The Shows That Made Us Fall in Love With TV

Valentine's Day: a time to open up a nice bottle of red wine and fall into the loving arms of your... favorite TV show. For most normals, television is an occasional treat, but for SideReel's editors, it's a true love. Like all relationships, TV can be challenging ("ugh, so many episodes of Scandal to get through") and it can disappoint (see: Homeland Season 3), but it also can delight. We're all in the throws of great romances with television that go back many years. Here are just a few examples of the series that made us fall in love with TV.

 

 

T.J.

Life Goes On

Among the few childhood memories I haven't blocked out is this TV-centric one: In fourth grade, we were finally allowed to pick a musical instrument to learn. A choir kid, I had longed to play music too, so I jumped at the chance and chose the saxophone. It was all so exciting: going to a music store to pay for the instrument, assembling it, figuring out how the reed worked, and finally, learning to play. And then… it was a little less exciting. A total beginner with what some would describe as a patience deficit, it was frustrating fumbling through those first few weeks of lessons. But I persevered! Until practice interfered with my totes fave TV show, Life Goes On. When I was forced to choose between spending my precious Sunday evenings learning how to make musical magic happen by blowing air through a conical brass tube or watching the Thatchers battle every serious social issue the early '90s could throw at a family dramedy, I chose television.

Felicity

My SideReel bio reads "University of New York, class of '02" for a reason. Felicity is my JAM. I remember being very aware of the show during the summer before it premiered. One of the big entertainment magazines included it among the fall's must-watch new series, and since it was a college drama that coincided with the start of my college drama, I made sure to check it out. And it was good, you guys. So good. It was a show about young people that treated its audience with respect. It made a star out of Keri Russell. It featured THE love triangle. It was super moody and dark — literally, the lighting was so dim — but also sometimes light and fun. You know, like college. And with J.J. Abrams, the show wasn't afraid to take storytelling risks, most of which really paid off. Yes, even the final four episodes, a hard right turn down a sci-fi path that I was living for.

Happy Endings

I have loved many modern, single-camera comedies, from 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation to Broad City and Catastrophe. But there's one I absolutely adore: Happy Endings. It's the best sitcom of the past 10 years, without a doubt. A highly GIFable, quotable, bingeable series that brought together the absolute perfect cast to play borderline sociopaths who are not always likable but who are completely lovable. The six friends play with 1990s sitcom tropes, but obliterate the traditional boundaries in a refreshingly modern way that still, watching them a few years later, doesn't feel dated. No show has made me laugh out loud as often as this one, and no single television moment has made me laugh as much as Penny's disastrous trip to the car dealership with Jane. The actors and creators have gone on to work on new projects of varying creative and commercial success, but #sorrynotsorry, this will be the career highlight for each.

 

Morgaine

Smallville

You never forget your first. Binge, that is. Two weeks before the fourth season premiere, my family decided it was time to stop catching out-of-order reruns of Smallville and start the series from the beginning. There was no time to lose, so we bought the first three seasons on DVD and dove right in. My life became eating, breathing, and sleeping Smallville. My mother was a ruthless binge leader, watching ahead while I was at school and insisting there was no time to go back and rewatch the episodes I'd missed. We caught up with just minutes to spare before the premiere. And from then on I was hooked. I'd like to say I was in it for my nerdy love of the comic book-inspired storylines or John Glover's nuanced portrayal of Lionel Luthor, but I'm pretty sure most of the magic was generated by the potent combination of my raging 17-year-old hormones with The CW's knack for casting beautiful 30-somethings as high school kids. Tom Welling defined my taste in men for years to come — my parents even nicknamed my first boyfriend Clark Kent.

Alas, from that first TV love also came my first heartbreak. What happens to a TV cancellation deferred? The show gets three too many seasons and suddenly what was once a blissful hour of my week felt like a chore. I stuck it out to the bitter end, long after the rest of my friends and family had fallen off the show. I'd like to say this first heartbreak lessened the blow of later shows that went the same way, but in all honesty, it hurt just as bad with The Office and How I Met Your Mother. (And since we're airing grudges, I still haven't forgiven the writers for not running with the Chlois theory. I ship Chlark forever.)

 

Alex

Seinfeld

Although I was much too young to be able to fully appreciate the humor of a show about nothing, watching Seinfeld with my family has always been a fond TV memory for me. The subtleties of Jerry’s attempted deadpan delivery were almost always lost on me and I’m fairly certain I didn’t understand most of the jokes (though Elaine’s dancing is universally hilarious). But the nostalgia of my parents’ pee-pants laughter makes re-watching old episodes now even more enjoyable for me.

The Sopranos

Frequent TV watching was embraced rather than frowned upon while growing up in my family, but for some reason, mafia-related shows were the one off-limits genre, according to my parents. That made my going off to college and having the freedom to binge-watch The Sopranos that much more satisfying to me (thanks, SideReel!). I guess you could say it was my "gateway" show into the addictive world of premium television… and look at me now!

