Top Ten Tuesday: Shows I’ve Seen Every Episode Of

top ten tuesday

Each week, The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book meme. This week, we’re talking about stories outside of books. Not too long ago, in my review of the first episode of True Blood‘s final season, I noted that there aren’t many shows that I’ve watched every episode of. And there aren’t.

I just don’t have the staying power to watch a show for years, in most cases—and it’s certainly true that since the advent of Netflix, TV shows on DVD, and online video streaming, I’ve been able to watch all of some shows that I didn’t get to watch all of while they were on TV. And yet, there are still relatively few that I’ve seen every episode of.

Here are a few, though:

1. Lost (2004-2010)

For six seasons, I hung with this show. This is one of the few that I watched almost entirely on TV, though I did come into it late; I watched the first season online (using the infamous Limewire and managing to only get one virus in the process). I discussed all the little (and big) mysteries with Gene’O and his wife, Vicki—the Smoke Monster, the interconnectedness of the characters, the numbers, the Others—and I’m still not quite over the finale. I no longer trust Leiber, Abrams, or Lindelof.

2. House (2004-2012)

I really loved the first three seasons of the show, though after that I struggled a bit more with it. I watched off-and-on, sometimes binge-watching when there were syndicated runs of the show, but I caught up. I completely stopped watching during season 7, but I finished the series when Netflix posted the final seasons for streaming. And it was a rather nice, unexpected end, so I’m glad to have charged through.

3. Weeds (2005-2012)

The first season of this show convinced me. And its fourth season is one of the most darkly funny seasons of a show that has ever aired. I was hooked—until I wasn’t. In the fourth season the Botwins are running drugs across the Mexican border, and it’s generally funny, but in season five we begin a two season long chase that just gets boring; the show never seemed as good once it was out of Agrestic. And the finale? I don’t have words for the disappointment.

4. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

This is actually something that I watched totally on HBO Go, and man I’m glad that I did. The Fisher family is a wonderfully complex group, and this was a show that knew when to say goodbye. It has a real finale, and that finale is glorious.

5. Big Love (2006-2011)

The Henricksons were good for drama. Another show that knew when to say goodbye, the finale fit well within the framework of the show and managed to provide resolution. And each season had an arc, but that arc clearly tied to the overall trajectory of the show, which is fairly uncommon.

6. United States of Tara (2009-2011)

This is a show that didn’t get a finale. USofT ran for 3 seasons, but it wasn’t renewed for a fourth season, so we never find out what happens to Tara, her personalities, and her family. That’s doubly annoying given that we never found out much about Bryce, a male personality that emerged during the third (and final) season, theoretically the girls’ half-brother. It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t some kind of series finale crafted.

7. Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)

Magical realism, beautiful set design, and a quirky cast have made this two-season show a cult classic despite its short run. It’s another show that doesn’t have a real finale, and that’s a definite shame. The pie-maker who can bring people to life with one touch and kill them with a second and his dead-not-dead girlfriend are sorely missed.

8. Mad Men (2007-2015)

A show that isn’t technically done yet, but I’ve loved it since its beginning. Everything about it—including of course Don Draper—works. It’s clear though that the show has run its course, and I’m interested to see what the creators do with the finale.

9. True Blood (2007-2014)

Another show that isn’t technically done yet, but it’s almost done. I’ve been reviewing the show on Sourcerer, as I’ve managed to stay up-to-date until now. So far, the final season has been a frustrating mix of things I’ve waited several seasons to see and things that I’m bored by, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the finale. Won’t have to wait long to find out, though.

10. Game of Thrones (2011- )

Alright, maybe this is cheating a little bit. But this is one that I know I’ll watch all of. There’s no way to stop now; I’m in too far. No matter how irritated I might get with Cersei or Littlefinger, no matter how much Jaime’s haircut annoys me or how vexing I find the sexual politics of the writing and the filming, I must watch anyway.

And there you are, folks—27 days, 6 hours, and 14 minutes of TV, most of it worth the sheepish way I have to say those numbers.

