When you are a tv junkie like me, it can be tough to manage a well-balanced tv diet. I'm pretty equal opportunity in my tv viewing habits -- there's just as much reality tv on my DVR as dramas and History Channel shows. After awhile, you just don't notice how much junk you are watching in a week. Worse, there's so much more of it stockpiled on the aforementioned DVR, waiting digestion.
It's time to detox.
The good news is the summer months provide some good quality shows to include in your diet. The bad news is, more than ever, there's a lot of good quality shows to choose from. The choosing is the hard part, but hey, we're here to slim down for fall. For me, there are four major tv 'food groups'-- scripted drama/comedy, reality, educational and 'junk food' programming (some combination of those above) A balanced diet must have elements of the first three and only sparing amounts of the fourth.
This summer there are a lot of choices for quality drama programming. In designing your daily 'menu', be sure to include a few of the following shows:
The Closer (TNT) - Back and as good as its previous two seasons, the third episode of this season was amazing!
Burn Notice (USA) - So far, it's fun. Recommended for your consumption.
Doctor Who (SciFi) - Third season is going strong. This should fill your British sci-fi quotient.
Rescue Me (FX) - If you're a TV junkie like me, you knew this already. It's like wheat bread, a staple.
Now, reality shows are generally considered junk, but just like with carbs there are "good" reality shows and "bad" reality shows. The key is to know the difference.
Top Chef (Bravo) and Hell's Kitchen (Fox) - You'll learn more about cooking watching Top Chef, but the drama of Hell's Kitchen is far more fun. For more Gordon Ramsay, watch Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America. The new season just started.
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox) - Surprisingly strong competitors and fantastic dancing. It's true talent on display.
Bridezillas (We) - Yes, this show is silly, and the brides are crazy. Consider it a primer on what not to do when preparing for your wedding.
Educational programming - For some people watching these types of shows is equivalent to being told to "eat your greens". Some programs deserve a place in your tv diet, just for their 'edu-tainment' value.
Man Vs. Wild (Discovery Channel) - Bear does some crazy stuff on this show. You may not become a survivalist after watching it, but you'll at least learn a few things which might be useful at home -- surviving bear attacks comes to mind for me.
Little People, Big World (TLC) - You think your family has some challenges, check out the Roloffs!
Ice Road Truckers and Dogfights (History Channel) - If you like Deadliest Catch: Crab Fishing in Alaska you'll love Ice Road Truckers. Watching as these guys drive over cracking ice can set you on the edge of your seat. Dogfights features amazing recreation of some of the greatest air battles. The Kamikaze episodes should be riveting, and I'm personally looking forward to the The First Dogfighters.
Finally, there's junk tv. These shows should be watched in moderation. They can be fun a few times, but repeated exposure to them could rot your brain.
Ninja Warrior (G4) - I know, Japanese TV is off the hook. There are times though when I wonder if there's a reason we don't watch a lot of Japanese TV over here. There are cringe inducing moments to be had when watching some of these people fail their challenges.
My Super Sweet Sixteen (MTV) and Platinum Weddings (We) - These shows exist to make us hate rich people, which in small doses is fun. It's also interesting to see what $400,000 can buy for your wedding or sweet sixteen party. Over time, these shows will increase your blood pressure. Use caution.
Big Brother (CBS) - No one can convince me that there is any nutritional value to this show. And with it airing three times a week, it's actually hard to avoid at this point. Still, avoid it, I will.
This is a short list to get your started planning your summer diet. The buffet table opens up in the fall again, so best we 'slim down' our viewing now to prepare.
Want to add a show to the menu? Leave a comment!