My humble suggestions for a balanced tv diet

There is too much tv, but only if you are bad at watching it. Watch the best stuff, weed out the mediocre, and embrace the really fun stuff that balances out the “good” tv. A healthy tv diet cannot be all premium, sad, tension-filled drama. Nor can it be network crap (I’m looking at you, weird people who watch Madame Secretary). A list of what you should be watching right now (things that are actually airing, please refer to my list of all time favorites for not-airing shows).

  1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend–It plays fast and loose with mental illness. But a basic Gilmore Girls-esque weirdness anchors it. Also it is actively trying to entertain you (as opposed to impress you). More shows should do that.
  2. The Leftovers–This is your premium vegetables. Don’t watch the first season. It is too sad. The second season is totally comprehensible without the first season and is so much more interesting and dynamic.
  3. The Good Wife–It is better than ever. Even without two of my most beloved characters, this show is zinging.
  4. Scandal–It got good again! The fourth season was terrible. Let’s never speak of it again. But this season has all the energy and fun of the first season. And it makes for a delightful drunk popcorn-for-dinner night alongside . . .
  5. Grey’s Anatomy–I know, I know. This is not something you admit out loud. But this show, post Derek’s death, has achieved something singular. It is totally character driven (what a relief to be released from the plot adrenaline of your Homelands or the unbearable How to Get Away With Murder). It also performs Cheers-like emotional labor. It is a place where everybody knows your name, and you just want to see what your old friend Bailey has to say about the new intern’s hot hair. A good tv diet must include things that are not stressful, and this show has achieved the zen of complete catharsis without stress.

Feeling overwhelmed with all these options? Perhaps you should give up some bad habits. Homeland: I’m not there yet, but I realize I will have to give up this show. It is no longer about anything except stressing me out. Ditto Nashville. Omg, this show is the worst and I hope I will find the courage to give it up. Quantico: I thought we were going to be bffs. The pilot was cake. But boy does it not deliver in the subsequent episodes. Also, I am working on becoming a Jane the Virgin person (it is not an entirely natural fit), so I need to really weed out these weak links.

-D

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