Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tv Worth Watching, Part 2: Guest Post from Something Clever 2.0

TV shows worth watching, Part 2

My friend Maureen writes a blog called Aspiring to the Middle. I guess it would be classified as a “lifestyle” blog; she writes mainly about her lifestyle passions, which include travel, reading and a smattering of home decorating. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Yesterday, she wrote about a lifestyle topic that is very dear to my heart, television. (Please read it here.) She does not claim to be an expert, and focused mainly on reality shows. I, however, do claim to be an expert, and offered to fill in the gaps for her.

In the tv watching system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the reality tv fans, who know why Ice loves Coco, and the drama fans, who get this reference. These are their stories.

For those of you who know about Maureen’s noble profession, it’s understandable that she wouldn’t want to watch a lot of drama, since she sees enough of that in real life. What she doesn’t see enough in real life is “reality,” at least, reality as it’s presented by Mark Burnett and the good folks at VH1.

My noble profession as a stay-at-home mother (and no, I will not use obnoxious acronyms) is all about watching a short person act a fool, and occasionally say something funny. So you can see why I don’t need Snooki in my life.

The following are my drama recommendations, with some comedy mixed in, because hey, everybody needs that.


“Harry’s Law” – Kathy Bates is hilarious. If you haven’t seen her since “Misery,” give this a shot. It’s a procedural, so you can jump right in anytime. Yes, it’s a lawyer show, but it’s funny as hell. They specialize in lawsuits that are completely bananas, like a little girl with Conversion Disorder who was expelled for basically turning into a demon at school, or a woman who kidnapped a gorilla and fought to have the state grant him “personhood” status.

“Desperate Housewives”- Oh, shut up, it’s fun! These broads just get into the silliest predicaments. As of this writing, there are only two episodes left, so I’m sure I’m wasting my time, here, but at the very least, I can urge you to get on board with the fabulous Marc Cherry’s new project, "Devious Maids." I don’t know a thing about it, but the man gave us “Popular” and “The Golden Girls.” He deserves our respect.

“GCB” – For those who are current fans of “Desperate Housewives,” and looking to fill the impending void, GCB has got you covered. Way less sex, way more church, Texas accents, and my girl from the aforementioned “Popular,” Leslie Bibb. Who plays her mom? Sugarbaker Designs alum Annie Potts! It’s too perfect. And don’t get nervous when you see Kristen Chenoweth in the credits; she almost never sings (praise Jesus.)


“Bones” – If you get grossed out easily, skip it. I love gross stuff (except farts), and will often force my husband to watch the cold open of this show, when they find an impossibly disgusting body in a stage of decomp you have absolutely never heard of before. Normally, I can’t stand when procedurals try to throw some cop’s personal life into the mix, but this one does it delicately enough that you never retch.

“Eureka” – It’s on SyFy. Haven’t shut down your computer yet? Ok, cool. I’m pretty sure this show is why they have no budget left for those movies; please don’t let “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” sour you on the whole channel. Eureka is a serial about a small town in Oregon that’s like super-secret DARPA. It’s in its last season, but you can probably get the DVDs for $5, since I’m the only one who watches it.


“Cougar Town” – The awful name is a running gag on this show. They know, don’t worry. And please don’t judge a show by its title card. I'll make you a deal, and I’m being completely honest here: watch one episode, and of you don’t like it, contact me and I will mail you one dollar. If you do like it, you have to come back to this post and comment that I was right. It’s just some friends who drink wine and make fun of people, just like you and me... Maybe just me. Maybe I shouldn’t extend this offer to Maureen’s readers, since I don’t really know if they’re into that. Oh, well, the genie’s out of the bottle now.


“Law & Order: SVU” – If there’s one thing that can be said for TNT and me, it’s that we know drama. This is the big bad mamma-jamma granddaddy of them all. If you don’t like L&O: SVU, you don’t like drama. Disclaimer: do not watch while pregnant, or for at least two months post-partum. Trust me.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – It’s the show that single-handedly ruined the jury system! You should see me watching this show; it’s a thing of beauty. I have to translate for my husband. What’s a GC mass-spec? What does it mean when they “put out a BOLO”? At what stage in decomposition to blowflies first appear? You’d know, too, if you watched. If you’re not a pro, you might want to start with the dumbed-down “CSI: Miami,” or the super-duper dumbed-down, spell-everything-out-for-you “CSI: New York.” Once you know what DNA stands for, come play with the big kids in Vegas.


