In the course of raving recently about both Hunderby and the new series of Dallas (I rarely get excited over the small screen, but there is an embarrassment of riches on television this autumn), I got to thinking about my all-time favourite television programmes.
As with all such little lists, I’m sure there are ones I’m forgetting and the obvious ones that I watch all the time and don’t comment upon – reruns of Friends and Sex and the City, Come Dine With Me, early Boosh – here’s what came to mind.
The new series is good, but the original can’t be topped. It is simply the best drama there has ever been. It’s just all there: family dramas, glamour, death, extreme wealth, fighting in the pool at the Ewing barbecue. I love all the characters like old friends, but Ray and Bobby and Jenna Wade are probably my favourites. Although JR is a character like no other and the costume designer deserves a medal. It also becomes even more fun if you remember that most of the cast were roaring drunk while filming it – except, ironically, for Sue Ellen who has the best drunkface of all time.
Julia Davis is a genius and this could well be my favourite British comedy ever made. We all know that she can take it to the dark side like no-one else, but it is also beautifully observed, perfectly written – and despite the, you know, death and hideous crimes against humanity involved, it is mostly funny and cringey because it is so true to life. We’ve all known a few people like Jill, right? (Incidentally, my mum’s next door neighbor is called Cath, and it sends a shiver of fear up my spine every time I hear the cheery call of ‘hiya, Cath!’ down the road.)
I love 30 Rock so much, I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. As Tracy Jordan might say. He might also tell you about the time he saw two babies tattooing each other (‘but they were both very drunk’). Then he might cry and/or show you his fun cooker. Meanwhile, Liz Lemon would be doing an exaggerated eye-roll and eating Sabor de Soledad, and Jack Donaghy would just be busy being the most awesome character in the world ever. As Kenneth Ellen Parcell might say, they can all kiss my… face. I love them all so much.
My So-Called Life
You know, this used to be a kind of little-known one-series wonder of the mid-90s (at least in this country). My friend Nadia and I were the only people who watched/liked it. Recently, thanks to Rookie and the all-round 90s revival and whatnot, it’s gained a new cultural currency in retrospect. I’m glad, as it’s made it easier to shorthand my life. To sum up, my first boyfriend (who turned out to be more of a Ricki, shall we say) wooed me by saying that I looked like Angela Chase. I pretty soon dumped him for someone much more Catalano-esque, with a band and a nice line in leaning.
Flight of the Conchords
I not only have all the DVDs of this; I also have the soundtrack albums. And they really stand up – occasionally on an iPod shuffle, ‘Think About It’ or ‘Inner City Pressure’ will come on in between, like, Cohen and Dylan and it’ll really hold its own. Everything about the programme is charming and great, but the songs really make it. As do Murray and Dave, actually (my two favourite characters). I love them as much as Mel does. Why can’t the world be more like in my dreams?