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As I thought about my annual post on my favourite US shows, I thought it was time to shake things up a little. To see last year’s post, see here. So, how to shake it up? No, I am not going to put adverts between every paragraph nor take a ridiculously long season break but instead change the criteria for the shows I select. That is to say, shows that I love that have now concluded will no longer be in my list. The only exception to this is United States Of Tara which finished this year so technically, can still be included (hey, it’s my blog and I make up the rules here!)
So to that end, classic shows like Six Feet Under, Sex And The City, Friends, Fraisier and The Wire all go into my canon of excellence where they will occupy pride of place on my shelf as DVD/Blu-Ray boxsets, to be revisited for repeat viewings or as a fail-safe back up on the rare but inevitable occasions my viewing list lets me down. This will then make way for a new shows which have quietly but steadily been climbing up into my affections and demanding total attention and devotion when they are at their compelling best.
So, here is my list from last year:
America’s Next Top Model
Six Feet Under
Sex And The City
Interestingly, Nip/Tuck is an anomaly as it has now concluded but I have yet to see past Series 3 (I still don’t know who the Ripper is/was) so I’ve taken it off my list and will see if it will make it to my canon of excellence (highly likely it will!)
So now, to this year’s list; here are my favourite shows – as always, in no particular order (some might be able to choose between their children but I can’t!)
Nurse Jackie – At the end of Season 2, it seemed like the game was up for Jackie as O’Hara and her husband found out the truth and staged an intervention. Naturally, I expected Season 3 to be all about the fall out from this and how Jackie finally pays for the many sins she continues to commit. Except Season 3 had other ideas and totally threw me off the scent, meaning the show went in an unexpected direction and in doing so, showed me why I love it so much. Razor sharp writing, superb characterisation and a lovable ensemble all topped off with powerhouse performances. Though this season may have caused endless debate amongst fans of the show, I would much rather see something interesting than predictable – no wonder Nurse Jackie is still worth watching.
United States Of Tara: * NEW* – UST was one show that hovered outside my Top Ten last year but thanks to my new rules, zooms straight in and makes itself comfortable. Which is a shame as the show has now reached an end and concluded, even though it still had a great deal to offer. Like Nurse Jackie, the writing, the ensemble and the performances all made this show a hidden gem. I could never get over how fantastic and versatile an actress Toni Collette is as she made each alter come to life with apparent ease and gave a solid central performance which was quite simply phenomenal. Not that the other actors were lacking – John Corbett, Brie Larson, Keir Gilchrist and Rosemarie DeWitt were all equally as crucial and loved as Tara was and it is a shame that things had to end so suddenly.
True Blood – Speaking of shows with plenty of mileage, True Blood continues to hurtle forward full steam ahead losing none of its bite (pun intended) or attitude – and quite simply, I still can’t get enough of it. Whether it is the Sookie-Eric-Bill love triangle, or the werewolves or maenads, TB revels in the viewer and characters having no idea of what is coming round the corner and screaming with a perverse delight of “Oh no they didn’t” when the big reveal arrives (normally right at the end of the episode!) Of course, reading the books hasn’t helped to calm my obsession but what I love most about this show is the character development – (obvs, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Alan Ball) – each and every character reveals a great deal about themselves and remains a mystery at the same time – much like the show.
Gossip Girl – Who is Gossip Girl? Will we ever find out? Does anyone care? Season 4 kicked off with a bang with the whole Kate Cassidy storyline keeping us enthralled and brought back the fierce to the show (though I didn’t mind Series 3 and having watched again, thought it actually worked quite well) and though the show may have nosedived slightly, it resurfaced for a cracking season finale which may have been a bit cliched but when the clothes and the dialogues are this good, I am prepared to overlook it. This show has been an obsession of mine since I started watching and my enthusiasm for it shows no signs of wading – nor does my desire to meet Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Penn Badgley (so that I can say I have met all the principal cast members!) In the meantime, I’ll settle for Series 5 with Liz Hurley in a recurring role. I know I love it!xoxo.
