At the end of a busy day, my husband and I enjoy relaxing together with a TV show. We’re big movie fans, but often don’t have time to watch a movie between the girls’ bedtime and ours. Lately, we’ve been watching our favourite shows on DVD but as fall resumes, there will be new shows coming up. Here are my 5 favourite TV shows for date nights at home.
My first three favourite TV shows are scripted shows; my last two are reality TV shows. I like the story that develops over time in the scripted shows, but I also like being able to pop into the reality TV shows even if I’ve missed a few episodes.
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My Favourite TV Shows — Scripted
Several years ago, my husband said, “I found a TV show you should check out.” He showed me the preview episode and we were hooked. For the next several years, we watched Once Upon a Time religiously. I loved the twists and turns of the show and the unique play on familiar fairy tales.
The story began when an evil spell transported a group of fairy tale characters from the Enchanted Forest to a small town in Maine. It’s up to Emma, a girl raised in the foster system, to help the characters remember who they are and break the spell. The end of each season thereafter brings new evil spells for the characters to fight, as various villains pop up to ruin the “happily ever after.”
Once Upon a Time offered us plenty to talk about as we tried to guess who each of the characters was and how they’d solve the curse. It’s also interesting to consider the lines drawn between right and wrong. Even the evil characters are well-written and interesting people whom we found ourselves rooting for—and cheering towards redemption.
My husband found the first three seasons of The Big Bang Theory at a thrift store. These have become our go-to in the evening when we’re tired and want to relax together. It’s easy to pop in a DVD and watch an episode (or two or three…) together. The show is good for laughs, although I’d rate it R for the fact that three of the four guys are constantly trying to get a girl into bed. (In other words, don’t watch before the kids fall asleep.)
If you’re not familiar with it, The Big Bang Theory follows the lives of four friends who work together at the same university. Sheldon is a high IQ astrophysicist who has very specific rules and routines for his life. Leonard is his roommate, a nice, fairly ordinary guy. Raj is an East Indian guy who can’t talk to women. Howard is a Jewish guy (when it’s convenient) who still lives with his mom. And Penny is the ordinary, Mid-western girl who moves in across the hall and hopes to make it big in Hollywood.
The first three season of The Big Bang Theory are pretty good. After that, I found it became a bit of the same ol’ same ol’. You can skip an episode (or a series) and not miss much, because the characters don’t really change (until they start getting married). We’ve picked it up again with the last season airing on TV now and I’m enjoying the wrap-up of all the characters, and the interactions between them as married couples.
My husband described Firefly as “space cowboys.” It ran for four seasons and then had a movie made about the characters, so it’s easy to watch the whole thing. One of the episodes is a bit violent (about the Reavers), and one (which wasn’t aired on TV) has the Firefly crew helping out a woman of the night (with some expected results).
Mel is the captain of a small spacecraft called Serenity. As the story opens, he takes on some new passengers: a shepherd, a doctor and the doctor’s sister. The crew then spend the rest of the movie taking on odd jobs (aka smuggling) and trying to outrun the ruling Alliance regime. They also have to stay ahead of the cannibalistic Reavers and a few angry ex-employers, who want revenge for jobs gone wrong.
What I liked about Firefly is that Mel has a strong moral code and always does what is right (at least in his mind). The characters are also unique, interesting people. Mel’s mechanic is a naive, happy young woman and his second-in-command is a strong, capable black woman. She’s married to the pilot, a goofy guy who can fly any craft through anything. And of course when you put any group of people together in small spaces, there will be both fun and conflict…
Bonus: Gilmore Girls
Because I grew up without a TV, I missed out on watching this show in my teens. Then my husband found all seven seasons. We’re still working our way through Season 1 but hands down, it’s becoming another of my favourite shows. I love the quick back-and-forth between the characters (especially Lorelai). The family interactions and the small-town dramas are also funny. (I’m looking forward to watching it with the girls when they’re teenagers!)
My Favourite TV Shows — Reality
#4: The Voice
I’ll admit that a big part of why I like The Voice is that it features one of my favourite country artists, Blake Sheldon. The joking back and fourth between the four judges also adds to the fun on the show. The premise of this show is that each singer is selected solely on the merits of their voice. The first round of judging is blind; each judge picks a singer for his or her team just by listening to them sing. My husband and I like talking about our favourite singers and who we’d pick if we were the judges.
#5: Amazing Race
My favourite part of this show is seeing where the teams travel. I loved the Amazing Race Canada because it was fun to see familiar parts of Canada as well as places that I’d love to visit someday. Sometimes I find the challenges a bit ridiculous or boring, but it’s always interesting to see how the teams work together (or don’t) when given a challenge. We like to talk about which challenge we’d do if we had to pick, or what the teams should be doing.
What are your favourite TV shows?