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Staff Picks: TV Shows We're Thankful For

 
Greetings fellow turkey eaters and welcome to TVRage's very first Thanksgiving table. While most families gather around the dinner table to recite what they're most thankful for (namely each other), our TV-crazed staff has decided to give a unique twist to this time-honored tradition by giving thanks to the shows we love most.
 
These beloved programs continue to fill our hearts (and our paychecks) each and every year, and since we spend the majority of our days writing about them, it just seems like the right thing to do. So while you're busy consuming copious amounts of delicious food and waiting for the tryptophan to take effect, take a moment to check out our selection below and stuff yourself with television goodness.
 
'American Horror Story': Chosen by Kelly Schremph
 
American Horror Story: Coven
 
Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like a healthy helping of horror, right? (Have I been celebrating holidays wrong?) Sure, it's not exactly going to put you in a festive mood, but it does make you very grateful for a lot of things…like not getting abducted by aliens or being burned at the stake or just basically being alive in general. You know, small things like that. But in all seriousness, the storylines are rich and fully developed, the scripts are engaging and powerful, and the acting is almost borderline perfection at this point. (I'm looking at you Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, and Jessica Lange!) The series defies TV traditions, making each season feel like a brand new show, and isn't afraid to test boundaries…or rather just disregard boundaries altogether. Not to mention, it makes for excellent family dinner conversation. (Hey Grandma, remember the minotaur scene? Oh, and can you pass the stuffing?) Classic. It's edgy and insane and will keep you coming back for seconds…and thirds…and fifths.

‘The Vampire Diaries’: Chosen by Allyson Koerner
 
The Vampire Diaries

How could I not be thankful for ‘The Vampire Diaries’? Really, what’s not to love? We have hot supernatural and human men parading around without their shirts (ahem...Damon, Stefan, Tyler and Jeremy), in addition to those gorgeous ladies who get to fraternize, in more ways than one, with them (can you tell I’m jealous?). Not only does the series deliver beautiful actors and characters, but fans also get dark, twisty and shocking storylines courtesy of the amazing Julie Plec, Kevin Williamson and the rest of the talented crew. What other show offers doppelgangers-galore, hybrids, curses, ghosts, Original Vampires and devastating deaths? ‘TVD’ even manages to throw in witty one-liners, Damon's “Crazy Pants” nickname and big bad Silas’ bus stop soliloquy. As you can tell, I could go on for pages about the amazing Mystic Falls gang. So, let’s raise our blood bags and glasses full of vervain in honor of this fang-tastic show!

'Supernatural': Chosen by Michael Stevenson

Supernatural

Ah, 'Supernatural.' Now in it's ninth season, the show has become like a televised best friend, containing a cast of characters that (whether good or evil) I can't wait to check in with every week. The series has certainly had its creative ups and downs over the last few years, but whenever an episode has left me cold, the writing staff always seems to win me back the following week. It pleases me to say that the first third of Season 9 has been pretty great all around. The current storylines (involving angels falling to Earth, and the Winchesters having to enter an unlikely alliance with Crowley) are the most interesting the show has been since Mark Pellegrino's Lucifer spent the entire fifth season desperately trying to get inside Sam Winchester's body. I probably could have phrased that better, but you get the idea. Anyway, I am immensely thankful that I've gotten to watch Sam and Dean's journey evolve over these past eight plus years, and I can't wait to see what surprises next year's tenth (and likely final) season has in store. Now excuse me, I have to resume listening to 'Carry on Wayward Son' on repeat.

'New Girl': Chosen by Rachel Harris
 
New Girl

I recently injured myself while trying to pick up my nine pound dog (let’s not get into how ridiculous that is) and subsequently got to spend a lot of quality time on my couch with a heating pad and some muscle relaxers. What does one do when they are under body induced house arrest? Watch a lot (a lot) of television, of course. I have always heard great things about the FOX sitcom ‘New Girl,’ but had never had the time to sit down and give it a whirl. Little did I know that after watching just the very first episode I would be setting myself up to spend a solid 48 hours in a ‘New Girl’ infused haze. Besides the obvious reasons to be thankful for a show like ‘New Girl’ (Zooey Deschanel’s adorable glasses, the show’s theme song, etc.), there are so many reasons that this show has quickly become one of my personal favorites in so short a time span. ‘New Girl’ is a television show that does not take itself too seriously. The chemistry between Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston is both endearing and hilarious. Never have I imagined I would be sitting here wishing I lived with three guys in a loft. This is a show that is filled to bursting with cultural references, smart humor, wit, charm and some very relatable embarrassing moments. I feel like it was written to cater exactly to the kind of person I am — a slightly awkward, accident prone, twenty-something who maybe does not have it altogether. That is what is so great about ‘New Girl,’ you can watch and feel that maybe it is okay to be completely weird. Well, as long as you are not being a douchebag, but even so you just have to put a dollar in the "Douchebag Jar." On the same light note, can someone please teach me the rules to ‘True American,’ because there is nothing I want more in life right now than to play this game. “So, it’s a 50% drinking game, 50% life-size Candy Land.” Sign me up! 1, 2, 3 JFK! FDR! ‘New Girl’ is a show that genuinely makes me laugh out loud, and for that, I am thankful.

