Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving:
Answer 1: My Name is Earl
Joy cracks me up (I kind of want to be her? Or at least be her best friend. Our abrasive and judgmental personalities seem well-suited), Darnell is awesome, Earl grew on me (he's so adorably earnest in his quest to right his past wrongs), Catalina is...er, really hot?, and even Randy went from being a supremely irritating presence to someone so dopey he's lovable. Like everyone else says, season 3 is not my favorite (although I did get Michael Rapaport out of the prison arc), but I don't think it destroyed the show either, only dimmed it a little. All the current MyNetwork promos for this series highlight the worst possible aspects of it (mainly drunken debauchery), and leave out the weirdly heartwarming theme of family, be it blood or blended. Okay, so it's a slightly hidden theme, but I swear it is in there.
Sci-fi? Aliens? Oh, hell to the no, I said. But then it turned out the aliens were merely plot devices, not unlike the crimes on my procedurals, while the real magic comes from the richness of both main and minor/recurring characters. But mostly, between the Doctor and Rose you had the best partnership since Mulder & Scully to grace the airwaves, and since Rose was never really gone even in her absence (until Moffat took over, I presume/hope), and The Doctor was still David Tennant, the subsequent partnerships worked just as well. Of course, it is dead to me in its current incarnation, but boy do I love the 2005-2009 series.
[I considered choosing The Office, since I had an active HATE CAMPAIGN going against that one while now it's one of my most-tagged shows, but then I remembered that for the most part, I still don't like it. Sure, I own the series on DVD as completely as possible, but can you really love a show when you want to kill half its cast and can't watch it without the power of liberal fast-forward at your command?]
Day 11 - A show that disappointed you
CSI: Miami. I know people have been mocking it since day 1, but I bought the first three seasons on DVD (my first TV-shows-on-DVD ever!), and I'm not sorry - every time I go back to one of those episodes it knocks me flat on my ass with stunning quality. It is every inch its predecessor's equal, no matter how grumpy William Petersen was about its existence. Rich cases, richer character development, Yelina is still around being awesome; it is amazing. There is a reason this show spontaneously awakened my long-dormant ability to write fanfic, and to date is still my most prolific fandom.
Season 4 I haven't seen in a while, but I'm pretty sure it's right on par. Maybe it wobbles here and there as it eases into the plateau, namely by introducing Natalia, but mostly that is the year of Marisol (say hello to my default icon! you should all have it well memorized at this point). The opening scenes of its premiere, with Horatio at confession, took my breath away and quickly started moving this show from "pretty great" to "#1 series" as it blazed right past Vegas, who only managed to keep the title for the length of a summer hiatus. Then season 5 happened and it pretty much fell off a cliff.
The memory of "Rio" still brings tears of horror to my eyes, at the vast discrepancy between what it should have been and what it was. The entire season sucked that way, No Man's Land/Man's Down notwithstanding, and that was pretty much the last time quality happened. Subsequent years got more outlandish, more ridiculous, more insanely driven by its own hype for cheese until it was completely off both its rocker and the charts as far as anything resembling realism. I swear -- once upon a time, it was brilliant.
As for a show I tried to watch but couldn't get off the ground, Criminal Minds. It has all the trappings of a spectacular work of crime drama, and all the data says it should be a favorite, but it absolutely refuses to click with me. I've given it several chances now, but nothing about it holds my interest. All of the characters are just "meh." Plus every time I turn around, another lady is gliding out the door, so the recent news about cast shakeups is just a cake topper.
Day 12 - An episode you've watched more than 5 times
Well, besides nearly everything on That 70's Show and Seinfeld...
I'm gonna say Bones, "Aliens in a Spaceship," possibly better known as "The Gravedigger." It's the episode that hooked me on the show, the episode that launched the good ship Hodgins/Angela for me (I love that even though I am still peeved about their stupid-ass breakup and never ever want them to get back together, I will always appreciate this gorgeous episode), and one of the rare bits I can go back to in season 2 and still ship Booth/Brennan.
I love the fact that not one but two main characters are in mortal peril, and knowing that neither of them could possibly be killed off does not at all lessen the suspense. There is makeshift surgery, minus anesthesia. There are teary confessions to a third party of unrequited love (also, surprise! someone nearly dying on you scratches out that "un" pretty fast. God, I love that last scene with Hodgins & Angela at the end). There is Science, Being Awesome And Prolonging Life. And there is an awesome whirlwind frenzy back at the lab as Booth rides herd on the remnants of his Squints gang, kicking them into gear when he runs out of metaphorical doors to kick in on his search. Plus, that Booth-running scene that made it into the opening credits? That's iconic. Although the cruel irony of his closing statements, that it took all of them to save the day and that if you take even one away it all falls apart, will never stop gutting me.
Truer but more boring answer, which I'm including just because I like how succinct I am with it: Numb3rs, "Angels and Devils."
You might remember my epic post about it, or that other time I mentioned it as my favorite Numb3rs moment, but let's go ahead and remind you again! Centered around Amita's abduction, this is essentially every desire it is possible to cram into one hour of a crime show. You've got your women-being-ripped-out-of-lovers-arms, your presumed-dead anguish, a couple mild instances of character injury, your awesome FBI team search-and-rescue effort, fraternal support, boyfriends in despair, damsels in distress awesomely helping facilitate their own rescue, reunion hugs, and a proposal. With bonus Sarah Drew and Lou Diamond Phillips. Every minute is interesting & important, too; nothing to fast-forward. It is pretty much lightning in a bottle as far as TV episodes go.
Day 13 - Favorite childhood show
Wishbone! It combined books with animals -- uh, is there any way for that NOT to be awesome? No. An adorable little Jack Russel terrier grabs a main role, and then with the help of his imagination, a fantastic period-costume department, and great set design, takes you through condensed versions of various classic novels. You don't want to know how many novels this show later helped me read. Pride & Prejudice, anyone? Yeah, there was a time prior to the age of 18 when I liked Jane Austen in theory but had never actually read her work, and was finding it horrendously difficult. Visualizing how Wishbone had told it sped things right along. In fact, Wishbone was how I heard of most of those stories in the first place. From there I went to Great Illustrated Classics, and then if I felt like it a decade later, I started moving on to the original works.
Not that I didn't also love the rest of the show, with Wishbone living his regular doggy life, hanging out with Joe & Joe's mom & friends. I just haven't seen this show in such a ridiculously long time (it's not on DVD! Or in syndication! I don't have the patience to watch entire 20-minute shows on YouTube unless they are The Class!) that I don't remember that part as well, other than thinking Sam was awesome and wanting to live her life.