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Better Than It Sounds: Live-Action TV
Although lots of people will swear that some of these are the greatest things ever transmitted, with so many slots to fill, some shows end up sounding really weird.

Please keep entries alphabetical to avoid accidental duplicates.


  • The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage: The ghost of a pirate must help the same number of people that he killed in order to "move on", but some type of guardian ghosts prevent him from leaving the island he died on. So he gets the island's new owner to help the people. Actually not that much better than it sounds.
  • 1000 Ways to Die: Lots of everyday people get killed in different gruesome ways.
  • "1984" Apple commercial: Some girl throws a sledgehammer at MS-DOS, much to the surprise of a bunch of skinheads.
  • 24: A very determined government agent has a really bad day.
  • 30 Rock: A woman who is Married to the Job is forced to add a Cloudcuckoolander to the cast of her sketch comedy show due to Executive Meddling.
    • The main character is a "socially retarded" nerd who loves Star Wars and can't get a date. Her best friend is a minor celebrity who beds numerous members of the opposite sex and has an ongoing rivalry with a strange black guy. Their boss is Crazy Awesome incarnate.
  • The 4400: A bunch of people abducted from random points in time come back all at once in modern day Seattle... WITH SUPER POWERS. And one of them's Jesus.
  • Ace Lightning: A show in which a superhero from a videogame comes to life as a result of a well timed bolt of lightning. Thirteen year old is elected as his sidekick. Chaos, an all but absent functional social life and eventual unraveling conspiracy and author avatarisation ensues. Obvious Aesop every single episode. Also fits in Western Animation due to being multimedia-created.
  • The Addams Family: An independently wealthy family of semi-recluses must cope with their very weird neighbours.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete: Brothers with the same name team up with a self-deluded superman to survive weirdness in their home town. Told in monologue.
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: Classic British detective stories are reimagined for the sensibilities of Soviet Russia, which in practice seems to mean less cocaine and even more homoerotic subtext.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Wisecracking guy that died comes back to life to recruit a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to help his government agency. Together, They Fight Crime, superpowered people and have UST with each other.
  • Airwolf: A man refuses to return a helicopter he was ordered to retrieve.
  • ALF: An intergalactic furball, played by a puppet, takes refuge in a So Cal family home and wants to dine on their pet.
  • Alias: A supermodel genius with abandonment issues teams up with the group she thought she was working for to bring down the team pretending to be the other team. Then she goes back to working for the team she didn't know she was really working for when the real team hires the fake team to be on their team. Also, there's magic water.
  • All in the Family: An ignorant, self-destructing bigot and his occasionally self-righteous child and husband squabble about the issues of the day.
  • All That: Recurring characters include a guy who's lactose intolerant, a kid who beats up a puppet, and a girl who is supposed to answer questions but just yells at people.
  • Allein gegen die Zeit: Terrorists searching for a hiding scientist break into a middle school. The detention class tries to stop them á la 24.
  • 'Allo 'Allo!: A series set in occupied France in WWII, whose protagonist is a middle-aged, adulterous Nazi collaborator. It's a comedy.
  • Ally McBeal: An exceptionally thin lawyer, who suffers from delusions of a dancing cartoon baby, works at a firm with her ex-boyfriend and his wife, a loveable misogynist, and a man who uses a remote control to flush toilets.
  • Almost Live!: An extremely low-budget provincial sketch-comedy show where rain, coffee, grunge music, and college were used as punchlines.
  • America's Got Talent: People across America will do anything for a shot at fame and fortune.
  • American Gladiators: Physical competition against spandex-clad bodybuilders. Modeled off ancient Roman bloodsport.
  • American Gothic: A law-enforcement official tries to gain custody of his son.
  • American Horror Story: Asylum: A woman is institutionalized because of her homosexuality, and a man is institutionalized for murdering his wife (a false accusation). Both are tortured by the mental hospital's staff.
  • American Horror Story: Murder House: Due to full disclosure laws, a real estate agent is forced to admit that the house she is selling was the scene of a gruesome murder. As per usual, the buyers move in anyway, and surprise, surprise, the place is haunted.
  • The Americans: Salt: the prequel series.
  • Angel: A broody vampire with a soul, a former Rich Bitch, an Upperclass Twit, a formerly enslaved scientist, a green demon who reads people's futures when they sing Karaoke and a gang leader live in a hotel, then run a law firm. They Fight Crime.
    • Alternatively, a mass murderer claims to have reformed, but occasionally relapses. Also, all your favorite characters die.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Unsupervised kids tell horror stories.
  • Ark II: What Fallout could be where the denizens of one Vault left their shelter to do something to help their world After the End.
  • Arrested Development: A widowed man tries to redeem a corrupt organization, but his father won't have it; meanwhile, his brother is breaking his heart and his sister is having marital problems. It's a comedy, with a heaping helping of Large Ham.
  • Arrow: A man keeps up his archery skills after coming home from an extended vacation.
  • The A-Team: Four shell-shocked Vietnam veterans with varying levels of mental problems become criminals for hire. They get paid to help small businesses by harassing their competitors, cause massive property damage and even do illegal mercenary work.
    • The Army runs around Los Angeles looking for four fugitives who endanger the lives of everyone with their horrible shooting and reckless driving.
    • Army veterans who can't shoot straight try to solve people's problems with cunning and violence.
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Pet: A mismatched gang of British builders, mostly from the North of England, bicker and get into scrapes on various international building sites.
  • Babylon 5: A war-hero, a cynical Russian bisexual, a recovering alcoholic police chief and a bunch of other people start a fight with God and The Devil, win, destroy the world government and take over the entire galaxy. None of that was hard. Meanwhile, the expies of Hitler and the new Moses get married.
  • Baggage: A man/woman looking for love makes snap judgments about three potential suitors of the opposite sex based on their personal confessions. Later on, only one of the three suitors gets the chance to make a snap judgment on the original person's biggest personal confession. Punny reactions based on these revelations are inevitably made by the host.
  • Band of Brothers: What if Saving Private Ryan was 7 hours long. And more people died. And it actually happened in real life.
  • Batman: Obviously insane rich white guy with a compulsion to label everything lives with a younger guy. They both put on tights and go out looking for other men in tights so they can rough them up.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Classic): A group of Big Damn Heroes re-enact westerns IN SPACE while fighting robots with no sense of tactics or stealth.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): A group of dysfunctional people are chased by their pissed-off children. IN SPACE!!
    • Monotheists attempt to end paganism.
  • Beat the Clock: Ordinary people do silly, timed stunts on national television. For money.
  • Beautiful People: Two young teenage boys get up to lots of gay hijinks. Often in public.
  • Being Erica: A woman meets a time-travelling therapist who helps her with her regrets.
  • Being Human: A recovering addict, a neurotic in denial, and a woman with serious confidence issues share a house in Bristol.
    • The original trailer simply said "A vampire, werewolf and a ghost all share a flat in Bristol".
  • The Ben Stiller Show: A sketch comedy series, created for MTV, adapted for FOX.
  • Bewitched: A girl wreaks havoc by twitching her nose and fights with her mother about who she married.
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs: Young comic fans become bug-themed superheroes thanks to a ghost that looks like a cross between Elvis Presley and Jay Leno.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Underappreciated Asexual Genius is mocked for his social difficulties despite large circle of close friends including hot neighbour.
    • It's like Red Dwarf only not In Space! And Cat, Kryten and Lister are replaced with toned down versions of Rimmer.
    • Two nerds who live across the hall from a hottie. One of them steals her mail just to get a chance to talk to her, the other gives her advice.
    • Nobody likes the awesomest guy on TV.
  • Big Brother: People are locked in a house for three months and forced to obey the whims of a hidden task-master to beg for food. Swearing and fights ensue.
  • Big Time Rush: Four hockey players from Minnesota are gathered and brought to Los Angeles to make music and become a boy band.
  • Big Wolf on Campus: A hyperactive geek-goth, a hairy American football player, and a tomboy go on adventures together.
  • The Bill: Police work in East London. Where the cops die a lot.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie: Sketch show where almost all roles are played by two really tall, upper-class men from Oxbridge.
  • Black Books: The weird life and homoerotic misadventures of a sadistic drunk who owns a bookshop, his Cloudcuckoolander assistant / punching bag and their best (and only) friend.
  • Blackadder: A historical Sitcom, in which every generation of a charismatic but extremely unlucky man's family both looks the same and possesses the same name, as does almost everyone else he encounters. Each man is unfortunate enough to be surrounded by half-wits, incompetents and lunatics, and is waited upon by a servant whose standards of personal hygiene are barely human at best.
  • Blackpool: Murder investigation is frequently interrupted by song-and-dance numbers using well-known pop songs.
  • Blake's 7: A bunch of people get together on a spaceship to battle a sadistic glam goddess and her massive personal army.
  • Blood Over Water (no relation to a book by the same name): Murderous thugs can't figure out which twin brother they're supposed to kill. A friend of both brothers can't decide whether or not he prefers them to a fat paycheck.
  • Bones: A gorgeous but socially clueless genius anthropologist solves murders involving really icky decomposition with a street-smart and equally gorgeous wisecracking FBI agent. UST ensues. They are helped by a socially retarded supergenius, a conspiracy-theorist slime expert, and a good-hearted, free-spirited artist.
    • A crime drama which is mainly just close-ups of rotting bodies falling apart and scientists saying lengthy pieces of techno-babble. This may, if you are very lucky, be followed by just a few minutes of actual action with their Book Dumb Law Enforcement Liason.
  • Bottom: Two brainless alcoholic perverts beat each other up.
  • Boy Meets World: Immature kid grows up into a neurotic dork and marries the girl he used to torment, has the same teacher for every grade.
