What I’m Watching and Why

Every week, I follow Tiffany A. White‘s Tele-Tuesday posts and Tiffany’s and Amber West‘s What to Watch Wednesday posts on their blogs. They have done an excellent job of breaking down television series, classics, and specials so that readers can discern what might be worth their time.

After trying out various series and being well into the fall season, I wanted to give my two cents on what I’m watching and why. For Deep-Fried Friday, I hope you’ll add your own recommendations.

The Big Bang Theory. Perhaps the funniest sitcom on television right now, this show tracks four brilliant but geeky scientists attempting to make it in a world where they don’t fit in. When beautiful but shallow Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves in next door to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), their lives are permanently altered. We have all known someone like these nerds. They are not understood and socially awkward, and yet we feel for them trying to navigate social situations and find love and meaning in their lives. Still, there is enough to mock there. I also have to credit this series with introducing the word “Bazinga!”

Castle. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is a bestselling author who has killed off his long-running series main character and needs a new idea. Maybe that alone endeared me to him, since there are some writers out there who need to kill off their cash-cow star and write something else for a change. But when a killer begins to copycat murders from Castle’s novels, detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) brings him in to assist. The partnership turns permanent and Castle finds his idea (Beckett inspires his Nikki Heat series), even though there is tension of all kinds between the two and their differing backgrounds and personalities. Another great supporting cast here with fellow detectives Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Castle’s mother (Susan Sullivan) and daughter (Molly C. Quinn). The plot lines are intriguing, the relationships are complicated, and the script-writing is excellent. In addition, Castle has featured real-life writers playing poker with Richard Castle – Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, Dennis Lehane, and Michael Connelly.

Grimm. I have initially enjoyed how this series presents the original Grimm’s fairy tales brought to life in modern day. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a police detective who is informed by his mysterious aunt that he is a Grimm – a descendent of the family that has fought against the evil fairy tale characters for generations. He must now balance his own police work with the new knowledge of odd creatures living in their community, which he can see but other humans cannot. Of course, there is the solving of a crime each week, alongside his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby). But the crimes weave a tale into them (e.g., Red Riding Hood, the Pied Piper). So far, a supporting character is outshining the rest in this series – Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a reformed Bludbad (wolf creature) who helps Nick navigate the fairy tale world. I don’t know if I’ll stick with Grimm. It’s interesting, but not yet a must-see on my list.

Hart of Dixie. New York doctor Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) must complete a year of family medicine before she can obtain the position she has wanted for . . . well, ever. As it turns out, she ends up in Bluebell, Georgia, where her practice partner and a few other townspeople don’t want her. In addition, she struggles to adjust to small-town Southern life. Like other favorite series set in small towns – Northern Exposure, Gilmore Girls, Jericho – the rich characterization carries the storyline. The residents’ charm and quirkiness pull me in, and their conflict, both internal and interpersonal, keep me engaged.

How I Met Your Mother. Main character Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Being long-winded, he also tells about a thousand stories that led up to that moment. The ensemble cast – with Marshall and Lily (couple friends from college, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan), Barney (a womanizer and opportunist, Neil Patrick Harris), and Robin (a tough-minded, tender-hearted newcomer, Cobie Smulders) – is the focus of the show. Each character has a distinct personality, but the viewer can understand how these people would gravitate to one another. The slapping phenomenon of several shows is one of the best running gags. My only complaint is that the show has recently had a few sad episodes in a row. I’m ready for the comedy to return.

Psych. Break out the pineapple, it’s fun-time with Psych! Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a slacker whose detective father trained him from an early age to notice every teeny, tiny detail in his environment so that he can solve crimes. He’s so good at it that he catches what others miss and then claims a psychic vision. The police end up hiring him as a psychic police consultant. Shawn drags along his best buddy, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), and their antics alone are worth the price of admission. Psych has done a particularly good job of borrowing from other series and films (Twin Peaks, Hitchcock). That tongue-in-cheek humor treats the audience with a clever wink-wink. Best recurring one-liner? Perhaps it’s Shawn’s “I’ve heard it both ways.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am catching up on the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series years after it aired. Thanks to my Netflix account, I am currently in the third season. I can see why it was such a popular series. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a California high school student chosen as the One to slay demonic vampires in their midst. Armed with her wits, physical prowess, a knowledgeable and caring mentor, and supportive friends, she battles the forces of evil. It’s interesting to watch her shift between the intense end-of-world rescues and her daily concerns as a high school student and teen. The characterization and acting are good enough that I believe just about anything they throw at me. With as far as I’ve gotten, I can honestly say, forget Team Jacob or Team Edward; I’m on Team Angel (David Boreanaz).

