12 TV shows you must watch – and our separate guilty on-screen pleasures

We all have those go-to shows we watch when we want to fill a spare half an hour or so. It’s those TV classics you’ve seen a hundred times before that you find yourself going back to and watching when there’s nothing else on and you need your fix.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Our Must-Have TV Shows - collage

I always measure my TV guilty pleasure by what I end up watching when I come home late from the pub. When all I want is to slump in front of the telly, not think about anything and just be entertained.

I most often go for the funny shows, though Mrs Romance tends to lean towards more drama-packed programmes.

Here are the shows we both love and rely on when we don’t really want to talk to each other for a while. Funny enough, the following series also all feature in our day-to-day conversations; we quote them, refer to them and have fun identifying when our lives show even the tiniest similarity to them.

We can’t recommend these shows enough – purely for their entertainment value.

They’re babysitters for grownups!

Blackadder

Blackadder II 3

This Rowan Atkinson classic is our favourite show to put on if we’re both in the kitchen. The scripts are so well-written you don’t need to see the show to appreciate it. Especially when you’ve seen it as many times as we have!

Our favourite is Blackadder the Third – mostly because Hugh Laurie, who plays the Prince Regent, is so brilliant. He’s the furthest cry from House here than he’s ever been! If you haven’t seen Blackadder before, go buy it immediately. It’s awesome!

The Mighty Boosh

Boosh 2

Another British comedy, this one’s so far off the wall it’s just a faint speck on the horizon. Starring Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, the three series of The Boosh begin in a weird zoo called the Zooniverse, where they visit monkey hell, explore the Arctic and fight Jack Frost with some slap base and have a boxing match with a killer kangaroo.

It’s mad, hilarious and perfect when you’ve had a few. Mrs Romance got me the box set for Christmas as few years ago. We watched the whole lot with my mate Anton on New Year’s Day with huge hangovers and the air-con pumping. Perfect!

30 Rock

30rock 1

Tina Fey is at her very best in this awesome sit-com series based on the writers, actors and staff of a live TV show. It’s funny, weird and the characters are so cleverly scripted. Fey’s boss Jack Donaghy, an unscrupulous power-mad business genius, is played by the surprisingly good Alec Baldwin.

It takes a few episodes to get into this show (and we recommend going from the first season) but it’s well worth the commitment.

Flight of the Conchords

flight-of-the-conchords collage

This brilliant comedy out of New Zealand follows the life and non-starting music career of two feckless but talented singer-songwriters and their naïve band manager – who is also deputy cultural attaché to the NZ Consulate.

The show’s brilliant, and the songs that they weave into the plot are so funny – and this is coming from someone who has grown to despise musicals over the years!

Young Ones

The Young Ones 1

An absolute classic, this show saw the start of the comedy careers of Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall and Ben Elton. Gross, hilarious, outrageous and completely ridiculous, the story’s all about a student house where four ‘friends’ live in discord.

The hippy, the lefty virgin, the punk and the villain, they live out the lives of youth in ‘80s Britain in two series of violent, unwashed lunacy.

Friends

Friends 1

This American classic gets replayed on TV so often, it must be the most aired show in history by now. As you probably know, it’s the story of six friends living in Manhattan. You might not know that every episode of the final season of Friends cost more than an entire season of Game of Thrones!

Did you also know that the word ‘friends’ is mentioned at least once in every episode of the ten-season show?

Apart from these classics, there are a few shows Mrs Romance and I prefer to watch separately. These are our true guilty pleasures… though I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be judged a little more harshly for my choices than she is!

Mr Romance’s guilty pleasures

Supernatural

supernatural-logo

This was first introduced to me by Mrs R’s best mate. She said she loved it because it was so bad. I had to agree with her. But in spite of how bad it was, I kept watching. Now I’m hooked. Mrs R loves to make fun of me because it features two brothers who – by her own admission – are good looking.

In the show, the two brothers roam the States hunting evil supernatural beings and saving people from grisly fates. It’s very silly, regularly funny and awesome escapism.

Father Ted

Father Ted

I love this show! It’s so funny and so irreverent (excuse the almost pun), I just wish it had gone on longer than just three series, but sadly Dermot Morgan (Father Ted) died of a heart attack, which ended the show.

