The Best Show on TV That You’re Not Watching and the Best Show That You Are

Two shows in particular. Neither of them new. One a comedy, one an action/drama. Both shows pushing the limits of accepted showmaking in their particular genre.

One is Scrubs the other is 24.

I have only recently jumped on the 24 bandwagon. I missed season 1, and refused to watch after that. Everyone talked about how great it was and I had no idea. I gave in, after my wife watched season 3, when my father-in-law bought season 1 on DVD, and let me watch it. Then I rented seasons 2 and 3 from Netflix. They were so good, I had them done before they could charge me for a second month. I even squeezed Shrek 2 and Collateral in before they made me return all the DVD’s I had to cancel my subscription. Perhaps the best $18 I ever spent. So, now I am at the beginning of Season 4, with about 11 hours waiting on my DVR. You know I’ll be caught up by the end of next week.

Scrubs, however, I have been watching since it started. I have missed Episodes here and there, for random occurences that I couldn’t prevent (of course, that changed with the DVR. Good GOD! Has there been a better invention, since TV itself?) But I have been a Scrubs fan since the beginning.

24 is a great show. It’s gripping, intense, and I honestly don’t know how I would get by if I had to watch it piecemeal, waiting a week in between each episode. The acting is good, although sometimes overly dramatic, especially since they got an accomplished, recognized actor to play the lead. The writing is OK. I understand that it’s a TV show, and that you have to suspend disbelief somewhat, which is why I won’t nitpick the insane amount of things that happen, and get wrapped up neatly in 24 hours. Overall, it’s a good show. If you haven’t watched it through season 3, but intend to, skip the next paragraph.

The question of which season is best, so far, is an interesting one. It’s hard to judge season 4, because it’s not done, and I haven’t started it. So I will only judge the first three seasons. For me, because I watched all three at the same time, there was no issue of novelty. That’s why I thought season 2 was better than season 1, and I think I find myself in the minority on that. It follows my “Lost World” Theory. In a nutshell, I thought Lost World was a scarier movie than Jurassic Park, and that the only reason people thought JP was better, was because the novelty of the dinosaurs effect had worn of by the time they saw LW. Same for 24. When it came out, it was groundbreaking TV. When season 2 game out…it was a little less groundbreaking. But in terms of the overall plotlines, I liked season 2 better. First, the main plot. Season 1 had a mole inside CTU helping kill Jack and the Presidential candidate. OK. I never for second, and not because I knew the show had more than one season, believed that Jack or Palmer would die. So what was the suspense? Who the bad guy was? Eh. Why he was doing it? Eh. Season 2, however, finding the bomb had real suspense. And that they had to fly it out to the desert. That’s good stuff. The secondary plot, however, it was brings season 2 really to the top. For instance, in season 1 there was all that annoying and completely unrelated CRAP about Palmer’s kids and the coverup. Made me nauseas every time it came on. However, a governmental conspiracy to take down the president, AND it ties into the main plot…much better. In fact, the only think season 1 has going for it, in my opinion, is that they killed off the most annoying character in TV history, something I was rooting hard in favor of. In fact, because both Nina and Sherry Palmer eat it in season 3 (Killing Kim would have been too much to ask for? Huh? Why? Because she’s hot? I thought for SURE when they gave her that nasty haircut in season 3 she was a goner. Oh, well. I had hopes.) that brings the “kill annoying people” index up on that one, even though the rest of it was OK at best.

Now to Scrubs, and why I seem to be the only guy I talk to who watches it. (Guy there is not meant to connote gender, it’s a placeholder. Although, with this whole explanation, it would save space to just write “person.” Allright, I know for next time.) This show is brilliant. It’s funny, piognant, and real. It’s not a sitcom. There’s no laugh track. Story lines and conflicts don’t tidy up nicely in 30 minutes. And the characters haven’t become caricatures of themselves. (see Will and Grace. This show has been in the crapper for 3 seasons. I get it, OK, Will is a narcissit, Grace is a pig, Karen’s a drunk and Jack’s dumb. Now STOP RAMMING THE SAME JOKES DOWN OUR THROATS EVERY WEEK.) The writing is clever, sarcastic at times and straightforward at others. But the writers and actors don’t play for the laughs. They understand that real comedy comes from playing it straight, and letting the words and situations do the work. There are things in life that are funny, and Scrubs brings them out. But there are things in life that are tragic, and Scrubs doesn’t gloss over those. Seriously, if you don’t watch Scrubs, start watching it. And if you need a quick Primer on the characters and setting, “gimme a call, I’ll fly with ya.” (Just Kidding, shoot me an email.) If time is a problem for you, that’s weak, because we all know you watch TV. If you have a TiVo or some other DVR. then you have no excuse at all. Put Scrubs on your season pass, and start watching true brilliance.

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6 responses to “The Best Show on TV That You’re Not Watching and the Best Show That You Are

  1. WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW!!!I rank the first three seasons as follows:

    SEASON 3 – #1

    PLUSES:
    Best hour in 24 history – the jail/russian roulette scene.

    Tear jerkiest moment in 24 history – Ryan Chapelle getting executed.

    First season where the terrorists actually have some success killing civilians.

    Drama surrounding Tony’s decision. You really couldn’t blame him, but still couldn’t believe what he was doing considering who he was. How do you choose what to do in that situation???

    Great ending.

    Great Scene – Alan Miliken gasping for air while Sherry holds his pills and watches him die.

    Ding Dong…..MOST annoying character of all time dies (Sherry Palmer).

