“No thinking or planning. Just write a list. It could be a series of steps to take, a list of best tips for something, or your to-do list. Just write, don’t edit. And make sure it’s 500 words. Who knows what could come from it?”
I was actually really excited to get this prompt today because I knew right away what I wanted to make a list of. I’ve always loved films, but in the past year of my life TV shows have become a huge part of my ‘down-time’ life. Life is crazy sometimes, and when I can’t seem to process how I’m feeling I can sit down for a Netflix session and emote with some of my favorite characters. I may want or need to cry based off of what’s happening in my personal life but I won’t be able to, because I know the role I need to perform. With my shows, I’m allowed to react honestly, and I’ve come to learn a lot about myself and what I’m actually feeling. So here’s my list of shows that have both (surprisingly) helped me grow and entertained me. (Disclaimer, I did prepare for this and it will be WELL over 500 words because TV shows are my love language. And it contains spoilers, but not full reviews of each show, just my feelings on each one. Sorry, not sorry.)
- Once Upon A Time (ABC 2011 – )
If there’s a bigger fan of fairy tale characters out there, then send them to me so we can be kindred spirits together. I am totally in love with each character reveal and the way the plot is weaved together is masterful. It’s been a little while for me because I’m waiting for Season 4 to hit Netflix, but some of the most beautiful characters for me are Regina and Captain Hook.
Their characters develop so believably and I love the idea that even those with a dark side can change and bring sometime good to the world (a theme we’ll revisit a lot in this blog). I also love the whole familial priority with Emma, Henry, Snow, Charming, etc. It makes me feel all mushy.
- Dexter (Showtime 2006 – 2013)
Speaking of dark, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this show. I hated the ending because I felt like it wasn’t true to Dexter’s character to disappear like that, but I loved the dynamics of the team, the relationship between Dex and Deb, Dex and Harrison.
Dexter’s character was so strong because he was a sort of walking, talking “I may be a certain way, and maybe I can’t change that, but I’m still going to try to do the right thing as best as I can figure”. Plus, I get told that I look like Deb from time to time so that’s another connection to the show.
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix 2015 – ?)
This show is hilarious to me because it’s essentially a party inside of Tina Fey’s brain and her sense of humor is basically my love language. I absolutely love Kimmy, and in a lot of ways I relate to her, mostly from when I was younger.
I love how she’s sort of arrested at a certain stage of development, but despite a lot of people not taking her seriously and having a lot tossed at her that she has to adjust to she’s “unbreakable”. I’m not as resilient as her, but I strive to be. I finished all 13 episodes in something like 2 – 3 days and I was devastated that there weren’t more episodes for me to consume. Also, the one-liners absolutely destroy me and Titus Andromeda alone is a reason to watch this series.
- 30 Rock (NBC 2006 – 2013)
Immediately following “Unbreakable” I knew I needed more, and I realized that Tina Fey also produced 30 Rock and I needed more of that. I realize the show is mostly a satirical look at working on a television show, and the meta aspect of that was just an extra blessing for me. I think girls everywhere can get on board with Liz Lemon because she is a multidimensional character that isn’t just a set of walking boobs in each scene.
Her relationship with Jack is wonderful to me because they both learn to value each other as people instead of using each other to fill some standard they’ve imposed for the opposite gender. It’s your typical “unlikely duo” relationship and I’m a sucker for that. I sobbed during the last episode and had to take some time to pull it together.
- Criminal Minds (CBS 2005 – )
There’s no end to the feelings I have for the characters on this show. It has a lot of the stereotypical crime show troupes (Derek Morgan as the sexy, aloof male agent, Penelope Garcia as the the quirky, alternative tech girl, Aaron Hotcher as the stoic alpha male leader, Spencer Reid as the geeky, sort of insecure young dude), and honestly if CSI does it for you, congrats. It’s all about what floats your boat. These characters are my personal favorite manifestations of the troupes.
It didn’t hurt that Matthew Gray Gubler filled my favorite role as the brilliant yet geeky young dude on the team and has been in every episode since the beginning of the show back in 2005 (#soblessed). Penelope is my favorite because she’s a soft, loving cinnamon roll that will sit at her keyboard working hard to help the team with coordinates and profile matches, and have tears streaming down her face. She has constant conversations of “How can I do this type of work and still keep myself?” and battles the temptation to shut herself off from her emotions, but is always encouraged (especially by Derek, and I love their dynamics as well) to hold onto herself.
That’s encouraging for me and something I want to work towards no matter what I end up doing in life. When I finished Season 9, I just sat in silence in the dark sort of unsure where to go now that it was all “over”. Thankfully they just started filming Season 11, so I think I can rest easy for a while.
