BY BRIAN GODAR
The next few weeks the Poor Scholars staff is going over their individual DVR habits for each other (and all of you) to ridicule. This week, Poor Scholars’ Brian Godar breaks down his DVR habits.
Last week you got a break as you explored the relatively sparse DVR of Poor Scholars founder Scott Phillips. I’m not saying he doesn’t watch his fair share of television, but it was no 49 show gamut like Chucks Eneip’s DVR was. I hope you enjoyed your respite, as this week we go back to extremes with my 50 show list. You may be thinking I did 50 just to have one more than Chucks, but I also write about shows that have been cancelled or recently ended, and I don’t include those in my number. So, if you want to see how much television one person can watch, and the reasons behind that person choosing to sit still for so long and to deal with that kind of muscle atrophy, read on.
Archer –What could I say about Archer that Alex Russell didn’t say in his recent article about the show?
Around The Horn – My roommate and I call Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption our “stories” like old people call their soap operas, because we watch them every day after work. This is how I get a broader perspective on sports, as I don’t tend to go out of my way to read every single article about a given topic. It’s also how I work out some of my rage as I yell at the people who annoy me or who I usually disagree with (I’m looking at you Bill Plaschke, Jackie MacMullen, and Jemele Hill).
Avatar: Legend of Korra – I loved the original Avatar TV show, even though it was aimed at children a little younger than I was at the time. Legend of Korra is set 50 years later and features the same animation and storytelling style. It has the same feel as the original, and that’s really what people want from sequels. Don’t be fooled, new ideas are good, but people come back to your franchise because they like something specific about the first installment.
The Boondocks – This is one of the funniest shows in the world. It is intensely racist on the surface, but that is the veneer that covers their social commentary. The tone of the show is intensely sardonic, which juxtaposes the actual words that are said, so it is clear that the creator, Aaron MacGruder (who is black, by the way), is saying everything tongue-in-cheek. Some of the issues brought up are serious, like how unhealthy soul food is because of the type of food available to early African-Americans, but even those are MacGruder basically saying how pathetic it is that his culture has been bastardized to such a point.
Burn Notice – Bruce Campbell drinking mojitos. If you want to know why I watch this show, I just told you. I have loved Bruce Campbell since seeing The Evil Dead for the first time as a kid. He got me into this show, but the “burned spy tries to get back into the agency that fired him” plot is what kept me here. The show is ridiculous, and filled to the brim with explosions, so it has something for everyone.
Cajun Pawn Stars – The inbred, southern cousin to the original Pawn Stars, this show takes place in Louisiana and features some far more interesting deals. In one episode, the store buys goats from one of the locals. In another, a man hopes to pawn his family’s secret gumbo recipe. Basically, this show combines rednecks and Pawn Stars. If you’re into either of those two things, which you might be since you’re on this site, you should check it out.
The Colbert Report – The same way Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption are how I get my sports news, The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are how I get my news news. I do look at news websites, but these shows help.
Community – This is one of those shows that you don’t want to like, because it is so self-aware that it feels like someone injected a hipster directly into your broadcast stream. However, the motley gang of community college students won me over, and now that it’s back on NBC after a long hiatus (NBC really hates this show for some reason), you can put it back on your DVRs.
Covert Affairs – This show about a CIA femme fatale is slick and entertaining, and the writing is second only to Peter Gallagher’s (Sandy from The OC) eyebrows in terms of quality, substance, and girth. Yes, girth. Don’t ask me how, just go with it.
The Daily Show – I have been getting my news from Jon Stewart and the staff at The Daily Show since 1999. If you enjoy hearing about how awful our government, the world, and everything else is while simultaneously being entertained, then this is a show you should watch. Sometimes I think Jon Stewart is the only intelligent person in the public eye.
Dream On: The Journey of Wembley FC – Who doesn’t love a story about a rag-tag group of players trying to claw their way up through the rankings of professional soccer?
Doctor Who – I am a fan of both the classic series as well as the new series, and I have nothing but nice things to say about Doctor Who. The general premise is there is an alien, The Doctor, who travels through time and space with human companions, though he usually ends up in present day London. It is a show that can go on forever because of the ingenious way they found to change actors while keeping the show relatively the same. I highly recommend watching this from the first season of the rebooted show.
Elementary – I like Sherlock Holmes. I like Lucy Lui. As such, I was willing to give CBS’s Elementary a shot. I am glad that I did. This show is pretty standard for a CBS crime drama, but there is also the appeal of Sherlock Holmes for those of you who are fans of the world’s greatest detective. This show might not be for everybody, but I find it entertaining and the subject appeals to me.
The Following – Kevin Bacon’s new crime show is evenly paced and suspenseful. The series just started, so there aren’t any overarching conclusions to make, but it is a solid show so far.
