I Want my FYMTV

I won’t say that TV is getting better.

Thanks to the spew of reality TV programming that dominates much of the airwaves these days, TV is more likely, on average, getting worse. However, the number of very good shows, while not quite balancing out all the crap, IS growing at an unprecedented rate. A discerning viewer today has FAR more options than they did a decade ago, and that trend is likely to continue as new networks and outlets begin vying for the audiences that have flocked to quality TV.

Unfortunately, viewership of mediocre, traditional-style shows like Law & Order, The Big bang Theory, and CSI: Poughkeepsie (or whatever), is also still high. And, also unfortunately, in many cases the viewing of new, good TV doesn’t stop viewers from continuing to watch sub-par TV as well.

Through my own personal mixture of narcissism and benevolence, it always seems like a pitiable travesty when I watch otherwise reasonable people subject themselves to middling televisions shows. One reason for this is exposure; most people don’t watch all that much television. And when they do, they do it on an actual television set where they have limited channels, options, and inclination to explore. They see the latest episode of Bones on and say “why not.” I always think to myself: “Someone should do something to help those poor people!”

I understand that most people don’t take their fiction as seriously as I do, but I still ask: why does an end-of –day diversion have to be mundane and formulaic when it could be stimulating and enriching? Many of us watch TV as an escape from our daily routines; why not make that escape memorable.

To that end, and to give a head start to those of us that want to pull ourselves up out of the mire of daytime drama, I’ve listed below some of the best shows made in recent years in no particular order. If you haven’t watched these shows, there’s no reason to be watching anything inferior to them. In addition, while these shows may be the 5 star top of the heap, there are tons of 4 and 3 star shows that should still take precedence over NCIS, Burn Notice, or whatever other nonsense you’re watching because your finger got tired of changing channels.

Work your way down to the crap TV, not up to the excellent.

1)      Louie

2)      Firefly

3)      The Wire

4)      Breaking Bad

5)      Extras

6)      Battlestar Galactica (new series)

7)      Avatar: The Last Airbender

8)      Deadwood

9)      Survivorman

10)   The Office (British version)

11)   Misfits

12)   Generation Kill

7 Replies to “I Want my FYMTV”

  1. Fantastic list with only Deadwood and Extras on my list of “still to watch”. Worth hitting home your point again. Why suffer through media garbage to get to la creme de la creme when you can work your way down. I’m not sure why Game of Thrones is not on this list, but it should be. It is one of the best casted and the best adaptations of a series of novels I’ve ever seen. I’ll augment this list with others in a later post. Star Trek: TNG, while a little dated, is still is one of the most compelling and complete sci-fi packages around… and with 7 seasons to watch, it will be a long while before the Big Bong Query ever pops up on your radar. Great list as usual.

  2. I just watched an episode of Big Bang Theory. Partly because I haven’t seen it in a few years and I was curious about you guys’ hatred for it, and partly just to spite the two of you. But, you’re right. That show is god awful. Never again. What was I thinking before??

  3. Great list, although I have no clue what that Airbender show is. I agree with the above poster about Game of Thrones. I’d also like to endorse the first couple of seasons of Peep Show. It turned middling a few seasons in though, so don’t get overly attached.

    1. Airbender was american cartoon show that transcended its network and medium. You should check it out. The first season of it was adapted for film by M. Knight Shyamalan. You should not check that out.
      I’m a big Peep Show fan also, but for the same reason you give, i didn’t include it on this list. Game of Thrones is well on its way to a place on this list (which I did indicate was incomplete), but it has yet to transcend its source material which, to me, is a prerequisite for an adapted work to be considered “the best.”

      1. I’m not sure Generation Kill transcended its source material…….

        Just kidding, I’m just being pretentious. I got Callie hooked on Avatar and the Legend of Korra. I don’t think the Korra series is as well-developed but it’s still quite good if you haven’t seen it.

        1. I agree… Korra obviously has more money behind it, but its much less interesting and exciting than the original series.

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