Five for Friday: Television shows that I love (that may surprise you)

Last week I shared five TV shows that people often assume I will love, but where I really don’t.  This week, here are 5 TV shows that I love, some of which may really surprise you (and the rest totally won’t, but there are only 5 TV shows I really wanted to talk about).  They are arranged in order of how unexpected my love of them is.

1. Hunting Aotearoa

Yes, really.  It’s a reality TV show about hunting, and I love it.  And it isn’t even in English (well, it slides in and out of English & Te Reo Maori all the time), and Mr D loves it (Mr D hates foreign language films).  We sit there every week, tuned to Maori TV, watching people shoot animals and carry carcasses around, and we coo about how sweet it is.

Because it is sweet.  It’s not really about the shooting, and it certainly isn’t about being macho and killing things.  It’s about local communities, and families, and really down-to-earth, ordinary people who are supplementing their diet with local game.  The presenters are very low-key, the people they meet are lovely people you would want to meet and know yourself, and stewardship and caring for the land are major elements of the show.

Also, best of all (and I just found this out), they filmed a few episodes on Moloka’i, hunting with a dear friend of my parents!  I found out when he gave Mum some venison and I told him about how I loved to watch a hunting show – and he said “Oh, Hunting Aotearoa, I’ve been on it”.  What a small world it is!

Feral goat on Moloka’i – or why I’m such a fan of hunting

2. King of the Hill

I meet all these people who hate King of the Hill for its animation, or think it is stupid.  I can see the first as a valid criticism, but I just can’t agree with the second.  A few of the episodes are a bit blunt, some perhaps even dumb, but some of them are so, so brilliant.  There is an episode where Hank Hill says something along the lines of “They don’t make statues of people who keep their lawns mowed and pick up their rubbish, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t heros.”  And it’s totally true.  King of the Hill is a show about small heros – about people who have flaws and foolishnesses, but are ultimately good, and generally come back to being good, even when they are tempted to be briefly bad.  Also, the episode where Hank joins a food co-op and owns an organic cow is just fantastic.

Granted, with all that said, I haven’t watched an episode since the series ended – it was good while it lasted, but I don’t feel the need to see re-runs.

3. My Name is Earl

OK, yes, it’s often crude, and sometimes dumb.  It’s also really, really sweet.  If being dumb and crude at points is what it takes for a show about being a better person to survive on TV, well, it’s a start.

4. Firefly

Well, no surprise here!  Also, so much awesomeness I don’t really need to tell you about it, right?

5. Doctor Who

OK, yeah.  This one is also probably surprising no one!  But it is my favourite TV show (marginally outstripping Firefly), and for many of the same reasons as the other shows I like: it’s about being a good person, often in the face of terrible odds.  I can’t count the number of episodes where the Doctor offers the villains every possible option to do good and find a way out, or the episodes where mercy prevails over violence and evil, or where there is no evil at all – just the struggle within ourselves.  Moffat seems to be taking the show in a slightly different direction – I really hope it doesn’t go too far.

Since you may wonder, the lack of historical accuracy in Doctor Who doesn’t bug me at all – it’s fantasy, and they never claim to be accurate.  Also, the thought of the British monarchy being werewolves never fails to amuse me.

I tried to introduce my parents to the Whoniverse during my visit home, but the library system and the postal service conspired against us, and I couldn’t get any in on time.  They’ll just have to wade in without me.


Hmmmm…only two of these shows are still on the air.  I guess it’s because I don’t like a lot of TV – so it takes a long time to accumulate a list of 5!  If there was a 6th, it would be MASH.


OK, so it doesn’t pay to write posts at midnight, while travelling and sleep deprived, because I totally forgot about the show that I meant to put as #2, which is  Top Gear (the original UK version, never seen the US version).

Yes, it’s a show about cars, hosted mainly by the biggest jerk petrolhead ever.  Yeah, my usually car knowledge is limited to “What kind of car is our car? Ummmm…it’s green?” and “What kind of car do I want? The one that looks like a frog!”, but Top Gear can be hilarious. Mr D and I just about died laughing at the episode where they made alternative limousines, and the Big Mac truck episode was pretty good too.  Anything that makes Mr D & I scream with laughter is a good thing.

On the bright side, the show I would have bumped off the list to include Top Gear is Firefly, and since some of you are saying you’ve never seen it, anything that encourages you to see it is a good thing!



  1. I second King of the Hill (the co-op episode is hilarious–especially as someone who worked at a co-op AND lived in Texas!), and My Name is Earl. It’s the pathos of those two shoes that make them so neat.

    The gentleman who ran MNIE has a show called Raising Hope. Not the same lightning-in-a-bottle, but pretty darn good.

