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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Television Show Decisions by Ben Jones

Three hours is about as much time as I'm willing to waste on television each week. How to choose?

So here’s the story. Each year I allow myself to faithfully follow four one-hour television shows. Cutting out the commercials (bless you Tivo, bless you) means I can watch these four shows in about three hours, and three hours is about as much time as I’m willing to waste on television each week.

The problem? I’m having trouble thinning the herd. That’s where you come in.

The contenders:

    1. LOST
      I’ve been an addict for two years. Clearly this will be one of the four; no need for discussion.


  • Heroes
    I absolutely love this show. Definitely not giving this one up either.



  • America’s Next Top Model
    I blame my wife for this. I vowed never to watch this show, ever. But my wife’s a photographer and managed to convince me that the photos at the end make the show worth watching. They don’t. But the drama between the models does.



  • The Nine
    Wasn’t considering this until Nance told me it was sortof like LOST because of the interplay between past and the present. Nance even told me that JJ Abrams had something to do with this show, which turned out to be a complete LIE, but it’s too late – I’m hooked.



  • Jericho
    Incredible marketing campaign; I was hooked before I’d even seen the first episode. Too bad the marketing was much better than the actual show. The first two episodes sortof blew, but I stuck with it, hoping that it would deliver eventually. It’s gotten better slowly, but I’m not sure if it’s worthy of being one of the final four. Problem: I need to know who Robert Hawkins really is.



  • Veronica Mars
    My wife has been addicted to this show from the very first episode. I finally got sucked in this year – it’s really good.



  • Ugly Betty
    I had no interest in this show but my mom told me to watch it, so I gave it a shot. It’s really well done, actually. I love her character.



  • The OC
    Long-time readers will note that I’ve never missed an episode of this show. But with Marissa gone, I don’t have high hopes for this season. I feel like the show might be in trouble, but there’s something to be said for viewer loyalty. Hmmm.



  • House
    Another one of my favorites; I can’t imagine cutting this one. I think Greg House is one of the best characters in the history of television.




I imagine there are some shows out there that I haven’t seen yet, so if you really want to complicate things, feel free to add some to the list. :-)

29 responses to “Television Show Decisions”

  1. Laura says:

    Did they really kill off Marissa? I kind of heard about that. That’s exciting, I think she was the stupidest character played by the worst actress of all time. It was a bad combination. Plus, she had an awful wardrobe. I mean, can it get any worse? Seriously.

    We all know that I’m a hardcore VMars fans, so that gets my vote. =P

  2. 3, 7, and 9 are musts because I watch them too.

    As for additions:

    Law & Order: SVU
    Grey’s Anatomy

  3. Mike says:

    Join the largest manhunt in the country…Prison Break!

  4. Matt says:

    Well, if LOST is a must, I’d say Heroes, Veronica Mars, and House, though I enjoyed the few episodes of Ugly Betty I’ve seen. Also, we must get revenge against Nance for the crazy Abrams-Nine misinformation.

  5. yo son says:

    i’d start all over with a new set of shows, ones that are not chock full of mediocre plots and acting. christ, the OC? are you kidding me? ramsey’s nightmare, the boondocks, and sportscenter should be the only shows on anybody’s tivo.

  6. thekeri says:

    Lost, VM, Heroes, and House.

    Forget the OC. You’re crazy.

  7. Jess says:

    Agreed on forgetting The OC and the crazy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cutting House is just a silly idea. Gregory House is seriously the funniest character EVER. And the show hasn’t even been on the whole month of October due to baseball playoffs, so if you have a passion for another show, you could watch it during the month that house wasn’t on.

    Oct 31 is the next new episode! I know I’m excited!!

  9. Brandy says:

    You don’t watch news? Come on, you can’t squeeze in 30 minutes for World News Tonight? LOL

    I don’t know about the shows you listed. I’ve never seen them before, but I do like the Amazing Race.

    I like the “psychology” behind it. Who will crack under pressure and who will keep it together. I also enjoy watching them travel around the world, meeting the locals. What an awesome experience that must be.

  10. I vote for House because it’s the only TV show on your list that I watch.

    Seriously – Dr. House is amazing. I want to be like him when I grow up.

  11. Colin says:

    Since 1 and 2 are definites, the other choices are clearly Veronica Mars and House, two of the best shows on television.

    I haven’t watched Heroes, but I’ve heard so much about it. What’s it like?

  12. Sh1fty says:

    House is definitely the best show on the list. I watch CSI, BSG, Las Vegas and Hu$tle. Too bad I don’t have TiVo, I hate the commercials :(

  13. elizabeth says:

    House is life. If you cut that one, I may have to hate you. And that would just be sad.

  14. Mollie says:

    America’s Next Top Model confuses me — when they show the photos at the end, they’re always like “ooh, this one is so good” or “she’ll never be a top model with this face” — and yet they all look the same to me.

