TV Meme

This TV Meme ran from June 1- June 30, 2010.  I saw it over at Encore's World of Film and TV, and I know it was also done during nearly the same time by Rachel's Reel Reviews, Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob, The Movie Encyclopedia, Hoping for Something to Hope For and The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek.

Day 01 - A show that should have never been canceled

There are quite a few shows that I wish had never been canceled, but they're divided into 2 categories - those that were canceled before they got an entire season, and those that were canceled even though they were given many seasons to prove themselves.  I was actually hoping to post about this topic recently, but work got in the way.  First and foremost, let me affirm that Firefly shouldn't have been canceled, and was and still is a brilliant show.  However, since people already know that one, I'll tell you about one I just finished watching on DVD, after it was canceled halfway through its first season. Defying Gravity was a late summer 2009 ABC show.  As many sci-fi shows, this one didn't bring in the big audience, but I don't think it was given a fair shot with an odd summer beginning, and then attempting to compete with the returning fall shows.  Now that I've seen the whole series, I think we missed out on what might have been a great show.

The story occurs in 2052, and society now has the ability to send people on multi-year space missions.  Humans have been to Mars and it didn't go particularly well, but now there's a trip planned around the solar system.  The 8-member Antares mission led by Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) and Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba) is attempting to reach Venus.  Donner and Shaw were also part of the Mars mission, and have returned.  The show flashes back to just after that mission when Donner and Shaw have returned but are now teaching at the new NASA, where we meet the rest of the Antares crew trying to make it through training to the next mission.  There is some drama - a quick love affair between Donner and Zoe (Laura Harris, from the equally short-lived Women's Murder Club) that results in a failed pregnancy.  Since we see them in current time, we know who makes it onto the mission, but not how they got there and into the job they do.  So when we see Zoe get pregnant in the past, you're never quite sure how the pregnancy will end, but we know she doesn't have a child.  The same is true for events in the other crew members lives.  We see several minor incidents aboard the ship that occur in nearly all space movies (an injury and flying blood, weightlessness, etc.) but they start covering new territory fairly quickly.  There's a mystery called "Beta" that only a few people at mission control know about (and none of the crew) but that seems to be dictating the whole show.  I won't tell you what "Beta" ends up being, partly not to ruin the really terrific series finale, but also because they only brushed the surface of what the mystery might have revealed.

It's a good show that might have turned great.  With two parallel stories rather than many stories that eventually converge, the confusion of Lost is simplified, and with only one major mystery, except for "how will they survive a space mission", it's an easy show to like and understand.  Too bad it was canceled after one season. 
Day 02 - A show that you wish more people were watching
I watch a lot of popular TV - Grey's Anatomy, CSI, etc.  But I wish more people would tune in for some of the summer shows like Royal Pains, Burn Notice or The CloserRoyal Pains is entering its second season this Thursday on USA.  It's about Hank and his brother Evan.  Hank was an ER doc in Manhattan, but because he chose to save a kid rather than prioritize a hospital donor, and gets fired.  During some time to cool off in the Hamptons, he starts getting hired as a private doctor for the rich and secretive out in the Hamptons.  He does makes some friends, and Evan becomes his manager.  He also hires Divya as his PA, a young Indian-American woman who is trying to avoid her upcoming arranged marriage.  Mark Feuerstein is charming as Hank, the least developed character, but gives all the other characters a chance to develop and shine a bit.  Campbell Scott plays Boris, a mysterious rich guy who hires Hank and gives him a place to stay.  We still don't know what illness Boris has, but it's been silly finding out - he had a live shark brought to his house.  Hank's also trying to date the administrator of the year-round hospital too, but that keeps having trouble.  It's a fun little show that I hope more people will watch this year. 

Day 03 - Your favorite new show (aired this t.v season)