'Community': Chosen by Anthony Marcusa
 
Community

Ever so subtle, exceedingly clever, and simply hysterical, 'Community' at its peak rivaled the greatness of ‘Arrested Development’ as a sitcom that embraced and subverted the confines of television and created outrageous situations in the mundane. Once former and now returning showrunner Dan Harmon created a seven-member Community College study group, championed by charming slacker Jeff Winger, which were immediately and always fun to watch. There are too many highlights to count. A first season paintball episode that riffed on action movies was wonderful, until it was supplanted by two-part finale the next year, spoofing spaghetti westerns and ‘Star Wars.’ There was a ‘Glee’ episode, an all-animated episode, and a clip show where all of the memories were things that the audience had never seen. While Season 4 may have taken a dip, and off the air problems with cast members (and Harmon) have disrupted the flow and quality, fans are still eagerly awaiting the fifth season, and the show’s early promise – six seasons and a movie.

'The Mindy Project': Chosen by Brianne Hogan
 
The Mindy Project

No doubt the FOX sitcom has been a little uneven at times since its debut last year. Is it a work place comedy, or a rom-com? Or is it like 'Friends' but with better jobs? Its roster has taken a hit as well with a number of co-stars coming and going, and don't even get me started on its guest stars. The show almost puts 'SNL' to shame with its revolving door of big-names that show up each week. With news of the show going on hiatus for two months in the new year, it seems like FOX might be questioning the place of the Mindy Kaling-starrer in its lineup, too. But I really, really hope not. Because, although 'Mindy' is struggling with its identity as a series, Mindy Kaling's Mindy Lahiri sure as hell knows who she is. Mindy is brash, unapologetic, and yes, sometimes rude. She likes fast food and fashion. She's a professional woman who still yearns for her fairytale ending with Prince Charming. In essence, Mindy Lahiri is one of us. She's a real-ass woman in a TV landscape that still believes that women should be portrayed as both sweet and sexy, but never mean, and, most especially, never ever argumentative. Because if a woman has an opinion on TV, she's usually called that nice "B" word and eventually gets her just desserts. Like being thrown off a building or something. We need more female characters like Mindy Lahiri on television. We need to see women fall flat on their faces one moment, and then save the day in the O.R. the next. So, thank you 'The Mindy Project.' Thank you for making women real for once. See you in April.
 
'Sherlock': Chosen by Colleen Weiler
 
Sherlock
 
‘Sherlock’ has given us plenty of things to be thankful for, but most importantly, it has brought the majesty of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman into our lives. Aside from the incredible cast, 'Sherlock' also features some of the best writing on television today, taking Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories and appropriating them for the modern age. It’s a beautiful show to look at (not just the cheekbones!), with some truly gorgeous cinematography work. What other show do you know that has captured the world’s attention so completely with only SIX EPISODES?! Viewers have been waiting almost two years since Season 2’s epic cliffhanger, but our level of fervent enthusiasm has not lessened one bit. I think I am not alone in saying I am most thankful to finally have a U.S. premiere date of Jan. 19, 2014, so we can finally learn how Sherlock survived the fall, and find out what the hell is going on with John Watson’s mustache.

'Parks and Recreation': Chosen by Chris Hill
 
Parks and Recreation

Lord, thank you for JJ’s Diner waffles, Paunch Burger’s Double Bacon Grenade Deluxe, and Sweetums all-natural sugary goodness. As we accept this bounty, we are also grateful for Donna’s Twitter account, Tom’s entrepreneurial ventures, and April’s total disdain for everything. Though we are saddened that Ann and Chris are planning to move away, we take solace in a return of Jerry/Larry from retirement, and a brief visit from the child-like Andy Dwyer, on a break from 'Guardians of the Galax'  — I mean…his new job in England. In this coming year, we would like to see more of Ben speaking Klingon at the office. We would also like to see Leslie Knope comeback from her loss in the recall election and climb back into Pawnee politics — Knope for Mayor, anyone? We also want more Ron Swanson. Period.  And although there are signs the show may be coming to an end (way to shuffle the lineup NBC), thank you for another fun season of 'Parks and Rec,' the smartest and most heartfelt comedy on television. Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and don’t forget to treat yo’ self.
 
