My Take on TV

How do I choose the perfect TV lineup?

Thetvaddict’s predicament about what to delete and what to reserve on his TiVO got me thinking – what would I want to have saved on my TiVO permanently? What shows or seasons, finales, or premieres, do I want to have preserved on my hard drive forever?

I’ve narrowed down my choices to a very broad top 15! These are the shows (episodes or seasons or miniseries in one special case) that I would like to have on perma-rotation, never being removed from that “Now Playing” list.

1. Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans – episode “The Yeti.” – Yes, I’ve decided to start with a child’s television show, but seriously, have you watched these dancing friends yet? They have rhythm, and the singing voices are adorable. The songs get stuck in my head, not in that annoying “Oh my God I have the Barney theme song stuck in my head and it won’t go away” type of way, but in the amazing “I just heard the best song on the radio and I want to remember it always” type of way.

2. Alias – episode “Pilot” - I watched this episode for the first time on a special ABC Family marathon, New Year’s Day, 2002. From the instant I accidentally clicked onto the show, I knew I was in for something amazing. I was hooked from the start – the characters, the drama, the stunts, the Marshall-isms. Sure, the show went downhill shortly after their amazing second season, but the “Pilot” always makes me remember what truly great TV is.

3. Alias – episode “Spirit” – Sure, it’s not a better known episode. But I love this episode. It’s the one where Sydney gets an adorable Christmas present – a picture frame – from Vaughn. To me, that solidified one of the greatest relationships to root for. When I watched, it wasn’t the “will they won’t they” dance that they played that made me a Syd/Vaughn shipper – it was the truly palpable onscreen chemistry that these actors shared before that unfortunate Gar-tan relay that ended on a sour note due to a one Mr. Ben Affleck.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – episode “Once More With Feeling” - I loved this show. I loved the writing. I loved the acting. I loved the convoluted story lines and the crazy chemistry with which all characters interacted. Most importantly, I loved the songs that Joss Whedon, serious writing mastermind, wrote. And everyone was talented, or at least tried to put their all into it. Any serious Buffy fan probably knows all of the words – I promise, I do, too!

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – episode “Welcome to the Hell Mouth” - The beginning of a huge part of my life – I believe I’ve mentioned loving this show! The first episode was heavy on the Valley Girl, light on the huge acting power we saw as the series went on, but it was awesome, and I could re-watch it a million times!

6. Dawson’s Creek – the entire 3rd season - I loved Joey and Pacey together. Watching the two of them grow together as the season went on made this easily my favorite season of them all. Josh Jackson and Katie Holmes were lucky enough to be in love offscreen, and then they really played that well into the characters they played. She managed to have a few skeevy relays between her time with Pacey and the 5-year flash forward with which the show ended, and he had the whole Audrey thing, plus the show seemed to wear thin as the seasons went on, but gladly, the show ended Joey/Pacey, and all was right with the world!

7. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – episode “The Gang Goes Jihad” – Let’s see….there’s the getting stuck behind the fence, and the whole “poop on his shoe, poop on his shoe” moment, and the flaming bag of poop igniting the building. Plus, that whole 4-part harmony to Extreme’s “More than words”…not only would this be on my TiVO, it would be on daily rotation!

8. The American Embassy – the entire series – I’m a huge fan of the shows that FOX cancels. Reunion, Wonderfalls, Undeclared…but American Embassy might be my favorite. Arija Bareikis (who I loved in The Myth of Fingerprints, costarring Julianne Moore, Michael Vartan, Noah Wyle) owned this role, and my favorite tv superhero Michelle Dessler (don’t argue, Michelle was a superhero, and I worshipped her ha), aka Reiko Aylesworth, was a huge part of it.

9. Arrested Development – episode “Development Arrested” – This episode brought the whole amazing series full circle. When my TiVO died last month, I lost this episode, and I was so sad! I could watch this show for hours a day, every day, and not get sick of it! Jason Bateman? My hero. Michael Cera? My hero. The list goes on and on.

