My Top American Sitcoms/Dramas/Reality Shows

This is a post that I originally wrote back in June 2007 in my Myspace blog, when I realised nearly all the programmes I watched were made in America! Interestingly, this year, I seem to be watching less television than ever, yet some of these programmes still figure on my weekly viewing list. Goes to show that a well written, well made, well produced show can survive the test of time but sadly, it seems this is becoming a more and more exclusive club.

Interestingly, Desperate Housewives and Lost, two programmes which were on the original list have been dropped off. Both had bad seasons with plenty of WTF moments of the wrong kind and made me lose interest, something all the shows on my list may have done too, but not as much as these two did.

Have a read and see if you agree!

Frasier – Ok, I have a confession. When Frasier first started, i thought it was crap and didnt get it. It was just a bunch of middle class educated types making fun of thickos – or so I thought. When i happened to watch it out of sheer boredom, it was actually v. funny and quite smart and I realised why – it doesnt talk down to its audience. The jokes were sophisticated and not laugh a minute types but properly developed and delivered with fantastic comic timing. Since then, Frasier is now one of my fave American shows and one of my all time fave comedies.

Project Runway – Much more bitchier and volatile than its UK counterpart, with the mix of fashion and reality TV, Project Runway is perfect pick me up viewing. I love the mad tasks, the flappy contestants, the bitchy contestants getting annoyed at the flappy ones, and of course the fashion. Season 4 was my fave, closely followed by Season 2, and stealth like, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn have grown on me. Definitely a must watch on my list every season!

Ugly Betty – Continuing on a fashion theme, only two seasons old yet a firm favourite, Ugly Betty works on so many levels, appealing across the board. With wonderful visuals, a strong cast and sly digs at the world of fashion, this one just gets better and stronger each season.

Grey’s Anatomy – I am not too keen on hospital dramas – having missed the boat with ER, then missing the first series of this, Grey’s Anatomy kind of snuck up on me and before I knew it, I was enthralled by the going ons of the pretty mumbling winos that populate this programme. Never mind that I have to watch it with subtitles to understand it- nothing like a beautiful cast mumbling psycho babble to satisfy a sitcom lover’s craving!

Prison Break – PB beats many shows hands down because every episode is packed with action, yet you still want more. It may be all twists and turns but man, are they clever! Plus, the programme is so well paced it never gets bogged down and every character is important to the show. With a rather flawed season 3 leaving us on a cliffhanger, Season 4 looks set to finish the show with a bang!

Nip/Tuck – Finding the humanity in weirdness always makes for engrossing viewing. Nip/Tuck never ceases to amaze and to be a writer on this show must be amazing. Plus, the show looks amazing, with slick interior designed sets, gorgeous wardrobes and an attractive cast making the whole thing look and feel very real.

Six Feet Under – Perhaps the best TV drama ever, SFU much like Nip/Tuck finds humanity in the most strange places and creates a world so real, so intense that one cannot help but become absorbed. This show has had a huge impact on my writing and I daresay it’ll continue to inspire me as time goes by, each viewing proving this show never lost its bite.

Sex and The City – When this first aired, it took a while to take an interest in this but before I knew it, I was hooked! Everything about this show works and watching it in hindsight only makes one appreciate it even more. The fashion, the backdrop, the storylines, everything is so well put together and worked out, in isolation all the elements work and together, they are even better. With the movie finally released, we now realise what a tour de force SATC was/is and that black and pink shoebox box set should be be mandatory viewing for anyone who loves their American drama/sitcoms.

America’s Next Top Model – When I had my first full time job, the girl I worked with always went on about this programme.I paid little attention, dismissing it as too girly (SATC was my limit). Fast forward a couple of months, after a trip to India where I had fallen very ill, coming home and turning on the TV, season 1 of ANTM was on. Again, it seems very seamless but this programme became my must watch show of the day, scheduling the rest of my daya round it. I don’t talk with that girl anymore but have stuck with ANTM instead (a worthy exchange, trust me!) With the tenth cycle now finished, ANTM has expectedly dipped (Season 9 must have been the lowest point with the dull Saleisha winning) and now needs to reinvent itself in the same way it asks its contenders to, and if anyone can make it happen, it is the gorgeous Tyra Banks. Often copied, never bettered, ANTM is among the cream of the crop.

AND MY ABSOLUTE FAVE SHOW IS….

Friends – You really don’t know what you’ve got till its gone and that really is what I feel about Friends.Sounds silly and superficial i know but hell, this show was a part of my life, it still is. Having grown up watching it, knowing the lines off by heart, it was the highlight of my week and even now, when I’m feeling down or tired, there is nothing like an episode of Friends to cheer me up. Some people say Friends lost its way towards the end but to a die hard fan, that means little. It was definitely very difficult to say goodbye to (I can’t believe I am referring to a TV programme like a person but hell, that’s the effect it had on me!) and all those cruel rumours of reunions or a movie excite and worry fans in equal measure but quite simply I have yet to see another show that makes me feel the way Friends makes me feel. And with the current state of television, I doubt I ever will. But here’s hoping!


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