After chuckling at some comments on @Nellie’s older music thread of a similar name, I thought something akin to that for TV really needed a sounding board.
What are your guilty pleasure TV shows? You know you have them. Still watching downloaded episodes of Murder She Wrote? Can you quote the lines from Golden Girls episodes? Can you rattle off major and minor characters of Magnum P.I.? Spill em here!
To start, I’ve seen the bulk of every Law and Order episode. The OG stuff, not the SVU or CI fluff. Channel flipping comes to a screeching halt if I stumble across the show, even now, eight years past it’s original run length of twenty flipping years.
I can discuss at length the history of the character changes of detectives, assistant district attorneys, DAs, and even side characters over time. After all, “these are their stories.”
I don’t know it like you do, but it’s such an easy show to watch since each episode is a one-off. I don’t seek it out but when I’m feeling really lazy and channel surfing it’s easy to put down the remote when I hit a Law and Order episode.
I wouldn’t say it’s guilty TV pleasure because I consider the following to be high quality shows, but I’ll often stop to watch The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and even I Love Lucy. These are mostly timeless. Shows like All in the Family come across as more dated.
As for me, my guilty pleasures are those cop chase shows like World’s Worst Drivers or Scariest Police Chases. I could watch that stuff as the day is long.
For scripted TV, we’ve been binging Columbo of late, and Deep Space Nine. I guess for true guilty pleasures, it’d be those cheesy sci-fi shows from the 80s and 90s, like Time Trax or Automan or Airwolf. I love that shit.
One of the things I love about the show to be honest. No ongoing story to remember, and ever episode can be enjoyed completely by itself.
Harmon is awesome. That show has been copied in so many ways by others but similar to Law and Order, it seems to have the right crew or production that just works. And to be honest … how on earth was that show ever pitched? “Okay it’s a detective show with some CSI elements, but it’s Navy based.” Whatever though, it works.
Now wait. Hear me out. I’m not talking about the Freeman Godsden/Charles Correll radio show or the embarrassing movie they made in blackface (Check & Double Check).
The TV show was the only one at the time to feature African-American figures of authority like police and judges. The cast is composed of very talented veterans of Black theater. Spencer Williams - Andy - was a director of several all-Black movies in the 30’s and 40’s, Tim Moore - Kingfish - was a great visual and verbal comic, and Ernestine Wade’s Sapphire was a precursor to Weezy Jefferson. The writing is often as funny as many of the classics of the B&W television era.
Sure, Kingfish is a buffoon, but no more of a buffoon than Ralph Kramden, and the plots are no sillier than anything on I Love Lucy. The only cringe-worthy character is Lightnin’, with Nick Stewart (aka Nick O’Demus) doing his best Steppin Fetchit impression, but the character is a minor one and didn’t appear that often.
Next time you’re up for some Grandpa TV, I highly recommend checking it out on Youtube.
I don’t know if I have any “guilty” TV pleasures. I do have some perhaps “non-standard” TV pleasures, but I don’t feel guilty about them.
Then again, I might as well mention those that people around me would like me to feel guilty about. So that might work. Yeah.
Ok, I’ll just drop one. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I actually enjoyed watching it. I have seen almost nothing from season 4 onward (because I’d watch it mostly when my kid was watching, and he stopped watching it, and so did I), but up to that point I enjoyed it more often than not.
Oh, remembered another one I loved in my youth. A tokusatsu called “Jaspion” here in Brazil (I think it was called “Juspion” in the US). Good fun.