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Idiot box favourites

31 March 2007
Posted in: Scratchpad | 9 Comments

I have been watching DVDs of many TV serials lately, and it got me thinking about the ones I have loved over the years. It’s hard to make a comprehensive list, of course, but some of my favourites (in no particular order) are listed here. Do add your own (or remind me of any I might have missed out!).

Remington Steele

Pierce Brosnan plays the title role as the fictional detective created by the owner of a detective agency, Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist), because no one takes a female private eye seriously! Remington Steele was wholly entertaining, with a whodunit for Steel and Laura to solve in every episode. Apart from that, there was the whole mystery about Steele himself. Who was he? What was his real name? Why did he have multiple passports? And of course, my friends and I spent a goodish bit of our time pondering the will-they-won’t-they argument regarding Steele and Laura! It was the role that made Brosnan famous, and even elicited comments about how he might make a good James Bond some day!

Star Trek

Never mind those tacky sets and plasticky computers, Star Trek will always remain an all-time favourite! While their portrayal of the “future” was pretty unconvincing, and the series was rather sexist if you think of it, it was for it’s time quite progressive. Captain Kirk’s expanding waistline and paunch as the series progressed was quite off-putting—as was his many romantic involvements, but for me it was Spock who carried it off! Spock, with his one raised eyebrow, his deadpan expressions, his refusal to be “human”, his chemistry with Kirk and McCoy. (Of course, I had to put him in my book!)

Blackadder

“A man may fight for many things: his country, his principals, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I’d rather mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a stack of French porn.” Meet the lovely Edmund Blackadder, played by Rowan Atkinson in a series that spans the ages—depicted over four seasons as Blackadder (reign of Richard III), Blackadder II (Elizabeth I), Blackadder III (George IV) and Blackadder Goes Forth (during WW I), along with a couple of specials. Coming from a “long line of deceitful, cowardly and conniving” ancestors, Blackadder is accompanied in his adventures by the disgusting Baldrick—the result of “an unfortunate meeting between a pig-farmer & bearded lady”. It is absolutely hilarious—and mostly disgusting. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much as when I watched it. By the way, have a look at this Blackadder quote generator for a taste of his kind of humour!

M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H was a truly amazing series because not only did it focus a very serious issue, it made fun of it as well, and did it in great style. It followed the lives of Hawkeye Pearce (Alan Alda) and various other personnel (Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Gary Burghoff, Larry Linville, Jamie Farr and more) of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea during the Korean War of the 1950s. A hilariously funny black comedy, it was based on the film by the same name. Apart from making you laugh, the instrumental strains of the title song Suidice is painless is rather haunting.

Grey’s Anatomy (special mention!)

This ongoing TV series follows the lives of five interns at Seattle Grace Hospital. The lead character is Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), who starts off her stint by having a one-night stand and discovers the following day that the man in question is her boss! The main story is Meredith’s and her relationship with Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). The series is funny and entertaining, and there are some really memorable characters, especially the all-bark-no-bite Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), whom the interns call ‘the Nazi’! To be brutally honest, Grey’s Anatomy will probably never make it to a TV serial hall of fame, but McDreamy & co. have special signifcance for me!

~PD

9 Responses

  1. Marie says:

    I don’t watch a lot of TV. My favorite shows are CSI and all the various Law&Orders.

  2. Laura says:

    Yay! Star Trek! 🙂

  3. Kat says:

    You love great shows!

    Favorite 70’s/80’s shows: The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Golden Girls, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Family Ties. :mrgreen:

    I love old game shows! There was a whammo or something one which was my most favorite of favorite.

  4. Swapna says:

    well…here’s mine, in no particular order either:

    1. Remington Steele
    Yeh, this one, MASH and Moonlighting together got me very interested in TV serials. I do think I quite missed my calling in the westerm Tv industry, I like to think that I thought of him as the ideal Bond on my own, without having read or heard about it!

    2. MASH
    Simply the best comedy series ever. Er, Payal, just to point out that while it was based on the film, which in turn was based on the book by Richard Hooker, the series actually deviated from the film’;s true film noir style and came up with its own identity – Alan Alda being the main one responsible for that. Richard hooker did not like the way the series ‘trivialised’ things, and he has dissociated himself completely from the series…
    Well I say thank God the series continued anyway, for I prefer the series anyday to the really grim movie and book.
    Did you also know that Alan Alda’s contract stipulated that every episode should have at least one scene of him in the operating room – just to highlight the gruesomeness and futility of war…

    3. Star Trek
    Well, I feel it still got a lot of things about the future right… the floppy disk, the clamshell mobile phone. Further it had a lot of humanitarian principles right. BTW did you know that this series was finally commissioned because of its (relatively) low cost production for such a concept: apparently that’s why all the aliens had humanoid forms.