  • The Brady Bunch: A widow and a widower get married and bring their children from previous marriages to live together in a really big house the man designed himself. (Which nonetheless has only one bathroom.)
  • Brainiac: Science Abuse: An educational programme that does a lot of specials about caravans.
  • Breaking Bad: Quiet family man takes up a second job to pay his medical bills.
  • The Brittas Empire: Arnold Rimmer runs a leisure centre. Chaos ensues.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: All-American guy takes a 500-year-plus nap, wakes up, and promptly sets about saving the Earth from fascistic regimes with help from a talking clock, a robot with a weird Verbal Tic, and a Colonel Fanservice. (Depending on whom you ask, it might be just as bad as it sounds. In its defense, it was popular when it first came out.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A cheerleader, a nerd, a slacker, and the school librarian fight the horrors of American High School while their lives turn into a soap opera. Beloved people die with depressing regularity.
  • Bullseye UK: People throw things. If they do it well, they might win a vehicle they can't possibly use.
  • Burn Notice: A spy loses his job and tries to find out why while helping the helpless.
    • or three spies make clever plans while gorgeous women in bikinis walk around. One of the spies gives lectures.
  • The Cape: A cop gets fired for being too honest by a guy with the creepiest contact lenses ever. He resorts to a comic book character's wardrobe for vengeance, and is aided by a gang of carnies and a sneaky hacker who he has much sexual tension with.
  • Caprica: A teenage girl is killed in a terrorist attack organized by her friends. A copy of her soul ends up in the body of a robot killing machine that will one day destroy human civilization. It's a family drama.
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: A group of colour-coded soldiers with very odd accents try to stop a bunch of glowing green lights from destroying all life on Earth.
  • Cash Cab: In New York (and Toronto!) , taxi pays YOU!!
  • Castle: Mystery author stalks hot detective, hitting on her and making cruel jokes about murder scenes. Then he writes about it and gets even more rich and famous. She loves him for it.
  • Catchphrase: Robot with a neckerchief plays charades. People get paid for solving his clues.
  • Celebracadabra: Pseudo-celebrities try to perform magic tricks. Seriously.
  • Charmed: Women get magical powers and use them to kill people, while trying to avoid letting their cop friend know about it. God sends people to help them cover up.
  • The Chase: A gigantic maths teacher, a studious barrister, an icy ex-journalist and a sarcastic doctor in a tasteless suit follow people. Except they don't actually move. It's teatime entertainment, with lots of jokes about knickers.
  • Cheers: A group of people meet at a bar every night. Some of them consider leaving but they usually realise that they have no life and come crawling back.
  • Chuck: A Hollywood Nerd gets kidnapped and forced to fight crime by a hot blonde CIA agent who wants him and a hot but grumpy male NSA agent who hates him.
  • Clarissa Explains It All: A teenage girl talks to a camera for 20 minutes.
  • The Closer: Southern Belle who is also a CIA-trained interrogator and her quirky side-kicks fight crime.
  • The Colbert Report: Exaggerated right-wing pundit reinterprets the English language, itemises things that are dead to him and attempts to alert America to the increasing threat posed by bears.
  • Cold Case: Detectives solve crimes through lots of Flashbacks.
  • The Collector: About a catholic priest who becomes the devil's repo man. A new Aesop WILL be hammered home every episode.
  • Columbo: Bloke who dresses like a hobo and drives a banger follows rich celebrities, generally annoying them so much that they confess to crimes just to get rid of him.
  • Comedy Central Roast: A group of people hurl insults and tear down a mutual friend. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Community: Sitcom about a group of dysfunctional college students (most of whom are in their 30s) with nothing in common but their Spanish study group, in which they never study Spanish.
    • Alternatively, the lives of seven friends who attend the weirdest college ever.
  • Continuum: A group of democratic-republican revolutionaries attempt to overthrow a corporate-fascist dictatorship by travelling back in time from their dystopian future to the present to prevent the dictatorship from ever forming in the first place. They are pursued by a cyborg agent of the dictatorship equipped with futuristic weapons and tools who is attempting to stop them from changing the future. The cyborg, who regularly uses torture in interrogations, supports the dictatorship despite being fully aware that the dictatorship deliberately starves segments of the population as a tool of control, and teams up with the younger version of one of the future leaders of the dictatorship. The cyborg fascist is the good guy, and the freedom fighters are the villains.
  • Corner Gas: Quirky yet lovable people in rural Saskatchewan. One of them runs a gas station!
  • The Cosby Show: A doctor and a lawyer raise their children. Then they raise other people's children.
  • Criminal Minds: A group of FBI agents, including a socially awkward young genius with a schizophrenic mother, a really serious guy with family issues, and a former cop who likes to kick down doors, fly to different parts of the country in order to pretend that they are crazy people.
  • Crossing Jordan: A Boston medical examiner with a big mouth and a big heart solves crimes with the help of her neurotic boss, a bubbly grief counselor, an Indian entomologist, an ambiguously bisexual British man, her ex-cop father, and an attractive policeman with whom she shares a lot of UST.
  • The Crystal Maze: Game show where contestants make fools out of themselves to earn cubic zirconia in order to collect pieces of colored foil for adventuring days out.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: An entomologist, a former stripper, a gambling addict, and a group of nerds and geeks perform obscure activities in a lab to musical accompaniment. They Fight Crime...somehow.
    • CSI: Miami: Suave supercop visits crime scenes, makes wisecracks about innocent victims and plays with his sunglasses in a series of 5-minute shorts.
    • CSI NY: A former Marine and 9/11 widower, a wisecracking cop, a Greek-American with a stalker problem and some other geeks and nerds solve crimes in New York City...somehow.
  • The Cube: A daytime TV host who used to be in a double act with a gopher presides over the public's failure to outwit a talking geometric solid.
  • Cupid: A matchmaker has to set up a certain number of couples before he can go home.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Wealthy but socially inept and neurotic perpetual victim of circumstance offends and antagonizes everyone he comes into contact with.
  • Cutey Honey The Live: An Innocent Fanservice Girl and a bunch of homeless dudes fight crime
  • Dad's Army: A group of bungling old men and a mummy's boy prepare to fight the Nazis that will probably never arrive.
  • The Daily Show: New York comedian makes commentary on current events by playing clips, making a funny face, and occasionally launching a Precision F-Strike.
  • Dallas: Three millionaire businessmen live in one house because they apparently can't afford more than one dwelling between them. One of them gets shot.
  • Dante's Cove: Set around a resort town populated by a number of users of a magic enhanced by Fantastic Drugs, and an unusually high percentage of homosexual residents who enjoy little more than having as much sex as possible. No one can act, the writing is stilted, and everyone is gorgeous and naked.
  • Da Vinci's Inquest: A coroner from Vancouver walks around a lot, talks with people on the street, and acts sarcastic towards the local law enforcement. He also wants to legalize drugs and prostitution. Which he does...after he becomes the Mayor of Vancouver. Based on a true story.
  • Dark Oracle: Two teenagers find a comic-book that lets them predict the future. Weirdness and Angst ensue.
  • Dawson's Creek: Teenagers in Massachusetts use big words.
  • Dead Like Me: An apathetic virgin gets press-ganged into a dead-end job and hanging out in a diner with her dysfunctional co-workers.
  • Deadliest Catch: Guys go out, year after year, to subject themselves to constant torture at the hands of Nature, all for the sake of money.
  • Deadliest Warrior: Two groups of guys hit jelly babies with stuff, all the while arguing about which is better at hitting stuff until a fight breaks out.
  • Deadwood: Complex compound sentences, none shorter than twenty words or containing fewer than three clauses or two profanities, delivered while standing in either dust or mud.
    • Alternatively: A dramatized series of ongoing philosophical debates about the relative merits and drawbacks of centralized democratic government and anarchocapitalist libertarianism.
  • Deal or No Deal: Watch with anticipation as people discover what is inside a suitcase.
  • Degrassi: Teenagers have hormones.
  • Dexter: The main character is charming, personable, and homicidal. He's a cop by day and a killer by night...
  • Dharma and Greg: A lawyer and a hippie get married on a whim. Their parents don't approve.
  • Dirty Jobs: Reality Show involving a former opera singer who can't keep a job for more than a day at a time.
  • Dirty Sexy Money: A lawyer investigates the suspicious circumstances of his father's death while taking over his duty as personal lawyer to the richest family in New York City.
    • When Telemundo meets Dallas.
  • Doctor Who: An old man spends several lifetimes convincing hot young things to join him inside a box. He is routinely harassed by tin men, Nazi saltshakers and his old college buddies.
    • Alternatively, a time traveller fights aliens, makes new friends and changes his face periodically.
    • Still alternatively: A time-traveling scientist with no fashion sense attempts to have a jog around every rock quarry in the universe, only to find that they are frequently infested with monsters.
    • Alternatively-alternatively and even more alternatively: Producers find canonical excuse to keep a popular character and just replace all the actors.
    • Alternatively to all of the above: A homeless man travels around in a box and claims to have a degree in medicine.
      • The First Doctor (1963-66): A grumpy old man goes on educational adventures through space and time, with the first lesson being to not be an asshole. He is accompanied by his granddaughter, two of her teachers, Cressida, a downed pilot, a temple acolyte, a security agent from an interstellar empire (revealed 27 seasons later to have been built on slave labor), a teenager, a sailor, and a Mad Scientist's secretary.
      • The Second Doctor (1966-69): The old man becomes a younger hobo who travels with the sailor, the secretary, a piper who forgot his pipes, a Victorian orphan, and a genius. Sadly, the records of their adventures are gutted.
