Several months ago I posted a blog about why I like British television. I’ve been enjoying some American ones lately, and figured it was time for Equal Opportunity. While I still enjoy British programs more as a whole, there are some gems among the detritus of reality shows, poorly written sitcoms, and “news” hours (by which I mean, of course, not the actual news, but those dramatic reenactments of past crimes). Some of my favorites are shows that are no longer running, but they’re easy to get on Netflix (or other venues, I’m sure), and still make better use of time than watching the, ahem, crap that is on so often nowadays. So let’s get started.
White Collar is such an enjoyable forty-two minutes! From the writing to the acting to the relationships involved, it is a joy. Three things that make this show fun to watch: 1) an FBI/criminal pair in which the criminal is not smarter than the FBI agent — they are equals, and that makes it all the better. 2) a marriage which is built on respect and love, and never wavers. It’s a sad comment on our entertainment industry that this is such a rare thing. 3) Mozzie.
Leverage follows a group of criminals out to do good, who on the way are hilarious, smart, sweet, and just plain fun. The writing is witty, the actors fun to watch, and — what can I say? — Timothy Hutton.
Modern Family. I guess a good question would be, “Who DOESN’T watch this show?” Funny, touching, well-written, this is what a smart sitcom looks like.
The Closer, as a lot of you know, just ended, and segued into Major Crimes, which I haven’t yet had the opportunity to watch. I would encourage you to go back and take in The Closer from the beginning. This is another show where relationships take front page, right alongside the crimes the cops are solving. Once again there is a marriage built on solid ground, and the writing is great. My only criticism? Not enough roles for women in the main cast, although there are two very strong leads, especially in the last couple seasons. Kyra Sedgwick does a fantastic job of being both lovable and really, really irritating.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Of course this has long been off the air, but it is SO GOOD. I recently began going through the series again, and love it just as much as when it was originally on. The first season was a little hard to get through, being almost as campy as the first Star Trek (along with terrible sets, awful extras acting, and poor writing), but as soon as the second season started it was like, Wham! It hit the awesome meter. Good roles for women, great writing, and complex plots. And, of course, Patrick Stewart. Doesn’t this picture of him just make you happy?
I’m sure you have your own American shows you like. I’d love to hear about them! I’m always on the look-out for something well-done. And now, back to the next episode, where Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise must figure out a way to survive one more day in deep space…