While getting ready for bed last night, I stumbled across the Hallmark channel – bear with me – and an episode of The Golden Girls, followed by an episode of Cheers.
I forgot how enjoyable those shows were – not only with their writing (Did you know – The Golden Girls was written by Joss Whedon’s DAD, who also penned episodes of Alice (Mel’s Diner), It’s a Living (Restaurant at the top of a high-rise hotel in LA) and Benson (Robert Guillaume working for a ditzy governor), but also their casting! Although the episodes I gleefully watched were not particularly memorable – they did help to pass the time until I was a tourist in snooze-ville, fumbling for the remote and mustering what strength was left unaffected by Mr. Sandman, to press the Off button.
Hollywood often remakes old movies, why don’t they ever remake old t.v. shows? Well, that’s not entirely true… this year they debuted a re-tooled version of the tv drama Beauty & the Beast, and they have brought back some older, less-ratings-winning shows (Family Affair comes to mind, as well as various t.v. shows from other countries that we mercilessly Americanize, therein losing the charm of the original –
there have only been a few successful conversions I can recall – all taken from British originals, such as:
The Office (starring Ricky Gervais; Both he and Steve Carell were anguishing and awkward, but in delightfully different, watchable ways.)
Changing Rooms became Trading Spaces in the US
Man About the House became Three’s Company – more successful in the US (39 British episodes vs 170 in the US)
Steptoe and Son became Sanford and Son
Till Death Do Us Part became All In The Family
and let’s not forget the What Not To Wear, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Weakest Link, X Factor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent – all derived from British originals.
And, of course, we’ve given the world some gems, too:
Wheel of Fortune, Price is Right, The Apprentice, What’s My Line, Match Game, Talk Soup, Married With Children, Mad About You, Jeopardy!, Law & Order, Hollywood Squares, and America’s Next Top Model (is this one a “gem”?)
So, all this thought of television got me to thinking about the programs I used to watch growing up, or, in fact, what I watch today – and I’m happy to say, there’s not much TV I tune into these days – I think about 4 programs I DVR during the week, and the rest of the TV viewing schedule just doesn’t interest me. Unfortunately, I’ve been rather late on the uptake of some truly great shows – the kind with the writing and ensemble casts that just sparkle and make you eager for new episodes and curse the mid-season break with no new episodes to enjoy. Thankfully, there are DVDs and repeats I can catch up on, when that happens.
What I’m watching now:
How I Met Your Mother
I didn’t catch onto this series until late 2012 – I was just to busy to make it a priority. Which is odd, because Alyson Hannigan is one of my favorites since her Buffy days!
I stumbled on this show completely accidentally during a 2 am re-run of some myth involving asking if pop rocks, when eaten with soda can cause your stomach to explode. What can I say – at 2 am, you are easily entertained finding out the answers to questions you’ve wondered about since you were a kid!
How It’s Made
I could watch this show for all eternity – I love learning how things are made – and they cover everything from aluminum foil to frozen pancakes to Japanese hand-painted fans to shredded wheat. It’s pretty amazing to learn where all this stuff we use/consume every day comes from, and what it takes to make it.
The three British hosts take motoring to a new level.. They not only review new cars and put celebrities behind the wheel of a moderately priced every-man car, they convert cars into boats and see who can get theirs across the channel without sinking, they take cars on desert safaris, convert cars into rocketships and many more humorous ways to make cars more adaptable to our societies.
Taking a further look back, here’s what I watched from about 2000 until now…
Scrubs There’s always room for humor in a hospital setting.
Pushing Dasies – Though I didn’t watch it while it aired, seeing episodes in re-runs occasionally made this Harry-Potter/Willy Wonka-esque show (voice narrations by Jim Dale) about a man who can make dead people come back to life for a brief time, really enjoyable.
Boston Legal – What’s not to love about a legal show with William Shatner, Betty White and Candace Bergen?
Dog the Bounty Hunter – Late-night t.v. viewing, definitely – seeing bail jumpers try to escape their legal woes puts human interactions and personalities in a new light.
Dirty Jobs – What a fun show, to see a host actually ask questions, then get down & dirty and do the job. It takes a LOT of these dirty jobs to make America work, and after watching this show, I have a new respect for those folks who do the dirty jobs that I certainly couldn’t!
Castle – I like Nathan Fillion’s approach to playing a crime writer, working with a police officer – it’s got great funny moments, and brings an air of the whodunnit, without being cloying like NYPD Blue, or other cop shows can be.
Glee – I do occasionally watch this – what can I say, I’m a sucker for a good song & dance routine. Some of the plots are pretty far-fetched, but I’ve always enjoyed teen angst – probably because I never experienced any and am living vicariously through the show. Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, and Kevin McHale are some of my favorites to watch.
So what shows did you watch this past decade, and why did you watch ’em? You can leave comments below, if you’re so inclined…