Season Pass

Because of my recent Tivo adventures, I've had to re-enter my season passes twice. Since I wrote it down the second time, I figured I might as well post it, in the form of micro-reviews. "jwz uses and endorses television."

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Things I Unashamedly Enjoy:

  • Galactica -- some of the best science fiction ever on TV. It took a while for the initial miniseries to grab me, but the weeklies have been consistently great. I was worried that they were going to go to a very dumb place with the human-form Cylons, but they went to a really good place instead.
  • Carnivàle -- After Galactica, this is my favorite show at the moment. The first season was fun but somewhat incomprehensible, since it moved very slowly. The second season has picked up the pace a lot. Clancy Brown is what makes it; that guy is terrifying.

  • Lost -- It took me a while to "get" this show. From the first few episodes, I had a totally wrong idea of what the show was about. I thought it was about "how do you make fire, and what's that monster in the forest?" But then I finally figured out that it's actually about how all these people were unknowingly connected before they got there. And there's some crazy numerology thing going on, too.

  • Veronica Mars -- I just started watching this one recently. Usually I find high school dramas intolerable, but this one reminds me a little bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except without monsters.

  • The West Wing -- This is my favorite fairy tale. I'm still catching up in re-runs, so I haven't seen the current season yet. I understand it's gotten worse. But the first N seasons are incredible.

  • The Daily Show -- The opening "news" segment is consistently brilliant. Stewart's interviews are often entertaining. I find the other third pretty unremarkable, especially the "ambush interviews", which are almost always a "Jackass" level of stupid.

  • Mythbusters -- These guys have the best job ever.

  • King of the Hill -- I got bored with The Simpsons more than decade ago, but I find KotH to still be funny on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes they phone it in (usually with the "Peggy does something insane" episodes) but usually it makes me laugh.

  • Drawn Together -- Oh man, I hope there's a second season. Vicious hilarity.

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex -- I've only seen a few episodes of this so far, but it's been pretty awesome. It's a prequel to the first movie, I guess.

  • Justice League Unlimited -- These have been ok so far, but uneven. There have been some really good ones, and some total losers. I think I enjoyed it more when it was the core group, instead of the "sub-team of the week" show. Still, it's an adequate (but not-quite-as-good) follow-up to the previous cluster of Batman / Superman shows by the same folks.

  • Teen Titans -- Despite the goofy anime style, this is a pretty alright show.

  • The Dead Zone -- I was enjoying this, but I think it's gone. Did it get cancelled?

  • Dead Like Me -- Likewise, apparently gone. And I am sad. As this was a great show.

Things I Watch, But That Anger Me:

    (Don't ask me why I watch them. I know I should just stop.)

  • Stargate SG-1 -- I've loved this show for years, but this most recent season-and-a-half has kind of blown. I find the human-form replicators to be totally shark-jumping. It's the same error Star Trek made with the Borg Queen: both the Borg and the replicators were most interesting when they were an utterly alien intelligence. They both suck once you turn them into just another moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash.
  • Stargate Atlantis -- This show started out at "suck" and has climbed the ladder up to "only barely tolerable". The "space vampires" are just plain dumb, dumb, dumb, and I don't give a shit about any of the characters. Also, I think they're totally fucking up the continuity of the Ancients' civilization: they can't seem to make up their minds whether they were a going concern for ten thousand years, or four million. SG-1 seemed to have a pretty slavish commitment to their continuity and backstory, so it's a drag to see Atlantis (apparently) making a mess of it all.

  • Enterprise -- Oh man, it's so bad. I can't wait to see just how appalling it gets (as promised).

  • 24 -- God, I hate this show. After throwing things at the screen for the entirety of the last season, I finally unsubscribed. But one night I was out of stuff to watch, and I got sucked back in again. I used to enjoy the La Femme Nikita series, and if you squint just right, this is like a stupider, shark-jumpier remake of that. At least they finally got rid of the Idiot Daughter.

Things I Don't Watch, But Feel Like Making Fun Of Anyway:

  • The Batman -- This is so fucking terrible. It's supposed year-two-ish, I guess, but they left out all the anger. This is probably the most pathetic characterization of Batman since "Superfriends." Oh, and Joker is some kind of prancing mute idiot with dreadlocks. Stay away.
  • Tru Calling -- I watched two episodes of this with low expectations, and they were met. Eliza Dushku ("Faith" from Buffy, least favorite character ever) plays someone who's super power appears to be "Groundhog Day". She is, surprisingly, slightly less irritating than she was on Buffy, but they made up for it by making the entire supporting cast even more irritating. I fast-forwarded through 80%+ of it, but still felt the hate.