It’s all about three Irish priests who live on Craggy Island and have to deal with the island’s surreal inhabitants. Father Ted aspires to fame and fortune, Father Dougal is a simpleton and Father Jack is a debauched old drunk. I love Father Jack: his lines are generally ‘DRINK’, ‘GIRLS’, ‘ARSE’ and ‘FECK’ – but delivered perfectly!

Ripper Street

Ripper Street

My sister sent me the DVD set of this English show for Christmas and it’s bloody good! Set in East London during the aftermath of Jack the Ripper, the detective inspector and his division face the countless dangers of keeping the peace in notorious Whitechapel.

It’s vivid, beautifully set and very watchable.

Mrs Romance’s guilty pleasures

Mrs Romance loves these shows… for some reason! She admits that her televisual choices are quite one-dimensional, but then who can blame her?!

Girls

girls

Mrs Romance says: “A modern Sex and the City about four 25-year-old women going through their quarter-life crises. The characters are grittier and more complex than SATC, and easier to connect with.”

Favourite character: Jessa for her gorgeous hair and wardrobe, and her bohemian cool girl attitude.

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Mrs Romance says: “Pure escapism. Incredibly well-dressed wealthy Upper East Side teenagers play out typical high school dramas. Gossip Girl is a bitchy blog which knows everyone’s secrets but under the cover of anonymity.”

Favourite character: Serena for her hair and wardrobe, and Chuck for being cute and getting all the cool lines.

Claim to fame: I did see Penn Badgley getting very drunk while I was in New York!

True Blood

True Blood 2

Mrs Romance says: “Super cheesy vampire drama series where ‘true blood’ is like the methadone to help vamps integrate into the general populous. Made worth watching for all the hot guys in it and who like to take their clothes off quite a bit. Love that there’s an Aussie in the cast – got to support local talent!”

Favourite character: Eric for having the best lines and for being rather easy on the eye.

As I’ve mentioned before, we love TV and we watch quite a bit while we work. It’s a pretty bad habit, we know. But it does mean we get through quite a few shows.

Do you have any recommendations of TV shows you love? What about any shows you know you shouldn’t be watching – do you have any guilty TV pleasures? Tell us in the comments!

Here are our top 5 popular TV shows that keep us at home (and that aren’t too embarrassing to admit to!)

22 Comments

  • My favourite tv show at the moment is The Following. Great show.

    • Reply May 29, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ooh! Haven’t heard of it before, Kat, but I love Kevin Bacon (mmmm – bacon!), and the storyline and premise sound great. Will check it out!
      Thanks for the tip. Jx

  • Ooh the Mighty Boosh was my hangover show of choice when I was younger, I haven’t watched it in ages though! Need to pull the box set back out again soon for sure. My other favourite in those scenarios was Black Books but I can’t seem to locate my dvds anymore which is super annoying.
    I’ll have to agree with Christina on Gossip Girl, it’s an excellent guilty pleasure to have! My other guilty pleasure (although I don’t actually feel guilty about it!) is Gilmore Girls, man I love that show. I’m always pulling out quotes which leaves my boyfriend very confused!
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    • Reply May 30, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ah yes, Black Books. On a surreal level playing field with the Boosh, I believe, Liz! Hope you find your DVDs though. Hate losing stuff like that.
      Had to laugh at your Gilmore Girls mention by the way. I’m not sure why – but I found it very funny! Maybe it’s because I can really visualise your boyfriend frowning as you throw in lines from a show he’s never seen before!
      Jx

  • Mr Styling and I have 2 shows we go through phases with: Seinfeld and Whose Line Is It Anyway…both have us in stitches! My guilty pleasure shows would have to be Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills and E! News.
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    • Reply May 30, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I used to hate Seinfeld when I first came to Australia, Sonia! Hated it! Just didn’t think it was funny – mostly because Jerry Seinfeld is the worst actor alive and spends most of the time laughing at the jokes he’s written. I think they tried to air it in the UK but it flopped for whatever reason.
      These days I love it too though, and I can understand why everyone here loves it too.
      Whose Line is it Anyway = comedy GOLD!
      Real Housewives I’ll allow – it’s just way too weird not to watch! As for Beverly Hills, unless it’s got the word ‘Cop’ or ‘Cop II’ after it, I can’t do it. When it was on in the UK originally, I couldn’t handle it and things haven’t changed! Mrs R loves it though. Perhaps it’s a girl thing?
      Thanks for sharing by the way. 🙂
      Jx

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Emma

    Oh Girls. Lena Dunham is the bomb.

