My top six TV series… for the nonce

I’m a latecomer to the TV series mania that seems to have everyone in its grip, what with them being so readily available in the DVD and Blu-Ray formats, not to mention file sharing.

Having only ever watched documentary type series before, I picked up Season One of Dexter from a music store around 2010 when the series was already in its 5th season I think, and have been hooked ever since.

Here are my top six television series since then:

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6. The Vampire Diaries/True Blood

It was difficult to choose between the two, so I’ve decided to place them both in sixth position, being of the same genre. Being a skeptic, I find the supernatural most unappealing, but this is pure escapism. At any rate the love triangles in these two are not as awful and soppy as Twilight.

5. Boardwalk Empire

I dig period dramas and the Prohibition era in the USA is particularly fascinating, and so is moral ambiguity. Which boy doesn’t like blazing sub-machine guns? And Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, is brilliant.

4. Dexter

I don’t normally like police drama series, since authority figures are a big turn-off for me. Also having lived in a police state under apartheid for many years, I don’t particularly like the Police. But Dexter Morgan the dark hero working as a forensic detective who moonlight’s as a serial killer, makes all the difference.

3. Game of Thrones

This series which has just completed airing series 3 in most places around the world has everyone’s attention in a spellbind. It would have featured higher on my favorites list, were it not for the fact that I’m already well into reading Book 5 of the epic fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, and I’m a little disappointed by the liberties taken by the Producers to change the events and characterisation when making GoT.

If you’re gobsmacked by the events in the finale of season three, there’s much more of that to come in future series… if the Producers don’t deviate too much with events as occurring in the book. But I’m giving nothing away here.

2. Breaking Bad

The pairing of Walter White a goody-two-shoes high school chemistry teacher, and Jesse Pinkman a wannabe drug dealer who cooks up his own meth into a duo of bumbling crooks, was a stroke of brilliance. Dark heroes are normally fascinating, but this pair is special. It will be sad to say farewell to these guys at the end of the fifth season as is currently being planned, but a 16-episoder may make up for it.

1. The Big Bang Theory

Hands up anyone who doesn’t like comedy? Well, fark you! Situation comedy doesn’t come any better than this. At one time, I used to think that nothing would top Third Rock From The Sun, but BBT shades it, if only just. Chuck Lorre is a genius, along with Bill Prady and Steven Molaro.

This is a comedy about science which I’m nuts about, and that about wraps it up for me. The cast of Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Penny, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothappali have had me in stitches in every single episode. Geekiness has never looked this appealing.

Sadly I’m nearing the end of viewing season six, and I’m dreading those imminent withdrawal symptoms. I’m holding thumbs for more seasons. Please make it happen writer-producer-network guys.

A special mention goes to The Walking Dead and Homeland. And oh! I’ve just acquired entire series of Spartacus, including the prequel… But I’ve not watched nearly enough yet to make me want to topple anything from the list above. But who knows…

***nonce (n), which I came across in Game of Thrones is an old Middle English word meaning “particular” or “present occasion/instance,” and NOT the British and Australian slang term for sexual offender. ūüôā

The Vampire Diaries does not suck after all…

Aside

I started buying these DVD box sets a while ago. Initially, because of my utter delight with the antics of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, on the BBC production Top Gear, I bought everything I could find related to that series.

At the¬†same time,¬†I started collecting fascinating¬†documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Life series and The Incredible Human Journey and British Comedy¬†box sets¬†such as Fawlty Towers, among other BBC productions. Then one day about a¬†two months¬†ago, I strayed into the TV drama section of my favorite DVD store, and came across Dexter, Season 1.

About the only thing I can bear to watch on television these days is sport, normally just football, rugby and the occasional game of cricket; recently I have been somewhat put off the game of  cricket with the introduction of that atrocious format of the game known as 20-20. I catch my movies on DVD, or in the cinema when first released, when I can summon up the will to share an auditorium with juvenile popcorn-mascerating delinquents.

I don’t¬†watch drama series on television; I have¬†over the years lost the necessary patience¬†and discipline required to stick to a weekly viewing schedule. I did try with Prison Break, but I failed, and that was to my mind the most compelling television I had ever watched, until I found Dexter. I had heard the series being mentioned on a local radio station, and was intrigued, so that made the decision to buy, a little easier; and boy, am I glad I did.

The writers and producers of this series are pure genius; especially the writers. Visual entertainment allows us to escape our invariably dull real lives; it allows us to relate to the characters on-screen and  fantasize for a little while. In this particular case, Dexter, the anti-hero, even allows one to seriously re-examine the suffocating limits of morality; the extremist black and white limits set by religious bigotry can now be challenged. Dexter demonstrates that bad, can be good! I readily admit to fantacizing about applying the gory disposal techniques demonstrated by Dexter, to certain deceitful, arrogant and corrupt members of our own government, here in South Africa.

Dexter, Season 1 went by all too quickly; a testament to how enthralled I was. Recently I found myself looking for Season 2, but could not find it; I did find Season 3, which leaves me delighted in anticipation. However, not finding Season 2, on the shelves, I came across The Vampire Diaries Season 1 and made a rash decision to purchase it; being swayed by the recent public fascination with Vampire movies.

At¬†this point, I need to make it quite clear that I’m a Skeptic and proudly consider myself a member of the community of critical thinkers; which means that I¬†not only have no interest in the occult or supernatural, I find¬†beliefs in them to be rather disturbing. And I did not fail to notice the plethora of television drama series concerned with the supernatural, which fills the shelves of¬†my DVD retailer. It’s actually quite concerting that the supernatural is such a popular theme.

But that¬†just leaves me to explain why I chose to buy The Vampire Diaries.¬†Well, it’s simple. I confess to a secret desire to live forever; and sucking on pretty girl’s necks for a lifetime does seem to be a¬†particuarly pleasurable¬†way to live through eternity. Off course, my aversion to direct sunshine, and the fact that blood-sucking reminds me of politicians, are other reasons.

Anyway, to continue my tale of entertainment seduction; I watched the first episode of The Vampire Diaries a few weeks ago and was utterly disappointed. My first impression was that it was made specifically for love-struck teenagers. The mushy romance permeating through the first episode left me feeling nauseated. I switched off, and threw the DVD box into a cupboard in disgust.

However, a few days ago I happened to be downloading some new software I purchased from Cyberlink, and did not have anything to do, what with my not-so-broad, broadband link informing me that the download would take all off 7 hours. With my internet connection being commandeered for that interminable duration, I turned to my DVD collection. Having already watched Dexter Season 1 and everything else, I turned to the discarded Vampire Diaries in utter desperation.

To cut a tedious story short, I was pleasantly surprised, as Episode 2 seemed to develop beyond my expectations, and so did the following Episodes. The mushy romance is still there, but the introduction of witches and more Vampires has sparked a new interest for me; especially the witches as I have a special empathy for those persecuted by religious bigots.

Anyway, there’s no hope for me now; I’m hooked on The Vampire Diaries too…