When I want to be entertained, there's a couple things I look for:
- I want to suspend belief. Don't give me every day stories and especially don't give me reality TV. I want to escape my life.
- Create a world for me to believe. While I want to visit a fantastical world, it must have rules that my nerd mind can understand and extrapolate from.
- Give me some mystery. Maybe some of the world's laws aren't fully explained to me at the beginning, or maybe some of the characters have unknown pasts. I need to be engaged in finding out more.
- Romance and sexual tension between the principal characters should be the continuing theme in the show. That means that 99% of the episodes cannot have mushy happy endings, because there needs to be a reason to continue watching.
So here are some of my favorite shows:
- Buffy the Vampire slayer: A world where vampires rule the night, but they can be killed by fire, beheading, and of course, a stake through the heart. Buffy loves Angel, but the real story is Zander and Buffy, two childhood friends who could never be together.
- Alias: A story of agents in the CIA. Physics and Laws are consistent with our own, but the lives of agents are seriously unbelievable. I believe the story was strongest when Will Tippen was around, but there's still a certain "forbidden" aspect of the romance between Sidney and Vaugn.
- Highlander: Immortals live among us and kill eachother with swords. The love interest here is not Duncan, but instead Richie and Tessa. The rules are very strong but we don't know why: Immortals can sense eachother when close, they cannot kill on holy ground and in the end, there can be only one.
- X-Files: This one has less rules and more suspension of belief. Scully and Mulder can never get together, but there will always be the romance.
- Firefly: Captain Mal and Anora are classic examples of the strained romance. If you can believe the post-apocalyptic world they live in, then the cowboy, space theme is not hard to believe.
- Heroes: definitely suspends belief, but the story changes so often it hasn't been able to capture my attention past the first season. Hopefully this will change with the new season.