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16 Comments

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  1. Weeds, Six Feet Under and True Blood – much love for all three of those! I could never do Mad Men. I really tried. As for Game of Thrones and Lost, I’ve never seen theme. I find sometimes I purposefully skip some shows I suspect I’ll like because there is really only so much time to commit to television 😉 The result of this thinking? Right now I’m belatedly working my way through Heroes and kicking myself for missing it the first time through.

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    1. I know what you mean about belatedly working your way through shows. I just watched the entire Six Feet Under series a few months ago, and I was kicking myself for not watching it while it was on. All the same, it’s nice to now have the option to work my way through something instead of knowing that if I don’t watch it when it’s broadcast, I likely won’t see it at all. Ah, technology!

      As for Mad Men—I can understand why it wouldn’t interest some people, but I have always enjoyed it. It is time for it to go, though, as the last season or two haven’t been as dynamic as the first few.

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  2. I don’t think I ever watched Pushing Daisies but that sounds great. Sadly, I’ve watched all of most of these as well, largely because I was in a hardcore TV-watching phase when these shows were most popular. I don’t think I’m going to finish True Blood, though. Great list. Here’s mine.

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    1. 🙂 I just have to finish TB since I’ve been following it for so long. I’m at 6 episodes left until the series ends, so I can’t justify quitting now.

      And Pushing Daisies is definitely worth checking out, as long as you’re aware that it has no real ending.

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  3. I’ve watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones, and finished all of House of Cards. I agree about not having the staying power to wait around for years. I watched two seasons of House of Cards in a week. 🙂

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  4. I like the way you did this! I’m the same. It’s sad, because many of them I buy to catch up on…and then they sit because I don’t make time to watch TV! I have seen every episode of Lost b/c someone loaned me his collection! Lost is one of those shows where I still see the actors so vividly. I watched the premiere of a new show called Finding Carter last week and I just DIDN’T TRUST the mom…and then I found out she’d been on Lost…and I recently saw something at the movies….Captain America, I think? I struggled to identify two characters (I realized the one was the girl from Revenge right away, but the other alluded me. It drove me NUTS!). I eventually leaned over and asked my friend, and she went, “Oh, he’s Prince Charming’s dad on Once.” I accepted that. He wasn’t on it much. After the movie, they were talking about him and Lost, and I was like, “Duh, of course! Why didn’t you tell me he was the Lost guy? THAT’S how I know him!!!

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    1. Thanks!

      I remember the Lost actors pretty well, too, and I remember seeing that actor on Once Upon a Time and saying “it’s Charles Widmore!”

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  5. I’m glad to hear that about House. I own several of the seasons and kept up with until the last two. I had a hard time finding interest in watching it and didn’t like all that I was seeing. But, I’m glad to hear that the finale was good. I will have to spend some time with Netflix now.

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    1. I have the first 3 or 4 seasons on DVD, but after season 4, I lost interest for a while. I didn’t like the new team as well as the old one. But I did like the final season quite a bit.

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    1. I’m not good at complete silence, so I watch a lot of things when I’m working at home.

      Glad you enjoyed Pushing Daisies! I wish there were more episodes.

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  6. I am there with you on Weeds. It became nothing but a way to make Nancy look pitiful and screw (literally) a guy to get her out of trouble.

    Loved Six Feet Under. I don’t think I finished watching Big Love though, maybe I need to look into that before I cut HBO (when True Blood ends).

    Lost, I tried to watch and just lost track of…I probably need to revisit that sometime soon too.

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    1. Yeah, I think that Nancy’s continuous string of bad relationships got really old, especially when it began to just seem like the only way the show could find of providing drama. It was boring and well-trodden, especially from a show that started out so promising.

      Six Feet Under and Big Love are the best of the HBO shows that I’ve seen all of. They both ended before jumping the shark, and they both have real crafted endings.

      And Lost is still really good, but there are lots of questions that are never answered and things that occur with no explanation. Lots of side-plots that go nowhere, too. I wish it’d been a season shorter with a better crafted ending.

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