Friday, September 22, 2006

Top Five Guilty Non-Pleasures

I watch a lot of TV. And yet, somehow, I seem to not watch a lot of shows that I know I should be watching. And instead watch garbage along with the good. Why do I fill my TV-viewing schedule with a mixture of quality and crap, instead of 100% unadulterated smart TV? Maybe my brain needs some junk food; maybe I just can't handle more than a few serialized shows at a time...who knows? But here are my top five guilty non-pleasures - shows that I actually feel guilty about not watching - in no particular order:

Lost: Sigh. I know I would love it and get insanely into it, and that is why I do not watch it. Crazy? Maybe. I made a conscious decision not to watch during the first season, just because I knew it would end up as another appointment viewing show in an already over-stuffed schedule. Now it's just a matter of time before I rent the DVDs and catch up. It seems to me like it's more of a DVD marathon show than a watch-on-TV show anyway.

Battlestar Galactica: I'm not quite as certain I'd be into this one, since science fiction isn't really my thing (past X-Files addiction notwithstanding). has such a devoted legion of fans, especially on TV blogs I respect, that I feel like I at least should be giving it a shot. Another one for the DVDs?

The Office: I watched the first episode of the American version when it premiered, and while I found it funny, I also found it to possess that kind of uncomfortable, awkward humor that makes me cringe and want to change the channel. Unfortunately, I never changed it back. Upon hearing that the show really came into its own last season, I decided to jump right back in and watched last week's rerun of Casino Night, and last night's season premiere. Still cringy, but totally hilarious. Hopefully, I'll soon be watching regularly (sigh...better get those DVDs, too...), and this will be purely pleasure, rather than a guilty non-pleasure.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: I thought I might like this one when it first aired, but I could never remember when it was on, and sort of gave it up to the cable network wasteland. Now I hear it's just my kind of offbeat, twisted humor, and I'll definitely be giving it a shot just as soon as I can figure out when it's on (which may, unfortunately, be next summer). I need another good comedy in my life!

The Wire: At least I have a good excuse for this one-- I don't get HBO. DVDs, here I come!

Happily, Veronica Mars was rescued from guilty non-pleasuredom by a group of friends who, unlike me, saw through its "Modern-Day Nancy Drew" premise and forced me to watch bittorrented episodes halfway through the season so that I could catch up and start watching with them. A close miss, that one.

I've been somewhat under the weather this week, but reviews of America's Next Top Model, Grey's Anatomy, and Six Degrees should be coming this weekend. In the meantime, feel free to share your guilty non-pleasures in the comments, or yell at me for not watching any of the aforementioned shows.


liylak said...

I am with you on the whole Lost dilemma. It's just hard to watch a show that you know will take over your life. That, and I am generally suspicious of TV shows that everyone love...

However, in regards to Battlestar Galactica -- I was very hesitant about starting it. Too much nerd, not enough story. But boy oh boy was I wrong. It like Buffy -- it's all allegory. It just happens to be set in space. Which is so much cooler!

I still have to bittorent ANTM -- I am hoping it was amazing.

Liz said...

I'm sure I'll get caught up on Lost at some point...I just keep waiting for my life to calm down so I have time for such a high-investment show!

Thanks for the BG rec...I totally wrote that one off, like you said, as too much nerd, but people I generally agree with keep saying it's good, so I guess I'll have to give it a try and rent the DVDs once I have time. Probably not one I'll get a chance to watch live for a while, though. Sigh.

I was actually too tired to stay up and watch ANTM Wed. night (pathetic, I know, but I was sick!), so I have a tape waiting for me at home. It's gotta be better than last cycle's weirdly ugly crop, right?

Anonymous said...

But that's what I love about Lost - it's such a puzzel. I enjoy tv shows which you can walk away from talking about the clues and Lost, I have to say, is perhaps the best TV show to date to do that. Jim and I have endless debates about the various plot points, character developments and so forth.

I also love that Lost seems to change tones each season so that each season they focus on a different aspect of the island, meaning that each season is somewhat self contained.

Of course in the end what holds it together is brilliant writing and amazing characters. Just like you were saying, Liz, there are other shows out there that I know I'd get sucked into if I watched them - Meredith recently tried to get me into Deadwood for instance - and I enjoyed it and would be happy to watch more of them, but for now Lost and 24 is all of the addictive cliffhangers I need in my life.

Matt said...

I'm with you on some of these. There are too many appointment shows to watch all of them. Even the good ones. But Sunny doesn't fall in that category. There's not much continuity and you can watch it whenever. And it's about the funniest thing on TV. There are only 17 episodes, so catching up shouldn't be hard anyway. If you can't find a torrent, I think they're on iTunes.

vance said...