      • The Third Doctor (1970-74): A Technical Pacifist scientist works for a military force and fights an old college buddy. He gets help from a couple of civilians, one of whom marries an activist who may or may not be extreme. Then he gets help from a reporter.
      • The Fourth Doctor (1974-81: The scientist turns cloudcuckoolander and flies away, much to his CO's annoyance, travelling with a journalist, a physician in the military force, a Jungle Princess, a robot dog, a young lady who appears to throw centuries of her life away on a whim, a troubled genius who just lost his brother, a recently-orphaned princess who loses her civilization, and an opinionated flight attendant.
      • The Fifth Doctor (1982-84): A cricketer fails to save the day a lot, while in the company of the genius, the ex-princess, the flight attendant, a youth who tried to kill him, a robot who doesn't appear much, and a chemistry student.
      • The Sixth Doctor (1984-86): Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat does time and space, only with less dancing and more fanservice. The chemistry student (now a vegetarian) either dies or marries a barbarian king and Mr. Dreamcoat escapes execution only because the powers that be owe him a favor. Then he travels with a Non-Action Girl who desperately needs to Take A Level In Badass.
      • The Seventh Doctor (1987-89): The Chessmaster throws the bridge dropped on the above person off and raises a troubled teenager when the Non-Action Girl goes off with a scoundrel.
      • The Eighth Doctor (1996 TV movie): A cloudcuckoolander dabbles in xenophilia, meets with his old friend.
      • The War Doctor (2013): The cloudcuckoolander drinks a magic potion and turns into Winston Smith to fight a war. After many years in combat, he ends up in a rickety hut arguing with a box.
      • The Ninth Doctor (2005): An angry, bitter man destroys a girl's place of employment and then befriends her. They pick up another companion and then send him away for making trouble, and later pick up a man whose addiction is Played for Laughs.
      • The Tenth Doctor (2005-10): The personification of Beware the Nice Ones travels with a girl from a council estate, her ex-boyfriend, a medical student, and a temp, until he has to neuralyze the temp. He travels alone from then on.
      • The Eleventh Doctor (2010-2013): An angry absent-minded professor who may be Crazy Awesome incarnate tries to stay out of trouble badly and fails to keep a hat. He spends a lot of time with his family until they die. After this, he pouts for a while until he meets a new friend who keeps reincarnating in his life and tries to figure out how that works.
      • River Song arc: Boy meets girl. Girl knows boy. Girl dies. Boy meets girl’s mum. Mum meets girl. Mum and Dad get married and create girl. Girl gets kidnapped. Girl is actually parents' friend. Girl meets boy for the first time. Girl kills boy. Girl revives boy. Girl gets kidnapped again. Girl pretends to kill boy. Girl gets married to boy. Girl comes back as a ghost.
      • Saxon arc: Politician lies about his credentials, makes it to Number Ten, gets found out, falls from grace, gets shot by his wife, and ends up homeless. It's a sci-fi.
      • Day Of The Doctor: A bunch of doctors get together to fix one doctor's greatest failure. Some guy from the future shows up to tease people.
    • K-9 and Company: An ex-time-traveller turned journalist and an anachronistic robot dog face down religious fanatics.
    • The Sarah Jane Adventures: An investigative journalist turned time-traveller turned investigative journalist uses tricks learned from a former road trip buddy in her efforts to save the world. She enlists local teens to help her, without the consent or knowledge of their parents. Oh, and it is revealed in one episode that Cambridge has a genuine knight from the Crusades in its science department.
    • Torchwood: A pack of inept sex-crazed maniacs attempt to fight aliens in Cardiff, fail repeatedly, and die often.
      • Torchwood: Children of Earth: An alien took children as drugs in the 1960s, and now it demands more. The team dissolves.
      • Torchwood: Miracle Day: Death is no longer there to cause pain and grief, and whatever sex-crazed maniacs are still around treat this like a bad thing.
    • K9: A crazy scientist, a teenage rebel, a petty thief, and an upper class girl team up with a robot dog to fight other robots.
  • Dollhouse: A semi-deranged FBI agent investigates a detective agency/bodyguard service/high-class brothel run by a manipulative British businesswoman, a nerdy scientist, and an ex-cop. Moral ambiguity ensues.
  • Double Dare: Two teams are Covered in Gunge for fun and profit. Hosted by an obsessive-compulsive neat freak.
  • Dragnet: A By-the-Book Cop chronicles some of his more memorable cases. Based on Hundreds of True Stories.
    • Adam-12: The same as above, in a patrol car.
  • The Drew Carey Show: The adventures of an alcoholic fat guy with glasses.
  • Due South: A Mountie and his pet wolf are kicked out of Canada for being too polite. They decide to clean up the streets of America...politely.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: A family fights the government in a town that won't let the Confederate States die.
  • Early Edition: A newly-divorced man in Chicago gets tomorrow's newspaper delivered a day early by an orange tabby cat.
  • EastEnders: The miserable lives of a collection of dysfunctional families in London.
  • The Ed Sullivan Show: A newspaper columnist hosts an hour of virtually every field of entertainment on Sunday nights for twenty-three years. One musical act draws so big an audience that they set a new record for TV viewing percentage.
  • El Chavo del ocho: A starving orphan lives inside a barrel in a slum and is regularly ostracized. It's a comedy.
  • The Electric Company: A cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby, and a man who voiced an X-rated cartoon character teaches reading through psychedelic sketch comedy.
  • Elementary: A woman becomes a companion for a recovering junkie Cloud Cuckoo Lander from England who works with the NYPD. They Fight Crime.
  • Eli Stone: A lawyer's tumor makes him see original show tunes.
  • Entourage: A hot actor, his Heterosexual Life Partner, his washed out brother, and their chubby friend, along with the actor's snarky agent and the agent's flamboyantly gay secretary have misadventures in Hollywood.
  • The Equalizer: A retired member of a vaguely defined government organization decides to protect the defenseless people of New York from organized crime. He does it pretty well.
  • Eureka: A law enforcement official moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Hollywood Science ensues.
  • Family Matters: A cop has issues with his neighbor.
  • Farscape: A scientist and a Nazi commando help criminals escape on a living spaceship with a giant spacecrab pilot, then run and hide from the authorities- who are represented by a madman with No Indoor Voice, a weirdly assertive gimp with an interest in theoretical physics, and a date rapist who sweats love potion from her cleavage.
    • Quoth Warren Ellis: "Farscape is one American's descent into Australia's S&M scene."
  • Father Ted: An embezzler, a simpleton and an alcoholic all live under one roof with their insane housekeeper, and they all live in fear of their boss's psychopathic rages.
  • Fawlty Towers: An angry British hotelier hates his guests, lies to his wife, and physically assaults the hotel waiter. The underpaid maid is the only competent person. It's a comedy.
  • Finders Keepers: Game show where trashing a house is profitable.
  • Firefly: A pair of bitter war veterans, a sexual ambassador for hire, a mercenary with a cunning hat, a hot mechanic, a childish pilot, a preacher with a Mysterious Past, a medical genius and the cutest little psychotic killing machine ever all get together on a ship. They Do Crime!
  • First Wave: A former criminal on the run from the law for murdering his wife (which he didn't) teams up with a paranoid hacker/online newspaper editor who lives in a trailer, and later also some chick with a private army. They Fight Aliens! Using ancient prophecies!
  • Forever Knight: Vampire with a conscience works as a night cop, dates a mortician, and goes through a series of partners and captains. Also, he kills his vampire sire, who goes on to host a late-night radio show of some sort. This all takes place in Toronto.
  • The Fosters: She's a cop keeping the peace on the streets of San Diego. She's a school principal keeping the peace in the halls. They adopt and foster emotionally-scarred teenagers.
  • Foyle's War: A detective is very good at solving murders, but keeps having to let the killers go free so that they can help kill lots of Germans. His assistant only has one leg.
  • Fraggle Rock: Furry, colorful vermin infest a mad inventor’s walls and floorboards, steal fresh produce from delusional ogres, and learn about the human world via a self-appointed ambassador.
  • Frasier: A psychiatrist gets a new job. His brother, who drops by often, gets a crush on a nurse despite already being married. Craziness ensues.
  • Freaks and Geeks: Teenage girl spends time learning that an old army jacket and playing hookey is more important to her than academia and general adoration. Her younger brother spends the same time contemplating how it's possible to be adored at all.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: A street-smart teen moves in with his rich relatives.
    • Alternatively: A boy's life playing outdoor sports is inverted by a group of miscreants, prompting his mother to send him away. His transport is quite unusual, but he disregards it.
  • Friends: Three incredibly hot guys and three incredibly hot girls live together in varying combinations at varying times while doing crazy stuff and drinking lots of coffee.
  • Fringe: A DHS agent, a terminally unemployed man and his mentally ill father solve mysteries with mad science and recreational drugs.
  • Full House: Widower asks a punk and a manchild to help raise his three terminally cute little girls.
  • Game of Thrones: Like Dungeons & Dragons, only there are few monsters, all the players are jerks, and the GM is a colossal dillhole.
    • Alternatively: in a world with dangerously horrible weather, people fight over an uncomfortable chair.
    • Season One: A drunk guy asks his friend to do his job for him. Then he gets killed by a pig, his friend gets beheaded, a jerk ends up on the throne, and everyone starts grabbing expensive headgear and trying to tell everyone else to kneel. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, a girl sets things on fire.
    • Season Two: Five guys with expensive headgear wave swords at each other. Very young girls make inappropriate friendships with older men. A bunch of guys in black take a road trip to someplace cold. Across the ocean, countless people die over a young girl's pets.
    • Season Three: Like the above, plus a wedding that many find too agressive.
