5 TV Shows I Enjoyed in 2016

I still am a big TV Junkie, but I admit there is just too much TV to really keep up with these days. So with shows appearing on all kinds of online services, and shows getting cancelled left and right, I don’t commit to a new series very often. While I have my old favorites like “The Walking Dead” and “Ash vs. Evil Dead” and while I buzzed about my favorite show of the year, “Stranger Things” earlier in the year, I managed to squeeze in time to watch a few other new TV shows that I had a very good time with. These are five shows I kept up with adamantly and plan to return to next year.

What were your favorite TV shows in 2016?

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My Five Favorite Episodes of “The Honeymooners”

Not many people know this, but both of my parents are hardcore fans of “The Honeymooners” and growing up I must have seen every episode of the Jackie Gleason sitcom at least a thousand times. I have every quote memorized, I remember every episode, and yes, I’ve even sat through the painfully unfunny, and boring “Lost” Episodes. I’ve also never seen the cinematic reboot with Cedric the Entertainer since, as a fan, I have to draw a line somewhere. In either case, 2016 marks the sixtieth anniversary of when Jackie Gleason voluntarily cancelled his sitcom “The Honeymooners” after thirty nine episodes.

The series lived on in syndication for decades after, becoming a cult classic and garnering an immense following of loyal fans. There was even at one time a convention for the fans of the series. “The Honeymooners” is a New York staple, and every single year the local TV station in New York (WPIX/Channel 11), plays a twenty four hour marathon of all thirty nine episodes. Since it’s been almost a hundred years since the show bowed out, I thought I’d list my top five favorite episodes of the series. It was not an easy feat, at all. With great pain, I had to omit a ton of great episodes in favor of this five, including “The Worry Wart,” “Trapped,” “A Matter of Record,” “Mama Loves Mambo,” and so many more.

In spite of that, these are the top five episodes of “The Honeymooners” that always stand out most for me. If you have never seen “The Honeymooners,” I highly suggest these five.

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Fuller House

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Speaking as a guy who loves “Full House,” grew up watching it, and even spent his own money on the complete series on DVD, I’m surprised that I’m not the person “Fuller House” is apparently targeted toward. Granted, I love my fair share of nineties nostalgia, and will spend hours savoring on even the most minute nineties details, but “Fuller House” fails mainly because it is painfully aware that it’s a television show. Granted, I wouldn’t argue “Full House” is high art, but they embraced the sitcom formula, despite the far fetched story line and inconsistencies in story. “Fuller House” knows it’s a sitcom, feels like a very long sketch for a late night talk show, and even breaks the fourth wall. Even in the worst of episodes, “Full House” never broke the fourth wall and never acknowledged that it’s a goofy sitcom mainly for the family.

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Ranking The “Home Improvement” Halloween Episodes from Best to Worst

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There are very few shows that have Halloween based episodes, let alone Halloween based episodes every year. Beside “Roseanne,” Tim Allen’s show “Home Improvement” celebrated Halloween almost every year, and it was almost always memorable. “Home Improvement” is one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, a family oriented laugh aloud comedy about accident pseudo-celebrity Tim Taylor, his very patient wife Jill and their rambunctious trio of sons. “Home Improvement” in its golden age was often hysterical and heartfelt, and reveled in devising new ways to put the characters in to scary situations involving the holiday.

The writers genuinely came up with interesting ideas almost every year, and it was fun watching Tim pull pranks on his family, and watching the pranks unfold in to hilarious reactions. From a head bursting through a wall, to Tim losing an arm while dancing with wife Jill, no one took on the holiday like Tim Taylor. To celebrate an often too overlooked sitcom from the nineties, here is a ranking of the Halloween episodes from the series from the absolute best, to the utter worst. What are some of your favorite “Home Improvement” episodes?

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The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eighth Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

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What I love about “The Big Bang Theory” is that every season sees the series gradually evolve in to a new animal. The shtick about a bunch of geeky guys and their gorgeous neighbor was discarded a long time ago. Now “The Big Bang Theory” is about a group of geeky guys learning to have their love for their hobbies, while also figuring out adulthood and responsibilities. Most of all, they’re learning how to embrace reality when it comes knocking down their doors. Particularly character Howard Wolowitz. This year, actress Carol Ann Susi (also known as Howard’s mother) suffered an untimely death. The show tastefully wrote in her death and provided audiences with a multi-episode arc to allow us to deal with her passing. More so the arc has allowed Howard to grow as a person and find his footing in a new character mold.

