Monday, March 18, 2013


Since I've been an adult, I can pretty much name the TV shows that I've watched through their first run on the fingers of one hand. Frasier, Modern Family, and The Walking Dead are the top three. I came to Nip/Tuck in the second season but was hooked then. But even Star Trek: The Next Generation I caught mostly in reruns, though that had more to do with the fact that I was very busy with my first teaching job than from anything else.

I came to The Office and Big Bang Theory several seasons in, but did make the new episodes part of my regular viewing once I'd been hooked on them. Three other series that I started on the first episode with were Flash Forward, Falling Skies, and Terra Nova. I was very disappointed when Flash Forward was cancelled, but I quit Falling Skies pretty quickly and was ready to give up on Terra Nova when it was cancelled.

I'm now watching a new series and have to admit I'm still hooked. This is The Following, with Kevin Bacon as an ex-FBI agent who gets involved with the wife of a serial killer and then becomes the target for an elaborate revenge plot by said killer. I think it's Kevin Bacon's acting that is keeping me hooked. He's very fine in the role. At least it seems to me.

It's also the acting of the ensemble casts of Modern Family, Frasier, Big Bang Theory, and The Office that kept/keeps me coming back to those shows. Nip/Tuck was about the totally insane plot twists that they got up to in that show. And The Walking Dead is a combination of acting and plot for me.

How about you?  What shows are you truly hooked on?  And is it the acting, the stories, or something else that keeps you watching?


Chris said...

We don't watch any series television in real time, it's always rented after the fact. The one I'm deepest hooked on at the moment is GAME OF THRONES, though I won't see any new episodes of that for probably a year, when it comes out on bluray and we gorge on a season's worth in one debauched weekend. So I think I'm going to buy season one and rewatch it, then rewatch season two.

Other stuff I've enjoyed enough to watch all that's available? DEADWOOD, THE WIRE, 30 ROCK (though I watched the most recently available season mostly out of solidarity with my wife, I'm tired of it), and PARKS AND RECREATION.

Shows I've tried and ended up hating before the end: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, THE SHIELD, WALKING DEAD. There's probably more. BG I got to the last season before bailing. LOST was most of the first. THE SHIELD was maybe three episodes. Same with WALKING DEAD.

We're currently watching ROME. I'm also watching SPARTACUS, which isn't that good but is still kind of fun and has its occasional moments.

Chris said...

Oh, to answer your question: characters, good acting, and good story/writing. That's what keeps me coming back.

Cloudia said...

Gotta believe in, and care about the characters. When Opie on Sons of Anarchy....well I won't ruin it for you, but that character is real to lots of folks!

Seen Ripper Street on BBC America? Steam-punk meets the birth of forensics in a fascinating setting.

1st seasons: Dexter, True Blood, Breaking Bad......

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Vesper said...

We've got Frasier in common, Charles! :-)
I used to watch Seinfeld, Cheers (in the reruns) and The X-Files (religiously!) but when my first daughter was born that was it! Now I'm more than hooked on Supernatural (I've only discovered it a few months ago and I'm buying the DVDs). Same with True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. It's the characters and the writing - they never cease to amaze me and are an inspiration, really. :-)

G. B. Miller said...

I used to watch a lot of episodic t.v, mostly on the cable channels (Sorpranos, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Oz), but now my t.v viewing is limited to certain reality shows.

About the only episodic show that I watch faithfully is Dexter. Right now, Showtime is showing all 7 seasons in the run up to the 8th and final season later this summer.

They do have what looks like to be a good one coming on later this summer that features Liev Schreiber as a guy who "cleans things up" in the entertainment industry.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I pretty much gave up on network TV as I find it too predictable, and once a particular show becomes a hit, there are usually many other that jump on the bandwagon. My wife loves The Following and Revenge, but I just can't buy into it.Everyone is beautiful / handsome, and although they try to be cutting edge and push boundaries, being on network TV has limitations. I follow Dexter, Madmen, and find Downton Abbey insanely good. Over the years, it was Happy Days, Hawaii 5-0 ( original) Miami Vice, the many incarnations of Law & Order, OZ, The Wire, The Shield, Tales from the Crypt / Darkside. My daughter is hooked on Walking Dead and American Horror Story. Breaking Bad is one I would like to get into, sometime. Nice Post!

sage said...

I have a lifelong love/hate relationship with the TV, having spent a decade as a single adult without a TV... But, that's no longer the case, but I never got into regular shows. On the weekends, I often catch Book TV on Cspan and because of who I live with, the tennis channel seems to dominate the rest of the hours.

the walking man said...

Actually I like the general programming on the History channels, their specials *shrug* except for The Hatfields and McCoys are pretty blase.

The funniest show we watch right now and have from the beginning is Duck Dynasty. I don't know if it's scripted reality r not but that one just flat out makes me happy happy happy.