    • Season Four: Jerk is murdered, leading him to be replaced by a teenager, and the leading suspect to flee the law while killing his loved ones. Three siblings discover how seemingly the world is out to get them. Across the ocean, the young girl makes plenty of people to change their jobs.
  • The Games: Four people with a love/hate relationship are single-handedly responsible for putting on the Sydney Olympic Games and get into every problem imaginable (and when this troper says every problem, I mean every problem.)
  • Garth Marenghi's Darkplace: A talentless horror writer with a huge ego presents (with added cast interviews) an awful television show from The Eighties that he wrote, directed, and starred in, claiming that it is a masterpiece.
  • Get Smart: An inept spy fights crime with his girlfriend to save the world from an age-progressed Hitler and his henchman.
  • Ghostwriter: Kids solve mysteries with the aid of someone who never shows his face.
  • Gilligan's Island: Seven people spend three years on a deserted island driving each other up the wall and concocting Zany Schemes to get off, almost all of which are foiled by their stupidest member.
  • Gilmore Girls: A mother and daughter with an extremely codependant relationship live in a small town full of weirdoes, drink coffee, and speak very very quickly.
  • The Goodies: Three Englishmen set up a "We Do Anything" agency. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Glee: A soap opera wrapped in High School Musical.
    • Alternately, High School Musical with Issues.
    • Alternately, teenagers work though their angst with group karaoke.
  • Good Eats: A nerdy kitchen whiz enlists the help of everyone from dead politicians to obscure relatives to teach the viewing audience how to cook. He has a crush on a fairy in his refrigerator.
    • Alternately, MacGyver has a cooking show.
  • The Greatest American Hero: A lovable doofus with ridiculous '80s Hair fights crime with alien technology he barely knows how to use.
  • Green Acres: A strange city slicker couple runs a dilapidated farm in a bizarre farm community where the most admired resident is a super capable pig.
  • Green Wing: A hospital show in which no patients are ever seen. There's no time - the doctors and management are too busy with funny and surreal hijinks.
  • Grey's Anatomy: A hospital show where everyone is part of a giant Love Dodecahedron, which patients are occasionally dragged into. No one ever seems happy, even when they specifically state that they are happy, because of the Masochism Tango of always wanting their relationship status to be the opposite of whatever it currently is.
    • Private Practice: Spinoff featuring the Ensemble Dark Horse of the previous show. The writers initially attempted to make it even less about the surgeries than its predecessor, but this plan was scrapped in order to save the show.
  • Grimm: Homicide detective beats up fairy tales during his off-duty hours, frequently assisted by not-quite-werewolf clockmaker.
  • Hannah Montana: A girl who is only famous when she wears a blonde wig overacts, a lot.
  • Happy Days: A family deals with their three kids, one of whom disappears and is never heard of again, and a biker who moves in with them.
  • Have I Got News for You: A show which can't hold down a host for more than one episode, is outdated within a week of broadcast, and whose only regular cast members are an eccentric comedian and a magazine editor. Allegedly.
  • Hawking: A nerdy university student attempts to get his degree before he dies of an incurable neurological illness. (Spoiler: he succeeds.) Based on a True Story.
  • Hawaii Five-0: Standard cop show, just with prettier scenery than most. Remade so you can recognize more of the actors.
  • Hells Kitchen: A British chef swears and yells a lot at people.
    • Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares: Said British chef goes out of his way to save near bankrupt restaurants while insulting the people working there, and their cooking.
  • Herman's Head: New York-based magazine editor leads a boring life, but his psyche is always working overtime.
  • Heroes: A whole bunch of people with superpowers try to pretend that they've never heard of superheroes or supervillains while they play recreational sports with the Idiot Ball.
  • Hey Dude: Teenagers get paid to wreak havoc on an Arizona ranch in the early '90s.
  • Highlander: The enduring battles between people who emanate lightning after getting their heads cut off. In the end, there can be only one, except that more appear every year.
  • Highway To Heaven: A hobo and an ex-cop with anger issues tell people how to live their lives in Southern California. Miracles happen.
  • Hit And Miss: A woman tries to balance her unorthodox job, her new family, and her love life.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Earth blows up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hogan's Heroes: A comedy set in Nazi Germany, wherein a cocky allied commander and his multicultural comrades subvert the Third Reich from within a prison camp with a no-escape record.
    • Oh, and most of the Nazis are played by Jews who survived Nazi oppression. And German viewers love it.
  • Hollywood Squares: Tic-tac-toe featuring risqué remarks to simple trivia questions.
  • Holmes On Homes: Burly man invades homes, rails against stupidity.
  • Home Improvement: A home improvement show host tries to add more power to everything. When that fails, he consults his odd neighbor.
    • A man is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about his profession, but ironically, when he tries to apply it to his life, it always blows up in his face. He hosts an informational show with a far more sensible assistant/friend whose personal life he is always making jabs at, and lives with a sarcastic and sharp-tongued companion with a set of personal tastes as different from those of the main character as possible. When faced with problems, the main character consults a highly knowledgeable but eccentric adviser whose most notable peculiarity is the fact that an essential aspect of the character is always kept off-screen. Wait, hang on...are we talking about Home Improvement or Frasier??
  • Series/Homeland: A beloved war hero's efforts to get justice for a group of murdered children are repeatedly thwarted by a psychotic stalker who is carrying on an affair with a married man. The stalker is the hero.
  • House: Crippled Doctor can't decide if he's Batman, Sherlock Holmes, or Nietzsche; solves medical mysteries to keep the crushing ennui at bay only to find that Victory Is Boring, so he takes drugs instead.
  • House Hunters: Couples go comparison-shopping.
  • How I Met Your Mother: A man tells his bored teenaged children stories about his sex life when he was younger.
    • Or: A man tells his children the story of how he met a bunch of women who AREN'T their mother with the help of Doogie Howser, M.D.
    • Or: A woman, her two ex-boyfriends, and their married friends stay up late drinking at their favourite bar every night for several years, until someone gets pregnant.
    • The Wonder Years: A man tells his bored child(ren) stories about himself when he was younger. Evidently there's nothing good on TV in the present.
  • Human Target: A killer steals the identity of the Six Million Dollar Man and is helped by a former high school principal and Rorschach (or possibly Freddy Krueger). Their enemy is Judge Dredd's clone.
  • Human Wrecking Balls: A pair of brothers break stuff.
  • Hustle: Rich, dishonest people are robbed in highly creative ways. We are supposed to believe that the thieves are the good guys.
    • The Real Hustle: Ordinary people are robbed, and then the money is given back.
  • I, Claudius: A man who was born into the world's most powerful family spends the entire series whining about his relatives.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: A blonde Magical Girl who is a Genie in a Bottle annoys an astronaut for five years by calling him "Master" in order to have Happiness in Slavery and sparks controversy for exposing her navel. She also loves folding her hands and nodding her head, usually when she knows or thinks that something is about to go wrong. Alternatively, a man finds his life centering more and more around the contents of a bottle, and it's a dream of Howard Borden .
  • I'd Do Anything: Women compete for the right to wear a corset in front of thousands of people and die horribly at the hands of Owen Harper, while children compete to play a miserable orphan.
  • iCarly: A spoiled teen girl, her psychotic best friend, and the nerd next door host a webshow.
  • Ice Road Truckers: "Guys drive on ice."
  • I Love Lucy: A spaced-out, red-haired housewife tries to get on her husband's variety show and whines about it when she can't.
  • The Incredible Hulk: A scientist with really serious anger management issues is a presumed dead fugitive.
  • Insomniac: Bald drunk tours the U.S. to prove that the freaks really do come out at night.
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: A Lord with a dysfunctional personal life and a cranky, foul-mouthed junk food addict fight crime while clashing over class issues, elitism, and everything else. Somehow, they wind up best friends and possibly fall in love.
  • Inspector Morse: He's an aging alcoholic frustrated academic singleton. He's a much younger family man from the North. Together They Fight Crime
  • Interceptor: Hide-and-seek against a helicopter containing a mad Scotsman. Don't worry, though, you have a former tennis player to help.
    • Alternatively: On one team — a sci-fi bounty hunter with a laser cannon, a quick-witted aerial ace, and their fleet of really cool black vehicles. On the other — two hitch-hikers who are usually yuppies. You're supposed to root for the latter.
  • Iron Chef: Two people play a game to see who can cook the best food in one hour. They are judged by a panel of D-list celebrities. Home team wins.
  • The IT Crowd: A nerd with no social skills, an Irish drunkard, a goth who lives in a closet and a woman with no knowledge of computers work with computers in a basement.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Fraternal twins, their dad and two friends run a bar and scheme to get money and/or sex. Everybody turns against everybody else. Antagonists are a nameless waitress and a homeless former priest.
  • JAG: A tall dark and handsome former Naval Aviator turned lawyer together with an equally beautiful female jarhead partner; supported by an ensemble cast led by a bald former Navy SEAL; investigates, prosecutes, and defends service members in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
    • NCIS: A retired Marine with a redhead fetish, a lecherous playboy, a malapropping Israeli assassin, a murder mystery writer / computer nerd and online gamer, an old British doctor and a Perky Goth with a caffeine habit work for the US Navy. They Fight Crime!
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Gay Victorian couple pose as upper class idiot and his more intelligent butler.
  • Jekyll: A Victorian horror novel re-imagined as a modern sci-fi conspiracy with the star Acting for Two but providing enough ham for eight.
  • Jeopardy!: A game show which is hard to win even though they give you all the answers.
  • Joan of Arcadia: A girl talks to God.
  • The Joe Schmo Show: A Reality Show where the only "real" thing about it is one unwitting contestant.
  • The Jokers Wild: A game show where players spin a slot machine to determine their categories. Satan and Heath Ledger guest star.