This one was easy.  Glee has been written about, is available on itunes, and has spawned dancing flash mobs around the world.  The end of the first season approaches (June 8) and it should be up for a bunch of awards next Emmy season.  In case you live under a rock, Glee, is about an Ohio high school glee club.  The pilot started with just 5 students who wanted to join, and unless they got up to 12 students, they couldn't compete at sectionals.  The director, Will Schuster (Tony award winner, Matthew Morrison) recruits some football players, and cheerleaders.  The cheerleaders are likely spies trying to help their coach, Sue Sylvester (the brilliant Jane Lynch), destroy the club so she can have their funding (and just because she wants to).  The banter between Will and Sue is awesome - Sue always has a comment about how much hair product he uses for his curly hair.  There is drama within the glee club too.  The quarterback, Finn, found out his girlfriend, Quinn, is pregnant (though we find out another footballer, Puck, is actually the father!).  Rachel Berry is a diva, performing demon (with a good heart) and has a crush on Finn.  Kurt comes out to his father (Mike O'Malley), who is amazing in his reaction to finding out his son is gay (he knew since Kurt was 3) and then defending him when Finn gets angry.  The rest of the club is played by pretty awesome supporting characters that have become more and more developed as the series continues, and I hope will continue to become full cast members.  Brittany No Last Name (Heather Morris) gets some of the funniest lines on television - "Dolphins are just gay sharks", and "when I pulled my hamstring, I saw a misogynist".  It's just a really heartfelt show, and the music is good, though the mismatch between the actually sound recording and the video is often uneven so it doesn't look like they're really singing, but from the video, you can tell they do really sing.  Personally, I like the music a lot, but I've heard criticism from people who don't.  The Power of Madonna and Theatricality Lady Gaga episodes were really terrific. 

I'm sure this video will get taken down soon, but here's a video from their live tour in NYC recently.

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever
This one was the easiest of all of them.  My favorite show ever is The West Wing.  I watch nearly the whole series almost every year.  When I can't sleep, concentrate, or smile, I put on The West Wing and it usually  helps because it creates a world that usually ends well, is smart, and has characters you wish existed in the real world.  Also, the writing, particularly in the first four seasons, was so nerdy and intelligent that I couldn't help but be drawn in.  As  you'd expect, The West Wing takes place in an imaginary U.S. White House.  The main cast includes the President Josiah (Jed) Bartlett, originally only imagined in a few episodes when Martin Sheen signed up, but they expanded his role, and until the last season, he's in nearly every episode.  His personal assistant, Charlie Young (Dule Hill) is by his side for nearly every moment.  His Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry (the late John Spencer) wrangles the staff together, including his deputy, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), communications director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), deputy communications director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), and later Will Bailey (Joshua Malina), and his Press Secretary CJ Cregg (the brilliant and Emmy award winning Allison Janney).  With Josh's assistant, Donna Moss (Janel Maloney) and the First Lady, Abby Bartlett (Stockard Channing) that is the core cast that exists throughout the series.  However, unlike many other shows with large casts on TV, all the supporting White House staff are played by the same actors, and once you watch a few seasons, you know which actors are just part of the core cast. 
However, there are a lot of notable supporting cast members that appeared for a season or more like Lily Tomlin, Jimmy Smits, Teri Polo, Alan Alda, Kathryn Joosten, Kristen Chenowith, Timothy Busfield, Elizabeth Moss, and Mary McCormack.  While the story is particularly "left-leaning" in its political slant, they also don't demonize people by political beliefs but rather when they're just jerks.  My favorite episodes are when there's lots of talking about a fairly mundane issue - though they do tackle larger issues like mid-term elections, a major election, nuclear explosions, terrorism, etc.- the ones I like best are when they're just trying to mull through a philosophical or arcane constitutional issue.  Those episodes come up more in the early seasons when Aaron Sorkin was both producing and writing the show, but some of the later episodes are equally good, there just aren't as many of them.   The entire series is available on DVD, and I highly recommend anyone watch any season.   To set it up, this scene takes place while Bartlett is running for re-election.  He's sick of the religious right being hypocritical about condemning things, and can't figure out how he beat the first guy he ran against for office.  He's just entered a party for radio hosts.  Being a Catholic, he's well-versed in the Bible, so he comes armed to more religious discussions.  

Day 05 - A show you hate

I actually had to think pretty hard about this one.  There's usually some part of a show that I can enjoy, and usually a show just doesn't grab me because it's slow or boring.  It's rare that I actually hate a show.  However, if I go back just a little, I found that I do hate Everybody Loves Raymond.  I don't think there's an actor on that show that I even enjoy in other things (Peter Boyle was good in The Dream Team, but that's all that comes to mind).  Doris Roberts won a few Emmys for her role as the world's most annoying mother-in-law, but it's actually painful to watch her perform most of the time.  I've seen a few episodes, mostly on planes where you're trapped, so it's not that I haven't seen anything and just dislike it on principle.  I don't find Ray Romano funny (his new show Men of a Certain age had a funny pilot, and then became painfully dull).  That's all I can say about it without ripping on a show that was on 9 seasons, so obviously some people liked it.  

Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

Nearly all TV shows label their episodes.  All the Desperate Housewives episodes are song lyrics, all Friends episodes are "The one with..." easy descriptions.  But you rarely see the name of the episode on the TV anymore, it's just a tag to refer to the episode in print.  I like that The West Wing always opens their episodes with a quick synopsis of what you need to remember, and then the title of the episode, like the name of the film arriving on the screen.  They're usually descriptive, but can be true on many levels.  My favorite episode of The West Wing is "Evidence of Things Not Seen."  The title is a quote from the King James Bible about faith being the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  The episode has nothing to do with religion, which is a slight change for writer Aaron Sorkin and director Chris Misiano.  It's actually about faith in other people, trusting them, and believing in things when you have to proof that it's true.  There are 5 main storylines, which is tame by West Wing standards.  First, it's a Friday night and the staff are all getting together to play poker.  CJ Cregg is going on and on about how on the vernal equinox (March 21), you can stand an egg on its end.  No one believes her, but she's confident it's true.  
Second, Josh has to interview a new candidate for the council's office, Joe Quincy (Matthew Perry in the first of his 4-5 episodes).  Third, President Bartlett and Leo have to figure out how to tell the Russian president that a secret "spy plane" taking pictures of terrorism crashed in Russia and they need to retrieve it.  And finally, a guy shoots at the White House, putting them into lockdown.  And finally, Will has to go work for JAG to defend some soldiers who are being court marshalled for not complying with a military order that shouldn't have been given.  It's not a quick episode, but with all good West Wing episodes, there's a lot of talking, some personal idiosyncrasies emerging (Leo can't get over the deli spread brought in for dinner), CJ's faith in Will's ability to help people, and the two President's agreeing they're both going to have to work together against terrorism.  I always think of this episode as not very much happening, but I guess a whole lot does.

 The runner-up for this day was season 5's "The Supremes" when Glen Close guest stars as a potential Supreme Court nominee.  She just shines.

Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

I had to think about this one for a while.  What about an episode of The West Wing would make me not watch it should I catch it on TV, or skip the episode on DVD.  There are a few episodes at the beginning of the fifth season, after Aaron Sorkin left that aren't my favorites, but with guest star John Goodman, they can't be all bad.  So I went through the list, and it turned out to be easy.  In a gimmick designed to increase viewership in the final season, the show staged a live episode, an actual debate between the two candidates running for office Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits).  Yes, it was scripted, but from the commentary on the episode, there were two different versions that aired for the east coast and west coast.   So they went off the cuff on occasion.  However, probably because they were nervous about it being live, and actually doing a nearly hour-long debate, it's really really boring.  Too much like an actual debate.  That's what makes it my least favorite episode.

Day 08 - A show everyone should watch

A show everyone should watch is Buffy The Vampire Slayer because I've never known anyone who actually watched it who didn't like it.  It starts when Buffy is in high school in Sunnydale, California.  The city is located on top of a center for all demon activity and Buffy is the newest in a long line of girls who fight vampires.  It's a show that a  lot has been written about, from amateur devotees to scholarly papers.  And Buffy was recently one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Characters of the last 20 years.   In fact, she's #3.  However, the other characters are what makes the show terrific.  Allyson Hannigan (now on How I Met Your Mother) as Willow is Buffy's best friend.  She grows from a nerdy, awkward girl with a crush on her best friend, Xander, to a confident wicca dating werewolf Oz, through to finding herself in college and in love with Tara.  
Her last romance with Kennedy is pretty forgettable, but she's a pretty terrific character  from start to finish.  Her odd arc in season 6 can get close to "after-school special" addicted to drugs, but she brings it around pretty well.  Xander is often just an extra person to talk to, but even he grows, particularly as Willow falls he gets stronger.  The interplay between the characters is what makes the basic subject matter of fighting demons and dealing with magic more interesting.  The other supporting characters, Giles, Anya, Tara and Joyce are terrific adding their own humor and pathos throughout.  It's the bad guys that somehow make the whole thing worth watching.  I love Angel in the first seasons, and when Spike returns in the last season I just love him too.  I think they're funny as well as good looking.  I love when they do flashbacks of the two of them fighting.  Overall, the show only improves every season, and the musical episode raised the bar for all other TV shows. 

Day 09 - Best scene ever

 I went to YouTube, purveyor of all free video, to compare some of the best scenes that came to mind when thinking about today's topic.  My favorite scene of all time can be found here but they disabled the embedding so I couldn't actually put it in the blog.  It's from The Big Bang Theory, a show I adore.  When people ask what it's about, I usually try to explain it's hilarity by describing this scene.  I've proven several times that I cannot do it justice, so I will not try.  The second scene that came to mind is of course from The West Wing, and helps embody what I love about the writing.  They tend to take a particular idea (right or left) and move it to it's logical extreme to see what happens.  They do the same with stories, anecdotes, myths, etc.  This scene was the late Karl Malden's last TV performance.  President Bartlett, a devout Catholic, has had to decide whether to commute the death sentence of a prisoner at his last moments on death row.  He discusses it with advisers, strangers, and finally his former parish priest.  He doesn't want to do it only because it goes against his own beliefs.  He believes in the higher power of his office to follow the law and constitution, so he's wavering about it.  Malden plays his former priest and tells him a story.  What this scene cuts off is the connection Malden makes between the story and Bartlett's situation.  It's always been one of my favorite episodes, particularly for this scene. 

Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

 There are always shows that you watch and don't think they're for you.  Arrested Development was one of those for me.  I didn't think I'd like it, but was given the first season, and really enjoyed it.  However, it wasn't on TV long enough for me to think I wouldn't like it, rather I didn't know much about it.  A show that I avoided for a long time that I did end up watching and really like is Scrubs.  I like Zach Braff, but wasn't sure I'd like his comedy from the many commercials I saw over the years.  A year or two ago, I was again given the first season (my friends and family know what I'll like) and was hooked.  I love Scrubs.  Sadly at the this point I've seen almost every episode so many times and there's not a heck of a lot that makes every episode distinct, so I've finally backed off from watching the many reruns on TV.  Based at the fictional Sacred Heart hospital, JD (Braff) and his non-gay life partner Turk (Donald Faison) met in college and have been best friends ever since.  Turk meets and eventually marries Carla (Judy Reyes) when they start their residencies along with Elliot Reed (Sarah Chalke).  JD and Elliot are the Ross and Rachel of Sacred Heart.  They date, they're friends, roommates, dating again, etc.  The real funny people on the show are Dr. Percy Cox (John C. McGinley) and his sometime wife Jordan (Christa Miller).  They're hysterical in being mostly one-dimensional, but they gain the most dimension as the series goes on, falling back in love with each other, having kids, etc.  I love Christa Miller on Cougar Town even more, though she's almost the same character as on Scrubs so it's leaving a good feeling for Scrubs because I get to see my favorite character again.  They also had some absolutely terrific guest stars for a few episodes.  In the only role in which she doesn't annoy me, Heather Graham is terrific.  Michael J. Fox is an annoying doctor.  Elizabeth Banks plays JDs girlfriend who ultimately has his kid.  It's a really funny show with all the day dreams JD has, the costumes, musical numbers (I love the musical episode), and overall joking demeanor even when it often becomes serious with medical issues.  There are a tons of reruns every day, so check it out.

Day 11 - A show that disappointed you

 I have often talked about my love for Battlestar Galactica.  I really liked the finale, I pushed through the odd episode, sure that the whole thing was going to be worth it, and it was.   When watching TV with other people, I will often shout "don't trust him, he's a Cylon" when an actor from BSG appears.  So, when they announced they were doing a prequel TV show, I was all for it.  Add Eric Stoltz and I was even intrigued.  I gave it a good college try for 4 episodes, including rewatching the 2-hour pilot because I thought I might have missed something.  However, Caprica didn't have the same energy as BSG.  Obviously the characters were different because it takes place several generations before the actual BSG characters.  It should have told more of the story of how the different worlds were created, instead it went into the minutia of how the Cylons were created by a young girl who blew herself up in a terrorist plot.  Yeah, I was just as confused.  So I gave up.  I really really wanted to like it, but just couldn't get into it.  
Day 12 - An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times

 Today's my birthday, so I'm picking my favorite episode of all time.  The West Wing is still my favorite show, but Friends is a very, very close second.  When I  moved to Brooklyn with my college friend, Yumi, we couldn't afford beds for nearly a month, let alone cable (camping in an apartment isn't as bad as you think).  However, we did have some Friends episodes on DVD, so after a long day we'd spend a few minutes arguing about which episode we wanted to watch.  This one we could always agree on. Thus, I have seen "The One with the Embryos" way more than 5 times.  There are two main storylines - one was Yumi's favorite, one was mine: Phoebe has agreed to carry her brother's embryos and is going to get emplanted ("think thick"), and Joey and Chandler think they know Monica and Rachel better than the girls know them.  To prove it, Ross creates a question game to see who knows more trivia about the other, including a lightening round.  If the girls win, the guys have to get rid of their birds ("he's becoming a rooster") and if the guys win, they get the girls apartment.  The whole thing hinges on the recurring joke that no one knows what Chandler does for a job ("he's a transponster" "That's not even a word!!!") and the guys win the apartment.  Of course, eventually they switch back, but not for quite a few episodes.  Meanwhile, Phoebe goes to get emplanted with the embryos and is left in the room with them for a few minutes, and it's one of the sweetest,  most sincere scenes in Friends.  Lisa Kudrow had just won (or was about to win) her Emmy for the show, and I think this season was definitely her best.

