A List Of TV Shows That You Should Watch

tvI watch way too much TV. Anyone within earshot of me on a daily basis probably thinks that I spend all of my free time watching television shows and then recapping them with friends and co-workers. To some degree this is true. I believe we are (still) in “The Golden Age Of Television” (a term I did not make up but one that critics generally refer to as anything that’s been put on TV since The Sopranos first aired. If you ask me, it started with HBO’s Oz, but I won’t rock the boat on this one). I have nothing against non-TV watchers, I just want you to know that you are missing out on some quality programming these days.

With the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Go, iTunes, etc. binge watching has replaced good old fashion week-to-week anticipation. Cliffhanger ended the last episode? Don’t want to wait a week (or a year) to see who killed off your favorite character? Simply click the “Next Episode” button and binge away. Netflix even goes as far as releasing every episode of its shows seasons at once. Anticipation be damned!

Online recaps are as abundant as Starbucks and McDonald’s. Noted publications/sites from The New Yorker to Rolling Stone run endless stories, interviews, recaps, discussions, and podcasts about popular television series. The most recent season debut of The Walking Dead drew over 16 million viewers (to put that into perspective, there are around 300 million people in the US. 16+ million of them are watching a show about zombies). I am one of those 16 million viewers and I watch–and have watched–a ton of television series in my day (mostly dramas). Way too much some would say.

You might be very apprehensive when it comes to deciding which series to watch first–since there are so many good choices out there. Even if you missed the initial run of The West Wing you can easily binge through all its seasons online. But should you watch that or catch up on Mad Men? Is True Blood worth diving into? How many seasons behind am I? You hear “everyone” talking about how great these shows are and you’re kinda interested in them but don’t know where to start. I equate it with how I feel when I walk into a really good music store (yes, some do still exist!): I am overwhelmed with having to narrow down my choices in order make a selection. When I sift through 80 Zappa records trying to figure out which one to buy, how do I know which one to begin with?

So lucky for you (I think?) I am here to write you a list of what I feel are excellent television series that you should watch. This is not a list of the “best shows ever” in some arbitrary order (I mean, how could I say The Wire is better than The Sopranos or vice-versa? I can’t!).  I am purposefully not putting numbers in here because I cannot rank them in terms of greatness.

The following list contains my personal favorites when it comes to great television.  I hope that if there is a series on this list you have not watched–or have been tempted to watch–that my brief explanation(s) of the show(s) might intrigue you enough to get started. (Note: I did my best to not include any spoilers.)

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Halftime Speech

Coach Eric Taylor

You don't want to disappoint the coach, do you?

We were getting ready for a show down against conference rival the Arnett-Mead Tigers.  Coach was standing over us after every drill.  After every missed tackle he began to ask us to search deep in our soul as to whether or not we wanted victory.

He was looking to motivate us.  He wanted us to challenge ourselves in order to prove that we had it within ourselves to defeat our rivals in battle on gridiron. After every whistle he bated our egos.

***TWEET***
“Are we not clear that in five days a group of men are gonna be comin down here to try and destroy you? Is that not… is that not clear?”
***TWEET***
“These same men are gonna be comin down here and they are gonna use everything they have to hurt you.”
***TWEET***
“They’re gonna attempt to do this in front of your mothers, in front of your fathers, in front of you brothers, in front of your sisters.”

Despite every question of our abilities and desire on the coaches part we could feel our confidence growing.  There was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks were those fucking pussies from Arnett-Mead going to beat us.  Friday night, come H-E-double hockey sticks or high water we were not going to lose to those no good bastard sons of mongrel dogs.

Fast forward – it is half time and the score board is reflecting the domination being dispensed at the hands of our opponents.  Despite all of the hard work we had put in as a team our efforts thus far on the field have been less than spectacular.  Despite coaches warnings earlier in the week we did not head his words as the Tigers had, thus far, come to destroy us and after two quarters of play they were doing their best to defeat us soundly with the score marked at 17-0 for the bad guys.

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