Empire. I can't say enough about how good this drama is. I've been reading Daniel Okrent's Last Call coincidentally during this time. The TV show's ability to capture the history and the drama of the era is remarkable. While I didn't see it from the beginning but may go back and start, I have been watching Mad Men recently. If they gave awards for really good dramas, it would probably win a lot . . . oh, wait.

Shows I plan on starting from the beginning:

  • Downton Abbey - actually I have seen the first two episodes
  • Breaking Bad
  • The Americans
  • The Goldbergs - actually I might only pick it up where it lies