Day 13 - Favorite childhood show

There were lots of TV shows I liked as a kid: all the Saturday morning cartoons like Thundercats and Transformers.  However, my favorite childhood show that I still enjoy watching today is Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It started when I was about 8, and my whole family would watch it together at least for the first few seasons.  I still like it today and watch the reruns occasionally.  I never got into it as a cultural phenomenon, I was definitely an adult when I learned about conventions (probably when I saw Galaxy Quest, a terrific parody of Star Trek while being an amazing stand-alone movie) and never had any interest as dressing up like a character or learning imaginary languages, but I still think it's a terrific show.  The show changed and adapted from season to season without making it a big deal, just assuming that things might not all stay the same all the time.  The uniforms improved, the acting seemed more practiced, even the special effects improved.  Rather than statically remaining the same for the whole series, which surely would have bombed, things changed while retaining all the stand-alone aspects of an individual episode.  I think of this as a childhood TV series, though it wasn't exactly meant for children.   
Day 14 - Favorite male character

My favorite male character is half of my favorite couple on TV.  Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) from Friday Night Lights and his wife Tammy are the best representation of a healthy, happy,  hard-working married couple on TV.  They live in Texas where football is what people do on a Friday night (I grew up where it's hockey on Friday nights, but I understand the devotion).  Eric Taylor has to bear the burnt of the good games and the bad games - the town will be on his back more so than the players if the team doesn't win.   And he takes it in stride.  He works hard to make the kids he coaches good people as well as good players.  They have to learn respect, team work, the rules of football, and to some degree how to be good men.  He's there for the kids when they get in trouble, need some help, or need a father figure (though somehow he stays separate from them while making sure they know he's available).  He's a realist and know boys will be boys so fighting against underage drinking would be a lost cause, but showing up for practice on time isn't a debate.  He motivates them for the first few seasons with "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" and it always gives me goosebumps.  Easily my favorite male character on TV.  Runner-ups are Kurt Hummel from Glee, Patrick Jane from The Mentalist, and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.  The difference between them and Coach Taylor is how consistently he's written.  His character never reaches a caricature of a coach, but always seems authentic.  How much of that is Kyle Chandler and how much is the writing, we'll never know.

Day 15 - Favorite female character

I had to think about this one for a while.  There are a lot of bad-ass women on TV today (Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick, Holly Hunter, Connie Britton, etc.) but my favorite character that actually seems to separate herself from the actress who plays her is Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey) on 30 Rock.  I don't usually get to watch this show live, and sometimes you do wonder if Tina Fey is actually like Liz Lemon, but if you've ever seen Tina Fey accept an award or give an interview you can tell Tina Fey and Liz Lemon only look alike. Liz is the head writer for TGS (formerly known as The Girlie Show until Tracy Jordan arrived to spice ratings).  She gets to spend her time managing the egos of Tracy, Jenna (Jane Krakowski), and negotiating craziness with Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin).  However, she's so overwhelmed, she often gets caught in her craziness, like holding her bra together with tape.  She's hilarious in her constant struggle to find a guy, self-esteem and to put on a show.  I love watching her try.   In this photo she's trying to get out of jury duty (it almost seems easier just to serve).
Day 16 - Your guilty pleasure show

There are a lot of shows I watch that I feel like no one else watches so I don't really talk about the fact that I watch them, but my guilty pleasure is definitely one that many people will groan and I'm actually embarrassed to admit that I like it.  There are times it's like a train wreck and you can't look away, and other times there were actual moments of sweetness, humor, and insight.  The show formerly known as Jon and Kate Plus Eight, now known as Kate Plus Eight since she got rid of Jon, is my guilty pleasure.  I've seen most of the episodes at least twice.  I only started watching last spring when I was really sick and it was on 4 times a day, so I caught up out of order and hadn't really heard of the show before.  
Of course with a lot of things you watch a lot of in a short amount of time, you get addicted and want to keep watching more.  So now I watch Kate Plus Eight, and actually will watch just about anything that features the family.  I'm not a huge fan of Kate (she was so painful on Dancing with the Stars that I question whether she's actually a robot), but I love the kids.  They're kind, friendly, silly, bratty, etc. and so much fun to watch interact with each other and the public.  So now I've admitted my guilty pleasure.  Enjoy.

