Let’s say that hypothetically, a race of space aliens landed on Earth. And they’re not the “Avatar,” love everyone and everything kind of aliens but more the “Independence Day,” destroy the world type instead. Now, let’s go one step further and say that these creatures wanted proof that human beings could all get along with each other in peace and harmony. Otherwise, well, they’ll blast us out of the solar system because we’re destroying the balance in the universe.
You couldn’t take them to meet our nation’s political leaders because we’ve all seen how they cooperate. No way would you ever want them to attend any sporting events. And it’s definitely not safe to have them watch any family reunions. So how do we prove that our world is not only diverse, but that the diversity brings us all together? Simple. Hand these ETs a cold drink and plop them down in front of the television for a few hours.
Television is perhaps the most pure example of peace and harmony that we have. Think about it. There’s a show for pretty much every interest and taste, and we get them all from this one device. Whether you like handsome doctors, wholesome nuclear families or fake psychic detectives, TV is the place to go. So, no matter what planet you happen to hail from, check out these classic series that are bringing the solar system together.
What happened to TV comedies? There was a time when they really seemed like your friends, but post-“Friends” and “Seinfeld,” everyone just seems a little…well…meaner. Those were fine shows, but comedic characters just seem nastier to each other these days. That’s why “Parks and Recreation” stands out. This Amy Poehler comedy about the inept yet well-intended actions of a small town parks department is funny but sweet at the same time. You get a sense that these people are a) real and b) really like each other. It’s a laughing-with type show, not a laughing-at type, and we can use more of those.
Let’s face it. Watching the nightly news can be a pretty horrifying experience, what with all the terrible crimes and unspeakable violence going on in the world. That’s why this second entry in the “Law & Order”franchise is required viewing. It regularly features ripped-from-the-headlines stories that you’d find on any news broadcast, but the thought-provoking writing and compelling acting take you inside these tales so you can learn something. As opposed to the local news approach, which is to scare you to the point where you can’t sleep, thus staying up to watch more of their programming.
This may be the most perfect TV show ever. It began as a mystery involving plane wreck survivors on an island but became an examination of the good and evil in human nature, and ultimately, a story of redemption. Sure not every episode worked, but still, if you watched it all before, there’s always something new you can catch going through it again. And if you haven’t seen it….what are you waiting for? What could be more perfect for a show than that?
Those darn Brits….they’ve got it all, don’t they? Classy accents. Great rock and roll. Cute royal family. Beer you can drink warm. And now, they’ve got the hottest and most cultured drama on TV in “Downton Abbey.” This series, ostensibly about a family clinging to its manor and its way of life in post-WWI England, features a gigantic cast with more storylines than a year’s worth of “All My Children.” There’s a lot to keep track of but it’s all so classy and compelling, these episodes are like the Rolling Stones. No matter what your personal taste, you can’t not enjoy them.
When this series came along in 2005, America needed a new doctor show like we needed a new Starbucks. There was already plenty to go around, so what good would yet another do? Then, we got to know the staff at Seattle Grace and everything changed. Sure they fit the traditional medical series stereotypes – impossibly attractive, sleeping with each other, pushing gurneys and yelling “Stat!” a lot. However, there was something about these people that made them seem more real than other TV physicians and even after nine seasons, they still are….wait for it….just what the doctor ordered.
Certainly there are a lot of dangers that come with space travel, as any honest alien will tell you. You’re always dodging asteroids or worrying about that whole lack of oxygen thing. Which is precisely what makes “Buck Rogers” such essential viewing. This series, which aired from 1979-1981, was like the “Dukes Of Hazzard” in space – lots of action, lots of goofiness – only our heroes were outrunning ETs rather than redneck sheriffs. And Twiki the ambuquad didn’t look nearly as good in a pair of Daisy Dukes.
This isn’t so much a TV series at this point. It’s more like a time capsule. Given how much the world has changed since this show went on the air back in the late 1950s, watching the comedic trials and tribulations of the Cleavers is a relaxing reminder that there was indeed a time when families spoke to each other with words rather than texts, that teenagers actually trusted their parents’ advice and reading your sister’s diary was the worst trouble you could get into. Okay, maybe the ‘50s weren’t quite this innocent but isn’t it nice to remember them like that anyway?
As this series heads into its final few episodes, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when it didn’t look like it would last a season on the air. It took a long time for its quirky characters to catch on, and the fake documentary look to the proceedings was unlike anything viewers were used to (although there have plenty of times “The Office” seemed more real than most current documentary shows). Once the show hit, though, it hit big. And there’s no better time than now to look back on what made it great. And how it made the freaky people in your office seem pretty normal by comparison.
The likelihood of “Psych” ever winning an Emmy award is about the same as Lindsay Lohan’s chances of being named celebrity spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts. That’s not a knock. In fact, it’s a badge of honor for one of the most consistently entertaining shows on the air. This tale of a fake psychic (James Roday) and his buddy (Dule Hill) who solve real crimes doesn’t concern itself with showy scenes and deep topics in order to impress Academy voters. Instead, it simply works hard at spinning out funny dialogue any standup comic would die (laughing) for and delivering quirky characters along with clever twists on familiar plots. The award for that is simply a job well done, and “Psych” certainly wins that prize with every installment.