Tako Tuesdays Off Topic: The TV Episode

This picture alone is good for about 250 page views. - Ethan Miller

Because I feel like all we talk about around here is sports.

Believe it or not, Tako Tuesdays started as a weekly,off-topic forum where quack addicts from around the blogosphere got together to talk about anything but Duck sports. And while many Duck fans only care about Oregon-related content, it's important that this blogger doesn't forget his roots. So while football is on hiatus, we're gonna mix in some off-topic jams. Today, we're talking TV.

I don't consider myself really anything of a television expert: sure, I watch a fairly significant amount of it, but don't think of me as any sort of authority on TV shows. I mean, you shouldn't be thinking of me as an authority on anything, but especially TV. For instance, here's a brief, off-the-top-of-the-head list of significant television shows of which I've never seen more than two or three episodes: Lost, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, NYPD Blue, Six Feet Under, New Girl, The Shield, Heroes, and The Simpsons. Before I lose any more street cred, here's what I DO watch.

Shows I love right now, and am unashamed:

  • Game of Thrones - Trying furiously to finish the third book before Season 3 drops March 31st. In terms of production value, HBO is unmatched, and for a large-scale fantasy epic like this. The character work is fantastic, Peter Dinklage and Liam Cunningham in particular, and it's everything you could hope for in a premium cable show. And by "it's everything you could hope for in a premium cable show", I mean, "Boobs. Everywhere, boobs."
  • Mad Men - It's been too long, you sexist, lung-cancer incubating, letting-kids-play-with-plastic-bags, family littering-in-the-park, giving-a-lock-of-your-hair-to-a-ten-year-old, crazy-ass mess of a show.
  • Boardwalk Empire - HBO's grand scope of big-budget drama wins again, this time in 1920s Atlantic City, instead of Westeros. Season 3 was a bit of a mixed bag, but introduced the psychotic train-wreck Gyp Rosetti and set the stage for a game-changing Season 4.
  • Community - Forget The Big Bang Theory, this is the nerdiest show on television. No other show would commit to a three-year long joke about a twenty-year old movie, parody Ken Burns documentaries, A Fistful of Dollars, and every sitcom cliché that has ever existed. And the entire series, thus far, is available on Hulu Plus. Do yourself a favor: do the 7-day free trial of Hulu Plus, and watch every episode. Then, watch it on Thursday nights. Please.
  • The Walking Dead - If nothing else, seek out and watch the pilot episode. As a stand-alone zombie moment, it's tremendous. And the best part is, three more seasons (and counting), come right after. Word of warning if you're gonna start the series, or are a ways behind: Season 2 will slow down. But stick with it. It's worth it.
  • Archer - Should you be watching Archer? YUUUUUP.
The guilty pleasures:
  • GIRLS - Twenty-somethings, all of whom are super self-absorbed and vapid, acting as though all they care about is other people, and failing to see their own flaws in their friends, even though they all have the same dumbass problems? Count me in.
  • Whitney - Fuck you all, this show is funny.
  • Ghost Adventures - It's so stupid, uneventful, and scientifically flimsy. But dude...what if ghosts are real?
Losing steam, but I'm committed to the series:
  • How I Met Your Mother - It's at least two seasons too long at this point, but the first four seasons are sitcom gold. With only a season and a half to go, I'm sticking it out, and the first half of the current season has been a resurgence for the show. At the very least, find somebody with a Netflix account and watch Seasons 1-4. Okay, at the very very least, find the episode entitled "Slap Bet", and watch it.
  • True Blood - Cards on the table, I only got into this series because I have a girlfriend. But I've spent five fucking seasons watching this over-the-top bullshit, and I'm no quitter. Sookie Stackhouse is a big mess of terrible, and the plotlines since Episode 1 have been a convoluted mess, but it's a fairly entertaining convoluted mess. Plus, you know, boobs.
Watching, but lagging behind:
  • Treme - The Wire creator David Simon's ode to post-Katrina New Orleans is an intimate and relatable look into the world beyond Bourbon Street. I watched most of Season 1, and really enjoyed it. And for some reason, I stopped, and never made an effort to catch up. That was three years ago. I don't get it either. Maybe I'll get around to reacquainting myself; should I, readers that have watched more of it than I?
  • Homeland - Okay, this is only because I lost my ability to watch Showtime. But Homeland is awesome, at least the seven or so episodes I've watched.
  • It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - I don't even know where I am in this show; fortunately, every episode is a stand-alone, and it doesn't make any more or less sense to go in order. There are episodes I haven't seen yet, but I'm caught up on plot; they're all fucked up, stupid, and moderately racist.
  • Louie - Haven't watched since Season 1, even though it took me all of one day to start, and finish, that hilarious first season. And I've heard it only gets better. I'm thinking this should be a priority.
The classics (shows I love that aren't still making new episodes)
  • The Wire - If you haven't seen it, odds are someone has already yelled at you about it. So I won't do that. As a teacher, Season 4 is my favorite season, and the most powerful season of television I've ever watched. My girlfriend works in the media, and has an affinity for the sometimes-maligned Season 5. No rush, but you should watch this show at some point. I have the whole series on DVD, and will rent it to you for $10 per month, per season, not including shipping.
  • Arrested Development - It's coming back on Netflix. It might suck, it might be brilliant. Either way, the three seasons out right now are some of the best ever in television comedy.
  • M*A*S*H - I wasn't even alive when this show aired. Thanks syndication! Man, can you imagine having one chance, and only one chance, to watch a show?
  • The West Wing - It's Aaron Sorkin at his best; it isn't preachy (The Newsroom), confusing (Sports Night), or aimless (Studio 60). It's got one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled, and is perhaps the most powerful portrayal of the White House, in history.
  • Band of Brothers - I know, it's a miniseries. I don't care. It's an important fucking piece of television.
That's the list. I think. Now it's your turn. What am I watching that sucks? What am I NOT watching that is groundbreaking? What are YOU watching? Let us know in the comments!
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