Day 17 - Your favorite miniseries
I actually cheated a bit to go back and see what qualified for Emmys miniseries categories.  However, though I was just looking at nominated (at least for a costume) miniseries, I still think this is my favorite of all time. Angels in America was a Broadway play written by Tony Kushner, with an all-star cast that I still see popping up in new movies.  Set during the mid-1980s, reflecting the political and medical crises surrounding AIDS, there are a few stories that interview.  One follows real life attorney and conservative politico Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) who is living in the aftermath of the McCarthy hearings he assisted with, and prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as spies which led to their execution.  A homosexual himself, and diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, he participated in clinical trials of AZT.  We see him dealing with the guilt of his former actions, including living a closested gay life.  Pacino plays him so well - strong and butch when dealing with real people, but wimpy and fragile when confronted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (he's in the hospital hallucinating) played brilliantly by Meryl Streep.    
Another main storyline is Joe (Patrick Wilson) and Harper Pitt (Mary-Louise Parker) dealing with their marriage.  Joe is also an attorney working with Roy Cohn and  a closeted gay man, and meets a guy in Central Park and has sex.  This guy, Louis (Ben Shankmen) is escaping his lover, Prior (Justin Kirk in his best performance ever) who has just told him he has AIDS.   The story around Prior is my favorite, particularly when supporting actor Jeffrey Wright is on as a nurse and friend of Prior's but also Roy Cohn's nurse.  Wright is not closeted at all, and does a great job trying to help everyone deal with their illnesses as well as the closeted Cohn deal with his past misdeeds.  The climax occurs when Emma Thompson appears as an angel giving Prior a transformation in attitude.  All of the actors give terrific performances, but I love Wright and Streep the best.  They get to be the characters who point out the truth.  Thompson is pretty terrific as the angel too.  The acting and writing made this a Golden Globe and Emmy winning mini-series (six episodes, but I've seen it on 2 DVDs).  I love it and can't wait to watch it again.  
Day 18 - Favorite Title Sequence

This one wasn't terribly hard, what was hard was getting the actual video to show you.  My first thought was the new Parenthood show's opening sequence.  Like Friends before it, the opening sequence sets a good tone for the rest of the show.  I like the show too, so I enjoy watching the opening sequence.  However, NBC hasn't made it easily available yet.  Second, I thought of the only other show's opening sequence I watch, Burn Notice, which basically explains the shows premise every week, but in a way I like watching.  However, that too wasn't easy to find.  So I'll go with my next favorite.  The opening sequence to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, while unoriginal in the idea (a song over scenes from the show), I still like it.  

Day 19 - Best t.v show cast
Sometimes a cast comes together and they're made up of amazing actors (Brothers & Sisters) but sometimes the cast comes together can creates a show, wins awards, and ultimately become a famous cast (Six Feet Under).  My favorite cast was one of the latter.  I vaguely remember Courtney Cox having been in a movie or maybe just the Bruce Springsteen video before we saw her on Friends, but ultimately the cast came together and became really famous for being a Friend.  New shows advertise a Friends reunion whenever two or more appear together (Lisa Kudrow guest starred on Cougar Town with Cox).  
All six of them are in every single episode, which is unusual for an ensemble, but I think it's par of what made them awesome.

Day 20 - Favorite kiss
There are lots and lots of characters that kiss.  Lots of shows set up a Ross/Rachel dynamic that ultimately ends up with some version of will they/won't they, which usually ends with the kiss.  Some are disappointing (this season Booth and Bones' kiss didn't work out, very disappointing).  Usually the bigger the build up, the less exciting it actually is.  I know I've talked about Friends a lot, but it's definitely the one that fits the bill here.  When Rachel finally finds out that Ross had a crush on her forever, she decides she likes him too, but they can't make it work out.  However, later, when she sees how he was willing to take her to the prom when her date showed up late, she rushes over and kisses him.  That's my favorite kiss.

Day 21 - Favorite relationship

In the list of posts for this meme it said "favorite ship" without any sort of apostrophe, so I just assumed it was actually your favorite ship (like the Love Boat or something).  Thankfully there are a few other people participating in this meme and they are smarter than I.  So sadly you won't get to read about  my love for the actual Battlestar Galactica, but instead about my favorite interpersonal relationships.  There are two and by coincidence they are both married couples.  This is also potentially repeating a previous post from Valentine's Day last year, forgive me.  The first is between Jed and Abby Bartlett on The West Wing.  They're both professionals - he an economist and then President, and she's a surgeon and then First Lady.  They cooperate in all sorts of things - most particularly his health during the third season.  Then they fight and disagree about his re-election campaign and their big problems start when he puts them in danger by assassinating a foreign leader and doesn't tell her ahead of time.  However, through it all they talk about things, discuss their problems and rule the country.
I think that must be the theme that draws me to amazing relationships because the other couple, Coach Eric and Principal Tammy Taylor from Friday Night Lights.  They survive having a late in life baby, changing jobs, adding jobs, a teenager, legal issues and school politics.  They don't talk about things quite as much, but they're on such a similar wavelength that they just acknowledge when they're wrong, apologize and move on.  I love watching them hang out together and solve their problems.  For both couples, neither relationship is the basis of the show, but it's the most interesting part of the side/back story for both shows.