But serial shows I leave those to Joann I'd rather just channel surf or watch Turner Movie Channels B&W old timey movies and that kind of prevents me from getting involved in any story line.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think I've seen ever episode of The Big Bang Theory five times.
Psych and Elementary are current favorites. And I did see every Star Trek series from start to finish, along with the Stargate series.

Sidney said...

I like the following. Some of the scenes with the cult members get a little melodramatic, but overall it's a cool concept. Like "Big Bang Theory" also and had to love Rog and Sheldon's debate over vampires vs. mummies.

Tom Doolan said...

I don't really watch first-run TV anymore. We mainly watch NetFlix. I don't have anything I am currently involved in personally, but I was watching Legend of the Seeker for a long while, and Deadliest Warrior was also a favorite. I also tend to get nostalgic and watch shows from my youth, like Miami Vice and Magnum PI.

ivan said...

There is a time when the over-producing writer runs out of ideas
, is gasping for air.
And the thinking tank in your head is just a hangnail off empty.
Then you write about shovelling your sidewalk, cutting your grass, things the neighbour said, things that she said--things you saw on TV that got you thinking--anything at all to get you out of the logjam. "I was watching 2 1/2 Men last night and it struck me that Alan was a real asshole."

This typist has had that blocked feeling often, too often.
Even the great columnish H.L. Mencken used to have these blocks, and said this was the time to pay for all those superiorities (having often gone fishing, Mencken says, in forbidden woods).

Mencken's solution? A really good scoff of German food and "ein gutes bier."

Well, at least you might feel better.

But then you watch 30 Rock and put up with the most inane, lame sitcom that nobody yet has said "is a lot like familiar substance. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, I did start watching the Shield too. I forgot about that. Probably made 6 episodes. And I started watching No Ordinary Family and made 3 or so episodes. I gave up on the new BG pretty quick, although there was some decent stuff in it.

Cloudia, I think I would really like Sons of Anarchy but for some reason I was never able to catch the early shows and just never started watching it.

Vesper, I also watched Cheers, in reruns. I kind of got interested in The Vampire Diaries but Lana made too much fun of me. :)

G.B., I've never had the cable TV shows like Deadwood and so on so I've never gotten into any of those shows, though I imagine I would have liked some of them.

Sean, I've liked the American Horror Story episodes I've seen but haven't been able to catch them regularly.

Sage, the primary reason I have TV is for News related material and for Football. But I've started watching more shows of late.

Mark, I may have to give Duck Dynasty a look. I know people who like it but it didn't really intrigue me when I saw the previews.

Alex, I probably would have liked Stargate SG1 but never got a chance to catch it regularly.

Sidney, Sheldon really makes the Big Bang Theory!

Tom, my nostalgia watching usually involves Andy Griffith, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke.

Ty said...

Current shows I watch ...

The Walking Dead
Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Middle
The Office

Shows I watched from the recent past ...

30 Rock
Sex and the City (the wife turned me onto this one, but I don't care for the movies)
Band of Brothers (yes, I realize it was a 10-part series, but still, I've seen each episode about a hundred times)

That's really about it. Though once "Dexter" returns to Showtime, I'll watch it.

What's surprised me over the years are shows I didn't latch onto, though they would seem self-made for me, such as:

The X Files
The Wire
Breaking Bad
Any remake or modernization of a an older science fiction show ... including BG and every version of Star Trek other than the original series ... not sure why this is, but they just don't resonate with me as much as the originals did.

Aimlesswriter said...

The only show I don't miss now is Shameless. It really reminds my extended family. When we were young, they knew what had to be done just to survive and they did it.
Breaking Bad
Lost (in the beginning before it got weird)
Nurse Jackie
Who the Bleep
I was once in a script writer's group and learned a lot about how they build the stories. Very interesting.

BernardL said...

Truly Hooked: Justified, Elementary, The Mentalist, White Collar, and Covert Affairs. I love the plots, characters, and acting chemistry in all of these.

Follow regularly: Castle, Walking Dead

laughingwolf said...

what's "tv"?

i'm now wired on the other idiot box, aka computer, much too much...

pattinase (abbott) said...

GAME OF THRONES, MAD MEN, BIG BANG, BREAKING BAD, THE GOOD WIFE. Others we watch sporadically. I have just started watching THE MIDDLE and I have to say both the writing and acting are pretty good. So maybe that too. MODERN FAMILY got too lesson-oriented and predictable after a couple of years. Hate lessons.

Riot Kitty said...

Midsomer Murders. It's addictive. I don't watch TV perse, just BBC stuff on Netflix.

The Wasp said...