“Missing” – I must confess to pulling a Maureen on this one; I have the entire season banked on my DVR and cannot bring myself to start it. Ashley Judd is cute, and all, but it just seems like a TV version of that Liam Neeson movie I wasn’t interested in. Has anyone seen this? Should I bother? Please comment.

“Person of Interest” – Jim Caviezel is so BA in this show. He’s like a real-life Batman. And I mean just Batman; the Bruce Wayne half is played by Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus from “Lost”). Basically, Bruce’s computer tells him someone will be involved in a crime, but there are no details. We don’t even know if this person is the victim or the perpetrator. Then he sends Batman in to protect/foil the… person…of interest. Oh, okay. Now finally I get the title.

“The Mentalist” – Imagine a fake psychic so charming you’d gladly hand him your wallet, then make him a cup of tea. Imagine said psychic gets too cocky, taunts a serial killer on national tv, and has his wife and child murdered as payback. Patrick Jane is the phony psychic in question, and he atones for the deaths by working with the police, using the observational skills he honed as a crook to fight for the good guys. In case I made that sound to corny, I should add that he totally plans to murder the guy who killed his family, once he finds him.

“Awake” – This premise is as high-concept as they come. A happy family has a car accident. The wife dies. Then, the husband goes to sleep and awakens to an alternate reality in which the son died, not the wife. Each day, he toggles back and forth between these universes, unclear on which one is real. He sees two different shrinks in each universe (one played by the super-rad B.D. Wong, of L&O: SVU), who both insist that the other universe is a dream. Oh, and did I mention he’s a detective, and has to solve crimes on top of all this? And that he gets clues to the crime in Universe A while he’s in Universe B? And his boss (Laura Innes, from “The Event”) is super-shady, and possibly involved in the accident/double universeness? Yeah. Here’s a tip: to remember which universe he’s in, he wear a rubber band on his wrist- red in the one where his wife’s alive, green for his son (their favorite colors, respectively). The entire color tones for the show follow this rule; wife-universe is shot in warm tones, and son-universe is in cool tones.


“Grimm” – Another high-concept cop show. Nick Burkhardt is a Portland detective who just learned that all the fairy tale monsters we grew up hearing about are sort of real. And he’s a Grimm, a person tasked with keeping them in line. Big Bad Wolves are dudes who turn into wolves and eat little girls. The Three Bears kill trespassers. And so on. Unfortunately, Nick got the memo a little late, just before his great-aunt dies, passing on way too little information before she did so.

“In Plain Sight” – Inspector Mary Shannon is a grumpy U.S. Marshall, charged with handling witnesses for the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program. She takes no guff, but gives plenty. I wish she was real, because I desperately want to be her friend.

I hope this rounds out your viewing schedule. These are only a handful of the 80+ (no joke) shows that I regularly watch, so if that’s not enough, I can always write a Part Three.


  1. I've gotten into Missing - although I might be the only person in the country, I don't know anyone else who watches it. I was a big Alias fan, and she's kind of like a grown-up Sydney Bristow, complete with the hot CIA guy hanging around. I like a good female lead kicking butt, it inspires me to work out. But that's just me.

  2. I love Eureka! It is one of my favorite shows! That and Psych... I don't really watch TV, actually just these two shows and I usually DVR them an watch them when I can...Oh and I guess I would have to mention Downton Abbey! Which I love as well!
    I did watch the Pilot for Warehouse 13 last night....

  3. Kim, thank you, I'll watch them eventually.

    Shepherds, I love Psych! I wish the seasons were longer than like 5 episodes.

  4. I am going to look into Eureka. Pat watches all of these other shows and when I told him about my theory that he and Jenn should have tv dates the first question he asked if is Psych was on the agenda but I couldn't confirm because it didn't make the list (maybe we do need another installment). Chantel, what is Warehouse 13? That sounds spooky and wonderful. And did anyone watch the Titanic miniseries? I dvrd it because it was from the folks who did Downtown Abbey and that excited me but I can't commit 4 hours of my life to something so quickly.