Big Cal’s Top 10 Favourite TV Shows

As always, this list is my FAVOURITE shows, not necessarily the ones I’d call the BEST. Although this list is most likely much closer to being a best list compared to my video games and films lists. Also, not in any order, because it was hard enough deciding on JUST 10 shows, never mind which order they go in!!!


studio 60


Its crazy how many times I’ve sat through this show on DVD. It only got 1 season, but damn, its one hell of a season! Set behinds the scenes of a Saturday Night Live type sketch comedy show, we follow the lives of the co-executives, Matthew Albi and Danny Trip, as they try to run the show after being forced out a couple of years ago. They also have to deal with a new President of the Network, as well as cast members who might have some resentment towards them for leaving in the first place. What we end up with is some fantastic television that is smartly written, well acted and wonderfully put together. And that season finale… oh man. It takes up the last 4 episodes, all taking place over one night, and it is glorious. Just a shame that the bits of sketch comedy we see in the show simply isn’t funny… but I’ve never been able to figure out if it was supposed to not be funny… or if like the real life Saturday Night Live, it’s just NOT funny despite them thinking it is!


the simpsons


How could I not include this? Sure, the show has been on a decline for the last… 15 years or something, but those first 10 seasons are still incredible to watch. Homer Simpson is just amazing. He’s stupid, funny, annoying and loveable all at the same time. Even when episodes focus more on other members of the family, you can usually be sure that Homer will still end up stealing the episode, usually with just one line! And hey, even though the last 15 seasons certainly haven’t been up to par with the first 10, there ARE plenty of great episodes to be found. And in my opinion, the show has been consistently better in the last couple of seasons than they were for the few years before that. Admittedly I do still kinda watch the show out of habit (I’ve been watching since I can remember), but even so I still get enjoyment out of most of the episodes, and when a great episode DOES come along in the later seasons I tend to appreciate it even more. So no matter what, I’ll always watch The Simpsons, and I’ll likely always still enjoy it too!




 Dragon Dragon, ROCK THE DRAGON, Dragon Ball Z! Back when I was younger, after school a bunch of us on the street would hang out, ride our bikes, whatever. Then come 5pm… the street was EMPTY. Why? Because DRAGON BALL Z was on!!! 5pm every week day as part of the Toonami block on Cartoon Network. We all hated those times between Sagas, when we’d tune in the next day not knowing if we’d get a new episode, or if they’d just start from the beginning again until the new Saga started airing. Its no surprise that Dragon Ball Z was so popular. Not just with me and my friends, but with so many other people around the world. While it is TECHNICALLY a Japanese Anime, it doesn’t quite FEEL like one compared to the others out there. Which I think helped widen the appeal of the show. I’m not one for Anime shows typically, but I do love me some DBZ. It has a ton of great characters, and they are all pretty fleshed out too, with rich back stories that were either told throughout Dragon Ball (also awesome as hell), or we learned in DBZ through flashbacks and the likes. The range of characters was pretty great too, from Goku who was the pure hearted hero who would do anything to protect people, to Vegeta who was always in it for himself, but over time changed and became more like Goku, only with his BAD ASS attitude in tact! While a lot of the original characters from Dragon Ball were pushed into the background in place of the SAIYANS in Dragon Ball Z, most of them still had their moments to shine, be it Tien holding back Cell in his second form, Krillin showing up out of nowhere to help out, or Piccolo doing his best to keep up with the ever expanding power of the Saiyans. Then we have the villains. Vegeta was the first major villain and he was awesome. Then we got Frieza, who might be the BEST villain in the entire series. Cell is up there too, and Buu, while he had some dumb moments, was also pretty bad ass at times. With great heroes and great villians, we also got a bunch of great FIGHTS, which is the biggest reason the show was awesome. Goku Vs Vegeta, Everyone Vs Freiza, Goku Vs Cell, Gohan Vs Cell, Piccolo Vs Cell, Piccolo Vs Android 17, Gotenks Vs Buu, Vegeta Vs Buu, Goku Vs Buu, Gohan Vs Buu. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Sure, there are some filler episodes that really are NOTHING but filler, and even a filler Saga (Garlic Jr), but there are just so many other awesome episodes that they simply don’t even matter!

that 70s show



A show about a group of teenagers who do what teenagers do… only they do it in the 70’s!!! We follow Eric Foreman and his group of friends who hang out in his basement, as they go through all the typical teenager issues. School, work, parents and relationships. Only with it being set in the 70’s, everything has a unique feel to it and a unique spin to it, which is what I liked the most. Some awesome characters, with my favourites being Hyde and Red. Kelso is awesome as the stupid comedy act, and Fez as the exchange student adds another element to the show that most sitcoms don’t have. We get a ton of comedy, as well as a lot of great drama and emotion. The last season gets a lot of hate because Kelso is only a part timer and Eric leaves at the end of the previous season, but for me, I felt it was good to reduce the amount of Kelso as his stupid act was getting a little overdone, and Eric… well I never really cared for Eric as the “main” character anyway. True, his “replacement” wasn’t exactly great, but the rest of the cast were far too strong for that to make a difference. Great music throughout the show as well, as the group are big into rock music, which I love!


red dwarf


Gotta have at least one UK show in this list, right? Right! And it doesn’t get much better than Red Dwarf!!! Set in space, Lister is the last human alive, on board the mining ship Red Dwarf, along with a cat being that evolved from his pet cat he snuck on board, a hologram of his dead room mate, a droid, and the ship’s computer Holly! They are simply trying to get back to Earth, and along the way get caught up in sheer craziness as they encounter aliens, alternate reality versions of themselves and even themselves in the future!!! The dynamic between Lister and Rimmer, who are complete opposites and can’t stand each other makes for some great television.




LOST~! Even if you didn’t watch the show, you damn sure KNOW about it. It was huge. It was EVERYWHERE. And mostly, it was INCREDIBLE. Sure, it had flaws here and there… and yeah, the final episode was a major disappointment as they opted to NOT REVEAL A DAMN THING, but the journey up to that point was spectacular. Its rare a show gets me so excited that I simply can’t wait another week for the next episode. All the mysteries just left you wanting more, wanting answers. So many characters with such deep back stories to play out over the 6 years the show ran. Flashbacks weren’t something Lost invented, but they damn sure DEFINED them in my opinion. No show before Lost used them as well. Each episode would be based around a single character, switching back and forth between the present day, and the past, with what happened to them in the past somehow connecting to what was going on in the present. Yeah, things got a little weird with the time travelling aspect, but it simply lead to some more interesting scenarios for the show, so I didn’t mind. If ONLY they didn’t screw up the ending.




Everyone needs a little Joss Whedon in their lives. While Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly often get the most recognition as being his best work, for me, Angel is #1. A spin-off from Buffy, as Angel moves away from Sunnydale to L.A. for a new start. He meets up with some old friends, and makes a few new ones too. They battle vampires and other demons, while continuously trying to beat the evil law firm, Wolfram & Hart., who have major plans involving Angel’s evil alter-ego Angelus. I always liked Angel over Buffy because Angel felt more ADULT. It was much darker in tone from the beginning and dealt a lot more with adult issued, whereas Buffy started off with her in High School and took a number of years before everyone grew up and they could explore the more adult issues. Doesn’t mean Buffy was bad, just means I prefer Angel to it lol. The show has produced some of my all time favourite TV show episodes, and is something I can still watch over and over again today on DVD. Would be nice for a Bluray release though…


still game


And here we have another UK show! Or to be more specific, a Scottish show! A spin-off show as well, featuring two characters from Chewin’ The Fat, a Scottish sketch comedy show. Almost the entire cast are young(ish) people made up to look old, and they do a pretty terrific job of it as well. Being old, the situations they end up in are different to what we would get in a standard family oriented sitcom, and that’s so damn refreshing. Oh, and the show itself is INSANELY FUNNY. Unfortunately it ain’t gonna be for anyone… mainly for the language barrier lol. I’m technically Scottish, and with most of my family still living in Scotland, I’m used to the accents and some of their words and sayings, so for me this is no problem. However I have been sat watching this when friends have come over, and I’ll be laughing my arse off while they are sat wondering what the hell was just said! I was so disappointed to hear that the two main actors fell out and the show was over… but recently I found out they are getting back together and plan on at least doing some Christmas specials!!!



Everybody lies. Unless they tell you that House M.D. is awesome. Then they are telling the absolute TRUTH. Hugh Laurie is just superb. Utterly fucking SUPERB as Dr Gregory House, a genius diagnostician with poor people skills and a lot of pain both mentally and physically that makes him a bitter, angry guy. And you know what? For a very long time, I could relate to him. Hell I WAS the Dr House character before the show started airing. I was miserable, angry, hated people, and even had a limp on my left side due to a bad knee! At the very core, the show was one of the most formalistic shows EVER. Sick patient, try out a bunch of treatments that don’t work/make them worse… then right at the end, House (or occasionally one of his team) would have a light bulb moment and figure it all out. But all of that for me just felt like the background for the show, with the real meat being in the awesome characters and their personal lives. Dr House was obviously the focal point, but between his best friend Wilson, boss/lover interest Cuddy, and his revolving team, there was always PLENTY going on to keep you interested in what was happening. Ok, the last couple of seasons took a bit of a nosedive in quality (ESPECIALLY the final season), but the first 5 or 6 seasons were some of the best television I’ve personally ever seen.




And we finish it off with a more recent show that is still going (Season 4 starts in 1 week!!!). The fact its already made it into my top 10 favourite tv shows list, ahead of other classic shows like Only Fools & Horses, Fraiser and more, should be all you need to know about Person of Interest. The show is based around a machine, built to spy on everyone following 9/11, and sort out the terrorist threats (relevant) to non terrorist threats (non-relevant). It’s creator, Harold, decides that the “non relevant” threats should still be dealt with, and he hires an ex-CIA agent to help him out. While the show follows a basic formula every episode of “non relevant number to look into”, they vary so much every time that it never feels like your typical crime drama. Add to that the wonderful characters, full of history and back story that we peel back in Lost-like flashbacks, and some AMAZING story arcs that span entire seasons of the show (some still on going even as we begin Season 4!!!)… and well, you end up with a quality show. The fact it continues to get stronger as it goes along is a testament to the writing and acting on the show. Without a doubt my favourite TV show currently airing, even ahead of the awesome Game of Thrones!!!

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