The overwhelmingness of lists

It seems everywhere I look these days, there’s another Best of 2009 or Best of the 00’s list. And while you all should know by now that I love a good list, I’m finding these completely overwhelming.  Seeing everyone’s favorites makes me think I should have a list, but the thought of comprising my favorite movies/tv shows/albums from the last ten years is just too much, even for me. (Though, off the top of my head: Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City, The Office, Extras, Six Feet Under, Dexter and The Daily Show would all make this hypothetical list. And The West Wing. And The Colbert Report. And 30 Rock. See – too stressful!)

The other overwhelming aspect of these lists is there’s so much I haven’t seen that I feel I should. Or, on the flip side, there’s these great shows, such as Deadwood, Arrested Development and the original Office, that I’ve seen, but not for years, and seeing them pop up on every list make me want to watch them again. There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in a year, people! Stop with the list making already!

With that in mind, I’m creating  my own list, with a twist.  The following are TV shows from the past decade I resolve to (finally) watch in 2010.

Oz
Because it boasts a stellar cast, including the great J.K. Simmons, Rita Moreno (!), Dean Winters (Liz Lemon’s sporadic boyfriend, Dennis Duffy), plus Dexter’s Lauren Velez and David Zayas. I know this will be grim, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end.

Battlestar Galactica
So many people I know love this show. So many people I know hate this show. I want to be able to decide for myself. Plus, when I’m done, I can watch the prequel, Caprica, premiering this winter (I think?) with Jane Espenson at the helm, and guest starring a brunette, curly-haired James Marsters. The allure of a semi- Buffy reunion just proves too tempting!

Lost
As a lover of popular culture, I kind of feel like I need to watch this at some point. In 2010, the final season will air, and I figure I’ve waited this long, I might as well wait until it’s over and then watch it all at once.

Breaking Bad
I’m still not sure about the premise: a terminally ill teacher starts selling meth to make sure his family is provided for before he dies. Sounds pretty darn depressing to me – and doesn’t this show automatically have an expiration date? However, both the show and Bryan Cranston are critical darlings, and I have to admit, I’m curious.

The Sopranos
Like Lost, it’s another pop culture giant I’ve never seen. I know how it ends, but nothing else. Plus, I loved Edie Falco’s comic turn on 30 Rock. It’s time to see how she handles drama. 

Mad Men
So, here is my story about Mad Men. When it first came out a few years ago, I caught some of what had to have been the second or third episode. About 20 minutes in, I realized I hadn’t been paying attention the entire time, turned it off, and never watched it again. However, I think this is one of those shows you can’t just jump into – even if it’s only the third episode. I think you have to watch from the beginning.  Plus, it’s another stellar group of actors – from the delicious Jon Hamm; to little Zoie Bartlett, Elizabeth Moss; to Angel’s annoying son, Vincent Kartheiser. (If anything, I am curious to see Vincent in another role. Hopefully a role where I don’t hate his very existance and blame him for the demise of a once great show.)

Sons of Anarchy
I know very little about this show – only that it’s about an outlaw motorcycle gang, and that Katey Segal is giving the performance of a lifetime in it. But it’s another critical darling, and one that tops all of the 2009 lists, so I want to give it a shot. Also, who doesn’t have a bit of a soft spot for the biker – don’t they always end up with hearts of gold? (I fear these are famous last words.)

Freaks and Geeks
So, I never watched this show when it was on. A few years ago, I was watching a friend’s copy but about halfway through, his apartment got broken into and everything was stolen. So I never finished. It’s been on my Netflix queue forever, but something has always stopped me from finishing. Maybe I don’t want it to be over? I’ll comfort myself with the knowledge that almost everyone on the show is doing just fine. Judd Apatow created an empire, Jason Segal is a movie and TV star, Linda Cardellini had ER, Martin Starr is now on Party Down, Seth Rogan is a stoner movie king, and James Franco is…well, James Franco.

Firefly
Yep, that’s right – I’ve never seen all of Firefly. Me, a Whedon lover. I know. It’s shocking. I’ll wait for you to calm down. So here’s the thing: I really want to like Firefly. I really, really do. I’ve tried to watch twice, and both times, I’ve found myself loving the characters, but not giving a damn about the actual show. Weird, huh? However, I am now convinced I can watch it and, if not love it, at least appreciate it. Why? Because, thanks to Dollhouse, I’ve discovered a man named Alan Tudyk. Why he passed me by in previous viewings, I do not know. But this guy is amazing. I love him and the thought of Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion together blows my mind. (Yes, I’m also late to the party on Nathan Fillion. Sorry, guys, sorry!)

And finally…

The Wire
Do I even need to explain this? All the critics love this show, it topped every single “Best of the 00’s” list I read, and everyone who watches The Wire swears it’s the best show they’ve ever seen. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid most things about the show. Here’s what I do know: Idiris Elba is in it. There is a season involving kids. There is a season involving a newspaper (the Baltimore Sun, maybe?) It takes place in Baltimore. Some beloved character dies in the end (or maybe many?). David Simon is the creator. He also created Homicide: Life on the Street, which I watched as a kid and really liked. And that’s it.

The question is, how should I watch all this? Should I go one show at a time? Do I need to mix up the terribly depressing (see: The Wire, Breaking Bad) with the more lighthearted? I’ll keep you all posted with my progress.

Video of the Day: Merry Christmas from Stars Hollow. I watched this episode yesterday while wrapping Christmas presents. It was quite festive. Two words: Santa. Burger. If I were to make a list, you can bet Gilmore Girls would be in the top 5, if not number 1.

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6 thoughts on “The overwhelmingness of lists

  1. Man, Lost, Freaks & Geeks, Firefly and Mad Men all in one year! You lucky duck.
    That’s a great idea, I may have to make my own list which I think would have to include Friday Night Lights at least.
    What if on the summer hiatus, you start with 5 and watch multiple episodes on certain days, like Mondays is Firefly day. Then halfway through the summer you could switch off? It’d be a lot of TV though.

  2. When you start to watch Mad Men, let me know! It’s definitely on my top 10 list!
    Here are a few from my current Facebook list….
    Mad Men, GLEE, Gossip Girl, The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Weeds, Gossip Girl, and Friends

  3. Nicki, I started rewatching Freaks and Geeks over the weekend and oh, man, is it so good. Martin Starr = comedy gold, and Jason Segal is incredible. You should for sure put FNL on your list! That should be your number 1 priority. Also, I don’t know if you’ve gotten all caught up on Dexter, but that would be my other rec.

    Dori, I will let you know. I’m liking The Good Wife, too, though I tend to let episodes bank up on the DVR and then watch them at my leisure. I still need to watch the last one that aired.

  4. Oh, man, this is a LIST.

    I’m currently watching The Wire; maybe we should tag-team the list. (TW is very good so far, though I don’t think it becomes totally mind-blowing until later seasons? Not sure.)

    Also, knowing what I do about your current viewing habits, you appear to be serious about this list. Go, you!

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  6. Pingback: Catching up on resolutions « Pink the color. Pink the person. Hot dogs. Basically anything that's awesome.

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