I have had plans every evening this week and I have cancelled every single one of them. And I have loved it. Flu season had a late start here in Calgary and I’ve been pulling eleven hour days at the ol’ day job so going home at the end of the day and zoning out with a little TV and leftovers is heaven. Last night I was asleep at 9:30 and today, for the first time this week, I feel energized.
So, obviously Fit February is off to a raring start. (But still! Over 15 000 steps per day! That has to count!)
My new shut-in nature has also granted the opportunity to catch a few episodes of Eugene & Daniel Levy’s Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. At work, I’ve had numerous people, independently of each other, tell me that I remind them so much of the daughter on the show that they’ve actually checked the credits to see who was playing her. I don’t know if I see it yet, but Schitt’s Creek is a weird quirky little show, which I love, so I’ll keep watching it anyway.
“Weird quirky little show” is a pretty apt definition when it comes to the type of tv I like. I’m a big fan of the “gets cancelled after 13 episodes” or the “it’s crazy that they got renewed” niche. So, if you like little shows that make you feel better about your life, here’s a short list of short-lived tv shows I love:
This guy only had 13 episodes, one season, and I’m honestly not sure if it could have handled any more seasons. Mixology tells the story of 10 singles in a bar over one night – each episode is a little vignette that centres around two of the characters, though the other storylines progress as well. It’s easy to bang through this entire series in a week and it always inspires me to dress up and head to a cocktail bar. Also, I’m a fan of everything Vanessa Lengies does. [You can watch Mixology on Canadian Netflix.)
2) Friends with Better Lives
13 episodes filmed, only 8 episodes aired… maybe I wouldn’t have loved this sitcom if it kept going, but there was just something about the premise. Hey, these are people in their early 30s who are all in completely different places in their lives and that is cool. Add in some James Van Der Beek and Zoe Lister-Jones and an early episode about what a guys’ night becomes when you hit your thirties and move to the suburbs… I’m happy. (However, Friends With Better Lives apparently has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I mostly watched it on the airplane while travelling for work… So I may have terrible taste. But the acting on this show is just SO GOOD.) (Friends With Better Lives can be found on Amazon for purchase.)
3) Garfunkel and Oates
The Netflix app on my new SmartTV doesn’t easily show how many episodes there are of a given show if you just click on it to watch it and, holy geez, I was so disappointed when I realized there was only one short season of this show after binging on it. Garfunkel and Oates is a folk comedy band (consisting of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who you will definitely recognize as every present guest stars if you watch any comedy at all) and the tv show is a fictitious look at their lives trying to make it in LA. Awesome strong funny girls trying to make their way in the world… with songs? I’m in! (Garfunkel and Oates can be viewed on Netflix.)
4) Happy Endings
This quirky little ensemble comedy about six friends dealing with the fallout of two members of their group splitting up, featured an all-star cast (seriously… Adam Pally, Elisha Cuthbert, Damien Wayans Jr…) and sharp writing. It is an even better version of Friends with Better Lives. Happy Endings actually made it to three seasons, but was plagued with a strange episode sequence in Season One (the ever present “they” were concerned about too many episodes about the breakup off the top of the series so the first season aired in an odd order) and with its airing time being bumped around during Season Three. I cannot say enough good things about this show. If you love clever, aware humour , even in the wackiness of situations – early New Girl, anyone? – track Happy Endings down and watch it. (Happy Endings is tragically no longer on Netflix. The first season was released on DVD in Canada and the rest of the seasons are considered imports… One day, they will be mine, though – and for a reasonable price!)
5) Veronica Mars
Wikipedia describes Veronica Mars as a teenage noir drama, but I still think it fits on my list. And, yes, it was critically acclaimed, has a movie and stars Kristen Bell… but it was still consistently plagued with potential cancellation (that is why the third season has several mini-story arcs) so it counts as short-lived and underappreciated! Even if murder mysteries aren’t your thing, give Veronica Mars a chance… if only to watch the brilliant nuanced performance that Kristen Bell brings to every second she is on-screen. And the rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either… (Psst: Krysten Ritter, Max Greenfield, Alona Tal and Jonathan Bennett are only some of the guest stars who will have you going “Hey! It’s them!”.) (Veronica Mars can be found streaming on Netflix. But it’s so worth it to invest in your very own copies on DVD.)
If Veronica Mars maybe doesn’t fit on this list, Community maybe really doesn’t fit on this list. After all, it is so close to the six seasons and a movie that Abed always referenced. But, at the risk of sounding like a super hipster, I was into it first! I made everyone I know watch it. I have an ex-boyfriend who told me I was the Dean, because he was Jeff Winger, which made me the Dean because I loved both costumes and Jeff Winger. Every season has real winning moments, though I think the second is my favourite season and the third season Christmas episode is my favourite episode. Community does Glee better than Glee does. Just watch it. (Community can be found on Hulu in the US and on Netflix in Canada.)
I wonder how long I can keep being a shut-in for so I can re-watch all my shows! What are your favourite semi-unknown shows to watch when you just can’t brave the rest of the world?