My Favorite Things: 15 Television Shows

I’ve watched a lot of television in my (almost) 23 years of life. Anyone who knows me is well aware of that fact. And while I’ve always been quick to say “That’s one of my favorites” to a variety of different shows, I’ve never actually made a list. When I sat down to write this, I intended for it to be a Top 10. However, there were some that I just really needed to include. So, without further ado, here is the list nobody really asked for…My Top 15 Television Shows!

West Wing

1. The West Wing

I watched this show mainly because my best friend asked me to. I knew I would enjoy it, but I had no idea I would fall deeply in love with it. This show combines everything I love into one: politics, smart writing, walk-and-talks, and the most perfect television ensemble of all-time. But most importantly, this show is about a family of people–Jed, Abbey, Leo, Josh, Donna, CJ, Toby, Charlie, and Sam–trying to make the world a better place. It gives me hope that maybe one day we’ll actually have some politicians like them in office.

Favorite Character: Donnatella Moss

Favorite Episode: 17 People

The West Wing is available to stream on Netflix.

Previous blog posts about The West Wing can be found here and here.

2. Friends

I have been watching Friends my entire life. I was only two years old when it started so I truly can’t remember a time when it wasn’t on TV. I didn’t read Harry Potter as a child like a lot of people in my generation (I have since read it, don’t worry). I always say that Friends was my Harry Potter. These six people have been there for me in literally every stage of life. When it ended in 2004, I cried myself to sleep and thought I would never love again. From this list, you can see I was clearly wrong about that. But I’m thankful that Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross will always be there when I most need them.

Favorite Character: Chandler Bing

Favorite Episode: The One Where Everybody Finds Out

Friends is available to stream on Netflix.


3. The Office

I recently rewatched all nine seasons of The Office and was immediately taken back to the days when I was deep in the fandom on message boards and OfficeTally. The Office was the first show I can remember binge-watching. It was back in 2007 so I had to do it the old-fashioned way—I purchased the DVDs for seasons 1 through 3. It was a complete obsession that I left behind when Steve Carell exited the show. But as I rewatched it, I really missed those glory days. It’s such an intelligent and hilarious show with the most wonderful cast. I also didn’t hate seasons 8 and 9 nearly as much as I thought I did. I won’t ever forgive them for what they did to Andy Bernard, but everything else about it is pretty perfect. If you can find me a better season of pure comedy than season 2 of The Office, please let me know.

Favorite Character: Pam Beesly

Favorite Episode: The Dundies and The Injury (tie)

The Office is available to stream on Netflix.

A previous blog post about The Office can be found here. (This list has changed a bit since then.)

4. Breaking Bad

Is there a show quite as flawless as Breaking Bad? I have yet to find one. It’s clear from the beginning that Vince Gilligan meticulously planned every facet of this show, and it definitely pays off. Each season builds wonderfully on each other, which made the show better as time went on. That’s rare in television, and I’m glad Gilligan and AMC had the sense to end the show when they did rather than keep it on the air for ratings. It’s the only show in the top fifteen that I continued watching despite the hatred I felt towards the main character and the weekly anxiety I had for Jesse Pinkman and Skyler White. The show is so perfect that it makes all of those things so worth it.

Favorite Character: Jesse Pinkman

Favorite Episode: Ozymandias

Breaking Bad is available to stream on Netflix.

5. Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Recreation that just ended is incredibly different from the Parks and Rec that premiered in 2009, and I could not be more grateful. The first two seasons of this show are a bit rocky. Originally slated as a spinoff of The Office, Parks and Rec truly became its own show by the end of season two. And once the characters were firmly established, Parks and Recreation was an incredible treat about a group of misfits with big dreams to make their crazy town better. Throughout its seven seasons, the show remained optimistic, lighthearted, and genuinely hysterical, culminating with a finale that for any other show, I would have loathed. For Parks and Rec, though, it felt just right.

Favorite Character: April Ludgate

Favorite Episode: Flu Season

Parks and Recreation is available to stream on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.

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Some quick thoughts on the new season of Arrested Development!

Read at your own risk! Some light spoilers ahead.

  1. The cast seemed to fall effortlessly back into this show. I was happy to see the chemistry was still there after all those years apart.
  2. My favorite episode was definitely Colony Collapse. Gob’s should-should-should-you-ask-too-many-questions “speech” to Ann Veal was phenomenal comedic acting by Will Arnett. This episode also brought back some of my favorite running gags from the earlier seasons. Most notably, I had to pause the episode when the church expanded to show “H E R” (standing for Holy Eternal Rapture) during Gob’s wedding to Ann. It was too perfect.
  3. I also really enjoyed A New Attitude (Gob), Señoritis (Maeby), It Gets Better (George-Michael), and Off the Hook (Buster). All 15 episodes had good moments, but these were my five favorites.
  4. Alia Shawkat and Michael Cera have grown so much as actors, and I was really pleased to see how much they have developed. They delivered some of the best moments of the season.
  5. There simply wasn’t enough Buster. I know Tony Hale has another show (that I love) and that made scheduling difficult. However, the lack of Buster was very noticeable. I found myself spending most of the episodes thinking “Where is Buster?! I miss him!”
  6. Actually, it wasn’t just Buster I missed. I really wasn’t in love with the structure of this season. Again, I realize scheduling all these people must have been incredibly difficult. However, I think I would have waited a little longer for a new season if getting the whole family together was possible in the future. The first three seasons are truly about the weird family dynamic, but season four wasn’t about that at all. Following one character for a whole episode often made me sick of the particular character. I was hoping that at least the last episode would go back to the whole family structure of the first three seasons, but it didn’t. That said, I did really enjoy the unveiling of a new person in the penthouse scene with each episode. Ann Veal being there the entire time was the true icing on the cake.
  7. The new structure caused the narration over the opening credits to change, and I really love tradition so that bothered me.
  8. This season relied way too much on the narration.
  9. This show does better with 22 minute episodes. 35 minutes often felt too long. George Sr.’s episodes, in particular, felt way too excessive.
  10. I wish the guest stars were kept under wraps before the premiere. All of the cameos were wonderful, but they would have been even better if we weren’t anticipating them for so long. If they were only going to keep one a secret, I wish it would have been Kristen Wiig’s. I was so excited for hers, but I know my reaction would have been Lucille when she sees Gene Parmesan if I didn’t know about it beforehand.
  11. Max Winkler wins best guest actor for his work as young Barry Zuckerkorn. He impersonated his father (Henry Winkler) to a tee. Kudos to him! Wiig wins for best guest actress. Her young Lucille was spot on! You can tell she did her homework for this part because she really incorporated the character decisions Jessica Walter made for Lucille into her portrayal.
  12. I’m going to have to name my future dog Maeby. After watching so many episodes of Arrested Development, I’m starting to think it’s a good name for my future daughter. I don’t want to subject my daughter to a lifetime with the name Maeby. So, I’m claiming it as my future dog’s name. No one take it from me. And don’t judge me.