Awesome and underrated: TV’s best shows

“One Tree Hill,” on Monday at 9 p.m. on The CW
Jess: It’s stereotypical. It’s overdramatic. It’s filled with insanely unrealistic story lines. Regardless, OTH manages to draw you into its ridiculous story lines and make you actually care about the characters. Considering the show must compete with similarly-grouped teen dramas like “The Hills” and “Gossip Girl,” it’s not surprising that “One Tree Hill” is often overlooked as just another pointless bit of fluff. It’s really a shame, too, considering that despite all of this, OTH is actually quite touching, and if people just gave it a chance, they’d see that it has much more merit than it gets credit for.

“Doctor Who, ” on Saturday at 9 p.m. on BBC America
Carrie: The original “Doctor Who” series ran for 26 years in Britain. It ended in 1989 and, by then, it had a cult following. I sadly missed all of this seeing as I wasn’t even born until 1989. But, thank the sci-fi gods, a revamped version of the series appeared in 2005. It hasn’t gotten as much hype as the old show, which is a crime. It is one of the best sci-fi shows of all time. The plot is crazy at best: An alien called a Time Lord who goes simply by “The Doctor” travels through all time and space in a purple police box. He always has a human companion that he explains things to. He can’t really die since he regenerates each time his life is in jeopardy. And he’s the last of his kind. It sounds campy and silly, but it’s intense, funny and purely fun. David Tennant of Barty Crouch Jr. fame is great as The Doctor. All of his companions have been great – the best being the omni-sexual (he’ll have sex with anything with a postal code) Captain Jack Harkness (played by the gorgeous John Barrowman).

“Taboo,” on Wednesday at 5 p.m. on National Geographic
Jess: For years, educational, documentary-style television shows have been praised by academics and scoffed at by everyone else. Finally, National Geographic came out with a show that’s both educational and entertaining. “Taboo” focuses on, go figure, taboo subjects on the world, from body modification to dietary habits, and various topics in between. A lot of people don’t watch it because they just don’t know about it, but if people just gave differences a chance, they would see that educational shows don’t always suck anymore, and can be pretty interesting.

“Burn Notice,” on Thursday at 10 p.m. on USA
Carrie: At first, I figured this show was going to be just like every other spy/cop/mystery show. But it’s so much more. Meet Michael Weston (played by Jeffrey Donovan), a CIA agent who got “burned” (cut off from his job and co-workers) and is now stuck without a job or money in Miami, Fl. So he’s forced to take “side jobs” to survive – they usually consist of lots of role-play and explosions. That plot alone would be tired, but it’s the slightly tongue-in-cheek air of the show that makes it a winner. Michael is the narrator, and he explains how to do all of the spy-things. Bruce Campbell, the B-movie god, is awesome as Michael’s best friend, an aging spy. His and Michael’s exchanges are the best part of the show. If you like action and clever banter, this is the show for you.

“Greek,” on Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family
Jess: For most College students, you would think a show that pokes fun at college stereotypes would be overwhelmingly accepted. However, this dramedy has flown under the radar for most of its run so far. The characters are endearing: There’s Cappie, the man-whore with a heart of gold and more majors than anyone could hope or want to accumulate; Rusty, the nerdy yet hopelessly romantic freshman pledging a fraternity; and Casey, the sorority president torn between her responisble pre-law boyfriend and the immature love of her life. These characters help create a classic blend of drama and hilarity that makes this show insanely good and well worth watching.
Carrie: Besides the fact that this show is hysterical, there’s the plain fact that all of the elements “Greek” utilizes may be another show’s downfall, but they only strengthen this show. The slacker-fraternity’s president, Cappie, is a slut, but he also spouts off show-saving wisdom like a messiah and is funny without trying to be. “Greek” also tackles a lot of different issues, like homosexuality and how it’s approached in college and Greek life, and how some Greek houses go a little overboard on the partying and are then punished. There’s even a character named Dale, who has a Confederate flag hanging in his dorm room and is a member of a Purity Pledge group. He consistently attempts to ‘de-gay’ the gay characters. Any show that can pack all that in and still remain somewhat realistic is OK in my book.

Ghost Hunters
Carrie: I know, I know. The title is a little off-putting. But, well, yeah. The guys in this show? They hunt ghosts. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are plumbers for Roto-Rooter. Average guys. But on their off time, they lead a team called TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) that goes to allegedly haunted places and hunts for ghosts. What sets this show apart from all of the paranormal investigating shows that sprang up after it got famous is the fact that the team tries to “debunk” the hauntings. They’d rather say twenty places aren’t haunted and prove that that one place really is. I never believed any of this stuff until I started watching the show. I just can’t help but believe TAPS when they show a chair moving or play an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) for a client. This show made me believe in ghosts and I love it. It also terrifies me. But any show that can go from seriously searching for ghosts and then cut to one of the investigators (an ex-cop, no less) running from a spider is just what I like.

Join Carrie and Jess next week when they talk about feel-good songs. Caroline Russomanno can be reached at russoma4@tcnj.edu.