Thank goodness i started on Lost from the very first day because if not, I do understand that it would be hard to catch up especially with everyone else telling you its SOOO GOOD. Which of course happenned with Veronica Mars (thank god I succumbed though and now forcing everyone ELSE to watch cause its SOOO GOOD.)

But Im not watching Battlestar Galactica or The Wire and I know I should. I know I should watch Deadwood and The Sopranos.

Alas, sometimes you need something like The Class (which takes over my Freddie and Reba spots). Although Falcon Beach? Really? Even for a Canadian show its really really terrible (and we have much lower standards).

Liz said...

Thank goodness for DVDs...otherwise I'd just throw my hands in the air and give up now. And apparently Deadwood is a common guilty non-pleasure...who knew? Most of what I've heard about it involves all the swearing (which does sound awesome, come to think of it).

I guess we should count ourselves lucky that there's almost TOO much good TV out there. (So much that I apparently feel the need to dilute it with Falcon Beach- sorry, Vance! Although if it makes you feel better, I just watch it to laugh at it. I guess I either like my shows to be good or hilariously bad, not in-between mediocre like Reba.)

Lori said...

I'd like to put in a comment about The Office here - I watched it last night, laughed a lot, and only cringed once (the kiss). If you think it's cringy, you should see the British version - or, rather, don't see it. I practically had to cover my eyes when I watched it.

Bob said...

My M.O. for shows that people tell me are so incredibly good has been to just stay a seaon behind and watch them when they come out on DVD. It's a little annoying avoiding people spoiling them for you, but it doesn't clutter up the evening time that I can't waste on TV. Also, it makes it so you can watch 4 or 5 episodes in a row without any commercials or lag time, which is especially awesome in a show like Lost because it really allows you to see things developing.

Anonymous said...

Deadwood is great for those of us who enjoy Firefly because it's exactly like Firefly except they take themselves more seriously and there are more boobies.

This season though I'm keeping my eye on Heros and Jericho - hopefully one of them will be good enough to sign on for good.

Liz said...

The Office season premiere wasn't nearly as cringy as the show has been (I totally almost had to change the channel during Casino Night, though, when Michael was dating the two different women). I've definitely heard the British version is more awkward, like you said, Lori, so I'm probably too much of a wuss for that one.

I'm all for the DVD strategy, Bob, except for the spoiler problem! It's so hard to avoid finding things out when you read TV news, TV blogs, etc. (I totally had the end of the 1st season of 24 spoiled for me when I watched it on DVD.) Luckily for me and Lost, I've probably read tons of spoilers but was so clueless as to what they meant that they didn't really give anything away (who killed who? okay....).

Ah, Firefly...that was a guilty non-pleasure of mine until it got cancelled. Now I don't have to be in a hurry to pick up the DVDs. I also have high hopes for Heroes, although I think Studio 60 may be my new favorite of the season (guess I should wait until I see all the new shows to say that for sure, though).

Jessica said...

I am also not on the Lost bandwagon, though I have been thinking I should rent the DVDs and see what all the fuss is about. I'm also not watching House, which everyone says I would love, so I'm hoping to get those DVDs sometime soon and add that one into (as you said) my already stuffed TV rotation.

As for Veronica Mars - I finally just succumbed to that one and just finished watching season 1 on DVD. It is such an amazing show! I'm getting started on season 2 and then plan to watch the new season.

And I also loved the Studio 60 premiere but as soon as I heard the words "Aaron Sorkin" I knew that would be my top new show to watch this season.

Lori said...

Heroes is good, except for Milo. I think it'll be the new sci-fi favorite. Everybody go and watch it on Yahoo! if you haven't already and you're interested!

As for Jericho - meh.

Liz said...

Man, it's great to know I'm not the only person left who doesn't watch Lost! You should definitely at least check out some House, Jessica. While the characters do develop (some) and there are a few continuing plotlines, you don't have to have seen every episode in order to know what's going on, which makes it easy to jump in on (as I did last season). Congrats on joining the Veronica Mars cult, though! (One of of us...)

Colleen said...

I fell out of lost sometime last year in Marin and never fell back in. Mike kept up a little bit through downloads, but said i wasnt missing much. Im content to wait for DVDs and a minor disposing illness.

I heart the office, but i never seek it out. When its on, ill watch it. Same with My Name is Earl, which is wonderful in its simplicity.

Ive never seen Battlestar, but mike says he doesnt see what the fuss is about.