Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.
This week’s topic is a television-related freebie in celebration of fall television! Like any other college student out there, I spend my free time half-studying, half-binge-watching Netflix. Although I wouldn’t call myself a TV buff, in any sense of the word, I am very passionate about what I watch. Since I don’t talk much about TV on my blog, this is a great opportunity to tell you about the kind of TV I watch/enjoy. 🙂
I’ll also try my best to include videos that I think best capture the essence of the show – hopefully without spoiling anything.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
I know Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah- and they’re all amazing hosts, but no TV journalist/comedian has captured me quite like John Oliver. He covers topics that are often brushed aside, as well as topics that are extremely important, popular and relevant. His delivery of his punch-lines is always spot on, his jokes are never over-the-top but just the right amount of self-deprecating hilarity. Not to mention that I think his show is a show that puts so much effort in relaying genuine information. They go out of their way to talk about issues. Examples:
- In the video I linked above, Oliver LITERALLY flies out to Russia to interview Edward Snowden. If that’s not commitment to your craft, I genuinely do not know what is.
- When talking about tax exemption of the church, his team created their own church (the fact that they called it “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption” is just an added LOL-bonus).
- When he was a pen-pal with a televangelist for months and months, simply so he could expose their corruption on TV.
- And of course, when he did his legendary segment on Donald Trump (and started the #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain movement online)
Despite obviously being a liberal himself, Oliver is also incredibly fair. He’s going to spend a segment criticizing the Republican party? Sure, he’s going to do the same thing to the Democratic party a couple of weeks later. He spends just as much time talking about corruption and messiness in America as he does abroad. And despite using colorful language and sexual innuendo (most of the time), his humor is never offensive. Although, his comment section is so stay away.
I don’t know. I’ve seen this clip so many times, and I always just about pee myself from laughing. The Office was a fairly recent discovery- I started watching it after it had ended, but binging it just made it all the more special. I loved all the characters in their weird eccentricities, but they all felt so authentic. The humor can be a little offensive, but it’s done in a way that you know it’s intentionally done to make you dislike a character.
One Tree Hill
I’ve seen so many high school dramas in my life, honestly. There was a time when I didn’t watch anything but. One Tree Hill is, by far, the best one out there. It’s the most cohesive, the most wholesome show that puts its focus on more things than one. I know many people reduce the show to shipping wars: Lucas and Peyton, or Lucas and Brooke, or whatever, but I’ve always thought that this show was about so much more than choice. It was about family, about tumultuous relationships between overbearing parents and kids who are just trying to do their best. It was about friendship, about ambition, about love and loss. About how you don’t have to stay with the family you’ve been given- that you can create your own families. I’ve seen this show at least four times after I watched the entire thing, and it’s constantly surprising me with its poignance and depth. “Poignance” and “depth” – two words you don’t hear often when it comes to high school dramas, ha.
My Mad Fat Diary
I came across this show by accident when I saw a GIF set on Tumblr. The first season was out when I started watching it, and I binged it in one night. This series is so many things: it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it’s also devastating in its unflinching portrayal of mental illness, of how the world can be so cruel when all you need is some support. Again, it is such a wholesome show in the way that it focuses on one girl’s life: not her love-life, not her family-life, not her mental illness. No, her life. We see how her relationship changes with her mother, who she evolves from episode to episode, how she struggles to fit in with a group of friends who love and adore her for who she is. The acting is top-notch, and if I have one complaint, it’s that it was too short.
I’m still angry that this show got cancelled, which is why I haven’t yet seen the final few episodes. I take comfort in the fact that I still have some moments left unseen from the show. Hannibal is a ridiculously underrated show. For starters, it has some of the best cinematography I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe it was aired on network television because it was so stunningly shot, and it looked the highest of high-value productions in television. The acting, too, was fantastic and the psychological aspect of it was grueling for both the characters and the viewers. It wasn’t scared to show you brutality, and that’s what made it so completely fascinating.
Doctor Who was the first show I binge-watched, and it remained my favorite show of all-time for a long, long while. Apart from being wildly entertaining with a cast of characters so large and interesting, Doctor Who was an intelligent show with brilliant acting, emotional, powerful storytelling and storylines that both captivate you and completely confuse you. I stopped watching a year and a half ago, mainly because I didn’t think the writing and storytelling was up to par and the current Doctor deserved better. It’s unfortunate, because it was once a show that I talked about all the time, and now when I talk about it, I am mostly just reminiscing fondly.
The Night Of
The Night Of is an 8-episode miniseries that ended a week ago, and I have not stopped thinking about it since. I will never stop thinking about this series. I know we talk about diversity in literature a lot, but I never knew how it feels to see yourself in such a prominent role even on the screen. When you think of Pakistani characters, terrorism is almost always involved, and the actors cast are mostly Indian or Middle Eastern. So imagine my surprise when HBO decides to drop a high-profile show with a Pakistani-American protagonist played by a Pakistani-British actor, steering so FAR from the stereotypes without EVER brushing aside the realities of Islamophobia, xenophobia and prejudice. This show’s portrayal of Pakistani-American families is so authentic; their values, their mannerisms, their limitations and privileges- it’s so authentic, and believe me when I say that. A series where the protagonist was like me: who likes going to parties and does everything a normal kid his age would do, who isn’t ruled by stereotypical representations of religion and culture. It was so refreshing.
All that aside, I think this show is a brilliant look into the American criminal justice system and its pitfalls. It does this with a captivating murder-mystery background, with fantastic acting and a diverse cast of characters in a dreary depiction of New York City. The cinematography, the score, the storytelling – it’s all amazing, and I wish this show gets the recognition it deserves.
Ah, Breaking Bad. No list is complete without it. The series I binge-watched with my father, the series that got me hooked on moral ambiguity, on anti-heroes. The series that made me realize what well-written villains are. That inspired me to write and appreciate characterization, development above action. Don’t get me wrong, Breaking Bad has tremendous storytelling, but the characters outshine its plot – no doubt about it. A series about how an innocent, frail man was corrupted by greed and the illusion of power to turn into someone unrecognizable. I have a burning desire to re-watch it now.
Game of Thrones
All the best scenes in this show are spoiler-y, so this was the only one I could come up with. It’s a great scene- don’t get me wrong. Although I prefer the books to the show, I would be lying if I said the show was meh. The fact is that when it airs, Game of Thrones is the best part of my week. I love the costumes and the world, seeing the creatures and characters come to life, watching breathtaking battle choreographies unfold in front of my eyes. Now that the show has passed the books in terms of storytelling, it’s also just incredibly exciting to be on the edge of my seat. This may have been on the top had it not been for some minor mistakes made by the showrunners.
Is Supernatural the best written show in my list? Absolutely not. Does it have the greatest storytelling or the best character development? No. So, why the fuck is it Number 1 on my list? Because I’ve been watching it for seven freaking years- watching these brothers on journey after journey. I have cried, I have laughed, I have raged. I have said hello to beloved characters and then say goodbye to them with fists clenched and vision blurry. I love how META Supernatural can get. I love how the show-writers are constantly making fun of themselves and their show in the episodes. And the fact that Jensen and Jared are best friends in real life makes their chemistry such a delight to watch on screen. My relationship with this show transcends viewership; I genuinely do not know what will happen when the show comes to an end…