  • Jonathan Creek: A nerdy magician and a hot but dysfunctional journalist with a crush on him solve mysteries. Then the journalist suddenly turns blonde and skinny, but no one mentions it.
  • The Joy Of Painting: an ex-Master Sergeant paints nothing but nature scenes.
  • Justified: Cowboy lawman spouts wisecracks and shoots hillbillies in crapsack rural community. Wisecracks some more with his ex-neo-Nazi, ex-preacher crimelord best friend who blows things up.
    • Season Two: Cowboy lawman goes up against large woman who punishes those she loves with contaminated moonshine and ballpeen hammers.
    • Season Three: Cowboy lawman goes up again a guy who dismembers dead animals, a drug-addicted albino deer, a skinny cripple with an 80s mowhawk, and a redneck with four kidneys. Features barbecue pork and bondage.
  • Kamen Rider: Bug-themed superhero rides bikes and kicks a lot to fight monsters. And other similarly themed superheroes.
  • Kings: A Farm Boy saves the prince's life and everything goes to hell. Also known as: Ian McShane gets dicked over by NBC.
  • Knight Rider A man and his talking computer-controlled car wander the country, fighting crime.
  • Knightmare: A Dungeon Master sends children into his dungeon to deal with problems he doesn't want to take care of himself. They almost always fail.
    • Alternatively: Kids play a video game which has no controls, no continues, and a habit of freezing mid-level.
  • Kyle XY: A loving family raises a teenage savant who was literally born yesterday.
  • K-tai Investigator 7: one's an Ordinary High-School Student. One's a transforming cell-phone robot. They Fight Cyber Crime!
  • Land of the Lost: A family gets lost in an acid trip. Maybe.
  • Last of the Summer Wine: Inexplicably long-running series about three old northerners. One is gynophobic, one is a short, scruffy liberal, and the other is one of various tall, pompous conservatives. They wander around Yorkshire, argue about politics and crash things. It's a comedy.
  • The Late Show: Host interviews people and makes a top 10 list.
  • The Late Late Show: Host reads mail and interviews guests with help from a robot, a horse, and puppets.
  • Law & Order: Police officers investigate crimes. Lawyers argue about them in court.
    • Or, crime-solving duo helps grandfatherly mentor teach cynicism to a series of supermodels.
  • The League of Gentlemen: A Sitcom / Sketch Comedy set in a Town with a Dark Secret, whose best-loved characters are a pair of incestuous Corrupt Hick Serial Killers and a polygamist Monster Clown who runs a Circus of Fear and calls everybody "Dave".
    • Psychoville: A mysterious figure attempts to blackmail a group of disabled people and medical personnel.
  • Legend of the Seeker: A young woodsman embarks on a mystical quest with an elderly wizard, a beautiful woman who mind-rapes people with her eyes, and a reformed dominatrix. Along the way they collect magical objects, rescue villagers, and try not to doom the world by having sex.
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple: Game show where All Myths Are True and kids compete for the right to rob tombs, meet a talking stone head, and fail to put together a monkey statue.
  • Lets Make A Deal: Costumed audience members exchange cash and merchandise for exotic vacations and luxurious cars, as well as smelly farm animals, massive quantities of produce, and oversized TV show props.
  • Leverage: A Five-Man Band of criminals. They Fight Crime.
    • Basically an updated version of those four ex-military fellows in the van above.
  • Lie to Me: An obnoxious Brit and a quirky team accuse people of lying and are usually right.
  • Life On Mars: A policeman gets run over and wakes up in 1973. His boss is a misogynistic, racist homophobe, he himself is and is not hallucinating everything, and he's being stalked.
    • Ashes to Ashes: Alex Drake gets seriously injured and wakes up in 1981. Somehow, she's ended up in Sam Tyler's world, working for his boss, and it's anyone's guess whether or not Alex is hallucinating the whole thing.
      • Or: A police detective gets stalked by a freaky clown who probably doesn't exist in 1981.
    • Brimstone: Police detective gets seriously injured, travels forward in time to 1998, and meets the devil.
  • The Lone Ranger: A cowboy and an Indian fight crime. Together.
  • Long Ago and Far Away: Darth Vader hosts children's stories from around the world.
  • LOST: People stuck in a place where weird things happen and no one has any idea what's happening. Also features a soap opera set in East Asia.
    • Alternately: People learn about boar hunting and killing each other brutally.
    • Or: An angry Momma's Boy wants to pull the plug out of a drain. His brother recruits a diverse group of people to try and stop him. They all end up dying.
  • The Lost Room: A plucky single dad finds the magic key to a Negative Space Wedgie and meets a cast of colorful characters on a quest to find his daughter.
  • MacGyver: A spy who can't fire a gun helps people by using everyday items in unconventional ways.
  • Mad Men: The man in the grey flannel suit commits identity theft, votes for Nixon, and provides an object lesson in why the women's movement was a Good Thing.
    • Alternately: A bunch of sexist, racist, homophobic dicks get drunk, smoke and screw hot chicks a lot en route to huge paychecks.
  • Maddigan's Quest: Two boys and a baby run away and join a circus in order to fight a cockroach that doesn't exist yet.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Teen Genius narrates the life of his severely screwed-up family through his own eyes.
  • Man vs. Wild: A man goes hiking around the world.
    • Also he drinks his own piss
  • Married... with Children: Loser Protagonist lives through hell on earth with his lazy red-headed wife, two bumbling kids, and a pair of annoying neighbors.
  • Martin: A black radio DJ pisses people off.
  • M*A*S*H: A bunch of Americans living abroad in the 1950s talk and act like it's the 1970s, and crack a lot of jokes about death.
  • The Mentalist: a Jerk Ass ex-conman pisses people off while his short Brainy Brunette reprimands him. Plus, a stoic Asian, bumbling big guy, and Fiery Redhead.
  • Merlin: A bumbling manservant uses non-specified superpowers to protect his unwitting and unappreciative master while taking advice on their relationship from a dragon who basically speaks in subtext (and ships them). Corny CGI ensues.
  • Merv Griffins Crosswords: Classic pencil puzzler turned into a game show. Poor formatting turns this into the game show version of the Macguffin Delivery Service.
  • Miami Vice: An hour long music video compilation about a set of Salt and Pepper cowboy cops who out-cool all the bad guys.
  • The Mighty Boosh: A glamrocking pretty boy and a middle-aged virgin with a jazz fetish go on ridiculous, surreal adventures with an alien stoner and a talking gorilla who's supposed to be dead.
  • The Middleman: A young painter living with her ditzy blonde roommate is hired by a quirky superhero with a grumpy robot secretary. Memorable opponents include a super-smart gorilla, a mud monster, and a boy band.
  • Misfits: Five juvenile delinquents—consisting of a nerdy arsonist, a shamed athlete, a snarky jerkass, a violent chav, and a sex-mad drunk-driver—get caught in a freak storm while on community service, and get magically lumbered with some of the most debilitating and ridiculous superpowers EVER.
  • Mission: Impossible: A Five Smart Guy Band takes on Magnificent Bastard after Magnificent Bastard and wins.
  • Mister Ed: A horse talks to an architect and says nothing to anyone else.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: A Presbyterian minister shows children how various things are made, sings to them, and then tells serial stories set in a kingdom in his wall.
  • Modern Family: An extended family allows an unseen mockumentary crew to record every detail in their lives.
  • Mock the Week: Seven people talk about how terrible Britain and the world is using Black Comedy.
  • Monk: A man with OCD annoys everyone around him in the process of solving murders.
  • The Monkees: Four teenagers sing songs, break the fourth wall and go on zany adventures.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Five educated British men make complete fools of themselves on national television until they run out of ideas, at which point their American colleague cuts bits of famous paintings out and moves them in front of the camera.
  • Mork and Mindy: Cloudcuckoolander from space and sweet innocent young woman live together in Boulder, Colorado and seem to swing back and forth between Just Friends and a real romantic relationship for three years until they get married and give birth to Jonathan Winters.
  • Mr. Bean: A manchild is overwhelmed by the most basic tasks. Most of the time something goes wrong, and for some reason, instead of asking someone for help, he tries to fix everything himself, but just ends up making it worse.
  • Mr. Belvedere: An English butler lives in the Pittsburgh suburbs and writes in his diary about the mundane goings-on of his host family.
  • Mr. Brain: A Ginza host with impossibly good hair is crushed under a building, has his brain rebuilt, and gathers a ragtag band of misfits to solve crimes by eating bananas and playing children's games.
  • The Munsters: A caring, considerate family do their best to improve their community but are shunned and discriminated against by the rest of civilization.
  • The Muppet Show: A variety show—starring assorted singing and dancing animals, not to mention talking food—where nearly all of the acts end in total disaster. Comes complete with its own MST3K riffers.
  • Murder, She Wrote An elderly female author moonlights as a homicide investigator in her idyllic hometown and on the road. The author is a lovely woman, but an astonishing number of her friends, relatives, and neighbors die every year, such that her hometown has a murder rate 3 times that of Detroit in 1974. Murders are solved through keen observation skills, clever verbal traps, and convenient confessions.
    • Alternatively, an elderly woman is friends with a shocking number of people in her small town, which has a reputation of being idyllic despite its sky-high murder rate. She often assists in the apprehension of the murderers, and is miraculously never harmed despite her age and the fact that many of them have weapons.
  • Murphy Brown: Recovering alcoholic can't keep a secretary, but can keep a painter. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mutant X: Geneticist composes team of human guinea pigs to fight against a Corrupt Corporate Executive with plastic skin. Not related to the X-Men.
