Desert Island Meme, Part 2: TV

Our recent “Desert Island DVDs by Genre” list seemed to elicit fewer yawns than usual, which has emboldened me to put forth a memequel. This one’s similar to the first, except instead of movies, you get to pick boxed sets of television programs to accompany you on your island getaway. However, you still have to stick with the genres. (Don’t gripe at me; I don’t make the rules. OK, I do make the rules, but I don’t know what I’m doing.)

Here’s my list (and I’ve tried to stick with broadcast shows; no offense to you premium cable subscribers):

  • WesternRawhide (I toyed with Gunsmoke for a moment, but just couldn’t take the thought of being alone with Chester for all that time. At the same time, Maverick was a strong contender.)
  • HorrorTwilight Zone (The horror genre is underserved on broadcast TV, but as a mere youth, some of the TZ eps gave me nightmares, so it qualifies.)
  • Sci-FiX-Files (I never enjoyed the government conspiracy episodes, but there were enough creature features to more than make it worthwhile.)
  • MusicalAmerican Bandstand (I still remember being inspired by Blue Cheer and their wall of amps.)
  • ComedyThe Dick Van Dyke Show (Not only funny, but a great series of snapshots from a culture that changed America in many ways.)
  • Police/Crime/Courtroom DramaBoomtown (Smart and edgy, this could have been the best police series in history, if NBC hadn’t given up so quickly.)
  • Medical DramaM.A.S.H. (It’s my list, and I don’t have to choose E.R. if I don’t want to. And I’ve never watched House.)
  • ForeignFawlty Towers (Consistently hysterical, especially the occasional attempts at American accents.)
  • VarietyThe Ed Sullivan Show (Two words: Topo Gigio!)
  • Mini-SeriesShogun (How can you not pick the show that made konichiwa and domo arigato a part of mainstream American vocabulary?)
  • Bonus Pick (any genre)Seinfeld (The Dick Van Dyke Show for the 90s.)


  1. I guess I’m easily amused too, then, cause I thought “memequel” was rather clever too.
    Maybe I’m just out of touch with clever.
    I shall be off to complete this myself shortly.

  2. I’ll sum up every episode of “House” for you in 6 short steps:
    (1) Dude is brought into the hospital with some weird problem.
    (2) House diagnoses the guy despite everyone saying “that can’t be what’s wrong.”
    (3) House insists. They test and treat patient for said diagnosis.
    (4) Something bad happens to the patient. They all blame House’s insistence, and try to find other reasons for the patient’s troubles.
    (5) Nothing works! They spend 45 minutes trying to figure it out until patient is 5 minutes away from dying.
    (6) Turns out, it was House’s original diagnosis… they just went about it the wrong way to begin with! Hahahaha.
    Actually, it really is pretty good.

  3. kyle, you forgot to add, “oh yeah, and Dr. House gets in trouble for his addiction to prescription painkillers.” It doesn’t matter where it’s placed in the plot, but it’s always there somewhere.

  4. Josh, it’s not your fault (probably ;-). I think my database — or the interface to it — has been having some problems lately. I’ll delete two of your comments.
    I dunno…there’s really only so much they can do nowadays with medical dramas on TV; everything’s pretty much been done to death, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear that “House” is now a formulaic presentation. I trust that it’s a well-presented formula.

  5. Boomtown ran only a couple of seasons. Each episode focused on a single crime, but told it from several perspectives…from the police, the EMT, the criminal, the victim…etc. It sounds hokey, but they managed to pull it off. Plus, it featured Neal McDonough and Donnie Wahlburg, both of whom are excellent actors, imo.

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