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I’m an avid TV show watcher. I love them.

Television has been part of our lives for decades at this point, and while its content has gone through popularity ups and downs, it has always been important to pop culture.

In everyone’s life, there are those TV shows that impact you and, in many ways, change your life forever. I have a list of them now. Learning from each character. Picking up lessons and applying them in real life.

There are many shows that I did watch from the beginning to the end. And that I could watch over and over. Guilty pleasure.

Let me begin by telling you that I never watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Actually I did but in bits. It is on my list! And I was never Game of Thrones fan. I like that show but not a crazy fan of it. It took me one whole season one of ten episodes, forty-five to fifty minutes of each episode to convince me that ‘oh! this is something different and good.’

There are so many TV shows available to watch, it can be hard to know what you may be missing out on. I have listed eight TV shows that impacted me the most and had the most influence on my life.

LOST

We all know the story of Lost, right? Where to begin? We should all take a moment of silence and rejoice in the beauty that was Lost.

The storyline is about a group of people traveling to LA from Sydney on Oceanic Flight 815 who hit turbulence and ends up on a deserted jungle island in the middle of nowhere.

Later, the plane crash survivors discover that there are not only other people living on the island but also that there’s a whole lot more going on than meets the eye. And they are lost in a place where no one going to find them, ever.

The show was an enigmatic masterpiece, requiring viewers to pay close attention to each episode and piece together the various clues like a puzzle.

Lost show was about — broken people growing and changing in extraordinary circumstances, and about mysteries that dated back decades and ultimately centuries.

You feel like you are a part of the show because you learn so much about the characters.

You’ve invested in a character because that character speaks to you in some way with their struggles and their emotions.

No one is ever depicted as perfect — many of the characters aren’t especially likable — but every lead and supporting role is fleshed out, every motivation is exposed, and every decision is rooted in the core of who that character is as a person.

If you follow a show for years on end, it’s not because you needed to know how some fictitious thing was related to another fictitious thing.

It doesn’t really matter how the island restored Locke. What matters is watching a man of faith wrestle with a new identity and how he’s felt cheated his entire life. John Locke doesn’t speak to us as someone who underwent a magical transformation. He speaks to us as a man who wants to believe there’s a power in the world that can give him a new purpose.

Not every resolution was perfectly handled, and some characters exits felt abrupt and a bit of a cheat. But the core of the show was about the choices we make shaping who we are, and if there’s the possibility for change and redemption. The biggest lesson I learned.

However, the finale, I never really bought into the conceit of the flash-sideways although I find the concept of alternate realities fascinating.

“‘Lost’ engaged our imagination and mysteries in two different ways: it engaged us in history and certain phenomena and historical events on the island. You imagine there are hard and definitive answers to things like the full and complete history of the Dharma Initiative. But then there’s the other kind of mystery that the show communed with thematically and viscerally. Questions like, ‘What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of existence?’ These kind of core human concerns. Questions with unknowable answers.”

The Leftover

Not many people are aware of the show. It’s the most underrated show. This show is about grief, death, and existential ambiguity — daringly optimistic about the beauty of life.

If you’re a reader, The Leftovers was originally a novel by Tom Perrotta.

The show will make you feel that it has takes some serious sci-fi/fantasy turns, and it’s pretty cool.

But to say The Leftovers is a sci-fi drama isn’t quite right. Nor is it deeply rooted in reality. Like some of its characters, the heart of the mysterious series takes place somewhere in the between, challenging the viewer to look at concrete aspects of our world — life and death — in a different light.

There’s a lot to speculate about, from subtle details only attentive viewers pick up on to otherworldly happenings that provoke a lot of questions.

The story is about a town where people are disappearing suddenly.

The Leftovers starts three years after a global event called the “Sudden Departure”, the inexplicable, simultaneous disappearance of 140 million people, two percent of the world’s population, on October 14, 2011.

Following that event, mainstream religions declined, and a number of cults emerged, most notably the Guilty Remnant, a group of white-clothed, chain-smoking nihilists, and a cult led by Holy Wayne, a man who views himself as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The lives of police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), his family, along with grieving widow Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) and her brother, Reverend Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston), are the focal points of the series, as they struggle to adjust to life after the Departure.

We don’t know why. And we don’t know for what. We don’t know anything about why they disappeared. But the show is not about why. It’s about what now. What are we gonna do now after this mass disappearance in this world? Is this the act of God? Or Is it because of some scientific experiments?

