Blake Senet and Michael Kessler
Editor-in-Chief and News Editor
Let’s face it: Television isn’t what it once was, and the majority of shows on the air just aren’t worth your time. However, a few gems in the rough exist, and this article intends to inform you of five shows that you shouldn’t miss.
Parks and Recreation
The funniest show on television runs on NBC at 9:30 PM on Thursdays. Parks and Recreation chronicles the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana. It features several comedians, including Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Offerman. Poehler, who plays the shows lead, Leslie Knope, is the female version of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott. She is constantly funny, and pulls her weight among the best comedians on TV. Like Scott, she seemingly always immerses herself in awkward situations that are almost unbearable to watch. Her one flaw is that her embarrassing actions are predictable. Nick Offerman plays Ron Swanson, an Indiana man through and through. He is the hard hearted, Republican chair of the parks department and is always good for a genuine laugh. The heart and soul of the show is Aziz Anzari’s character, Tom Haverford. Tom is basically an overly exuberant kangaroo, and he draws laughs nearly every time he is on the tube. The show tends to feature Saturday Night Live veterans, and is truly worth a watch.
The Pyramid of Greatness
While undoubtedly past its prime, House has firmly established itself as the best medical drama ever on network television. The show is led by its title character, Gregory House, played brilliantly by Hugh Laurie, a misanthropic, arrogant, and selfish person who also happens to be one of the greatest doctors in the world. His unethical, often illegal methods of curing patients are offset by his medical brilliancy, and the show’s writers continue to concoct interesting and engaging medical mysteries for him and his team, even in its eighth season. House gains further credibility as the most medically accurate show on the air. Yes, you can actually learn about diseases, treatments, and more from the show. House is complemented by a talented supporting cast, including Robert Sean Leonard, who plays House’s only friend Wilson, and Lisa Edelstein, House’s longtime love interest, current girlfriend, and Dean of Medicine at Princeton Plainsboro. The show may not carry the same steam as it once did, but medical dramas do not get any better than House.
What do you get when you combine an original, engaging premise, superb, sharp writing, and a talented cast featuring one of the best actors currently gracing the small screen? You get Dexter, quite simply the best television has to offer as we enter 2011 (provided you can stomach the somewhat gory nature). Dexter stars Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department who also happens to be a serial killer. The catch? He only kills people who deserve to die, i.e. murderers and other serial killers. The show starts and ends with Hall, who is absolutely brilliant as the socially inept, seemingly innocent main character. Dexter follows a very specific “code” he learned from his foster father growing up, which allows him to channel his “dark passenger” killing instincts in a precise manner without getting caught. The writing on Dexter is top-notch, featuring heart-stopping story arcs and truly terrifying villains. Trust me when I say that Trinity Killer in season 4 is the most terrifying, horrifying, and most shocking villain you will witness. Dexter does have its ups and downs; seasons one and four were heads and tails better than seasons two, three, and five. However, each season shines in many ways and even the worst of Dexter is better than the vast majority of anything else on television right now. Dexter simply cannot be missed.
Dexter’s Morning Routine
The greatest show of all time. The Wire, which is no longer on the air, ran from 2002 to 2008. During its time, the show depicted all of the aspects of the city of Baltimore, specifically focusing on the inner workings of the illicit drug trade. It explored the failures of government and city organizations. The Wire is highly entertaining and often humorous, but its realism and characterization stick out as defining features. Each character within the show is portrayed in gray, with no phony depictions of shining altruism or true vice without background. Perhaps the greatest character of all time, Omar Little, is featured in a recurring, central role in the Wire. A stick up man who always manages to outsmart his pursuers, Omar’s moments on screen are perhaps the best portions of the show. The show is truly unique in its similarity to any good novel. It is true in its depictions and features prominent, provocative themes. The Wire never gained much of a following because it did not cater to commercial audiences, but it is definitely worth a spot in your Netflix queue.
NBC has found yet another gem with the hilarious Community. The show follows a study group at a community college, made up of seven totally different, yet equally hilarious characters. The best part of the show is the writing, which is incredibly witty, sharp, hip, and filled with pop-culture references through the roof. Community really shines with its unconventional “themed” episodes. These episodes parody the typical stock characters featured in popular media to an extreme manner. This concept created “Modern Warfare”, a season one episode that parodied many action movies and video games and was one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of any 2010 comedy. The show has transitioned seamlessly into its second season, continuing to feature the hilarious dialogue and interplay between characters that made the show such a hit. The acting lives up to the writing as well, as the majority of the characters have clear comedic talent. Characters like “cool guy” Jeff Winger, pop culture freak Abed, and flat-out teacher-turned-student psycho Ben Chang just cannot be beat. If you want a reprieve from the recycled, often-repeated comedies that litter network television these days, look no further than Community to fulfill that desire.
Troy and Abed in the Morning