January 27, 2018

Screen Time #6: 3+7 All-Time Favourite TV Series (Pt.1)


Welcome to Screen Time, my own feature where I ramble about spotlight some iconic and/or favourite TV series from the '80s, '90s and 2000s!
I'm a child of the '60s *big shock*. This accounts for me fondly remembering some oldies I grew up with, or having some of them in my all-time favourite list. But don't worry, I'm not stuck in the '80s ;). There are plenty of series I've liked and followed in the most recent years...and some current favourites too. So tune in with me, and don't forget your popcorn...

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Premise: I'm not at all obsessed with TV series in general...only with a few of them πŸ˜†. As with my reading, I'm very selective when it comes to shows - which may sound absurd, since they're free (at least on public channels, that are the only ones I watch). But the fact is, when I commit to something, I need to have a good reason...unless we're talking about a series that is on at lunch/dinner hour, so I give it a chance because I don't have to sit and watch on purpose (I get restless when I do, unless it's something I really really love, but then again...I tend to get a little restless nevertheless). But of course, I have an All-Time Favourite Series list, which I broke into two sections...because the first three items are, like, embedded into my heart, while the others I love/loved but I could live my life without if I had to (quite a difficult task, at least for some of them, but still). Also, the first three will be listed in chronological order (according to when I started watching them), while the others will be mentioned alphabetically in a second post coming next month. So here goes...

ALL-TIME TOP THREE TV SERIES

FAME (1982-1987)

 

Disclaimer: not the best series ever made. It could have been, but from S.3 on someone started to do their best to ruin it. Paranormal/magical occurrences, whole episodes turned into retellings, weak characters replacing the old, strong ones. And of course, there were serious issues that came and go in the span of a single episode (like leukemia or anorexia), but I blame the '80s for that - TV didn't have the notion of "story arc" back then. BUT. Those kids (well, young people, slightly or not so slightly older than me, but kids in the story) were talented, charismatic, vibrant, REAL. There was a strong theme of friendship through the series - they did fight, but they patched it up and became stronger, both individually and as a group. And Fame taught all the wannabe artists out there that 1) you need to have talent to become a star and 2) you need to work hard. Sound foreign? Sorry if all those "talent" shows out there led you to think there's an instant/easy way to become a "thing". Being on TV doesn't equate to being an artist. OK, end of rant...The fact is, those kids were my anchor since I was 16 - their age in the show. They were the ones who sang and danced and acted on my behalf, because I didn't aspire to be in their shoes, but somehow they were able to help me vent out my own emotions while doing so. More than anything, they were my friends when I had none, and they made me feel like somehow, somewhere, there was a place in this world for me too. I still haven't found it, if you don't count the net - but that doesn't mean I have stopped believing...

Note: I've watched this series COUNTLESS times. I also dedicated my very first Screen Time installment to Fame. You can read it here.

LAW & ORDER (1990-2010)


I sort of feel like I grew up with L&O, except I didn't, because I was already grown-up enough when it started airing in Italy (1993 - I was 27...). But for years the series accompanied our family dinners (the lunches were with Murder, She Wrote - me and my mum have always been HUGE mystery/police procedural fans. My dad kind of went along with it...). Now, if you ask me which is the best TV series ever made, I'll answer Law & Order - and I'm sure I still will if you ask me 30 years from now. I love the format - they were able to cram both the investigation and the trial in a single episode, and it never seemed rushed. I love that it always made your brain tick - it addressed every kind of issue you can think of, and regardless of the trial outcome, more often than not it made you realise that not everything is black or white. I love the cast, or most of it - Jack McCoy was my hero even when he had to do questionable things in the name of justice, Lennie Briscoe always made me laugh (even in reruns) though he was anything but a clown, and even if the show started with an all-male cast including a single Afro-American character, in its fourth year it got a strong lead in Lt. Anita Van Buren, female AND black. And so on, with more women and more diversity. (Of course, you could object that Jack was always the boss and had an endless trail of female companions, like a courthouse version of Doctor Who πŸ˜‚ - but I still think he rocked, and most of them too). OK, I LUUURVE Law & Order...point taken, I guess 😜. BTW, Det. Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin)  used to be my fictional boyfriend before the Tenth Doctor came along...now we're having a nice, cozy mΓ©nage Γ  trois πŸ˜‚ (though David Tennant is my steady boyfriend, while Jesse is more like a part-time lover πŸ˜†).