  • CSI -- I've only seen two episodes of this. It appears to be about emotionless robots with magnifying vision who solve crimes by sending samples to the lab and then stone-facedly waiting for the humans to confess. It's fucking dreadful. One of the robots is played by one of the guys from To Live and Die in LA, so I keep expecting him to beat a prostitute to death or something, but he doesn't.

  • Deadwood -- People rave about this, but I haven't been able to sit through more than ten minutes of it. It's like watching paint dry. Dirty, foul-mouthed paint, but paint nonetheless.

  • Alias -- The most remarkable thing about this show is that it's even more monumentally stupid than "24". That should not even be possible.

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79 Responses:

  1. solarbird says:

    The Dead Zone
    Renewed for season four, which is about ready to start airing. I think. Press release here, and at one point they had a start air time for it, but I don't see it now.

    • solarbird says:

      Also, Galactica and Lost are my two current shows. They are the love. Dead Zone isn't bad and my housemates watch it, but left to my own devices, I don't turn it on.

  2. lilmissnever says:

    All that I discovered by following that Enterprise-related link was that there are a lot of Star Trek and B5 geeks reading your LJ. That was an experience uncomfortably akin to attending a science fiction convention. I feel dirty.

    A cheesy sci-fi habit is like writing poetry. Sure, plenty of people do it, but it ought to be indulged in the privacy of one's own home and never, ever discussed.

    • grahams says:

      A cheesy sci-fi habit is like writing poetry. Sure, plenty of people do it, but it ought to be indulged in the privacy of one's own home and never, ever discussed.

      That's a fantastic analogy... =)

  3. avva says:

    I think you have a rose-tinted recollection of La Femme Nikita. It was about as stupid as Alias, either of them rather more stupid (which indeed should not even be possible) than "24".

  4. gytterberg says:

    I really want to like the Ghost in the Shell show, but it's just so boring. It has clever plot elements but crappy plots, great characters but no development or interaction, good animation but not great and too much CGI. Cool guns but no shooting. Tonight's episode ("Eraser" or "Erased" or something) was pretty good but most (e.g. the one where 95% of the episode takes place in a futuristic IRC channel where nobody does anything but talk about the Laughing Man) set up an interesting plot concept and then go absolutely nowhere. GitS2:Innocence tries to do a lot of the same things but actually pulls them off relatively well.

    Have you watched Venture Brothers? (No official website seems to exist; I'm sure you've heard of it) I thought it was awful until I saw a few episodes. Going from this list alone you'd probably like it.

    • korgmeister says:

      Sounds alot like early Greg Egan writings =P
      Except with an animator.

      • gytterberg says:

        /me looks up who that is

        Sounds about right.

        • korgmeister says:

          Yeah, his early writings were characterised by brilliant ideas stifled by crap characters.

          Later on he decided to embrace transhumanistic concepts more radically in his writings, while improving his characterisations. To the point where lowered expectations and increased abilities found a meeting place.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, the "IRC" episode was pretty weak, but I think that was uncharacteristic (of the dozen or so I've seen so far, anyway.) Did you see the one where the AI-spider-tanks are talking about humans fear of cyborgization, and are worried that they're going to be scrapped for being too independent, so they start talking like "I. Am. A. Robot." to try and seem less threatening? That one was brilliant.

      It's a little talky, but so were both of the movies. I think it works.

      Haven't heard of Venture Bros.

      • gytterberg says:

        I can't decide if I really like the cat-tank-things or if they remind me of Jar Jar Binks.

        Venture Brothers is... simplest way to describe it is probable "Drawn Together style take on Johnny Quest." It's fucking hilarious. This description from this page is reasonably accurate:

        Hank and Dean Venture, with their father Doctor Venture and faithful bodyguard Brock Samson, go on wild adventures facing megalomaniacs, zombies, and suspicious ninjas, all for the glory of adventure. Or something like that.

        Hank and Dean Venture are relatively identical twins, only born six minutes apart, who live for the thrill of adventure. Their dated vocabulary and high-pitched voices are intentionally annoying, especially to their father, Doctor Venture, a boy genius turned mediocre scientist who hates everything about his life.

        In the midst of this conflict is Brock Samson, a man of swift neck-breaking action. Preferring to resort to his brawn instead of his brain, Brock is simple but effective, and does a better job at taking care of the kids than Doctor Venture, as long as they leave his treasured Dodge Charger alone.

