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TV on DVD

 

I need an hour of smashingly good storytelling each day or I’ll die.  Probably.  Notice how I’m still alive each summer even though my “stories” are on break.  How do I survive?  With TV shows on DVD.   I try out shows I’ve heard good things about and am sorry I missed.  The show is available whenever I want.  I don’t have to remember the day or time either.  I rent them through netflix, check them out at the library, or buy them.

 

Here are some of my favorites:

½ Shows:

 

Arrested Development- Remember “Soap” with Billy Crystal?  This is kind of a modern version.  It’s the over the top story of a rich family dealing with the arrest of the their father for embezzlement, but done almost completely in dead pan humor combined with dozens of silly sight gags.  It’s very silly and lots of fun.

 

Coupling- Susan, Steve, Sally, Jane, Jeff, and Patrick are the British version of Friends with a little Seinfeld meets Sex in the City thrown in. Very fun.  Martin loves watching these over and over just like Seinfeld. .  (The three guys all looked alike to me at first but by the third episode they all had their own clear personality.)

 

Sex and the City- If you never got HBO you can watch this fun R-rated sitcom about 4 New York City women on DVD.  Some people have told me that they prefer the PG-13 versions rerunning on TV but I get such a kick out of the random nudity and swearing in the middle of a half hour sitcom that I have to watch the real thing. 

 

 

Hour Long Shows:

 

Buffy- Yes, the concept sounds dumb: a blond high school cheerleader is the “chosen one” to kill vampires and demons.  Despite the cheesy sets and costumes there’s a reason this show had mainstream crossover popularity beyond horror/fantasy viewers.  This is one of the best-written shows of the decade with likable characters, razor sharp dialog, and lots of heart. It’s like Grey’s Anatomy but they’re in high school instead of a hospital, fighting monsters instead of injuries.  High school is hell. Each monster story episode is a metaphor for high school trauma:  “My mom is such a witch”. “The cool kids are a pack of hyenas.” “My boyfriend is a monster.”  Just be warned, if you start watching, there’s a good chance you’re going to be seriously addicted.

 

Firefly- Another sci-fi/fantasy show that crosses over to the mainstream because of it’s superb writing.  It’s Star Wars meets Indiana Jones for adults with all the action, fun, and great characters you’d expect from that comparison.  There’s only 13 episodes so it's perfect for summer viewing.  Then check out Serenity, the movie that completes the cancelled show’s story in a satisfying way.

 

Gilmore Girls- Fun generational family story about a strongly independent single mom, Lorelei Gilmore, trying to raise her teenage daughter, Rory, without interference from her controlling rich parents.  When Rory gets accepted to her dream school, Lorelei is forced to accept her parents’ money and forge a relationship with them again.  This show works because each generation is written in a realistic, layered way.  The battles ring true and the dialog is rapid fast and lots of fun.  

 

Veronica Mars- Everything falls apart for Veronica Mars when her best friend Lilly Kane is murdered. Veronica’s father, the sheriff, is voted out of office for questioning the powerful Kane family, her mother leaves without keeping in touch, all her friends turn against her, and she wakes up from Shelley Pomeroy’s party in the guest room without underwear.  Determined to find Lilly’s killer, Veronica grits through the turmoil by helping her dad with his new detective business.  The story is told with dozens of layered characters, zinger dialog, and one of the best father-daughter relationships in TV, plus it has a satisfying season ending.

 

Have you ever had someone warn you about a strong tide?  As you go through the first set of waves you heed their warning, but once you reach beyond that those waves it seems so calm you think they were exaggerating, until you look back realize you’re 20 feet from where you started.  Don’t let season 1 of Veronica Mars fool you, once you get past the moving pilot you’ll be lulled for a few episodes and wonder what all the fuss is about, until somewhere between episode 10 to 12 you’re hooked 20 feet out. 

 

Wonderfalls- 13 fun episodes about a slacker college graduate who thinks she might be crazy because ordinary objects start talking to her. Meanwhile she’s working a retail job, living in a trailer park, dealing with her crazy super achieving family, and starting a friendship with a cute guy whose fiancé cheated on him on his wedding night.  (The writers got advanced warning about cancellation so the story has a satisfying end.)

