Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some top notch TV.

My stock answer to people who ask me what my favourite TV shows are tends to be "I don't watch TV."
That's actually not true. I watch a fair bit of TV, I just happen to watch the shows when I get the boxsets so that I know I will actually see every episode. I have no time or inclination to watch soap operas, I'm not a big sports nut and if anyone tries to get me to talk about some talented member of the public with the X Factor who can cook while dancing on ice then I have been known to threaten them with bodily harm.
But I DO watch a fair bit of TV and this little blog entry is my time and space to recommend my favourite shows to others. I have started writing individual episode reviews alongside my movie reviews here on IMDb for anyone interested.

There are a lot of shows that I won't name here despite my love for them. Shows that I've either still not seen enough episodes of or that are still ongoing and remain at the centre of arguments between fans who think that the quality dipped some time ago (yes, that's why I'm not recommending The Simpsons here although I absolutely love it and haven't noticed any dip in quality from the few newer episodes that I've seen). I also don't want to look like a Steve Coogan obsessive - just check out pretty much everything that he's ever done (a lot of it is in this great value set). And the superb Dead Set feels more like a movie even though it IS a TV special.

Hilarious moments from Family Guy all blur into one but I only ever seem to catch moments as opposed to entire episodes, Robot Chicken is brilliant from the little I have seen of it and American Dad is something that comes highly recommended by people who know what I like.

Then we have the latest batch of enjoyable TV shows that have proven to be highly entertaining but have yet to show how they hold up further down the line. I've really enjoyed Grimm but it took a while to get going and I'll be very interested to see how the second season goes.

Anyway, enough of the foreplay. Here are 10 brilliant TV shows that remind you of just how good TV can be, complete with links to boxsets/DVDs/Blu-rays on the off chance that I remind someone about a TV show they keep forgetting to add to their collection.

10) Ultraviolet - Far too few people know of this one and that's a real shame. It came along when UK TV was nothing but police dramas, hospital shows and soap operas and then disappeared all too quickly after one season.

9) American Horror Story - I may be just blinkered here but I can't think of a major TV show from recent years as twisted as this one. Brilliant from start to finish and each season is a standalone storyline.

8) Prison Break - Okay, so each season stretched credibility even further and this was yet another show affected by the writer's strike that hit so many TV shows (Heroes being another show that I enjoyed that was scuppered by that damn strike - it was almost listed here)

7) Lost - Love it or hate it, this was one of the biggest televisual EVENTS of the 21st century. Personally, I found it almost as irritating as it was entertaining but that never stopped me from wanting to find out the answers to some of the mysteries while more and more mysteries were piled on.

6) The X-Files - It's not a show that everyone loves but if you DO love it, as I did, then you want to see every single episode. The mix of standalone stories and the overarching grand conspiracy made for superior TV entertainment. It's most probably the best thing ever to be inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

5) The Walking Dead - Lots of people will tell you that it was all downhill in the second season of The Walking Dead and that they didn't want just a soap opera with the odd zombie wandering around. I disagree with all of those people. Considering the limitations of television, this is about as great as it could be. Admittedly, the second season saw some flaws coming to the fore (especially in the first half of the season) but it remained a show I would never want to miss an episode of.

4) Tales From The Crypt - Even many of the lesser episodes had some great star cameos and a sense of fun. This show is probably the last horror project to really capture the spirit of the E.C. comics.

3) The Sopranos - It took me a while to get to this but when I finally did I was able to see straight away why so many others love it. Classic.

2) 24 - The power of Bauer. 'nuff said.

1) The Twilight Zone - Timeless, imaginative, brilliant. Treat yourself to the gorgeous season one Blu-ray set and see what you think. If you're not a fan then . . . . . we may never be able to talk to one another. And if you love The Twilight Zone you may also want to check out The Outer Limits.

Honourable mentions to the classics (both older and modern) such as Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Father Ted, Red Dwarf, The Young Ones, Only Fools & Horses, Porridge, Seinfeld, The Office and The Thick Of It. And, of course, the creations of Joss Whedon. I STILL haven't seen Angel yet but I was a big fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and everyone and their brother loves Firefly apart from anyone who could have contributed to the viewing figures when it was being shown the first time around.

And that's it. I apologise for the excess of titles but the article quickly mutated into an excuse for me to list many of my favourite shows. And I almost forgot to mention the superb Garth Marenghi's DARKPLACE.


  1. Balls. Did I forget to mention the superb Sherlock? I think I did. Consider this comment my poor attempt to make up for that.

  2. Aarrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh, I FORGOT to list Twin Peaks. So make this a Top 11 and put Twin Peaks in the number 2 spot, please. Many thanks.