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.