10. Saved By The Bell – episode “The Last Dance” - It is the most important episode of Saved by the Bell! Who doesn’t remember the episode where Kelly tearfully tells Zack that “it wasn’t supposed to be like this” as they broke up at the prom, AFTER he got her time off from work for the big day, and she cheated on him with college-guy Jeff. As I get ready for work each morning, I watch this show, and I’m reminded how incredibly cheesy it was, but how much I love it.

11. 24 – episode “11:00PM to 12:00AM” (Season 1 Finale) - In this finale, 24 proved that it wasn’t afraid to go against all odds, and it killed off a series regular, someone who lived within the opening credits, Teri-freaking-Bauer. It really set the stage for 24’s no-holds-barred attitude, and was a tearful, and fabulous end to one of the best seasons of entertainment television.

12. Freaks and Geeks – episode “Pilot” - One of the greatest shows ever made. It’s endearing, and relevant. The stories, though set in 1980, span the test of time. I really wish that fan campaigns could have saved this amazing show back when it was cancelled hastily by NBC execs that were scared of what the show offered. Judd Apatow is one of the truly funniest people in the comedy business, and he and his partners scored huge with the story of a misfit Freak and her misfit Geek brother as they waded the scary waters of public high school in 1980. PS Jason Segal? My hero for this show.

13. Veronica Mars – episode “Weapons of Class Destruction” - it’s the episode where Jonathan Taylor Thomas guest stars (what, did you think I picked it because Veronica and Logan share a second-floor-balcony spontaneous kiss to the song “Momentary Bliss” by Something Happens? A scene I’ve played over and over again to experience the awkwardness and “uhoh what did I do” sense of fright that Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring both share that is oddly combined with a feeling of “this is right“ by both actors?). Sorry to disappoint. JTT just sold it. Where were the Emmy voters for his performance? (those of you buying the whole “JTT is my hero” bit….stop reading, it appears my sarcasm is lost on you…)

14. Battlestar Galactica – the miniseries – never ending, edge of my seat entertainment. The cast chemistry, the pure beauty that is Jamie Bamber, Olmos and McDonnell acting the hell out of their roles. Not to mention the action sequences, and the amazing special effects. It sets the stage for 2.5 of the best seasons of television ever produced, and I am still on the edge of my seat in anticipation of season 3!

15. Lost – episode “Pilot” - every time I watch these 2 hours of great television, I find something new, or I see something that I had forgotten seeing. It’s exciting, and intense. I love Sawyer, I love Sayid, I love Jack, and Boone, oh poor doomed Boone. Everything clicks in this episode, and it just amaze me how much is put into continuing that feeling through the rest of the past 2 seasons.

Good TV + Good Music = An Obsession

Smallville + Peter Gabriel’s “I Grieve” = a haunting funeral scene in the snow

This song is the kind of song that stays with you. Sure, Smallville is light, campy fare at times, but other times, the poignancy with which certain topics are approached astounds me. This particular scene, in the snow, as the Kent’s buried their beloved Jonathan – it just moves me. Peter Gabriel is a music king – he can do no wrong – Solesbury Hill, Sledgehammer, In Your Eyes…classics, all of them!

Join me next week as I divulge how successful I was in stalking the cast of Veronica Mars while I vacationed in San Diego and I share the hows and whys of one of my biggest personal secrets – I love the Disney Channel. (The column will be delayed, as I return from the Left Coast on Wednesday and I will be completely removed from the technological world during my stay!)

What would you want on your perfect TiVO? What song moment in TV history moved you to tears? Do you know where the VM cast hangs out so I can casually drop by? Send me some email –

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  • GMMR

    I moved in early June and had to say goodbye to my DVR player, and all the goodness there within. I had to start fresh, but here are the scenes that I was MOST sad to say goodbye to.

  • j-dog

    I know you have american citzenship, but you do not officially own a TIVO, you should embrace your canadianism by referring to it as what it is…a PVR! lol…bored.