Note: again, this is a series I've watched countless times over the years. Conversely, I don't particularly care for the other series in the L&O franchise. To me, there's nothing like the original...One day I'll tell you why in another Screen Time post.

DOCTOR WHO (1963-present)


Disclaimer...though the show is virtually older than me (I mean, it IS if you don't count the hiatus*), and we're both NICELY old indeed, I only jumped on its bandwagon a year ago. Of course (*cough cough*), here in Italy, only a handful of the classic episodes had aired (1980-81, starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor), and I was oblivious of them at the time. Of course, I used to be a police-procedural fan and not a sci-fi one. Of course, I used to think that the aliens in the series were cheesy (I had seen the odd episode a couple or three years ago, I think). Then, while 2016 was ending and we were running out of Fringe episodes to watch, I told my husband "What the hell, let's try Doctor Who". So, on January 2017, we started to watch the series. Want to know what I told the hubs after the pilot? "Well, it's not like we're paying in order to watch it...". I guess I wasn't particularly impressed by the living plastic...plus it wasn't easy for me to reconcile Nine/Eccleston with my idea of the Doctor (I had only seen glimpses of Ten/Tennant, but I had stumbled on a few Eleven/Smith episodes and I had taken a liking to him). Then The Christmas Invasion (the first David Tennant episode) came along, and though Ten spent a good half of the episode (maybe more) in bed, recovering from his regeneration, when he finally came out of the TARDIS ready to kick ass (and to give a thunderous, overexcited speech πŸ˜‚) I fell in love. Then Tennant went, and Smith came and went, and Capaldi came and is about to go (we're always a year behind in Italy...I suppose we'll see his last episode next Christmas...) and leave Jodie Whittaker in charge, the first female Doctor ever. And though I will always love Tennant more than anyone (I just know, OK?), and I would have preferred the Doctor to stay male for at least a couple of reasons that I will tell you one day, all of that doesn't matter, because I'm in love with THE DOCTOR now. And it's funny how I hate change, and here I am, in love with a character who changes (outside AND inside) every 3 or 4 years. The fact is, just like Fame did in the old days, this show cradles my soul. It makes me feel less alone and sad. It makes me dream that there's something better out there, maybe a madman (madwoman) in a box, though he (or she) will never come for me, but in a way, he (or she) is always there for everyone. It makes me feel part of an extended family. It makes me laugh and cry. And it's more than one can hope for some days.

*About that hiatus: the series originally ran from 1963 to 1989, was briefly revived in a 1996 movie, and finally relaunched in 2005.

The second and last part of this list will be posted on February, Sat. 24th. Stay tuned!
In the meantime...which are your all-time favourite TV series?

8 comments:

  1. "It makes me feel less alone and sad. It makes me dream that there's something better out there..." This is why storytelling, in television, fiction, or whatever, is so so necessary. I love things that make us feel a little less alone, a little more understood.

    I could probably live on Supernatural, Gilmore Girls, and The Big Bang Theory if I had to... I'm looking forward to hearing about some more of your favorite shows! :]]

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    1. You have eclectic tastes as well LOL. Though of course Supernatural is ALSO about the humour, in between a death (or re-death) and a demon!

      Delete
  2. I'm all over the place with what I watch and I don't have much loyalty. Once I'm bored - I'm out lol

    There are a lot of shows that I've loved for 2-3 seasons then just quit or ones that I loved all the way through but never watched again.

    Basically, it's like how I am with books but even worse :-))))

    As a kid/teen though and even up to maybe my 30's I got OBSESSED with shows. I recorded so many that I ran out of tapes and timers.

    Buffy was my major addiction, Lost (& that's the show that broke me lol)

    I'm kind of - watch whatever show I need atm I guess.

