Top 5 Reasons to Turn On Your TV

Ah, it’s that time of year again where I abandon my springtime vows to “be more productive” and “watch less TV.”

Yes, the fall TV season is here. And even though Jay Leno is single-handedly destroying the 10 p.m. hour of NBC’s lineup, there are lots of things to look forward to in the coming months. And while this site is mostly about creativity and inspiration, I can’t write about creativity without mentioning some of the great shows out there which inspire me.

Here are the Top Five shows I’m looking forward to this season

5. Glee (FOX 9 p.m. Wednesdays 9/9/09) – Normally, I wouldn’t like a show like this. It’s an hour-long comedy that features high school kids singing and dancing, the stereotypical jocks, nerds, misfits, etc … Let’s face it, shows like this usually aim at the lowest common denominator and rarely appeal to both teens and adults. Centered around a fictional high school glee club, Glee manages to pull off the impossible, walking the fine line between wit, sentimentality and laugh-out-loud one liners. John Hughes would be proud to see what he helped inspire.

Matthew Morrison stars as earnest Spanish teacher Will Schuester, who is attempting to revive the school’s glee club to the glory days it once enjoyed when he sang in it as a student at the school. Married to a nagging wife who is looking to keep up with The Joneses, Will is a nice, but broken man. Add to that one case of secret longing for a co-worker who is right for him, and you have a budding romance worth watching.

The cast of misfits who make up the glee club read like the casting of Breakfast Club, and seems a bit unbelievable and clichéd, but somehow the show makes it work. Perhaps because it has a genuine heart beating beneath its cynical (though funny) veneer.

The real star of this show, though, is Jane Lynch, who is perfectly cast as the villain. As cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, she loathes the attention that Glee is getting and will stop at nothing to shut it down. She is easily offended and quick to castigate. After the glee club performs a rather raunchy version of Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It, she suggests that the kids all be placed in foster homes. Her lines are scene stealers and her character is someone you love to hate.

4. FRINGE (FOX 9 p.m. Thursdays 9/17/09) – No, this isn’t a new show, but it is a return of last year’s surprise hit. Cool, creepy and complex, this X-Files-inspired drama created by J.J. (LOST) Abrams, had all the makings of a show too good for its own good. It doesn’t have a Big Name star, it isn’t easy to follow and it has been bounced around the schedule way too much for a freshman show. Yet, somehow, despite everything, it has found an audience and was picked up for a second season. Last season’s finale was about as awesome and jaw dropping as this kinda’ TV gets. This season, the show seems to be starting off in a perilous spot, opposite NBC’s The Office and Community (and then 30 Rock). Thank God for DVR’s and online viewing. So do yourself a favor and get caught up on season one and be there when season two starts this Thursday.

3. FlashForward (ABC Thursdays 8 p.m. 9/24/09) – ABC is hoping that LOST fans will get hooked early on this drama which centers around a mysterious worldwide event where the world’s population blacks out at the same time for a span of just more than two minutes. During the blackout, some people get glimpses of their future. The show focuses on what the people saw during the “flash forward” and their attempts to understand what happened. The pilot episode is said to have one of the best cliffhangers ever and any show that has an awesome cliffhanger is a show I will watch. While FlashForward has a lot of promise, I am a bit nervous. Typically, shows rich in back story, mystery or mythology (such as ABC’s Nine and NBC’s Journeyman) rarely do well or are given enough time on network TV to find their audiences. Here’s to hoping that LOST fans will tune in and keep it from getting axed.

2. LOST (ABC Thursdays starting in May 2010) – If you’re not already watching the best show on TV, then there’s nothing I can say here to convince you. However, I couldn’t create a top-5 list without including the final season, which should reveal most, though surely not all, of the mysteries surrounding the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.

1. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Sundays 9/20/09) – If you’re a fan of Seinfeld, yet don’t have any clue what Curb Your Enthusiasm is, you are missing out on The Best Comedy Ever. Larry David, who co-created Seinfeld (and was also the inspiration for the character of George) has mastered the art of “uncomfortable comedy.” Curb captures the idiosyncrasies of people like no other show, save for maybe the UK version of The Office.

Larry plays an amped up neurotic, miserable version of himself and the show is essentially how he gets himself into situations that we all tend to get into from time to time. The mundane becomes sublime in episode after episode.

In Curb’s seventh season (yes, I said seven – do yourself a favor and go get the DVD’s and see what you’ve been missing) David reunites with the Seinfeld gang for a storyline about, what else, but a Seinfeld reunion, which will arc  across several episodes.

Here are some moments from the first six seasons. Warning: Language is not suitable for work, unless you’re a longshoreman or a cop.

Sample Abuser

The Doll

The ‘Stop and Chat

The Pants

The House Tour

How to Handle Annoying Bluetooth Guys

How to Prevent Someone From Renting the Office Next to Yours

The “N Word”

Honorable mentions

These are some shows I’m also excited about, but hey, I had to cut the list somewhere.

V (ABC Tuesdays 11/3/09) – Yes, a remake of the 80’s miniseries about lizard-looking aliens who invade Earth. And yes, my inner 12-year old is geeking out in anticipation)

Dexter (Showtime Sundays 9/27/09) – After a hit-and-miss Season 2, Dexter returned to top form last year, in part, thanks to the role played by guest star Jimmy Smits. This show about a cop who is also a serial killer who kills bad guys, returns this month with the much-anticipated fourth season.

What shows are you looking forward to seeing this season?

6 responses to Top 5 Reasons to Turn On Your TV

  1. janice

    Thanks, Dave. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm and am waiting for Lost to finish so we can have a Lost fest on DVD like we did with 24.

    The current TV shows over here in Scotland aren’t very inspiring at the moment, so I’m enjoying – don’t laugh – reruns of Veronica Mars with the kids, Supernatural with my husband and Everwood when all of us are together and settled in for the evening. They’re all brilliantly made and well written.

    I was raised on American TV and am still an unashamed addict. For me, the connection between watching good TV and films and enjoying reading and writing is very strong. That’s why I have no problems with my kids watching well made stuff that we’re OK with. When my daughter was wee, she used to write spin-offs from all her favourite Disney films.

  2. Sean

    Are you trying to make me miss cable? Dang, everything you’ve mentioned that I’m not watching sounds awesome. I’ve been wanting to watch Fringe since it started, but wanted to wait to see if it got picked up for a second season first. Glee sounds rad. Flash Forward sounds like all kinds of awesome sauce and exactly my cup of tea. We all know how I feel about LOST and I’ve been scattershot with Curb, but will catch up. I didn’t realize V was so close to release. My inner 8 year old is drooling.

    Janice: Veronica Mars rules! I LOVED that show.

  3. Marc

    I simply cannot wait to see the new season of Fringe. That last episode still has me brimming full of excited energy and the thrill of wanting to learn more.

    I mean, wow! Did anyone see any of that coming? Particularly with…*shuts his mouth before giving everything away*

    And don’t worry about clashing with the Office, once you’ve watched the real version – well, yours is just rubbish 😉

    Janice, are you watching the Supernatural re-runs on Living? I hadn’t realised how much of the first season I had missed. Great characters those two brothers.

  4. David Wright

    Janice – Thank you. I’ve always wanted to watch Supernatural but it clashed with other shows I watched and then, I felt, it was too late to catch up. I’ll likely watch it on DVD someday. The minutes I’ve seen have impressed me.

    Sean – My inner 12 year old is laughing at your inner 8 year old’s love of Veronica Mars.

    Friar – I love both shows, but they aren’t on my top 5 lists.

    Marc – I saw “your” Office first and LOVE it. However, our office is equally good for completely different reasons. I could write a whole post on it. I love both of them, though the BBC one a bit more.

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