    My guilty go-to? How I Met Your Mother and Community. Oh…and Once Upon a Time…

    • Never tried Raising Hope or Community, but HIMYM is lots of fun and they do really clever things with the stories. I’ll add them to my ‘to-try when I actually have time to watch TV list (hah!). Once Upon a Time just irritated me, because it was obvious it was one of those shows where they were going to have to just keep dragging the plot out as the series got renewed, and they would use up the good stuff first.

    • Mistake – sorry. I meant the note to Catherine’s comment to be the one.

  2. I’ve actually never even heard of Firefly before! I’ve wanted to watch Doctor Who for a long time, though I have, unfortunately, not yet found the time or precious opportunity to do so…yet. I used to watch My Name is Earl with my family, and I have to agree with you on it being sweet sometimes. I did get tired of watching it after a while, though, and now I don’t much care for it at all. It was nice while the feeling lasted. (I also loved Joy; she was terribly trashy yet somehow not at the same time. She was also hilarious, to boot. )

    I’ve never heard of the hunting show before, and while I’m not against it, or anything, it just doesn’t sound like my kind of thing. As much as I love being out-of-doors and sitting around in nature, I don’t much care for doing anything else out there! Strange, isn’t it?

    Now I must shudder…King of the Hill is NOT my kind of show. At all. I can’t get through it. Seriously. I hate it even though I have yet to give it the time of day–I just can’t even offer! I am glad that some people enjoy it, though. I would be upset if I created a show no one liked that I put my heart and soul into.

    Now, I suppose it’s my turn. I have this horrid secret (or not so much, now) love of Gossip Girl. I know, I know. It’s such a teenage girls’ show. I know the people are horrid and conniving. I just can’t help being addicted to it! It’s so deliciously evil!

    I also love Grimm, which is a rather new show. It’s silly and fun, all while being, well, grim (ha!). I don’t watch a whole lot of TV anymore–I don’t pay any attention to most new shows, so the rest of my favorites are taken from the classic TV networks (I Love Lucy! Bewitched! I Dream of Jeannie! The list goes on…). The only reason I started watching Grimm was because I just happened to be at a neighbor’s house when it came on. She had been raving about it, and after getting over a strange aversion to it (it seems very strange at first), I loved it.

    • Never heard of Firefly? Sacrilege! Go watch it yesterday!

      See, how you are about King of the Hill is how I am about Gossip Girl. Not going to happen. I don’t think Grimm has made it to NZ yet, but maybe I’ve just been too busy.

  3. I love Doctor Who as well! It’s my favourite comfort-tv, along with Project Runway and Sherlock.

    I discovered Firefly earlier this year (thank you, library) and was blown away. Oh how I wish there were more episodes…

  4. What?? No Kevin??!?!?!?

    Funny thing about Dr Who is I used to watch it waaaaaay back (like in the late 70s and early 80s) apart from a stint around age 5 where it was too scary for a while, but I have only watched a very few episodes in the last decade. I’m trying to convince the Mr that it should be our next DVD series (um, what is the multiple of series? Seri? Serieses? nga series?) that we work through. Time to shake off some of the grittiness of The Wire.

    Also a fan of My name is Earl. Although haven’t watched it in years… Haven’t really watched much in years though.

    • Actually, I tell a lie. I haven’t watched “a very few episodes”. I counted up, and I’ve watched 2. The van Gogh one and the Narnia one. I did enjoy them 🙂

  5. I’ve not watched the first three on your list but I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan and I just finished watching Firefly (and Serenity) for the first time and loved it. I’ve been hearing about Firefly for years and years but only just now had the combination of time and a Netflix subscription to indulge.

    (I fell in love with the Doctor from the very beginning but I am also so enchanted by all the gorgeous hand-knits on the show! I just finished up making Tom Baker’s utterly ridiculous and completely fantastic 12-foot long scarf and earlier this year I knit up those fingerless mitts Rose wears in the Doomsday episode. Next up: some of Amy’s gorgeous red scarves…)

    Oh! And Top Gear is fun, also. I’ve only seen a few episodes but the first one I saw had David Tennant as their celebrity driver and the next was the one where they push the motor home/caravan thing over the cliff… 😀

