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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.