TV Surprises

11 Apr

Good morning! I hope the gloomy Monday storm isn’t getting you down. I’m fine, but I think Buster is a little bit peeved. He hates thunder (the trash truck and the AC kicking on), so it has been a long morning of gruffing for him. Big surprise, I know.

Ok, on to confession time. Amidst two cookouts with new friends this weekend, I had a very lazy Saturday evening. But was it wasted? I think not. Ike and I enjoyed a mini-marathon of our own creation. A multiple episode watching fest of a show I probably would have written off just last week. But if past TV experience has taught me anything, it is not to judge a show too quickly. A kneejerk decision based on premise or even pilot content could have eliminated some great watching potential from my queue.

Want some concrete examples and the identity of our mystery TV marathon subject? Well then read on!

Sons of Anarchy:

This was the lucky marathon show. That’s right – Saturday night, Alexis Peters found herself on the edge of her couch entranced by a series loosely based on the Hells Angels. But this Motorcycle Club (or MC, get with the lingo) has more than violence, gunrunning and girls to it, although yes, that is a big part of it. More than that, it has a Shakespearean level of drama and flawed but root-for-able characters. Plus, I learned valuable lessons like never touch a parked Harley (unless you enjoy a helmet to the face) and who to go to if the law is letting me down (haha, not really, I promise). In short, this is a well-written and acted show that I recommend. Looks like I might be taking a closer look at other FX shows I ignored.

Friday Night Lights/Freaks and Geeks:

I try to steer clear of high school based soap operas. I’m not talking about masterpieces like Saved by the Bell, but about those shows that features schools full of hot over 30 year old ‘students.’ No thank you. I’m just not interested in students obsessed with losing their V-card and other ‘typical’ teenage activities like binge drinking. But these 2 high school dramas shattered the mold. Friday Night Lights does actually feature hot actors in their late 20s as high school students, but I am able to look past that because of the heart, great writing, acting and exemplary example of marriage the show offers. It is a deceiving package and premise (Texas High school football, ya’ll) that transcends its surface-level potential. Freaks and Geeks doesn’t feature hot actors or typical teen plot lines. It is a smart show about growing up and how painful, funny and invigorating that experience is. Plus, as a bonus, the show portrays the music and times of the early 80s. Right on.

The Wire:

I saved the most surprising and best for last: The Wire. It is more than just a show; it is a learning experience.  The show focuses on the city of Baltimore and its struggles by examining a different broken part of the city each season from its rampant drug trade to its school system.  I actually had to fight through some of the content (the language, violence, general amorality of some of the characters). But once I did, I realized that my world view was being widened in a way that no TV or movie had ever done before. If you are into inner city service or social work, this is a must watch! Sure, it is an entertaining crime drama, but it is also a reputedly realistic portrayal of a life that is very different from my own. Eye opening and worth it.

So that is a short list of TV shows that surprised me.  I could easily have added Mad Men and Breaking Bad to the list. Both shows’ early episodes were hard for me to watch. But if you’ve learned anything from this post, I hope you’ve learned to not judge things too quickly! Who knows what we could all be missing out on? Until tomorrow!

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