The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Movies/TV shows.
I’m a total TV junkie, especially since the “TV Renaissance” of the last decade or so, where original programming on cable exploded. TV is consantly finding new and exciting ways to tell stories. I’ve started getting interested in things I never would have thought, like cinematography and costuming, because of the way stories are told through those mediums and not just through the actors and their lines. Every show I’m going to talk about had its flaws, sometimes spectacularly so, but on the whole they tell deep, layered stories about character and place.
The Oh-So-Serious Stuff
Mad Men– Mad Men was the first show I watched on dvd, the first show I binge watched. I’ve seen it compared to great short story collections like the stories of John Cheever, and I have to agree. Each episode can be highly self-contained, and it can be hard to see the overarching narrative, until suddenly the season ends and it all comes into focus. It frequently appears to be a show where “nothing happens,” and yet so much is happening. And Peggy Olson is my spirit animal, so…
Breaking Bad– The most beautifully shot, written, acted drama ever. I will brook no arguments. Also, and always, JESSE.
Battlestar Galactica- I never thought I would like BSG. I don’t really go in for hard scifi, and when they tried to go all mystical it really went off the rails. But the strength of this show is the amazing characters. The extremity of the premise helped strip characters to their essential elements and then play off each other. Also, Bear McCreary’s score is consistently amazing (I’d never even paid attention to the score of a TV show before I saw BSG).
Orphan Black– I have yet to see season 2 because of life, the universe, and everything (everything in this case being the lack of BBC America) so please please please, I beg you, no spoilers. But Orphan Black has got to be the best scifi thriller I have ever seen on television. Tatiana Maslany is a godess.
The Americans– Still working on finishing season 2, again because of life. But I adore The Americans. It doesn’t play dumb to its audience–half the time, its even subtitled. I love that it skews and reverses gender expectations (Elizabeth is most often the “hard” character while Phillip seems to more actively struggle with moral decisions and even comes across as more feminine) And there are a ton, a ton of amazing female characters of different shapes and sizes and stripes. Yes, they often have to use traditional objectification of their bodies to get what they want, but this is a show that examines why women are forced to play the honeypot, rather than just showing them doing so.
Just for Fun
Sleepy Hollow– Sleepy Hollow was my favorite thing ever last year, and I can’t wait for it to come back. It’s cheesy as hell, but it acknowledges that cheesiness in refreshing ways, and I’m just lapping it up. Ichabod Crane is sex on two legs, the cast is incredibly diverse for a network show, the leads have awesome chemistry (that I hope never, ever, ever turns romantic because I love platonic soulmates, sorry not sorry) and to top it all off, it’s filmed just down the road from where I live (well, within a few hundred miles anyway).
Adventure Time– Yes, an 11 minute children’s cartoon is one of my favorite things ever. I first started watching Adventure Time because I loved the way they played around with language. They have their own sort of lexicon that is fluid and fascinating. Finn, the main character, actually grows and changes over the course of the series, which is unusual in cartoons like this. And again with the multiple, diverse female roles. Most of the female characters are “princesses,” but princesses here are gloriously diverse, non-Disneyfied people. Seriously, if you scoff at the idea of cartoons, try episodes like “The Hard Easy,” “Princess Cookie,” “Memory of a Memory,” “Hug Wolf,” “Princess Monster Wife,” “I Remember You,” or “The Vault,” some episodes that I think showcase how innovative, genrebending, funny, and deeply moving this show can be.
Game of Thrones– Game of Thrones, you are a hot mess. And I love you. No other show out there gets so much right while simultaneously getting so much wrong omg.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer– BtVS (how ya like that? Going old school 90s on ya.) was my first ever favorite TV show, and so it will be my last ever favorite TV show. It…has not aged well. And the post-high school years already made me groan more than they made me cheer even when they were airing. But so much of what I love is reflected in BtVS, and it’s been a huge part of my cultural makeup since I was 12 years old, so its pretty engrained in my DNA.