I'm the sort of person that binge watches bad television to provide the optimal ambient noise to maximize creative output. (there is a study to prove it!) But in case you need an excuse to gluttonously watch audio visual french fries, you could watch these instead of being social or productive…
This feels like a hilarious practical followup to In Defense of Genre.
These are not necessarily… good shows, but they are fun to watch and do have some things to show/say.
The Discount Fantasy: Lost Girl
Available on: Netflix, Showcase.com
Premise: A sucubis discovers that she is not just part of a whole supernatural society, but a linch-pin to a centuries old battle between Light and Dark. Instead of picking a side, she becomes a supernatural PI with a street smart con-artist/pickpocket/carjacker who doesn't mind the constant sex noises.
I get a lot of flak for watching this from SOME PARTIES. The show has an abysmal special effect budget, a premise that would make a good porno, and the actors … improve dramatically. But, they are endearing if you give them a chance and this show, despite having a bisexual nymphomaniac as the lead character, has THE BEST BEST FRIENDS EVER.
In between the ridiculous plot lines, the relationships between the characters mature in this wonderful organic way that mix sex, love, and/or friendship. Even initial rivals and bad guys get cracked open and through the power of RATIONAL MOTIVATIONS and RESPECT AND FONDNESS. The protagonist and her roommate respect each other's opinions and choices, even if they don't agree with each other all the time, support each other, and save each other's lives at least once a season.
The Cliched Family Sitcom: LeverageSeasons: 5
Available on: Netflix, Google Play
Premise: An insurance investigator turns criminal mastermind and alcoholic after his employer let his young son die due to lack of medical coverage. Thankfully he has his rag tag surrogate family, that happens to be the best criminals in world, to help him out, both to steal from the rich and to keep him on this side of functioning.
This is just a fun show that is HILARIOUSLY unrealistic. They steal/con with an ease that makes it seem possible in real life (please mail me if you try). BUT the family dynamic is just so cute. Their insecurities and issues are almost cartoonish in proportion (that old stereotype about the fine line between genius and insanity) and they way they help each other grow is adorable and takes slowly.
Each character has a deep backstory beneath the thin, one-dimensional veneer that pushes through. Little offhand comments and running jokes are a) adorable and b) give the impression that these characters have rich lives before they met and outside the show. There is this beautiful balance between coworkers, friends, and family that isn't exactly healthy but works. The show could get dull quickly, but as the stakes rise and the plots get more complex, it stays fresh.
The Darkhorse Anime: Kill la KillSeasons: 1
Available on: Netflix, Chrunchyroll.com
Premise: Recent orphan transfers to the distopian high school where the student council rules with a military fist and magic uniforms. There's more to it than that and a global clothing company is aiming for a little more than world domination.
Okay, it doesn't look good from here. I know, a cosplayer in Singapore was nearly arrested for indecency while dressed as the main character. This is actually dealt with an a serious way in the show and is very conscious of its genre. That genre is ridiculous, intergalactic, boy's anime btw, complete with ridiculous transformation sequences that jumped genre a few years ago.
Kill la Kill actually has remarkably sophisticated gender politics and clothing politics without slowing down the insanely fast action. There is some… weird and super uncomfortable incest that is not cool in every way but apart from that, the show takes on anime and tropes with applaudable vigor and plays them straight for all the right reasons. The most amazing thing is that SEX AND LOVE IS NOT A GOAL, ITS NOT EVEN A SUBPLOT. Sex in this show is a pure expression of power that is only used twice, briefly. The sources of power in this show are confidence, mastery of a craft, political strategy, economic superiority, and a giant sentient ball of thread.
The Show to Brag About: The Good WifeSeasons: 5
Available on: Hulu, CBS.com
Official Premise: Political wife goes back to work as a lawyer admit scandal.
Current Premise: Deep into the series, the premise has shifted. Political wife is now in an uneasy truce with political husband while he's running for reelection. What the show is actually about is her corporate politics and her amazing panache.
The main complain I have with this show is that the plot is slow to develop and takes a while to get to the more interesting plot IMHO. And the characters are a bit ridiculous at some points, ridiculous in that their emotions seem unfounded given the situation (which are ridiculous).
What is great about the show is the amount of unapologetic cutthroat snakiness, especially in the later seasons. Nostalgia and attachment cushion the snark in the day to day bits of the show and are, of course, the secret and selfish motivation of major arcs. The jockeying is oddly fascinating to watch and it does a very balanced job of showing each of the overlapping spheres of combat/influence.
The Actors Saved this Show: Sleepy HallowSeasons: 1
Available on: Fox.com, Google Play
Premise: Ichabod Crane comes back to life and so does the Headless Horseman. Drama ensues.
This one is a new one for me, I've only watched the first few episodes. But daaamn. The family issues are big in this one, and even though they just introduced the female lead's sister, I'm already excited by the dynamic they have going. I can't wait to see how they're super bad ass in their own special ways and weather they actually resolve the history between them. I'm almost more excited for that then the sheer ridiculousness of the premise. It almost makes up for the small fact that no one proof-read the script.
Update: this show doesn't deserve the actors and the production team that the script demands. And they have continued to keep romance to minimum because everyone realizes that the end of the world is nigh and I'm so excited for the frivilous view they have of the founding fathers.