Day 22 - Favorite series finale

I know I've been talking a lot about Friends, The West Wing, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, none of which are still on the air.  But none of them had particularly good series finales.  They wrapped up with a decent story, ending the story pretty well.  The first one that was terrible that has wrapped up was Sex and the City.  I liked the Paris storyline that ended with Carrie and Mr. Big getting together finally.  The other women ended their stories pretty well too.  However, I did really really like the Lost finale.  Perhaps it's just because it's the most recent show that I liked.  I liked how they wrapped it up, I liked the actual show a lot.  It stood out from the rest of the season (which wasn't terrific) and elevated what might have been an impossible task to wrap up a crazy sci-fi/fantasy story.  It worked well.  Yes, there were some contrivances that didn't really make sense (like Sayid and that chick from the first season getting back together) but otherwise they made sense if you'd watched the whole series. 

Day 23 - Most annoying character

 This has to be a group award.  All of the characters they added to Grey's Anatomy this season were equally annoying.  I find there are a lot of things in my life I don't realize how much I dislike them until they're gone and I say, "wow, that sucked, glad it's over."   (**Spoiler**)  When the first one of them was shot in the season finale this year I didn't even have to think about it.  I just shouted yay!  I was sad when the big guy died at the end, he was actually enough of a jerk to get respect rather than just being a douche like the other 3 (2 girls and a guy).  They arrived at the hospital and while I respect their characters rights to fight for their position as a resident, they didn't fit into the cast of other characters particularly well.  I didn't care about any of them enough (except the big guy just before he died).  Somehow, I don't blame the writers for exposing us to this motley group of actors and characters.  Perhaps if they'd been different or better actors it wouldn't have bothered me so much, or maybe I'm responding exactly as the writers wanted me to.  Just like Meredith, Christina, and Alex felt.  Who knows, either way, I was glad their lives were threatened.  They do not appear in the photo that accompanies this post because they don't deserve to.

Day 24 - Best quote

This was probably the easiest for me.  I quote Friends more than almost anyone I know, but this particular quote really separates the fans from the watchers.  

Joey:  The big question is, does he like you. Because if he doesn't like you this is all a moo point.
Rachel (pauses, looks puzzled): A moo point?
Joey: Yeah, It's like a cow's opinion.  It just doesn't matter.  It's moo.

Day 25 - A show you plan on watching (old or new)
 I do try to keep up with shows, at least once they're on DVD. It's hard to know which ones you'll like.  I was never sure I'd like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I did.  Usually it's based on an actor that I like was in a show I didn't see. Rome is one that intrigues me and I'd like to check it out.  Treme is another if only because I loved The Wire and the same creators did both.  Deadwood has been recommended too.  I think because I don't get HBO, I'm often behind on those series.  This is a topic I'd love to solicit advice on - what shows have you seen that most people don't seem to watch, but you know are terrific?  

Day 26 - OMG WTF? Season finale

I'm sure there are lots of season finale cliff-hangers.  ER seemed to thrive on them, and it definitely helps the ratings of the first fall show if people have to wait to find out who lives and who dies and often there's a wedding or the potential for one.  And that's what defined my favorite finale: Grey's Anatomy last year.  It was of course a big two-hour affair, with the goal of Derek and Meredith's big wedding at the end.  However, it ended with Izzy and Alex married, Izzy struggling for her life because her cancer is taking over, and a John Doe who stepped in front of  bus.  We find out in the last 2 minutes that the unidentified John Doe was actually our dear George O'Malley and he was dying.  As part of the dying scenes we see Izzy riding up on an elevator (like she did several seasons ago when she was meeting Denny who had died) and she sees George in a military uniform waiting for her.  We had to wait to see for sure who had died and who had survived.  However, thanks to the wonder of the internet, we knew that T.R. Knight's contract had ended and that Katherine Heigl had struggled to get out of hers but would definitely be returning, so it wasn't quite the cliff-hanger it might have been.   

Also, have to shout-out to the season finale of Dexter season 4, but won't spoil that one.

