Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite TV Shows

The good folks at The Broke and the Bookish have a weekly meme post called Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is favorite movies or TV shows. So here are ten TV series I’ve seen every episode of. These may be the only ten shows I’ve seen the entire run of. I go through phases where I watch very little television, and it was tough to come up with ten of these.

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1. The X Files (1993-2002). Possibly my favorite television show ever, and notable for its long run. I watched it religiously back in the day, but it makes this list because my wife and I watched every episode in syndication the first few years we were married. My favorite episode is the one where we see that the Smoking Man had a hand in the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are awesome, of course. Mitch Pileggi is just as good, and this is the first show I remember seeing him in.

2. The Shield (2002-2008). This one is a close second for “best ever” in my mind. I can’t think of a better police drama. The cast is stellar, the writing is good, and the camera work was exceptional for a basic-cable original series at the time. The best part about it: it put Walton Goggins on the map. It’s one of those rare shows that manages to pull off an anti-climactic, unsatisfying ending but still gives the characters exactly what they deserve.

3. Copper (2012-). A BBC show about New York policemen in the Five Points during the decade after the Civil War. New York’s never looked so much like London on the screen. This is one of my favorite currently-running shows. I’ve never regretted following it for one minute, and I am eager to see how it ends.

4. Justified (2010 – ). Another gem, this one an Elmore Leonard story translated into 5 seasons of awesome television. Set in Harlan County, Kentucky, it’s all about the relationship between U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens and his childhood frenemy Boyd Crowder, a cunning and thoroughly ruthless professional criminal. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are phenomenal together. The acting and the dialogue are so good, it’s easy to forgive the uneven quality of the long story arcs from season to season. And it has a theme by Gangstagrass:

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True Blood: “Death is Not the End” Review

Four episodes in, True Blood manages a strong episode with a nice mixture of gore, gallows humor, and and nostalgia. In the wake of Alcide’s death and Holly’s return, Sookie grieves but must also help find Arlene and Nicole. Eric and Pam arrive in Shreveport, both in flashbacks and in the present timeline, and we discover why Jessica’s shoulder will not heal. And the group faces down the Hep V infected vampires. “Death is Not the End” works as a lead-up to the mid-season arc, and it does so while looking back at the show’s past.

In the cold open, Alcide’s father is in his trailer in Jackson, MS, with a lover. Sookie calls and informs him of Alcide’s death. Across town, Jason makes a phone call as well—to Hoyt, who is in Alaska, to inform him of Maxine’s death. We’re immediately looking back, then, to the characters’ (and the show’s) past. And this was really nicely done. Jason, of course, remembers everything—their childhood friendship that morphed into an adulthood friendship, Hoyt’s relationship with Jessica, and their break-up over Jason. But Hoyt doesn’t even know Jason. It was an understated moment, and it was better for it. Jason, devastated by the call, turns to Sookie, who reminds him that he has to pull himself together because it’s the apocalypse. (Thanks for ruining my moment—this is the most inconsistent apocalypse I’ve ever seen: communication and transportation seem to be working.)

After the break, we cut to Eric and Pam on a plane, Eric feeding from a stewardess. She tells him they’re going to Baton Rouge, but he re-routes to Shreveport. Pam, of course, “hates tb4.7Shreveport.” And then there’s the first in a series of flashbacks of Pam and Eric in Shreveport after the fiasco with the Yakamono Corporation. It’s 1986, presumably right after the incident. The Magister (Zeljko Ivanek) hands down the sentencing from the vampire authority–Pam and Eric are to stay in Shreveport and run the local video store, and Eric is to be the sheriff. Pam is, of course, horrified by every tacky thing about the place, especially the basement porn stash. Meanwhile, I’m laughing at the nostalgia of video stores in small Southern towns.

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