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Favorite TV Shows

   
 
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(List is in no particular order)
     
The Walking Dead -I've never been a big zombie fan.  But after playing the PC game Left 4 Dead, and my son's insistence that I'd really like the show, I gave it a try.  My son was right, I loved it.  The series follows a group of zombie apocalypse survivors as they struggle to stay alive and safe.  The zombies, although a huge danger, sometimes take a back seat to the horror done by other groups of survivors.  It is very common in this series for continuing characters to die, and new ones to join the group.  As the show likes to advertise, nobody is safe.
Once Upon A Time - Curiosity got the better of me, so I tried this series.  It is actually quite entertaining to see the story of these fairy tale characters, all existing together in interconnecting worlds, brought together in modern time USA.  Back stories tie in exceedingly well with the current time stories.  Since ABC is part of Disney, they seem to have a good time playing with characters from their animated movies, such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Ariel and others, facing off against villains such as the evil queen, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Wicked Witch from OZ.  It's also amusing to see the them twist characters like Peter Pan into a villain, and to see the evil queen's struggle against her own nature and attempt to not be so nasty.  The same goes for the Rumpelstiltskin character.  You never know what to expect with this series, and I hope they keep that up.
     
Arrow - Based on DC Comics Green Arrow, this series brings the comic book character to life in the gritty way The Dark Knight movies did for Batman.  What makes this show shine is that the Arrow character's abilities were acquired through his own hard work to survive while stranded on a hostile island.  He is also driven by the need to undo the evils perpetrated by his deceased father.  Excellent writing, acting and directing keeps me coming back for more. 
Grimm - The Brother's Grimm tales turned on their heads, and brought to the modern world is the best way to describe this part police detective show, part dark fantasy.  Our hero, Detective Nick Burdhardt, is a Grimm.  He is descended from a line of humans who hunted the supernatural creatures who hide amongst us in human form.  Unlike his ancestors, he takes the time to actually get to know the animal-like beings called Wessin instead of just killing them. Just like humans, each is a complex individual with varying levels of good and evil.  Nick even befriends Monroe, the werewolf like Wieder Blutbad, who helps him understand the Wessin he ends up investigating.  A very good concept, very well executed.



Marvel: Agents of Shield - As a big fan of the Avengers, I had to check this show out. Only 2 episodes into the series as of writing this, but I definitely like what I see. A fun, comic-book adventure without the reliance on a single Marvel superhero. This series is very high in potential, with entertaining characters and a decided dark edge lingering just below the surface. Agent Phil Coulson was a great character in the movies, and carries this series well. Look forward to the eventual realization about the secret of his resurrection that he apparently doesn't know himself.   Dragons: Riders of Berk - I loved the movie How to Train Your Dragon. When I discovered they made a TV series out of it, I decided to try it out through Netflix. Knowing how poorly most movie to TV series usually are, I wasn't expecting much. This show surprised the hell out of me. The quality of the stories have been on par with the actual movie. Even though it is geared toward kids, with some dialog showing this on occasion, the true heart of the characters are still there. They may have had to occasionally settle on less then perfectly smooth animations to keep to a TV budget and/or time constraints, but for the most part, it still looks great.
 
Tanked - Found on the Animal Planet network, Tanked is a reality show that follows the antics of the family who's business, Acrylic Tank Manufacturing , create strange, custom made aquariums. The zany characters and out-of-the-ordinary fish tanks are a very entertaining mix.   Chopped - Another reality show that I really like, Chopped is on the Food Network. Chefs from around the country are brought together in a competition to produce a 3 course meal using a handful of mandatory ingredients. The sometimes bizarre ingredients keeps the chefs on their toes, and make the show a real treat to watch.
     
Leverage - We live in a world where people with money and power take what they want from everyone, with almost unfailing no accountability. This TV show answers this issue with a group of thieves and con-artists who dedicate their lives, and criminal talents, to bring some justice to the greedy and evil.   Sons of Anarchy - When I first heard of this show, it didn't sound like something I'd like. A biker gang that sells weapons to street gangs and engages in many immoral and other illegal activities, how could there be any characters to relate to. After watching it, I quickly discovered that assessment was definitely wrong.
     
In Plain Sight - This series just ended in 2012, and I'm going to miss it. Two federal marshals work with setting up and dealing with people in the Witness Protection Program. Love the way the main character must deal with her own dysfunctional family while having to keep what she actually does for a living from them. It's also fun to see the differing witnesses, both criminal and innocent, deal with the life-changing reality of entering and living in the program.   Fringe - There is no easy way to describe Fringe. A group of secret government investigators look into incidence of weird and deadly occurrences resulting from the misuse of advanced (fringe) science. The main plot line of the series centers around the existence and conflict with an alternate universe, where another Earth exists, with duplicate, but differing people and history. This series must be seen in order, or you will quickly get lost.
     
Eureka - This is a light-hearted science fiction series where an everyday sheriff finds himself working in a hidden community where all the inhabitants are brilliant, but eccentric scientists who seem to create problem after problem with their high-tech inventions.   Warehouse 13 - Take a little of Fringe, a little of Eureka, add an element of the supernatural and you have Warehouse 13. Our heroes in this series must track down artifacts which acquire supernatural abilities, leaving havoc in their wake. The Warehouse, of course, is where everything our agents retrieve, is ultimately stored away for humanity's safety.
     
