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Sunday, December 4, 2011

TV Show Gift Guide for the Holidays

I like television. I really do. I like it a lot. A whole, whole lot. I think television is smart and awesome and one of the most exciting forms of entertainment. As a result of this fondness, I have spent a total of 55 days of my life watching television series in their entirety. That does not include shows that are still running, shows I watched randomly because the TV was on, or shows I didn't complete because I didn't like them all that much. That is 1,318 hours of television, people.

Since I think 55 days of deliberately watching television makes me somewhat of an expert, I thought I would offer you my holiday guide to gifting television series, organized by genre. Genres invented by me.

1. Nostalgic, 1990s. If you know anyone born in the mid to late 1980s, these series may be appropriate. Ghostwriter, The Secret World of Alex Mack, My So Called Life. Ghostwriter is a show for children and really should only be given to those who watched the show as children, or maybe to a current child-person that enjoys scary kid-oriented shows. It is about a ghost that helps a group of kids solve crimes and they can only communicate with written letters. It is thrilling. The Secret World of Alex Mack is like sci-fi for youngsters. Another show that is best given to a child of the 1990s that misses watching Nickelodeon. Alex Mack is a super cool, yet unpopular girl that has special powers. My So Called Life can break out of the nostalgia-only category. This show would be great for any angsty middle schooler or young high schooler. It is an awesome show that actually has an accurate representation of what I feel is a typical American high school experience. Great for any fan of the 1990s who wants to watch a teen drama. If you know a young person that wears a lot of leggings and plaid shirts, or maybe even a few leotards, she will probably connect with this show.

2. Teen Drama. Friday Night Lights, The O.C. These shows are wildly appropriate for teenagers and college students alike. Buy one of these series for someone who wants to see nice-looking 20-somethings playing high school kids with absolutely wild and fantastic lives. (Well, Friday Night Lights is not super fantastic. The characters are poor. Sorry.) Both series provide a nice little tour of the western-ish parts of the United States. The O.C. takes place in California, and Friday Night Lights all the way down in Texas! Friday Night Lights is of course centered around football, but seeing as how I am not a fan of football and I loved the show, an interest in football is not a prerequisite. They are both very sexy and filled with tons of inappropriate behavior. So any of these series could definitely make you the 'cool aunt.'

3. Slightly less fantastic Teen Drama. Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Gilmore Girls, Life Unexpected. These series are filled with crazy teen antics, sure, but they are not Gossip Girls, O.C.'s, or Friday Night Lights. They are full of awfulness with a large helping of wholesomeness. That is NOT to say that they are not fantastic, they are awesome. Gilmore Girls definitely makes my all-time top three. Also, be wary of giving Gilmore Girls to a guy. It is about a daughter and her mom after all. I'm just sayin. Same goes for Life Unexpected. Just doesn't seem super guy friendly.

4. Chick Dramas. Sex and the City, Men in Trees, Brothers and Sisters, The L Word. These are perfect for women who want to sit alone and watch TV and cry or feel another woman's pain with a smattering of laughter here and there. I picture some woman in the dark, alone, with a smoothie or a large frappachino. And she'll probably lie about watching them if anyone calls her while she's watching. At least that was my experience. Men in Trees and Brothers and Sisters are pretty much the wholesome-est of the bunch. Sex and the City takes place, of course, in NYC and is pretty outrageous at times. The L Word takes the cake though as it is absolutely over the top, and you may want to consider that the L could potentially stand for lesbian. The L Word would definitely be the most talked-about gift in some circles. It's still good though, and it is different from most television shows out there because there are very few with any lesbian relationships represented (there are small lesbian cameos in a few of the other shows listed here, however. I'm not spilling the beans though.)

5. Sci-Fi. Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, V, The Event, Lost, Caprica (Sold only in two parts as far as I can tell, Caprica 1.0 and Caprica 1.5). Let me just get this out of the way before you start objecting: yes, Smallville is a teen drama. You definitely want to keep that in mind. Super duper teeny weeny drama. But it is awesome. And that is that. Battlestar Galactica (BSG) is the best sci-fi on this list, however. It is super sophisticated and speaks to every sci-fi fan I know. Caprica is a prequel to BSG, but it should be watched afterwards. BSG first, Caprica second. If you happen to know a BSG fan (lucky you) Caprica is a great gift. Lost is weird and awesome and everyone knows it. Just give it to anyone because it's a cultural icon at this point. That works for just about everyone. V and The Event are tiny little snippets of goodness that were cancelled too soon. If you give these series the receiver will most likely hate you forever because they will want more. But there isn't anymore!

6. Comedy. Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Watch these shows if you feel like having the best day of your life. They are the best comedies ever made, and they will make you a better person. They apeal to males and females alike. These series are perfect gifts for someone going through a hard time, or a die hard comedy fan. Also give to youngsters to ensure they get cooler as they get older. Perfect for budding college students.

7. Totally dude-friendly. The Sopranos, Big Love. I'm being sexist and employing some heavy stereotypes with this list, I know. But stereotypes can be helpful. Your boyfriend or husband or brother or dad would most likely be 100% happy to watch these shows with you. And they are awesome to the MAX. I am not 100% sure, but I think some Mormons might be offended by Big Love. That is something to keep in mind, because I do not want you to lose all trust for me because I ruined your Christmas! Or holidays! The show is about some seriously awesome Mormons, and of course they aren't real, but I just thought I would throw that out there.

8. Bad ass chick. Alias. I didn't know what other category to put this series in, so I gave it its own. Alias is just bad ass. I don't know what else to say. It's part chick drama, for sure, but I also think it could be dude friendly. It is the best spy series ever made, end of story.

I hope this helps take the edge off of some of your holiday shopping. If you're on a budget, you might look into just buying season one of any of these series. That could potentially be awesome, because you may have just figured out what to get someone for say, the next six years. One season a year! Hey, that's how the people who watch TV on the TV do it. Good luck!

P.S. In case you're curious, the show's I'm watching that are currently on air are: Pan Am, Desperate Housewives, New Girl, Gossip Girl, Parenthood, Mad Men (currently on hold until summer 2012), Modern Family, and Glee, sometimes. But really I am not a huge Glee fan. My analysis shows that Glee does not do as much as other shows to make me feel super connected to the characters, which is its main shortcoming. And that is all!

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