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Five Friends Episodes Worth Watching

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I don’t really understand the “Friends” nostalgia, since its aged very poorly since its days in the nineties. Even the episodes in the early aughts vary from mediocre to awful. But I’d be lying if I said I was never a “Friends” fan. In fact I used to watch the show religiously despite the main characters being woefully unlikable. Let’s face it, they are. Rachel is so despicable, it’s a wonder Ross chased after her for so long.

In either case, “Friends” is making its way to Netflix in January, and its loyal fan base are awash with excitement, so here are five episodes from the series that are still very funny and worth sitting through. They also require little to no knowledge of previous storylines. What are your favorites?

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Our Top 5 “Married… with Children” Episodes

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Nineties nostalgia is big money now, and it seems like every studio are trying to continue what fans once thought were completed franchises and television series. Supposedly, there’s a sequel to “Married… with Children” in the works, focusing on Bud as a married man in a dead end job. I don’t see how that could possibly work, especially with Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal, and Ed O’Neill going on to new things, the latter two of whom have either come off or are still working on hit series of their own.

In either case, we spotlighted five of our favorite episodes from the hilarious sitcom about a blue collar family and their perpetually miserable lives.

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TV Guide Spotlight: TV’s Spookiest Halloween Episodes (DVD)

TVGuideSpotlightMill Creek Entertainment comprises five hours worth of Halloween episodes from some of their flagship sitcoms, and though it’s a mixed bag, it’s also a fun treat for the holiday. For folks that want to ring in Halloween without the gruesome horror entertainment, you’ll find some really great specials here, some of which I’ve seen at least a hundred times over. I can’t imagine a better greatest hits DVD for families this year. Featured on the DVD is the season two episode of “Roseanne” entitled “Boo!” where the Conner family rings in Halloween, while Roseanne and Dan wage a prank war on one another to see who is best at gruesome and funny pranks. This is a hysterical one shot for the series, and it was never quite topped.

The “News Radio” episode entitled “Halloween” from season three is equal parts funny and weird. When the staff isn’t invited to their boss Jimmy’s famous Halloween party for being killjoys, they decide to get in to the spirit. Meanwhile boss Dave upsets girlfriend Lisa by wearing her dress as a costume, as Phil falls for an old woman at the party. It’s a fun episode that the writers are never afraid to be surreal with. The “Married with Children” episode from season eight is entitled “Take My Wife, Please.” It’s a play on the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where Al wishes he were dead and is visited by the Grim Reaper who resembles Peg, much to his horror. On “Bewitched,” the episode “A Safe and Sane Halloween” finds Samantha and Darrin getting a normal mortal Halloween with daughter Tabatha, who brings to life three monsters from a Halloween book. “I Dream of Jeannie” features the episode “My Master, The Ghost Breaker” where Tony inherits a mansion that is said to be haunted, not realizing the former help and the lawyer of the estate are trying to scare him out of ownership.

“The Jeffersons” two part episode “Now You See It, Now You Don’t” George competes with Tom and Ellen as comedy icons for Halloween, while putting up with the landlord’s rotten children. Meanwhile, Louise accidentally witnesses a man in a bunny costume murder someone on the street, prompting everyone to believe Louise was hallucinating. When he turns up, he seeks to kill Louise and silence her. The “Square Pegs” episode titled “Halloween XII” finds characters Patty and Lauren invited to a Halloween party with the popular crowd only to find they’re being terrorized by someone outside, intent on ruining their night. The season five episode of “The Facts of Life” features the group horrified to find out Mrs. Garrett’s bakery was once the home of a vicious crime scene, and they soon begin to worry she might be possessed by the ghost of a serial killer. “The Cosby Show” episode “Halloween” features the Huxtables trying to outdo one another with unique costumes, while Vanessa tries to build the courage to talk to a boy during a party.

On “Mad About You” the episode “Unplanned Child” finds Paul and Jamie having to babysit his ten year old nephew. Jamie has to take him trick or treating though when Paul is held up at work editing a film. The “3rd Rock” episode “Scaredy Dick” sees character Dick running out of a medical appointment, while Sally and Tommy house sit and try to thwart trick or treaters from egging the house. There’s the “Ned and Stacey” episode “The Halloween Story,” in which a costume mix up causes Ned and Stacey to make out. Finally, The Halloween episode of “That 70’s Show” features the group visiting an abandoned school to tell ghost stories but when they find their old permanent records secrets begin to rise to the surface, Fez is astonished by the concept of Halloween, and Kitty thinks back to the Halloween when she found out she was going to be a mother. It’s a hilarious book end to a fun compilation.