Ernie’s Off Topic Post.

Given our present angst-fest I thought I’d offer some relief from the Chuck and Sarah blues.  I don’t really watch any shows on a regular basis other than Chuck, but what I have done over the years is rent the good ones after some research.  If they’re good enough they go on the Amazon wish list and are eventually added to my library.  In a way this prevents me from getting too attached to a show, like Chuck, and too disappointed when it goes downhill.  For your viewing pleasure I’ll share my picks and a short review of my favorite shows that never made it big, after the jump.

In full support group mode here.  I’m going to toss out a few of my favorites.  I’m limiting mine to what I consider the undiscovered gems of TV that were canceled before their time.  I don’t want to limit the discussion, but I’d prefer it not get bogged down on how great The Wire or Rome was and stick with the more offbeat little shows, just to keep us from getting overwhelmed.  If you like one of my choices and want to go further into what you liked about it, great.  If you have one (I expect Dead Like Me and My So Called Life to come up, I just don’t have the time right now) feel free to add it and what you liked about it in the comments.

Action

Jay Mohr plays an on the ropes producer who through a twist of fate get’s partnered up with a former child star turned hooker to make the next great script into a Hollywood action blockbuster. This show is irreverent, twisted, sick, perverse, profane and absolutely hilarious.  Lots of high profile cameos.  Far too short lived.

Firefly

Some of Joss Wedon and Adam Baldwin’s best work.  If you haven’t seen it you can not be my friend.  Sorry, I’ve got to set some limits.

Freaks and Geeks

Go to Alan Sepinwall’s blog.  He says it better than I ever could.

Keen Eddie

Mark Valley as a NYC cop who gets assigned to a London precinct after blowing a big case.  Much comedy ensues.  Again sorry to be short on details, but this is another one I haven’t watched for far too long.

Life as We Know It

Three childhood friends in high school.  You can see these guys, one jock, one nerd, and one artist start to find their own directions, but they manage to remain friends.  I think I need to put this one back in the rotation, a lot of the details escape me.  Oh, and Ali Adler wrote for this series.

Veronica Mars

Presently in the rotation, I’m remembering why I loved this show so much.  A bit soapy at times, but hey, it is about a high school girl.  Even so, the relationships are handled more maturely than Chuck and Sarah this year, so it might not be your thing if you’re into teen angst.  Also when she switches boyfriends and then switches back it isn’t a WTF moment.

It also has case of the week and case of the season arcs (her dad is a former sheriff turned private eye, and she’s a bit of a sleuth herself) that keep things moving in addition to the teen high school drama.  Fantastic performances by Kristin Bell (Veronica) and Enrico Colantoni (her dad…You’ll recognize him, trust me), plus a strong supporting cast with occasional guest stars.  By season 3 it starts to get a bit uneven, but you’ll watch all the way to the end, trust me.

And Phil Klemmer worked on this series.

What About Brian

This is when I fell in love with Sarah Lancaster.  It is often promoted as a comedy, but it really is more of a couples drama.  If you are a fan of real drama handled realistically (for the most part) rent it, then see how long you can wait for the next episode.

Wonderfalls

Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas) is a slacker.  A Brown graduate with a degree in philosophy she finds herself working in a gift shop at Niagara Falls (the American side, although those of you familiar will know most of the filming is in Canada) and living in a trailer park with no ambition or prospects.  Fate intervenes in the form of unknown powers.  Inanimate objects start talking to Jaye, giving her cryptic instructions to go out and help people, and in the process help herself.   Wonderfalls was Chuck before Chuck was.  Seamlessly written and directed only 4 episodes ever aired, but you can have all 13 that make up a perfect story with a beginning, middle, and enough of an end you just feel good about the time you got to spend with this show.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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20 Responses to Ernie’s Off Topic Post.

  1. OldDarth says:

    Quantum Leap – Chuck’s spiritual ancestor
    Carnivale – sadly ended in midstory
    Nowhere Man – Bruce Greenwood owns this role

    • Matt says:

      John Doe – It ended on a huge cliffhanger.

      Life – really well written. It was a procedural, but had an underlying story that was worked on just about every week. I really miss this one.

      Eureka – (Not dead, yet) – between the writer’s strike and NBC/SyFy’s poor management have almost killed this show. 4th season starts July 16, 2010. Thought I’d throw in an advertisement.

      I loved Sports Night and What About Brian. I was so happy when Ellie started getting more stuff to do this year.

      • Faith says:

        Love Eureka! And I usually don’t go for sci-fi and stuff.