- Vampire Diaries (CW 2009 – )
I can’t say too much to justify this show except that it’s been an excellent catalyst for tears. Even though it’s everything stereotypical CW (unrealistically good hair even after near death situations, party scenes each episode, dramatic monologues), it has such a labyrinth of storyline that leaves me on the edge of my seat and totally separates it from Twilight (this is me still trying to justify even when I said I wouldn’t, guys).
I will say Elena is my least favorite character because I feel like she has the least growth, but I love how Caroline goes from a ditzy, partying cheerleader to the strongest female presence and moral compass of the show. Bless you, my child. Also, I literally just emote like crazy when I watch this.
- Being Human U.S. Version (SyFy 2011 – 2014)
I started watching this because I had just finished Season 5 of Vampire Diaries and I needed more supernatural plot lines and all. I have to confess it was difficult to get into a new world of vampires, ghost, werewolves, etc. without the Salvatore brothers to ease me into it, but after a few episodes I was hooked and I couldn’t believe it. The tagline is literally something about “a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire live together as roommates”, and it was like standing outside of my body watching me enjoy it. I know I really liked the show because I didn’t find either of the male protagonists that attractive (sorry Josh and Aidan) and I was still all in.
Themes of not giving up on those you love, loyalty, knowing when to let go, etc., resonated deeply with me. The ending was really fulfilling, even though I wished it could have gone on longer than four seasons. I found out once I finished that there was a UK version starring the hot dwarf from “The Hobbit” as Aidan the vampire, but I didn’t have it in me to go through all the feelings for a second time, so I just let that one lie.
- The Originals (CW 2013 – )
I completely blame this one on Meghan and reading her blogs on the first few episodes of this Vampire Diaries spin off. The show centers around the three OG vampire siblings /villains of VD (Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah) and is supposed to be happening simultaneously with events in Mystic Falls. It took me about 6 episodes until I finally cared about what was happening to and with any of the characters. It’s a total CW baby, bringing me a bunch of impossibly attractive models in a bunch of ridiculously implausible situations, but those family dynamics, though. Each of the siblings is a literal walking emotional wound/hang up just trying to connect with each other and the world around them.
Elijah feels the weight and responsibility of putting everyone else first and maintaining family peace as the oldest brother–basically the Stefan of OG.
Klaus is the brother “less-loved by father” and carries tons of justifiable baggage from all the blows he’s been dealt in life, but deals with it rather poorly–yet, still has his moments of surprising goodness (so, Damon?).
Rebekah literally just wants someone to love her. Girl. We’re all there, but please, use some discernment. Season 1 left me on the edge of my seat, and now I have to wait for Season 2 to hit Netflix so my guess is I’ll be waiting a long time.
- The 100 (CW 2014 – )
This is probably my most surprising/embarrassing guilty pleasure for a number of reasons. I started watching this before I realized that I’m totally Team CW and despite the fact that it’s based in a post-apocalyptic world (I literally hate post apocalyptic driven anything) staring teens who look like they’re all 24.
Plus, everyone’s names are like millennial parents got drunk and tried to outdo each other (Bellamy? Murphy? A girl named Clarke? Help me.) The reasons why I logically would not enjoy this show go on and on, but you learn something new every day so here we are with this on my list.
You better believe I’m getting run to Netflix when Season 2 hits.
- Supernatural (CW 2005 – )
This is the show that I’m currently watching (literally, even as I type this Season 5, Episode 19 is playing on my phone down on the right-hand corner of my computer right now). I clearly love any show with a supernatural (GET IT?) theme, and I know theologically it’s totally off, but it’s on par with watching Exodus: Gods and Kings for me. Yeah, a lot of it is wrong or different than what we’d all imagine as far as angels and demons, etc., but it does offer up some interesting points to consider about what things could look like/there is more underneath the surface of our daily lives.
Sam and Dean Winchester live my dream, driving around, fighting evil and clearly never going to Florida. Season 1 they are sort of doing what they do out of a knee-jerk, this-is-what-our-dad-taught-us reaction, but I love the perspective that’s brought to it when their destiny/heaven’s plans/all the pieces start falling together in later seasons. There’s a reason for their commission.
Sam is one of my favorite examples of someone fighting to overcome their dark sides and expectations that someone else has placed on them. (Plus, Jared Padalecki, am I right??)
Dean is the classic “I act like an unfeeling jerk by I’m a bundle of decency and honor actually encased within this scruffy rebel”. The Winchesters don’t give up on each other, and they constantly sacrifice themselves for each other, and they constantly wear plaid together.
Castiel has been a wonderful addition to the show in the last season or so, and he is another cinnamon roll. They all have my vote, any day. They’re currently trying to gather the rings of the Four Horsemen to lock Lucifer back down in the pit and reverse the Apocalypse, and I wish them well. Do you, boys, and keep fighting the forces that be.
So there’s my list. I could literally keep writing on each of these even more–maybe that’s something I could incorporate more in later blogs?