It’s funny, but I almost prefer TV shows to movies these days – there’s more opportunity for character growth, the plots can be far more interesting and compelling, and TV shows generally can take more risks. There’s one proviso – they have to be really, really good. Here are my top TV show picks (as a grown up, I’ll share my childhood faves another time).
The West Wing
Let me be clear. Everybody everywhere simply must watch this show because it is the BEST SHOW TO EVER BE ON TV. No questions asked. It’s in a stratosphere on its own and has everything you could ever ask for in a show – spectacular dialogue, characters so well-drawn you actually know them, compelling and thought-provoking storylines… it’s amazing and I could watch the episodes over and over again my whole life (and I probably will!).
I read somewhere that while most shows are plot or character driven, Seachange was philosophically driven, which is what made it so brilliant, so charming and poignant and unique. This is without doubt the best Australian series ever made.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is one of those shows that if you haven’t seen it, you don’t get to have an opinion. Because if you think it’s run of the mill teenage froth about a girl with super powers, then you have completely missed the point. Joss Whedon is a genius and Buffy is one of the cleverest shows ever made. And it features a kick-arse chick so what’s not to love.
More Joss Whedon genius at work – I get angry – actually angry – that this series was so abortively short. Better than it’s spin-off film, Serenity.
If you take offense at nudity, sex, swearing and violence, then stay away. But if you can stomach it, The Wire is one of the most confronting and realistic cop shows ever made. It doesn’t shy away from embracing reality – which makes it tough but amazing viewing.
I don’t know why I am so obsessed about a show featuring a serial killer, but Dexter is just brilliant. Perfectly cast with fantastic dialogue, Dexter makes you question all you ever thought about right and wrong. It’s dark, but with genuinely funny moments too.
This is a spin-off show that was way better than its original (Cheers). I love the contrast between the brothers and the father – class warfare at its funniest. Eminently watchable and with a great cast of loveable characters.
If people say they don’t find Seinfeld funny, I ask – WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Seinfeld articulated what we were all secretly thinking and the re-runs never get old.
Yes, Minister/Prime Minister
It doesn’t matter that this was made many years ago, this hilariously incisive political commentary is as true today as it was when it was made. Sir Humphrey has got to be one of the best characters on TV EVER.
LOVE this show. It’s silly and witty and tackles complex scientific issues through a robot whose head is shaped like a novelty condom.
More British humour at its finest, and with Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie, you really can’t ask for anything better. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, I still laugh out loud.
A very, very funny comedy with an equally dark edge. It’s grit-your-teeth funny, with so many layers operating at once.
This BBC version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens is absolutely wonderful. I found I appreciated the screen version far more as a series than as a movie. Nothing gets lost, and you just get absorbed in the story. The chemistry between the two leads is also perfect.
North and South
Well, it is my favourite book, and the good new is the BBC series lives up to the written version. Like Jane Eyre, it’s perfectly cast, and it captures Gaskell’s vision impeccably.
OK so this probably belongs in my childhood fave list, but the force of its brilliance just has to be acknowledged. This is not just a show for kids – it’s compelling and witty and just wonderful. The opposites-attract romance is also perfectly done – who doesn’t love Spike and Linda?
There you have it 🙂