Friday, December 29, 2017

Rob's Favorite TV Shows

So tonight is my turn to pick up the gauntlet laid down by my family and talk about my favorite TV shows. In no particular order, they are:

This is a show I wasn’t expecting to like when it first came out. It’s about a very poor family of six siblings who were basically raised by the eldest sister, Fiona (played by Emmy Rossum) because their mother was not around much (substance abuse and mental health issues) and their irresponsible drunk of a father (played by William H. Macy) can barely keep himself alive let alone care for any of his kids. Each character is different and richly drawn. They form a complex web of a family with many intersecting plots and situations. Although it has a scuzzy feeling, underneath it has a lot of heart. 

My son turned me on to this show after the first season and even offered to re-watch the entire season with me to “help” me catch up.  There are a lot of characters and storylines to follow but it pays to invest the time.  This show is an epic fantasy piece with really tremendous production values and a dark and dangerous undertone.  The show’s willingness to kill off major characters sets the stakes very high and establishes a tone that lets the viewer know that nobody is completely safe.  It is going to have its final season in 2018 so there’s time to catch up. 

A tragic “end of the world as we know it” show.  It introduced us to zombies that crave living tissue and are more abundant in the world of the show than the “normal” people are.  It is graphic, violent, bloody and many of our favorite characters meet their fate in gruesome ways.  The fascinating thing about this show is that the humans that survive the zombie apocalypse are actually more scary than the zombies.  Living without laws or social norms, the humans fall back to their most base instincts to kill or be killed.  It is a graphic novel come to life and always keeps me at the edge of my seat.

I couldn’t even tell you what season this show is in.  It is a lot.  But despite being on the air for many years, the producers and writers always come up with great situations to put the cast in and excellent lines that produce humor time and again from the simple premise of watching nerds interact with each other and with “normal” people of lesser intellect.  After so many seasons, one might expect the cast to start “phoning it in” but they seem as engaged and entertained by each other and themselves as we are.

The first two seasons of this show were some of the best television I’ve ever seen.  It was tense, edge-of-your-seat, intrigue and action every single week.  And one of the most distinctive aspects of this show was the aggressive pace of its story-telling.  Storylines that other shows would milk for 3 or 4 episodes are brought forward and dealt with in a single episode, with more storylines following right behind them.  The acting and writing have stayed very strong and the key players of Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin never disappoint.  It has been and remains appointment viewing for me and my wife.

Those are my favorites among current television shows still on the air.  What are you watching?

-- Frosty

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