Six shows you need to see

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a discussion about a hugely popular television show you’ve never watched? Well, this happens to me. I’m often embarrassed that I haven’t watched enough television (which is something I never thought I was capable of feeling).

A friend of mine sent me an email the other day with the subject line, “Mary Tyler Moore is on DVD, yeah baby!!!!!!!!!!!” Her 11 punctuation marks of jubilation led me to believe this was news to really get excited over, only I couldn’t. You see, I have a confession to make: I have never seen an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show — not a one. It has been on numerous countdowns as one of the funniest and most groundbreaking shows ever, and still I have neglected to see it, despite the existence of the syndication time capsule Nick at Nite.

Thankfully, for people like me, complete series of programs such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show are now available on box set. DVD boxed sets give us the chance to sit down at our convenience in our comfiest pajamas for hours on end to catch up with devoted fans. It takes me two days to do what took others years. The boxed set is a crash course in television. There are so many long-running shows that so many of us have not seen at all or seen in their entirety, but now, thanks to the DVD box set, we can.

Here is a short list of series that I think, if you haven’t seen yet, you should, because they are hilarious. (Oh, and they helped knock down a whole bunch of walls for women in entertainment.)

6 Complete Series Available on DVD You Should See:

1.The Mary Tyler Moore Show

All I know about The Mary Tyler Moore Show is that in the opening credits, she famously throws her beret-looking hat in the air, and then freeze frame. Of course there is more to this series than that, so I (along with some of you) will own up to my Moore-less life and settle in to watch this award-winning series.

We owe it to Mary Tyler Moore to take time to watch her All-American-girl antics in this groundbreaking sitcom of the 1970s. This show was so important because the writing was sharp and the plot focused on an independent woman in the workplace. Unlike the archetypal shows of that time (which focused on women finding love or raising a family), Ms. Moore bucked the trend and blazed the trail for sitcom women of today.

2. The Golden Girls

With the loss of Estelle Getty this summer, watching The Golden Girls is bittersweet. This show truly redefined family dynamics by focusing on the loving friendship between four women. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia didn’t spend their golden years sitting in rocking chairs knitting scarves; these sassy ladies had more of a swinging dating life in their senior years than I ever did in my 20s. Their sharp quips, put-downs and sexual humor put the show on the map as one of the funniest sitcoms ever created.

3. Absolutely Fabulous

I know I’ve blogged before about my excitement about the release of the Absolutely Fabulous box set, and I must still be just as excited because I’m going to mention it again. The drunken adventures of Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are not to be missed. It’s not every day that you find a television show with lines like this:

Edina: Inside of me there’s a thin woman trying to get out.
Her mother: Are you sure it’s just the one, dear?

This British comedy dared to make fun of sex, drugs, booze and family matters, all in the same series. Somehow you still you walk away from the show completely endeared to both Patsy and Edina, despite their addictions and obsessions. The comedy broke ground while making Le Croix a household name.

4. The Carol Burnett Show

Before Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres were considered TV’s funniest women, there was Burnett. When women weren’t hired to do comic variety shows, Carol Burnett proved that women could be just as funny (and she was the funniest). Her series was considered the best of that genre of television. See where the ear tugging began by watching this boxed set.

5. Sex and the City

Even if Carrie and Co. weren’t exactly your cup of tea (or if you never liked cosmopolitans), you have to appreciate how Sex and the City empowered women. The series opened a lot of eyes to the shocking idea that women are gasp! independent and sexual beings and they do not need a man to make them happy. (Shoot, we could have told them that.)

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Who would have thought that a movie that was a box-office flop could turn into one of the best television series of our time? A butt-kicking vampire killer with wit and sass to spare — that is how I like my heroines. The show also broke ground with the inception of the first lesbian character (Willow) to enter prime time.

Are there any shows that you have missed that are on your must watch list?