 

Rachel

Full House

One of the first shows I remember truly loving was Full House. I mean, what young girl wasn't obsessed with the Olsen twins in the early '90s? In fact, I'd argue that Full House profoundly impacted my life in a number of ways. First off, after moving to a new city in third grade, I learned that a girl who lived around the corner from me also loved it, so I went to her house after school one day to watch — and we're still friends nearly 25 years later. I also learned to avoid wearing vests at all costs so you don't accidentally dress like your teacher (I legit stopped wearing vests after watching that episode, at least for a few years). Lastly, I realized from an early age that, at least based on the intro and some B-roll footage, San Francisco seemed like a pretty awesome city. Guess what? I live there now and it's pretty great. (Sadly, I don't own a beautiful Victorian, though.) Thanks, Full House!

 

We showed you ours; now you show us yours. Which shows give you that warm and fuzzy feeling? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Feb 13, 2017 9:50PM EST

What a fantastic article! I can totally relate to the feeling of falling in love with a really good television show, especially this time of year lol. As lame as it is to say this, mine was Pokemon. Waking up early every Saturday morning waiting to see which exciting monster Ash encountered next was the only thing I cared about as a kid. It was this love that grew to an unhealthy television watching obsession.

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Feb 14, 2017 4:01AM EST

M*A*S*H. I may have only been two when they finished screening it, but we had repeats here for years. All I really remember is that it was Hawkeye that was the reason I watched, and as I got older that never changed (as in, for many years I never realised that Trapper and BJ weren't the same person, or that Radar had left, it was all about Hawkeye).

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Feb 14, 2017 12:45PM EST

Cheers, yo.

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Feb 14, 2017 2:51PM EST

There are quite a few shows I have very fond memories of. As a teen, as a young adult and now.
Growing up in Germany, it was a treat to be able to watch American TV shows that were not that common on the "offical" German channels. When I was about 11/12 years old the "private" channels started and one of the very first shows I got to watch was "Knight Rider" - boy, did I love David Hasselhoff and his car. Than it was the "A-Team" and one of my all-time favorites "Remington Steele". With my Mom I got to watch "Dynasty". As a young adult, married to an American, I got to watch all those great 90s shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends". And I got hooked on THE GREATEST SHOW EVER: Mash 4077. I own them all on DVD and no matter how often I re-watch it, it never gets old. And right next to Mash is the one other show that I actually own on DVD: Eureka.
I rarely talk about my "addiction" to other people because they don't understand. I do have a life. But I love TV! And I love watching "my" shows.

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Feb 15, 2017 10:10AM EST

Fun little article :).

I watched television before Veronica Mars came into my life, but mostly just reruns of Beverly Hills and Friends which was on everyday after school, but then Veronica came into my life and I really started watching television. I sat down every week for a new episode and caught up on everything about it. My obsession with that one show spiraled out and I fell in love with what good television could do, and I started watching old shows I'd missed before my love affair with television started, I picked up brand new shows that I saw potential in and started recruiting friends to watch them to. And I haven't really stopped since.

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Feb 15, 2017 6:31PM EST

Nice article guys!
As a kid I was hooked on sitcoms, and I watched them all. Family Ties, Cheers, Perfect Strangers, Rosanne, Murphy Brown, Empty Nest, Golden Girls and shows like Moonlighting and 21 Jump Street (see my 'When I Was Just a Little Girl list' ;)). O and I loved Caroll Burnett's show and Gary Shandling's Show.

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Feb 15, 2017 10:27PM EST

SMALLVILLE was one of my first binge watch series that I really loved

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Feb 17, 2017 5:56AM EST

The x files was one of the first series that got me to fall in love with tv then (chuck prison break and heroes ) from these i got kind of addicted to tv series.

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Feb 17, 2017 8:00AM EST

My first "love" for TV came early, in my "tweens" as it's now called, for a morning "cartoon" on an independent TV station. That series was Star Blazers. I would find out later that this was an early example of something called "anime" from Japan. It wasn't the "anime" style, but rather the interstellar setting, the evolving story, and sometimes non-child-like themes that captured my fascination.

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Feb 18, 2017 11:51AM EST

I would say LA Law and Cheers would be in my top 5 of 80s shows.

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Feb 19, 2017 4:51PM EST

As far as I can remember my first tv series was Roswell but unfortunately our local tv stopped showing it (w/c made me sad that time). But my first loved series was Dawson's Creek. I had to wear earphones so that my mom will not know I'm still watching tv beyond curfew time.

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Feb 19, 2017 5:10PM EST

charmed totally did it for me !!!! my first, not my last but, it meant everything

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