Franklin and Bash – This is the one pick that I can see garnering a lot of flak. Fortunately, my opinion doesn’t sway based on public ridicule. This show is hilarious, entertaining, and just plain fun. I only know of one other person who likes this show (shout out to S Javs), and both of us tend to like absolutely wretched movies and television, so maybe I’m not the best judge on this one. For my money, Franklin and Bash is one of the more entertaining shows on TV right now.
Futurama – This show is The Simpsons in the year 3,000. The voice acting is stellar (how did a cartoon get Katy Sagal to voice a character?) and the writing is funny and fresh. I was devastated when this show was cancelled, but public opinion was so strong that it was back on the air a few years later. We even got some movie-length adventures in the interim.
How I Met Your Mother – Poor Scholar founder Scott Philips and I started this show together a few months ago. I ended up watching the first six seasons within a week. The show may have slowed down as it nears its obvious conclusion (you know, meeting the mother and all), but the previous seasons are definitely worth Netflixing, and the show is still holding its own compared to the newer shows on the air. While it won’t be going out on top, the eighth and final season will be far from disastrous. At least they didn’t extend it to nine seasons like another bloated sitcom I can think of.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Loud, crude, brash humor. That is how the show is described by both its fans and detractors. If that is your kind of humor, then you will love the exploits of Danny DeVito’s Frank, along the rest of the gang.
Justified – Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens is one of the biggest badasses currently on television. Timothy Olyphant’s excellent portrayal mixed with the colorful characters of rural Appalachian Kentucky make this one of the most dynamic, entertaining shows currently being aired. This show appeals to everyone, from my little sister all the way to my dad. If you like things that are awesome, check this show out.
Kitchen Nightmares – I love cooking shows, and I love watching people get berated. Some say that makes me a sadist, but Gordon Ramsay says that makes me a fan of his show.
The League – When this show started in the slot after Always Sunny, I was ready to hate it by comparison. However, The League has quickly taken over as the funniest show on Thursday nights during football season.
Lizard Lick Towing – Speaking of shows that I wanted to hate, Lizard Lick Towing fits the bill. A show about redneck tow truck drivers, what’s to like? How about everything. The escapades of Ricky and Bobby are hilarious, and the plans they concoct to repossess cars are a mixture of insane, stupid, redneck, and awesome. Bobby ends up beating up an average of 1.5 people per episode, and it never gets old.
Longmire – Walt Longmire, the titular character, is the aging sheriff of a small Wyoming town. He has to deal with an uppity deputy who is intent on becoming the next sheriff, Native Americans living on a nearby reservation who don’t trust the police, and his past coming back to bite him in the form of new evidence that may show that he murdered his wife’s killer. The best part is that they somehow fit all of that into the eight episode first season.
Mad Men – I didn’t start watching Mad Men until just before this season, so I had to play catch up in a big way. It was well worth it, and I am now hooked on the goings on of Don Draper and the other advertising executives.
Man vs. Wild – Bear Grylles is a man among men. Watching him struggle through whatever nature has to offer him makes you feel less like the potato chip-slugging, mountain dew-chugging, lazy human being that you really are. That’s what TV is for, to make you forget that your life is way less cool than it could be if you were eating grubs and erecting lean-tos in frigid temperatures while trying to find your way back to civilization.
Modern Family – This show was a sleeper hit with my generation, as the humor is more lighthearted and kid-friendly, but this show is flat-out funny all the same. Phil Dunphy is hilarious, and the dad we all wish we could have had growing up, and Ed O’Neill is playing his best role since he shoved his hand down his pants and yelled for Peggy to get him another beer (That’s Al Bundy on Married… with Children, for our younger readers).
Monday Night Raw – This should surprise nobody as some of the Poor Scholars staff is obsessed with wrestling. I don’t always watch the entire three-hour program, but I make a point of staying up-to-date with current wrestling affairs.
The Office – How the mighty have fallen. I am only watching this ghost of a show because it’s the last season and I have already put so much time into it, and because the early episodes were so good that the show is still averaging out at “pretty good.” To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed this show since Michael left in the seventh season, but the long-term suffering of this show is set to end in May, so I will stick with it another couple of months.
Pardon the Interruption – Along with Around the Horn, this is a staple show in my apartment. It’s how I get a lot of my sports news, or at least how I get a broad perspective on the issues. Though, really, it’s just two old guys yelling at each other over inane things. You may think that I’m snubbing it, but that’s actually a positive aspect in my mind.
Parks and Recreation – This is one of my favorite comedy shows airing right now. Amy Poehler is amazing as Councilwoman Leslie Knope, Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson is a man’s man and a badass, and Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford is always on point. This show has been on the air for a while now, so unfortunately I only see a couple more seasons in its future before it winds itself down for a natural conclusion. Check it out if you haven’t; all of the episodes are on Netflix.