'Scandal': Chosen by Kate Rocheleau
 
Scandal
 
Thanksgiving means counting blessings, connecting with friends and family, and consuming everything in excess. No other show than 'Scandal' captures all three so perfectly. While I count the usual suspects of blessings (I am lucky to have health, family, friends, and a job I love!), I am also thankful that there is a show on television that delivers an inspiring heroine that is allowed to be flawed, complex, brave, intelligent, and everything in between. I tried to coin the term "pulling a Pope" to describe the precise act of defeating treacherous foes via passionate PhD-level speeches (you hear that Aaron Sorkin? Shonda Rhimes is in full effect), but unfortunately the Vatican would not approve. And the moment I feel stressed out about the inevitable awkward family moments that happen when too much stuffing meets too much Wild Turkey (some of my family members are no longer allowed near anything flammable), 'Scandal' reminds me that I have it pretty good. (Dad, you're not part of B-613, right? Right???) And unlike your Thanksgiving feast, which can leave you feeling bloated and even a little brain dead, 'Scandal' delivers its storylines with no unpleasant side effects time and time again. Unlike the annual act of eating a month’s worth of calories in one day, I can binge watch my favorite show guilt-free as I recover from Thanksgiving 2013.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at TVRage!

mike1616

Level 1 (67%)
Points: 7
Since: 19/Dec/12
Message Posted On Nov 30th, 2013, 11:43 pm

Don't know why Sherlock is in this list, it's an ongoing Mini Series. well what would you call a show that only has 3 episodes a year, WELL ????

Anonymous

Message Posted On Nov 30th, 2013, 4:44 pm
I have to agree 100% with Anonymous about Republic of Doyle. That show has been solid from the very first episode. It's had some great guest stars and some recurring stars that are amazing (Victor Garber and Gordon Pinsent, anyone??). I love the use of "Canuck Rockford Fiies" because that's pretty much exactly what it is. It's an extremely fun hour and it's recent cross-over with Murdoch Mysteries was brilliant! When it comes to list this here, I will agree with Supernatural. While it isn't at the top of its game this year, I am still enjoying it. There's still some great humor there, which I love. AHS, I'm thankful for Jessica Lange but NOT the show. It's one cliche after another and a lot of cheesy 'shock value'. I watch it for Lange and when she's gone, I'm not. I stopped watching Vampire Diaries two seasons ago. Not because the show is bad, but because I moved on to other things. Maybe someday I'll go back and pick it up. I do watch Sherlock but I don't consider it to be the most brilliant show I've ever seen. It's enjoyable enough and I do love Freeman and Cumberbatch. Other shows I find particularly great: The Walking Dead, The Blacklist (I'm VERY thankful for James Spader!), Ripper Street, Person of Interest, The Bridge (I've enjoyed all three versions of it, US, UK and original Swedish). Longmire is also a show that I find to be a good hour of entertainment. I'm finding Sleepy Hollow to be a bit of a fun hour as well. Game of Thrones? I wouldn't put that on any great list. Books or the show.
Anonymous

Message Posted On Nov 28th, 2013, 10:09 pm
Well, apparently my taste differs greatly from that of the people behind this wonderful site. Of those listed I only even watch TVD, Supernatural, New Girl and Community (and I watch A LOT of shows). Sherlock I intend to give a go someday, and from the other 4 I only had to watch the first episode to know I hated it. The show I'd be most grateful for is The Big Bang Theory. But I also love The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Arrow, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Grimm and How I Met Your Mother (Last season! Boohoo!).
matt4848

Level 1 (87%)
Since: 29/Feb/12
Message Posted On Nov 27th, 2013, 11:08 am

Great article! Supernatural, New Girl, Community (even the 4th season) and Parks & Rec. :)

Anonymous

Message Posted On Nov 27th, 2013, 4:05 am
lovesmykimmy, Elementary pretty much sucks except as a time killer. C'mon Sherlock has to run the typical procedural removing tens of other suspects before they get it right. That ain't Holmes. Although he would have made an excellent Doctor Who pretty twitchy and chaotic.
Anonymous

Message Posted On Nov 27th, 2013, 4:02 am
Kelly,Anthony,Colleen, and Micheal S have some taste and intelligence. Supernatural has been kind of crappy this year, thankfully not as bad as The Mentalist. I am truly worried no one had chosen Lost Girl, Republic of Doyle ( Dudes and Dudettes they broke out Angel for Canuck Rockford files, that was a sweet nod to from Hawco), Vicious,Continuum, Doctor Who ( C'mon ZERO for the Doc when it is bigger than ever, wow), The Americans, Justified, Sons of Anarchy ( Best damn man soap on tv),The Neighbors (amazing and they keep sneaking sex jokes)and about twenty more great bits of entertainment.
lovesmykimmy
(Crazed Contributor)

Level 16 (4%)
Points: 11641.8
Since: 11/Oct/12
Message Posted On Nov 27th, 2013, 3:49 am

This was a good idea for an article, and it's cool that Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead didn't end up on here.

I’m thankful for Elementary, because Sherlock Holmes is a combination of my favorite characters on television: Sheldon Copper and Michael Westen. Then there is Joan Watson, who is as terrible of an Asian as I am.  She hasn't played any classical instruments, done calculous (I HOPE that is spelled wrong), or been in any car accidents yet.

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