    I agree with above posters that House = love.

    My weekly shows are House and Lost, all the way!

  15. Jon says:

    I agree with House and Heroes, excellent shows. I STRONGLY suggest Grey’s Anatomy though……it seems that every episode is better than the last…it’s awesome.

    And you can always catch America’s Next Top Model on some random saturday when they replay the ENTIRE season on VH1 (that’s when I catch it……sometimes)

  16. Melis says:

    First off, while I still occassionally watch it, the OC is now lame and they have exhausted every possible plotline.

    But, you should definitely get into Grey’s Anatomy and in a few months, it’s 24 time!!! Jack Bauer and Dr. McDreamy, what more could you ask for, Ben?

  17. mt07 says:

    Veronica Mars, Lost, House, The Amazing Race. Then, assuming your TiVo is big enough, record and save Ugly Betty and OC for rerun season.

  18. Mikey Yang says:

    If you’ve gotta choose, #3 has gotta be House. As for #4…I’m not sure, but Studio 60 is another great show imo. I’m surprised so many people brought up Amazing Race – that is my guilty pleasure (I wasn’t going to mention it at first out of shame, but honestly, it’s so good).

    I also watch Grey’s, Desperate Housewives, and Family Guy pretty regularly (and just started Six Degrees too), but I don’t think they’re “top 4” contenders. And of course, who can forget 24?

  19. Christina says:

    Where is Grey’s Anatomy?

    Sigh. I remember the good old days when I had time for television.

  20. Shannon says:

    Absolutely DO NOT cut House. That’s the only show I actually sit down and watch every week.

  21. Heather says:

    I must say, by reading this blog you may have increased the hours of television I watch a week. I love House and I also love Grey’s Anatomy. You should try that one and now I have a whole list of shows to consider.. Thanks a lot. lol.

  22. Heather says:

    I must say, by reading this blog you may have increased the hours of television I watch a week. I love House and I also love Grey’s Anatomy. You should try that one and now I have a whole list of shows to consider.. Thanks a lot. lol.

  23. Yin says:

    definitely The Heroes, House, Lost, and Project Runway. By the way, Project Runway is waaaaay better than Top Model. Dont ask me why I watch those shows as I’m a guy, but they’re really good.

  24. Kash says:

    since Heroes and Lost are musts, the next two you should pick should be Veronica Mars and House.

  25. reg says:

    well since 1 and 2 are staying, i’ll vote for house! i haven’t seen any other ones on your list (blame the tv station for not buying the right to show them), so i won’t vote on them~

  26. Kristina says:

    House is a definite must have on the list. Its impossible to live without House’s weekly banter in my household haha.

  27. Larisa says:

    Wow I’ve never even heard of Ugly Betty.
    What’s with you MIT guys and Veronica Mars? I actually tuned in last week
    to see what the fuss was about. I think the last show to be this overhyped was smallville.
    House is a must-save. The OC—okay what was with them all getting into Ivy Leagues?
    I mean I saw how they spent their time, I don’t know if that was really plausible.
    At the same time it was nice to see Brody rejected. I mean even Adam Brody gets rejected
    so I guess if I do it’s not big deal. haha.
    Okay Jericho, also haven’t heard of it.
    Your America’s Next Top Model sounds like my former obsession with Project Runway. Frankly I thought Heidi Klum got a little over the top dramatic but whatever floats your boat. You should start watching E.R. and counter to what some of my friends think, you do not have to watch it from the first episode to get it. But then again I have seen all of the episodes, but even before I did I still liked it. Plus this season is getting really good, and they’re really timely with everything as far as reflecting what is going on in the world as we speak. Neela’s husband was in Iraq, Morris is finding the kids that resulted from his donated sperm, it’s exciting stuff.
    So here’s the list: House, Lost, Heroes and E.R. That’s your three plus one making four. oh man I’m so good at math. haha

  28. Justin K. says:

    House, Lost, and Heroes. No Contest.

    House: Everybody wishes they could be Hugh Laurie – did you know he has an accent in real life? It should be nice to see it return tonight.

    Lost: I had started watching the beginning of second season (I know, my friends(die-hard fans) were with me during my first viewing, speaking as quickly as they could going off on millions of tangents to explain the past episodes during the commmercial breaks.

    Heroes: Absolutely mind-blowing. I recorded the last 4 episodes and when I watched them in succession last weekend from 11pm – 2:30am. Every episode is more mind-blowing. I love Hiro too! :D

    Have you ever watched 24?

  29. Ha, cut TV? Who does that?

    Actually, I’ve got a good show for you to start watching instead of The OC and Ugly Betty, Bones on Fox.

    It’s by far the best show I’ve ever seen. Judo chopping Forensic Anthropologist who solves murders by looking at dead people’s bones? That’s pretty sweet I’d say.

    And I totally agree with Yin. Project Runway > America’s Next Top Model.