What Are Your Top Three Desert Island TV Seasons?
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What Are Your Top Three Desert Island TV Seasons?

By Joanna Robinson | Comment Diversions | August 1, 2013 | Comments ()

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Let’s say you’re trapped on some sort of island that miraculously has the ability to play DVDs. Let’s just say, okay! But you only have three seasons of television with you. Three perfect seasons that you could watch over and over while trying to get brained by a coconut or eaten by a smoke monster.

After way way WAY too much wine last night, I discussed my list with Ryan McGee (HitFix, The A.V. Club, and The Daily Beast) on his podcast “Talking TV.” You can listen to our combined lists here or play the embed video below.

But, more importantly, I’m interested in your lists. Do they involve as many sassy blonde teenagers as ours? So hit me with your three. JUST three. Those are the only rules.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Stephen

    Hogan's Heroes:
    Season 3 & season 5
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Season 4 probably

    I love so many TV shows, but that is what I would pick if I had to pick just three seasons.

  • Mongoose Maelstrom

    1. Deadwood - Season 1
    2. Twin Peaks - Season 1
    3. Breaking Bad - Season 4

  • Zirza

    The X-Files, season 5.
    Veronica Mars, season 1.
    The West Wing, season 2.

  • Kim Stephens

    Just three? Jesus. Fine.
    Buffy Season 3
    Friday Night Lights Season 1
    Farscape Season 2

  • PerpetualIntern

    This basically sounds like my Peace Corps experience.

    1) Arrested Development, Season 2
    2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season...shit. This is hard. 2. No, 3. No, 2.
    3) Sherlock, Season 1

  • Sara Habein

    Doctor Who (from 2005, on) - Season 2 (Tennant's first season)
    The West Wing - Season 2

    annnnnd grersdfkhgdkgdfkh this is hard for #3.... what to pick.....

    I need something funny, I think.

    Archer - Season 3

  • Nat

    Fawlty Towers (series 1)
    The Black Adder, season 3
    The Simpsons, season 6

  • All of mine are Season 3s, weirdly.

    Babylon 5 (season 3)
    Buffy (season 3)
    Parks and Rec (season 3)

    I'm astonished that Doctor Who doesn't appear on my list (season 3 would be a contender there too, Martha-haters be damned), but really, I think my DW needs would be better met by scrawling fanfic on palm leaves.

  • yeah i like hbo, so what?

    1. The Wire Season 3
    2. Deadwood Season 1
    3. Game of Thrones Season 3

  • Berry

    Doctor Who, season one (the new one)
    The Office, season 2
    Gilmore Girls, season... ugh, this is surprisingly hard. I want to say season 4 because of Kirk's night terrors among other things, but that's also the season where stupid Dean marries his rebound girl like an idiot and then mopes about it and then sleeps with Rory and she acts like an entitled little so and so (a harbinger of things to come, alas) and I have to hate both of them forever and ever. So I'll go with season 1 instead. Or whichever has the line "grandma's going commando" in it.

  • Grifter

    CSI Season 6
    M.A.S.H. Season 3
    The Avengers Season 5

  • 'Rome' Season 1
    'Spartacus' Season 1
    'Bones' Season 6

    I'd also smuggle 'Rome' Season 2 and 'NCIS' Season 2 prison-style.

  • fasha

    Band of Brothers
    Trailer Park Boys (Any season will do)
    Doctor Who (anything Tennant)

  • Snork

    1. Battlestar Galactica (Season Three) - The New Caprica arc is just so god-damned good.
    2. Spartacus: Vengeance - terrific season capped off by a perfect season finale that could have functioned as a series finale.
    3. Breaking Bad (Season Five) - I'm going out on a limb and saying that the last eight episodes are gonna be stellar. Cause the first eight were amazing, and I can't wait to see how the show ends.

  • 1. Breaking Bad Season 5
    2. Doctor Who Series 3
    3. Seinfeld Season 8

  • Arran

    Let's say…

    The Simpsons season 6
    Any random season of Top Gear
    The West Wing season 1

    Not necessarily my favourite seasons of something, but endlessly rewatchable.

