My name is Donna, and I'm a TV addict. Seriously. I'd like to think I'm semi-recovering, since I no longer have two shows per day that I MUST WATCH NO MATTER WHAT. (I'm down to like one per day, and that's only during the September-December, January-May period. And I'm totally normal during re-runs.) And I used to completely freak if someone attempted to talk to me when it wasn't a commercial. The phone would ring and I'd be all, "Um hey Buffy's on canIcallyoubacklater?" I'm totally chill now...ahem, thanks to DVR and pausing live TV.
I'm a pretty particular type of TV addict, though. I rarely watch a show for the sake of watching it. Of course, I'll sit down for the random HGTV show or the always-engrossing E! True Hollywood Story, but I have too much going on to waste my time on non-obsessions. And I've seen every single Friends episode fifteen times and I'm never tired of them.
But what is it about a show that hooks me? It's the same thing, I realized, as what makes me love a book. Primarily, it's the characters and dialogue. And I'm an utter sucker for a juicy romance. Do I enjoy the random episode of Law & Order? Yeah. But I can walk away.
(Disclaimer: I didn't have cable until I went to college, so don't hate me for neglecting your favorite Nickelodeon series or something.)
So what shows can I watch over and over?
(Honestly, there are more, but this is a sampling of the best.)
~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- FANTASTIC through the end of season 3, still great through the end of season 5 (when it should've stayed ended). Some of the best teen dialogue out there.
~ Alias -- At least until the third season, when JJ decided to turn a fantastic spy show into a prophecy-ridden mess of identity issues.
~ Grey's Anatomy -- I didn't study for my science final in college because I couldn't stop watching the end of season 1 on DVD. nuff said. Hoping it regains some former glory this season.
~ Lost -- JJ, I'm trusting you not to lead me astray this time. I'm investing years of my life in this!
~ Scrubs -- Too absurdly funny not to love.
~ Friends -- My ideal comedy. I will quote it to the death. I loved the seasons when the jokes became character-centric and not just one-liners.
~ My So-Called Life -- Only the good die young. If you never saw it, it's out on DVD!
~ Desperate Housewives -- Really well written. Not enough people appreciate the quality behind the fluff.
~ Castle -- Smart, snarky, totally fun, with great chemistry. And it's about a writer!
~ Dollhouse -- I heart Joss Whedon.
~ Samantha Who -- Really really funny. So bummed it's cancelled!
... and since I write YA ...
My Favorite Teen Shows (from when I was a teen):
Buffy / Dawson's Creek / Beverly Hills, 90210 (not the newfangled crap!) / Roswell (mock me for the aliens if you will...but I also love the 10-book series) / The O.C. (again, awesome for about 2 seasons.) / Saved By the Bell (only the original class) / Party of Five / Gilmore Girls
... plus there are shows that are awesome, but didn't addict me ...
Other Really Really Really Great Shows:
The Wonder Years / Home Improvement / Fresh Prince of Bel-Air / Full House (so bad it was good) / The Cosby Show / It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia / The Golden Girls / Family Guy / Cheers / Malcolm in the Middle / The King of Queens
I'd like to think that all of these shows over the years have helped me to be a better writer. Did I learn plotting (both good and bad)? Yes. Did I hear great conversational dialogue? Totally. Did I salivate over cliffhangers? Oh yeah. (What better way to see how chapters should end?) Did I see how to draw out a romance over a very very long period of time? Yeppers. AND (the best lesson) I learned how to show, not tell. (Woo Golden Rule!)
Alright, here's your chance to agree...or argue! Do I love something you think is terrible? What did I forget to include? Comment away!
PS - A semi-inspiration for this post came from Janice Hardy, over at The Other Side of the Story. She gets you thinking!