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August 28 2009

TV Without Pity Suggests You Watch Buffy Before You Die. After hearing Ted Kennedy saw every episode of 24 before he died, the website had a list of five shows everyone should watch before going to "the TV Land in the sky". Buffy made the list along with the original Office and Freaks and Geeks.

It also had a list of five shows to avoid, and fans of a certain sci-fi show that Jane Espenson wrote for could be surprised.

Like many of the commenters, I'd add Six Feet Under (probably replacing Lost, which isn't to my taste) to the list. I also rewatched all of Firefly with some friends, on my birthday (is there any better way to turn 20?), and it just reminded me that I'll need to rewatch it again soon. So I'd add it as well.
Nice to hear some WW and F&G love. Those two shows, along with Buffy, will always have a special place in my heart that other shows just can't touch.
Woo for Buffy and Lost making the list, but really BSG is a show you "shouldn't waste your precious time on"? Uhm....okay *rolls eyes*
Actually, given the context (terminal patient as viewer), I'm fine with how she listed BSG. Not exactly a cheery, keep you going kind of show.

Of course, I would without doubt add Firefly in there! One of the only TV series I actually have on DVD.
Well, I'm not one to usually rail on a list with Buffy, BSG, and The West Wing, but for some reason I find her descriptions a little annoying.
I have to say, if we're talking terminal patients as viewers...Lost would not be a good choice. I would be extremely frustrated if I died partway through Lost. In fact, my grumblings of "but...but...what happened next?" would probably be heard through the coffin during the service.

Six Feet Under might be a good choice, given the way it deals with mortality, but it might also be tremendously depressing for the same reason.
I'd want to watch Six Feet Under, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, then some choice episodes of Buffy and Angel. Wonderfalls, too, if I wasn't already dead.
Oh, Wonderfalls! I might also be tempted to add Dead Like Me to the list.
Except the writeup for Lost clearly states that as long as you have enough time left to make it through to the final season. And the length really has very little point because so long as you know you have two to three weeks you can totally marathon that show.
Ok, fair enough, maybe I'm being too literal because I've worked with a fair number of terminal patients and you have no real way of knowing, at the end, how much time you have. Or whether or not you're going to be able to watch/focus on television, or anything else.
Wonderfalls should be great, specially if nobody tells that the show gets only one season, saying that the other ones still didn't were released.
Another shout for Six Feet Under here. And I don't mind BSG's ending so much, it's the journey that counts. With that said, I bump Lost for BSG.
After watching the first season and miniseries pirated from the UK (I bought the DVD set when it was released), I watched every BSG episode--by buying basic cable, iTunes, and Hulu for seasons 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Gotta say... That critique of BSG was right on the money.

I have yet to watch several of those series, but one I would nominate as "must-see TV" was Veronica Mars Season 1. The latter seasons were admittedly weaker: even Joss' presence and a scene with Charisma and Alyson can't make S2 match the brilliance of S1.
If your a religious person, the idea of a God in Battlestar isn't that bad. After all that struggle, the survivors can finally rest for all eternity. Decent metaphor now I think about it.

Also, I agree and disagree with the list. Great shows to see before you die, but I'm not sure if I'd want to see Buffy whilst I'm dying. I'd be more inclined to watch Firefly or something more light-hearted like How I Met Your Mother or Arrested Development. Or, you know, Veronica Mars. Recently watched it all and its amazing... Wouldn't complain if we got a movie, though!
You're right. I guess it does make sense to have god in a science fiction show.

;)
Our Friends in the North. Cause a show that spans three decades and has actors that play James Bond and Doctor Who can't be beat. It is the best tv drama in living memory.
@didifallasleep - It makes perfect sense to have god in the show, since that is one giant recurring theme throughout the series. Having recently watched all of BSG in a marathon, there are so many god references throughout the show. And I'm anything but a religious person, I'm atheist, actually, but I still liked the ending, because ya know, it's fiction. You don't have to be religious to appreciate the ending, at all. The angels were actually depicted as sometimes evil creatures.