  • My So-Called Life: A show about the problems of white, middle-class teenagers in the '90s. Is retroactively praised by people who weren't white, middle-class teenagers in the '90s.
  • Mystery Diagnosis: People are sick. Their doctors don't know why, until they do.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: A man is stuck in a satellite orbiting earth with some robots he made out of spare parts, and they are forced to watch bad old movies while mocking them. Join the fun!
    • Alternatively: A man, hated by the people he serves, is jettisoned into a spaceship. Each day, he is forced to watch torturous films that make the ones shown in A Clockwork Orange look mild. In a losing battle against loneliness, he builds several machines from various parts of the ship, who treat him worse than his employers. A truly sad story.
    • Alternatively: A scientist gives poor movie recommendations to three men with nothing better to do, but they still take constant breaks to play pretend.
    • Alternatively: Some people won't shut up about awful movies.
  • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg: Power Rangers in ancient Ireland.
  • MythBusters: Two overgrown geeks and their three younger sidekicks try to prove whether urban legends are true or not by playing with an overly abused crash test dummy and blowing stuff up.
  • Neds Declassified School Survival Guide: Slice of Life anime, only it's live-action. Set in American Junior High with No Fourth Wall.
  • New Tricks: A widower, a compulsive gambler, and a neurotic with OCD join forces with a dog-murderer to solve mysteries.
  • Nick Arcade: A game show where kids play video games and answer trivia questions in order to win a chance at jumping around in front of a green-screen.
  • Night Court: A barely qualified judge rules on a series of petty crimes, while the prosecutor makes inappropriate remarks about the duty counsel, and one of the bailiffs is really tall.
  • Ninja Warrior: 100 people fail to pass several obstacles and a rope ladder twice a year.
  • No Ordinary Family: The Incredibles In Live Action!!!
  • Northern Exposure: A New York doctor goes to Springfield, Alaska. He tries to leave. Hilarity ensues. Don't call it fantasy.
  • Nowhere Man: A photographer gets very convincingly erased. Over his course of Walking the Earth trying to unravel the conspiracy and get his family back, he becomes less and less convinced he was ever real.
  • NUMB3RS : A nice Jewish math genius writes on a chalkboard and finds criminals. The first criminal they find is always dead. The second is arrested.
  • The Odd Couple: A priggish intellectually pretentious Neat Freak and a down to earth, if short tempered, slob try to live together as roommates and friends.
  • The Office (UK): The boring lives of a group of people who work in a paper merchant's in Slough.
    • The Office (US): the surprisingly interesting lives of a dysfunctional group of people who work at a paper company in Scranton, PA.
  • Once Upon a Time: After getting into a fight with her son's custodial parent, a successful woman moves back in with her single mother, who is trying to get back together with her father.
    • Meanwhile, the son tries to prove that everyone in town is really from Disney's fantasy menagerie.
    • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Two lovers navigate an acid trip while fleeing Disney villains.
  • The Outer Limits (TOS: Demon with a Glass Hand) (Single episode of anthology series): An emotionless man with amnesia does everything his hand tells him, including walking into a hail of bullets. (He gets better.)
  • Parks and Recreation: A city government employee attempts to turn a hole in the ground into a community park, accompanied by her Obstructive Bureaucrat boss and similarly apathetic staff of subordinates.
  • Pawn Stars: Antiques Roadshow as hosted by the guys from Orange County Choppers.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Everything you know about life is wrong, and these two guys are going to tell you why. Bombastically.
  • Penny Dreadful: A Victorian adventurer, his possessed lady friend, and a Wild West performer search for the adventurer's kidnapped daughter. Meanwhile, their Ambiguously Gay Mad Scientist associate is confronted by his abandoned first born.
  • Peep Show: The humiliations and inner thoughts of an Odd Couple with no social skills whatsoever.
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse: A man plays pretend with living furniture. A cowboy, a hot girl, a king, a mail lady, and a man wearing nothing but swimming trunks occasionally wander in.
    • Or: A chronic masturbator hangs out with talking furniture, a hot girl, and a black cowboy.
  • Phoenix Nights: A Deadpan Snarker cripple from Oop North decides to re-open a club, only to get it burned down again next series. He then repeats the process again next series, only without the burning. Despite this, people still want a Series 3.
  • Picket Fences: A small-town family and their acquaintances deal with increasingly offbeat visitors and criminals, all while maintaining a strong sense of values.
  • Pizza: Italian-Australian pizza delivery guys regularly find themselves dealing with the sorts of subjects and people Haruhi Suzumiya would be happy to meet.
  • Pointless: One half of a comedy duo encourages people to think of unpopular things, assisted by a guy whose computer doesn't work.
  • Poirot: Series about a pudgy, vain immigrant who refers to himself in the third person and has an imperfect command of English. He is a clotheshorse, and is so fastidious that he once puts a handkerchief on a park bench before sitting on it. He frequently boasts about a certain part of his anatomy. The series occasionally adds sexuality and angst that weren't in the original stories. His frequent sidekicks includes a bland retired officer, who says "I say!" and "Good Lord!" at every opportunity, and a secretary obsessed with filing. They Fight Crime.
  • Power Rangers: An American TV show with fight scenes made up of recycled footage from a Japanese show that somehow managed to be popular enough that most people have heard of it.
  • Press Your Luck: Contestants answer low-IQ questions in order to press a button to win money. Small red things attempt to steal said money with various implements.
  • The Pretender: A kidnap victim with a mean streak habitually lies about who he is to solve mysteries.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Four teenaged girls who have almost nothing in common receive text messages from the same anonymous sender. This is part of a convoluted and intricate conspiracy.
  • The Price Is Right: Randomly selected contestants win cash and prized based on their knowledge of common supermarket items.
  • Primeval: College teacher is a dick to a bunch of amateurs who follow him unquestioningly. They cover up cryptid sightings and try to arrest the teacher's estranged spouse.
    • Or: A divorce gone wrong results in giant reptiles running around London. Snarky government official tolerates a nutcase scientist, big game hunter, techno geek and the only successful member of S Club 7 as they appear to do a better job than the special forces. Later a PR woman with multiple personality disorder, a sexy Egyptologist and Tom from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels attempt to kill giant super evolved bats.
    • Also: A whole bunch of random people chase dinosaurs that escaped from big, shiny balls of broken glass while trying to stop the main characters crazy wife who wants to commit suicide by erasing the human race.
    • Alternatively: History comes to life. Then eats you.
  • Prison Break: A man deliberately gets himself thrown in prison — after having his escape plan tattooed over his entire body.
  • The Prisoner: Man retires from his stressful job to an exclusive and seemingly idyllic resort, but spends all his time bitching about it and refuses to join in the fun and games like everyone else.
  • Prisoners Of Gravity: A man is stuck in a satellite orbiting Earth with a superintelligent computer and spends his time interviewing famous scifi and fantasy authors, which he broadcasts to the world by constantly interrupting a nature program.
  • Profit: Richard III goes '90s, has sex with his stepmom, and plays computer games naked.
  • Psych: An immature slacker convinces the police that he has ESP. He and his reluctant best friend solve murders and sing a series of 80s references as they do it.
  • Pushing Daisies: A baker/necromancer brings his murdered girlfriend back to life; together with an undead dog, a cynical private eye, and a singing waitress, they solve gruesome yet hilarious murders. One-eyed synchronized-swimming aunts, homeopathic mood enhancers, and a restaurant called the Pie Hole are involved.
  • Pyramid: Word association game played with a loud clock ticking in the background.
  • QI: Jeeves grills British comedians on obscure trivia. Negative scores are often allotted.
    • Four British comedians are asked apparently simple questions, then mocked if they give the obvious answer.
    • A British quiz game where all scores are arbitrary.
  • Quantum Leap: A semi-amnesiac scientist travels through time with his horny, invisible friend, who carries a computer disguised as a tetris cube (sometimes a calculator).
  • Queer as Folk: Everyone Is Gay. Sex is abundant.
  • Raven: A guy who can turn into a bird guides kids on a quest to become the best warrior.
  • Rawhide: A bunch of guys take cattle out west and back in the years following the Civil War.
  • Reading Rainbow: Celebrities read children's books accompanied by stilted animation. Hosted by Geordie LaForge.
  • Reaper: A directionless twentysomething takes on a second job to pay off a debt his parents incurred. His friends help.
    • The job being a hunter of escaped souls from hell.
  • Reba: Fiery Redhead is Surrounded by Idiots and snarks about it.
  • Red Dwarf: The last human in existence drifts through space in a vast abandoned ship. It's a comedy.
    • Alternatively, angry man dies and complains about it.
    • Alternatively, a young man with everything planned out is doomed to a miserable, lonely existence by his unlikeable superior. The superior is repeatedly shown that everything is his fault and that he could have been so much more, and each episode ends with a list of the other man's broken dreams and things he wanted from life, but is now half-resigned to never having. Because it's funneh.
  • Reno 911!: A group of highly incompetent police officers are taped by a documentary crew.
  • Retro Game Master/GameCenter CX: A Japanese guy tries to play through old video games. The show also breaks to show him visiting arcades or interviewing video game developers.
  • Revenge: A psychopathic young woman infiltrates a snobbish society of backbiting socialites to execute an absurdly complicated retribution plot for a legal scandal that occurred fifteen years earlier. Meanwhile, she is aided by a bisexual antisocial billionaire and courted by several clueless young men who have absolutely no idea what she's really up to. Drama ensues.
  • River Monsters: A man goes fishing.
  • Robot Wars: A game show where many contestants are rendered unable to perform motor functions.
  • The Rockford Files: Maverick meets Peter Gunn.
  • Rome: A drama about life in Italy, as seen through the eyes of two soldiers.
