Back in the day, this blog got traffic boosts from the posts I wrote about Jersey Shore, The Challenge, Real Housewives and The Big Bang Theory. Taking notes while watching and posting that night got pretty exhausting and when the kids starting coming, those fell to the wayside. But, I still love television and wanted to share some of our favorite shows from this past year.
My wife and I weren’t sure if we’d be into this series because it seemed a little much. The most wanted man in the country turns himself into the FBI? That was outweighed by our shared love of James Spader and we watched the whole first season on Netflix in time to get on board with the second. Spader’s ability to deliver these crazy speeches that are about nothing and everything at the same time keep me as entertained as the show’s engine which revolves around him helping the FBI hunt down these horrendous criminals while he still carries on many of his own illegal business practices is just delightful. The second season took quite a turn and I’m excited to see where it ends up. This is basically the only drama we watch. I know we’re in the golden age of TV, but I just don’t have it in me to give my free time over to bad people doing bad things constantly.
Hey, speaking of which, Mad Men ended this year and, honestly, I don’t have much to say about it. I know it’s one of the best put-together shows around from costumes and music to performance and writing, but I was pretty exhausted by these characters by the time it all wrapped up. I still want to see a Sally spinoff as she navigates her later teens and early 20s, though, that would be rad.
I watched all but the very last season of Parks and Recreation last year. I thought the sixth season actually had a perfect ending and have been a bit gunshy about watching the last one (which is compounded by the fact that it’s not on Netflix yet). The show’s ability to convey real, human friendships and romantic relationships won me over so hard. As with most of my longtime favorite shows, I fell for these characters, wanted them to do well and loved how they rallied around each other.
Enjoying Parks & Rec so much happened to lead right into Aziz Ansari’s Netflix Original series Master Of None which I burned through in just a few days (something that rarely happens anymore). This one’s about a dude named Dev in his early 30s navigating life in NYC as he deals with women, parents, racial issues and just about everything else. Far from preachy, MON does an amazing job of digging into these complex issues, looking at them from a variety of angles and still not coming up with any concrete answers. And that’s basically life to a T, isn’t it?
Another Netflix Original, Wet Hot American Summer was a show that my wife and I made our way through when it first hit the streaming service. When I saw the movie for the first time I couldn’t really figure it out or process what was going on, so I thought I didn’t like it. Later I realized that I loved the absurdist humor which is fully on display from the get-go thanks to this one actually taking place at the beginning of the season seen in the film. Huge kudos for figuring out how to get all the old gang plus a slew of new guest stars to appear in this thing!
I don’t think I’ve watched any other show as much as I’ve watched The League. I plowed through the first few seasons on Netflix, then showed the first few episodes to my wife and she was on board, so I went back through them all again with her. We’ve kept up and finally live in a place where we get FXX (one of the more pointless networks around) so we’ve watched the last two seasons in real time. I’m going to miss seeing new adventures from these terrible, awful people moving forward, but I’m sure I’ll go back and watch from the first episode again before too long.
I love the retro goodness of The Goldbergs and Fresh Off The Boat, the continued complexity of Modern Family, Blackish‘s presentation of a family that is both very familiar to me and quite different and the continued adventures of The Muppets. All five of these shows pack all kinds of heart and humanity along with the usual gags and laughs. At the same time Muppets continues to dazzle my brain every time I try to figure out how they shoot some of those scenes (especially the one above!).
We live in the era of superhero TV and it’s fantastic. I’m a season and a half behind on Arrow and haven’t seen any Flash this season, but I am absolutely in love with Supergirl. Not only is Melissa Benoist a delight as the rookie superheroine, but the show is actually fun! You can’t say that about many of the other comic book adaptations out there. I love watching this one with my daughter and also geeking out when various characters I’ve been reading since I was a kid pop up.
Speaking of shows I watch with my daughter, we’re big fans of Master Chef Junior. She likes seeing kids cook (and has even taken more of an interest in making dinner with me) while I absolutely adore how the contestants support each other even though they’re competing against one other. That’s how we should all act.
I almost forgot about this one even though I just wrote about it a few months ago. I wasn’t sure if I would care about a new version of Scream for the kids today, but I gave it a shot and got fully sucked in. I have no idea how the second season will play out, but I’ll be watching.
When it comes to reality shows, I tend to lean towards ones that feature people doing jobs I’m interested in. I still like Fast & Loud and check in on Gold Rush when I can, but Barnwood Builders on DIY is my current favorite. These guys find old structures built by the pioneers, take them down and then rebuild them in other places. I think I’m drawn to these guys because they have an obvious affinity for history but are also just so damn good and doing this thing that (I assume) not many other people do. They’re also a nice group of dudes who really seem to enjoy each other and what they do which is always important.