    4. LOST
    After a rather lean period in TV series watching (egad, i used to follow Charmed!), the world was suddenly a better place yet again with the entry of Lost. Quite an intriguing concept – aircraft crashlands into an unknown island, all the occupants have an extremely weird past, they all land fairly unharmed, and they all seem there for a reason. The island is some sort of a magnet, and apparently a hotspot for some weirdly nefarious stuff. While the plot may seem a little too farfetched, it’s the screenplay and production that’s extremely awesome – the narrative swings from the present to the past with perfect ease. Awaiting season 3 with bated breath – just who is desmond’s ex girlfriend? (No! don’t tell me yet!)

    5. Heroes:
    Yet another intelligent multicharacter, multiplot, multi-timezone series. A genetic evolution is endowing certain people around the world with special powers, only these people are usually very ordinary people who do not ask to be supermen. Some choose to accept it and work for the greater good, some choose to use it for their selfish aims, and well, most don’t really know what to make of it. Over and above this is one Bennett who seems to want to track them all down with his Mysterious Haitian, the Indian whose father discovered this evolution in the first place and Sylar – someone who really crossed over to the dark side with his powers? “Save the cheerleader, save the world” (only watched upto episode ten).
    One of my fave characters is the Jap played by Masi Oka… all the more so since acting is not really his first choice profession, his main job is of a special effects (or summat like that)

    6. Extras
    Courtesy my English boss who’s kind enough to keep me posted on British TV. Conceived by Ricky Gervais and his Office buddy Stephen Merchant, Ricky plays a struggling actor trying to get a good break (but won’t because of his extremely stupid agent), and in the meantime tries to get by acting as extras. His only friend is Maggie Jacobs, another extra, but one who is content with her current job and looks to snag her next boyfriend. Their jobs as extras gets them into productions starring big names like Kate Winslet, ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart, etc., (have seen only season 1), who play twisted versions of their real life persona. The Kate Winslet one is my favourite! At the end of the first season, Ricky’s character manages to successfully sell a sitcom to BBC…

    7. Friends
    Yes, Friends is one of my favourite series, so sue me! I laugh and laugh every time i see it. Chandler’s my favourite character.

    I need to go sleep now, Sunday’s truly over and I have a day job 🙁

    Cheerio
    Swapna

  5. Payal says:

    Wow… you watch more TV than me! :mrgreen:

  6. Swapna says:

    And now, courtesy my British boss again, I can add:

    8. Doctor Who
    Simple and relatively ludicrous plots, but somehow still sensible. High production values and the main ethos to ‘love life’ (almost a la Star Trek), and a good script to keep you smiling!
    Eccleston is really funny with his one-liners… and though he stars in only the first season, what’s this I hear – he will be appearing soon on Heroes! yay!

  7. Payal says:

    Okay, I have to add, I’m an unabashed Doc Who fan now, thanks to Christopher Eccleston! Yes, the plots are simplistic, but there are some nice messages in every episode—moral of the story, if you like! Eccleston is funny and loony, and endearingly ugly in a way only the Brits can be. The whole thing somehow reminds me of Star Trek, and I have to remind myself sometimes that it was made in 2005 and not the 1960s! :mrgreen:

    *still giggling over Charles Dickens saying “What the Shakespeare!”*

  8. Proteeti says:

    Oh wow. I’d never dare write a blog on this subject, because I have way too many favourites – let’s see, there’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, all three CSIs, American Idol, Grey’s Anatomy (though I can’t bear either Meredith or McDreamy), Desperate Housewives :grin:, Heroes, Midsomer Murders, Wire in the Blood (the last two are British shows – ever noticed how British stuff is so much more intelligent and gripping than the American shows are?), Frasier, Friends, Becker, Scrubs …. Should I go on?

  9. Payal says:

    I’m with you. I much prefer British television to American. Especially when it comes to comedy, I find the American shows pretty juvenile and slapstick mostly. That isn’t to say there aren’t some really good ones…

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