Although it's somewhat off-topic for this blog, I just wanted to publicly notice a certain kind of conversation that goes on these days. Perhaps you had it with friends or family over the holidays. The conversation is called Smart People Talking About Good Television. David Broncoccio might amend that to be "About TV Worth Watching". I may not be the first to have named this conversation, but if this is the first time you've encountered a name for it, you're probably saying "Oh yeah. I've had that conversation."
A conversation like this doesn't lead a gathering. In fact, the gathering has to be long enough to get past small talk, health updates, kid updates if you're that sort of person and impressive-sounding books and movies. Then, based on something someone said, a participant in the conversation shyly asks if anyone has been watching Call the Midwife*. And we're off. Multiple things happen:
-People find those who have already watched what they've watched and - careful of spoilers - they revel in how much they like that show.
-TV talkers avow plans to watch The Wire^ just after they finish the latest season of Mad Men*.
-The persuasion also commences: Ohmygodyouhaven'tseenevenoneepisodeof New Girl^?!?
-A spouse bemoans her bad judgment in not starting Friday Night Lights^ with her husband.
-If anyone brings up the Big Bang Theory, people are talking about television, but Smart People are not Talking about Good Television.
It's fun, and it's OK. The OK-ness of it feels new since about 2006. Television started having these pockets of goodness that allowed smart people to come out of the woodwork about liking television. Even as the medium (not Medium*) continued to be chock full of schlock, there were good stories with three-dimensional characters that people could discuss in polite company without feeling like idiots. Since then, of course, the whole way we consume television has changed making it easy to catch up on shows that smart people tell you are good.
Here's my list, not in the least unique:
-Men of a Certain Age, discussed here before. Two seasons on TNT now cancelled, available on DVD, but I don't think streaming anywhere.
-The Wire. You know.
-Arrested Development. But the new stuff on Netflix did not keep my interest.
-30 Rock. May it rest in syndicated peace.
-Friday Night Lights. Tim Riggins. Tyra. Crucifictorious. Y'all. My Competent Wife missed out on all of it.
-Modern Family. Ty Burrell is the best physical comedian on TV.
-New Girl. Adorbs.
-BBC Sherlock. Has been on Netflix streaming, now on Hulu Plus.
-Downton Abbey. I've heard some things that make me worried that I won't like it in season 4. The plot has already shown some unsatisfying traits.
-Spy, a Hulu original, is cartoonish but pretty entertaining with a surprisingly deep cast.
*haven't watched it
2 weeks ago