There is something to be said about a good science fiction story. While the story must be out of this world, it must also have human qualities for the audience to relate to.
Dr. Who has been a staple of British television since 1963. The title character is a Time Lord in human form known as the Doctor. Traveling in a spaceship known as the Tardis (which resembles a British police box on the outside), the Doctor travels through time and space with their companion(s). Along the way, the main character helps the less fortunate while encountering villains whose goal is to see to their demise.
Currently, the title character is played by Jodie Whittaker. I am not a huge Dr. Who fan, but I appreciate that this program does not take itself too seriously. This, in my opinion, allows both the audience and the characters to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.
Come the afternoon, there are a few choices for television. There is the local news, a rerun on cable or the afternoon talk show. For a talk show and a talk show host to succeed, he or she (in my opinion) must come off a personable, friendly and feel like this is someone who I want to have coffee with.
From 1996-2002, actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell hosted her own self titled talk show. The format was the same as any celebrity based talk show. There is an opening monologue, perhaps some back and forth with the audience, conversations with the guest hawking their latest projects and then the credits roll.
I remember that this show was afternoon appointment television for me. Unlike other talk show hosts, Rosie felt like an old friend. She was funny, she was entertaining and she spoke to the audience instead of speaking down to the audience.
Having a baby is one of the most transformative events in one’s life.
For the last 21 years, TLC has been telling the stories of parents bringing their children into the world in A Baby Story. The show follows the parents in their last weeks of pregnancy, during the birth itself and the first few weeks the baby’s life.
As reality shows go, A Baby Story is one of the better ones. It’s one of those reality programs that can be binged on without feeling like brain cells have been destroyed.
Finding that right person with whom we will hopefully spend our life with is a process that often can take years. The reality show genre has capitalized on this want by presenting dating shows to the audience.
I Love New Yorkaired on VH1 in 2007. A spin-off of Flavor of Love, the show followed runner up Tiffany Pollard, known as New York as she starred in her own dating reality show. I Love New York followed the same format of any reality dating show. A group of men are chosen to pitch themselves as her future partner. One by one, they are all eliminated until one is chosen.
I’ve spoken in the past of my disdain for most reality shows. This one, I have to admit that I watched. Would I watch it again, if the show had another reason? Probably not.
When it comes to daytime television, there are generally three choices: news, soap operas and talk shows.
Maury (1998-Present) is a talk show, but only in the loosest definition of the word. Hosted by Maury Povich, the program has such wonderfully intellectually stimulating topics such as paternity and polygraph tests, shocking secrets and out of control teenagers.
If there was a category of television programs with the labels of trash, Maury would fall into this category. This show is so horrible and mind numbing that it makes reality television look Oscar worthy.
For many people, nothing say summer like cooking via the grill. That of course, leads to another off shoot of the Food Network show Chopped.
Chopped Grill Masters premiered in 2012. The premise and format of this program is similar to that of it’s predecessor. The only difference is that the contestants are all professional grillers and it is held outside as a posed to be filmed in a kitchen with professional chefs.
I like this show, as I do all of the various incarnations of Chopped. While it is a reality show in the strictest sense of the word, it’s fascinating to watch. The competition by itself is enough to keep the viewer hooked, but the process of watching these pros create a meal is the icing on the cake for me.
It’s easy to tell a lie. It’s harder to tell the truth, especially if the person who needs to hear the truth does not want to hear it.
Judge Judy (1996-Present) has been on the air for nearly a quarter of a century. Judy Sheindlin is a real life retired New York City Judge. Coming before her are real life small claims conflicts. Held in what looks like a real court room, Judge Judy hears both sides before making her ruling.
Though Judge Judy falls within the reality show genre, it’s far from the brain drain that is most reality shows. Judge Judy is a no nonsense, tell it like it is Judge, who does does not bend because the cameras are on her. Using logic and reason, she makes judgments that may not appeal to everyone, but make sense, given the parameters of the case.
As we get older, certain books take us back to our childhood and simpler times.
In 1973, the beloved children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White was made into an animated film starring the late Debbie Reynolds as the titular spider. Through her wisdom and a flair for marketing, Charlotte is able to save a pig from ending up on the dinner table.
There is something magical about this adaptation, no matter how old you are. The lessons apply to young and old, but are couched in a way that does not feel like a lesson. It feels like a gentle maternal nudge in the right direction is that neither forced or sudden.
History has always been a fascinating topic. But sometimes, it must be couched or presented in a way that is exciting.
America: The Story of Us premiered in 2010 on the History Channel. Airing every 4th of July, this 12 part, 9 hour long documentary tells the story of 400 years of American history. Combining interviews, computer recreations and dramatic re-tellings of the events that shaped America’s history, this show is an academic history book brought to life.
As a history nerd, I find this program fascinating, even after multiple viewings. The history of our country comes alive, as if the viewer is experiencing it first hand. I especially appreciate how the changing technology is woven into the narrative, used an example of the American ideal of thinking out of the box to achieve our goals.