I’ve found that I like watching weekly series on TV because of the people, not the plots. The storylines are an important part of the overall picture. But the reason I’m drawn back, week after week, is because I love hanging out with the series regulars.

Some series have an amazing ensemble of characters and actors. There’s magical chemistry between the fictional characters as well as between the actors who play them. I enjoy watching how my TV friends deal with each week’s crises and plot twists. I wait for the tidbits we’re thrown regularly that enrich our understanding of the characters’ psyches and the relationships between the characters.

One of my long time favorite crime shows is “NCIS”. The original one. It involves a team of Naval crime fighters in Washington, D.C. The team banters and sleuths its way through each episode’s case. The relationships are complex between the people on the team. The layers have layers after all these years. And over each season, you learn more and more about the personal lives of all of the main players.

Long running shows like “NCIS” have stayed successful all this time — despite cast turnovers –because they keep the group dynamics constant. You hate to see your favorite actors leave, but the replacements manage to integrate into the show seamlessly. Crimes are still solved the same way. The teasing, joking and office gossiping go on, uninterrupted.

Two of my other favorite shows revolve around extended families. “Life In Pieces” is a half hour comedy and “This Is Us” is a one hour drama. These shows have amazing character development and deep, rich, interrelationships.

“Life In Pieces” is incredibly well-written! It deals with three generations of a close-knit family – older parents, three grown siblings, their significant others and their children. Much of the humor is based on character. The family members are quirky and over-the-top enough to be funny, but they’re also believable. So are the jokes and situations.

I love these weird and wonderful people! I can’t wait to see what they’re going to be up to each week. I used to feel this way about “Modern Family” but for me, it has crossed the line into caricature these days.

“This Is Us” is a drama about a set of triplets and their parents. The story is divided into two timelines, an interesting device. There is the present when the triplets are in their thirties, and the past which follows their parents through courtship, marriage and parenthood, into the kids’ teen years.

Again, superior writing and character development. The timelines are woven together subtly and cleverly. The time I spend with these people flies by and I’m always shocked when the hour is up so soon. There are some mysteries about the past which are revealed slowly, of course. Still, the main reason the show was a big hit in its first season, was because of the interesting, real, multi-level people who populate the show.

More and more I turn on the television to spend time with my old TV friends. Like the gang on “The Big Bang Theory”, the bickering partners on “Hawaii 5-0” who go to couples counseling, and the present day Sherlock Holmes and female Dr. Watson on “Elementary”.

I miss these people when their shows go on hiatus. I’m excited to see them again when the shows return. The murders, mysteries, plots, and punch lines are great fun. But I’m in it for the characters. They are all part of my life now.


  1. Last night I had one of those dreams that goes on all night, even after you wake up and go back to sleep. It was (what a surprise!) a murder mystery. Complete with Garry and I hunting down killers, trying to find a way to save them. They were killers, but not really bad boys … just not-in-step with social norms. So — yes, we have been watching too many murder mysteries. FAR too many.

    Not only have we come to closely identify with the characters on these long-running shows, but i often dream myself right into their story lines.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We have been watching more of them, though not on network. A lot of British and Australian ones. But this recent one is a cop who is also a chef, which is great because I get recipes and Garry gets corpses.


    1. I used to like a wider variety of shows. I’m more particular now too. But there are still a lot that I can get into. As the blog said, if I can relate to the main characters, I can get drawn in.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m finding it harder to stay involved with shows that veer off into excessive violence, even when the characters are richly developed. The Blacklist used to be a favorite but it got so dark that I just lost interest. And there is a central mystery about the relationship of the main characters that they dragged out for too many years. After a while, you feel like the viewers are being manipulated, strung along. Sometimes I wonder if even the writers know all the answers. Like the story of Lost – where none of the writers had any idea where the story would end up or how to tie everything together.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. We watched Lost for a few seasons and then gave up. It was obvious that there was no expolanation coming – just more writers twists and turns leading nowhere. We got frustrated.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. We get tired of shows. We watch a couple of seasons, but when it’s just as you say, writer twists, it gets tedious (and unnecessarily complicated) … and there are so many “standard twist plots” that you recognize them immediately. I suppose we need to see the plot more forward.


      1. Ellin, as you well know, I’m a big time “NCIS” fan with lots of show gear. Cap, hoodies, rain jacket, tote bag, etc. I’m the unofficial chief of “NCIS:Uxbridge”.

        I’ve got your 6, Ellin.


  2. Yes me too, I think my favourite shows have always been the ones with ensemble casts where you can see the relationships grow and change. I loved Star Trek TOS and Next Gen as much for that as for the SF and even the political drama of the West Wing was fascinating I enjoyed it as much because I really cared about those characters. I just started watching This is Us and am enjoying it so far.


    1. Tom loved all the Star Trek series! And we both adored West Wing. I have a friend with a daughter too young to have watched West Wing when it was on TV. She has watched every season online now and absolutely loved it. So it obviously crossed generations. I hope you like This Is Us as much as we do!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It must be great to watch the government on “West Wing” these days! For me, it’s too much of a reminder of what we’re stuck with now. I feel that way about “Designated Survivor”, which Tom loves. Even after the whole government is blown up in a terrorist attack, it functions better than the Trump fiasco! To see caring politicians, ready to compromise and an intelligent, moral, compassionate president, it just rubs salt in the open wounds.


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