Even in Los Angeles, where the weather barely changes, there's something in the air that makes us want to pull out our heaviest blankets, tuck our legs into the couch, and dive into a show this time of year. There are plenty of new shows we're looking forward to watching this season, but today we're discussing the tried-and-true classics that are our all-time favorites. If you're looking for a series to get into, look no further!
1. Lost: It took me a while to get over the fantasy aspect of the show, but I’ve never bawled harder in a series finale. Plus, I read virtually every stranded-on-a-desert-island book as a kid, so it was nice to revisit that plot line as an adult.
2. Friday Night Lights: This made me want to move to Texas and pick up a small town life. I don't even like football and fell so hard for this show. Texas forever.
3. Sopranos: I was deeply saddened by James Gandolfini's death a few years back, despite never having seen him act in anything. G had already seen 'Sopranos,' but he kindly offered to go back and re-watch the entire series with me. At this point, I even knew about the controversial ending (after hearing the entire Conde Nast office talk about it ad nauseam), but it didn't matter. I remember after it ended how much I genuinely missed each character, mainly Carm ("Caaaaahm").
4. Sex and the City: G jokes with me sometimes that I know this show better than I know my real life, which is both embarrassing and true. If there was an actor that appeared in like, one episode for ten seconds, I will remember him years later. It's just such a great show that I'm happy to watch no matter what else I'm doing. If it's on TV, I'm willing to drop everything to (re)watch an episode.
5. Breaking Bad: As an overly empathetic person, I really struggled with the first season, since everyone had such sad storylines. But the more I got to know the characters and as they became progressively more detestable, the better it became. The writing, the acting, the whole thing was genius.
Honorable mentions: 'Felicity,' 'Arrested Development,' first season of 'Damages.'
1. Six Feet Under: Few shows have a finale that EVERYONE remembers, or an episode so unsettling and dramatic (David being carjacked and forced to do drugs) that EVERYONE references, but over six seasons, this drama provided countless memories of dysfunctional human relationships, coupled with the dark humor of death, from a professional perspective. I think it's too heavy to binge watch, but if you're looking for deep dive into a weekly drama, you can't do much better.
2. Game of Thrones: This is currently the best series on television. Every character is given depth, every stray plot line eventually ties to the main story, so the audience is treated to a epic tale of political gymnastics, family in-fighting, massive battles, and the occasional dragon. If Shakespeare and Tolkein co-wrote a story, this would be the result.
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm: I always liked Seinfeld, but I feel Curb was the show Larry David was destined to make. There are moments that are so uncomfortably hilarious, you actually love and despise him at the same time. The fact that each episode is basically improvised is a testament to his comedic genius and the cast he's brought on board.
4. Breaking Bad: So much has been written about this show that there's not much to add, but this is one of the few series that kept getting better each season, which is saying something, when each season was fantastic. It deserves every accolade it's been given and the incredible acting by both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul created characters that are both haunting and oddly endearing.
5. South Park: This is the BEST satire on television and if you can't look beyond some of the overtly crude humor, you're missing out on some of the smartest and most insightful commentary on politics, pop culture and the overall human condition.
1. Mad Men: This show haunts me, months after it came to an emotional (for me) ending. In fact I just had a dream the other night in which all of the characters were part of my life. (Totally normal). I was a history major with a focus on 20th century America, and am a total American history nerd, the 50's through '70s in America being my all-time favorite time period; so given my obsession with this era and its clothes, customs, and culture—everything that was going on in our country at the time—this show could not have been more up my alley. It was a total dream to "live" it through the brilliant characters, writing, and plot lines. Don and Betty, Joan, Peggy, Roger were all such fascinating "people" (even though they were never real). Also, as someone who moved from the East Coast to L.A., and worships Mid-Century- everything, I particularly love the scenes and storylines when Don and company go out to California. Watching this slick New York ad man hang out in easy California bungalows with front lawns and white picket fences, party in Palm Springs, and eventually find himself at a meditation retreat in Big Sur, was about as fun as it gets for me.
2. Breaking Bad: Geoffrey and I basically have identical taste in television. I remember when I first saw my brother watching some weird new show on his laptop about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth mastermind. I didn't have any idea just how hooked I'd get years later. I grew to love the complex and troubled characters deeply, especially the sad, tender relationship between the father-figure and increasingly maniacal meth-cooker in Walt; and his stubborn, wild and hapless "son," Jesse Pinkman. Whenever I hear a complaint about this show, it's about how dark and "slow" it was, but I never once found that to be the case. I don't have a low threshold for dark plot lines.
3. Six Feet Under: Which brings me to my next show! Six Feet Under. A show about a family of morticians and all about death. Nope, never once too dark for me. People (see: G above) say it can't be binge-watched, but I eagerly devoured episode after episode one winter with a friend, and it was the coziest experience and didn't get me depressed. I also have (and you can quote me on this) never cried harder during a piece of culture. The finale is raw.
4. Seinfeld: I don't really know what to say here except, this is probably the best show of all time. It's stupid at (many) times, but absolutely iconic and genius. Nobody makes me laugh harder than Jerry and Elaine. I see a lot of myself in Elaine and her frantic, physical comedy. Growing up watching the show, I probably unconsciously took on some of her mannerisms. Knowing the canon of Seinfeld episodes is like belonging to a whole world of comedic references that come up time and time again in articles and other pop culture (movies, shows). You either get them or you don't, and I really feel that if you don't get them you're missing out. "No soup for you," "anti-Dentite," the pirate shirt, the black-and-white cookie—too many great moments to count.
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm: Seeing as Larry David was the mastermind behind Seinfeld, it's no surprise that his loosely autobiographical comedy show had me in constant stitches. It created another, next-generation canon of comedic moments to be part of, that I could watch again and again and again without getting sick of. I might say I like Curb more than Seinfeld, if my life depend on picking.
1. Game of Thrones: DUN dun DUN DUN dun DUN dun dun DUN dun DUN DUN dun DUN. That was me singing the theme song like I do every time GOT comes on because it's just so good. I've never been so invested in the characters or plot of any show and I love that it switches so quickly between so many storylines—it always captures my (extremely short) attention.
2. The Bachelor (plus any/all spin-offs): I started watching Ben Flajnik's season as a joke, with a group of girlfriends and several bottles of wine in my college dorm room. Now the joke's on me because I consider it one of the best shows of all time (I like to blame my Psychology degree for my vested interest in these people, but I'm not sure that's entirely true).
3. Dexter: I'm still suffering from sleepless nights after watching the third season of Dexter years ago, but it's so good I couldn't look away—the morally-righteous serial killer combined with edge-of-your-seat murder mysteries is a perfect (terrifying) combo. It's also why I haven't watched any of the other seasons (wayy too scary).
4. Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce: The set design alone would keep me watching this show about wealthy, entrepreneurial moms in Los Angeles, so the unforgettable, hilarious characters are all bonus. It also helps that it has a killer cast.
5. Sex and the City: It's not my proudest skill, but after sneaking countless episodes at sleepovers with my best friends growing up, I can quote every line from any given episode. To this day, the same group of friends and I still quote the show back to each other. After a breakup a few years ago, I received a card from them with, "Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with," written across the front and instantly knew what they meant—and the exact episode they were referencing.
What are some of your favorite shows? Share your favorite five in the comments!