        It's genuinely funny and intelligently written, the voice acting is great, and it has a sharp sense of humor and some quality animated slapstick. It's on Adult Swim/Cartoon Network Sunday and Thursday nights at 12:30 something.

        • clubjuggler says:

          I liked the tachikomas (the "cat-tank-things") in season 1, but in season 2 they've added "agent mode" (allowing them to separate their consciousness and travel the "net") which is fairly annoying.

          I actually liked the "IRC" episode.

      • pvck says:

        Plus, J.G. Thirwell (of Foetus, etc) does the theme song, so it can't be all bad.

  5. starjewel says:

    Hahaha.. you know, i've heard so many people raving about both Alias and 24, and I tried *so* hard to like them, but I just can't. It's not like I need to watch more TV anyway. And it's nice to see someone else has a season pass to Mythbusters. Most everyone I know just watches it if it's on.

    • zonereyrie says:

      I think everyone I know with a TiVo (quite a few) records Mythbusters. :-)

      This is my list:

    • jerronimo says:

      I have Mythbusters, Monster Garage, American Chopper and American Hot Rod in my season pass list. I just watch them after the wife goes to sleep. hehe.

      • taffer says:

        My wife tried really hard to not like Mythbusters, but was sucked in by their awesome job and the way they go about it.

        I think the episode where they couldn't get skunks to spray them was what did it.

    • rodgerd says:

      Alias belongs to the category of television designed to appeal to an audience that, were it a little more self-aware, would realise what it *actually* wanted was to go and find a dominatrix, instead of sublimating its collective fantasies in the forms of alleged teenage girls who know martial arts.

  6. otterley says:

    You really need to add Robot Chicken to your "must see" list, if you haven't already. Trust me on this one.

    • jerronimo says:

      "And that's how season 8 was going to start..."

      • thomtoffner says:

        but be careful... Cartoon Network occasionally has program glitches like the one that caused mythtv to record Squidbillies instead of Robot Chicken the first time I tried to record it. Robot Chicken is stop motion action figures. If it doesn't look that that, it probably isn't the right show.

        • jwz says:

          Oh, that. I watched 30 seconds of that once. It was fucking moronic. I'm never taking advice from you people.

          • thomtoffner says:

            Well, as a 15 minute long 'sketch' show, the likelyhood of seeing something good in 30 seconds is pretty low. Moronic is a pretty good description, but there is supposedly some really funny stuff peppered without. Or so I've heard.

            As a note, I wasn't actually recommending it, just warning of the possiblity of recording even more moronic program accidentally and thinking it's the wrong thing.

          • kurtm says:

            Whereas it's a sketch show, it's hit and miss. The second episode I thought was fairly weak. And some of the jokes are pathetic. Fortunately, the really awful stuff is generally over in less than 30 seconds.

            • jwz says:

              Actually, I may have been thinking of a different show starring stop-motion action figures. Can there possibly be two? I think the one I saw wasn't sketches, but an ongoing plot. (Or maybe I just saw an exceptionally long, unfunny sketch.)

              • kurtm says:

                Very possibly. After watching the first episode and finding it hillarious, I sat my girlfriend down to watch episode with me. Two thirds of the episode was stupid and not funny. The last part was better... but I turned to her and said "The first episode was *much* better".

                I love the show overall, but it can definitely be hit and miss.

                • otterley says:

                  So far I think "Gold Dust Gasoline" is the best episode yet. It finally reveals why there are no unicorns, and what happens when Speed Racer takes on K.I.T.T., The Bandit and the Duke boys.

              • otterley says:

                Maybe you accidentally tuned into Davey and Goliath on TBN.

                • jwz says:

                  Um, no. The thing I saw had GI Joes and Barbies and stuff riding around in cars on a kitchen table. Some of them were melted.

                  • holywar says:

                    Sounds like Action League Now. It used to be a skit on Kablam!, but was apparently popular enough to make its own series. I still like it, but it was better when it was a piece of another show; it didn't get stretched as thin.

  7. deadmoose says:

    There's one thing that really irks me about those two: The Asgard.

    Okay, so here you have these super-powerful aliens, who over time have grown to really get along with the humans (willing to repeatedly suck stuff out of MacGuyver's head when needed, put Earth in the protected-planet treaty, etc), and have grown to really owe us one (ignoring all the other cases when they've saved Thor himself, or managed to help stave off a major replicator attack, how about just a few episodes ago where they supposedly destroyed ALL the replicators?)

    So for a while, I guess they really couldn't help the humans out at all because of the terms of that treaty with the Goa'uld, but clearly that's over now, since they've been handing out technology for the Prometheus and Daedalus like candy. And we've seen how Thor can, on a whim, leap around between galaxies to beam people out of a room mid-conversation.

    Doesn't it seem like MAYBE they could go "Uh, hey, Thor buddy. So, we've saved your ass enough times, do you think that maybe, just maybe, we could talk you into running a shuttle service between Earth and Atlantis every once in a while? At least just this once to try and save their lives/keep them from having to destroy the city that once belonged to those friends of yours who've all ascended?" Or at least, hit them up for some info about building new ZPMs, or even just those one-shot generators like they used to do their first 8 symbol address? (And on that topic, I just watched a rerun I'd recorded that made it sound like they figured out how to make those work in season 3, but I guess they've brushed that under the rug)

    Shields? Sure. Hyperdrives? Sure. Transporters? Sure. A ride to the airport next tuesday? Whoa now, I don't think I can spare that.

    It just really shatters so much of the premise of Atlantis for me, especially considering the kinds of stuff they could accomplish if they had all of the Area 51 staff poking at stuff from that city, rather than leaving it all up to a couple guys with funny accents.

    • primroseport says:

      Ive only seen a few episodes of Atlantis, so I'm mostly referring to SG1.

      My biggest problem with the show is how they ignored the language dilemma. I love SG1, and I really want to forgive them for this, but it's hard. I understand that they can't spend the first ten minutes of episode getting Daniel or someone else to learn the language of some new race, but there's got to be something, some super-techno, science magic that can at least make us feel comfortable when a never-before-seen people strike up conversations with sg1 the moment they set foot through the stargate.

      Star Trek had the universal translator--impossible, but it was the science magic that filled in the language gap. Couldn't sg1 recover some Ancient technology in the first season that helps them decode languages? Some crystaline computer that transmits to implants in their ears or something, a device that uses marvelous, unimaginable technology to allow understanding between First Contact peoples. Perhaps it works better amongst homo sapiens than true aliens, perhaps they learn to use the device to its full potential later on in the series, I don't know.

      But something.

      • jwz says:

        What's even funnier is that it's only people on other planets who all speak English. In the season finale, they went back in time to ancient Egypt and Daniel had to do all the interpreting again.

        Did you see the "Wormhole Extreme" episode? They used that to point out every stupid hole that the writers were embarassed about, it was great.

        Farscape played around with this a little more cleverly; the "translator microbes" that let you understand other languages but not speak them, so they had a few plot elements that revolved around that one-sidedness.

        • primroseport says:

          Indeed I know about the farscape microbes--clever idea!

          I have yet to see the wormhole extreme episode, and I definitely will, because that one sounds hilarious

      • deadmoose says:

        Yeah, I've generally learned to tune that sort of thing out in science fiction. I've got mixed feelings about whether or not they should bother coming up with some contrived explanation for how it all works, since those are generally annoying too.

        The biggest part of that particular type of problem that bugs me: Everyone speaks english, but still writes in bizarre alien languages. But somehow, everyone can read the strange squiggles still (unless it's a plot point that particular time that they can't: see for instance, how everyone is fine monkeying with the controls of an Asgard ship, but then an episode later, it's a horrible pain for everyone that Daniel's not around to translate something written by the Ancients)

        • primroseport says:


          Well, I tune it out pretty well, but it still nags at me. You can come up with a contrivance, and then have it become almost invisible (much like the universal translator).

          But I guess the problem with sg1 is that part of the original movie's charm was the translation element... the nerdy paleo-linguist helping a combat unit navigate alien lands. When the show keeps falling back on decoding languages, it's hard for us not to cringe at the "yo, what's up?" dialogue that pops up between sg1 and a new race before the first commercial break even occurs

      • hymie says:

        Are you kidding? I *loved* the way they handled the language dilemma. The first (second) episode of season one of SG1, they crafted this nifty translator tablet to help teach any possible aliens English and then *poof* the first 'alien' spoke fluent English. Jackson shot a puzzled look at O'Neal, O'Neal shrugged his shoulders and that was it.

        Aliens magically speak English. Which is no different than translator virus/computers/fish. It's all FM. SG1 just had the courage to fess up to it.