  • Roswell: Dawson's Creek with Aliens who are trying to stay hidden. While trying to keep the secret that they aren't human, they tell everyone they meet that they are aliens.
  • Rutland Weekend Television A near-no budget show about a near-no budget TV station.
  • Salute Your Shorts: Kids go to summer camp and harass their counselor.
  • Sapphire And Steel: Two socially-inept gods investigate ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, defeat eldritch horrors mostly by glaring at them, and have ridiculous amounts of UST despite allegedly existing only to do their job.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The savior of mankind goes through high school. Meanwhile, his mentally unstable mother and time-travelling uncle fight robots and criminals, a disguised robot looks for them, and River Tam beats up everyone.
  • Saturday Night Live: Many educated men and women of all races, usually American, imitate the five British men discussed above but usually have their own writers and no moving paintings.
  • Scrubs: Two dorky white people strive to impress their black and Dominican best friends and shed their dependence on the "Well Done, Son" Guy. Oh, and they save people's lives daily, but that doesn't seem enough to raise their self-esteem.
    • Or: A dorky white guy with an overactive imagination's adventures in a hospital full of doctors who must've bribed their way through med school.
  • SCTV: A local television station, run by an conniving owner who fakes being wheelchair-bound, forgoes airing cheap reruns to air incompetent original programming. The most popular material is a pure filler piece starting two beer swilling idiots.
  • Seinfeld: Four self-interested adults talk. About nothing.
  • Shameless: Alcoholic Parent, the series.
  • Sherlock: A sociopathic manchild teams up with a traumatised Army doctor. They Fight Crime.
    • Or, yet another Sherlock Holmes adaptation.
    • "A Study in Pink": a relatively normal guy going through a rough patch in his life meets a quirky, free-spirited stranger with no regard for social conventions, who brings adventure into his depressing existence.
  • The Shield: Crime fighting show notable for asking such difficult questions as 'Is the Porn Stache the best way to get girls?'.
  • The Singing Detective: Murder investigation is frequently interrupted by song-and-dance numbers using well known forties songs and shots of some bloke with a skin problem wangsting.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: Five adventurers and an Action Girl find themselves stuck on an inaccessible and inescapable island, yet a parade of guest stars can come and go as they please.
  • Six Feet Under: The patriarch of a family of morticians dies unexpectedly, but continues to appear regularly on the show. A Family Drama.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: The adventures of a crippled former astronaut/test pilot with the world's most expensive, powerful and lifelike prosthetics.
  • Skins: Undermotivated British teenagers do drugs and run up their cell phone bills.
  • Slings and Arrows: A struggling Shakespearean theatre company is reinvigorated with the help of a director who suffered a nervous breakdown, and the bisexual ghost only he can see.
  • Small Wonder: A man builds a lifelike android and tells everyone it's his daughter.
  • Smallville: Young man who never changes his clothes keeps refusing to fulfill his blatantly obvious destiny.
    • Well meaning college dropout incapable of maintaining meaningful relationships stumbles through life and increasingly submits to his father's attempts to control his life as the series progresses.
    • Superman meets Dawson's Creek.
    • Protagonist indirectly causes conflict by withholding the truth from others.
    • Green Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The Series.
  • Snuff Box: The adventures of a womanizing British hangman with a voice that makes you shout "Come on, world, I'll have you for breakfast!" and his time-travelling American assistant who has an absolutely deadpan voice. Both are insane.
  • The Sopranos: A suspiciously wealthy waste management executive has panic attacks, recurring dreams, extramarital affairs, and occasional bouts of violence.
  • South of Nowhere: A family with a strained relationship move to LA, which causes a rift between mother and daughter.
  • Spaced: Two lazy, unmotivated slackers trick their drunken landlady into letting them rent a flat by pretending to be a couple, and spend their time bumming around aimlessly with their weird friends.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Gladiators get restless. Their bosses get restless. Everyone gets laid.
  • Spider-Man: Popular comic book hero IN JAPAN! He also has a Giant Robot.
  • Spin City: A Ragtag Bunch of Misfits do their darndest to make the incompetent mayor of New York City look good.
  • Split Second: Game show in which three contestants earn as high a score as possible in the first two rounds, but the first player to go back down to zero in the third round is declared the champion.
    • Or a Jeopardy! mimic with questions that all three players can answer — even if the first player gives a correct response.
  • Sportscenter: People spout lame catchphrases while reporting sports scores.
  • Sports Night: People talk about sports and fail at their personal lives.
  • Square One: A Pac-Man ripoff, various music stars, a pair of police detectives, and assorted other people teach children mathematics.
    • NUMB3RS: A ripoff of those "math detective" segments.
      • "Applied Math Saves The Day"
  • Stargate SG-1: A wisecracking colonel, an archaeologist who just won't die, a pretty blonde astrophysicist, and an alien revolutionary step through a big gray ring to fight snakes with glowing eyes and mechanical insects. Later, the colonel is promoted, so a new proverb-quoting colonel and an eccentric, flirty thief join up, this time to fight glowing energy beings who like to play god.
  • Star Trek: Three men and four hundred extras travel through space in their futuristic living room/model UN club, going where no man has gone before.
    • A space ship runs around the galaxy telling everyone to behave lest their planet be blown up. This is the ideal form of society.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: A Grumpy Old Man, a Straw Vulcan, and a Chivalrous Pervert with a toupée save the galaxy.
      • The Straw Vulcan succumbs to a powerful mating urge and almost kills the ship's captain. (An actual TV Guide synopsis of the episode " Amok Time")
      • A sex addict plays Mary Worth to the galaxy.
    • A ship from an organization that is absolutely, positively, you better believe it, not a military organization goes about obeying a strict hierarchy of ranks, carrying spectacular amounts of firepower, involving itself in imperialistic power politics and killing or threatening to kill large numbers of intelligent life. This ship has a captain who cannot stay away from alien women, an exec with absurd mathematical prowess, a curmudgeonly doctor, and an engineer who always complains that the ship cannot stand any more. There are also numerous people dressed in red shirts to indicate that they are chosen for human sacrifice to the religion of plot necessity.
    • Alternatively: A crew of obscenely over talented people is ordered to get as far away from civilization as possible for five years. It quickly becomes clear that this was not a punishment, but someone upstairs being smart enough to realize the ship is a Doom Magnet.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: An enlightened old man, a young up-and-coming commander who refuses all promotions, an attractive female doctor (except for that year with the shrewish female doctor), and an android go where no one has gone before. They usually would rather not.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A commander who never quite got over the death of his wife in the worst military loss his government ever had, a beautiful young woman with dark spots whom he keeps calling "old man," a hot-headed genius engineer, and an ambitious doctor straight out of medical school go where extremely ugly aliens have gone before and stay there. They meet a former freedom fighter (who has to get over some severe Fantastic Racism, albeit with a Freudian Excuse) and a security officer who sleeps in a bucket. When the young woman with spots is murdered by a possessed Complete Monster, she is replaced by a shrink.
      • Babylon 5 minus the Babylon 5.
      • A beautiful young woman with spots who loves waving a weird looking weapon around falls in love with an ape obsessed with his ancestors culture because that ape is even better at waving weird looking weapons around then she is.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Two starships go where no one has gone before. The captain of one ship drafts everybody from the other into her organization (since they lost their ship), as well as a local and a mercenary, and then spends the series trying to go back without violating her peculiar moral code, whatever that may be. They all are forced to use a sophisticated computer program for medical treatment. About halfway through the series run, they pick up and draft a cyborg Emotionless Girl who is Beautiful All Along.
      • Or....literally going where no one has gone before. Anybody have a map??
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: An Iowa farm boy who's dreamt of space travel all his life, his Southern-accented chief engineer/best friend, an uptight British munitions officer, a black helmsman, a gorgeous Japanese linguist (played by a Korean), a gregarious alien doctor who commits murder on at least two occasions, and a stoic-yet-beautiful alien commander travel space at the beginning of humanity's efforts. They meet nasty aliens and get caught up in a lot of headache-inducing time stuff.
      • Or...how Mankind got it done before the aliens started pitching in.
  • Storm Chasers: An IMAX filmmaker, a videographer, and an electrical engineer. They chase storms.
  • Strangers with Candy: A middle-aged junkie prostitute attends a high school where all the other students are of normal age and the principal is an insane narcissist. The teachers hate the students and angst about everything. Important lessons are introduced but nobody learns them. Homes are broken, lives are ruined, and every episode ends in a dance sequence.
  • The Sunset Limited: Two old men talk for 90 minutes about suicide.
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: A group of kids get rid of computer viruses.
  • Supernatural: Two hot, dysfunctional brothers drive around the country fighting monsters, later accompanied by a hot angel, with a revolving door of hot recurring stars/guest stars. They Fight Monsters.
    • A pair of smokin' brothers hate themselves and love each other so much that they ruin the apocalypse and somehow piss off both Heaven and Hell.
    • Two ridiculously attractive brothers travel around the US having the most miserable lives known to mankind.
    • Or, A show about two mentally-challenged underwear-model brothers trying to impress God.
  • Super Sentai: A long-running Japanese live-action superhero franchise, which involves a team of people fighting evil while wearing brightly-colored suits. Is known to American audiences for having its fight scenes adapted into an entirely different premise.
  • Survivor: A bunch of people that have no business living with one another are thrown into the middle of nowhere and have to live with one another.
  • Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills: Teenagers battle evil with the power of the Zodiac. Has nothing to do with Saint Seiya.
    • Alternatively: a poor man's Power Rangers
  • Teen Wolf: Teenage boy becomes werewolf, gets better at lacrosse. Everything else gets worse.
    • Remake of a 25 year old teen movie, In Name Only, airs on MTV.