  6. Cornelia Moore says

    funny, your aunt Laurel and I just had a discussion about favorite shows, just a few days ago.
    Kelly and I feel the same way abt King of The Hill. lots of good messages, no need to watch reruns. I despised My Name is Earl until Kelly pointed out what I was missing, then became a fan of it-and his other show, the Tennessee detective one. still haven’t seen much of FF, enough to know it’s fair but it’s never grabbed me. but we do have the 1st season dvd, possibly season 2 & 3 as well, a gift from Kelly’s cousin.
    Kelly’s quite fond of Grimm, and the acting is good enough that it doesn’t drive me out of the room, but I listen more often than watch, and I don’t listen, much. it’s just strange enough. he also likes Haven. he’s a TV/movie addict, where I am not. I love some of the classics, and will watch TNT, and there’s a few new ones I love-Castle, for one, and as kampy as it is, Warehouse 13…I don’t usually take to kamp…and yes, I misspell it intentionally…a little emphasis…anyway, I am more into non-fiction on TV…but I will watch Dr. Who if it’s on and nothing else is more tempting…and there’s been some absolutely fantastic animated stuff the past 5 or so years-just watched Despicable Me, and Mars Needs Mothers. I love good animated-though I think talking real animals is a bit weird. cartoons are fine though. otherwise, I love Animal Planet (but not shark week, and I’m full up on crocadiles, and losing the Croc Hunter just kind of blew it for me.) . and we watch The Voice and both of the dance competitions (and the ballroom when it comes on to PBS, and we watch a _lot_ of PBS…esp. news, Last of the Summer Wine, and the music specials.

  7. Daniel says

    w….Doctor Who! Hurrah!

    I also really like what I’ve seen of My Name Is Earl .

    Top Gear, though… Often funny but honestly can’t abide Jeremy Paxman… But i remind myself that it was for him that his,Mummy made the first Paddington Bear doll… cuts him down to size a bit. Aaaaaawwwww….

    • I knew you would like Dr Who!

      Do you mean Jeremy Clarkson? Yeah, we aren’t the biggest fans of him (you should hear the names Mr D calls him), and yet that doesn’t change that the show is a brilliant concept.

      • Daniel says

        Oh yes. I do. Sorry – I’m in hospital at the moment tanked up on painkillers, but at the best of times I have a terrible habit of malapropping people’s names – getting one half right, the other half wrong. And occasionally, both – I was once hunting through a bookshop for “Jonathan Harris” when I was looking for Christopher Fowler…

  8. Only program in that list I watch is Doctor Who….and I was a fan from before the *new* series. People think I’m a bit odd that my fave doctor is number 8 from the TV movie (yes he does count!) although I liked how the character was developed in the BBC books and Big Finish audio dramas.
    I like Top Gear too.
    My choice of programs never really surprises people. Recently I’ve become a fan of Horrible Histories (the live action rather than the cartoon series) despite it being labeled a ‘kids’ program.

  9. OMG I would never have admitted to you how much I love Top Gear but now I can! hehehe. It’s so silly. I watched the first of the Dr Who episode last night – very good. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the new generation of Doctors (Tom Baker and Peter Davidson were always my faves) but I’m onto it or into it now.
    But probably my favourite programmes are the River Cottage ones. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has this amazing effect on me – he gently coos me into wanting to cook, and to be a better person, domestically speaking. I love Dorset so much too, and love to see the scenery.
    Oh, and Antiques Roadshow, the English one. I love how when the English are told their gran’s toenail dish is rare porcelain and worth 6,000 pounds, they say, “oh gosh, that’s nice” as if they just won a $10 book voucher and a bag of minties! hehehe.

    • Hehe. I’m not surprised you like Top Gear! No shame.

      Wait, was the first of the new season Dr Whos on last night? Gah! I KNEW I should have stolen the remote from Mr D (stupid rugby league).

      Oh yes, River Cottage! HFW is such a doll. He’s totally on my list. It’s the only cooking show I can stand.

  10. I popped in on the middle of some Firefly episodes, and the dialogue was painful to my ears… I couldn’t stand watching it. However, my husband insisted I watch Serenity, which I rather enjoyed. And once you love the characters, a little fake “western” dialogue isn’t nearly so painful 😉

    • As a 4th-generation Arizonan with a generally 0ld-western family on both sides, part of the fun of Firefly was hearing Mal say things my dad says. But…when my family curses, it’s in Spanish–not Chinese.

      What silly shows DO you like?

      • It really was the use of the word “ain’t” that sounded so forced in Firefly, but once I fell for the characters, not even that bothered me. I thought the writing sounded authentic, it just sounded like a second language to the actors.
        My favorite space shows would have to be Cowboy Bebop and Battlestar Galactica. As the daughter of a cowboy, I was mildly disappointed that Spike isn’t actually a cowboy though 😉

  11. The Mad Purple Chicken says

    I haven’t seen any of those 5 but I have seen the #6 that didn’t make the list. My siblings and I all love M*A*S*H!
    Klinger is absolutely hilarious.

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