To keep my imagination fueled and my writing instincts sharp, I watch a variety of TV shows that I feel have great writing, or just awesome premises. I realize that the TV seasons overlap years, but I thought I would share with you a few shows I have really enjoyed in 2011 during their original broadcast.
5. Parks and Recreation
This is just one of those shows that gets better with time. The first season was almost painful to watch, but something about the premise of the show brought me back for the second season. Over the last few years, the cast has changed and grown in a vibrant and dynamic way that has made the show even funnier than before. It is hard for me to remember when certain characters were not on the show. One of the things I really enjoy about this show is the growth of the characters and how they tend to turn the sitcom rules upside down. Whereas other shows have dragged out plot lines for years, Parks and Recreation moves much more swiftly and keeps things fresh.
4. The Secret Circle
L.J. Smith was a huge part of my young adulthood. I read her The Vampire Diaries novels before they were the big hit they are now. I loved Damon, Elena and Stefan before they were on a huge hit on the CW. I also read L.J.Smith's other young adult novels, including The Secret Circle. When I heard it was going to be a TV show, I was surprised, but excited. I knew it would not be the same as the novels, but I was dying for another witch show (since Charmed is long gone). Kody Boye and I were hooked on the pilot and have been addicted ever since. The story moves very quickly and never drags. The characters are flawed, yet sympathetic. And, shockingly, the show can be very, very dark. In fact, within the first five episodes of the show a major character was killed off in a very disturbing way. I'm on board for the rest of the season and have high hopes for this fledgling show with a great premise and promise.
3. The Walking Dead
I was not a huge fan of the first season of The Walking Dead. In fact the racism and sexism in the scripts really freakin' bothered me! The sexism was the worst part of it. I got tired of the women doing laundry, having zero development, and constantly deferring to the men. When Andrea said, "Don't thank me. Thank Earl, it's his equipment" when she came back with a ton of fish to feed the camp, I nearly hurled the remote at the TV. But things have definitely changed! This season when Andrea declared she was done doing the laundry and asserted herself, I was cheering. Though the first half of the season showed the budget cuts that occurred when Frank Darabont was fired, the character development was a lot richer than last season. Though there weren't as many zombies as one would hope for in a zombie series, when they did show up, they were gruesome and terrifying. And there was more than one shock to sun viewers. Season two has made me a believer in this series.
I won't lie. I loved Community from the very first episode and my love has only deepened. From the epic paintball episode to the stop-motion animation Christmas special to the joke that the show took three years to tell, Community is all sorts of wrong that makes all sorts of right. The characters are well-defined, the comedy is fast and furious, the scenarios are often ludicrous and therefore great, and Abed and Troy are my OTP (one true pairing). The show is just brilliant and if NBC cancels it, I will probably cry.
1. American Horror Story
Every once and awhile I will tune into a show merely because my fans tell me that I must watch it. Originally I had no plans to watch a show from the creators of Glee (barf!). I couldn't imagine they could pull off a show about horror. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. I watched the pilot in stunned silence and when it was done, I immediately watched the second one. American Horror Story is awesome old-school gothic horror with a modern twist. It was creepy, disturbing, heartbreaking, and sometimes downright gruesome, but all with a gleeful sense of morbid fun. Jessica Lange as Constance was genius casting and I lived for every word that came out of her mouth. Zachery Quinto's ghostly Chad was a delight (even when you felt bad for him). Doomed lovers, Tate and Violet, were heart-wrenching. By the end of the first season run, my hubby and I were both hooked on the show and loved the season finale. Next year an all new cast, location, and monster will be features, and that suits me just fine. The first season was like a perfect gothic horror novel I found by chance and devoured in big bites.
Other Notable Series I Watch on DVD:
The Vampire Diaries