In addition, I look forward to continuing to watch Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Glades, and Necessary Roughness when they return in 2012.

It’s your turn! What are you watching and why?

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21 thoughts on “What I’m Watching and Why

  1. Great picks, Julie. I’m a big fan of cop shows. I love Castle for all the reasons you mentioned. My newest guilty pleasure is Hawaii Five-O. Alex O’laughlin…need I say more?

    1. Who is this Alex O’Laughlin person of whom you speak? Oh, never mind. Just looked him up and found a Men’s Fitness cover with him on it. I see now, PJ. 😉

  2. LOVE Big Bang! We are getting caught up on it. Jim Parsons is hysterical. You know I’m a big American Horror Story fan. I love Bones and Criminal Minds as well, and Grey’s Anatomy. Looking forward to its January return:)

    1. Bones is on my list now because so many people I trust have raved about it. I need to clear some other programs off my list first. I may catch up with Bones in the spring. I’m not a horror gal, so AHS is probably not my cup of tea, but I have heard it’s good. Thanks for sharing your faves, Stacy!

  3. Not a big tv watcher but…. I hear Mike cracking up when he watches Big Bang Theory 🙂 Good writing Julie!!

  4. We dropped Grimm. Neither of us were particularly looking forward to each week’s installment, so I took it off the DVR.

    Right now, we are finishing up the third season of Breaking Bad–which is on Netflix Streaming. I am hoping AMC will rerun Season 4 soon so we can catch it before Season 5 comes out in mid-2012. Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher who finds out he has lung cancer. His family is barely scraping by financially, and he doesn’t want to die and leave them in the lurch. So…he begins manufacturing and selling meth. It’s a dark comedy/action series.

    Sons of Anarchy just finished their fourth season. It’s about a motorcycle club and their illegal activities. The focus of the show–so far–has been either the club battling it out with other criminals or law enforcement. The characterization in this show has an odd ring of truth and the music is usually fantastic.

    You know from my blog that I watch The Walking Dead (and why) and that I watch American Horror Story (and why).

    We are thinking about getting into Justified which stars Timothy Olyphant. The previews look really good. The show is based on an Elmore Leonard character, and I like reading EL’s books, so that’s a plus.

    Thanks for sharing. 😀

    1. I’ve never heard of Breaking Bad. You seem to find those unusual shows that not everyone is watching. My hubby has been watching Sons of Anarchy, and I know that he’s finding it compelling thus far. (He also laughed really loud the other day about something on it.) I need to check out The Walking Dead sometime. I don’t really understand the zombie fascination, though. Thanks, Catie!

      1. For the record, I don’t understand the zombie fascination, either. That’s why I missed out on the first season and a half of The Walking Dead. I only got interested after both Pam Hawley and Tiffany A. White blogged about the show. 😀

  5. I’ve started to watch Once Upon a Time. It is fantastic. I love the fariytales meshed into the real world. Creative concept and super makes you want to watch more. I also love watching The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, NCIS, NCIS:LA, and Unforgettable. Too many shows for someone that writes and has a FT job and wants to have a life. But I like them all!

    But if you haven’t checked out Once Upon a Time, Julie, you must!

      1. I did watch the pilot of Once Upon a Time and didn’t like it. My husband said I quit too soon, that I should have stuck it out. Maybe I’ll need to go back and watch the rest of the episodes! (Can you tell that I’m impatient?)

        By the way, one of my best friends can’t believe I haven’t watched The Closer. It’s one of her absolute favorites too. Thanks, Julia! Those are some jewels. 😉

  6. Love watching Big Bang Theory – even the reruns make me laugh!
    I enjoy the dance programmes: Dancing with the Stars, So you Think You Can Dance. Reminds me of the time when I used to dance 6 days a week and of the time when I used to glide across the floor.

    1. I used to watch DWTS but oddly enough I just couldn’t find time for it anymore around the time Donny Osmond came on. I say “oddly” because he was my childhood hearthrob, so how I didn’t see him burn up the dance floor is beyond me.

      You danced 6 days a week? How wonderful! Learning to tap dance is on my bucket list. Bought the tap shoes, but I can’t find time for lessons!

  7. Just wanted to add that lines like these are what make Psych cleverly (or stupidly) funny:
    Shawn: “Who are these people?”
    Jules: “They’re just people.”
    Shawn: “Those are the worst kind!”

  8. Boy, I need to start watching me some television these days. I’m still immersed in the 2nd season of Chuck…gotta’ love Netflix for us Luddites behind the times. 🙂

    1. I love Chuck! My husband and I need to catch up too. We’re a season behind. And I love that Netflix is now streaming a lot of shows I had missed. Thanks for stopping by, M.E.!

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