    Moishe does the best Hector Salazar impression. “The deal… is OFF!” “One BILLION dollars!” “Claudia!”

    Michelle kicks ass.

    They found a way to integrate the gay guy from Melrose Place into the show!

    MINUSES:
    Villain keels over a little too easily. He should have been willing to let his daughter die.

    Wayne Palmer.

    Nobody gets shot in the neck and comes back to work an hour later.

    Still too much Kim.

    Michelle not getting infected – if she wasn’t going to be on season 4 (although i heard a rumor she will be back towards the end), they should have infected her. It was too unreasonable that she beat the odds.

    SEASON 2 – #2

    PLUSES:
    Entire hunt for nuke was incredible.

    Totally fooled on the Raza/Kate’s sister thing.

    One of the greatest moments in 24 history – Nina asking for immunity for what she’s “about to do.”

    Great heroic moment for George Mason.

    Palmer shines while taking on his cabinet.

    Fake voice technology pretty cool.

    Ending – wasn’t sure what to make of this as some people are very against cliffhanger endings but I thought it was cool to stray from the usual “hooray! we beat the bad guys! let’s go home and shower.” ALso, reworking the fairly hot parachute chick from season 1 to come in and poison Palmer gets extra points.

    MINUSES:

    Kim’s whole situation with the father.

    Kim escaping injury from the police car accident while poor boyfriend dude gets totally messed up.

    Second half of season (once bomb goes off) a major letdown.

    Second Most Pathetic Sub-plot of all time- Kim getting stuck in the animal trap and barely escaping a mauling from a mountain lion.

    Holdup at convenience store pretty silly.

    SEASON 1 – #3

    PLUSES:
    Automatic points for being the first season – it’s special.

    My most jaw dropping moment- when we find out that Kim’s friend’s father isn’t really her father.

    Finding a way to get Lou Diamond Phillips in there.

    The second part of the ending – Terri found dead. Sooooo glad they didn’t use the alternate ending!

    MINUSES:
    Most Pathetic Sub-Plot of All Time – Terri’s memory loss. ‘Nuff said.

    Too much crap about Palmer’s family and the whole cover-up. Thank G-D they ditched his kids for season 2.

    Casting Dennis Hopper as Victor Drazen. Horrible.

    First part of ending – Nina?! Come on! You can’t have her help out the entire time, while every now and then giving us something to say “hmmm, that was a little weird of her to do” (ex: when she’s in the safehouse thing and tells the guards to leave). Also, give us some sort of explanation as to why she did it or who she’s working for. NOT COOL.

    Comments Always Welcome,
    DAN

  2. My sincere thanks to Dan for his magnum opus on the ranking of 24 seasons. I agree with the analysis whole-heartedly, and the outcome as well.

    I suppose it makes for a great argument who was more annoying – Terry or Sherry. I suppose Sherry gets bonus points for weaseling herself into every season until she dies. At least Terry had the decency to get whacked after season 1.

    One more thing about the whole Nina’s bad in Season 1 thing, that Estee pointed out to me: When Terry and Kim are in the CTU Clinic (I know, they have their own clinic?!?) and there’s the guy there working for the Drazen’s, and Nina sees him….not only does she not know who he is, but once she figures out he’s not FBI…she tries to catch him?! What for?! Nobody else saw him, he’s working for the same people you are…let him go. This makes no sense.

    Thanks again, Dan. Awesome work!

  3. 2 words:
    FAMILY GUY

    Next,with regard to 24…i am not enjoying season 4 or the new players. With due fairness however, I have not seen the past 2-3 episodes. That hole notwithstanding, I’m thinking that the plot line for season 5 might be that a crappy show is taking over an otherwise great series, and if not stopped millions will suffer.
    Can Jack save the show?

  4. Ha! I’m totally in on the ‘Family Guy’ pick… good call Eric…
    ‘Baseball Tonight’ starts soon, does that count?

  5. While I’m a big Family Guy fan (have every episode on DVD, and think it’s much quicker and wittier than The Simpsons), it definitely does not get “Best Show on TV” status simply because it doesn’t meet the all important test:

    Do you rearrange your life so you can watch this show?The answer for 24 is yes.
    The answer for Family Guy is no.

    I make damn sure that I don’t have any plans on Monday nights to interfere with 24, and I usually tape it just in case there’s some unforeseen mass emergency affecting the entire state (because that’s about the only thing that will stop me from watching this show).

    Point is, nobody does that for Family Guy now and nobody did it for Family Guy then. Certainly now, FG has become something you watch if you catch it while flipping. I have never heard anyone say, “Dude I have to get the hell out of here – FG is almost on!”

    Now, I’m willing to admit that Fox is largely responsible for getting in the way of FG meeting the test when it was on their network. Fox never gave FG a fair shot, constantly switching around the time slot from Sunday to Tuesday to Thursday. It really led to a lot of missed shows.

    However, the reason I don’t think that’s a good enough argument is because if Fox pulled the same shit with 24, I would be more on top of it and would make it my business to watch the episode during whatever time slot they sent it to…

    I will admit, of course, that when FG comes back, this might all change, but I’m still going with 24 in the meantime. Honrable mention for best show on TV that you’re NOT watching: L O S T.

    Dan

  6. Dan, you need TiVo. Then you wouldn’t have to rearrange your life anymore, and you also would not have to use AIM away messages such as “Watching American Idol now…and no, I’m not ashamed to admit that” and can instead use one of your more humerous away messages.

    That said, I am in agreement with your point.

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