Welcome to Talivision! The best way to spend the five minutes before your math teacher remembers they’re supposed to be teaching a class. Today, brought to you in living color, I will be providing you with the Official Talivision Top 10. Yup, that’s right. You paid for the whole seat, but you’re really only gonna need the edge.
To call the current state of television oversaturated would be like calling a hurricane a light drizzle. It is nearly impossible to keep up with everything that is currently happening, and through the wonders of the internet, the entire backlog of TV is available at your fingertips as long as you have a Netflix subscription and the ability to Google, “watch [insert show] online.” It is therefore nearly impossible to keep track of every single show ever made. All that is to say that this is in no way a comprehensive list. Nor should it be taken as a roadmap for you, my young impressionable reader, to decide what shows you must enjoy. That being said, the journey through TV’s annals is a confusing one, and as your most trusted guide and confidant, it’s important that you know where I stand. Besides, these are all quality TV, and it might give you something to watch.
Let’s start of with dishonorable mentions:
Parks and Rec and The Office
I’m sorry, I don’t like these shows. I lump them together because they have similar styles, the whole “documentary” confessional thing, and similar humor, but for some reason I just don’t like them. I don’t find them very funny. The odd half sincerity of the writing and delivery really bothers me.
Iron Fist and Defenders
I love some of the Netflix Marvel shows, but both of these were disappointments. Iron Fist was just a poorly acted snooze fest from the beginning, and Defenders just wasn’t as cool as it should have been. It was too bogged down in the whole “Hand” plotline when that was the least interesting part of Daredevil and was refreshingly not a part of Jessica Jones or Luke Cage season 1.
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, Tali’s Top 10:
- Sword Art Online
Stop yelling at me! I’ve discovered that among the deep anime fans, being into SAO is kind of seen as bland or bad, but in terms of rewatchability and plot it is endlessly fascinating. For those of you who don’t know, the show centers around a group of people who become stuck in a virtual reality game and must beat it to make their way out. And also players who die in-game, die in real life. The show has a lot of flaws once you get past the first thirteen episodes, but those first thirteen are truly amazing. I have watched that stretch so many times, and if the entire show was consistently as good as its opening, it would be in my top three.
- Bojack Horseman
This one is pretty obvious. Even though its bizarre premise can be off putting, it’s a cartoon about a horse who starred in a ‘90s sitcom, the surrealist method through which the show’s story actually allows its creators to get at incredibly complicated and real issues surrounding mental health and fame.
- Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23
The only show on this list that isn’t very well know, Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 was only around for two seasons before being unceremoniously yanked from the air by the TV overlords at ABC after a string of misfortunes. It is truly one of the great tragedies in sitcom history. It had great characters, a clever premise, and fantastic writing. And it probably could have gotten even better if it had only been allowed a full run. But, thusly is the way of the world. Maybe it’ll come back? It won’t.
Everything about this show is great. It takes a dip in season three, but season four was once again amazing. There isn’t a ton I can say here that hasn’t been said. Just watch the show.
- Jessica Jones
Easily the best, at least in my opinion, of the Netflix Marvel shows, Jessica Jones maximizes the genre in which it resides instead of simply bending to its conventions. It isn’t a “superhero show;” it’s a thriller and an emotional heavy hitter that happens to include superheroes. Also Krysten Ritter, who is also in Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 and plays Jessica Jones, is perfect in the role.
- New Girl
New Girl has a run of peak television (yes, I know this means something else, but I’m using it in a “peak Lebron in the Eastern Conference finals” kind of way that) rivals any show on this list. It’s middle seasons are a masterclass in sitcom writing and characters. It steers into the wackiness of its world in a way that is thoroughly enjoyable to experience. That being said, season one is not amazing, nor is the final season, and a disappointing finale kind of puts a damper on your number one considerations.
- The 100
I recognize that this is a weird pick, that there are nine billion other TV shows that have far more “prestige” than this, but this is about my opinion. The 100 is a sci fi dystopian show about teenagers who are sent down to a nuke ravaged Earth, and it’s great. It’s fifth season just wrapped up, and, admittedly, I’m only half way through, but seasons one through four, and what I’ve seen of five, are not only brilliantly plotted, but also explore some serious moral questions. It’s what makes the show special: There are plenty of dystopian shows, but few that go into human nature and what is “allowed” when you’re trying to survive.
Confession time: if you had asked me about this list a month or so ago, this would have been number one, buuuuuuuuuut I’ve been rewatching it (get ready for that post!), and it’s got some flaws that knock it down from being number one. There’s a chance it falls even farther as the year goes on. However, overall, it is a fun, sincere, and clever vision of a hospital in the early 2000s.
- The Leftovers
Definitely the most depressing show on this list, if not ever, The Leftovers deals exclusively in high concept moral philosophy, theology, and the quest for purpose. It is a masterpiece, no exageration needed. It’s premise alone, that two percent of the population just vanishes with no explanation, would be enough to sustain a lesser show, but what makes The Leftovers so brilliant is not that it deals with the macro but with the micro. The show takes a Big (capital b) event and turns it into the backdrop for a very human drama. Watch it; it’s great.
- How I Met Your Mother
It’s the best show. Hands down, no questions asked. Are there problems? Aside from season nine being a bit dragging, the entire show from start to finish is perfect. It’s my most watched show, five times, I want to say, and it finds ways to surprise me every time. In my latest rewatch, this summer, I wasn’t surprised by the jokes, I laughed less, and it was still great. Which is not to say it isn’t funny because it’s goddamn hilarious. And I will fight anyone who says the ending, except for the very, very end (no spoilers), is anything but genius, and trust me, you don’t want no smoke. Even the music is perfect.
So there you have it. Tali’s top ten. Have thoughts? Disagree completely? Think I should be nominated for the position of this generation’s Einstein? Email in at firstname.lastname@example.org and put Talivision in the subject line so we can see some of your thoughts.