Pawn Stars – Nothing makes ordinary people feel as superior as sitting on their couches, guessing the value of the objects that these nut jobs bring into the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. We watch these people start off saying they will accept nothing under $5,000 for an item, settle for $200, and tell the exit interview camera that they “thought it was a fair deal in the end.” What suckers, am I right? You know you’d settle for $10 in that situation if it got your mug plastered across the TV, but it’s so much fun to sit in anonymity and pass judgment on others.
Psych – Shawn Spencer has an eidetic memory (what Rain Man had) and uses his ability, along with the experience he got from being the son of an overbearing cop, to help the police in investigations while pretending that his ability is derived from being psychic.
Ripper Street – This is a new show on BBC that takes place six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders, in the same district as the original murders. The local police have to decide if this is a copycat, or if Jack has decided to start killing again. Everyone is a suspect, including the lead detective. The show is full of twists and turns, and even after the first eight episodes, it is hard to tell where they are going.
Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory – This is a silly show made by a silly man for the silly reason that he has the money and means to do so, and he likes to have fun. I love watching this show on lazy Saturday afternoons, which just happens to be when marathons of it are frequently shown. It’s fun to live vicariously through others sometimes, and Rob is a great choice, as his insanely high level of energy is almost impossible for normal people to comprehend. The stuff he does looks fun on camera, but we would all be pooped after the first activity. It’s like watching a kid with ADHD going off his meds for the first time while in the world’s best toy store.
Royal Pains – OK, so the medicine in this show is laughable (seriously, Chucks Eneip and I text each other while watching this show just to laugh at the ridiculous things the main character does and the absurd situations that are literally one in a million, yet still manage to happen every single episode) but there is something addicting about this show. When you realize that the medicine on the show needs to be almost Sci Fi to maintain interest and keep it fresh, you can ignore it and focus on the highly entertaining show that surrounds it.
Sherlock – This show is like a series of movies that are loosely compiled into a season. The first two seasons combined feature a grand total of six episodes, though each episode is 90 minutes long. Since this is a British show, 90 minutes means 90 minutes of television, not 65 minutes of programming with 25 minutes of commercials shoved in. The series is simple to explain; it’s a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. If you have any interest in Sherlock Holmes, detective stories, or just great television, I highly recommend this show.
Sons of Anarchy – It’s hard to articulate what makes this show so great. On paper, we shouldn’t like it because the members of the titular biker gang, the Sons of Anarchy, are bad people. That’s not an opinion either; these men are objectively bad human beings. Everything we know about how humans react to cultural stereotypes says that we shouldn’t like this show, but holy hell this is one of the best shows ever. This is not a show for everyone, and older people will probably not like it. Both mine and Rambo Nomolos’ dads hate the show (my dad questioned why I would watch a show about “biker trash”), even though we have both remarked on how similar our tastes usually are with them.
South Park – If I need to explain Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s show about foul-mouthed fourth graders, then I think you might be at the wrong website.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – OK, stick with me on this one. I know this is a show geared toward little kids, and that I shouldn’t like it just because I’m a huge Star Wars fanatic. However, it’s hard to not like such a well-crafted show. There are some surprisingly mature themes, and the animation is gorgeous. The show is set to finish after the current season, even though there was a sixth season planned for quite a while now (thanks George Lucas, you raging asshole. Your last act of blasphemy was to get this awesome show ripped off the air so you could make more money by releasing it yourself). So check it out while it’s still on the air. The earlier episodes are some fo the best animated television produced in the last decade.
Suits – Apparently I have a soft spot for the TV trope of, “we need a really smart guy, so let’s give him an eidetic memory without all the social problems that accompany 99.99% of real life cases.” The main character is a twenty-something-year-old who has an eidetic memory and fakes a Harvard degree to practice law at one of the best law firms in New York.
The Big Bang Theory – See the last entry about eidetic memory, but in this case, they actually do give Sheldon Cooper social problems. I was a physics major in college, so the science jokes on this show are right up my alley. Knowing science isn’t necessary to like the show, though. My roommate who doesn’t know science enjoys the show. Sometimes the show seems to say smart things just to emphasize how much smarter the characters are than normal people, and this can be off-putting. I bet that is the reason most of the shows detractors dislike it so much.
Top Gear – This show singlehandedly got me back into cars. It’s really entertaining and the hosts play off each other perfectly. They act as you imagine you would if you were given access to the fastest cars in the world, an almost unlimited budget, and asked, “So what do you want to do now?”
