paperscout: ((evanescence) you're not real...)
Day 4: Your favorite show ever

I've been putting off this meme on purpose (suck, I know) because I've been too tired to properly attempt to figure out an answer for this question. I still am, but I'm only getting further and further behind.

I'm trying to decide between four different shows. One is still on the air, one I am in the middle of watching, and two I have somewhat secretly never watched in their entirety, or in order. So it's hard to make a definitive decision. Instead, I'll be wishy-washy and just give reasons for why I love all of them. And I know it's cheating, but considering HOW MUCH TV I watch, and have watched, in my quarterlifespan, it's not cheating anywhere near as much as it would be for some people.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

You guys knew this was coming. I didn't watch Buffy on the air, nor have I seen the last, um, 5 seasons in order. Truthfully, I haven't seen most of seasons 3, 6, & 7 at all. I started watching the show for realsies senior year of high school, and I've been putting off completing it because I love it so insanely, deathly much. Same is true for Angel.

I love the camp in this show. Things like Xena are a little much for me, but Buffy manages to be campy in a very self-aware kind of way (much like certain should-have-flopped episodes of Supernatural, imho), and still manages to strike you with all the right emotions if you're *actually* watching and not just writing it off as a shit show. I think it has an amazing line up of characters starting out - hits all the right dynamics. It's witty without being as over the top as a lot of wannabe-Buffy writings I've read. I know there are people that disagree, claiming teenagers wouldn't say the things Buffy & her friends say, but there's a level of awkwardness and purposely poor wording that lends believability. And as often as the show includes love stories, they aren't the end-all-be-all like they are in a lot of teen dramas, and that is what really sets it apart for me.

Plus, I mean, hell, it has the best damn musical in a TV show I've ever seen. And I'm pretty sure I've seen all of them.




2. Angel

I loved Angel before I really loved Buffy, and truthfully, I may like it more. It's more mature, and more dark, but I really haven't seen almost ANY of the last three seasons (shut up, shut up, I'm going to finish them all before the year is up), so again, hard to say for sure. But my favorite thing about Angel is that it has a wonderful tendency to take characters that I absolutely could not stand, or who were generally "bad" characters in Buffy and give them totally believable arcs where they become really relatable, lovable characters. Cordelia, Wesley, even Faith and Darla have some redemption in Angel.



They definitely made some mistakes, which is another reason I'm hesitant to watch it, and even though it's possible I may *like* it more than Buffy, I don't think it's a better show (from what I've seen). I think it could have been, but Joss *was* working on three shows at once, so I guess it's not surprising things weren't as amazing as their potential.


3. Supernatural

The one show I've seen in its entirety! Unfortunately (or rather, VERY fortunately), it's not over yet. And I'm a bit nervous about next season. But seasons 1-5? Fantastic.

I was a bit slow on starting this show. Generally I don't watch shows that don't have female lead characters, mostly because I just don't relate to or care about the "typical guy" storylines that have been in most of the shows I watch. But Dean and Sam both definitely have lovely storylines that I relate to and care about. And as [livejournal.com profile] greenhoodloxley has pointed out, watching their sibling relationship play out over the course of the years. As much as I shipped Dean with Jo, and Sam with (real) Ruby, I love that they've stuck with each other above all else, and that the writers never fell back on a romance to keep fans interested in the show. While that's resulted in what I feel is an absolutely ridiculous, unjoinable fandom, it's made one of the most consistently amazing shows I've seen on TV in a long time.

It does have a lot of plots I've seen before, but generally tends to do them in intriguing ways. At the very least, something happening with the creature-of-the-week lets us see deeper into one of the characters' current inner battles. And they're some fucked up boys, so that's always a good thing. Supernatural has also managed to take a lot of plot ideas that shouldn't have worked (going into TV land, Christmas specials, fan conventions, etc.) and pulled them off seamlessly. (The only episode I thought was a bust was the black and white "Monster Movie" ep. Great idea, I just didn't like how it played out.)



But what I really enjoyed about this show was how season one made it seem like it was "just" a procedural-type supernatural show with a thread of "oh hey, gotta find the yellow-eyed demon" for the season arc, but then once we hit season two...season three...things started tying back in. They had this master plan with this amazingly well-crafted series arc already woven in. Not some shit where they ask a lot of questions and never answer them (*cough*Lost) but a truly well thought out mythology. It was a wonderful thing to realize, and I can only hope season 6, though outside of the original plan, continues to be as great.


4. Dead Like Me

And this is the show that really sparked my omg-I-don't-know-what-my-favorite-show-is-anymore! dilemma. I'm halfway through season two - the final season. There were hardly any episodes of this show, but I love it so much I literally cry at the thought of not being able to watch any more episodes. That usually doesn't happen when I start watching a show post-cancellation.

I think it took a few episodes for Dead Like Me to find its footing. IMHO, that happened shortly after the character of Daisy Adair replaced Betty. I hated her at first, but damn if she isn't the most intriguing to me now. This show is really fantastic at throwing in subtle character reactions and comments that are important to development later. Just little things, not highlighted by in-your-face camera angles or slow mo or whatever other "tricks" TV shows use on "stupid" audiences to make sure we "get it." And every. Damn. Episode of this show is character driven. Whatever happens in the plot is purely to reveal more about character, while still usually managing to be a very cohesive story, generally with a central theme between plots.



If I had to guess, though, I'd say the fact that it was so strictly character-driven was also its downfall. I would have liked to have seen some overarching mythology gradually revealed, some mystery they were trying to solve about the great beyond. Conspiracy, even. And it feels like it's starting to do that a little where I am now, but I don't know how far it gets by the end of season two. And knowing Bryan Fuller's other works, and his...intrigue with disaffected twenty-somethings, I'm not sure it ever would have had more of a point.

But overall, it's probably the only show that's ever made me think about what I'm doing with my life now, and my future now, as opposed to just pine over what I could have done differently in the past. It's a lovely, lovely show, and I wish very much that I had more of it waiting for me.

And the movie doesn't fuckin' count because Mandy Patinkin and Laura Harris aren't there.


Honorable mentions: Charmed, Roswell, Higher Ground, Popular, Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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