We started off the millenium and our marriage without TV. Well, the programming, that is (no cable, satellite, or antenna). We had a VCR, so we borrowed tapes from the library and began a modest VHS collection from thrift store finds. A few years later, we received a DVD player for Christmas. Somewhere between babies being born, Netflix made its way into our home. Thus began our foray into television shows that weren't just for kids (by then, we had amassed the entire Baby Einstein, Veggietales, Blues Clues and Barney collections via garage sales, eBay, etc.). Meanwhile, we converted to Apple, Hulu brought the small screen to the even smaller screen, and Netflix introduced instant streaming for the Mac.
The clincher, though, was the Roku player (we were early adopters), which brought all of it (and much more) to the big screen. So now we pay $17.99 a month to watch whatever we want on our 38" flat-screen TV, albeit not in real time, but hardly anyone does that anymore anyway. Plus, I much prefer a long wait in between watching back-to-back episodes of a favorite show than having to see them one at a time, with a week or more between. With our favorite drinks and snacks, we can have a movie marathon, but in smaller doses (we do regulate ourselves, except for the times we've watched 4 episodes of 24 in one evening).
So without further ado (I'm lying), and with much trial and error (Lost was lost on us, most reality shows didn't make the cut, Bones was too morbid, and several others), here are the shows that I will forever associate with the first decade of marriage, raising young children, and relinquishing the idea that television (apart from Seinfeld) was the media equivalent of junk food. Most of it is (even some on my list) but I daresay that programs of substance surpass many motion pictures.
Think about your favorite childhood books - which ones do you know and love best? Was it a single novel or a series? Some of each, I'm sure, but your attachment is more likely to be with the ones whose characters were developed and stories told over volumes, not a mere 200 pages. Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Borrowers, The Land of Oz books - those are my favorites. Then again, I'm not sure I feel totally okay that I've literally spent a week of my life with Jack Bauer (and we're right now adding another day to that, as we watch season 8 on Netflix).
Sci-Fi: New Battlestar Galactica, Eureka
Comedy: The Office, Better Off Ted
Action: 24, Burn Notice
Drama: Lie To Me
Documentary: Anthony Bourdain - No Reservations, This American Life
In another post, I will explain what I like about these shows and what some of them have in common. The only show we watch that I left off this list is Hell's Kitchen. I don't like the drama (well, maybe a little) or the yelling/name calling, but I love the cooking challenges. And it was very gratifying to finally have a winner I was rooting for this past season (I won't give it away in case you're going to watch it).