This is probably an indication of a very boring life, but I was excited to see that ABC Family will start showing Friday Night Lights in syndication on September 7. Friday Night Lights is one of those shows that everyone says is amazing but I haven’t gotten around to seeing because there’s just so much out there, and because starting it seems like an undertaking I am not fully equipped for. (Also on that list: The Wire.) FNL is Jennifer’s favorite show, though, and we’re talking about putting together a Smart Pop book for next summer, so the timing works out nicely. And it’s just one more reason to appreciate ABC Family.
I not-so-secretly love ABC Family (which is why I’m working very hard to forgive it for The Secret Life of the American Teenager). I still miss Kyle XY. I have been known to indulge in an afternoon Gilmore Girls or two airing in syndication. And I kind of adore Huge. It has Zoe from Firefly, it’s created by the same woman who created My So-Called Life, and it’s set at summer camp. What’s not to like? (The finale’s this coming Monday but you can catch episodes 1-4 right now on Hulu.)
I watch, and enjoy, a lot of tv. But there are some shows I enjoy differently than others. Example: I go out of my way to watch Mad Men every week. It’s an intelligent, multilayered, well-executed show. But it’s also kind of depressing. A lot of my enjoyment of it comes from the fact it’s the only serialized television my boyfriend will watch with me. (He spends most evenings in an adjoining room, online, occasionally leaning in to ask things like, “You’re watching iCarly? Again?”) Plus, I love Alan Sepinwall’s recaps. In other words, I like Mad Men because I like the context in which I experience it: the company I watch it in, and the commentary I can read on it.
But ABC Family shows just make me feel good. Where Mad Men is cold, they’re warm. Their point of view on the world is optimistic and engaged. Their characters genuinely and generously care about each other. As interesting as Mad Men‘s world may be, ABC Family’s is the one I’d rather to live in.