Great TV Shows I Have Known

It’s that time of year when the leaves begin to change color and the nights are blissfully cool.  I settle in with a cup of hot tea while my husband gets ready for Monday night football.  And the fall line-up of TV shows dangles like a carrot in front of my nose.

So far, the old carrot trick isn’t working for me.  I’ve never seen an episode of “Survivor” or “Big Brother,” and the onslaught of ads for their new season instinctively cause my right thumb to change channels in less than a nanosecond, technically maintaining my chastity where these two reality shows are concerned.

The new shows leave me cold.  There’s a remake of “The Defenders” and “Hawaii 5-0.”  They weren’t that great the first time around, but at least they were original when they debuted in the 1960s.  And, of course, there are Kardashians, Gosselins, bachelors, bachelorettes, biggest losers, top models, cake bosses, real housewives, swapped wives, as well as an array of other unlikable, offensive, and dull characters.

All of which make me long for the great TV shows I have known: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (with Betty White’s priceless portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens, The Happy Homemaker), LA Law, The Wonder Years, Seinfeld, Boston Legal, and my very own secret guilty pleasure, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As much as I miss those TV greats, the one I miss most deeply – and perhaps the greatest of them all – is 24.

How I will miss Jack Bauer.  Of all my liaisons with fictional broadcast characters, Jack was by far the most compelling.  I trekked through eight years with him, minute by minute, counting the days until Monday night finally arrived and the clock began to tick again.

I have to admit I got all choked up during the last episode of season eight when Jack said his final goodbye to Chloe. For all the times I laughed out loud when his phone rang as he huddled under a car just inches away from his would-be killers who for some reason didn’t hear the ringtone … for all the times I chuckled as he interrupted the President to take a call from his daughter or one of the many damsels in distress who frequently called him on his super-secret CTU line … and for all the times he growled the very unofficial command, “NOW” to co-workers, spies, good guys and bad guys … I found myself longing for one more hour, one more escape, one more daring rescue.

Things won’t be the same this fall.  There’s an empty spot on my VCR program.  It’s Jack’s spot.  It was a bright spot in the middle of Monday night football, and it won’t be filled anytime soon.

My husband recently asked me when the new season of 24 begins.  I broke it to him as gently as I could.  A look of disbelief crossed his face.

I gently patted his back and told him about 24 The Movie.  It’s scheduled for release in 2012.  I know it’s little consolation, but until then, we will wait patiently as the minutes drag by in real time …


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