Question of The Day: 5 TV Shows

I stole this question from Twitter…

If you had to recommend someone watch 5 TV series to really get a feel for you and your tastes what 5 would you pick?

Here are my choices:

Northern Exposure, Buffy, The Wire, West Wing, My So Called Life

34 thoughts on “Question of The Day: 5 TV Shows

  1. Parks and Rec
    Big Bang Theory (I’m a hybrid of Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler–Amy on a good day, Bernadette on a bad day)
    The Orville (I love the social media upvote/downvote planet episode)
    Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (really charming–I recommend it to everybody)

    That’s easy, but choosing a fifth one is hard. 30 Rock? Fixer Upper? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? I’m going to go with My Little Pony, on the standard of “You’re stuck on a desert island and only get one show–which do you pick?”


  2. DUDES. You’re freaking me out. So much overlap with you two (Laura and Amy).

    West Wing
    Parks and Rec
    Claws (not my favorite show ever, but it captures a lot of what interests me in a show; chose this for the soap opera-ish elements and the huge amount of crazy)
    Oh, and of course, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (“the situation is a lot more nuanced than that!”)

    All these shows feature strong competent women characters and are also hopeful. If I had 10 options, NoEx and The Wire might have been on the list.


  3. Maybe we all read this blog because there’s some underlying tendency that draws us to the same topics and TV shows. I would include Buffy and My So Called Life. I’d add Lost and Game of Thrones. Not sure what I’d choose for the first because there are so many good ones, but I might go hard core cheesy and pick Friends.


  4. I’m going to have to think about it more, because it’s fun, but yes the overlap is eerie. I might pick Sports Night instead of West Wing because there should only be one Sorkin per person. I just rewatched the last couple of seasons of Parks and Rec in preparation for a stressful school year so that would have to go in. My So Called Life probably edges out Buffy. My only immediate unique add is Slings and Arrows.

    I loved Northern Exposure but I don’t think it makes it into the top five. I’m too much of a scaredy-cat to watch the Wire.


  5. Buffy
    Twilight Zone (original)

    Shows I’ve never watched: Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, Lost


    1. ANOTHER SUCCESSION FAN! Many critics wrote it off after the first ep or 2, but they were so wrong. My husband and I were intrigued by the black humor so we persevered. And it was so worth it.

      Any Better Call Saul fans? Last night’s ep was wild, and I didn’t even watch Breaking Bad (ok, I saw the last 4 eps).


      1. Yes, it’s incredible. You don’t like anyone*, but they’re so interestingly broken. The actors are doing an incredible job. The actors playing Roman, Kendall and Tom are amazing at making weak and destructive people fascinating to watch. (It’s also been a great way to discuss masculinity with our sons. “Look, see how no one respects him? And he over-compensates?”) Kendall’s losing struggle with addiction is captivating, because it’s not presented in a moralistic way.

        I enjoy how Greg functions as the mechanism to spread the secrets around.

        Well, ok, the uncle, Ewan Roy. I appreciated that he listened to podcasts on the way down.


      2. There was a discussion among some critics (Sepinwall, Poniewozik, and some others) about how it doesn’t know whether to be a satire or a drama. I don’t care; I don’t think it’s relevant. I guess I’d peg it as a drama about how great wealth and power ruins character. Kendall and Shiv have some promise as reasonable human beings, but their wealth/power has never taught them how to be strong people. Logan’s curse is that his poverty and ambition led him to be strong and powerful and wealthy, but his kids are doomed to be disappointments because they didn’t experience the same kind of life he did.
        Roman is just an asshole. But a hilarious one!
        Tom is horrific. His weird abusive relationship with the awesome Greg (love the actor, so I am biased) upsets me.
        This show is the most powerful argument for a sky-high inheritance tax.


      3. I love Succession too!!!! And re Greg, he’s dumb like a fox as he moves through the family. The actor who plays Tom is British and is in a wonderful BBC production called Any Human Heart. Also MI-5 which was called Spooks in the UK.

        The show is also a reminder of how difficult it is to pass a family business to the next generation when they’ve had everything handed to them. There’s a Canadian family with similar issues – when the mom was alive she was quoted as describing her kids having been born retired!

        Now for my five shows – the first one goes way back and is a bit obscure but I adored it. How I wanted to be Blair Brown and live in NYC. No idea if the show holds up as it was never issued on DVD, etc. Looking at my list, I next wanted to be Felicity and go to NYU!:

        Days & Nights of Molly Dodd
        The Good Fight
        River (or Broadchurch or Happy Valley)


      4. Wendy, I think Succession is heading to be a tragedy, not a drama. They’re all in the running to be brought down by their flaws.

        It could just as well be centered around a cleaning supply company in Paducah. And I have to wonder if the writers are channeling Lear. (King, not Norman.)

