Ten Shows You Must Watch Before the Alleged Impending Apocalypse

by | December 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Special Features

"The Sopranos." (HBO)

They (as in that mysterious cabal of prescient creatures that know whether egg yolks are good for your heart, and who really killed Kennedy) say that the world is going to end soon because the Mayans, prescient as they were, couldn’t think far enough ahead to carve calendar dates beyond 2012.

Thanks a lot, guys. I mean, if we can’t count on ancient, polytheistic civilizations to finish their time-measuring public works projects, what can we count on? Television, for starters.

Maybe the world really is rocketing towards an apocalyptic date with Quetzalcoatl, and maybe the Mayans just decided to take a cocktail break from calendar-carving. There’s no way to know for sure, so you’d better spend what very well may be your last few days moseying around Earth availing yourself of some of TV’s very best shows because while there will still be plenty of sightseeing to do after the world ends, your cable and internet are probably going to crap out pretty quickly, leaving you forever wondering why all your friends start laughing hysterically whenever someone uttered the phrase “Soup Nazi.”

10. “The Simpsons,” Season 8: How can you leave this world without having watched John Waters’ guest appearance on “The Simpsons”, or the father-son deer-hunting trip that turns into a macabre reindeer-hunting trip at Santa’s Village?  Then there’s all the important drama with Millhouse’s crumbling home life, a brief sojourn to Cypress Creek, and the star-crossed new addition to “The Itchy & Scratchy” mayhem, Poochie. Watch full episodes of “The Simpsons” on XfinityTV.com.

9. “Twin Peaks: In case you haven’t yet realized it, there’s a lot of TV for you to watch before the world ends. There’s no way you’ll make it through several hundred-episode  classic TV shows, so the best thing to do is economize with David Lynch’s always strange, occasionally nightmarish “Twin Peaks”, the murder-mystery that only ran for a single season.

8. “The Sopranos“: Before he was piloting mid-century New York ad execs into an emotional abyss, Matthew Weiner was a scribe under the tutelage of David Chase, dreaming up sordid tales for Tony Soprano to share with his therapist.  “The Sopranos” created a mafia populated with simultaneously ruthless and tender characters, and an entire series viewing will put you in a suitably dour mood for the impending end of days. Watch every episode of “The Sopranos” on XfinityTV.com.

7. “Hill Street Blues: Forget the all the myriad iterations of “CSI” and “Law & Order.”  Set aside your box-set, collector’s edition of “The Wire”“Hill Street Blues” was coping with inner-city crime when  David Simon was still a rookie reporter in Baltimore and Dennis Farina was just TV-movie star who could grow nice mustache.  Over seven seasons, the proto-cop drama garnered critical acclaim and collected scripts from some of the most famous writers beyond TV: Bob Woodward and the inestimable David Mamet.

Watch the Pilot Episode of “Hill Street Blues”:

6.  “Saturday Night Live,” Season 2: You probably have a gravelly-voiced uncle who makes grand pronouncements in his wood-paneled kitchen nook about how great the old, gray-hair cast of “SNL” was, but, for once, he’s totally right.  If you can only watch one season of the (mostly) venerable sketch comedy show, it should be the second season, which features the final live appearance of the Muppets until 2004, the first appearance of America’s hometown hero Bill Murray, a musical guest spot by The Band, and the only episode ever filmed outside of New York.  It was filmed in New Orleans, and, appropriately enough, was titled “Live from Mardi Gras.” Watch every episode of “SNL” on XfinityTV.com.

5. “I Love Lucy,” Season 3: If you’re going to take a moonlit waltz back in time to mid 20th century America, you should do it in good company, and there’s no better company than Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. “I Love Lucy” may be a television relic, but it’s still the best thing to watch when you’re at home swaddled in your bathrobe and thinking of plausible excuses for taking a sick day.  The show’s third season also includes one of the most hilariously impossible challenges ever issued to a sitcom character: Lucy tries not to lie, like, at all. Watch full episodes of “I Love Lucy” on XfinityTV.com.

4. Arrested Development,” Season 2: What a shame! It looks like you won’t get to see those new episodes of “Arrested Development” after all. Although the Bluth family probably has a nefarious and unnecessarily complicated scheme for escaping the apocalypse unscathed, odds are you’re stuck in a suddenly exposed subdivision with a finished basement that’s not even capable of fending off five inches of rain, and therefore you have to make do with only three seasons of sardonic narration from Ron Howard.  The series doesn’t get any better than Season 2′s disturbingly sweet “Motherboy” pageant.

Watch the Pilot Episode Episode of “Arrested Development”:

3. “Dynasty,” Season 4: The fourth season of “Dynasty” is melodramatic cotton candy, but it’s pretty impossible to watch just one season of this soap opera, which offers everything from Alexis and Krystle cat-fighting in sequined pant suits, to fabulous 80′s hairdos. It’s the precursor to “Revenge” and every “Housewife” franchise in existence. Learn where it all started.  Watch full episodes of “Dynasty” on XfinityTV.com.

2. “Lost“: For better or worse, “Lost” has changed TV forever, paving the way for more big-budget “event” shows (the ill-fated “Terra Nova” is a distant “Lost” relation).  Sure, the series gets a little disjointed and wacky towards the end, but there’s a smoke monster, plenty of lovable (and despicable) characters, and, no matter how hard your friends try, they will not be able to spoil the plot for you because it’s way too complicated. Watch every episode of “Lost” on XfinityTV.com.

1. “Seinfeld,” Season 7: You know, maybe you wouldn’t have quit your job, build that bomb shelter, and started stockpiling Army rations if you’d spent a little less time watching the news and little more time watching “Seinfeld,” which had so many amazing seasons that it’s almost a crime to recommend just one. But, since the apocalypse is just around the corner, we’ll flaunt the rules and recommend the seventh season, which introduce the world to the deadly importance of ATM codes, unorthodox methods of birth control, and the surliest chef in all the boroughs — the Soup Nazi. Watch full episodes of “Seinfeld” on XfinityTV.com.