Now I watch Murder, He Smirked (The Mentalist) and it's funnier counterpoint, Psych.
I stuck with Person of Interest long enough to catch the crazy of the overarching story.
Recently my wife got me watching Leave it to Beaver and it's so not what it's caricatured as. Nice,low key show and fun watching Jerry Mathers grow up.
I was disappointed that when I finally saw Big Bang Theory I was disappointed.
I love The Wire but couldn't make it through the third fourth season when I sat down to rewatch it recently - too depressing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, we seem pretty similar in tastes other than the Star Trek stuff, although none of the newer series were as good as the original for me.

Bernard, Justified is another I bet I would love if I'd ever had a chance to really catch it. Some things just aren't meant to be, I guess. I've heard Castle is good but haven't seen it either.

laughingwolf, I spend quite a bit of time there too. The net is certainly addictive.

Patti, Modern Family has certainly taken a turn for the worse and I don't always catch it anymore, though I usually do watch it.

Riot Kitty, never even heard of that one!

The Wasp, Big Bang Theory has had some weak shows. Maybe you caught one of those. I've heard good stuff about the Wire but never seen an episode.

A said...

As much as my friends have taken a liking to the Big Bang Theory, I just haven't been able to get into it.

Charles Gramlich said...

A., there's probably all kinds of reasons why folks don't take to certain shows, or certain books. I know lots of friends of mine who like Seinfeld but I thought it was awful.

SQT said...

I cannot stick with "The Following." My husband and I have been watching but we get kind of ticked off each show because there are so many leaps in logic. I think I'm losing patience faster though...

I love "Elementary." I know a few people were hesitant about a female Watson but I don't think it changes the dynamic much (and the show's producers have adamantly insisted they won't go the romance route). I also like "Person of Interest" quite a bit.

"Sherlock" is great and "Battlestar Galactica" was also a big favorite of mine. My kids are totally hooked on Dr. Who right now (which I love).

Sarah Hina said...

Mad Men might be my favorite currently running show. As far as sitcoms go: Parks & Rec and The New Girl.

I used to love Big Bang, but I feel like its quality is suffering lately.

Steve Malley said...

Our TV here is mostly a mix of British and US programming, usually bought on the cheap months or even years after it aired.

The idea of airing shows the same week is slowly gaining momentum (thanks to internet-streaming and the like), but you still get stuff like 'all new' South Park where Obama beats McCain... ugh.

Travis Cody said...

I won't even try a show unless it has what I consider a compelling story idea, a compelling character that catches my eye, or an actor I know/enjoy. One of the three is sufficient to get my attention, but I have to find all three when I start watching to keep my interest.

My DVR allows me the time to find those things, and I currently have many programs I record weekly and watch at my leisure.

Tops on my list these days are Castle, White Collar, and Elementary. I keep track of a lot more, but those are my absolute can't miss.

SzélsőFa said...

the story and the actors are both important when picking a movie/series to watch.
i found that some of my most memorable film experiences are films with relatively unfamous actors. famous actors sometimes really disappoint me.

we don't have a tv, but i saw the Game of Thrones seasons 1 and 2 on the internet last year and i can't wait to see season 3, although i have some doubts about it by now. i think my expectations are high :)

and as to Kevin Bacon: i like his acting, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, I'm so out of the loop on the Dr. Who world that I don't think I could follow the show if I tried. It would take a lot of catching up I suspect. The Following definitely has some logic lapses.

Sarah Hina, Yeah, I've actually been disappointed in a few recent episodes of Big Bang theory.

Steve Malley, I remember us talking about that once upon a time. Must be a bit strange with the worldwide net telling letting you know what is available in the wider world.

Travis Cody, I was never a huge Sherlock Holmes fan so I haven't caught Elementary, although it looks interesting.

Szelfofa, I agree with you on the unfamous actors. They often seem to create the best characters.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, a little late in the day on my part, but I still enjoy watching EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, THE BIG BANG THEORY, and FRASIER, apart from a few British sitcoms of the 70s and 80s, especially PAWLTY TOWER, TO THE MANOR BORN, and ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, I used to watch Everybody loves Raymond too, but my wife is not a fan. I haven't yet tried any of the BBC stuff but I should.

eric1313 said...

Big Bang Theory is fun.

I don't watch much TV. Sporting events and movies are pretty much it for me. But I hear all about what's good and what's not from the lady. She lives on Netflix.

eric1313 said...

Are they still making "Are You Being Served?"

That show has been on Canadian TV forever! We get those channels up here by the border, and I do remember that one.

Snowbrush said...

You're ahead of me. I don't watch any 60 minute show that comes with 20 minutes of commercials, although I do watch quite a few of the shows from the 50s and 60s without any commercials.

jodi said...

Charles-I mostly watch movies and court t.v., but my guilty pleasure (one of 'em!) is Cops!

Greg said...

Looks like we have pretty similar tastes in TV shows. Modern Family is one of the funniest shows on television -- the Godfather parody scene was hilarious. And The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows too.

Ron Scheer said...

I agree with you about Kevin Bacon. He can be riveting.