  8. strspn says:

    I can't believe you aren't a Family Guy guy.

    That and Galactica together will do it for me, thank you.

    • jwz says:

      I've only seen a couple episodes; it didn't grab me.

      • 33mhz says:

        It took a while for me to get into it. There are a few episodes I don't like, but the high points made me glad I'd bothered to stick with it.

      • spoonyfork says:

        After y2k takes out the world they rebuild their city. "We can build two Denny's so we can say, let's not go to that one lets go to the good one." Ooo.. still funny. Give it another try.

  9. chromal says:

    Given what you've listed as likable (wholeheartedly agree on Battlestar) and bad, you might want to check out the new series, 'Eyes,' apparently on ABC, though I wouldn't know, thanks to the magic of alt.binaries.multimedia. Since it airs on Wednesdays at 10pm, and the first ep was this last Wednesday, the 'net may be your best bet.

    • jwz says:

      Wow. I watched about 10 minutes of an episode of that tonight, and that was some of the stinkiest shit I have ever seen on television.

      • chromal says:

        Ouch, not much of a hook, I guess. It seemed good because of the many twists at the end than whatever was going on in the exposition, but.. er, sorry it wasted your time.

  10. amberley says:

    Thanks for your show list! If you like West Wing have you seen Sports Night, also by Aaron Sorkin? No longer on the air, but thankfully on DVD. I really liked it, and I don't even like sports! Now if someone would just come out with DVD sets for American Gothic and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr!

    I'd also suggest checking out Full Metal Alchemist which airs just before Ghost in the Shell: SAC except that it's already up to episode 20 of 26 and likely to be incomprehensible, but maybe Cartoon Network will rerun it from the top after it finishes.

    I really like Deadwood but then I really liked Firefly too so maybe I just have a thing for Westerns with a lot of swearing. Or maybe it's the compelling evil of Ian McShane, or perhaps people getting fed to pigs.

    And how can you make fun of Tru Calling but not Point Pleasant? I suppose you can't make fun of everything that needs it, someone else has to carry some of the load.

    • jwz says:

      Haven't seen Sports Night, but it's been recommended before. I'm suspicious, because I hate sports. I loved Firefly, but never saw the appeal of Brisco.

      Point Pleasant has already been cancelled (after what, 5 episodes?), so I figured making fun of that was a waste of breath.

      I tend to disregard all anime recommendations, since there's so vanishingly little of it that's any good, and yet so many fetishists who will recommend anything with big eyes or robots.

      • samidha says:

        I am an anime-hater for exactly that reason, but I really enjoy Full Metal Alchemist. I find it really dark compared to other anime.

        Just sayin'. :)

      • cyeh says:

        You really should see Sports Night. It takes on place on an ESPN-like show, but it's not really about sports. It's more about running a Sports show and the people working on it, in as much as 'West Wing' is about running the country and the people.

        Sorkin also brought his A game to the dialogue.

      • remaker says:

        Well, don't let the fact that you hate sports turn you off Sports Night. That like not watching West Wing because you hate C-SPAN. The issue at hand is all of the behind-the-scenes human interaction.

        Also, I'm kind of surprised that you don't watch Arrested Development. But maybe you get exposed to enough human relationship dysfunction as a club owner.

      • usufructer says:

        I too hate sports, but it was one of my favorite shows ever. The set of the show is a sports news show, but otherwise it's only incindental to the plots.

    • I only ever saw maybe 1.5 episodes of American Gothic, but that "someone's at the door" sequence was one of the freakiest things I've ever seen.

    • Yes! American Gothic was great. So creepy.

  11. baconmonkey says:

    my life has been filled with so much less anger when I stopped caring about what the Consumer Training Device wants me to care about. mine exists exclusively as a DVD and VHS terminal. Granted, this does leave me far less jaded to the tripe it spews, such that talk shows and commercials pouring out of the TV at the laundromat can reduce me to drooling zombie status pretty easily.

  12. bdu says:

    I used to enjoy the La Femme Nikita series, and if you squint just right, this is like a stupider, shark-jumpier remake of that.

    Ouch. I watched LFN all the way through, but half-wincing through most of the last couple of seasons. You had to *like* the cheese...

  13. cyeh says:

    West Wing did suffer a hit after Aaron Sorkin left. It fell from 'consistantly awesome' to 'ocassionally excellent'. The pattern over the last three seasons is that they save the best 4 episodes for the finale.

    Still, I'd take West Wing over 90% of the crap on television.