Whatever.

It left me with few questions — Why do we so eagerly crave the impossible? Why do we want to believe in things which we shouldn’t? And why do we want explanations for the unexplainable?

If you see, The Leftovers is an inversion of Lost.

Lost in the story of people who disappeared; The Leftovers is the story of people the people who were left behind.

Mostly set on the island, Lost is rich with mysteries of this new, unusual place. The Leftovers, particularly in its first and second seasons, are set in cities in which characters struggle to find meaning.

Watching this requires patience for earnestness, not all TV-watchers might possess, but if you let The Leftovers work its way into your heart you’ll have a hard time letting go of its magic.

Lesson I have learned: Never take any day, any person granted in your life. Anything. Be grateful every day. You don’t know what will happen next. Live in the moment.

Note: This is not a lighthearted romp, this is a deep show. The topic will inspire you to consider identity and family. Please do not watch if you are suffering from high anxiety or depression.

Good Witch

I confess, Good Witch pulled me out of anxiety. Helped me to focus on something else and honestly turned my life for the better.

Visiting the town of Middleton with Cassie (Catherine Bell) and Grace (Bailee Madison) is like a pure shot of sweetness that’s strangely addictive.

As I began to watch the first episodes, I not only was thrilled by the mystery of protagonist Cassie Nightingale’s (Catherine Bell) powers, but I began to draw a connection to my own life. Not only do Cassie Nightingale, her daughter Grace, and her cousin Abigail have special gifts of sensation, but they also exhibit real, raw emotion. The Merricks are here to spread happiness.

The show’s content is suitable for viewers of nearly any age and has wonderful messages about compassion, empathy, understanding, responsibility, family bonds, and relationships. A teen’s rebellion causes stress for those around them, but they learn valuable lessons in the process.

Many moments are reflected in the show, as well as reoccurring themes of forgiveness, unconditional love, and encouragement. It not only is the perfect show to celebrate family time but one with the capacity to create emotional connections to the characters and plot as well as promote positive ideals.

Lesson I have learned: No one is perfect. We all have our flaws and downfalls, but it’s what we do with those flaws and our attitude towards them that will make us into who we are.

Younger

Younger is based on the book of the same name by Pamela Redmond Satran.

The show follows the story of recently divorced 40-year-old Liza Miller (Sutton Foster). With her teenage daughter studying in India and her ex-husband out of the picture, Liza moves in with her friend Maggie (Debi Mazar) in Brooklyn while she tries to figure her life out.

She tries to re-enter the publishing world at age 40, only to be bombarded by the many technological advances like twitter, snap chat, hashtags, e-books, that suddenly makes her too old to get hired.

Later after a series of terrible interviews, Liza meets 26-year-old Josh (Nico Tortorella) in a bar and he mistakes her for being the same age.

Turning to Maggie for help, Liza decides to re-invent herself as a 26-year-old and soon finds that job opportunities are a lot easier to come by.

After landing a job as an assistant at Empirical Press, Liza befriends rising publishing star Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff) and continues to see Josh.

As her career and her personal life start to take off, Liza has to fight to keep her secret with the fear that someone from her past may out her at any moment.

I tell you this. Liza Miller is the everywoman for us all.

Even though the premise of the show is all about lying to get ahead, Younger has so much heart that it’s impossible not to fall in love with it. You root for Liza every step of the way, even when you realize what she’s doing is something not we all have guts to do.

The most impressively revolutionary thing about Younger is that these women don’t pick each other apart and don’t use the other’s power or progress as a driving force for their own. They support and challenge one another in ways that aren’t destructive or demeaning.

13 Reasons Why

It’s terrifying how realistic this show is. I still can’t shake my head off. All the characters have their weaknesses and flaws. Each one of them will teach you something.

The series highlights various important issues such as bullying, mental health, drugs, homosexuality, social pressure, and suicide, which is relevant to viewers. We become more aware of these issues once we start watching the series.

Each episode is worth the watch and will leave you surprise. With a very emotional touch, the entire series reminds us of our teenage days and those memories that we’d prefer to forget.

