Pick Five: TV Shows


By Joseph C Joseph (Dual/EE/2012)

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1) Community

Because it takes the list of conventional rules on how a TV series should be like, scrunches it into a nice little ball and throws it into a corner. Because it pokes fun at everything from Glee to Dr. Who to all heist films to itself. Because it has one of the most eccentric collection of characters seen on TV. Because it has Zombies and Batman. Because it can get geekier than TBBT. Because it has stop motion animation, anime and retro gaming. With the exit of creator Dan Harmon it remains to be seen whether the 4th season can match the previous ones. Six seasons and a movie?

2) Sherlock

Sherlock has everything working for it, first rate actors, brilliant writers, fascinating characters and – thanks to clever interpretation – a reasonably original concept. It is perhaps an indication of just how good the series is that even the “bad” episodes would easily be considered excellent in any other TV series. While the plot twists and Holmes’ deductions delivered with his characteristic dry wit keep you captivated, the authors also take great care in ensuring that the Holmes does not appear to be an anachronism with some well thought out details, such as his use of technology in cracking cases.

3) 8 Simple Rules:

Unlike many other sitcoms, 8 simple rules does not forgo humour and get directed into long and complicated story arcs that end up as damp squibs. There are one or two episodes that are attempted tearjerkers, but on the whole the tone stays light. With the unfortunate demise of John Ritter (who portrays Paul Hennessy) in the second season, the show might have ended prematurely, but the writers introduced two new characters C.J. Barnes (David Spade) and Jim Egan (James Gardner) who arguably made the best parts of the series. A young Kaley Cuoco also impresses.

4) 30 Rock

While a good many episodes, especially in the later seasons, are atrociously bad, every now and then there’s an episode that’s so sublime all you can do is sit back and say wow. While the main characters Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy (played masterfully by Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin respectively) form a perfect foil for each other and give the show some brilliant pieces of repartee, Tracy Jordan provides the more crazy comic relief. One of the charms of the series is how the show within the show is used and referenced to parody the show’s advertisers, bosses and the TV industry at large.

5) Friends

Many critics and intellectuals see Friends as low-brow and run of the mill. Yes, Friends has used all of what are now season ending cliches, from pregnancies to sudden (and not so sudden) weddings. Sure, the humour could possibly be wittier and more original. But the simple fact of the matter is that it is simply impossible not to laugh at Chandler’s sarcasm or Joey’s naivety. The impact that show has created can perhaps be measured by the the innumerable facebook pages, memes and arguably even elements of other TV series it has inspired and the fact that even today, Friends, with a solid 10 seasons and a cult following, remains the gold standard against which TV series are compared.

Joseph ‘JoJo’ Joseph is an alumnus of the 2012 batch and an Insti Blues Gold Winner. He currently works at McKinsey & Co, Chennai. Surprisingly, he didn’t charge us for creating this list.

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