For much of my teenage years and early-twenties, my viewing habits were more focused on specific TV genres and a preference for movies. Consequently, there's a wealth of TV shows I never saw. I'm also human, so it's impossible to watch absolutely everything that's broadcast every single week, for years on end, and sometimes you're so far behind with something it becomes too much effort to catch-up.
Below is a list of 21 embarrassing blindspots in my TV viewing, a brief statement about why I missed their original broadcast (or never made an effort to acquire them), and a quick note on the chances of me rectifying this in the near-future...
when it began, but they weren't really strong enough for me to become a loyal viewer. It's since gone on to be a notable US comedy of the '00s, and part of me wishes I'd stuck with it. I see clips that look funny, and I really like Tina Fey. Catch-up? I won't go out of my way by renting box-sets, but I'd watch a repeat run of double-bills if they were timed well.
ANGEL (1999-2004) Owing to how Buffy failed to put me under its spell (see below), there was no chance I'd even consider watching a spin-off starring her hunky vampire boyfriend running a detective agency. Catch-up? Nope, unless a very positive Buffy catch-up inspires it.
BIG LOVE (2006-11) I remember hearing the premise and thinking this would make an interesting show, but it wasn't treated well in the UK. Only now, many years later on Sky Atlantic, is the show being given the respect it deserved. But for me, that was too late. Catch-up? Very unlikely.
DEADWOOD (2004-06) My general aversion to Westerns is well-known, so is it any wonder I didn't take to this show? Oddly, many recent Westerns have impressed me (3:10 To Yuma, Assassination Of Jesse James..., True Grit), so maybe it's about time I reconsidered my attitude. I can evidently enjoy a Western if it's done well and doesn't rely on hoary clichés, but it's still not something I'm especially drawn to. I saw Deadwood's pilot when it aired on Sky1, but turned it off during the first ad break and never looked back. Shocking treatment, I know! Catch-up? Unlikely, but there's an outside chance. It helps there aren't too many episodes compared to other shows I fell behind with.
ENTOURAGE (2004-present) It's a show you mainly hear about from US sources and the occasional British fan, but nobody I know ever watched it. There are aspects of it I find intriguing when I hear about them, but ultimately it doesn't appeal. Catch-up? Um, no.
FRIENDS (1994-2004) A genuine comedy phenomenon of the '90s that crossed generation gaps, but I just never found it funny. I can't get past the dull premise and unrealistic idea those people would live together in a luxurious New York apartment. They weren't characters who reflect anything about me, so I found it tough to care about them. Even those guitar-twanging stings between scenes make me want to claw my face off. Catch-up? There's more chance of me getting a "Rachel" cut.
PARKS & RECREATION (2009-present) It's not available in the UK, so I'm with millions of people in never getting into this mockumentary. However, even after getting my hands on a half-dozen episodes of season 2 (I was told, perhaps wrongly, that season 1 isn't worth bothering with), I found it hard to get into. I gave up after a few episodes, sorry to say. I like Amy Poehler, but something about it didn't grab me. Catch-up? I still have those half-dozen episodes, so may try and persevere...
PARTY DOWN (2009-10) They cancelled it just when I was feeling the urge to give it a whirl, so don't blame me! This has never aired in the UK and isn't available on DVD, so options were limited for me. I hear mixed things, to be honest. Catch-up? Maybe, if only because there isn't much to wade through.
SHAMELESS (2004-present) I've actually seen more of the US remake than the original show. How terrible! I missed Shameless when it first started, and when I did watch a few episodes they were from the post-James McAvoy era (i.e. when the show had turned into a stupid, grimy soap), What I saw wasn't great and it soured me toward watching those earlier years, which were apparently fantastic. Catch-up? I really doubt it.
SIX FEET UNDER (2001-05) Another show that passed me by. I don't know, I think I had a feeling that couldn't possibly be that good because the premise doesn't leap out as being must-see. A few years ago I watched the first three episodes, intended to do a big catch-up in the summer, but then Virgin Media dropped the show from their on-demand service! Blame them. Catch-up? One day, sure, time permitting.
THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007) I'd watch this epic Mafia family drama if it premiered today, but for some reason the show passed me by originally. It existed in the days before DVR's and online streaming would have given you more chances to see it. You basically had to watch it on Channel 4 or buy the eventual box-set. I just never saw it on TV (not entirely sure why) and never wanted to risk spending money on the box-sets in case I didn't like it. Catch-up? Yes, if I find enough time.
SPOOKS (2002-11) This drama started a year after the groundbreaking 24 premiered in the UK and I saw the BBC's spy show as an inferior reproduction. Anti-terrorism? Split-screen? It was surely commissioned because 24 was a big hit and 9/11 was a hot topic. Anyway, I stuck with the exhilarating 24 and watched Spooks grow into a well-respected, award-winning show that many people prefer over 24. I don't regret that decision. Maybe I should have watched them both, but by the time I started to wonder if Spooks was worth a go it was already four series old. That meant too much effort to catch-up via expensive box-sets. Catch-up? No, sorry.
UNDECLARED (2001-02) As a fan of Freaks & Geeks, I should definitely try and watch its spiritual successor (likewise axed after one season). I don't believe it ever aired in the UK, unlike F&G, so I'm excused for never seeing it. Catch-up? I'll seek it out when there's time and give it a go.
THE WEST WING (1999-2006) Much the same story as The Sopranos, although I remember this being more widely talked about. I I began to wish I'd watched it after seeing some season 3 promos on Channel 4, but by then it felt like I was too far behind the rest of the western world. Catch-up? Need some persuasion it's worthwhile in a different political climate.
first and second seasons, so I'm not entirely clueless about this show. But no, I still haven't found the time or inclination to watch the last three seasons. When I watch The Wire, I'm mostly confused for five episodes, struggle with the glacial pace for about six episodes, then acclimatize and end the season huge respect and appreciation for what it achieved. But, do I love it? Am I desperate for more after every episode and season? No, I really can't say I am. Catch-up? Yeah, most likely, but I'm in absolutely no rush.
Of course, it's not all bad news. I do catch-up with old shows I missed if I find the time. In the past few years I made a 20% dent in the five-season Wire, watched Life On Mars a few months after it ended, devoured the Firefly box-set, caught-up with Community so I could dive straight into season 2, and recently finished the entirety of Arrested Development's repeats on FX—all shows that escaped me first time around.
Anyway, I thought this post could also inspire an associated poll, so below you'll find my biggest blindspots. The question is: which one should I make my top priority to watch from beginning to end? You can also add your own suggestion as an "other" vote.
The poll closes on Tuesday 23 August @5PM GMT. I may use the result to prioritize my catch-ups, if and when they happen.