I have so many shows that I love that I couldn’t resist making another list to talk about more of my favorites. I don’t love these 5 quite as much I love the shows in my first post although I still highly recommend them all.
- Show Title: Dollhouse
Why I Love It: I love the premise of the show. It’s creepy and raises ethical questions about the role of science as well as questions about what makes a person a person, so it appeals to me on that level. It also has some fantastic cast members. Amy Acker (my favorite actress in the Whedonverse) does an amazing job, as do Enver Gjokaj and Fran Kranz. It also has my favorite romance of any of Joss Whedon’s shows.
Why You Should Watch It: If the only thing you watch this show for is Enver’s acting, it would be worth it. He does such a fantastic job and he really should be more famous than he is. If for some reason, that isn’t enough, then watch for the fact that it does a really good job starting and ending such a big story in 26 episodes. The first five episodes aren’t nearly as strong as other episodes, but once you get into the mythology of the Dollhouse and the Actives, the story really starts to pick up. The story could have gone on longer had the ratings warranted it, but I think Joss did a good job wrapping things up in just a few episodes so it doesn’t leave you with a huge cliffhanger that will never be resolved. Also, if you’re a Firefly fan, you’ll enjoy the appearances by Alan Tudyk and Summer Glau and the Firefly reference in season 2. There are also some Battlestar Galactica references and appearances by Jamie Bamber and Michael Hogan (plus Tahmoh Penikett is in the main cast) for BSG fans.
- Show Title: Lie to Me
Why I Love It: I loved the idea of the show before I started watching. My mom recommended it since it was related to psychology, and initially, that was what I loved about the show. Micro-expressions are so interesting to me and the show did an excellent job of highlighting them visually so I felt like I was learning things. Then I started to fall in love with the characters and my love for this show really emerged. The dynamic and chemistry between Cal and Gillian is just amazing. Besides the fact that Gillian Foster is probably in my top 10 favorite TV characters of all time, it was just so nice to see a relationship with such a strong foundation of respect and trust.
Why You Should Watch It: If you like procedurals, this is a really fun twist to them. There is always a case to solve, but it isn’t always a crime, which can be a nice change of pace. Like most of the other shows on my list of favorites, this is a show that should be watched for the characters and their relationships. Cal is an incredibly interesting character to watch. He shares some qualities (such as abrasiveness) with Dr. House, although he’s much more willing to admit or show that he cares about someone or something. Gillian is his perfect balance. If you tend to gravitate toward awesome female characters (like I do), then you are sure to love her. She’s strong and doesn’t shy away from also being feminine, which is something I particularly love. If you like couples like Booth/Brennan or Castle/Beckett then Cal and Gillian should give you a dynamic you’ll love.
- Show Title: Parenthood
Why I Love It: It makes me feel such a range of emotions every week. I don’t think any of the other shows on this list are quite as successful at truly making me experience the emotions of the characters as this show is. The Bravermans feel like a real family, thanks to both the outstanding chemistry of the cast and the writing. Each character of this extensive cast has their own story to tell and despite the number of storylines, it all flows together. Jason Katims, the other writers, and the cast have done an amazing job making these characters feel like people you might actually know and that is what makes this such a good show.
Why You Should Watch It: It’s the type of show that just keeps getting better as you fall in love with the characters more and more. This current season has been its best yet, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally getting some recognition and love. If you like character-driven shows, there isn’t a better one on television right now. This show is all about the characters, the challenges they face, their relationships with each other and how they grow as people and as a family.
- Show Title: Friday Night Lights
Why I Love It: Like Parenthood, this show feels very realistic. In the pilot episode, there was a moment where they got the emotion so completely right that I understood why this show is so heavily praised. I’m about halfway through season 4 right now, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I miss some of the older characters, but I feel like they all got satisfying resolutions to their story so it felt natural to let them go. The way they have handled graduating characters has been really well done and adds to the realism for me. I have a hard time watching just one episode of the show because I always want to see more of what happens in their world.
Why You Should Watch It: It’s very different from a lot of other shows (Parenthood is the one that comes closest, which is unsurprising given their shared creator) and that’s what makes it so good. It’s not explicitly positive in the sense that everything always goes smoothly for the characters, but there is this underlying sense of hope and belief in the goodness and potential of people. Of all the showrunners I have watched, I think Jason Katims is the best at understanding who his characters are and moving them in directions that make sense and allow them to grow.
- Show Title: Castle
Why I Love It: Kate Beckett. She is one of those characters that I loved instantly and my love for her has only continued to grow. I love her passion for her work, her friendships with those she works with, and her banter with Castle. Emotionally-guarded characters have always appealed to me and she fits that description perfectly, so it’s not too surprising that I love her. Even disregarding my love for Beckett, I still really love this show. I love the dedication that Andrew Marlowe puts into the relationship between Castle and Beckett and the meaning behind their small gestures (like Castle bringing Beckett coffee). They are so different, but neither tries to make the other feel like they are wrong for being the way they are and they have such a deep respect for each other. It’s my favorite type of relationship to see on TV and I have loved seeing its progression over this season.
Why You Should Watch It: It’s a really good show. Their serious episodes are often fantastically acted and written, but they also have fun episodes that just make you smile and feel good. As mentioned above, its a show that has a lot of thought put into it and you can tell the writers really love these characters. As with most shows I love, it’s a show that you watch for the characters. It also happens to have a fantastic series-long arc, with each arc episode being better than the last.