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August 28, 2015

Five shows I've been watching (and you should check out too) - VIDEOS

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 19th 2008 2:05PM
Whatever, MarthaI think that in the most grossly general way, TV shows can be separated into three groups: the shows that get a ton of viewers and everyone knows about (American Idol, Two and a Half Men, Lost, etc), shows that don't get quite as many viewers but are well-known anyway (30 Rock, Burn Notice, Mad Men, The Shield), and a third category of shows that are more niche. They're probably on cable or public television and may even be on at odd times. They have their fan base, but a lot of people probably don't even know they exist.

That's what this list is, the five shows that I've been enjoying lately, away from the more mainstream shows that I watch every week (The Mentalist, 30 Rock, Lost, Mad Men, Burn Notice, Chuck, Heroes, The Simpsons, 60 Minutes). They're quirky, interesting, and they're probably shows you should check out too.

1. Whatever, Martha. I'll admit I'm a big fan of Martha Stewart. I have no idea what she's really like, but she's amazingly talented. I don't know if I've ever done anything that she has demonstrated on her thousands of hours of TV shows over the years (I think I made one of her pasta dishes back in 2000), but I find her fascinating on many levels.

This show was actually her idea. She was watching MST3K and decided that it would be funny if her daughter Alexis and her friend Jennifer sat around and watched old episodes and, well, basically shit on Martha and her methods. And they don't hold back either. We learn a lot about Martha and what it was like to be her child growing up. The talk can sometimes be very guy-unfriendly, talking about relationships or whatever, but when they're watching the old shows (and trying to recreate a Martha recipe or crafts project), it's really entertaining. (Tuesdays at 9pm on Fine Living.)

Here's video of the girls watching Martha's recipe for smores:

2. Challenge.
There are too many food competition shows on television, but this one has a twist: the cooks have to create not food dishes but art out of food. Like taking a bunch of anchovies and building a replica of the Empire State Building or creating life-sized yachts out of cake. It's great to see the talent on display, and when you see a giant food structure fall down...well, there's something exhilarating (and sad) about it. They also cover events like The Pillsbury Bake-Off, which are the best episodes of the show. (Sundays at 8pm on Food Network.)

3. America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country. These two shows are actually two of the most helpful cooking shows on television. Even more helpful than most of the shows on Food Network. Not only do you learn how to cook various foods, you also get taste tests and recommendations of what pans and kitchen equipment to buy. (PBS - check local listings, usually on the weekends.)

4. The Suze Orman Show. I can't watch Suze Orman anymore without thinking about Kristin Wiig's uncanny impersonation on Saturday Night Live (Orman herself likes it too). But the real show itself is one of the more oddly entertaining shows on cable. I can't identify with a lot of the problems that people seem to have with money, but it's great to see Suze get upset when someone has too much credit card debt.

My favorite segment (and probably yours too, if you watch the show regularly) is the "Can I Afford It?" segment. This is the part of the show when viewers call in and ask Suze if they can afford to buy something. I don't understand why people would have to call into a show and ask if they can afford a $300 bread maker or...well, anything really. You must really be bad with money to not even be able to make a decision on what to buy and what not to buy, but I love it when someone calls in and they owe $200,000 on a house, they have credit card debt totaling $5000, and they have $2000 in the bank. DENIED! (Saturdays at 9pm on CNBC.)

5. Unsolved Mysteries. I bet a lot of people don't even know this show is back on the air. I had forgotten that it was coming back myself. These are new episodes, by the way. The new host is Dennis Farina, The old theme song is gone, but the stories are still quite interesting. (Weekdays at 5pm on Spike.)

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I'll add Ghost Hunters (scifi channel) to that list. B)

November 19 2008 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph Singer

I don't know why more people aren't discovsering the quirky "Pushing Daisies."

November 19 2008 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D Colin

Whatever, Martha is really funny. Alexis and her friend Jennifer don't hold back at all. I started watching a few weeks back. I like Martha, and do make some of what she shows on her shows -- but we all have thought okay who can do that, and this show is perfect for those who think that.

November 19 2008 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow... I guess if you all you really do is watch TV these would be great additions to one's schedule.....

November 19 2008 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I adore Cooks Illustrated and Cooks Country. I watch those religiously! Great pick!

November 19 2008 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have so many scripted shows to watch, I just cannot bring myself to add any unscripted. I'll leave them to you! :-)

November 19 2008 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Carissa's comment
Toby O\'B

I'm with you on this one, Modwild. If I want unscripted, I watch CNN. Otherwise TV should be the place for "my stories", as Carlin used to say......

November 19 2008 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with you guys. If it ain't scripted, I don't want to see it.

November 19 2008 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chadwick hansford

How about "The Naked Archeologist" on the History channel?

November 19 2008 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where's Studio 60?

November 19 2008 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Darnell's comment
Rex from Ars

hahahahahaha! Well played, sir!

November 19 2008 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex Farquharson

Some other shows I've found entertaining include 'Sanctuary' (on Sci-fi) and well as 'The Life and Times of Tim' (on HBO)

November 19 2008 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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