25 Shows: Sex and the City

Show 16 of 25: SEX AND THE CITY
(1998-2004)

it’s about:
Four single friends who confide and rely on each other as they navigate through the confusing dating landscape of New York City. It is inspired by the book of the same name written by Candace Bushnell.

my earliest history with the show:
I never really got into the show until its later years (last two to three seasons) mainly because of the subject matter and how late HBO aired the series in the Philippines. By the final season, however, my sister and I stayed up late on Saturdays to catch every episode.

why it sticks:
At the core of it all, these four women shared a friendship that we aspire to have with our own group of friends. Despite having distinct personalities, they kept their relationship intact in sickness and in health, in triumphs and in failures, in heartbreak and in happiness.

As a bonus, the series is funny, smart and entertaining. It gave another glimpse of life in New York and became an iconic comedy that women loved and could relate to. It also served as a groundbreaking series that showed women being open about sex and relationships.

Also, much like wanting to be one of the Friends gang, I also wanted to have lunch with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. That’s how close you felt with them, which is a testament to how successful a show is in sticking with a viewer.

best memory:
The final episode has got to be the best. Carrie and Big FINALLY end up together when he admits that she’s the one… and in Paris! How romantic.

And in the show’s final moments, let me share with you Carrie Bradshaw’s final thoughts:

‘Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous…’

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25 Shows: Chuck

Show 15 of 25: CHUCK
(2007-2012)

it’s about:
A computer geek named Chuck Bartowski, whose life is turned upside down when he inadvertently downloads the government’s secrets into his brain.

my earliest history with the show:
This is another one of those shows which I followed from the beginning. I read mixed reviews before the pilot; but because of show runner Josh Schwartz, I had to come on board.

why it sticks:
This is a show that mixed comedy and action very, very well. Despite its far-fetched plot and sci-fi roots, what stands out with Chuck is its wit and humor. There’s a ton of geekiness that goes to the surface; and it is delivered so well by an interesting mix of characters. Even before The Big Bang Theory, this show featured an unlikely group of misfits that were all underdogs in life. At the center of this group is Chuck, who continued to grow from the beginning of the show all the way to the end.

I also loved the romance between the two central characters, Chuck and Sarah. How they grew to love each other through the series just stuck with me. It didn’t hurt that there were a ton of laughs along the way. When they finally got together, it was truly satisfying.

The show just ended this year, with its final episodes challenging the relationship of Chuck and Sarah. I found the conclusion to this series a bit disappointing, employing an amnesia storyline, which I absolutely hate. Still, the past five seasons of this show just entertained the heck out of me… giving me hours upon hours of laughs and thrilling action. It will continue to be one of my all-time favorite shows.

best memory:
A much-awaited moment, which would have satisfied me as a fitting end to the series.

25 Shows: Lost

Show 14 of 25: LOST
(2004-2010)

it’s about:
A plane crash. A group of survivors. A mysterious island.

Lost is a groundbreaking series that everyone’s been trying to recreate, in the process making a TV god out of creator J.J. Abrams. *bows down in worship*

my earliest history with the show:
Even before it premiered, this show has been getting a lot of attention because of its outstanding pilot. I was on board that very first episode until the “fan polarizing” finale.

why it sticks:
Despite the controversial end to the series, I’m very happy to have watched Lost. I never felt as if I wasted six seasons the way other fans did. This show is and will forever be the standard to which all other series will try and measure up to when it comes to storytelling. To me, this is a brilliant show. Period.

It took a commonly used “tragic” story (plane crash) and ran with it until the show became one of the most complicated series the world of television has ever seen. Most importantly, it did so by executing everything differently. The show played with the concept of time and space. It played with the usual “beginning, middle and end” type of storytelling… jumping from one point in history to another. The number of twists and turns throughout its six-year run is so mind-boggling that people either hated it or thrived in it. I thrived in it… even preferring season-long marathons just so I get caught up quickly and effectively.

The mysteries that piled up made me come back hoping to get some answers; but at its core, it’s the character stories that drew me into the world of Lost. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke… Everyone had their own past, present and future. They had struggles, inner conflicts and private demons. It’s these characters and their relationships that made me love the show. They are all flawed human beings; but somehow, you still watch them and want to know that they’ll be okay at the end. The Island and its many secrets served as the backdrop to the personal connections between all the characters and its importance at the end of it all, which is death.

I will never forget this series. Lost is a rare show that might just have started their own category in television — Ultra-serialized (Is that even a valid term?) storytelling driven by countless mysteries and a significant suspension of reality. It’s hard to explain, yet even harder not to be impressed by. Ambitious. Unique. Special.

best memory:
The show definitely turned its head for me by the end of the third season. It took the term “game-changer” and just threw it in our faces. I was stunned when I watched this; because it didn’t make sense. But after a few seconds, I was like “WTF!” This is one of the best moments of television I’ve ever witnessed. *SPOILER ALERT*

And if you’ve watched Lost from beginning to end and still don’t get it, here’s a GREAT explanation.

25 Shows: Full House

Show 12 of 25: FULL HOUSE
(1987-1995)

it’s about:
Full House is a sitcom about Danny Tanner who, after the death of his wife, asks help from his friend Joey Gladstone and brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to live with him and take care of his three daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. This show centers on their family life and the subsequent circumstances that make their family bigger and bigger as the seasons progress.

my earliest history with the show:
This is another old show that ran on RPN 9. I was probably in grade school then. I couldn’t get enough of the Tanner family, Stephanie’s catchphrases and Michelle’s cuteness!

why it sticks:
This show is an old-fashioned, traditional family sitcom. The comedy is light; but the stories could go from simple to a bit more serious. Still, it’s one of those series that just stuck with me because it reminds me of my childhood. I could picture myself eagerly awaiting new episodes every night and slowly developing a love for the characters.

I have had the chance to watch some early episodes; and for me, the humor is still there. Plus, it’s a testament to the timelessness of a comedy if my young nieces pay attention to the show and like it.

best memory:
It has got to be “You got it dude.” by Michelle and “How rude.” by Stephanie. And so here’s a compilation:

25 Shows: Hey Arnold!

Show 11 of 25: HEY ARNOLD!
(1996-2004)

it’s about:
Arnold, a fourth grader who lives with his grandparents in a boarding house. The animated series focuses on Arnold navigating big city life as he selflessly helps out his classmates, neighbors and housemates.

my earliest history with the show:
It was in sixth grade when we finally had cable in our house. One of the shows that I got into was Hey Arnold! on Nickelodeon. I liked the series, the characters and the subtle wit and sincere goodness that it had.

why it sticks:
The show, to me, is a classic from my generation. It’s an animated series that isn’t too young; but isn’t too adult either. There is an underlying smartness in the dialogue, which I love. As a bonus, the title character is a good role model… one who helps other people out and sticks to his convictions, despite being so young. The cast of characters around him are likable and entertaining. In addition, the stories are simple; but I never get tired of watching them over and over.

What stuck with me most is the relationship between Arnold and Helga Pataki, a female classmate who treats him like dirt in order to cover up her undying love for him. Helga’s efforts to cover up her feelings bring us into some pretty hilarious situations; and it never gets old.

The show simply resonates in my head as one of those cartoons from my teens that will always stay with me.

best memory:

I couldn’t find a video of it online; but the Romeo and Juliet episode is the most memorable for me. When Helga hears that Arnold is Romeo in the school’s production of the famous Shakespeare play, she schemes to get the part of Juliet, mainly because of the highly-anticipated kissing scene. It’s a great episode that showed the conflict between Helga’s two personas: the one that hates Arnold and the one that LOVES Arnold. It is, from start to finish, hilarious and entertaining.