It may not be the best show for someone that's dying, because it is depressing, but it's a really amazing show that can't be ruined, even if you dislike the finale, IMHO.
A lot of her comments bug me.

Specifically, calling Buffy escapism bothers me. Sure, it can be, but the whole point is that there's more to it than a girl fighting vampires.

[ edited by otacon129 on 2009-08-29 00:44 ]
I think I would just watch Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, and Firefly. Maybe Buffy, but I'd have to skip the Body.

I'm also an atheist who loved the last episode of BSG. God was a major theme throughout the series, so it seemed fitting to me. God/advanced alien lifeform--what's the difference?* The show is a bit bleak for deathbed viewing, however.

*I don't mean this as an insult to the religious whedonesquers, but simply in the context of a scifi show.
I love the jab at BSG ending there... I don't think it'll ever stop paying for that really... But I wouldn't put it on the "don't watch" list, just watch until Kara jumps Galactica that last time and then just stop watching... That's the end! They all died in a black hole! EL FIN! Those last 30 minutes, which while having a few nice scenes, was mostly just a continuous string of disappointing story decisions. Sure, the finale was struggling for a while before that, but nothing like that last half hour... *sigh*
They made some dubious decisions in the finale I think. Didn't mind that aspect of it though, it was just another story choice - all through it we've seen things that either require a pretty far-out materialist explanation or god exists and acts in their universe, for a science fiction series it was sort of brave (i.e. typical of BSG). It wasn't like it was unearned so I didn't have a problem with it.

(the "RoboSapien II is going to grow up to kill us all" bit was worse. That was so clumsy it felt like a bad student film, so much so that I think I need to watch it again cos there has to be more to it, surely ?)

It is the best tv drama in living memory.

I don't remember it. I may be dead.

If I were actually dying I have to say I doubt i'd be watching much TV but that aside ... Mostly comedies I think and then mostly UK comedies just because our series are much shorter. 'Fawlty Towers', 'Porridge', Python all the way through, that sort of thing - if I had time then MASH would probably be my US pick cos it's got pretty much everything and - a few episodes aside - I haven't rewatched it since it was first on. And not just to take my mind off it either but cos I genuinely think the capacity to laugh even though we're all dying (cheery thought, happy weekend everyone ;) is one of the better aspects of humanity. It'd be nice to be reminded of that as I shuffled off.

West Wing, Six Feet Under, The Wire etc. Not seen them, meant to be great TV.

But more than all of those, the end of 'Dexter', 'House' etc. Cos ah gots to know ;).
Sorry, religious Whedonesquer here, and I didn't find the religious questions in BSG all that compelling. Sure, give the "bad" guys monotheism and make the "good" guys polytheistic... big deal.

Some of the best Sci Fi to tackle religious questions never mentions the word "God".
I'd definately go with Buffy (and I WOULD watch 'The Body'), Angel, Dead Like Me, Supernatural, Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Veronica Mars, True Blood, Arrested Development and My So Called Life. I guess because they are mainly affirmations and celebrations of life and despite being on my 'doomsday' list, are my usual viewing choices anyway!

And rather than just sit in front of a screen, health allowing, I'd also use the time to read all my favourite books, campaign for a cure/drugs for whatever was killing me, plan my funeral, change my will and figure out who I was coming back to haunt.
A pretty good list, but it really isn't complete without Firefly. No one should die without seeing Firefly.

I agree with BSG's place on the list. It's a great show, but the ending makes me not want to rewatch the rest of the series. I mean, it just isn't as compelling to watch them fight to preserve their culture when I know they will just willfully destroy it all in the end.
Deus ex machina was considered stupid in 300 BC. Writers using the device two millennia later are hacks.

[ edited by hence on 2009-08-29 02:43 ]
Our Friends in the North. Cause a show that spans three decades and has actors that play James Bond and Doctor Who can't be beat. It is the best tv drama in living memory.