  

And you?  Feel free to post yours too.

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_zombiequ
May. 23rd, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Supernatural -- the tale of two brothers who travel the back roads in their '67 Impala, fighting evil and listening to Mullet Rock. This show hooked me initially because the two leads are eye-poppingly hot, and because the show is shot in a gorgeous, grainy, desaturated style. Plus, did I mention the pretty? In the first few episodes, Supernatural delivers witty dialogue and by-the-book scares. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester), and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) are both charismatic, capable actors who manage to put across melodramatic lines with a lot of believability.

But, it's like this show is deliberately trying to prank us. "Come this way," it says, grinning slyly. "Have a few beers. I'm gonna get you alone in this dark corner. Don't worry. I'm not too scary. You're not going to fall in love with me. I won't break your heart. You and I will just have some harmless fun for an hour. How 'bout it?"

LIES!

Somewhere during the season, I discovered I couldn't wait for the next episode. I watched breathlessly. The show terrified me -- not because of the weekly monsters, but because I grew deathly afraid one of the brothers wouldn't make it to the end credits. There have been some close, close shaves. Some very scary monsters. And some exquisite moments when the actors took my breath away. Particularly the ridiculously good-looking Jensen Ackles, whom I'm sure many are tempted to dismiss as nothing more than pretty. Supernatural's Casting Director (an insane genius), cast Jensen completely against type as snarky, stolid, blue-collar Dean: the loyal son, the brother who stayed -- while smarty-pants younger brother Sam escaped to college. Jensen is more than equal to the challenge, pulling off Dean with flawless comic timing and tough-guy grit. And every so often, when we least expect it, Jensen hits us with the big guns -- Dean's face opens to show how lonely and profoundly f*cked up he is on the inside.

Lest it be construed that I don't care for Jared Padalecki, I assure you this isn't true. I love him. He's perfect as snotty, moody, broken-hearted Sam, struggling as he's pulled deeper and deeper into the family demon-hunting business. But... oh, my God... Dean, you break my heart.

Bastards. I love you, Supernatural. I'm so glad you're coming back next September.
ex_zombiequ
May. 23rd, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Okay, I know this was supposed to be TV shows on DVD. But, I gave you some DVDs, so that counts, right? (Also, the first season is officially available on DVD, September 5, 2006.)
rowena_eureka
May. 23rd, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, totally counts. It's the show I'm watching on DVD this summer. Good review too.
crimsonratt
May. 23rd, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Coupling has to be one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. :)

and for a show I love to watch on DVD. I have to say Lost. Too much happens from week to week sometimes and I get well "Lost".
rowena_eureka
May. 24th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Yes, Lost would make a good DVD watch because then I could control the speed of the plot. Sometimes too much happens but sometimes it feels like nothing happens. It'd be much nicer if I could just pop in the next episode and get an explanation without having to wait a whole week.

Favorite Coupling Episode: Inferno. Cracks me up every time.
(Anonymous)
May. 30th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
Hey, you like a ton of the same shows I like! Throw in Law and Order, Phill of the Future (yes, I know this is a kid's show, but it is really good!) , and Alias and then really you have the list of the shows I watch!
rowena_eureka
May. 31st, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
What good taste you have! I actually like Alias too. Who are you? You didn't sign your name.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 8th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC)
Yes, I can't signing my name, but I'll use something else. What was your favorite episode of Veronica Mars? I thought the ending to the second season wasn't the best, it should have been Dick! Whatever.

-Syeon
rowena_eureka
Jun. 8th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
Warning...Spoilers for Veronica Mars, season 2
Welcome Syeon!

Hard to pick a favorite Veronica Mars episode; I liked them all. Of course season one is my favorite season. It's well-written from beginning to end. I had really low expectations for season two so I ended up enjoying it more than I expected. I was hoping Dick would be the murderer too but I liked how sad I felt about it being Cassidy and now I'm interested how Dick will react next season.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )