Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Streaming the less mainstream...

From Ridley (in Shanghai)

To pass the time here in the empty rooms of our Shanghai lane house, that we'll be leaving in just a few days, my wife and I started watching Firefly, the space-western-adventure-comedy by the brilliant Joss Whedon. Extremely entertaining, and possibly served as a jumping off point for JJ Abrams' Alias (Paul would know this stuff!).

It led to me think about people's favorite non-mainstream TV series that may have been passed-over by most of us. Anybody want to chime in?

It also got me thinking about hearing my wife crying each morning. I work on the third floor of the lane house, and each morning around 8:30AM I hear crying downstairs. It scared the hell of me the first few times! It turns out it's my wife working out in front of "Ellen." So what about talk shows, favorites and otherwise? Suggestions? I can't bring myself to watch Conan; I still see Johnny Carson up there and Conan's a tough fit for me. Spare me the combative daytime shows where white trash battles on stage. But "Ellen" seems smart and funny -- what little I've seen of it. Are there others?

Maybe, with some suggestions, we can download something from iTunes for the long flight home...

By next week, I should be able to post photos again. This post comes to you, once again, by sneaking around the firewall imposed by those where I live...

POST SCRIPT: This just in from the New York Times [you may need to cut and paste into browser:] A fascinating look at what all of us in the blogosphere are engaged in, and the stakes it represents. Sorry for the cut and paste, but I'm somewhere they haven't yet turned back on the very networks mentioned in this piece.


  1. Favorite off-the-beaten-path TV shows, both older and newers: Twin Peaks, The Wire, Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development...that's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are others :)

  2. My all-time favorite offbeat show is John McNamara's "Profit," which only ran for 8 episodes on Fox in 96-97. Way ahead of its time in the anti-hero area.

    Adrian Pasdar played Jim Profit, who would do anything -- bribery, extortion, murder -- to climb the corporate ladder.

    He also slept in a cardboard box for reasons too complicated to explain here.

    For yuks, nothing can compare with "Fernwood Tonight" (1977). Imagine the "Tonight Show" set in a small town in Ohio. Martin Mull as the host with a checkered past and Fred Willard as his dullard sidekick. Plus the musically challenged "Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers." It's the precursor to "The Larry Sanders Show."

    Don't know if either one is on DVD.

  3. Mary Hartman Mary Hartman.

  4. from Jacqueline

    "Life On Mars" - the British version (the rights have been sold to a US network) which was shown here on BBC America and one or two other public broadcasting networks. It was one of the best, most innovative cop shows I've seen for a long time - and an ingenious way to bring back to life the "no holds barred" policing of the 70's - and the sound track was just great.

  5. 'life on mars' is one of our favorites too. we only stumbled across it by accident. over here it was shown on a small station that we don't usually watch. it was so well done and so awfully british.


  6. Sorry to see Raines with Jeff Goldblum get canceled after 8 show run......

  7. Patty: Brit Life On Mars... INCREDIBLE SHOW!

  8. ABC's adaptation of "Life on Mars" was cancelled after one season. Starred Jason O'Mara, Michael Imperioli, and Gretchen Mol. Harvey Keitel was the over-the-top, violent Lt. Gene Hunt.

    I'm a sucker for time travel, so I watched and enjoyed the show. Probably ought to watch the British version.

  9. The TV series "Leverage" with Timothy Hutton. Not everyone enjoyed it, but I thought it was smart and twisty and fast.

  10. Speaking of time travel....I loved Quantum Leap. Still see re-runs, it seems dated now, but it was fun.
    Scott Bakula, yum.