Family Guy - When I first watched this show, I wasn't impressed. After the first few episodes, I quit watching it. It was quickly taken off the air. A few years later, it was brought back. It's weird, off the wall humor must have been ahead of its time because I suddenly found that I really loved it. Yes, the humor can be crude and tasteless at time, but somehow, that adds to its charm.   Star Wars: The Clone Wars - This is a computer generated cartoon that takes place between the Star Wars movies episodes II and III. The cartoon may be geared toward kids, but it has been very enjoyable for me. For the most part, the voice actors sound very much like those of the movie actors, and the stories are very good.
     
Babylon 5 - In the future, mankind found itself in a war with a race called the Mimbari, and came to the very edge of extinction as the enemy approached Earth with an unstoppable fleet, determined to annihilate them. Instead, the Mimbari mysteriously stopped and surrendered. The series actually begins ten years after, with the establishment of a huge space station, Babylon 5, which acts as place for diplomacy and trade among humans and many species of aliens. The station and its crew find themselves in the center of an escalating conflict. Will the station be destroyed by the escalating conflict, or be the universe's salvation. This series had a 5 year story arc that was very well planned and executed, with long mysteries slowly becoming revealed, and new ones constantly emerging. This series has to be my all-time favorite.   Star Trek Series - Many Star Trek fans seem to really love one of the many incarnations, and despise the rest. I'm not one of them. Sure, I have a favorite. This is Deep Space Nine. It had a strong story arc that led up to the huge Dominion War. It also had a slightly darker edge to it than the other ST series. Still, I loved every one of the others, The original series, The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise. Each offered different strengths and weaknesses, but all were well written and produced. I also liked all but 2 of the movies. The Final Frontier was really bad, and ignored technical elements that were just unforgivable. (Flying to the center of the galaxy in a couple of days? Terrible.) The other ST movie I did not like was the one which rebooted the original series. Between the nauseating cinematography and the lazy writing, this movie just sucked.
     
The X-Files - This was a ground-breaking series when it first came out, and the stories still hold up. The storyline basically follows the investigations of bizarre, unsolved cases by FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mulder, who had lost his sister to an apparent alien abduction as a kid, heads the X-files investigations, seeing the paranormal elements in them that others deny. Scully, a talented MD turned FBI agent, is highly grounded in science and the rational, works side by side with Mulder, bringing a level head, and a good dose of skepticism to the job. The strange, many times terrifying stories, along with the unique relationship between Mulder and Scully really make this series shine.   The 4400 - A sphere of light appears one day over a lake and deposit 4400 people on the shore. Each of these 4400 people were reported lost over many decades, and none of them have aged one day, nor have any memory of what happened to them. The series follows the course of an investigation of what happened to these people, and the subsequent unique abilities each of the 4400 start to develop as the series progresses. I loved this series and was greatly disappointed that the network that produced it didn't have the decency to at least give the creators the opportunity to properly end the series before just canceling it. Still, if you haven't seen it, it is worth watching.
     
Battlestar Galactica - The original 1970s version was okay, but lacked the grit and reality of the 2004 remake. When the newer series was first advertised, I was initially annoyed that they dumped the modernized-ancient Egyptian theme. When I watched the actual show, I realized it really wasn't needed. I still almost stop watching the show because the idiots producing and directing the show utilized the nauseating cinematography style they call "Documentary Style." They stupidly believed jerky camera movements and rapidly going in and out of focus made the show more realistic. The only thing it really did was make me and many other people sick. Luckily, they toned this down enough as the series progressed that I was able to tolerate it. Good thing they did, because the characters and their story arcs really made this series.   Terra Nova - This series only lasted one year, which was a shame because it really was a very good show. In the not so distant future, Earth is in dire condition. The air is toxic and the resources have been mostly used up. The only hope for humanity is the discovery of a wormhole that leads to earth's ancient past. The government sends select people to colonize earth of the past. The colonists live in a village barricaded from the dangerous dinosaurs they have to share the world with. However, dinosaurs are only a small problem compared to a group of colonists who have left the village and are fighting against them, following their own, unknown agenda. Despite the online jokes about "Are there going to be dinosaurs on your dinosaur show?", the series truly wasn't about the dinosaurs. Although, when they were used, they were fun to watch. Wished another network had picked this series up.
     
Quantum Leap - Dr. Sam Beckett, utilizing his string theory on time, creates a machine that sends him into the past. He replaces some other person, while that person is sent to his time. Everybody around Sam sees him as whoever he has leapt into. The problem is, the retrieval program doesn't work. With the help of co-worker and friend Al Calavicci, who appears to Sam as a hologram, they discover the only way to have Sam leap again, is to fix some mistake that happened in the past. Once the mistake is fixed, Sam leaps into the life of another person at another time. Great show, with very lovable characters.   Saving Grace - Detective Grace Hanadarko has a problem with drinking, is promiscuous, has guilt issues and would seem to be an unlikely hero. Especially so when, in a drunken stupor, she runs down a pedestrian in her car. In desperation, she pleads to God for help. In answer, Earl, her last chance angel, appears and offers her a chance to avoid her route to hell. The series follows Grace and her struggles with criminals, her family, her self and her angel, Earl. This series is definitely for a mature audience. Loved the long story arc of Grace and how she ultimately deals with the evil forces that brought so much guilt to her life, and pain to so many others.
     
     
     
Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright