With the advent of autumn comes the new fall schedule of television shows. As much as I anticipate the new season of The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family, I do find it tiresome (even with a PVR) to watch a television show over its initial run. Much more fun to me are marathon viewing sessions where an entire season is viewed in a few days. So often it is easy to forget important plot points in a series that airs from September to May. But over the course of a week or so, it is simpler to keep track. Luckily the library has many TV series on DVD, making marathon viewing possible.
Certainly the library has current series like Downton Abbey, Grey’s Anatomy, and Mad Men, etc., but what I especially like is to watch older series that are no longer airing. Not only are there fewer holds, but you can watch the entire series if you like. Currently I’m watching (dare I say) Dallas! It’s big, blowsy, and unbelievable, but it sure is a lot of fun and unintentionally hilarious.
If you really want a laugh, watch the original Charlie’s Angels. The library has four seasons of this camp classic. Personal favourite episodes of mine are “Angels in Chains” in Season 1, and “Toni’s Boys” in Season 4. I laughed so hard I cried and I’ve even played “Toni’s Boys” at parties, it is so outrageously funny!
As much as I like campy series, I like sci-fi even more (and often they are one and the same). I’m such a sci-fi nerd that I’ve watched every single episode of every incarnation of Star Trek there is. And with the exception of Star Trek: The Animated series, the library has them all! I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it remains a favourite, but I discovered after viewing all the series that I particularly enjoy Enterprise. It is a departure from the other series in that it is a prequel to all of them, and is set before the Federation comes into existence. With no Federation there are fewer rules, and no Prime Directive, freeing the characters to go into scenarios which are taboo in the other Star Trek series.
I may be vilified by Star Trek fans forever for this, but Babylon 5 is an awesome series and in my estimation, superior to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (both are set on space stations, and both aired at the same time). Watch them yourself and make up your own mind. I particularly enjoyed the long story arc (the author describes it as a “five-year novel”) and its more realistic depictions of the undesirable characteristics of people (Star Trek tends to idealize humanity).
I can’t write about sci-fi shows and not mention Stargate: SG-1, a great show and a lot of fun. I was disappointed when Richard Dean Anderson left the show, but he did return for the occasional episode. The 200th episode was particularly good, as it spoofed a plethora of other shows (including Farscape, a somewhat obscure Australian series that is also worth watching). With its run of 10 years, it set a record as the longest running sci-fi show in (American) history. I had to add the qualifier, as Doctor Who, in its various incarnations, has been running in Britain (on and off) since 1963. Everyone has their favourite Doctor, but mine is Christopher Eccleston, followed closely by David Tenant. The library has the 2005 re-boot of the show as well as selected episodes of the previous series in DVD format. With such a long run it is no wonder there is a plethora of books produced (in print, CD, and e-book format) which the library has also acquired. I’m a Doctor Who fan, but not such a big fan as to watch the entirety of it, but don’t let that stop you!
Next on my to-watch list is Space: 1999, which was produced by a competing network and aired directly against Doctor Who in Britain. Set on a base on our moon, a colossal accident sends it hurtling through space, encountering strange new worlds and alien species.