James Callis and Tricia Helfer in the new Battlestar Galactica.
As a reporter in this smart, inspired news organization, I often find myself wondering: Why do we pay so little attention to television? When we do talk about TV, it's almost always some snooty show about politics or because an episode created a stir by showing gay people kissing or something. I can only guess our lack of coverage is because:
A. We pretend that smart intellectuals don't watch television.
B. We don't consider TV shows (and for that matter videogames) real culture.
C. We're out of touch with what our listeners care about.
D. All of the above.
So let me try to rectify this situation with my votes for TV shows to watch, and ask you to reply with yours. As always, feel free to debunk my entire thesis. Here goes:
1. Battlestar Galactica: No really, I'm serious. This is the new version, not the 1970s original with its silly plots and tin-can robots. The new Galactica is slick, tells a great story, and — you'll think I'm crazy until you see it — is believable. Like the best science fiction, it stages current moral and political questions in a different social context. I love this show.
2. House: This show is my dream combination of the puzzle-solving satisfaction of CSI with the medical twists and turns of the old ER. Also thrown in is a healthy dose of engrossing character development and sex appeal. Each show starts with someone contracting a weird illness (an homage, I'm sure, to Six Feet Under) and takes you through the complex process of testing for, diagnosing and curing the affliction. But it's really all about the flippant, crusty and yes, sexy, Dr. House and his brilliant medical mind. I cannot get enough of this show.
3. Good Eats: This Food Network show drives home the reality that when it comes to non-fiction television (and, I believe, radio!) it's the host's personality that makes or breaks it. Good Eats is the brainchild of the funny and fascinating Alton Brown who each week takes you on a journey into the science of food. It's like Robert Krulwich meets Julia Child. Even for those of us who are not foodies, it is a totally exciting half-hour.
Okay then, your turn. I'm listening.