Battlestar Galactica. Get To It.

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Strike images aren't as fun as new material on TV.

Strike images aren't as fun as new material on TV. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

You gotta love a strike that's actually glam. I mean, seriously. Check out these picket lines. It's half nerds, half cheerleaders. Half neurotics, and half... Vanessa Williams. It's so darn awesome I could watch the strike itself all day, if it wasn't the fact that I need a little Colbert and Stewart in my life, because The Onion doesn't update every darn day. So, with the funnymen and women off the air, and the threat of the weepers being re-run not far behind, it's time to give out my top five list of things to watch if your favorite stuff goes into reruns. It isn't much different from the pro's lists, but I have the passion of a fan, not a critic.

1) The Wire. Just watch it, people. It's literally as good as King Lear — but set in Baltimore so you don't have all that wind and iambic pentameter mucking up your revenge drama.
2) Battlestar Galactica. Don't be ashamed. You, too, will want to make it with a Cylon. It's like Aldous Huxley with hot robots.
3) Arrested Development. You will snort milk out your nose. HILARITY WILL ENSUE.
4)Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Start from the beginning, and call in sick to work. Simply some of the most creative writing on TV. Ever.
5) Big Love. So meaty. It will make you re-imagine what family — and America — means. This is not so much about plural marriage as it is about different social constructions of the family unit. (And, a little bit about looking at Margene in cute clothes.)

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the only series of re-runs anyone needs to "survive" the strike:

M*A*S*H

Sent by chris, from kansas city | 2:51 PM | 11-6-2007

Don't forget "Homicide: Life on the Street" now out on DVD. Oh, man, Andre Braugher packs so much emotion in that series. Awesome.

Sent by Sean Kenney | 2:52 PM | 11-6-2007

I'd love to see Jake and the Fatman, it is not available on DVD, never went into syndication, RipTide, Moonlighting, do these hold up?

Sent by Kate | 2:52 PM | 11-6-2007

HBO's "Dream On" from the 80's

uncut - very funny

Sent by Lynn | 2:53 PM | 11-6-2007

Connections, I loved the program Connections.

Sent by Rachel | 2:53 PM | 11-6-2007

Two great sci-fi series I can HIGHLY recommend in the case that Heroes stops running new shows: 1). Babylon and 2). Farscape... both worlds apart, yet both brilliant. VERY highly recommended!

Sent by James Downing | 2:54 PM | 11-6-2007

as far as Sci fi--- all I can say is dusting off all of my old MST3K!

Sent by Matt | 2:54 PM | 11-6-2007

What I'd really like to see happen with the writers strike is the studios hiring all new writers, so maybe there would be some better stuff on TV

Sent by William Terrance | 2:56 PM | 11-6-2007

Hey - here's a novel idea: READ A BOOK! It is pretty sad that we have to devote a news show to the writers strike - people are spending too much time sitting on their backsides watching TV. Turn it off! Go outside!

Sent by Sandi Edwards | 2:56 PM | 11-6-2007

Bring back The Avengers, BBC's classiest sci/fi show.

Sent by David | 2:57 PM | 11-6-2007

How about Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks?

Sent by susan schner | 2:57 PM | 11-6-2007

Flight of the Conchords!!

Sent by William Parker | 2:57 PM | 11-6-2007

Dead Like Me-- a great little show that keeps you watching. I started watching the dvd's because my cousin was an actor on the show and then got hooked on it.

Sent by John Plumlee | 2:57 PM | 11-6-2007

It sure does amaze me that there is much dismay about what to watch! Perhaps we should look "outside the tube" for things to entertain us and fill our time, rather than worrying about what TV shows to catch up on.

Sent by Kristin Emery | 2:59 PM | 11-6-2007

Two shows I'd like to watch during the strike are Futurama and Firefly. They were, in my humble opinion, two of the best shows that have been produced in recent memory.

Sent by Zac | 3:00 PM | 11-6-2007

I've been watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" in re-runs. It's a sitcom I had no interest when it was in prime time, but started watching it on a vacation and now understand its huge popularity. It has brilliant, laugh out loud, comic writing as well as brilliant comic timing from all the actors, even the kids. It's the best sitcom about dysfunctional family life ever written.

Sent by Jane | 3:03 PM | 11-6-2007

The greatest irony of the strike is that so much of network prime time is already reruns for much of the season. I recall my childhood (yes, the 60's!) when a season was 39 weeks of new programming, followed by 13 weeks of reruns over the summer.

In the era of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Andy Griffith, etc., it was actually fun to see which of the season's episodes were selected for the "limited" number of rerun slots... almost like a yearly "best of" revue.

Now it seems that we just start getting into a series that debuts, only to find that it is suddenly and unceremoniously yanked, or goes to reruns after as few as eight episodes, or perhaps simply disappears without a word until it reappears the following season.

Of course, they would never tip the audience in advance that any of this is happening. I guess they assume that our collective attention span is really as short as the Bush White House has been hoping!

Finally, I learned recently that you really can't go home again. I love the spoof "Soap" when it was aired in the 70's. I happened upon a "Soap" DVD collection of at the local library, so I checked it out and went home ready for a nostalgic laugh fest. I hyped it to my children, assuring them that this was TV comedy at its best. They listened to my claims with a healthy skepticism, but settled in for an obligatory viewing of one episode. So... was it funny? I thought so, especially when Bert would snap his fingers in the belief that it made him invisible (which it didn't) and then proceed through the scene thinking that he was cleverly and surreptitiously eavesdropping on his family. I loved that stuff then, and I still chuckle when I think of it. Unfortunately, it didn't strike the same hilarious chord when I watched it in today's context. It definitely LOOKED dated, but that wasn't the real issue. Somehow I couldn't repeat that silly pleasure of 30 years ago. As for my kids, well, they gave me a few patronizing smiles and went on to other pressing matters (anything that didn't involve their Dad's trips down memory lane.) Have we become more sophisticated? I doubt it. More jaded? Perhaps. Or maybe I need to wait another decade or two.

