Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Television Shows airing these days

Back in the day, cable TV had almost nothing worth watching.  If you wanted true entertainment in the 1950's through 1980's, you tuned into the three major networks: NBC, ABC and CBS.  From 'I Love Lucy', 'My Favorite Martian,' or 'The Addams Family,' quite a few shows were on that were quality shows that the entire family could watch without dad reaching over to cover his 9 year old daughter's eyes and ears as is the case today with almost every prime time major network show.

Fox is a Johnny-come-lately nework that essentially has always been edgy, and not very family friendly from it's early days in the 1980's, and the other three big networks have gravitated towards Fox's example: edgy, raw and raunchy: 'Two and a Half Men,' Modern Family' and '2 Broke Girls' are simply sewage that are unwatchable by anyone, despite their Nielsen ratings.

Anymore, (with the exception of football, a topic for another time) there is virtually nothing on network TV worth watching except one show airing Fridays on ABC: 'Shark Tank.'  This great exception to the garbage on all networks anymore is highly entertaining, as well as informative and motivating.  The premise consists of a panel of rich guys (and one token rich girl) listening to a never ending stream of poor guys pitching their ideas to the rich guys hoping that one of them will invest in their business.  It really portrays what it takes to make it in America, and what doesn't make sense as well when the rich guys send bad ideas packing.  Well worth watching.

In what has become a complete reversal from the good ol' days, network programming is for the most part a barren viewing wasteland, and the only programming worth watching is now available on cable:

American Pickers.  The basics of this History Channel show on the surface consist of two guys picking through people's garages and barns, essentially digging through garbage looking for antiques.  But deeper into this premise is a great deal of Americana, the history of popular culture and what was 'in' back in the day.  Whether the guys find an original 'Mr. Potato Head' game in its original box, or a 1937 Indian Chieftan motorcycle, the producers spend time explaining these items' importance to the culture at the time.  This show is not just two guys digging through other people's crap, it is a journey back into the pop culture of a day gone by.  Excellent viewing.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  Now going into it's 6th year on The Food Network, Guy Fieri cruises around in his most excellently restored 1968 Camaro in search of outstanding food of all corners of the U.S.  Although this great show is primarily a cooking show and as such has a predominantly female viewing audience, guys will also get a great deal out of this show as well, as Guy Fieri is the consummate entertainer, and is as quick on his feet with the joke as anyone in the business.  A lot of fun to watch, and the producers have selected restaurants from almost every state in the union, a little geography lesson can be had on every show.  Great entertainment.

Wheeler Dealers.  Basic theme: two Brits, a short fat Brit and a tall skinny Brit find classic automobiles such as Jaguars, Ferraris and even Dodge Challengers, and fix them up and sell them for big bucks.  Mostly a guy show, anyone who is even mildly interested in cars and mechanics will love this show airing on The Velocity Channel, as these two guys can make the restoration of a bug-eyed Sprite (which Brits call a 'Frog-eyed Sprite') a riveting viewing experience.  An American viewer simply need convert Brit to Yank to understand that a 'spanner' is just a wrench, a 'bonnet' is not something women wear on their heads but rather the Brit word for car hood.  Once you get the hang of it, Wheeler Dealers is a real class act.

Cash Cab.  A comedian (Ben Bailey) cruises around New York in a cab wired with TV cameras, asking trivia questions to actual cab patrons.  The more questions they answer correctly before arriving at their actual destination, the more money they win.  If they bungle three questions before they arrive, Ben boots them out onto the mean streets of New York with nothing to show but a cab ride.  Past contestants have proven to be quite knowledgeable in trivia, and others demonstrate such an ignorance of the culture around them that one wonders how they manage to feed themselves.  Great stuff, I tell you. 

No comments: