CliqueClack TV

Five great shows I should have watched earlier

Thanks to DVRs and Netflix, I've gotten to enjoy five shows I missed the first time around ... and I'm so glad I did.

Rachel’s back Guest-Clacking for us again, after sharing her thoughts about why it took her 20 years to like Ed O’Neill last time.

I watch a pretty obscene amount of television. It didn’t used to be this way. Back in the days before DVR, I had to actually decide which ones were worthy. Or use the VCR (!) to tape one in another room. Now that instant streaming, zippy Netflix deliveries, and recordable TV is a part of our lives, I’ve had the opportunity to watch a bunch of shows — in their entirety — that I didn’t catch when they first aired. Here are five of the best.

The Sopranos
I avoided this masterpiece at first because I wasn’t into watching guys with nicknames kill each other. I soon realized that it was about much more than that, but by then it was too late! I didn’t have HBO on demand, so I simply couldn’t catch up. And then, the amount of seasons got out of control. I didn’t want to be watching season two when season five was on. I didn’t want to even engage in the Tony-talk until I completely knew what I was talking about. I figured it would be less confusing if I didn’t have any knowledge of the show. So I waited until the very end and had a very exciting and traumatizing couple of months.

Veronica Mars
I feel ashamed for not giving this a shot back when it was on TV. I just thought that it was a dumb girly crime show. Not so! Kristen Bell delivers the best performance of her career in this series. She still hasn’t topped it (although being the voice of Gossip Girl comes close … nah, not really). I love the cinematography, the mature storylines, the father-daughter bonding, and the computer geekdom.

Sports Night
And I don’t even like sports! That’s OK, because it’s not really too sports-heavy. And it’s a show within a show, which is fun (The Larry Sanders Show is another great example of this.) We get to see Peter Krause before he was Nate Fisher or Adam Braverman, Felicity Huffman before she was a Desperate Housewife, and Josh Charles before In Treatment or The Good Wife. Plus there’s that brainy guy (Joshua Malina) that reminds me of Dwight from The Office, only much more tolerable.

Freaks and Geeks
I think this bypassed my radar given its short running time. Also, I was in college and I’m pretty sure Freaks and Geeks wasn’t on the “currently playing in the multi-purpose room” list. My husband, being a freak and an even bigger geek, loved this show. Judd Apatow produced this comedic-actor-packed powerhouse, with such personalities as James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Busy Philipps (yes, I watched her in Dawson’s Creek, OK? I admit that). Plus, there was that guy with lots of unruly facial hair from Knocked Up (Martin Starr). This is one of those shows, along with My So-Called Life, that broke my heart for not continuing.

Gilmore Girls
I’m probably outing my husband as an even bigger weirdo than myself, being that he has been obsessed with this show since its arrival in 2000. And he has all seven seasons of DVDs to prove it (although he insists that the last season doesn’t reach the standard of the previous six as a result of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s exit). I spent an entire summer watching nothing else. We love the show so much that we named our daughter Lorelei. (OK, that wasn’t the only reason we named her that.)

Because watching shows back-to-back adds to the experience, I sometimes deliberately hold off on watching them at their original airtime just so I can have a marathon later. (This is especially useful for cliffhangers like Lost or 24.) In this way, I have begun to treat TV like a movie … an extended, endlessly joyful, constantly evolving movie.

Well, until the last episode of the last season, that is.

Photo Credit: The CW

10 Responses to “Five great shows I should have watched earlier”

January 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Because I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about how brilliant Veronica Mars was lately, I’ll take the time to agree with you on a different show:

Sports Night was amazing. You point to several of the great characters, but let’s not forget about Sabrina Lloyd (tragically missing from my TV screen these days) and Robert Guillaume. As much as I worship at the altar that is the West Wing, when Sports Night was hitting on all cylinders, it was Sorkin at his best.

January 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Thanks for your comments!! I haven’t seen West Wing…maybe I should put that one on the Netflix queue next.

January 28, 2011 at 2:08 PM

West Wing should definitely make your NetFlix queue, especially with Sports Night fresh in the brain. It’s fun to re-visit how often Sorkin shares his material across shows/experiences in similar contexts. (He used a scripted line from Studio 60 during one of his award acceptance speeches for The Social Network to explain that people who watch (movies) are at least as smart as people who make (movies). I think he believes he’s in a TV show sometimes.)

A friend recently began watching the complete WW series DVDs, and was sending favorite quotes via text at random times of day. Made me want to borrow the DVDs. Too much good stuff. (Though, as a warning, she just let me know that somewhere in Season 6 she had to give up for a time.)

January 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

What’s wrong with season 6? I had to give up for awhile with season 5 with all the lame fighting between characters. Some of that does move over to season 6.

January 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

I agree with all of them besides the first which I will never watch. Gilmore Girls went to ship long before the creator exited, I wish she exited a few seasons earlier. She made the show a mess, ended on an “FU” note and then bitches about how the new guy wrecked it. I think season 7, besides some of the camera work, was a lot better than seasons 5 and 6.

Go with West Wing it’s an awesome some, it kind of is “ehh” at times in season 4 and 5. But season 6 is really great as long as you ignore the timeline. I somewhat forgive them for the timeline mess, because it saved the show. Plus Ed O’Niell is in it. :)

January 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I agree with all about “West Wing.” You really MUST see this series. And I would love to hear your thoughts on “My So Called Life.” BTW, have you seen “Temple Grandin” yet?

January 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Ok, West Wing seasons 1 and 2 are on the Netflix queue!

January 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Rachel: Go ahead and thank us already. It will save you some time :P

January 28, 2011 at 4:53 PM

. . . . .

Nice to see your take on The Sopranos, Rachel.

Fun stuff, indeed … !!!

January 28, 2011 at 11:30 PM

I caught Sports Night in syndication on Comedy Central circa 2000 and really enjoyed it. And I still like Gilmore Girls, mostly because the quippy dialogue was at least interesting.

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