My television habits: a primer
I watch a lot of television. I am not one for escapist fiction (for the most part; there are always exceptions), but I am definitely one for escapist television. My DVR is a surprising mix of high-brow programming (BBC America and PBS are favorites) and low-brow programming (I watch most of Bravo's reality shows.) As a highly visual person, I appreciate seeing the action. I love visual jokes and glimpses filled with meaning you'd miss if you looked away.
I also have a fondness for episodic storytelling. I was reared on books in a series that came out monthly. Now, it's somewhat torturous as an adult reader to wait for a new book in a series I adore to come out once a year (or even less frequently.) Television fills a niche with me. Good television characters feel like friends to me in the same way characters in a novel can.
The Best Show on TV? The Good Wife. No contest.
I've watched The Good Wife since it first aired. I remember tweeting my love for it after finishing the first episode (which languished for a few weeks in my DVR because no one seemed to be talking about it.) Initially, I was skeptical. It was a great premise, but I wasn't convinced it would work for a weekly show. In case you don't know the basics: Julianna Marguiles stars as Alicia Florrick, a wife scorned by her husband, State Attorney of Illinois (played by Chris Noth in the best performance of his career) Peter Florrick, when it is revealed he had an affair with a prostitute. She is "the good wife" who stands beside him through political embarrassment.Thankfully, it's nowhere near that simple. Alicia, with Peter in jail (simply put: he was corrupt in other ways too), must return to work. After being out of the workforce since law school, she lands a job as a first-year attorney and competes with fresh, young, lawyers. She finds an apartment for her and their two children, Grace and Zach. It's nice, but it's far from the neighborhood and price range of their house. Peter's mother cares for Grace and Zach while Alicia works long hours, aiming to be the one who keeps her job (two first-year associates battle it out for one spot.)
The Good Wife succeeds because it isn't afraid to tell stories. It's also blessed with an amazing cast and inspiring guest stars. It manages to be both a case-of-the-week legal drama and a dramatic long-term story of a woman scorned, a failing marriage, and a prying public who think they know what's going on. Some weeks the case takes center stage, but some weeks the private drama does. Either way, it's brilliant storytelling. It's perfectly paced.
I'm missing The Good Wife this summer, but I am looking forward to watching it from the beginning on dvd with my mother. I hope to have her caught up on the first two seasons by the start of season three this fall.
Although I haven't yet watched The Wire, The Good Wife showrunners are huge fans. They're such huge fans, in two seasons they've managed to cast fourteen cast members from The Wire. That's television dedication I can get behind (and yes, The Wire, is at the top of my Netflix queue.)
Now tell me: do you watch The Good Wife? What's your pick for the best show on tv?
Convinced? Buy Season One and Season Two of The Good Wife from Amazon. Season 3 starts Sunday, September 25, 2011 on CBS.