Last week, we launched our month-long series on our favorite options for some summer TV marathons courtesy of the beautiful invention that is Netflix Instant. Here’s our second round of picks:
Cynthia: “30 Rock”
Chickster crush Tina Fey is the creator behind this NBC TV show about making a fictional NBC TV show. In case you’ve been living under a rock, we’re here to tell you that the Emmy award-winning “30 Rock” has been unfailingly funny since first airing in 2006. Loosely based on Fey’s own experiences as head writer for “Saturday Night Live,” the show takes its name from the setting, the office tower at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Fey somehow made it possible to love a Baldwin again, deftly setting the tone for the series with the reliably deadpan delivery of one Alec Baldwin balanced out by the perplexing yet entertaining insanity of Tracy Morgan. Fey herself stars as the main character, Liz Lemon, an endearing, sardonic, workaholic geek who is perennially unlucky in love. Or as Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, sums her up when he appears in the pilot episode as her new boss: “New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week.” Along the way, the show has featured inspired cameos by the likes of Matt Damon, Jon Hamm (trapped in the hilarious “handsome bubble”), Conan O’Brien, Jerry Seinfield and even Oprah herself. Here’s a clip from Pop Sugar compiling a handy guide of who not to date, using Liz’s failed relationships on the show as examples:
Another Netflix Instant steal by Joss Whedon is “Firefly” and its follow-up movie, “Serenity,” which concludes the prematurely canceled series. (That’s right – another bad decision by Fox, who has canceled “Family Guy” twice.) If you haven’t seen “Firefly” yet, you must. It has a very strong cult following for a reason. Some people call it Joss Whedon’s best show. Though that’s just silly—”Buffy” is Joss Whedon’s best show—it isn’t too far off the mark since it is certainly his second best show, with “Angel” following closely behind. “Dollhouse” is obviously last, though I do still really like that one as well. Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is the lead here as a Han Solo-type bounty hunter 500 years in the future (just think “Cowboy Bebop” in the flesh) who just wants to keep his clunky ship together, money in his pocket and food in his stomach. These three things seldom happen all at once or at all, even with the support of his resourceful crew, which is comprised of some very entertaining characters and the actors who portray them to round out this ensemble cast. Just check out this trailer of the movie “Serenity” and try not to be intrigued:
Shelby: “Veronica Mars”
So last week, I picked a show that featured the teen girl I most identified with. Now I’m picking the show featuring the teen girl I’d most like to be like. Veronica Mars is a pint-sized, pop culture-spewing private investigator who packs a punch – and an oh-so-handy taser. First seasons of television shows only very, very, very rarely come as deftly plotted, suspenseful, funny, unflinchingly honest, swoon-inducing and addicting as the first season of “Veronica Mars.” Rob Thomas, who used to live in Austin(!!!), created an amazingly detailed mystery show that revolves around a badass teen girl but has an appeal to reach all demographics. After the show’s cancellation at the end of the third season, Rob Thomas and several “Veronica Mars” cast members went over to Starz for “Party Down,” a two-season delight (also on Netflix Instant!) that delves into the unglamorous behind-the-scenes lives of LA cater-waiters played by Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Martin Starr (Bill Haverchuck from “Freaks and Geeks”), Ryan Hansen (“Veronica Mars”‘ Dick Casablancas) and Jane Lynch. When it comes to Veronica, I could have opted for one of her many, many clever retorts and one-liners for a clip, but I kept coming back to this scene between Veronica and sad little rich boy Logan Echolls, a pairing the provides much of the show’s swoon appeal.