Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Favorite Television Series: Another List

I've hardly watched TV at all since my junior year of college and that's probably a good thing. TV rots your brains! I dunno about that, but the consumerism it fosters is probably no small factor in the credit bubble responsible for current economic ills. If I have watched TV since then it was on DVD's or through the internet.

I'm compiling this list of several of my favorite TV series, along with a few of my comments on them. They are in no particular order or ranking. Don't try arguing with me about them either. If your favorite show isn't on this list, it doesn't deserve to be on any list. You know it and I know it.

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Perhaps I was never devoted to any television series as much as I was with The Next Generation. And I would argue that this was the best of all the Star Trek Series out there. All the actors and performances were top notch. Some of sci-fi TV's greatest writing also took place for this show.

2. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
While not as good as TNG, I do feel that DS9 got treated unfairly. Looking back at the series today, I can say with certainty that it was way ahead of its time and very innovative in many ways. It was also the victim of several things wrong with Trek in general, mainly its limits on characters without flaws. Trek characters always try to do the right thing which leads to limitations for writers and the themes they can explore. As much as the writers tried to break free from this restriction on this show, they never quite did. Nevertheless, the cast was comprised of many talented actors who threw themselves into many strong characters. While not very recognized, I felt the writing was good as well.

3. Star Trek: Voyager
This series had much potential as far as Trek goes, but unfortunately writers continued returning to the same old things from TNG. It also drowned under the sheer overpowering weight of its "techno-babble," a problem that crept up in DS9 but got completely out of control on Starship Voyager.

4. Dexter
America's favorite serial killer. Some wonderful performances and a lot of black humor make this series about a forensic blood splatter expert at Miami-Dade Police all the more hilarious as he is the most wanted serial killer in town. I watched the first season in Kuwait during one week while I was sick in bed.

5. Charlie Jade
Certainly the Darkest TV series I've ever seen. Charlie Jade is a sort of detective sci-fi noir about a P.I. who gets stuck in a parallel universe. While the series has many flaws, it is a very original premise. Its supreme darkness, originality, boldness, and ill mannered humor also get points in my book.

6. Nip/Tuck
Watch shallow, narcissistic plastic surgeons deal with suprisingly insightful themes about beauty, sincerity and ideals, and flawed value systems.

7. Lost
Watch a bunch of castaways crash land on a Pacific Island and their improbable, preposterous connections to one another. Despite the good performances I couldn't manage to watch more than the first season of this on DVDs

8. Millenium
A critically celebrated spin Off of the X-Files and also one of the darkest TV series ever created about a man who profiles serial killers. Unfortunately it wasn't as commercially successful but remains one of my all time favorites. There are rumors Chris Carter may produce a film based on actor Lance Henriksen's Frank Black character.

9. X-Files
Another program I was faithfully devoted to in middle school. I can actually claim I watched this series long before it became the popular phenomenon and spun off into two movies.

10. Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica
Originally a shortlived hack TV series that shamelessly ripped off Star Wars in the late 1970's. The newer Sci Fi Channel version is far superior in every respect. Heck it even made science fiction cool again.

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