Wednesday, 25 April 2012

TV.

So, people often read my blog and say, 'Hey Phil, I get an idea of what you like in a movie, but what sort of TV do you enjoy?' Obviously, this is a film blog. However, This is a good question, and should be addressed. Below, you will find a list of the television shows I watch regularly that are current. By that I mean, not shows that have reached their end or have been cancelled. Those will be in an less detailed list at the bottom. So, here we go:

The Consistently Good: How I Met Your Mother

A valid description of this show. A show has to be consistently good, more or less, to survive seven, going on eight, seasons.



What is it about? It's a comedy about a group of five friends and their lives shown in stories told by the future Ted Mosby. These stories are told to Ted's kids in 2030 and are all part of the overall story of how he met their mother. Somehow they've managed to drag that overall story out over seven seasons.

Why is it so good? It remains current. It keeps all jokes relative to the airing time and doesn't stretch out into too much contemporary references, so that those jokes remain timeless. But the best thing is it doesn't stick to a working formula. It adjusts with its story and characters. As the characters mature, the jokes, stories, and situations mature too. This keeps it fresh and story oriented. while the characters have the same core, they adapt and evolve to fit their age and surroundings. This is something some TV shows (especially comedies) don't manage as they go on. Plus, the writers constantly tease you with hints towards who the wife will be while you remain, really, completely clueless. It's a show with real heart as well as wit. I've cried and had my heartbroken between the belly laughs. The cast is fantastic. They are just good, funny people as well as good actors. Watch the bloopers for confirmation of that.

Favourite episode? Really tough one... But probably The Pineapple Incident. A great story and it's hilarious. Also worth mentioning: Slap bet, Slapsgiving (1&2) Girls vs Suits, The Burning Beekeeper, Tick Tick Tick, The Best Burger In New York, Bad News, and Subway Wars.

The Emotional Roller Coaster: The Walking Dead


This show, at all times, attacks my heart. I'm so unbelievably emotionally involved in this show that it is unhealthy. My reaction at points is not dissimilar to someone having a fit.



What is it about? The zombie apocalypse. A small isolated group of survivors are doing just that - surviving. It's a dark gritty world. Friends betray friends, insanity strikes, sometimes people just aren't fast enough. It's completely absorbing.

Why is it so good? It's just incredibly well made on all fronts. Some of the best actors on television, one of the most engaging and suspenseful scripts, and, I think, it's a decent portrayal of psychology in action; people resorting back to instincts when all else fails. Season one was more intense, action wise. Hiding in tanks to avoid an onslaught of zombies, dressing in dead people's blood to avoid attack, losing lots of friends... Season two was more character based. We saw everyone develop. It soon became clear who people liked and disliked. And then, a few episodes on, you'll have the characters you hate, and the ones you love. And every few episodes it finds a new way to shock you and crush your heart into the ground. It's just damn good TV.

Favourite Episode? Better Angels. It was a solid episode like them all but its ending was just... wow. And Shane's character development was superb.

The One You Don't Watch But Really Should: Community

I don't mean to seem hipster, Community simply does not get the viewers it deserves. If you don't watch it, you should. Here's why...



What is it about? It's about a study group at Greendale Community College consisting of the most interesting and and hilarious people on campus. It pokes a lot of fun at contemporary themes and tackles the ridiculous without becoming absurd. It's a fantasy world that you wish you could live in and you'll be captivated.

Why is it so good? This could be a long list... It's modern. Its fast paced comedy, visual humour, contemporary references, and distinct characters keep it constantly interesting to watch. It has a wide range of characters and that means there is a high probability of finding one you relate to. It's hilarious. The best thing about its, sometimes ridiculous, stories... is they could happen in reality (okay... maybe a bit exaggerated). It's ridiculously quotable. Think Mean Girls quotable. Yeah. The cast are genuinely funny people and seem like lovely actors. (Again, see the bloopers). It has songs, dances, fancy speeches, hot girls, hot guys, paintball... Everything. It is a TV show that the nerd inside anyone will adore and that the rest of you will love

Favourite Episode? Probably Modern Warfare. An extremely funny episode which led into future favourites, A Fistful of Paintballs and For a Few Paintballs More. Also worth mentioning: Remedial Chaos Theory, Regional Holiday Music, Epidemiology 206, Introduction to film and Conspiracy Theories and Soft Defences.

The Timeless Great: Doctor Who

I'm a typical internet dwelling being. Doctor Who is a second language to me. I have even been known to dress up as Eleven every now and then... And it's been going for 50 years. Who can doubt it's quality. (Ignore its very very long hiatus.)



What is it about? Shame on you if you do not know this. It's about an alien called The Doctor. He's a particular species called the Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey and he's over 900 years old. You see, Time Lords can regenerate. Near death they create a whole new body. There have been 11 Doctors so far. The Doctor travels around the universe, normally with a companion, saving planets and people. His arch enemies are The Daleks who the Time Lords fought against in the Time War.

