Sight Unseen, But That Didn't Stop me!
207 6.4 7.11. La Femme Nikita (1997)
The first series I ever bought, and what a bargain - someone had recorded 3.5 seasons of it on VHS when it was rerun during the summer of 2000 on USA network, and I found this box of 11 tapes for $10 at an annual book & media sale, and I ended up paying $8.50 because I persuaded a relative to buy it since they received a 15% discount! So yeah, this deserves a place on this list.
Fast-forward to present day and I just completed the second season. It's a good show but MAN, is it bleak! Ahead of its time for 1997, that's for sure, and why I haven't ever tried watching a Nikita marathon because it might end with me swinging from the ceiling.
A handful of episodes have to be watched as if through a snowstorm, but generally the picture quality is acceptable. However, the season 1 finale got cut off with 5 minutes left at a critical juncture, and I still don't know how it came out!
So I'm still watching from time to time whenever I feel the need to get more pessimistic about my global outlook, which is difficult to reach these days. A solid espionage series at that price, so I have to score this a WIN.
653 7 7.12. Dark Angel (2000)
Caught just a couple reruns on SiTV, and I was long intrigued by the premise: genetically engineered super-soldier goes AWOL in an economically apocalyptic future, and that is Jessica Alba. Sign me up! Instead of waiting for the series to loop back to S1, I bought the DVD for ~$7.
Love the show, well the first season. Brought some of the best & most thought-provoking sci-fi ideas to TV, then S2 changed focus and regrettably became a creature-of-the-week series. Still decent but misguided.
Great decision, have a popsicle.
531 7.3 8.33. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
Co-creator & writer of Seinfeld in his own series, I had caught a handful of episodes while housesitting for my uncle who had HBO and laughed myself silly, so this was a pretty safe bet. No special deals here, bought 'em all retail and have watched 3 of the 4 seasons I have. The best part about CYE is that they're funnier the second time around!
2704 8.2 94. Dexter (2006)
I had to see what the fuss was about so I bought S1 for around $12 and became so engrossed that I paid retail for seasons 2 & 3. How they manage to spin the premise of a serial killer who kills other serial killers and turn Dexter Morgan into a character we often root for is a lofty credit to both the creative team and Michael C. Hall for his outstanding deeply-layered portrayal. One of the rare shows where you never know what will happen next!
10 7 7.35. Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967)
Some very funny skits when the future Pythons Idle, Palin, and Jones are involved, the other performers are serviceable but that's about all. About what I expected, not great but it is a neat glimpse into a 'before they were famous' era and you can definitely see the satirical sensibilities they brought to Monty Python. Paid $7.98 for this.
1872 6.9 7.76. Gilmore Girls (2000)
In the motherlode of all eBay auctions, I couldn't let this one pass: 14 complete seasons & 96 discs of 4 different shows in a handy & handsome leather case for $30. I was after the Hercules (2 seasons) and Xena (4) sets, was familiar with & enjoyed Charmed (3), and figured I'd gamble on the 5 seasons of Gilmore Girls, a show I had not watched one second of during its 7-year run. So far I have watched more of the verbal barrage of the Gilmores more than the other series combined! Great, great scripts are the highlight of the mother-daughter triumphs and pitfalls in the quirky town of Stars Hollow. A surprisingly delightful find.
1026 7.8 8.97. Rome (2005)
I paid the most for any single DVD set to date when I shelled out $16.58 for the first season of Rome - which means I *really* wanted to see it! I'm fascinated by Roman history and this series truly transports me back 2000 years with its impeccable detail and lavish production, to such a degree that it comes as no surprise that only two seasons could be filmed because of the exorbitant operating costs! I soon snapped up the second DVD set for $13 to absorb every inch of this extraordinary achievement.
4156 7.7 8.38. Lost (2004)
I am thankful for many things, but I am most thankful:
1) that I have a roof over my head
2) that I get enough food to eat
3) that I waited until DVD before starting Lost
The DVD format was made for this show, I can't imagine trying to piece together the already intentionally shrouded story if I missed an episode. And having to wait a week or longer following the most agonizing episode-ending cliffhangers in TV history? No way! Everyone praised this one from here to Hawaii, and sometimes everyone is right.
389 8.1 8.19. The Flight of the Conchords (2007)
Got the first season for $10.50 which was a good deal then, not so much now. Understated comedy of two New Zealanders trying to make a living as musicians in New York has plenty of quirks and funny moments, especially during the musical numbers. I may get the second season someday, I hear it is more of the same which makes for a case of diminishing returns.
53 7.3 7.910. The Royle Family (1998)
Talking to my brother on the phone, he casually remarks, "The Royle Family is very unusual but very good." BAM! I buy the complete series for $12 and have to convert my old laptop to accept Region 2 discs and undergo the mild hassle of porting out the video & audio to TV & stereo each time.
Worth the trouble? I suppose. This is a most unusual comedy, each episode takes place in & around a LMC Manchester family's living room. There is no laugh track and sometimes 30 seconds will pass without anyone saying or doing anything! Sounds boring and for some might be boring, but there is magic in the precise characterizations, and much like Curb most episodes end with a side-splitting punchline that makes the entire experience worth it.
2910 7.4 8.511. Scrubs (2001)
Seems hard to believe, but I never watched this show until I did a 2 episode test run when looking for a comedy to take me through the winter of 2010. I laughed a lot and wondered WHY hadn't I watched it before now?? Wasn't long before I had six seasons in my possession for $27.50 and the winter passed in much cheerier spirits. The lengthily insulting Dr. Cox is one of my favorite characters of all time!
1508 7.6 8.812. Six Feet Under (2001)
Michael C. Hall is brilliant as Dexter so I gathered the courage to try his previously acclaimed series, the daringly thought-provoking Six Feet Under. Dives head-first into our human mortality and explores the purposes of life like no show has ever done, before or since. Not for everyone but the rewards are great.
1163 6.7 7.413. Alias (2001)
Lost was such a landslide success, I figured JJ Abrams' previous spy show must be worth a look so I forked over $15.82 on eBay over 2 auctions to acquire S1-3. I've watched and enjoyed the first season - some of the missions are hardly believable with gaping plot holes, but undeniably exciting with good characters in Sidney, Jack Bristow her father, journalist Will, her partner Marcus, the sinister Sloane, and furthermore I love me a good spy story. Plus the episode-ending cliffhangers are second only to Lost as a hook. A stealthy WIN so far, although I hear S3 begins quite a dropoff from which they don't ever recover.
1356 7.7 8.714. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
I held absolutely no grudges since I barely remember the original series, so that wasn't the problem. The problem was that I tried on two, maybe three occasions to watch this new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica mid-series on SciFi, and was bored to tears each time. I must have had the misfortune of stumbling upon one of those scenes with Bill Adama and Lee sharing uncomfortable silences or Roslyn and Adama butting heads each time, which without context didn't have any attached weight of signifcance.
When BBC America picked up the series for reruns, given the enormous critical & public praise and my thirst for SciFi I decided to give the miniseries an honest try and was suitably flipped out. Great drama, great action, great characters, great effects - just GREAT! Hard to believe a production of this quality is found within a TV show. I watched the 13 first season episodes as they aired and took the DVD leap, scoring seasons 1 to 4.0 at once for $30.51, then season 4.5 and the movie 'The Plan' for $13.49 and $3.25 respectively, a grand total of $47.25 for the entire run of BSG excellence.
1323 7.2 8.115. Veronica Mars (2004)
Of all the series so far, small-circle favorite Veronica Mars rates as the first disappointment. There are certainly positives to enjoy, particularly the persistent & perky Kristen Bell who does her best to carry the show. Her scenes with her father are consistently terrific, a chemistry and talent level that is sorely missing from the rest of the cast. Her ex-boyfriend Duncan is bland, Wallace can't act, Logan is too frequently annoying and not in the good 'guy-you-love-to-hate' way (e.g. Sawyer of Lost, Newman of Seinfeld), and bad boy Weevil is less intimidating than a gang member from West Side Story.
I have watched the first half of Season 1 which is unanimously viewed as the best, I will continue because of the interesting mystery of the murder of her best friend Lily, and I suppose will eventually get to S2 someday since I have it. But that priority will rank very low on the totem pole.
1113 7.6 8.516. Fringe (2008)
Everyone who has seen Fringe compares it favorably to the X-Files, a series I loved during most of its run, so figured I have to give this one a try eventually. An $8.50 bargain on a brand-new Season 1 ensures it will get its chance to impress someday.
135 6.7 7.617. Aeon Flux (1991)
I remember seeing some of MTV's Liquid Television 5-minute spots, and the arresting animation left a sizable impression which I feel deserves another visit with a fresh perspective. Plus, Aeon Flux gets my vote for coolest name ever for a sci-fi character!
269 7.3 7.918. Wonderfalls (2004)
Reputable producer pedigree + peculiar premise = probably worth a peek.
146 6.4 6.419. Birds of Prey (2002)
Not expecting much, something in the Cleopatra 2525 mold but a little better/less confusing would be nice. Selling point is Ashley Scott fresh off the unjustly canceled Dark Angel lot in lead role.
2714 7.1 820. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
"GREATEST SHOW EVER!!!!!!"
"NOTHING COMPARES TO BUFFY!"
Go research Buffy DVD sets on Amazon.com or any other review site and you will be overwhelmed with declarations like these. From HUNDREDS of people! I don't think I've encountered quite the same devotion to a series as Buffy fans have for theirs. I've watched a handful of its spinoff series Angel and thought they were OK to good but never delved into the original.
I am susceptible to an occasional obsession, and recently for some unknown reason I got into my head that I had to investigate the Buffyverse. But before making a commitment, I figured I should catch a rerun to see if it's for me. A 20 minute sampling of an episode called 'Prohecy Girl' gave some excitement, some laughs, and some touching moments, which apparently was enough to persuade me to score my second-best eBay coup: The Chosen Collection with all 7 seasons in a cool space-saving box at a Buy It Now price of $35 (which I got with a best offer of $30.60 - apparently it had sold during an earlier auction for much more but the buyer didn't pay up and the seller wanted some coin now. I was happy to oblige!) So yeah, a few days ago I had logged a total of 20 minutes of Buffy time, and now I have over 6300 of them in front of me. I'm counting on you fanatics! Furthermore, this is the set that IGN.com ranked #2(!!) on their Top 25 TV Shows on DVD list.
2 nights later and I've watched 5 episodes. Uh oh, I think I'm already experiencing symptoms of that addiction they talk about...