Arrrgh, and that's just when I tried to go back to my "I watch already too much American TV, I can't start watching British now too!"-diet. ;)
When I'm dying I'm going to rewatch as much of Buffy as I can
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Re: Buffy, I'm just hoping I can hold out long enough to get to the end of the story...
I do not mean to be prurient but if I were dying I would probably not watch very much television as I would be trying to have much sex as I could.
If I did watch television (while I rested :) ) I would probably watch something old that I found comforting like M*A*S*H. Re-watching the really good episodes of Buffy would probably work also, I suppose.
OR you could just watch pron and combine your interests... ;-)
You may be on to something, missb. Pron spoofs of old television shows seem to be all the rage these days... :)
Well, just checked the expiration tag on my neck and I'm good 'til 2030 or so. Which send off would I like...?

You know, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" always cracks me up. I guess I could drift away from this mortal world with that in my head.
I'd watch Buffy for sure. I'd want to laugh. And learn that death isn't permanent.

I have a friend who went through six months of horrible chemo. Her shows of choice? CSI, NCIS. Really anything with decomposing body parts. Non-stop and those shows are pretty much running 24/7. I didn't get it. I often had to leave the room. Gag me or bore me. They did both.
Damn, I just lost my comment. OK, once again. Upthread, someone expressed frustration at Buffy bring labeled "escapist". I agree, that label is a sure indication of someone missing all the layers and complexity and subtext.

I would say something similar about the labeling of BSG as being about god, or religion. It amazes me how many people seem to have missed the bigger picture.
As for the finale, IMO the last three eps are some of the finest TV ever, and not just genre.

I've never been as satisfied with the wrap-up up of a show I was totally invested in - "satisfied" not being the same as getting everything I wanted.

For a show built so entirely on metaphor, and possibly the most multi-layered four seasons of mind blowing story telling to ever grace a TV screen, I was amazed at how perfectly they answered all the big questions - "perfectly" not being the same thing as literally.
Almost finished with a complete re-watch, I'm even more impressed than before.

Like Buffy - and all Joss's work - there were certainly imperfections. But the stunning continuity combined with the mind bending twists and turns, are unparalleled.
BSG is at the very top of my very short "best shows" list.

Can't resist saying "and I'm in the best of company". :)
Sopranos on the no-watch list? Really? Really? I get it that some people don't like the ending, but they should understand that many do, myself included. That was one of the best series endings around, on par with Angels.

And my two cents about BSG. I don't really get the love of it, I just don't. The piloting miniseries was awesome, and the beginning of S1 had its moments, but I just didn't buy into the drama. "We might all die in the next hour, so lets argue about politics or organize a coup, etc", yaddayadda. I tried to like it the first time, stopping somewhere S1. And later I even made an effort to rewatch it again, and got to somewhere S2 before giving up, to me it was just bland. The final straw was a badly acted love-triangle between the presidents aide, pilot dude and the navigator, which was "resolved" by killing one. The only series that I watched more than a couple of episodes, and stopped watching cold in the middle of an episode.
Eerikki, I'm with you on BSG. I don't want to poop on the show for those that clearly love it but I think it suffered terribly from the fixation on love triangles (and quadrangles) that you mentioned as well as an arbitriness of storyline. If you listen to the commentaries you can hear the writer sort of laughing about how they made it up as they went along; to me the lack of foresight really shows and the show is weaker for it. YMMV.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who read "escapist" re Buffy and found it odd. Escapist elements, I guess, but the meat of the show is firmly entrenched in reality. Is that the point of the list at the link, that every show is escapist and thus, safe for the terminally ill? I would think you'd take The Sopranos right out, brilliant show or not (the hideous violence).

If I hadn't already seen it, Buffy would be at the top of the list. But subject matter is everything when it comes to a person's state of mind, so it wouldn't be for everyone.

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