Why is it so good? It's the definition of escapism. For forty minutes, forget about the world and take a trip in the TARDIS around the universe with a mad man. It's ultra cheesy but also deadly serious. Some of the points it makes are genuinely meaningful whilst others are nonsense. That makes it good viewing, you're never sure what you'll get. And it's always exciting. A new type of challenge almost every single episode, and when it's not a new baddie, you know shit's going down. Weeping Angels... Daleks... Cybermen... We know what awaits us with these bastards. The ever changing face of the Doctor and the changing companions keeps the show fresh. Essentially, it's a new show every few few seasons... New protagonist, new sidekicks, new monsters... It's fresh. And if, like me, you start with new Who (the 2005 + Episodes) and find yourself loving it, you have a LOT of older episodes to watch. 8 Doctors worth...

Favourite Episode? Forgive me, it's a two parter. The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances. See, this is why people shouldn't start with Ten or Eleven. Nine had some of the best moments and these two episodes were not only absolutely terrifying, but wonderfully handled. Blink and The God Complex are stand out episodes from the other two Doctors of New Who.

The Modern Masterpiece: Sherlock

It's rare that a new show or movie comes out that is just so outstandingly brilliant in its own way that it has no other competitors. This is one of those pieces of new media.



What is it about? Sherlock Holmes and John Watson of course! The greatest detective of all time and his trusty assistant in the modern day and age, solving modern crimes in a modern fashion. Sherlock is the world's first and only consulting detective. Someone that the police turn to when they're all out of ideas.

Why is it so good? Everything. The incredible script is a good starting point. Not only is the overall plot of each episode extremely clever, but also the detail in the small conversations, the rude remarks, or subtle conveying of opinion and emotion... I can't think of any other show that matches it. And then the acting. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both outstanding actors. They don't need big speeches or heartfelt words, they can convey what no other actors can in just a flicker of their eyes. The way the episodes are shot and edited is also incredible. It takes TV and brings it to the higher standard of film. More reason for each episode to be 90 minutes long then. More room for detail rather than packing it in to a short half an hour slot. Captivating television.

Favourite Episode? I'm going to go against the fandom flow and say The Hound Of The Baskervilles. There was something dark and gritty that I always imagine Sherlock Holmes having about him. And the scene where Watson's in a cage was outstanding.

The Late Starter: Supernatural

An odd title for you readers, perhaps, but to me it makes sense. I only started watching Supernatural a couple of months ago and I have almost finished the second season... and I love it.



What is it about? Two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, and their hunt for evil after their mother was killed by a demon when they were kids. They hunt and kill evil supernatural forces such as demons, vampires, werewolves etc etc.

Why is it so good? It's gritty television that is also extremely witty, clever and heartfelt. The stories are completely compelling and easy to suck your teeth into. The brothers are two of the best characters TV has ever produced. They are funny, yet will cover each others back no matter what. And the stuff they deal with is really intriguing as it has got the kind of, 'are they real... could this be real' aspect about it. I find the more I watch, the more I hope to one day encounter an angry ghost so that I can try to be a cool ass hunter. I love the way it's written, I love the characters, I love the over arching plots that aren't reffered to really obviously every episode (Take notes Doctor Who). I haven't even reached Cas yet.

Favourite Episode? So far, What Is and What Should Never Be. It had me excited the whole way through, beginning to end. I love alternate timeline stories and this one was fantastic.

The Guilty Pleasure: New Girl

And, like everyone in the world, I have a show that I watch weekly but don't talk about it a hell of a lot. I have my guilty pleasure...



What is it about? It's about a girl called Jess who move in with three guys. They're all very typical characters and all very distinct. Each episode is very formula run. Happy start - Issue - Issue gets bigger - Issue resolved. Normally by team work.

Why is it so good? It's just funny. No one character on their own is particularly hilarious, but interacting they're works of comic genius. Schmidt, in particular, and the way he reacts to life, is particularly funny. It's also simple. The plots aren't some deep meaningful story, it's just shallow and superficial. But that's nice. Half an hour of superficial nonsense that makes you laugh is a half an hour well spent. Plus, hot guys and girls. And again, very quotable. Sign of a good TV show.

Favourite Episode? The Story of the 50. A silly episode with some of the most hilarious and quotable lines from the show. 'Twenty NINE'

Let me know if you think there's other shows I should be watching.

Other Shows

These shows are the ones that I:
  • Watch regularly but only due to reruns - the show is over. 
  • Used to watch 
  • Watch when I can be bothered 
  • Watch when I'm bored and none of the above are on. 
  1. Family Guy 
  2. The Simpsons 
  3. Miranda 
  4. Hustle 
  5. American Dad 
  6. Friends 
  7. Wild Dogs 
  8. Malcolm In The Middle 
  9. Scrubs 
  10. Glee 
  11. 24 
  12. Heroes 
  13. Fawlty Towers* 
  14. Monty Python* 
*Means Favourite Show Ever.

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