Top Gear US – Being such a huge fan of the original Top Gear, I started watching the American version and haven’t looked back since. It’s nice to watch an episode of Top Gear and not hear jokes about how fat, stupid, and simple Americans are.
Top Chef – I love cooking competition shows, and I don’t really know why. Sure, I like cooking myself, but it’s not like I make anything more complex than beef with green peppers. Sometimes I don’t even think the food they cook looks good (I mean, who wants to eat offal? The word even sounds like ‘awful’). The success and failure of each season depends entirely on the contestants, and they have done a mostly good job so far, so I am kept entertained. Also, chefs tend to really hate each other as a group, so it’s always fun to watch sixteen knife-wielding psychopaths yell at each other while sharing a kitchen that is too small for even one of them.
Top Chef Masters – This is a carbon copy of Top Chef, except the judges find it harder to critique the plates they are judging because each chef is already considered world-class. So, it’s Top Chef meets *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*.
Top Chef Canada – By this point, it should be painfully obvious that I am DVRing anything with the Top Chef moniker (except Just Desserts. Who in their right mind wants to watch pastry chefs?).
Tosh.0 – Who has time to scour the internet for the best clips? Even if you do, you might miss a couple, or you may want to hear what someone else thinks about them. That is why Tosh.0 exists. It’s also hilarious to watch the web redemptions, as someone in a meme-worthy bad video comes on the show to redeem themselves.
True Blood – “Sookie is mine!” Yeah, this show is pretty…. flamboyant at times, but it is really entertaining. Sure, there is way too much male nudity, but at least these vampires are awesome and kill people, unlike those sparkly, inbred, 100-year-old virgin vampires in Twilight.
White Collar – Neal Caffrey is a world-class art forger and con man who is working for the FBI white-collar crime division to commute his prison sentence. The show is highly stylized, with great scenes of New York. It’s a feel good kind of show, never letting the story get too gloomy, and Neil always seems to come out on top.
Workaholics – This is like a live action, grown up version of South Park. Each episode is hilarious, and Adam especially is one of the funniest TV characters in recent memory.
Recently Deceased Shows Still on My DVR
These are the shows that are no more; whether it’s because they had long, fulfilled lives, or because they were so bad (according to other people) that they got cancelled early.
30 Rock – This show was great, from Tiny Fey and Alec Baldwin headlining, to Tracey Morgan keeping the show on its toes with his off camera antics that ended up requiring on camera solutions. This show is a “show about a show” concept, with the majority of filming taking place behind the scenes of a made-up SNL-like show, “The Girlie Show.” The dynamic between Fey and Baldwin is what kept people coming back to this show for seven awesome seasons. Sadly, the show recently aired its series finale, but you can catch up on all the episodes on Netflix.
Leverage – Like 30 Rock, Leverage had a long broadcast history, and finished its last season a little while ago. The show focuses on former con men who are now semi-vigilantes. They help people who can’t be helped by anybody else, while maintaining their con man roots. Every episode contains the line, “Let’s go steal a _____,” where that _____ gets progressively more and more ridiculous as the show goes on. One episode in the fourth season had them “steal a mountain.”
Memphis Beat – This show has been off the air for a couple years, but it still stings. This show was just plain cool. Jason Lee stars as a Memphis police detective who is really into the southern way of life. The show was often silly, but the gritty, Blues-inspired feeling of downtown Memphis was something completely different form the normal hustle and bustle of the big cities normally shown in police shows.
Spooks – This is a British show that aired for nine seasons on BBC. It’s a much darker show than you would see in America, and that’s what makes it great. The show follows MI-5 operatives in the UK as they stop terrorists and other attacks on their soil. The dark aspect of this show is when many, many main characters die throughout the run. Their Wikipedia page shows a list of the actors, and 80% die or retire after seeing all of their coworkers die throughout the run of the show. Spooks isn’t afraid to shock their audience, and it is a much more real portrayal of covert operations than is normally shown. Heck, the very first episode shows one of the at-that-point main characters get her head dipped into a vat of boiling fry oil until she dies. The show doesn’t slow down from there.
Zero Hour – This may be the most ridiculous show I have written about. My friends and I refer to it as the “Nazi clock show,” and we are all very disappointed that it was cancelled after just three episodes. Yes, the acting was bar none the worst I have ever seen, and yes, the idea was ridiculous. However, it still deserved to have its entire first season shown. Luckily, with Netflix taking over shows that are cancelled, we will at least be able to see the remainder of this first season at some point.
Also, thanks to news brought forth by Colin Mochery on Twitter, I am including one final category: shows that are going to air soon that I know for a fact will be getting DVRed.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? – The classic improvisation show is set to return for its fifth incarnation (Whose Line UK, Whose Line US, Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza, and now this). Nothing else needs to be said.