  • The 10th Kingdom: A waitress, a janitor, a golden retriever, and an obsessed ex-con chase a mirror, while pursued by three idiots who love the Bee Gees. Meanwhile, the Big Bad teaches a dog how to be a man and spends the rest of her time talking to mirrors (or Al Bundy).
  • Terra Nova: The cop from the American Life On Mars and the asshole colonel from Avatar travel back in time 85 million years and form history's earliest recorded bromance. They Fight Dinosaurs (and an Angry Black Woman).
  • Thank God Youre Here: Comedians walk through a door, not knowing what's on the other side.
  • That '70s Show: Main character is nerd with a crush on tomboy. Setting is a dull city filled with rednecks. Main characters do lots of drugs.
    • Or: A group of teenagers live through the 1970s. When 1980 comes they can't remember the 70s.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: A military officer working for a foreign dictator hides in a small American town under a false identity with three subordinates posing as his relatives. He regularly has sex with a local woman who doesn't know his true identity. Hilarity Ensues.
  • This Is Wonderland: A woman named Alice chases a shy man with no pants, encounters drug addicts, gets a haircut from her Ambiguously Gay opponent, argues with a Stepford Smiler who wants to be royalty, and sits through various bizarre trials conducted by a wannabe clown with an explosive brain.
  • The Three Stooges: A trio of "brothers" take odd jobs, but mostly spend half the time arguing and beating each other up.
  • The Walking Dead: An ex-cop, a pizza delivery boy and a redneck team up with an untrustworthy ex-cop, an old man with a shotgun and a black guy to protect themselves against shambling people who like to bite things.
  • Three's Company: A guy pretends to be gay so that he can live with two women to whom he is not romantically linked.
  • Time Warp: People watch things in slow motion.
  • Top Gear: Three middle-aged men arse about with cars and a whole bunch of the BBC's money.
    • Or: A large, blustery man, a secret American who whitens his teeth, a man unable to drive fast, and a man(?) in a racing suit muck about with cars in an airplane hangar.
    • Top Gear: The Great Adventures: Same middle aged men race across countries across the world, getting injured, getting drunk, freezing their arses off, having stones thrown at them by hicks and making friends with Companion Cubes along the way.
  • Tower Prep and Unnatural History A live action show on Cartoon Network.
  • True Blood: Several minorities suffering from segregation and discrimination in a middle American town fight over a girl.
    • Or: Bodily Fluids discovered to be a Healing Potion and Stat Booster.
  • The Twilight Zone: The universe is really, really weird.
  • Twin Peaks: Quirky agent with a sweet tooth visits town to solve murder mystery. Strange people from his dreams help him.
    • Or: An FBI agent tries to solve a murder with the help of a midget, a giant, and a dead girl from his dreams. Spoiler: Satan did it.
  • Ugly Betty: An iconoclastic woman works in an industry she hates so she can preach about it. Her father is a murderer, her best friend at work is an alcoholic, and her nephew is friendly with a minion of the Big Bad.
  • Ultraviolet: A former policeman, a doctor, a Gulf War veteran, and Catholic priest team up to fight vampires, while mulling over the ethics thereof.
  • Unbeatable Banzuke: A nigh-impossible Game Show from Japan whose challenges involve the use of pogo sticks, unicycles, stilts, giant seesaws, remote-controlled helicopters, and cat-shaped wheelbarrows. The grand prize is "honor".
  • V-2009: The government opens up relations with a foreign power, and our heroes respond by blowing up buildings. Also, there's a kid who wants to bang a lizard.
  • Veronica Mars: A blonde high-school age female solves a crime every episode with the help of her African-American male friend, trusty dog, and protective father while she struggles to fit into the high school social scene. (Hint: it's not Nancy Drew.)
  • Victorious: A teenage girl attends a performing arts high school where she gets to sing and perform in plays, while getting into wacky situations.
  • Warehouse 13: A group of hoarders travel the world looking for unique knick-knacks.
  • Weeds: A soccer mom's husband dies of a sudden heart attack. She decides to pursue alternate career options to keep the family afloat with the help of her eccentric chef brother-in-law, a sassy black woman, an obnoxious blonde with cancer, and her two sons, one of whom is a psychopath and the other of which is boinking a deaf chick.
  • The West Wing (or Yes, Minister) (or The Thick of It): The adventures of a politician and his staff.
    • The West Wing: Alternatively: Trivia enthusiast attempts to solve world's problems with help of young idealists. This involves a lot of lengthy conversations conducted whilst walking up and down corridors.
    • Yes, Minister: Alternatively: Loquacious snob works his hardest to ensure that a man never accomplishes anything of merit.
    • Yes, Minister: Alternatively: Three middle-aged men discuss politics.
    • The Thick of It: Alternatively: A minor British governmental ministry attempts to deal with public image crises while trying to avoid getting sworn at.
  • Wheel of Fortune: Contestants play Hangman with a big wheel to win money. Lovely Assistant aids in making letters magically appear.
  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?: Three prepubescent kids hunt down a world-renowned thief and her gang of cartoonish Mooks all over the world.
    • Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?: Pretty much the same premise as above, only this time they hunt down the world-renowned thief all across the space time continuum. Oh, and her Mooks aren't as cartoonish this time around.
  • The White Queen: A family of witches use magic to take over their country and crush their political opponents. Based on a True Story (Very loosely).
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: Contestants earn a gradually increasing amount of money by answering the exact same question up to fifteen times.
  • Who Wants to Be a Superhero?: Cosplayers compete in a pseudo-reality show to win the prize of becoming a fictional character who briefly appears in a cheesy Made-for-TV Movie.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Four comedians try to impress a judge with a buzzer by making stuff up as they go along.
    • US Version: Cast from an actor's self-titled sitcom act out Ho Yay-drenched audience suggestions through improv.
    • 2013 version: Two bald guys, a tall guy and a rotating set of friends impress a woman and weird out celebrity guests through improv. Ho Yay, Innuendo and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Drew Careys Improvaganza: Six comedians go to Vegas and make up raunchy stuff up on the top of their heads.
  • Win Ben Steins Money: Snooty emcee gambles his paycheck against the intellects of three everyday citizens, then competes against these citizens to prevent himself from going home penniless. Homoerotic humor ensues.
  • Wipeout: A game show in which the dregs of humanity are pushed onto an assault course/obstacle course/the inflatable seven circles of hell and attempt to get to the other end in the quickest time. Most are hindered by four large bouncy balls that they must traverse and will eventually give them crippling back problems later in life. Anyone who is good is mocked. Anyone who is bad is mocked. Anyone who is fat will be fixated on as they are made to writhe cruelly in the mud. The entire event is presided over by an entirely unsympathetic plastic woman.
    • Total Wipeout: Similar concept, but the people are from a different country. A short guy who likes cars narrates.
  • The Wire A show where some of the "heroes" include a drunk Irish cop, a drug addict with a penchant for putting red hats on people, a reformed felon, and a gay stickup artist. The antagonists include a man who goes to community college and works at a copy centre, a young adult who hangs out at a wheel rim shop, a boss that doesn't have a valid driver's license, and an enforcer with a love for tropical fish.
    • A cop show, but instead of solving one case per episode, they take an entire season just to resolve one. Your favorite plot may get minutes of screen development in any given hour long episode. Despite the glacial pacing, the show includes long rambling discussions in bars and devotes staggering amounts of time documenting petty office politics. Pretty much everyone is a bastard. It somehow managed five seasons despite tanking in the ratings throughout.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: An antisocial girl torments her family, who can't stand her. She and her brothers will fight to obtain the ability to do magic tricks.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: A look at the lives of Ohio disc jockeys during the late 70s.
  • Wonderfalls: A 20something woman hears voices and goes to the bar a lot.
    • A philosophy major talks to inanimate objects. They talk back.
  • Write On: The misadventures of a newspaper staffed with one editor, one secretary and one daydreaming reporter who apparently got hired despite not knowing how to write well.
  • WWE Raw: A Corrupt Corporate Executive tries to put on a stunt show with lots of hidden cameras. His efforts are repeatedly thwarted by numerous overweight psychopaths, underweight sex kittens, and sometimes midgets. The most popular star is a military impostor and former poet.
  • WWE SmackDown!: A George Jefferson lookalike and a shrill Hispanic woman try to put on a stunt show with lots of hidden cameras, only you don't see the action until three days later. One of their employees is a giant zombie who skips work a lot.
  • WWE ECW on Sci-Fi: A ponytailed Jew, a Cuban businessman, the George Jefferson lookalike mentioned above and a few others try to put on a stunt show with lots of hidden cameras in which a bunch of middle-aged Irish and Italian street punks battle a crop of young bucks over who best exemplifies a violent East Coast brand of entertainment that passed out of existence for almost four years. Arguably its biggest star is a teetotaler with no first or middle name.
  • The X-Files: A paranoid nerd and an attractive doctor (who may or may not be sleeping with each other) spend a lot of time trudging through forests and other out-of-the-way places in search of the truth whilst an elderly government employee smokes a lot.
    • Alternate: A man and woman who get fired and/or demoted frequently argue about who's right (usually the man) while their boss looks uncomfortable, their nemesis smokes, their family and friends get killed off, and they try to deny - unsuccessfully - that they are sleeping together.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Ancient Greek women beat people up and engage in lesbian subtext.
    • Alternatively, schizophrenic women from the nineties believe they're Greek women, beat people up, and engage in lesbian subtext.
  • You've Been Framed: A doctor presents footage of dozens of people and animals having humiliating accidents. You're supposed to laugh at it.
  • The Young Ones: Four students who hate each other live together.

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alternative title(s): Better Than It Sounds Live Action TV
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