Based on the 2007 novel, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, the first season of the show became a viral sensation among teenagers and young adults, inspiring memes, and cassette-shaped slime. But it also alarmed parents, mental health care professionals and school administrators who worried that the show glamorized suicide without providing meaningful context or relevant information for young viewers

“Chaos theory isn’t really about chaos. It’s about how a tiny change in a big system can affect everything”, said Hannah Baker in the show. When we say small things matter, it sure does.

Hannah’s suicide is a message to raise awareness about the various signs of suicide. Certain behavior such as bullying, picking on people, calling them hateful things, all have consequences. The high rate of suicides due to bullying is not uncommon and can happen to anyone, which is why this show is so relatable.

Girls are often blamed when it might not have been their fault, to begin with, and then silenced for life. One important aspect of the series is the portrayal of consent in many forms. It need not always be spoken. And you should watch this show to understand this.

You can get angry, sad, frustrated, heartbroken, and more. 13 Reasons Why has all the human emotions one can experience. This show has a special place in my heart.

Lesson I have learned: You have to cherish those around you and show them that you care. Take the time out of your day to listen and help others. You never know what someone’s feeling inside and, what’s more, what you say could be the hand that pushes them over the edge or pulls them back to safety.

Dexter

I am a crime thriller addict. And one who loves crime thriller cannot deny the fact that Dexter is one of the best crime-drama series to date.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for the ‘Miami Metro Police Department’ is undoubtedly one of the greatest fictional characters in the television scenario today.

He is also a psychopathic serial killer that feels deep urges to kill. Except, Dexter only hunts down people who he believes deserve to die: other killers.

Dexter is largely based on Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novel series.

For every reason, I still strongly believe that there must be some Dexter’s around us. A psychopathic serial killer who is saving the world from the dangerous criminals. They are punishers who sent by Lucifer to this world. The invisible hero.

Each Dexter’s eloquent inner monologue narration has hidden lessons to teach you. Even though it describes his life and feeling, but I promise you will never see the world the same again once you finish this show. (His beach facing home in Miami is still on my mood board top list).

Note: This show is extremely gory. It’s not for the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs.

2 Broke Girls

There was a time in my life when tv shows were an escape mechanism that I used to distract myself from the problems, fears, and challenges I was refusing to deal with in my life.

Then came 2 Broke Girls into my life. Aired on Star World every day at 21:00 hrs Monday to Friday. This show changed my life for good.

Two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business — if only they can raise the cash.

I am a big fan of everyone on the show especially Max and Caroline, who’s played by Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. They are honestly inspirational, humorous, and amazing. The comedic nature of the show is its best aspect. I appreciate each character’s comedic timing.

The main reason I love the show is because I can relate to it. I am living in a tense financial situation. I have had setbacks and sufferings. I understand what it’s like to be living paycheck to paycheck.

The show inspires me to keep going and never give up on accomplishing my dreams and goals.

Lesson I have learned: Max’s character taught me that, there is always someone who needs another person to do it their work, it takes google to search. It is never hard to earn money.

Mom

A newly sober single mom tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley while dealing with her wayward mother.

Mom is a multi-camera sitcom. It’s filmed in front of a live studio audience.

They have covered topics like death, overdose, abuse, teen pregnancy, divorce, adoption, and blended families with a style and grace.

Mom has been lauded for deftly balancing some of life’s toughest subject matters with the humor of a traditional riotously funny.

Christy (Anna Faris), is a recovering alcoholic and addict, and her job as a waitress leaves money for the whole family tight. One day her mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney), also a recovering alcoholic and addict, whose relationship with Christy has been terrible over the years walks in her life again with a promise to help her and rebuild her relation.

Meanwhile, Christy wasn’t the best mother to her children during her years of addiction, and she’s steadily trying to rebuild those relationships.

This show is portraying the independence of its female leads. Each character has its own story and lessons to teach.

Whether they’re eating at their popular hangout spot Burgundy Bistro or are attending one of their weekly AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, Bonnie and Christy, along with their best friends Marjorie, Wendy, Jill, and Tammy, are always there to listen and help each other through all their problems. And let’s face it, there are a lot of problems that these women have to sort through.

Lesson I have learned: There are endless stories in this woman’s life because life is endless in terms of what it throws at you and how you have to deal with it.

There are many other shows too. Undoubtedly, Breaking Bad will go down as one of the greatest television shows of our lifetime.

If you invest in watching shows, make sure to take good lessons out of it.

Try to give these shows a chance. They changed my life and I’m sure they might change yours, too.

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