25 Shows: Amazing Race Asia

Show 10 of 25: AMAZING RACE ASIA
(2006-present)

it’s about:
A bunch of teams from Asia go around the world facing different challenges. Whoever finishes first by the end of the final leg, wins.

my earliest history with the show:
I watched The Amazing Race (USA) during its early seasons and liked it. Upon hearing news that an Asian version was being produced, I knew that I just had to catch it. I awaited the series premiere… rooting for the Philippine teams, of course. Unfortunately, the two teams that represented the country got eliminated so early in the competition that I stopped watching right after. I tuned in to the subsequent seasons where we had more luck; and I’ve been watching ever since.

why it sticks:
The idea of franchising a popular reality show is in itself interesting; but executing it is a whole other thing. This could have gone a number of ways; but the production team behind it is faithful to the format. They were successful in translating the show into Asian territories, making it interesting, exciting and fun

The contestants were also diverse and never boring. There were the usual fights and screaming matches during the different challenges, which made everything all the more fun to watch. It is just a wonderfully produced show, which I became really invested in because of the competition between the representatives from different countries. One couldn’t help but root for one’s own country every single time. The added “friendly rivalry” kept me on the edge of my seat every time.

best memory:
For the second and third seasons of The Amazing Race Asia, the Philippines excelled in the game, coming so close to winning but never did. However, it was finally the country’s time to prevail during the fourth season when Rich Hardin and Rich Herrera won it all. It was a great moment. Go Philippines!

25 Shows: Veronica Mars

Show 9 of 25: VERONICA MARS
(2004-2007)

it’s about:
Veronica Mars is a high school student who moonlights as a private detective under the guidance of her father Keith. He is a disgraced sheriff who accused the most influential family in Neptune, California of covering up the murder of their daughter Lily, Veronica’s best friend. She thus became an outcast in the community, shunned by friends and the “popular” crowd. This pushed her to focus on solving mysteries for others, at the same time uncovering clues that leads to what really happened the night her friend was killed.

my earliest history with the show:
This is one of the series I started watching on local cable. It wasn’t a popular show; but the online buzz surrounding it made me curious. I tuned in during its premiere; and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not your run-of-the-mill teen series. It is dark. It is smartly-written. It has a kick-ass female character in the lead. I was ALL IN; and where the series took me… simply unforgettable.

why it sticks:
The writing is brilliant. It is full of snark and witty dialogue; but it’s not afraid to go dark in order to capture the noir aspect of the show. Through the course of the series, we are able to examine a town that on the outside may seem squeaky clean but is actually full of secrets more sinister than you could imagine. Each episode peels layer after layer of the social inequality and the dirty politics that goes on in Neptune. I wouldn’t want to live there; but I can’t stop watching it.

The cast and characters are simply amazing. Kristen Bell shines as the title character; and Enrico Colantoni plays his fatherly role well. Their chemistry as father and daughter is sweet but realistic. Their relationship is at the heart of the show; and we see it week after week. The supporting actors Jason Dohring (Logan), Percy Daggs III (Wallace), Francis Capra (Eli), Tina Majorino (Mac), Michael Muhney (Sheriff Lamb), among others, are brilliant as well.

The first season is close to flawless, with an explosive finale that made me love the show SO MUCH. Despite weaker seasons in succeeding years, it was still better than most of the television shows in circulation at that time. It is one of the best shows in the past decade; and it’s an opinion I share with other more reputable critics.

Lastly, the central love-hate relationship between Veronica and Logan made the show all the more interesting for me. I loved it. Sure, it was a train wreck in so many ways but that’s what epic love stories are made of, right? That relationship made me ache in more ways than one. Seriously.

Veronica Mars is a show unlike anything I’ve ever encountered on television. It’s quick and funny; but it’s able to strike a balance with the darkness and the drama. Comparisons to Alias and Buffy may be unavoidable; but at the end of the day, Veronica Mars is unique in its own way. The show gave me a strong female character who still had her flaws, making her all the more interesting and real. It taught me how to weave through clues, making me a smarter, more critical viewer. Most importantly, the show’s ambitious storytelling and complex mystery arcs build up to a satisfying end; and I really appreciated that. This show will forever be one of my all-time favorites.

best memory:
Like I mentioned above, the central romantic relationship in the show (called LoVe for Logan & Veronica) made me ache; and this was what started it all. I screamed during this scene. Right before watching this sequence, I had this idea in the back of my head that Logan and Veronica could be an interesting couple. I couldn’t believe it DID happen just when I was thinking it. Epic! One of the best moments ever on this show.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv8WdaVOMQo]

Another one of my best memories from the show has got to be watching the season one finale. The whole episode is just amazing. It capped off the mystery with a surprising but satisfying conclusion. Flawlessly written. Wonderfully executed.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn2u-UGELj8]