What Jen is thankful for
I know. This dates me. Ages me. Reveals me. But I don't care. I didn't actually get to watch the show when it aired: I was in college, and I didn't even have a television. I caught up with it during marathon ventures on Lifetime. I had just moved to a new town, and there weren't any people my age living nearby. So, the cast of Thirtysomething became my pseudo-friends for awhile. I cringed when Hope and Michael fought; I cheered when Nancy threw out Elliot, and then welcomed him back to her with open arms. Oh, how I cried when Gary died. It frustrates me to no end that this show is not yet available on DVD and that I have to replay it in my imagination instead.
I think I may have been the only person in history to watch this show, which explains why it was canceled fairly quickly. But it's such a shame when you think about the great cast: Apart from the leads Kimberly Williams-Paisley and David Conrad, it boasted Richard Schiff (West Wing), Devon Gummerall (My So-Called Life), and Lisa Edelstein (West Wing, House). Yes, you're onto me: I love all things Zwick and Herskovitz. Actually, I remember liking this show more than I think I actually liked it, as the series limped along. But the pilot? I still have a copy of it in a VHS tape that I never watch because I don't want it to wear out. But the music, the longing looks, Isabelle, Leo-- has there been a more romantic series opener ever?
3. Billy Campbell
Between his turns as the devoted husband on Once and Again and now as a probably-insane-thinks-he's-Jesus propet on The 4400, this man has range. He is also exceptionally easy on the eyes. Does anybody else remember his open-eyed, boyish earnestness from the movie The Rocketeer? If it's possible, he is even better-looking now. And did I mention how exceptionally nice he is to look at? I didn't include him on my list of TV Eye Candy, but I secretly knew I would have a chance to rave about him here.
Oh dear. My dust is showing again. But seriously, talk about a show to grow up with: M*A*S*H was IT. How better to cut your teeth on humor that prepares you for the Marx Brothers? How better to cry your eyes out when Lt. Col. Henry Blake dies on the plane that would finally carry him away from this war? If you don't know Radar O'Reilly, Corporal Klinger, Col. Morgan, Hot Lips Hoolihan, B.J. Honnicut, Trapper John, Frank, Burns Winchester, and the incomparable Hawkeye Pierce, get thee to a rental store pronto. And don't just rent it: Buy it. Cherish it. Watch it. You could even watch it over Thanksgiving with your family...
5. Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
I was torn. I wanted to be thankful for the show of support from the actors during the WGA strike, but I think I am beating that horse too much. I wanted to be thankful for China Beach, but good lord, there are some GREAT shows on NOW, for crying out loud, and I didn't want to be all retro, all the time. So, Battlestar Galactica is it. I think it's the best show on television today. Yes, I have seen Lost; no, I have not yet seen Heroes. It is a dark, richly imagined statement on the world today, and the commentary it provides on the world we live in is bleak indeed-- yet the human spirit endures. The cast is one of the finest I have ever seen, and even though I thought the third season stumbled around a bit, the first two seasons cannot be diminished by that weak time. That is a very pat and not very pithy way to summarize what is going on with that show. But I think I have run out of room.