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TWoP 10: Off-the-Beaten-Path Shows We Love

by Angel Cohn July 2, 2009 11:47 am
TWoP 10: Off-the-Beaten-Path Shows We Love

There are a million TV channels out there these days, so when summertime comes around, we really have time to explore the vast world of random television programming. While we dig big shows like True Blood and So You Think You Can Dance, it's the more quirky, niche shows that really have us hooked this season, even if their names may garner blank stares from most folks when when we mention them. Below are some shows that may be off your radar but are worth checking out.

1. Attack of the Show
If you are into video games, comic books, gadgets, movies, technology or just general pop culture, G4's Attack of the Show is the perfect daily round up to watch. Hosted by Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, who are both enthusiastic about their subject matter, this show really covers material that you aren't going to see on Access Hollywood or The Soup. Instead they love to show off iPhones, gush about comic books and discuss video game stats. It's one-stop shopping for nerds... like us.

2. Jesse James Is a Dead Man
Fans of Jesse's Monster Garage days should love this show where the soft-spoken host throws himself into ridiculous and potentially life-threatening situations. Who willingly drives into a parked car? Jesse. Who willingly sets himself on fire? Jesse. It's insane, but after watching him be all mild-mannered on Celebrity Apprentice, it's great to watch him in his element.

3. Better Off Ted
Technically this is a sitcom on one of the big networks and probably shouldn't merit a spot on the list. However, its been shuffled around and really not-hyped much at all... and it is really good... so we made room. If you thought that Dunder-Mifflin had a crazy staff, you really haven't met the folks at Veridian Dynamics, who have a more sinister motivation than just selling paper. It's weird, often very wrong and it's airing in the summer on ABC when all our favorite comedies are in reruns, so we get to have some fresh new laughs.

4. Ruby
We don't watch a heck of a lot on the Style Network (occasionally we watch that Topanga version of The Soup) but we adore Ruby. She's the most refreshingly genuine person on reality TV. Last season Ruby weighed 500 pounds and showed how she was going to lose weight through diet and exercise, instead of surgery. She's back now and she's shed 100 pounds, but she's still the same sweet southern gal who lusts after pizza and longs to be able to fit in an airplane seat. Sometimes the world (and people) get her down, but she's got an effervescent spirit that keeps her going... and keeps us watching.

5. Is She Really Going Out With Him?
If you've ever seen that site Hot Chicks With Douchebags, this is the live-action version of that. MTV has found some truly disgusting guys who are totally full of themselves and don't even realize that there is anything wrong with their ridiculous Ed Hardy wear and incomprehensible playa slang. They also think that they are total catches and can't understand why their girlfriends are fed up with their attitudes. But what makes the show so great is the narrator, who totally rips on these guys and their assy ways and the genius editors who craft each scene to best display the douchebaggery in its full effect.

6. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
This British import was the precursor to that terrible Grease: You're the One That I Want series that aired here. Now we get to see how it was really meant to be, and though we have to look at David Ian's smug and irritating grin, staring at an enthusiastic John Barrowman (Torchwood, Doctor Who) for two hours more than makes up for it. Here, a group of young girls are desperately vying for the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Sound of Music. The best part (aside from Graham Norton's groan-worthy puns) is that each episode appropriately ends with the contestants singing "So Long, Farewell" to the eliminated girl.

7. It's On With Alexa Chung
There are so many daytime talk shows out there, we didn't think there was room for another, but Alexa Chung has won us over. Maybe it is her British accent, maybe it is the fact that she doesn't just let her guests sit around and hype their projects, she actually makes them compete in a stupid game or asks them bizarre questions. Plus, her format isn't set in stone -- sometimes she chats up guests then looks at Facebook videos, sometimes she lets people play music, and then does news. It's a little chaotic, but we like the interactive opportunities and the fact that this fresh 25-year-old knows how to reach her audience.

8. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
We're grossly fascinated by this Travel Channel show, and Andrew's ability to eat pretty much anything. It's amazing. Those food challenges on I'm a Celebrity... that would make a normal person recoil in horror are just a part of his everyday diet. Bull balls, bugs, offal. You name it, he'll try it. God bless him. The show just finished up its season, but there are reruns galore, so you can easily catch this gastronomically brave host in action.

9. Brain Rush
Traditional game shows where people stand behind podiums and answer questions are so passé. This twisted new question and answer show on the Cartoon Network takes random contestants from amusement parks and throws them on a roller coaster and forces them to answer questions. We love that the host bravely goes along and asks the questions too, but we mostly watch to see the frazzled players try and come up with answers while speeding over hills and turning upside down. Not very mature, but very entertaining. Bonus: after this airs, we get to watch Andrew W.K. help teenagers become destructive pyromaniacs.

10. Tosh.0
With Best Week Ever on hiatus, we've turned to the comic stylings of Daniel Tosh and his Comedy Central show for our wacky take on news. We especially enjoyed his recent "interview" with Heidi and Spencer, where he just screamed all of the things we've been thinking about them forever. Plus, he's as obsessed with watching ordinary people do stupid things on the Internet as we are, so we like that.

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