The more new television shows I watch, the more I think about what makes me really love a show. With every new show I watch, I also want to turn everyone around me into a fan, because I really enjoy sharing the shows I love with the people I love. This list isn’t quite in order, but here is a look at the things that make me love a TV show and reasons that you should watch them too.
- Show Title: Parks and Recreation
Why I Love It: This show makes me happy every time I watch it. I love Leslie’s optimism and passion, I love the way her relationship with Ben has grown, and I love that her dreams are accepted rather than ridiculed. The show and the fictional town it is based in can be over-the-top and ridiculous but that’s part of its charm for me. While it is about the Parks and Recreations department of Pawnee and now the City Council and we do see plots related to the functioning of each, at its heart, it is a show about a group of characters who are all very different but who all care about each other (even if some won’t always admit it) and won’t hesitate to help each other when needed. It’s a show about friendship, having big dreams and making a difference and its one that I find incredibly inspiring.
Why You Should Watch It: If nothing I wrote in my paragraph about why I love it appeals to you, then this probably isn’t the show for you. If it does, then you should watch for the incredible cast. Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Retta, and Jim O’Heir work so well together. You should watch for Tom’s weird names for everything, Treat Yo Self Day, Ben’s geeky outbursts, Jerry’s beautiful family, Ron Swanson, and Leslie and Ann’s friendship. It is an incredible show and it deserves more appreciation (I’m looking at you awards committees).
- Show Title: Battlestar Galactica (2004 reboot)
Why I Love It: This show really has everything I could want from a show – an extraordinarily talented cast, incredible characters, a gorgeous score, and content that was made to be analyzed and explored on a deeper level. So much of the show was extremely well done and in addition to being one of my favorite shows, it is also one of the best that I have ever seen. The characters really make this show for me. They feel like actual people who were put in an impossible situation and to see them grow and change over the course of the series was incredibly rewarding. This show has some incredibly powerful moments that made this show both technically good and emotionally engaging. These are characters you can love and cheer for, while still disapproving of some of the things they are doing. The “villains” aren’t one-dimensional but rather are fully developed and relate-able despite their actions. It’s an exploration of humanity, both the good and the bad.
Why You Should Watch It: This is one of those shows that everyone should watch because there is something for everyone. If you watch for strong (meaning well-written, not physically strong) characters and the relationships between them, this is the perfect show for you. There are so many characters that I think it would be extremely difficult to not find one that you liked. If you like the idea of chosen families, again this is the perfect show for you. If you like your fiction to pose interesting questions, this is still the show for you. It looks at what it means to be alive, the treatment of prisoners, religion, military life, war, and so many more topics. There is so much to analyze within the show and it is so enjoyable to watch while you do. It is full of action and suspense, but it doesn’t shy away from quietly powerful moments either, so no matter which you prefer, you’ll find something you enjoy.
- Show Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Why I Love It: The combination of clever writing, use of quirky dialogue, and loveable characters made me fall in love with this show. This was the first Joss Whedon show I had ever watched, and while I dislike some of his writing choices at times, I see why he has the reputation that he does. There are several episodes of the show that are truly fantastic. The characters grew overtime, sometimes in ways that I didn’t like, but in ways that I felt were believable for the characters. The later seasons in particular became very arc-centric, which I really loved. More than anything, I think I just happened to watch this show at the right time in my life. Something about the show and the characters resonated with me and have made me extremely emotionally attached to this show.
Why You Should Watch It: This show did so much for the teen drama. The monsters on the show were intended to work as metaphors about issues that affect ordinary teenagers, rather than only a vampire slayer and her friends, which helped ground the show a little bit. It has some of the best arcs that I have ever seen, particularly in seasons 3 and 5. “The Gift” is still one of the best season finales I have ever seen and “The Body” and “Once More With Feeling” are brilliant examples of what television can be. Not all the episodes are amazing, but the ones that are really make this show worth it. As a side note, it also did a lot for the way television is viewed in academics, especially television aimed at teens. It sparked the idea of “Buffy studies” and even has it’s own academic journal. It’s a show that accomplished a lot in the 7 years that it was on and in my opinion, it’s one that every fan of television should at least try.
- Show Title: Gilmore Girls
Why I Love It: Stars Hollow seems like it would be a fun place to live. From the eccentric townspeople to their abundance of festivals, I fell in love with this fictional setting. I wanted to have movie nights with Lorelai and Rory, eat at Luke’s diner, and take dance classes from Miss Patty. I loved the simplicity of the plot in the first few seasons and even when things got considerably more complicated, I had already become attached to the characters and I wanted to see them get their happy ending. It’s one of the few shows that I watched live at the time, and despite the fact that Rory was a couple years older than me, I grew up with her. It’s an incredibly nostalgic show for me and one I know I will always love.
Why You Should Watch It: The banter between the characters is what makes this show great. Everyone worked so well together and in particular, the natural dynamic between Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and Alexis Bledel (Rory) was perfect for the show. You could believe that they were a slightly unconventional mother-daughter duo. The dialogue is quick and full of pop-culture references, as is typical with Amy Sherman-Palladino, so if that style appeals to you, you’ll love this show. The characters aren’t perfect and they make their share of mistakes as the series goes on, but you will love them and root for them because they aren’t perfect, which makes them feel more realistic.
- Show Title: Boy Meets World
Why I Love It: This was the first show that I watched that made me feel attached to the characters, so it’ll always be special to me. Cory and Topanga’s relationship solidified my belief that love could happen at any age, despite all the obstacles that may arise. The lessons that Mr. Feeny taught to Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and Eric, he also taught to me and everyone else watching. This show made me laugh, made me cry, and made me believe in the strength of love and friendship in a way few other shows have.
Why You Should Watch It: Despite it’s age, the underlying messages of the show are still relevant today. While it may always mean a little more to those of us who watched it growing up in the 90s, it would still be enjoyable for new viewers, especially the later seasons. The episode “And Then There Was Shawn” does a fantastic job playing with horror movie tropes, blending humor with a touch of horror. The series finale is one of my favorites mainly for the last scene with Mr. Feeny (fans of the show will know the one I’m talking about). It’s a little cheesy at times and isn’t the most sophisticated of comedies, considering that it was meant for young teenagers, but it’s still a really good, heartwarming show.