Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Makes Good TV? And Why Aren't I Tuning In?

Today's topical Tuesday entry looks at what makes good TV, at least according to Entertainment Weekly.

Apparently, I have no taste.

I have come to this conclusion after reviewing Entertainment Weekly's list of the 10 best shows on television right now and realizing that I don't watch any of them.

Now, I'm not one of those Christians who watches no TV, or only religious TV, or only the news, or only one movie every six months. Of course, I'm not in front of the TV all the time either, but I do turn it on throughout the week, and to regular network channels too, like the rest of the world. So I thought that I'd find at least one of the shows I like on Entertainment Weekly's list—in other words, at least one validation that I'm an intelligent TV viewer with good taste. At least one of ten shows. A ten percent chance. Alas, no luck at all. I have no taste.

In case you're interested, the shows that made the EW list are as follows: 10. Caprica, 9. Damages, 8. Southland, 7. Glee, 6. Modern Family, 5. Fringe, 4. Friday Night Lights, 3. Lost, 2. Breaking Bad, and 1. The Good Wife.

In my defense, I have to say that four of these shows are on cable, which I don't have right now. I saw Southland once or twice while it was on network TV and thought it looked promising, but it quickly moved to TNT so I can't watch it anymore. I've missed so many episodes of Lost from previous seasons that I'd need five weeks on a deserted island just to get caught up and pretend that I know what is happening on the show right now. I've watched The Good Wife and it seems good, but I don't catch it often enough to say I'm a regular viewer of it. And I would have tried Glee by now if I hadn't seen those unfortunate Xbox commercials featuring Glee's weird female coach. Dude, that woman creeps me out in a bad, bad way. Choosing to tune her in once a week? I shudder.

Just what makes good TV anyway? The EW critic mentions what he likes about each show on his top 10 list, but there's not enough information to help me see why he didn't choose any of the shows I like. Why didn't Chuck make the list? It's very funny, but is it too nerd-specific? What about NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles? The writing on both is excellent—snappy dialogue, and characters with edges who still manage to perform well as a team. Burn Notice is smart, funny, and entertaining. The buddy relationship in White Collar is one of my favorites ever—classic in the way that The Odd Couple was classic. Why didn't any of these shows make the list?

I thought I was discerning, in the caliber of the most brilliant media minds of our day. Like Roger Ebert. Or maybe even Al Roker. But the EW list has lumped me in with those people who watch The Bachelor or Deal or No Deal. I feel like a TV viewing failure. And I don't know how to cope, except to put on my fuzzy slippers, wrap myself in a blanket, and comfort myself in the way that most Americans comfort themselves—with some popcorn, soda, and...oh, I don't know...some TV?


Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Like your post! Very interesting AND I don't watch any of those listed either! Big Criminal Minds and Law & Order fan though. Thanks for sharing!


  2. The only show I watch is Lost. Guess I'm not "with it" either.

  3. Some of the shows I watch are:
    1. The Big Bang Theory
    2. Psych
    3. Burn Notice
    4. How I Met Your Mother
    5. House
    6. Castle

    Yeah I work in front of the tv a lot =]


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