Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Video: Top 10 TV Shows You Like The Best, a Tumblr Meme

Tumblr Meme: 10 Days of Television - 10 TV Shows You Like The Best

On Tumblr, the meme that this video was birthed from is actually supposed to be 10 different graphics made, one for each TV show, but I am a lazy person... so I decided to spend weeks hunting down clips, piecing them together, finding quotes, and adding sound design instead.

Since this is a blog, here's a little behind the scenes of 10 TV Shows You Like The Best (in order of appearance):

  • Better Off Ted: Quirky, off-the-wall, but generally heartfelt -- even if that heart was being turned into an experimental weapon -- "Better Off Ted" exemplified a kind of sitcom that elevated past its genre. It gets the honor of being a favorite thanks to killer dialogue, that the actors were able to deliver flawlessly every time. The characters were all just enough aware of their own oddities to keep the reactions greatly wry. Plus, Portia de Rossi. It was cancelled after two seasons, and I think it could've picked up steam with more.

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: This Joss Whedon classic was a staple of my teenage years, filling many a VHS tapes when I'd rush home to capture it. Witty dialogue has no better place than at the end of Whedon's pen. But Buffy had equal parts action, sentiment, and conflict. The titular character was both a hero and a woman, who grew up too fast for her life but at a pace where viewers could feel connected to her through the years. Plus, Spike. It ended on a seven year run, coming to a slightly sped up but at least planned conclusion.

  • Dollhouse: Another of Whedon's, "Dollhouse" was an examination in a humanity much more sinister than Buffy's. The truths of behavior and questions of morality it dug into were spectacular watching -- and there was some eye-candy to go along with it. Perhaps the best thing "Dollhouse" had to offer was its two unaired "Epitaph" episodes, showing what happened to the world after the events of the show, very apocalyptic-style. It was cancelled after two seasons.

  • Community: "Community" is a special snowflake full of wit, wry, and pop-culture weirdness. Epically self-aware and endlessly bemused by its own mythology, it's a whip-fast show that manages to be out-there but then pull you back with the all too realistic neuroses of its characters. Extreme things might happen, but there's a sense of actual personality in the denizens of Greendale that puts it past other shows just looking for a punchline. (Anyone sensing the theme of 'witty dialogue' in these yet?) Community is on-going. For now. Maybe.

  • Life: Representing the beloved genre of cop shows, "Life" takes the story of a former cop who's been wrongfully imprisoned for twelve years. On getting out, he returns right to the job, causing many people to question his motives -- and sanity. Damian Lewis carries this show with an amazing stride, assisted by a smooth story arc and quirky episode-to-episode crimes to solve. His odd behavior is a good sell, letting him be both sunny and then suddenly remind you that he's been in prison for over a decade. Also starring Sarah Shahi with a badge, so. It was cancelled after two seasons. (Pattern?)

  • Lost: "Lost" was its own little world for most. But I didn't come upon it from the beginning, instead being enticed in by a glimpse of what could be. Of course, then the epic mythology, symbolism, and intense adventure captured me whole-heartedly. It has its flaws, and its question, but "Lost" is a show you can really talk about. And talk about, and theorize about, and argue for and against; it outlives even its six seasons. Highlights include: Michael Emerson, Michael Emerson, Michael Emerson, and Henry Ian Cusick. And some other people.

  • Fringe: "Fringe" perfects a style of procedural mystery blended with overarcing story. It grips you into its science-fiction world and never lets go. Anna Torv, John Noble, Joshua Jackson, and the gang deliver masterful performances even when talking odd science gibberish. In this show is crafted a wonderful escape, while also humanizing it with the characters that have to discover these mysteries. Olivia Dunham is an FBI agent tasked with a phenomenon known as the "Pattern", odd unexplainable occurrences. She hires on Noble's Walter Bishop and son Peter, but it all proves a lot bigger than them -- or does it. "Fringe" is in its fourth season.

  • Carnivale: Speaking of sprawling worlds, "Carnivale" takes place in the Dust Bowl Era, which it artistically recreates with great scenery and effects. But all is not the same in this world as ours, for powerful supernatural forces are at work. This show has an amazingly deep background and expansive character development, but is not for those who need a thrill each episode. It has a definite slow-burn, day-to-day pace that will bore some. But the ride is worth it. Also, hey, it's pre-"White Collar" Tim DeKay (and so many other cool people). It was cancelled after two seasons (wtf), and it's obvious that it wasn't supposed to.

  • Pushing Daisies: Another quirky little piece that stands in its own genre, really. From creator Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls), "Pushing Daisies" is about a guy who can raise the dead, but that's about as morbid as it gets. Rather, PD relies on bright colors, fanciful outfits, and alliteration. It exists in a world trapped between modern times and the past, with occasional new technology paired alongside 50s outfits or language. The dialogue is again something to pay attention to, as each turn of the phrase is cleverly worked together. It was cancelled-- can you guess? After two seasons.

  • The 4400: 4400 people are abducted, and then returned on the same day, none having aged a moment since they left. That's the premise that "The 4400" purports. Each of these people return to very different problems, trying to return to life -- but they also have to deal with their newfound superhuman abilities. "The 4400" never tries to become too much, always grounded in the humanity of its characters, and the difficult decisions that must face a changing world where some are new and ostracized. The abilities -- while awesome -- are used more as a vehicle than a spectacle. Its finale remains my favorite episode of any to date. It was cancelled after four seasons; a strange blessing.

Picking ten television shows out of everything I watch was a difficult enough feat -- not to mention that new shows are starting every season, mid-season, and summer. But the 10 here will likely stand the test of time, and should all be tried at least for 1-4 episodes in.

If anyone's wondering how I picked "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2 as the song... it goes like this: I was driving, thinking about this meme, and the song came on the radio. I didn't know what it was, but I could imagine sweeping visuals to it. When I got back to work, I couldn't remember the lyrics for the life of me and spent a good fifteen minutes or more on the radio station's website, desperately clicking through pages of songs to try and see if any stuck out. Just as I was about to give up, the last page I clicked on yielded the U2 hit and I immediately knew. That felt enough like fate to use. (My remembering of the lyric was something like: 'go different way' or something about a river)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I should say that didn't watch the video because I'm trying to forget as much about Lost as I can so that when I finally watch it from beginning to end in one go on DVD I'll enjoy it as much as possible and I haven't seen any of the other shows but I just wanted to comment and agree wholeheartedly with what you said about Lost.

Probably not a particularly necessary comment but I like to take any opportunity I can to say how great Lost was. I miss it so.

And you're right, it was easy to talk about and that's probably what I miss most about it, though there are some shows that can be fun to blather on about it's not on the same as with Lost.