I am a television junkie. Have been my entire life and while the quality of television shows has diminished over the years, there are still some hidden gems no TV fan should miss. These shows are complete packages from the writing to the acting. Check back…the list can change at any time.
AJ’s Top 10 TV Shows (currently running–updated August 27, 2012):
1. JUSTIFIED (FX)
Timothy Olyphant in the role he was born to play…one of the best written characters on television.
2. SUPERNATURAL (WB)
Two words…SAM and DEAN (and Castiel makes three)
3. REVENGE (ABC)
My favorite new show of the 2011-12 season. A new twist on The Count of Monte Cristo, one of my favorite stories of all times. Cannot wait to see what new plot “Emily” has up her sleeve. Total guilty pleasure.
4. LONGMIRE (A&E)
A mix of old-west and modern day law enforcement. A quiet, unassuming and honorable sheriff maintaining law and order in Wyoming. This show grabbed from episode one.
5. NCIS (CBS)
This show gets better every year. The chemistry among the cast cannot be beat.
6. THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
Bazinga! Need I say more? Sheldon Cooper for President.
7. CASTLE (ABC)
A fun, old-fashioned crime show…humor, high-jinks and oh, okay. It’s Nathan Fillion as a single father of a teenage girl. Enough said!
8. HAWAII FIVE-O (CBS)
Beautiful scenery, fast-paced action-adventure with just as quick dialogue, and the biggest surprise for me…Scott Cann as Danno. And here I thought Alex O’Loughlin and Daniel Dae-Kim were the reasons to watch.
9. PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)
I’ve long been a fan of Jim Caviezel (Count of Monte Cristo, anyone?) and the combination of him and Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus from Lost) is phenomenal. Interesting premise with lots of twists and turns.
10. ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC)
A show that mixes classic fairy tales with the modern day world AND it’s written by the creators of LOST? Seriously, how can anyone NOT watch?! Plus, that sheriff is HOT!
11. SHERLOCK (BBC/Masterpiece Mystery)
Yes, I can count, but I HAD to put this amazing work of television on the list (and couldn’t think what to take off…that might change this season). I cannot count the number of times I’ve watched the premiere episode of both seasons one and two, but I can tell you, this Sherlock might just have ruined me for all others (sorry RDJ).
Sad to see go…
The chances of Season 3 of THE KILLING (AMC) are hanging by a Netflix thread. I found this slow-moving drama riveting with a phenomenal character examination of the main protagonist.
I was in the minority, but I really enjoyed TERRA NOVA.
Fallen off the list:
CRIMINAL MINDS : At one time near the top of my list, but in recent years, the show has become too disturbing, even for me. It’s at its best when focusing on the profilers.
GLEE: has become too inconsistent (and at times disturbing) to list as a favorite. The only saving grace is Chris Colfer’s Kurt. He breaks your heart and makes you smile all at the same time. I can’t wait to see what else this young actor does.
AJ’s Top 10 (ish) TV Shows (Deceased)
You never knew where it was going and some still don’t know where it ended up. Doesn’t matter. The ride was amazing.
Not every season was stellar, but Jack Bauer was a hero you could get behind every year…and I still wish we had one in real life.
3. Law and Order (the original)
I’ve seen every episode…can identify every episode within 20 seconds. While it lost its heart when Jerry Orbach died, it was still a study in American law. It will be missed.
4. Gilmore Girls
One of the best written shows on TV. Snappy, clever dialogue, great characters and a “will they, won’t they” story that played through the entire series.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Yes, I have a thing about strong female characters and they don’t get much tougher than Buffy. The show that proved Joss Whedon (creator/writer) is one of the best in the business.
Buffy’s spinoff…let’s forget the season with Connor (please) and remember SmileTime, one of the funniest episodes of TV I’ve EVER seen…“Is there a Gepetto in the house?”
Joss Whedon…a western in space…and…well, Nathan Fillion. Enough said.
8. Veronica Mars
Unique, smart, and very much missed. She put Nancy Drew to shame.
9. Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis
Notice I did not include Universe. And I won’t. The first two in the genre did it right…we care about the characters, especially when they’re killed off.
10. WKRP in Cincinnati
I had to put a comedy in…and this is my favorite of all time. Yes, I’m a child of the 70′s…and for those who remember this early 1980′s show…”I honestly thought turkeys could fly” is one of my favorite lines ever.
10-ish: The Closer
One of the most developed, flawed and gutsy female heroines ever to grace the screen. Plus she might just have saved the Ding Dong industry.
The British Mystery series is exceptional in portraying England during WWII.
Prime Suspect (all of them)
Helen Mirren before she was Helen Mirren. Established the incredibly flawed Jane Tennison as one of the best female characters ever written for the small screen. She set the standard for a new breed of television cop. Would there have been a CLOSER without this series of movies?
BBC’s Pride and Prejudice
Yes, the one with Colin Firth. Is there another worth mentioning? The pond. Need I say more?
The sort-of-spin-off from the X-Files few remember…but the character of Frank Black is one of the most complex TV has ever seen. Creepy, sometimes terrifying, but always riveting.
Jesse Stone TV Movies (CBS)
Based on the Jesse Stone series of novels by Robert Parker, the movies star Tom Selleck in what I think is the 2nd greatest role of his career (Magnum being the first). Talk about atmosphere and character analysis…these movies are great.
The Brits do not shy away from gripping, in your face flawed characters and Luther is no exception. If you’re looking for a show ripe with internal conflict, you must watch this show (BBC–warning–not for the faint of heart).
I love westerns, and, language aside, this is one of the most realistic and gut-wrenching shows ever to appear on screen. Plus this show introduced us to Timothy Olyphant and reminded us how amazing Ian MacShane is as an actor. (HBO/DVD–warning–explicit language)
Disturbing on so many levels with an interesting twist–the main detective has a serious case of OCD. I’m always thrilled when a crime drama can put a new spin on things. This task force uses the history of crime to help solve current cases. As Spock would say, fascinating.
Come on! It’s MERLIN!! New look at the classic story…originality abounds.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (New Version)
As a huge fan of the original, I was less than thrilled to hear they were remaking the series. Updated, raw, thought-provoking and dead-on brilliant, this version examines everything from the human condition, morality in times of war and the power of hope and faith. Not for the faint at heart, but a must see if you’re serious about theme and character.
WEST WING (NBC)
Politics aside, no other show has come close to the level of detail when depicting the White House and its occupants. Did it lose its way? Sure…all shows do at some point, but it still makes you see the human side (good and bad) of politicians and those who believe they can make a difference.