What shows to record during the strike
Refuse to be a hostage to the networks’ reruns-‘n’-reality regime: Get these shows on DVD and be your own TV honcho. Some are classics, some are brilliant cult gems; all are edifying, even educational, fun.
Start the week with our beloved pinnacle of wit.
Not the cartoon: Patrick Warburton’s short-lived live-action super-sitcom.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The great, passionate second season: Spike! Drusilla! Angel! Death!
Start midway through season 1 — when Heather Locklear joins the cast.
Any season but the last of TV’s second-best working-class sitcom.
Roseanne is the warm-up for TV’s greatest working-class sitcom.
Michael Mann’s underrated 1986 — 88 Chicago police saga.
Once and Again
Divorce and its aftermath: fraught and joyous.
Check out the third season: Peter Falk’s fumbly-smart detective in his prime.
Keep the crime theme going with season 1 of Steven Bochco’s daring legal-drama experiment.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Vincent D’Onofrio was best in his first season, before his mannerisms became labored tics.
Season 4, with my favorite ep: Chandler in a box.
Me, I like Early Jerry, complete with stand-up routines at the top of the show.
Any episode where the great Phil Hartman is central is comedy gold.
Dabney Coleman’s superb 1983 precursor to The Office and 30 Rock.
Adrian Pasdar was the anti-Hero of this cult 1996 send-up of office politics as blood sport.
The Wild Wild West
TV’s first Western comedy-adventure-fantasy.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
TV’s funniest Western comedy-adventure-fantasy.
The Rockford Files
The most likable TV detective ever.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Still the most lovable TV producer of all time.
All in the Family
A taboo breaker; Archie Bunker got away with funny bigotry.
The Bob Newhart Show
The one where he’s a shrink, not an innkeeper.
9:30 – 11 p.m.
Saturday Night Live
Season 2: Chevy Chase out, Bill Murray in.
The Cosby Show
Season 2, lip-synching to Ray Charles: priceless.
Sanford and Son
Redd Foxx could be funny just being grumpy.
Freaks and Geeks
Judd Apatow’s first great comedy.
The X-Files Try the first season, with lotsa stand-alone scares.