        My recommendation(s): Legend of the Seeker. Think Yvonne but multiplied. Think Chuck and Sarah romance but done well 🙂

      • Who Dat says:

        i bought season 1 of Eureka, I think that show shows if you wanna do the angst will they wont they you need to start off the show with a strong character as competition.
        TPTB decided that they did not want that, they should have stuck with it

  2. herder says:

    Father Ted: A truely brilliant comedy about three Irish Priests, two of my favorite lines “we’re against that sort of thing here” and “Drink! Feck! Arse!”.

    The Graham Norton Show: on BBC Canada (and I suspect in the US) a subversive talk show, that sounds impossible to beleive, but just watch it.

    Sports Night: one of Aaron Sorkin’s first, also on Sepinwall’s blog.

    Freaks and Geeks: Ernie already put it on the list but it deserves to be put there again.

  3. atcdave says:

    Babylon 5. Season 4 ends a bit rushed, and you can skip season 5. But for my money, best serial sci-fi ever.

    And enough can never be said for Firefly. Add Serenity, and you basically have an eleven hour long movie. Brilliant television.

  4. weaselone says:

    Personally, I think the episode topped all but a handful of episodes in season 2 and quite possibly every episode in season 1. Great mixture of comedy and bromance, but once again Shaw is shown to be less than useless unless you happen to be working for the Ring. The big mystery is why the Ring wants Shaw dead when they should be paying him a stipend.

    Not only does Shaw abandon the world’s only Intersect, but he apparently leaves Castle vulnerable to what seemed to be a predictable Ring attempt to locate, loot, and destroy the facility. His next brilliant idea is to assume that the Ring has been unable to transfer out any data and demolish the Castle before the Ring, obliterating the Intersect and the data, which is presumably more valuable to Team Shaw and the US intelligence community than it is to the Ring given the Ring should know about itself already.

    It bares repeating one more time. Shaw is so stupid that his solution to thwart the Ring which was at that moment planning to kill the Intersect and destroy Castle so as to deprive the CIA of the data and facilities was to blow up the base and kill Chuck. Brilliant!

  5. chuuuckkk says:

    War at Home – White version of My Wife and Kids

    My Wife and Kids – 5 seasons of laughter but coulda had more

    The Jay Leno Show… jokes

    Definitly going to check out What About Brian, but i think Sarah Lancaster looks way better in CHuck not that it matters.

  6. Emily says:

    Pushing Daisies. I have no idea how big it was over in America, but here in Australia it was pretty much unknown. Just like Chuck. Sigh.
    But I always thought it was cut too soon. Loved the vibe from it.

    • Faith says:

      OMG I can’t believe I forgot Pushing Daisies. My Pushing Daisies friends will burn me a the stake 🙂

      I did a write in for it and campaigned (though it failed) and everything. Definitely one of the best shows ever created.

      • Emily says:

        I didn’t realise it was in danger of being canceled until it was too late 😦
        That show could have gone far…and it had a unique twist on the relationship aspect which was refreshing. No will they wont they…it was more they will, but they can’t.
        I love love loved every second of it 🙂

      • Faith says:

        I know. It’s definitely not teen angst 🙂 Plus they were just too cute together.

        Here’s a something you may not want to know about me lol, I have an ABC Boycott because of Daisies. I used to watch like 70% of their shows, no I don’t even tune into ABC unless the Lakers are playing or something.

      • Emily says:

        Now that’s commitment! :)Of course, I have no idea what ABC shows except for Grey’s (which i love, although I could probably have given it up if it would have done any good.)
        Over here, our ABC has all of the kids programs, the news and the educational/historical/gardening shows that the oldies like. So I could probably boycott it if necessary 😉

  7. Emily says:

    The two funniest shows ever? Black Books and the Vicar of Dibley. both English, both hilarious, both only ran for three seasons. But it was enough for both of them.

  8. Stef62 says:

    Being Human. Currently my favorite show. Its knocked Chuck off the top spot

  9. joe says:

    In 1978 or thereabouts ABC had a take-off of Animal House that lasted one season called Delta House. It’s remembered for being a young Michelle Pfeiffer’s first vehicle, and also for having Steven Furst, who later starred in Babylon 5. Old timers will be amused to see that the son of Zero Mostel, Josh, also starred in it.

    I will remember it, though, because of Susanna Dalton. Suz was a friend of mine from my college days. Wonderful girl.

    She was one of those of whom the guys would say was “Wow! Who is that??!!” on some days, and ignore the next. But one time a (female) friend of mine had to tap me on the shoulder to say “Look at her.” Susie was in the back of the class room with the sun shining on her face looking luminous. Amazing. The camera loved her.

    When Delta House aired I could care less about Michelle Pfeiffer.

  10. Who Dat says:

    One of my favorite all time shows was Farscape, it had its goofy moments but the characters were likable and really cared about them.
    I also maybe one of the few people on earth who really liked life on mars..It was a fantastic show.

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