So as I just mentioned, I couldn’t stop myself from doing two Top Ten Tuesdays this week! I already listed my ten favorite movies, so here is a list of my favorite TV shows (once again in alphabetical order):
1. “The Americans” — Strangely enough, this is one of the only shows on my list that’s still on the air (season 3 will be premiering this fall). Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are phenomenal as Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, two Soviet spies posing as a normal American couple in the early 1980s. It’s very dark and very compelling, and I really think everyone should be watching it!
2. “Chuck” — I loved this action comedy about a regular guy who accidentally downloads a government computer into his brain and becomes one of the CIA’s most valuable (and dangerous) assets. The show definitely had its ups and downs, as well as several plot holes you could drive a truck through, but overall it struck a great balance between humor and heart. Adam Baldwin also did a stellar turn as buttoned-up NSA agent John Casey (he loves guns!).
3. “Daria” — Daria was basically the voice in my head during my teen years. This darkly funny cartoon poked vicious fun at the shallow lives of America’s youth, as personified by Daria’s classmates. I especially enjoyed her vapid sister Quinn and the other members of the Fashion Club (not to brag, but I do a pretty awesome impression of Sandy!).
4. “Firefly” — “Sci-fi Western” is not really a genre I’m naturally attracted to, but somehow this show made it work in spectacular fashion. You can’t watch this show and not come out loving every single character, from noble-ish captain Mal to simpleminded thug Jayne (also Adam Baldwin!) to perpetually cheerful Kaylee. The only flaw in this show is that it was canceled way before its time. At least we have “Serenity,” which ties up the major plot lines…but there was still so much more this show could have been. Alas!
5. “Gilmore Girls” — If I had to pick just one show to be my absolute favorite, this would be it. I absolutely fell in love with the relationship between fast-talking Lorelai and her smart, book-loving daughter Rory. The rapid-fire dialogue and obscure pop culture references made the show a fun puzzle to solve, and there was a wonderful mix of comedy and drama as the girls faced various life challenges. To be fair, I felt the show started to decline in season 5 (largely because I HATED Logan), but at its best, this show was really something special.
6. “The Office” (U.S.) — This is another show that really dropped off in quality over the last few seasons, but it gave us the utter brilliance of Steve Carell as Michael Scott, not to mention one of the sweetest TV romances of all time in Jim and Pam. Sometimes the humor is so awkward that it’s almost unwatchable, but I also don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder in my life.
7. “Parks and Recreation” — This show started out very similar in style to “The Office,” and a lot of people dismissed Leslie Knope as the female version of Michael Scott. But the show really came into its own in Season 2 and is now one of the warmest, funniest shows on TV. Every member of the large ensemble cast contributes something amazing, from the hostile deadpan of Aubrey Plaza (April) to the borderline-douchebag enthusiasm of Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, would-be mogul. But really, my strongest argument in favor of this show is three simple words: Ron Effing Swanson.
8. “Sherlock” — This show just has everything: compelling mysteries, literary allusions, and an absolutely perfect cast. Benedict Cumberbatch gets most of the glory (and fangirlish swooning), and it’s absolutely well-deserved; but let’s not forget Martin Freeman’s perfectly understated performance as John Watson! That scene at the end of “The Reichenbach Fall,” where he talks to his (supposedly) dead best friend, was just unspeakably good. I’m so glad we’re going to get at least one more season!
9. “Ugly Betty” — Every time I think about this show, I can’t help smiling and chuckling. Yes, it was completely ridiculous and over-the-top, but it was always aware of its own silliness and just provided tons of fun. I especially loved Vanessa Williams as the scheming Wilhelmina Slater, who tried everything from bribery to sperm-stealing to gain power!
10. “Veronica Mars” — I love this teen drama with a film noir twist. I wish I were as cool as Veronica Mars, though I certainly don’t envy her troubled past! I enjoyed the season-long mysteries in seasons one and two, and even the somewhat rocky third season has a lot of good episodes. I also quite liked the recent movie, although it still leaves the door open for a lot more stories in the future!