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See Jane Write... About 'Pawn Stars' And Other TV Favorites
May 12, 2010  | By Jane Boursaw
Hola, TV WORTH WATCHING readers! I'm new here, so I thought I'd introduce myself by telling you about some of our favorite shows in this household. But first, a bit about me...

I live in Traverse City, Michigan, and I've been making a living at this writing business for three decades. My work has grown and evolved through the years to where I now write mainly about movies, TV and celebrities, with an emphasis on family fare.

I've written for hundreds of newspapers, magazines and Web sites over the years, including Variety, The New York Times, TV Squad, Moviefone and Family Circle, but now I mainly focus on my own site and services, based at Reel Life With Jane.

My syndicated family movie and TV reviews go out to 300-plus print and online publications, reaching some 20 million readers monthly. I also teach online blogging classes at WriteBlogLearn, and am available for WordPress design and tech issues as well. Yeah, I'm a renaissance girl.

OK, let's talk about those TV shows. With a history-buff husband and two teenagers in the house, our TV viewing habits are varied and eclectic. It's tough to narrow it down, but here are five shows that we look forward to every week -- or did, until some of their seasons came to an end recently.


1. Pawn Stars. I wasn't crazy about the name of this History Channel show at first. It just didn't seem very, well, family-oriented. But we've grown to love the show (new episodes are televised Mondays at 10 p.m. ET), partly because of the banter between Rick, the Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumlee, and partly because it's a great history lesson.

Thanks to Pawn Stars, we've learned about NASA's Gemini launch, the Batmobile, an 18th-century musket, a 1900s Gibson mandolin, and a 450-year-old book once owned by Sir Isaac Newton. These guys make history fun.


2. American Idol. I wasn't sure about the judge-shuffle on this long-running Fox hit this season, but we really like the combination of Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez. I'm not sure we really needed to see Jennifer's video of "On the Floor" a few weeks ago and then watch it again live last week. But hey, self-promotion is everything in the entertainment business, so I'll cut her a little slack.

The contestants this year are the best ever, and we look forward to the performances each week. My favorite: James Durbin.


3. The Vampire Diaries. OK, so my son and husband don't get the whole vampire craze, but my daughter and I watch this show religiously. With the season two finale looming tonight at 8 ET on the CW, we've already gone back to revisit season one on DVD.

What started as a typical teen show, with a girl caught between two vampire brothers, has transitioned to include witches, werewolves, and other creatures of the night. If only the show weren't so darned dark! I don't mean psychologically dark; I mean dark as in hard to see. The sound editing needs some work, too, but overall, the show's a keeper.

4. Parenthood. This NBC drama is another show my daughter and I watched each week, especially because we're smack in the middle of revisiting seasons of Gilmore Girls, so anything with Lauren Graham is cool.

But the entire cast is great, and I love that the interactions among the family seem real and not overly Hollywood-ized.


My siblings and I need to work on dancing in the kitchen together, though. If I can get them all watching Parenthood, I think we could make some great strides forward there.

5. Fringe. I'm so glad this show got a fourth-season renewal.

It was touch and go for a while, especially after Fox moved it to the Friday Night Death Slot. But fans rallied, and the show is as brilliant as ever.


From the first season, where we learned about the alternate universe, met the mad scientist Walter Bishop, and started searching for those mysterious Observers in each episode, we were hooked. Maybe the universe will right itself and give John Noble the Emmy he deserves this year.

I love that all of these shows, in their own way, are great family viewing. And this is, by no means, a complete list. Other favorites include The Office, Modern Family, The Defenders, The Celebrity Apprentice, Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, Castle, Glee, House, The Biggest Loser, Dual Survival, and Deadliest Warrior.

What are YOUR favorite shows to watch as a family? I look forward to reading your comments.


Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Syndicate her family movie & TV reviews in your publication; visit her at Reel Life With Jane; follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; take her online blogging classes; email jboursaw@charter.net for help with WordPress design and tech issues.



Sheryl said:

Thanks for this in-depth review. I am woefully out of it when it comes to watching tv...even though they are in many rooms of my house. I have caught Modern Family from time to time and do enjoy it; but not any of the others you write about. Now I will have to check them out!

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 10:56 AM

margie s said:

What, no Friday Night Lights?

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 10:57 AM

NoPotCoooking said:

My 13 yo son is a huge fan of pawn stars (so huge in fact, that when we go to Las Vegas this summer, we are going to have to go find the store). I scratch my head a bit when I watch it though. It's a pawn shop, yet no one is ever pawning anything. And you never get to see if they actually manage to sell the stuff they buy. I do like the interesting things they buy. My son also like Storage Wars, which is very similar, and American Pickers.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 10:58 AM

Jane Boursaw said:

NoPotCooking - We love American Pickers and Storage Wars, too! Thanks for mentioning those shows. I'm thinking we should invite the Storage Wars guys into our basement - I bet they'd find some real treasures there.

Margie - Totally need to catch up with Friday Night Lights. That'll probably be one of those shows I do a marathon DVD session over a weekend or something. I caught some of the early eps and interviewed Taylor Kitsch and Scott Porter at the very beginning of the show (http://bit.ly/kZp4UM and http://bit.ly/k6MhRF). You know a show is amazing when it's been on the edge of cancellation multiple times and keeps resurfacing.

Sheryl - Modern Family was like a breath of fresh air when it came on the scene. I think it just goes back to the importance of melding great characters with slam-dunk writing.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 1:18 PM

MyKidsEatSquid said:

Count me as a huge Fringe fan. I'm so glad it was renewed. The last episode seemed kinda final (whew!). I do hope they get back into individual stories each week instead of always talking about the "alternate universe." The whole machine deal got a bit tedious this season.

I haven't seen pawn stars and my kids haven't even wanted to watch AI for awhile now (neither have I). For me, Simon and Paula were the show, the contestants were almost secondary.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 1:31 PM

Vera Marie Badertscher said:

Hey, welcome to TV Worth Watching. Since I follow what you recommend on movies at Reel Life With Jane, I'll have to take a look at your TV recommendations, too.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 2:22 PM

jeanine Barone said:

I'm so glad you mentioned Fringe. It's one of my favorite shows and good to know they got a renewal.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 3:08 PM

Ruth Pennebaker said:

Agree about Friday Night Lights, my favorite show. If you recommend the others, I'll check them out.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 4:06 PM

Melanie Haiken said:

Love Parenthood, though I tend to fast-forward through episodes because I love some characters (Lauren Graham!) and find others so annoying (the autism family with the self-righteous mum). Fringe lost me after about ten episodes; just couldn't follow the twists with the dual reality. Must-watches in our house are The Good Wife, Castle, the Mentalist, and of course Glee.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 5:52 PM

Living Large said:

Oh, I so love Pawn Stars. I like watching shows that teach me something and they always have great little history lessons!

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 6:15 PM

Alexandra Grabbe said:

My husband discovered Pawn Stars. I was skeptical at first but have grown to love the show. I would almost go to Las Vegas to be able to visit the real thing.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 7:46 PM

Donna Hull said:

Our chicks left the nest awhile ago. My husband loves Star Trek and sometimes we are sucked into an episode of the Deadliest Catch. We'll start checking out your TV recommendations as we rely on your movie reviews at Reel Life With Jane.

Comment posted on May 12, 2011 11:50 PM

Jan Udlock said:

Congrats, Jane!

Comment posted on May 13, 2011 12:09 AM

Casey said:

Parenthood is a must-watch in our household too, though I wonder how the entire Braverman clan has time to go to every single one of every single family member's events. Ah, the magic of TV.

Comment posted on May 13, 2011 3:28 PM

Jane Boursaw said:

Melanie H. - I know what you mean about the self-righteous mom on Parenthood. In some ways, she bugs the heck out of me. But like any mom, she's probably struggling with the fact that her son is autistic and, even though she loves him, just ticked off that she'll have to deal with it the rest of her life.

And the whole storyline with Haddie dating Alex has been really interesting to watch this season. I wrote up a piece on it at the beginning of the season, saying I thought Adam and Kristina should be more open-minded and trust that Haddie would make the right decisions when it came to Alex. But...

As some of my commenters pointed out, she's only 16 and he's 19 and you'd be looking at statutory rape if they ended up in bed together. So that puts a whole other layer into the right-or-wrong question.

But it's been a great season, and I can't wait to see what happens next with all the family members.

Casey - Yeah, probably not realistic for all the family members to go to ALL the events and school functions. But a nice example of what a close-knit family can be.

Comment posted on May 14, 2011 12:38 PM
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