Let’s talk television.
It’s not a secret amongst the people I know that I love my television programmes. I want to get all “A Christmas Carol” here and look at my preferred TV shows in the past, present and future.
When I was a kid, I loved:
- Three’s Company. Tuesdays at eight on ABC. What young boy wouldn’t like Jack Tripper’s pratfalls? Such great lessons for a kid to strive to be a clear communicator and to avoid misunderstandings. Is this why I’m currently in communications now?
- Star Blazers. The perfect after-school cartoon for a sci-fi-loving tyke. Although the American version was a watered-down example of the Japanese anime original, this saga of a strangely nautical space battleship on an epic voyage to a distant planet introduced a young Andrew to the idea of multi-episode story arcs.
- V (both miniseries plus the short-lived TV series). I think this show exposed me to conspiracy theories. Space lizards in disguise controlling the world? It makes so much sense! (I’m typing this during the 2016 U.S. election campaign election results coverage.) This show also taught me self reliance and stubbornness, as I refused my friends’ (and enemies’) insistence that the much more popular A-Team was a better show.
[Honourable mentions during this period include the short-lived series Voyagers (time travel!), Tales of the Gold Monkey (Indiana Jones on TV!) and Whiz Kids (got me to ask my parents for a microcomputer on which I taught myself BASIC!).]
Today, my favourites are:
- Lost. My number one favourite show of all time, the only one of which I have the entire series on DVD. I happened to be bored when the pilot appeared on my TV, and yadda yadda yadda more than a decade later I’m still thinking about Jack Shephard, Juliet, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley et al. I won’t go on too much here as I’m ready to rewatch the series, and will blog this experience (coming soon!).
- Community. This sit-com started relatively generically, but evolved wonderously and outrageously towards a surrealism that I wish were a part of my own life. Paintball. MeowMeowBeenz. Always Be Caging. The darkest timeline. Kickpuncher. Inspector Spacetime. Star-Burns. #sixseaonsandamovie.
- X-Files! Of course. This was my university show. And I’m talking both the alien-invasion arc and the “monster-of-the-week” episodes. When the real aliens come this show will be proven prescient. ‘Nuff said on this one. (“Mulder?”)
[Close runners up are Fringe (Walter and his other dimensional alter-ego Walternate make the series for me), M*A*S*H (jeez, a well-written comedy that can make you cry?), The Larry Sanders Show (invented awkwardness before The Office and such), Arrested Development (“I’ve made a huge mistake”) and Seinfeld, for obvious cultural reasons.]
Okay, let’s crystal ball this next section to project my eventual favourite television shows (or holovision or mentalvision or whatever’s around in the future) when I get to be a senior. Note: imagery is unavailable; please check this post in approximately 30 years for updates:
- The Zombie Menace – How Canada Beat Back the Hoard. This will be my favourite documentary, especially since in the historic episode outlining the Battle of Lake Ontario you can see a glimpse of me – I will be the one hiding under the picnic table during a brief shot at a graphic scuffle at Sugar Beach.
- The Bassman. This awesome show will narrate the story of a super-cool bass player and his adventures rocking everyone around him. The music will be available for download, and will be chart-topping. This trend-setting show will propel the bass player to the forefront of every future band.
- Lost – The Next Generation. This won’t be as good as the original, but it still will be a great show detailing the adventures of the members of a plane that will crash into a mysterious island in the Atlantic Ocean, this time.
Disclaimer: there are many, many shows I am unfamiliar with that could potentially be among my favourites. For example, I’ve had people recommend Person of Interest and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, both of which I’m open to but haven’t yet watched.
Additional disclaimer: shows I also love but didn’t mention include Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Doctor Who, The (original) Twilight Zone, Columbo, Twitch City, The Walking Dead, The Simpsons, Fawlty Towers, The Kids in the Hall, Made in Canada, both Battlestar Galacticas (but especially the later one), West Wing…. ahhh! Ask me next week and my choices may be different.
I’m almost done here, and as there’s some TV to watch I want to end on a surreal, fantasy note, which seems to be my television preference.
Imagine… instead of Jack Shephard being on Oceanic flight 815 it was… Jack Tripper who crashed into that mysterious Lost island….
SCRIPT – THREE’S LOST
OPENING SCENE: Open on JACK TRIPPER, lying in a jungle forest, clothing torn. Closeup on his opening eye. His dilated pupil contracts in the sunlight.
JACK TRIPPER: Ahhh, sunliiiiiiight! [Laugh track]
JACK lifts himself up, starts to walk and trips over a log. Reaction shot on Vincent, a white Labrador who watches JACK fall. [Laugh track]
JACK stumbles out of the jungle towards the beach, on which he sees chaos, flaming plane wreckage and disoriented people.
JACK TRIPPER: Oh, Lordy, Lordy, Lordy.
[… and to make a long script short, JACK pretends to be gay to avoid misunderstandings. He’s not much help when it comes to battling the Others, yet he makes a mean mango salad and keeps the survivors well fed. He opens Jack’s Beach Bistro and enjoys much success amidst misadventures and slapstickiness, and is actually saddened when he finally has the opportunity to return home.]
(With respect to John Ritter, whom I admire)