NBC Finally Figured Out My Definition of Must See TV

So, as you, my faithful reader(s) know, I watch a lot of TV. A _lot_. I’m at a point where I couldn’t get by without my trusty DVR… in fact, I think it’s safe to say my social life would disappear without the thing.

That might sound strange, but think about it… what would i be doing on Friday nights when Battlestar Galactica is on? Sitting home and watching it. Wednesday night? Sorry, no, can’t go to a bar… _I have to watch Lost tonight_. What’s that you say? Use a VCR? What are you… a caveman?!?!? (Seriously, though… my VCR apparently chooses to ignore all programmed recordings, so *there*.)

But… I digress. On to the subject of my post. NBC has finally put together what I’d consider a truly great night of TV… and it’s on Thursday night, also known as The Place Where Must See TV Once Lived. And it is as follows:


“My Name Is Earl” (8-8:30 p.m. ET)


“The Office” (8:30-9 p.m. ET)


“Scrubs” (9-9:30 p.m. ET)


“30 Rock” (9:30-10 p.m. ET)

This all goes into effect on November 30th, so… set your DVRs! As for the shows themselves…

My Name is Earl was one of my new favorites last year, and this season so far has been pretty awesome. They’ve actually been changing up the formula some and not focusing on the list so much… they’ve also dialed down a bit of the Earl’s preachiness about karma, and the last few episodes have proven that he’s still a flawed guy.

I’ve just recently gotten into The Office, but it’s absolutely worth the effort, especially for those of you who may have been big fans of the BBC version and were turned off by the adaptation. The show has come into its own and done so gracefully.

Scrubs is actually finishing up this year, unfortunately. Apparently Zach Braff has some kind of movie career to pursue or something… Anyways, it has an amazing ability to cheer me up, without fail, every time I watch it. Even though I’ve seen most of the episodes two or three times by now, I can still watch them at the drop of the hat… those DVDs are next up to buy, let me tell you.

30 Rock is, of course, brand new, and might not make it (although, really, everything on NBC is doing terribly right now, so 30 Rock is doing about the same). It started off… just okay, but this week’s episode was absolutely hilarious, and I’m completely on board now. Even though I haven’t watched the last two episodes of Studio 60, if I had to choose for one of the two shows to live, I think I’d pick 30 Rock, simply because it seems to have a better sense of focus and direction, and for the most part it’s figured out that we don’t need to see bad sketch comedy when the characters are more interesting.

p(edit). EDIT: Okay, I finally watched the most recent two episodes of Studio 60, and my opinion about the show hasn’t necessarily changed. It’s good, but it still isn’t quite hitting its marks. I might renege on my choice of 30 Rock over Studio 60, if and only if Studio 60 gets a little sharper or has another truly great episodes – a handful of truly great episodes would be even better. I’m sure we’ll get to see all of the episodes play, so maybe the later eps will be a little sharper once they get into a writing groove. And for god’s sake, can we get some Matt and Danny interaction? Like, at all? Of course, it would be even _better_ if Studio 60 started hitting its marks _and_ 30 Rock continued to be sharp _and_ stick around, because then I’d have two more excellent shows to add to my stable of “need to watch”. Wouldn’t that be nice?

It’s kind of amazing that it took NBC this long to put together such a perfect line-up of shows, with not a dud in the group – all of them are single-camera and laugh-track free, both of which are developments in sitcom TV that I find waaaaay overdue.

I really need to read that “Crafty TV Writing”:http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0805080287/ book now, don’t I?

3 thoughts on “NBC Finally Figured Out My Definition of Must See TV”

  1. tim and i watch a lot of t.v too – i totally understand where you’re coming from.

    but i have to disagree with your love for the new thursday night line up. i’ve never been a fan of “my name is earl,” but i will say that after reading your comments about how it’s changed i might check it out one more time. of course, i’m 100% on board with scrubs and the office – they are 2 of my favs. but 30 rock…really? eh. i wasn’t that impressed by it. i think they could easily close the night with a much better show. what, i don’t know.

    i agree with your comment about NBC not doing so hot right now, but only when it comes to their 30 minute sitcoms. i think in the hour long drama area they are excelling: HEROS, Las Vegas, Studio 60 (which i LOVE), and Friday Night Lights (never actually seen it, but heard great things.) hopefully they will get their shorter shows up to par with the bigger ones.

  2. Hmm… no love for “My Name is Earl”? That’s a shame. the preview for upcoming episodes made me laugh out loud. It went something like this:

    ANNOUNCER: Finally, Friends returns to NBC… sort of.

    (Cut to a makeshift theatrical performance in a park. Three scruffy individuals are apparently re-enacting an episode of Friends.)

    RANDY: Aw, man… I’ve seen this episode.

    As for 30 Rock, I’ll agree with you that it started out shaky, but it seems to have hit its stride now on the third episode. The secret weapon, of course, is Alec Baldwin. The caliber of actors attracted to TV nowadays just gets better and better every year.

    And, yes, I love Studio 60, too… or, at least, I absolutely loved the pilot, which I think was the best pilot I’ve seen in a long damn time, and I’ve really enjoyed the next few episodes after that, but the show doesn’t quite seem to be hitting the mark. Some of the plot points don’t quite make sense, and the show-within-the-show is pretty awful. My biggest complaint? Bradley Whitford is barely used. Now, I say this without having watched the most recent two episodes, which are currently simmering on my DVR. I’m probably going to go watch them now, actually, and maybe once I’m done, I’ll change my tune.

    Also, there is some good news for the show… NBC ordered three more scripts, bringing the total episodes for this season up to 16. There might be a slight glimmer of a chance that Studio 60 could make it another season… barely. Actually, that might be part of the reason why I’ve been hands-off more recently. It’s an expensive show to make, it hasn’t quite been making the ratings it needs to live, and they haven’t really got the formula solid yet.

  3. You don’t need to buy scrubs on DVD, just set your DVR to record the reruns on comedy central, we record like 20 a week.

    As for the shows, i’m with you.

    Danielle refuses to watch My Name is Earl and as far as i know has only seen one episode, so don’t listen to her. And she’s only seen one episode of 30 Rock as well, and she laughed the whole way through!

    Last thing, if you are not watching Heroes, you are missing out!

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