The swirling snow outside the window signals the early arrival of winter weather and with it the obligatory scanning of things to watch on the TV.
Given the ‘more choices than ever/less quality than ever’ quandary which is the modern entertainment industry, many are choosing to avoid the viewing decisions of some faceless droid and instead go to subscription services such as Netflix, online shows, or their own DVD/Blu-ray collections.
Here are a few nuggets from the library…
Fawlty Towers (BBC 2 season: 1975, 1979, 12 episodes)
The iconic British show about the notorious Torquay hotel owned by Basil and Sybil Fawlty is considered by some to be the greatest sit-com in television history. The blend of the perfect characters dealing with ingenious situations results in a classic with an appeal that spans international borders. Some of the most well-known comic lines in history are found in the episodes, delivered by some of the most memorable characters ever.
The fact the series was restrained to two seasons and 12 episodes – preventing it from becoming drawn out – adds appeal to the show. North American remakes/revisions have been attempted, all of which fizzled out, and thankfully so.
Firefly (Fox, 2002 1 Season, 14 episodes)
In a previous television life, Castle used to be Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds, a war vet ('Browncoat')-turned-smuggler operating at arms-length from the victorious Alliance. A great cast led by Edmonton, Alberta native Nathan Fillion enjoys excellent writing in this blend of sci-fi and western. This Joss Whedon creation delivers interesting storylines punctuated by elements of suspense, action, and thriller, sprinkled with a healthy dose of chuckles.
Featuring a cast which includes Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, and Alan Tudyk, Firefly is one of those television creations which enjoy a far higher level of popularity after cancellation than it ever had while on the air. Followed by the critically-acclaimed motion picture Serenity.
The Job (ABC, 2001-02, 2 seasons, 19 episodes)
This ill-fated network prime-timer came and went with little fanfare. Featuring Denis Leary as the main troubled character (sound familiar? Read on), inevitable comparisons are still made between this effort and Leary’s follow-up effort Rescue Me. In fact, the post-September 11th environment, along with ABC’s decision to go more ‘family-friendly’ in its programming, proved the ultimate slice for this show’s chances.
But whatever elements of Rescue Me which are missing, caused in part by the restrictions of network television, The Job still features smart writing, hilarious characters, and a borderline allowable Denis Leary.