When my kids were little and I was stuck (I mean happily mothering) at home 24-7, I used to have a daily must-see show that was my reward for surviving another day. Some of my past favorites include The West Wing, ER, Once and Again, Sisters, Picket Fences, LA Law, Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Seinfeld, Party of Five, the original Melrose Place. And on and on the list goes. I am thinking of more as I type. I have a lot less time to watch these days and often don't watch live TV (thank you JESUS for the person who invented TiVO). Here's what makes the cut these days:
Brothers and Sisters. For the most part, I adore this show, which is full of hugely talented actors and is anchored by the incomparable Sally Field. I like to look at Robert (Rob Lowe), I laugh at everything that comes out of Kevin's mouth, I adore single-mom Sarah, and deer-in-the-headlights Justin and just-came-out Uncle Sol. I tolerate Kitty (Calista Flockheart) and Rebecca, but I blame the writing of their characters for my blahness (yes, that's a word, I say so) toward them. I truly can't stand Holly. Oh wait, that reminds me: thirtysomething HAS to be on the list above. She was my least favorite cast member in thirtysomething, too. Patricia Wettig talks like she has cotton balls jammed in her mouth, but I do admire her for not having work done. Most women of her age in Hollywood look like plastic freaks. I'm glad she doesn't. Ken Olin, her real-life husband, fellow thirtysomething alum and B&S executive producer, needs to shave the crappy beard. He was sooooo HOT back in the day. Remember? Sigh.... What I don't like: When the writing in this show is good, it hums along with all cylinders firing on full steam. When the writing flops, like it has during the Kitty-has-cancer-storyline-from-hell, the show can be hard to watch (read: cringeworthy, see 01/03/10 episode as exhibit A). They managed to successfully cure Kitty's cancer in one whirlwind hour last night, which tells me they were getting a lot of pushback from viewers and critics who don't find cancer entertaining. It strikes too damned close to home for too many people. Myself included. Rating: Like it enough to watch it live.
My busiest night!
The Bachelor. A guilty pleasure that I can't seem to give up. Ahhh, the cute guys, the cat fights, the desperation, the over-the-top dates, the cat fights... I am also a huge fan of Lincee Ray's recap blog, I Hate Green Beans. Lincee does an awesome job of capturing the insanity, the fun, and the romance of it all. If you haven't read her blog in the past, you should follow it this season. I promise a lot of laughs! Okay, as for Jake, the jury is still out in my book. I was uncomfy last season watching him bawl after cueing Jillian in that Wes was a skank. We all knew Wes was a skank. Jilly knew it, too. No one could understand why she kept Wes around and let genuine good-guy Jake go. Now Jake gets his chance at love and redemption, but the ads for this season have made me throw up in my mouth more than once. Could they BE any more cheesy? Apparently, this season has a happy ending. Most of them do. Whether or not they STAY together is always the big question. We shall talk more about The Bachelor here as the season unfolds. Rating: Like it enough to watch it live.
Two and a Half Men. Love it. Charlie Sheen basically plays himself minus the domestic violence that seems to color his personal life. A fantastic, dependable comedy with a stellar supporting cast. And Jake. OMG, anyone with an adolescent boy will love Jake Harper. He's a genuine piece of work! Rating: Like it enough to watch it on TiVO.
Castle: I love, love, LOVE Nathan! As an actor, he gets more done with his face than most others do with their whole bodies. This is a fantastic show about a mystery writer who strong arms his way into shadowing a female NYC police detective. Their chemistry reminds me of David and Maddie on Moonlighting. Again, a fantastic supporting cast, especially Castle's precocious teenage daughter and his mother (played by Susan Sullivan--remember her from Falcon Crest?). My only nit with this show is that Castle is a bestselling mystery writer but we never, ever, ever see him writing. Those of us who are writers will attest to how unrealistic that is! Rating: Like it enough to watch it live (most of the time).
Tuesday and Wednesday
Two words: American Idol. Every year I say never again. Every year I watch every second of it. I really loved last year, but like everyone else, I can't figure out how Adam Lambert didn't win. It will be interesting see how Ellen does in Paula's place. I loved Paula and all her quirkiness. Ellen will be funny and gentle and kind. It will probably be fine. But let's face it. There won't be any chemistry between her and Simon. None. Zero. Zilch. I guess they'll have to put newlywed Kara next to his snottiness. I always want to hate him, but damn it, he's always right! He is the one member of the cast who would be simply irreplaceable in my humble opinion. The one thing I love the best about this show is that I can watch it with the kids, although they lose interest as the season unfolds. Rating: Like it enough to watch it live.
Grey's Anatomy. I don't even like it anymore, but like a bad accident, I can't look away. I still love McDreamy and he keeps me watching. Doesn't matter what he says or what he does. I just look at him and I am happy. (I'd like him to play Jack in the movie version of my very first book Treading Water. If you know Patrick and could get word to him, I'd appreciate that.) I'm glad Izzy is gone for a while. I'm glad George left. I don't care about Meredith. I kinda like Christina except for when she's having mad monkey sex with the Scottish guy. Real ick factor there. I like Bailey, but sometimes I want to just tell her to SHUT UP. And I couldn't give a shit less about the chief. Do. Not. Care. That pretty much sums up my attitude toward this show. More Derek I say. Less of everyone else! No longer must-see. It's lucky I let it take up space on my TiVO. Rating: Hate it enough to watch it on TiVO.
Private Practice, on the other hand, has me hook, line and sinker. I LOVE THIS SHOW! I care about every, single character. I care about their practice, I care about their families. I think I've decided it's sheer caliber of actors that makes the difference on this show. I mean take Amy Brenneman, add Tim Daly, plus Taye Diggs, and right there you got game. Bring in the fabulousness that is Addison Montgomery, emotionally starved poor little rich girl who loves to remind everyone that she's a world class surgeon, and you've got a show that fires on all cylinders ALL the time. Absolutely MUST SEE. Rating: Like it enough to watch it live.
Saving the best for last: Friday Night Lights. Quite simply, the very best show on TV. Quite simply, the very best show I've ever watched. How about that? Talk about an ensemble cast that's got it going on. The coach, his wife, his daughter, Tim Riggins. Did I say Tim Riggins? Yummmmmmmmm. The one guy my daughter and I would seriously fight over, even with that shaggy, dirty hair and those unwashed jeans he wears in every episode. Yummmmm. Now if Kyle Chandler, who plays the coach in a career-making role, wanted me to run away with him, I'm hitting the road peeps! My friend Julie would fight me for him, but he really wants me. (Don't tell her--she'd be heartbroken.) People think this show is about football. Yeah, there's football. But there is SO much more. It's impossible to ably do it justice in just a few sentences. Teenaged angst, marital strife, small-town gossip, parental dismay, drugs, sex, strippers. Got your attention? Don't take my word for it. Go rent seasons 1, 2 and 3 (I apologize for the detour they took in season 2. Don't hold it against them. They got it back on track in season 3.) Gear up for the start of Season 4 this month. I. Can't. Wait. It's the only show all four of us watch together. I even got a new sofa so we can all watch it together. We jokingly call it my FNL sofa. Rating: Like it enough to watch it live.
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Must see.
Stuff I watch if it's on
Law and Order SVU
NCIS (Isn't Mark Harmon still dreamy all these years later?)
Men of a Certain Age (liked the pilot, haven't seen anymore)
Okay, your turn. Are any of my shows on your list? What am I missing that I have to see? (Please don't say Mad Men. It puts me to sleep. BORING. Sorry.) What are your all-time favorites?