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Non-Genre TV You Should Be Watching

Last week I mentioned my TV watching time is limited, and detailed which SF TV shows had been chopped off my list, and which were on the chopping block.

That’s not to say there aren’t any good non-genre TV shows, there are, I just like SF TV more. But when I find a really good one, I’ll add it to my watch list. I hear that the various CSI series are good as is House, but I’ve never watched them. First I have to bother to try and record them or find them online, then I have to actually watch an episode, which means that any non-genre show is starting from a deep hole for me.

But I have found two that I watch religiously:


Psych is one of those shows in which you either buy the premise and love it, or you don’t and you hate it. Shawn Spencer is one super observant person, but has to pretend to be psychic for the police to take him seriously. He and his partner Gus open a Psychic Detective Agency, the titular Psych, and work on cases for the police and the occasional client. What makes this show work is the chemistry between all the characters, especially Shawn and Gus, the humor and all the obscure TV, film and 80’s references in each episode, which are good for several LOL moments every time (the Mexican telenovela episode is a real hoot). If it’s any indication how much I like Psyche, once I watch a couple on Hulu, I immediately went out and watched all of the first two seasons. Add in some character development for the third season and you’ve got a compulsively watchable TV show. Here is a representative episode:

Burn Notice

MacGyver meets The A-Team plus Bruce Campbell. It may not be the best show on TV and the lead actor isn’t the best at acting (although he’s become much better), but there’s something about its combination of humor and action that is very appealing, plus Bruce Campbell of course. In terms of quality, the second season is much better than the first as everyone seems to be hitting their stride in terms of storytelling and character development. It’s too bad it’s on fall hiatus because I want to see what happens next and just why the Burn Notice was ordered. Come on already! Haven’t seen it? Here’s the pilot:

But I know I’m probably not watching all of the good stuff on TV. What do you watch that I should check out? Keep in mind I don’t have HBO or Showtime, although that isn’t necessarily an issue.

About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

9 Comments on Non-Genre TV You Should Be Watching

  1. Bones is terrific – love me some Boreanaz, plus the secondary characters are compelling.

  2. I agree with Bones, which is a very fun show. I love The Closer, too. All the characters feel like people I know.


    I am enjoying Life. Quirky.

  3. Props for Psych and Burn Notice, but my single favorite show based (however tenuously) on reality is Dexter. Do whatever you can to see this show, but start from season one. I love season three, but the slow but solid character growth of the title character is the ultimate payout.

    Oh, and he’s a serial killer.

  4. Dexter is very very good.  It was probably one of the only reasons I watched Showtime at one point.  As for Burn Notice, I think that Jeffery Donovan (see you can look up thier names on this thing called IMDB) does a fine job.  Every first season has some stiffness (tee-hee) in the characters as they get used to the roles they play.  Also if you are not watching House, I think you should at least catch a few re-runs.   Someday I hope to eventually be as important as Hugh Laurie’s character that I can get away with some of the things he says in that show. 

  5. Psych used to be good until you got smarter and realized that you’re basically watching the same episode over and over. The show has become so formulaic that I’ve considered taking it off of my TiVo. Even if you buy into the whole photographic memory (or whatever it is that he does), you gotta also buy into that the entire Santa Barbara PD is run by complete idiots chasing criminals of equal unintelligence. But then, given that it is California, I guess I can make that leap.

    The only person that keeps me watching is the super cute Maggie Lawson — if only they would give her more air-time.

  6. Dexter is really great.  Solid writing and a nice reminder (after suffering through Heroes) of what good writers can achieve.

    I liked House at first, but find it to be redundant now.

  7. We still watch House too, and while it’s not as sharp as it once was, the writers and actors still find interesting ways to keep him bastardly enough with occasionaly glimpses of humanity to make you care. It’s a tough balance.

  8. Burn Notice is awesome, I think Michael Westen could kick James Bond’s ass. At least the old James Bond, he would fight Daniel Craig’s JB to a standstill.

    House is always entertaining although there were a couple episodes where character drama made it slightly boring.

    The Office/My Name is Earl are good.

    The wife watches Dacining with the Stars, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, and Army Wives. I sometime have to put on headphones because the stupidity of the contestants is grating.

    Is Robot Chicken SF?

  9. There’s a new show this season called “The Mentalist,” about an special investigative unit in California called the CBI, and one of their members is basically Shawn Spencer from Psych.  However, it’s played as a suspenseful cop show, not a comedy.  The investigators (all cops, but misfits nonetheless) don’t know exactly how the Mentalist does what he does, but, as a former TV psychic (and not the self-deluding sort) he’s a master of cold-reading, hypnotic suggestion, and of course being hyper-observant.  I don’t think it’ll last, but it’s only 2 episodes in– you might give it a try if you like Psych but want to see the concept played straight.

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