    I have never seen Fame O_O, I watched Doctor Who for Eccleston, Tennant (also my fave) & the guy after but stopped. I might try out the new Doctor and I've told you that I've probably seen most of the Law without the Order episodes lol

    This makes me wonder what we would be like if we met in person. We get along but seem to be polar opposites!!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I have to watch Buffy one day! The funny thing is, a few years ago I was looking for ways to pass the time at work when I wasn't on air and didn't actually have something to do, so I downloaded all of Buffy/Angel scripts and I started reading them. No kidding - I read them all! except for a handful of Angel ones, that still sit on my hard drive.

      I don't have Netflix or anything, so I still have either to watch series when they're on or to record them. And when I watch one with a purpose, boy, do I watch it. I've been through 3/4 L&O reruns one after another some days LOL (it was ages since I saw the first seasons when this channel started airing the reruns, so I didn't want to miss them in order to catch up on the series again).

      Quote:
      "the guy after".
      LOL. Poor Matt Smith. And to think he's got such an easy surname...πŸ˜‚

      Quote:
      "I've told you that I've probably seen most of the Law without the Order episodes lol".
      I remember that LOL.

      Quote:
      "This makes me wonder what we would be like if we met in person. We get along but seem to be polar opposites!!"
      It's one of the miracles of the internet. I suppose it's much easier to get along with people different from us when all of the interaction takes places online - we find a bunch of things we agree on and go on from there πŸ˜‰. But I'm sure it helps that we have a similar sense of humour!

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  3. Even though I dabble in a bunch of shows, there are a couple that I always come back to. As you already know, I totally love Doctor Who and Supernatural. Doctor Who was the entire reason that my family and I got Netflix in the first place. My Netflix journey started with Eleven and I have had no regrets ever since. While waiting for the next season of Doctor Who, I started watching Supernatural and got hooked on the Winchester boys too. Ever since, I have been alternating between the shows and faithfully following their incredible stories.

    I have never watched Law and Order, but I have kind of fallen in love with criminal procedural shows too. I started by watching Bones (which was taken off of Netflix so I had to stop halfway through the series) and Criminal Minds. Now, I switch between reruns of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and new episodes of Criminal Minds. With all of the action and mystery in all of the shows, I never get bored. I also love Stranger Things, but I have already binged watched both seasons and have to wait an eternity for new episodes.

    On the other end of the spectrum, the rest of my family likes to watch sit coms and more humorous things. Whenever I am with them, I tend to watch shorter and lighter-toned shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation.

    Now that I have finished this rambling comment, I have realized that I actually watch a lot of TV shows...

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    1. Haha, don't we all.

      I have watched all seasons of Bones (though I started late, on S.5 or 6 - but of course, reruns got me covered), also because it's one of those shows our channels have on constant repeat LOL. But I have to say it started to lose its brilliance from S.7 on. Maybe it's because of a certain big change in the protagonists' life (since I don't know at what point the series stopped for you, I'm being cryptic on purpose, in order to avoid spoilers in case you get the chance to watch it again), but more than that...I think it was the dialogue (plus some of the storylines). At some point, Temperance started to sound like a parody of herself. I watched till the last episode because I wanted closure, but the joy of watching had been sucked out of me.

      Criminal Minds is good, with some outstanding characters - but too distressing for me. All those people who get tortured, and the main characters themselves who are put through nightmare after nightmare. STOP.HURTING.REID. LOL. That poor kid (yes, he looks like a kid to me, though he's 37 now). Sometimes I watch an episode, and then I have to skip the one after because it's too painful to watch.

      Stranger Things has never been on our free channels so far. If they ever decide to put it on there, I might give it a chance. Everyone has seen it but me *sobs*.

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  4. LAW AND ORDER?!?!?! Hello. Yes. My type of show, along with CSI.

    Also I expected Doctor Who to be first? D:

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    1. You ARE joking about L&O, right? πŸ˜€

      I used to watch CSI...the original series was my favourite...then they made an episode that I hated for, let's say, ethical reasons, and I stopped watching. I'll write a post about it one day...

      Really, these three are all Number 1s for different reasons. I've just listed them in chronological order, from the first to the last to enter my life. I'll defend the Doctor with my life πŸ˜‚.

      Delete

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