Staff picks: Favorite TV shows, Mar. 11-18
Updated: Mar 25
Topic: Favorite Staff TV Shows
Edited by David Flanagan
Graphic by Maizy Goerlitz.
The Pick: Twin Peaks
Submitted by Remy Gottschling, Contributor.
The Pick: Watchmen
Submitted by Jake Procino, News Editor.
Available on HBO.
“Watchmen,” created by Damon Lindelof, is a 2019 superhero TV show. But instead of a group of uber-powerful superheroes fighting off aliens trying to snap parts of the universe out of existence, Watchmen follows a group of flawed vigilantes living in Tulsa. The story centers around Angela Abar (played by the immaculate Regina King), the vigilante cop Sister Night, who is simultaneously taking down a white supremacist ring and uncovering her ancestor's past, all while taking care of her family.
“Watchmen” the TV series is set in 2019 within a parallel universe following the events of “Watchmen” the graphic novel published in 1987. This version of the US and the world is familiar yet uncanny. It’s a world where the Cold War was halted an alien invasion, actor Robert Redford became president and passed reparations for Black Americans, the US won the Vietnam War with the help of Dr. Manhattan (a blue man who is the only person with actual superpowers), Vietnam is the 51st state and police officers wear masks to conceal their identities.
This show hurts. "Watchmen" depicts traumatic events the vigilantes go through, whether it is something as relatable and simple as heartbreak, or as utterly horrendous as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. It then proceeds to insightfully depict the lasting effects of trauma on day-to-day life.
Despite the dark depiction of society, the show is hopeful in many ways. One way is the power of love (as corny as that sounds) through the relationship between Angela and her husband Calvin Abar (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who have the most adorable and healthy marriage. Throughout the series, they lean on each other to survive the horrific events thrown at them.
There are only nine episodes in the lone season of “Watchmen,” but the creative storytelling, the emotional rollercoaster and the fantastic performances (especially that of Regina King) make it one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
The Pick: Leverage
Submitted by Emma Innes, Staff Writer.
"Leverage", created by Dean Devlin ran 2008-2012, telling the story of modern day robin hoods. Four expert criminals: a grifter, a hacker, a thief, and a retrieval specialist, are lead by a mastermind and ex insurance agent to use their skills for good. As the rich and powerful take what they want, the team steps in to help the little guy and bring justice. They provide Leverage.
The series is the perfect blend of action with comedy and drama as the team bickers, deals with their past, and works to solve injustices. There's also a mystery aspect of it to figure out how the team manages to pull off the impossible. The characters are interesting and lovable, growing throughout the series and becoming a family. "Leverage" also has Oregon roots, with parts of the story taking place in Portland, OR and several seasons being filmed there. Leverage is the perfect show to casually watch for a study break.
The Pick: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Submitted by Piper Lehr, Staff Writer.
The Marvelous Mrs. Masiel, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, is a comedy-drama taking place in late 1950’s/early 1960’s America. It originally aired in 2017, and was renewed for a fourth season in 2019 (its release had been pushed back because of the pandemic). The show begins with the fall out of a Jewish couple, Miriam “Midge” Maisel and Joel Maisel, and proceeds to follow the two of them as they try to manage being single during a time period that had a tendency to force traditional values on everyone.
This show is the perfect blend of funny and heart-wrenching. It expertly weaves themes of feminism into its narrative by depicting Midge as she struggles with social pressures to get re-married, and faces difficulties while trying to find a job. It doesn’t have a laugh track throughout the entire show, which not only makes it feel extremely realistic, but also heightens its dramatic moments. If you’re someone who loves a good character-based story, this is the series for you. Note: not recommended if you’ve just gone through a breakup.
The Pick: The Simpsons, seasons 1-15
Submitted by David Flanagan, Opinions Editor.
Available on Disney+.
If you’ve seen it before, The Simpsons is better than you remember. If you haven’t seen it before, the earliest seasons of The Simpsons are better than most television today and certainly better than any cartoon produced in the past 10 years. You want funny? You got it. How about political, heartfelt, ridiculous, feminist, feel good, and thought provoking? You got those, too. Purists will say you should stop watching after the truth about Skinner comes to light (9.2), but I’d say you get a few more seasons at least.