As a typical college student, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to procrastinate from whatever paper or presentation I have to churn out for the coming week.
I’ve tried many activities (baking? board games? planning to recut music videos?) but it always seems to come back to one dependable diversion: watching entire seasons of TV shows no longer on the air.
I’ve listed a few of my favorites below and encourage you to watch both the ones you don’t know and rewatch the ones you do. Hey, it’s better than drafting that paper due next week!
Six Feet Under: This five-season tour de force revolves around the Fisher family, who run a funeral home in Los Angeles.
The show is typically categorized as a drama, with heavy emphasis on (surprise, surprise) death, underlining everything from its many permutations to the recurring plot device of still-breathing characters communicating with the deceased.
Fans of Dexter may recognize Michael C. Hall as one of the co-owners of the funeral home; devotees of True Blood may notice that Alan Ball is credited with both its conception and production.
Pushing Daisies: Pushing Daisies deals with the concepts of both life and death as well, but in a less-sobering way.
The main character, a pie-maker named Ned (Lee Pace) possesses the talent to bring dead things back to life simply by touching them—with, of course, stipulations.
Kristen Chenoweth is a regular on the show as well, playing the bubbly waitress, Olive.
The show is a cult favorite, garnering praise from both its lead actors as well as the musical numbers between them (because, let’s face it, you can’t have Kristen Chenoweth on a TV program and not have her sing. That defeats the entire purpose of having her on in the first place.)
The West Wing: Considered to be some of Aaron Sorkin’s best writing (yes, this is written by the man behind The Social Network), the series centers around the daily dealings in and out of the White House under the administration of President Josiah Bartlet.
Sorkin’s dialogue is fast-paced and witty; he’s just as quick to use a one-liner as he is to throw out a legal term. The ensemble (consisting of actors such as Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe) is terrific, working with a type of synergy that matches that of a well-oiled machine or the senior staff of the White House itself.
Lastly, amidst the vast tangle of political plotlines lies one of the most adorable TV romances ever created. Really, it’s adorable. I cry, and so will you.
Arrested Development: So, here’s the deal with Arrested Development: you watch one episode, you can’t stop watching.
In fact, you won’t stop watching until you finish all three seasons. Then you’ll tell all your friends about it, whether they watch the show or not.
You’ll tell them all about the characters, originated by stars such as Will Arnett and Michael Cera (if you wanna see some Cera baby fat, there’s no better place to start than Season 1 of AD).
You’ll laugh as you recount the plots (an audition gone bad, a hand gone missing). You’ll guffaw until you choke (warning: this has happened to me) as you explain each episode and realize the continuity and references to other TV programs are flawless.
You’ll probably then want to write a strongly worded letter to Fox, asking them why they cancelled such a gem. Then you’ll probably join people like me, chomping at the bit for the release of the Arrested Development movie.
Rocco’s Modern Life: I’m betting most of you watched this cartoon as a kid. If you haven’t, the series centers on a wallaby named Rocco and his adventures around his city of O-Town (also, please question your lack of childhood).
I was fortunate enough to watch a couple of episodes a few nights ago…let’s just say there was a whole lot I missed when I was a kid. As in, numerous double entendres, innuendos, and a whole bunch of social commentary.
After three successful years on the air, it was finally cancelled and forced to live on through meager reruns on Nickelodeon. Then came the Internet. Virtually every single episode of Rocko’s Modern Life is running wild somewhere on the Information Superhighway for you to enjoy and yell, “Hah! I get it now!” Because, mark my words, you will.