        Yeah, Greg is not as gormless as he might first seem. Our kids like Greg. Our daughter thinks the successor will be Shiv, “because everyone else is so f*d up.”


      5. I think it’s waving at Lear, but I don’t think it is Lear. Lear had Cordelia. Logan has no one. Not one of his kids has the moral character of Cordelia.


    2. I like some Sherlock episodes a lot (for example the first one) but not all of it.

      There are also some shows that are objectively good, but feel like work.


      1. Curse of Steven Moffat. Smart guy, good writer, awful showrunner. He’s the Ryan Murphy of England.
        Season 4 and almost all of Season 3 was horrific.


      1. Mine: I don’t like to feel that I’m rotting my brain, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m doing homework.

        I want to feel like, “There’s a new episode up! Yippee!” and not, “I have to do this. Woe is me!”

        A lot of times when people talk about their TV shows, they make it sound like work.


  6. Game of Thrones is, in most single episodes and definitely for the series as a whole, better storytelling than the books. (And I will probably contrive a way to watch the final season in real time, in English.)

    Annnnd, that’s it for my series in the last 20 years. Though to get to know me, it’s ok to go back further than that. I’m getting on towards the age where I have a bit of a history.

    Star Trek (original series, and some Next Generation)
    Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (though of course the radio series is much, much better)

    So that’s four. Maybe add major league baseball on WGN in the afternoons? I guess what you learn about me is that I don’t watch much TV. I know I’m missing great art these days, but there it is.


    1. I didn’t make it 30 pages through the first book, many years ago. My children did, and they were giggling like fools at the people who were looking forward to the wedding scene.


    2. I can quote many Bugs Bunny cartoons. And often do.
      It was years before I understood what “It ain’t Wendell Wilkie!” meant, but I still knew it was hilarious.


  7. Recess (Disney)
    Kim’s Convenience Store
    BBC Hercule Poirot

    I hate shows where everyone is broken or unpleasant and where people die unexpectedly (I’m still kind of angry they killed the computer science teacher in Buffy). I think Disney’s animated “Recess” is one of the best shows ever.


    1. We’re supposed to try Kim’s Convenience soon and we’re starting Episodes, which is about an award-winning British TV industry couple who go to LA and discover that (surprise!) Hollywood types are duplicitous and skilled at turning good source material into garbage. (Of course, the couple should have heard one or two stories about that already, since that particular story is 90+ years old, but it’s fun!)

      Brokenwood is another favorite. It’s a New Zealand detective series, where the hero is a much-married, hard-drinking country music fan (great music!) who works with a female Russian pathologist. Probably my favorite is the one involving a rip-off LOTR tour. Love the accents and the scenery.


    2. We’ve watched a lot of Poirot. For a long time, British murder was our evening default.

      I also liked Foyle’s War and Netflix’s Lilyhammer, which is about a Witness Protection program mafia informant settled in an idyllic Norwegian village, who winds up returning to his life of crime and corrupting the local Norwegians (the first season or two is the best). Our hero at some point winds up in Norwegian prison–I’ve decided that I would like to go to Norwegian prison someday. It looks great.

      I like the first season or two of Space Janitors (very short episodes about ordinary life on the death star from Star Wars) and the first season or two of The Guild (although it looks like I may not have seen everything), which is about what happens when online gamers meet each other in real life.


      1. British people murdering British people does make for good television. I’m back to watching Inspector Barnaby. It’s great how half the village gets killed by the same murder before he figures it out, but he still keeps his job. Also, no matter how old or stolid looking, everybody is either sleeping with or trying to sleep with somebody they aren’t supposed to,


  8. MH said,

    “British people murdering British people does make for good television.”


    “I’m back to watching Inspector Barnaby.”

    I held back Midsomer Murders, because it’s kind of a guilty pleasure. But yeah, it’s a fun show.

    When you see a cricket bat, you know what to expect.

    “It’s great how half the village gets killed by the same murder before he figures it out, but he still keeps his job.”


    “Also, no matter how old or stolid looking, everybody is either sleeping with or trying to sleep with somebody they aren’t supposed to”

    …who is actually (unbeknownst to them) their secret half-sibling.


  9. We’ve also enjoyed Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Endeavour (need to catch up) and Inspector Gently.

    Half of the population of the British Isles has been bumped off to give us something to watch.


  10. Mad Men; Foyle’s War; Endeavour; Astronaut Wives Club (cancelled); History Detectives (cancelled). I miss must-see TV!


  11. I can’t believe I forgot to mention Portlandia. That’s what we were watching in the hospital when I was in labor with T. (Epidurals–best thing ever.) Portlandia probably should have gone into my top 5 list.

    Documentary Now! is also good (although I like some more than others).!

    IT Crowd is fun.


  12. Miss Fisher has wonderful costuming and characters.

    We are starting to get into the Mrs. Maisel, but I’ve kind of had enough of the comedy club scene.


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