I know that more than a few people were rather disappointed to hear the news in mid-2000 that MST3k would be stopping production. As for myself, that was the one and only show that I cared to sit down and watch on a regular basis. When MST3k left the air, I did give some time to a couple other shows to see if they were still worth watching.
While "South Park" was a decent satire and had some intelligence to its writing, Parker and Stone were also content to fill it with all sorts of rather unintelligent vulgarness. I don't really mind vulgar to some extent, but I do mind the spirit with which it was presented... as pure humor. That's not humor to me, it's just laziness. I left "South Park" in 1999, and have never looked back.
The next show which seemed to offer some promise was "The Daily Show". The first ten minutes, "Headlines", delivered on a pretty regular basis. Unfortunately, "The Daily Show" could not keep my attention for even half an hour... almost every interview ranged from mildly boring to completely excruciating, and many of the comedians they booked to be commentators were rather unworthy of even being called comedians.
It took a couple of years, but I have found at least a bit of relief on the television. Ever since 2005, I have become a fan of "House" on FOX. Some people could certainly draw apt comparisons between "House" and "South Park", but I feel that "House" is just more interesting. I haven't seen too many episodes of "House" where the humor becomes scatological just because it can, for instance.
It also has a high level of snark in the form of the main character, and while some of the medical cases get stretched so thin that I can even see the light between the plotholes, the writing is pretty darned decent... jokes fly at a well-rhythmed clip, the mystery of the week is presented and resolved, and the characters have becomed nuanced and interesting.
My recommendation, if possible, would be to see Season 2... S2 hooked my attention to the show because of the overall quality. While current episodes of "House" haven't quite reached that level since then, it's still worth checking out.
Of course, I also have a recent entry in this list too. I don't know why my wife and I sat down to watch it, but a few weeks ago we caught the second episode of the new "Kitchen Nightmares" series on Fox. It also has some elements of MST3k in it, where one expert (rather than three) checks out a substandard restaurant (rather than movie) and makes comments on what he sees.
Of course, the "humor" contained in "Kitchen Nightmares" is of a far guiltier cast... this IS a reality show, and of course when truth is introduced, especially with the bluntness of the main star Gordon Ramsay, feelings will get bent. On the other hand, two facts are immensely apparent. Ramsay's bluntness is just who he is, it's really not an 'act'... and that he seems geniunely involved in trying to bring
restaurants into a better shape. Seeing the inner workings of a restaurant also brings a very close appreciation for people who run restaurants... and may also give you (possibly reasonable?) pause to make sure any restaurant you're going to is serving good food.
I will be the first to admit that most shows I avoid are because I don't give them a try... I'm not the type that just goes up to the television and flicks it on. I would be far more apt to either turn on a video game or read a book. It was actually surprising that I found the two shows above, in all honesty. On top of that, late-night television (such as "Adult Swim" on Cartoon Network) has always been out for me, due to me graduating from college in the same year that my
daughter was born (2002). And as a young professional on one income, I've had cable television for a total of perhaps 40% of the time since 2002.
Our readership at this blog, I assume, enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000 or its offshoots such as MST fanfiction. Therefore, my question to anyone reading is this: What shows on television do you see which continue the Mystery Science Theater 3000 spirit?
Postscript 1 / Strike 2
Most recent possible job fell through. Rather surprisingly too, I thought that I received indications that it was actually moving along successfully. While I know that intellectually, disappointments will happen, that doesn't mean that I *welcome* them. Especially since this was a job that I was really looking forward too, one that could have provided me with a lifetime of fringe benefits. Which leads me to:
Postscript 2 / Effing viral marketeers
Not the ones that try to stir up a word-of-mouth buzz, but the ones that hide little chunks of code into seemingly-legitimate computer programs that end up completely destroying someone else's property... namely, my computer. Last night, I attempted to reload WinXP on my computer. Now I'm working on about four hours' sleep plus having to move back a step (from XP to 98) due to a scratched WinXP CD which now won't install correctly. Today's really starting to become a massive pain in the butt, and I'm more than ready to just take a four-day weekend. Thank heaven it's already set up to be a three-day weekend.
Postscript THREE / Blogger!
I wrote this entry in Notepad, which theoretically has no formatting whatsoever... it's text! Yet I have to spend time formatting this darn thing 'cause I love you readers so. Darn you, Blogger, for your crufty interface and text breaks!
(Note to world. Please don't make me get to Postscript Four. Please?)