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The following are a few of my favorite TV shows...several of which are no longer on the air -- all the more reason to mention them here, since many of you might never have known such wonderful pieces of art existed if the weren't commemorated somehow by those of us who loved them.  As with all other areas of this website, please feel free to offer comment and suggestions as to other shows you believe are worthy of inclusion.


Gilmore Girls

Memorable line:  "Next time we're gonna steal a boat, please tell me why.  That doesn't mean I won't do it, but at least I'll be fully informed."

     I love this show for the ever fascinating perspective it offers into three generations of women, how different they believe themselves, and how alike (much to their chagrin, sometimes) they often prove to be...the eldest of which is a society matron, deeply concerned with her activities in the local DAR, elegant teas and appropriate matches between men and women of equally genteel blood.  A free spirit never comfortable in this world, Lorelai scandalized her mother by becoming pregnant at 16, and subsequently leaving home to raise the baby on her own in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, CT.  The series began 16 years later,  with Lorelai and her daughter Rory, closer in age than many parents and children, and as a result the best of friends...a circumstance that allows Rory to often seem somewhat more the mom than Lorelai.  In the years since, their bond has evolved and changed, yet remains strong, and their lives are continually challenged and augmented by the colorful cast of characters who likewise inhabit the town, a close-knit group who eagerly follow both Lorelai and Rory's love lives, and who are always full of opinions as to how these should be conducted. 


Nothing Sacred 

Memorable line (from a TV Guide description, actually, not the show itself):  "He's a priest, not a saint."

     This show about a beleaguered Chicago priest debuted in 1997 to critical reviews.  Starring Kevin Anderson,  Ann Dowd, and a host of excellent additional supporting players, and taking place at the fictional (and aptly named) St. Thomas parish, it dealt with the struggles of Anderson's character Father Ray, both against the tangible and spiritual enemies of modern day citizens, and his own quest for answers and faith in guiding his parishioners.  Often addressing controversial topics including abortion, gang-violence and the role of women in the Church to name only a a few, the show maintained a reverent and serious attitude that was both honest and thought-provoking, and which I believe made Catholicism appealingly accessible to those unfamiliar with its tenets while in no way diluting the gravity of Christ's sacrifice for a lost people.  Unfortunately, according to various articles I read at the time, the show met with violent opposition from The Catholic League, which organization ultimately succeeded in having it removed from the airwaves...a move I consider very sad, to be quite frank, as I'd be willing to bet there were Catholics in 1998 who had not been Catholics in 1996, solely because of the moving and human example presented by Father Ray, Sister Maureen and the rest of the St. Thomas staff.  And, given I remain so moved by their example as to be writing this review of the show 9 years after it last appeared, I'd say it has proved not only overwhelmingly positive, but lasting...indeed indelible on its viewers minds -- and very likely, their (and many others') souls.

Ally McBeal 

Memorable line:  "Pou...Pou...Pou...Poughkeepsie!" 

     I came into this series a bit later than most...well into the second season and long after it had become the toast of critics and "the" watercooler topic of many workplaces.  Another show featuring a gifted cast and intelligent, relevant writing, I admired the creative quirkiness of its beautifully drawn and wonderfully flawed characters -- most notably Peter McNichol's often sadly humorous, touching genius senior law partner John Cage.  A shining television beacon for many seasons, which reached its peak when the brilliant Robert Downey, Jr. joined the cast...and it's my belief his very public personal-issue-inspired departure proved a blow that prevented the show from ever again reaching the heights to which his addition had raised it, thereby signaling its death knell.  During its tenure, however, there were many, many bright spots, including guest appearances by the wonderful John Ritter, Josh Groban (in a role that allowed him to lend his amazing voice to a fittingly misfit character), Anne Heche, and a format which provided a weekly showcase for the talent of Vonda Shepherd.  I still miss them all.


Beauty and the Beast

Memorable line:  "Although we cannot be together we will never, ever be apart."

     A show that epitomized romanticism and star crossed love, wherein chic New York City attorney Catherine Chandler and half man/half lion Vincent each week created a world that couldn't be, yet was, and in which great literature served as the gateway to each other's souls and the outlet for their combined dreams.  Imaginatively set in the borough of Manhattan, it presented both the aspect of the city we all know, and its fantastical underground counterpart...a labyrinth of passageways and chambers where a forgotten or otherwise unknown society lived a secret and separate life.   A fascinating character study mingled with the action/adventure of daring rescues, favorite moments that remain with me from the show are its use of the E.E. Cummings poem, "Somewhere I Have Never Traveled", and a scene in which rich tycoon and former love of Catherine's Elliot Burch challenges the "impoverished" Vincent with the bitter declaration/question, "I could have given her everything.  What did you give her?!" Vincent's answer..."All I could...all I had...all I was."  An answer that appropriately silenced Elliot Burch...and one which has remained with me as a valuable life lesson for dealing with relationships to this day -- and not only the romantic variety.


More TV reviews coming as time permits...check back.










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