    I’m currently addicted to Christ Lilley’s Jonah From Tonga – he’s a comic genius in my book! Orphan Black is also a winner, and Orange Is The New Black.

    E x
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    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Chris Lilley’s brilliant, isn’t he, Emma?! I don’t know how he manages to transform himself so completely. I love how he spent ages at a girls’ school researching for Private School Girl. So funny.
      Haven’t heard of Orphan Black but just had a quick look and I be checking that out for sure! There’s been some good stuff coming out of Canada though – have you heard of Billable Hours? Very funny.
      Jx

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Mumabulous

    Given that you are into surreal British comedies you may also like Misfits and the classic Red Dwarf. It seems remiss to me to have a blog post about great TV without mentioning Mad Men. And as for eye candy you cant beat Vikings.
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    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ooh I haven’t heard of the Misfits, Mum-abulous! Adding it to the list though as, yes, I certainly do like surreal UK comedies! And of course Red Dwarf! How could I leave that off?!
      We’ve given Vikings a half-hearted go but I think with a bit more effort (and Mrs Romance paying a bit more attention to the candy element), we’ll get right into it!
      Jx

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Lilybett

    I am a fan of pretty much anything written by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Studio 60, Newsroom, etc) or Joss Whedon (Firefly, Angel, Buffy and Agents of Shield). I think they both write some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard/seen. I was also pleasantly surprised by Dr Blake Mysteries – I haven’t come across an Australian show that really hooked me in for some time.

    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Yes, Lilybett! And didn’t realise that Sorkin wrote the screenplay for Moneyball. Good film that. Love the dialogue in Buffy too – I’ve got a friend who’s got the whole collection of Buffy and Angel, and who quotes them both constantly even now. I don’t know the shows as well as her, but the quotes are still very funny!
      Will have to check out the Dr Blake Mysteries. Sounds good! 🙂
      Jx

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Allison Tait

    Oh, I LOVE Blackadder, and several of the others you’ve mentioned. But there are some new ones here for me and I’m off to search them out! Visiting via the Rewind.
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    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Mr Romance

      How good’s Blackadder, Allison? I just wish they’d done more of them! Hope you enjoy our other mentions!
      Jx

  • The Young Ones, I could watch it forever! Also love AbFab and French & Saunders.
    Hub and I love some of yours too, especially Supernatural and True Blood. At the moment we’re hooked on Scandal, The Blacklist and Revenge, love them!
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    • Reply June 3, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I know what you mean, Lisa! Those classic British comedies are timeless – even Faulty Towers still stands the test of time really. I haven’t heard of Scandal or The Blacklist but we’ll definitely check them out. Revenge is great, isn’t it? Such a clever idea for a show.
      Glad we’ve found kindred spirits in our TV confessions by the way!
      Jx

  • Reply May 31, 2014

    Kelly Exeter

    Would you believe I have seen exactly one of these shows (Friends)!

    I am such a bad tv watcher – I have no concentration span for TV (unless it’s sport I am watching).

    It’s quite pathetic really … but does make it easier to do work at night knowing I am not missing a favourite show!
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    • Reply June 3, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ha ha! You’re very lucky, Kelly! I try so hard to double-screen but I end up just staring at the TV not getting anything done!
      JX

  • Reply June 1, 2014

    Kim

    Oh Blackadder remind me of when I was young, my dad loved watching this all you’d ever hear is him snickering with laughter from the lounge, this hogan heros & allo allo.
    Me on the other hand love a good friends ep, I’m a massive Simpson fan and also don’t mind a Frasier rerun either. Currently though love Big Bang, modern family & blacklist… To name a few 🙂
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    • Reply June 3, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Kim, I think we’re TV compatible! I was brought up on a diet of snicker-filled (both choc and laughter!) evenings of Allo Allo and Blackadder. And Mrs Romance and I are huge Simpsons fans. Such a clever show. Fraser is brilliant and – though I don’t actively seek out an episode – I can’t turn over if I’ve flicked onto it. Cheers is still pretty good too I reckon!
      Jx

  • Reply June 3, 2014

    Maxabella

    I think we’d get along like a house on fire if our shared comedy loves are anything to go by. 30 Rock is a particular fave of the man and I, but I’ll take any of them! x
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    • Reply June 7, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I think you might be right, Bron! And anyone who loves 30 Rock’s all right in my books!
      Jx

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