Sent by Mark Jepsen | 3:30 PM | 11-6-2007

My impression is that most NPR listeners are very diverse in their lives, they not only watch television, but they also read books, lots of books and the listen to music. But it is FUN to talk about what our favorite TV re-runs are, even if in the long run as Mark points out, "you can't go home again."

Sent by Carline | 3:40 PM | 11-6-2007

Ditto on Firefly. Good stuff.

Sent by Barrie Hardymon | 3:41 PM | 11-6-2007

Murphy Brown! Only the first season is available on DVD, but it whetted my appetite. I don't have cable, so can't watch it on Nick at Nite, though a friend says she sees it there.

Sent by Kathryn | 3:47 PM | 11-6-2007

I also haven't heard anyone mention Six Feet Under. Hours and hours of top quality comedy and drama.

Sent by Kathryn | 4:06 PM | 11-6-2007

I fully support the writers' strike. At first, it appeared to be a struggle of greed. But considering the writers get almost no credit for their work as it is(everybody remembers the actor, not the writer), for the industry to take advantage of them and not give them their rightfully deserved cut is rediculous.

Sent by Kayce Basques | 4:18 PM | 11-6-2007

M*A*S*H is a great idea except for people like me who've already seen every single episode at least three times through re-runs. It is permanently engrained in my DNA by now. Actually, if you liked the movies 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, you should check out Judd Apatow's TV efforts "Freaks & Geeks" and "Undeclared".

Sent by Ice X | 4:32 PM | 11-6-2007

I suggest seasons one and two of The White Shadow currently out on DVD.

Sent by Cara | 5:16 PM | 11-6-2007

Funny stuff... I guess I've been striking the writers since The Honeymooners, Hill Street Blues, and Black Sheep Squardan quite running. I haven't owned a TV in years, no wait... decades. At 42 years young I can go hiking, garden outside, and go to the pool in just shorts and it's ok. At my yearly physicals my Dr. jokes that if more of America were in my shape he'ld have less stress in his own life. Even if they brought back Hogans Heroes and Star Trek, the real one, I doubt I would refassion my reality in such a way as to devote hours and hours to excaping into someone elses imagination.

Sent by Mark | 6:35 PM | 11-6-2007

I echo Sandi Edwards' thoughts...what could go wrong if we turned OFF the TV and read a book instead. Or, even more daring...how about the family gathering in the living room for some (look out, here comes the "C" word)...conversation.
What a concept! (All this, ironically, from a person that sells local cable television advertising!)
I listen to TOTN on WKMS, Murray KY.
Glenn Hughes

Sent by Glenn Hughes | 7:56 PM | 11-6-2007

A protracted strike could be a good thing for just about everybody that isn't a major studio. Consumers will really get to start appreciating the ability to time shift their programming (which is to say, they'll start seeing pre-recorded programming on their own terms in the absence of new content), more writers are likely to take a chance and do some writing for new media content (shows created with Internet distribution in mind) and consumers will likewise start to get more of their video content from sources unaffiliated with the major studios.

I hope the writers drag the studios through the mud on this one. In the long run, they have the least to lose and the most to gain.

Also, Firefly, Farscape, Futurama, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, the various Star Treks, Doctor Who (classic & new), Stargate SG1, etc. There are enough shows out there to literally years of strike.

Sent by Max F. Exter | 8:11 PM | 11-6-2007

Up from reruns ... how about Canada? There's no strike up here (where most American funny people come from) and where certain shows are legally permitted to be nice. TV networks could definitely buy (despite the Canadian dollar's way up) big.

Sent by Kurt Halliday | 9:58 AM | 11-7-2007

In no particular order:

Herman's Head
The Shield
The Tracey Ullman Show
Rome
Murder One
Deadwood
Flying Blind
Newsradio
Boston Public
And I second Bosom Buddies

Sent by Shannon Parker | 10:25 AM | 11-7-2007

How about some oldie but goodie British tv series like "As Time Goes By" for sentiment or "Fawlty Towers" for gut belly laughs? Or for a real treat try the British version of "The Office"....but be prepared for similar characters and idea but different (hilarious) flavor.

On a side note, the guest critic mentioned a Canadian series I would love to watch but I was listening in the car and didn't catch the name. Anyone remember?

Sent by Rachael | 11:11 AM | 11-7-2007

I recommend HBO's music/comedy series "Flight of the Conchords." It is brilliantly dry.

Sent by Mike Radcliffe | 12:54 PM | 11-7-2007

Rachael-- It was Slings & Arrows. I added it to my Netflix as soon as he mentioned it.

Sent by Liz | 3:41 PM | 11-7-2007

Thank you Liz! Hubbie and I like to watch a series on DVD at night (because then what we want to watch is always on when we want it on).

One of our favorites has been the first 2 seasons of the original Newhart. After that is gets pretty bad but the first seasons are worth watching.

Sent by Rachael | 11:23 AM | 11-10-2007

I've been watching the Canadian series "Due South" created by Paul Haggis in the mid-nineties. It's funny, satirical and charming. I found it after watching and wanting to see more of the star Paul Gross in "Slings and Arrows" "Slings and Arrows" was only three seasons long...not long enough.

Sent by Cynthia Johnson | 3:03 PM | 1-1-2008