Day 27 - Best pilot episode

We're in the home stretch of the TV meme.  I've always believed you can't judge a series based solely on the pilot.  A minimum of three episodes are needed to get what the show might be about.  Pilots are created to get a show on the air.  They have to hint at what a 5+-season series might be about without over-exposing a story so that the first season will still have some interest.  Particularly when they want to spin-off a character from another series, these days they use a "cross-over" episode instead of an actual pilot.  This actually gives them a chance to change the actors playing certain characters.  Also, it gives the potential audience a chance to see the new characters.  I tend to watch a lot of pilots (that make it to air obviously) and hope to give the show a few episodes, but sometimes I don't.  Friends is the example I tend to use for why not to judge a show based on it's pilot.  The characters became much more full, less crazy, and more fashion-forward than the pilot suggested.  However, the best pilot I've seen lately that also turned into a show almost exactly as the pilot promised is Glee.  They showed the pilot in the spring, then it went viral online so more and more people could figure out this new show was all about, and then the show aired and the pilot was a perfect intro to the entire series.  The pilot had good music, covers of famous songs, an introduction to who would be the main characters, their crushes, and struggles.  They did a terrific job introducing the series.
Day 28 - First t.v show obsession

I don't remember watching lots of TV as a kid, but I definitely remember Saturday mornings.  I was always really pissed when noon arrived because it meant no more cartoons until the next weekend.  He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, The Snorks, CareBears, Gummi Bears, Winnie the Pooh, and I'm sure many others, were on during the course of my childhood.  When WWE wrestling came on afterward, I was always so disappointed.    The theme songs and often the voices of the various characters have stuck in my head for years.  The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was my favorite and I still listen to the theme song when I get sad or can't sleep because I watched something scary.  The a capella group at Brown University covers the theme song from The Gummi Bears.  Who knows what it is about the comfort of childhood that makes us feel good.  I feel bad for anyone who didn't have a childhood that included Saturday morning cartoons.  

Day 29 - Current t.v show obsession

My current TV obsession is My Life on the D-List with Kathy Griffin.  I confessed during Episode 3 of Reel Insight how much I love it, but now I'll tell the world (since most of you might not listen to the podcast, but you totally should, even I listen to it and I hate my voice).  I watch all of Kathy Griffin's specials, which are all basically her stories of her interactions with A-list celebrities and how crazy or full of themselves they are.  Or, it's about how high she is on their s*#$-list, or what she did to get on their list.  She's pretty high on Oprah, Ryan Seacrest or Lindsay Lohan's lists, I'm sure.  You can see she's sometimes exaggerating, but not by much.  She once described eating a meal next to Anna Nicole Smith, and her imitation was amazing.  On the TV show on Bravo, she does crazy things to attempt to get off the D-list, but mostly it's just things to get attention, with a splash of her actual life and the lives of her crazy assistants.  This season already she's demolished the interior of her house, then fired the designer and told her assistant to fix it.  She's asked Liza Minneli for acting advice when she did her "emmy-bait" appearance on Law & Order: SVU and kissed BOTH Mariska Hargitay AND Chris Maloney.  Oh, and I bought and read her book, Official Book Club Selection, and actually really liked it.  Now I've confessed my obsession and will go bury my head in shame.
Day 30 - Saddest character death

**Definitely spoilers**
Well, I'm going to come full circle on the saddest character death.  I still cry every time I rewatch the episodes in which he dies.  Yes, there are two because the actor died in real life BEFORE his character dies on the show, and we don't see his actual death, just know that he died.  Sometimes that's the hardest.   John Spencer played Leo McGarry for almost the entire series, and was nominated for the Emmy five times, winning once for supporting actor.  At the beginning of season 6, Leo has a heart attack in the woods at Camp David.  He recovers and CJ becomes the new chief of staff.  In a moment of life imitating art, John Spencer had a heart attack towards the end of season 7, and sadly passed away.  There's a memorial statement at the beginning of the episode the week he died, Martin Sheen does a short memorial speech.  Then the episode when Leo dies is the night of the presidential election, but halfway through the night.  Kristin Chenowith had been his assistant during the campaign, and is the one who finds him in a bathroom (off camera) and then we're told of his death.  He was a terrific actor and I love seeing him in older movies now.  RIP John Spencer (Leo McGarry).

This wraps up the 30 Day TV Meme.  It was actually kind of nice to have a set topic every day, but maybe more of a once a week, next time. To read the whole of the TV meme, check out the page at the top.  The shows involved have been as varied as I could make them: Defying Gravity, Royal Pains, Glee, The West Wing, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs, Capria, Friends, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock, Kate Plus Eight, Angels in America, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-list.