Monday, February 7, 2011

Current Favorite TV Shows, Part I

Despite having several hundred channels to choose from, very few television shows have caught my attention in recent years. I just don't have the patience to channel surf like I used to when I was growing up. And I refuse to watch live television. My wife and I spend most of our free time on the Internet and have little tolerance for TV commercials or being at the mercy of a channel's schedule. In fact, there are only six TV shows that I actually follow and I only watch them recorded on DVR or through Netflix. I'll discuss three of them here and three more in a following post.

Big Bang Theory (2007 - Present)
"What part of an inverse tangent approaching an asymptote don't you understand?"

This is a very funny sitcom about the lives of four geeks. Although obviously exaggerated for comedic effect, they are the most accurately portrayed nerds I've ever seen on screen. These aren't the stereotypical (and unrealistic) nerds shown on TV for so many years; I actually know or have known people very similar to each of the four. Despite having genius level IQs and PhDs, they're actually depicted as having realistic hobbies such as collecting comic books and playing video games.

I found out about this series after several of my coworkers decided I had certain traits in common with Sheldon, who has an obsessive compulsive personality. With that recommendation, my wife and I started watching the show on DVD through Netflix. I have since been forced to admit that my coworkers were right, especially when I find Sheldon saying things (which the writers intend to be humorous) that I've said and thought for years.

Eureka (2006 - Present)
"Oh, death ray. Why don’t you just say death ray?"

Our viewpoint character in this series, Sheriff Jack Carter, is in charge of keeping order in the small town of Eureka. The true nature of the town is supposedly a closely-guarded secret; Eureka is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world and is the location of Global Dynamics; a heavily funded facility for advanced research. Since these projects tend to go awry on a regular basis, Sheriff Carter tends to be very busy.

Due to SyFy's budget limitations, Eureka is limited to an average of 13 episodes per season. All 13 are aired during the summer months with very few, if any, reruns in between new episodes. The show has always had a strong element of humor, but the first few seasons also had darker elements involving the relatively gruesome deaths of scientists and a murderous conspiracy. However, the more recent seasons seem to have lightened up and depend more on character interaction and comedy. Eureka has also taken advantage of its science fiction premise to regularly shake up the plot. The last season used a time travel incident to change several characters' roles, introduce new characters, and change several relationships.

Futurama (1999 - 2003, 2008 - Present)
"These old doomsday devices are dangerously unstable. I'll rest easier not knowing where they are."

Pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry is accidentally frozen in the year 1999 and is thawed out in 2999. In an attempt to start his life over in the future he gets a job with the package delivery service, Planet Express. The company is owned by his distant relative, Professor Farnsworth, who uses the profits from the company to fund his insane experiments. Among Fry's coworkers are an alien doctor, a robot, and the delivery ship's cyclops pilot.

I first found this show early on in its run while flipping through channels. I recognized the animation as being similar to that of The Simpsons (Matt Groening created both series) but had never heard of Futurama. Unfortunately the show was not well promoted by Fox and it was eventually canceled. However, DVD sales of Futurama were profitable enough that the show was revived on Comedy Central. Unlike The Simpons, Futurama never stopped being funny to me.


  1. You and my husband would get along well! He LOVES Futurama, we watch Big Bang Theory weekly, and he is trying to get me to watch Eureka! He also enjoys Chuck, The Office, and 30 Rock.

  2. We love Big Bang Theory too... strange how close to home it hits several of our friends too :) Eureka rocks! We haven't watched futurama though... might need to look into it.



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