  14. The ads on the subway seem to say that Dead Like Me has another season starting April 15. But I can't find any mention of this on the web. Odd. Then there is the possibility, that my memory, which is often failing, has failed.

  15. Lost, Veronica Mars, and Dead Like Me: all good choices.

    I really should see BSG sometime, huh? I've been hearing really good things, but I don't have time for another show right now. Maybe over the summer, if they rerun it. Or I fire up the cable modem.

    • backup10 says:

      How good is Veronica Mars?

      It's the only show from the UPN/CBS conglomerate to land on Entertainment Weekly's list of top ten shows of 2004.

      Veronica Mars won the E! Online Save One Show poll with an astounding 56% of the votes. Arrested Development came in second with 9% of the vote.

      When given a choice between voting for Veronica Mars or Marti Noxon's Point Pleasant in the above mentioned poll, members of overwhelmingly voted for Veronica Mars. (Marti Noxon was a writer and producer for Buffy.)

      It is the highest scoring (based on recapper and user grades) show this season at Television without Pity.

      The March 13-19 edition of TV Guide called it the best show you're not watching.

      The April 4, 2005 edition of Time magazine named Veronica Mars one of the 6 best dramas on TV now.

      To find out what other TV critics are saying about Veronica Mars, visit the reviews page at Mars

      • jwz says:

        Um, WTF. Do they pay you for this?

        • You've never come across fan publicity before?

          Veronica Mars is supremely structured, intelligently written, and wonderfully acted. As such it inspires passionate support from its fans, quite frequently after minimal exposure to it.

          The fact that backup 1.0 had the stats just goes to show how well organized and informed (and obsessed) Veronica Mars viewers are. Our payment will be increased viewership and a second season.

          • jwz says:

            You creepy-assed Googlers spamming my journal with marketing will do nothing but prevent me from ever discussing your beloved show again, whether I like it or not. Go away, nutjob.

            • How can it be spam if you yourself opened with an assessment of the show? How is offering information on the show's stats as confirmation of how good it is less appropriate than any of the other comments given? Should we have limited ourselves to a semi-literate expostulation along the lines that "Veronica Mars rules"?

              Also, name calling? Generally a sign of immaturity and lack of argument. But then again, suggesting that you will refuse to talk about a show simply because it inspires fan support also suggests immaturity, so at least you're consistent.

  16. phs says:

    I wouldn't expect Stand Alone Complex to ever tie in to the GitS movies - I believe they're both different interpretations of the manga. Better to think of them as such.

    By the way, S.A.C. 2nd GIG (the second season) is pretty goddamn good as well.

    And to the person who commented that they never went anywhere with the "IRC" episode - they do, just later in the season. The story-arc episodes ("Complex", verses "Stand Alone") are spread throughout.

  17. zuvembi says:

    As long as we're on the subject of television. Have you ever caught Black Books. It's the tale of a misanthropic bookstore owner, and oddly it reminds me of you and the DNA Lounge sometimes. (Minus the girls wrestling in chocolate syrup)

  18. krick says:

    Here's what's currently in my Season Pass...
    America's Test Kitchen
    Gilmore Girls
    Drawn Together
    Robot Chicken
    Aqua Teen Hunger Force
    Sealab 2021
    South Park
    Family Guy

    I'd like to start watching "lost" based on all the positive reviews I've read but I don't want to start in the middle so I guess I'll just wait for the DVDs to come out.

  19. The West Wing goes to pot rather quickly after Season Four. If you can, you should stop there--Aaron Sorkin left with Season Four's finale, and he wrote every episode for all four seasons up to that point.

    He writes what you can take as a "series finale" at the end, sort of, at that point; they of course come back and pick it up again, but it's just not the same at all.

  20. hymie says:

    Have you tried HBO's The Wire? It's a police/drug dealer/politician/dock worker/mafia show. All of their stories are independent, but braid together into a mega-story of life in Baltimore.

    Like Carnivàle, pacing on the first season of The Wire was a bit slow, but it picked up in later seasons. I really enjoy the huge story arcs. Reminds me a lot of Babylon 5.

    Amazing show. Well-written, great acting, amazing storylines.
    NPR interview

    • jwz says:

      I watched a couple episodes of it when I was in Sopranos withdrawl, and it didn't really keep my attention. It seemed like it had potential, though.

      Reminds me a lot of Babylon 5.

      Now see, that's all you had to say to make me completely disregard your opinions.

  21. What, no Late Night with Conan O'Brien?