Hung :*NEW* – Like United States of Tara, Hung er, hung around outside the top ten but didn’t make it in as this was a show that I never seem to prioritise yet I always made time to catch up with this show and I am glad I did. Not only does it crack me up but makes so many intelligent points about gender politics, sex and prostitution as well as having characters that the viewer genuinely cares about (which is very important when one invests so much time in their viewing) that I have always felt Hung has been underrated massively and received a cold shoulder from critics and factions of the audience which is a shame as it deserves to be far more popular than it is – thank god it has another series in the offing…
Game Of Thrones: *NEW* – I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to like GOT as much as I did – whether it was the stellar cast, the gorgeous production design or the slow burner of a storyline, I soon became quite involved in the show, wanting a wolf for a pet and playing the boob/bum count game (need I explain?) which only made GOT more fun. Luckily, I was able to watch most of the episodes back to back and by the end of the marathon viewing session, it was no surprise I wanted to watch more. I cannot wait to see what the second series has in store and highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it…
Project Runway: *RE-ENTRY* -It is strange how Project Runway was a firm fixture on my list until Season 7 which is where I lost interest due to the boring cast (no-one really interested me) but then like a phoenix flew straight back into my affections with Season 8 and shows no sign of budging with Season 9 proving to be quite entertaining in the first few episodes. Of course it is not just the contestants that make it fun to watch – Heidi Klum cracks me up with the way she slurs when saying Marie Claire (Murryclurrr mahgazine), Tim Gunn is the sweetest and most protective mentor one could hope for and Michael Kors, even on the rare occasion that he phones it in, is superb as a judge (much like Heidi, I often find myself disagreeing with Nina Garcia). With an All-Stars cycle in the offing, as long as the format stays fresh, Project Runway will remain a favourite of mine.
America’s Next Top Model – Last year, having had a busy few weeks, I had a stack of shows to catch up on but only had time to watch one – and I chose ANTM. Yes Tyra is absolutely bonkers and last cycle, the whole Brittany-Alexandria showdown made my blood boil (and I now hate Nigel Barker as I feel he proved beyond useless in the whole argument) but there are three people who really make this show for me – Jay Manuel who always looks good and tells it like it is, Miss J who steals the show without even trying and Andre Leon Talley who has brought a new dimension to the show with his presence. ANTM also has an All-Stars series in the offing but what I would really like to see is Nigel Barker removed and Miss J put in onto the panel of judges – just imagine Miss J and ALT teamed together – who would listen to Tyra?? (Oh, I see…). Still, nothing stops me from watching this show and that I put it first amongst others says it all…
How To Make It In America: *NEW* – Long before I Need A Dollar was added to the playlist of every radio station, I knew it as the very cool theme tune to the very cool opening credits of How To Make It In America.I fell head over heels in love with this show from the first episode and watched it in the best way possible – not knowing anything about it, not having seen any spoilers or trailers – just a solid recommendation that it was worth a watch. Picking up on that amazing feeling of being in New York and feeling anything is possible (I know I’ve felt that when I’ve been to the city), I love the vibe of the show and the witty observations it makes not to mention the leads enacted so effortlessly by Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk . I simply cannot wait to see the second season and have been fighting the temptation to read any spoilers or see anything that may compromise my enjoyment. Like.
The Rachel Zoe Project: *NEW* – Talk about coming late to the party, but I begged off seeing this show saying there was plenty more to watch that was more worthy (Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire spring to mind and the box sets still boast the cellophane packaging waiting to be unpacked) and thought that was the end of that. Fast forward a few years and the first series is being shown one Sunday morning and that familiar feeling kicks in – never mind getting dressed and making brunch, instead, I sit and watch episodes back to back, hogging the sofa and spouting lines like “I die” and “Shut it down” in totally inappropriate situations – in other words, the show has had an effect and though I don’t expect it to make it onto my list next year, it is certainly this year’s fair weather entry – time to shut it down!
So my 2011 list of Top Ten US Shows reads as follows:
United States Of Tara – *NEW*
Hung – *NEW*
Game of Thrones – *NEW*
Project Runway – *RE-ENTRY*
America’s Next Top Model
How To Make It In America – *NEW*
The Rachel Zoe Project – *NEW*
Happy viewing people! 🙂