  • specialj67

    Parks and Recreation: season 3 (a perfect season of one of my favorite shows)

    LOST: season 5 (I fucking love time travel, plus Hurley throwing the Hot Pocket at Ben)
    The Venture Bros.: season 2 (I could pick any season and be perfectly satisfied, but I started watching during season 2, so it's always been first among equals)

    Honorable mention: the first three seasons of Arrested Development (as perfect a show there ever was, I never get tired of a single episode of it) I could have just gone with this, but I wanted to create a little more variety in my ultimate picks.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    TNG Season 5.
    Friday Night Lights Season 1 (the only one I've seen).
    A randomly chosen season of The Powerpuff Girls (I've never watched that show in order).

    The logic here being that if I am going to be stranded on a desert island, I will want something to keep my spirits up. There's plenty of time to feel depressed when I get back to civilization.

  • the dude

    Tales of the gold monkey.... Anyone?

  • koko temur

    Veronica Mars Season 1
    Terriers OR West Wing Season 2

  • Firefly
    Pushing Daisies: season 1
    Seinfeld , um, lets go with season 7.

  • Aidan Harr

    Freaks and Geeks
    Lost, Season 4

  • fightchess

    West Wing season 2
    Scrubs season 2

    The Wire 4 would be in, except for the fact that I have only seen the second half of the wire (for some reason literally) once. It is still the best show I have even seen, and is all the more impressive for still having that power without the insane amounts of rewatching I have of the others. Seriously, In the first 15 months after I discovered the West Wing during my first month of University, I spent 16 and a half days total in front of the West Wing. Don't judge.

  • AudioSuede

    I've watched all the way through The West Wing, in order, twice now. I've still never watched an episode out of order. That's how reverent I am of that show's seasons.

  • Brian Martin

    1. Deadwood season 2
    2. Breaking Bad season 4
    3. Hannibal season 1

    Honorable mention: Shigurui: Death Frenzy & Extras season 1

  • hindulovegod

    Space Ghost Coast to Coast Season 1
    Buffy Season 3
    Mad Men Season 3

    Bonus: Milagro, the episode of X-Files from terrible Season 6 with John Hawkes

  • Ohhhh...Ok. See, I was thinking three seasons of TV that take place on desert islands. I was totally going to go with Gilligan's Island on that.

  • kirbyjay

    Strangely, I never rewatch dramas. I know what's going to happen so I won't sit through it again, but comedies I can watch over and over and over
    Dick Van Dyke- any season
    That 70's Show- season 5
    Seinfeld- any season but 1 ( it was just getting its legs then

  • Jonny Quest season 1
    The West Wing season 2
    Homicide: Life on the Streets season 3

  • Melody

    Scrubs Season Three
    Alias Season Two
    Friends Season Four

  • Buellie413

    Friends season 4 was *this close*

  • sean

    The Wire Season 3(just to be different than the people that said season 4)
    X-Files Season 2(can't really argue with that one)
    Star Trek TOS Season 1
    The Simpsons Season 4

    Farscape Season 4(if I can include the Peacekeeper War)

    Honorable mentions Game of Thrones Season 3. Any season of Justified. Star Trek TNG, season 3 and 4. Any season of the Simpsons before season 15. Any X-Files before season 5. Any other season of the Wire. Deadwood. And Spartacus. If on an island, you will need something to watch with naked people in it.

  • lowercase_ryan

    you suck at following rules.

  • guest

    Why is no one saying Better Off Ted!

  • lowercase_ryan

    I actually considered it but I recently rewatched and it was too up and down. The highs were high, man were they high. But there were significant lows.

  • guest

    Ah. I haven't actually rewatched it, so rose tinted glasses and all that.

  • I would make a pithy remark, but I am too full of shame.

  • Fredo

    Babylon 5, Season 3.
    Rome, Season 1
    The Boondocks, Season 2

  • Wire S4
    Justified S2
    Archer S2

  • Friday Night Lights season 1
    Veronica Mars season 1

    Honorable mentions to the rest of FNL, Terriers, BSG, Pushing Daisies season 1, Keen Eddie, The Middleman and Life

    ETA: I'm now completely dissatisfied with my answers. The more I think about this, the more great shows I think of and the harder it gets. Argh!!! (Except FNL, obviously. That will ALWAYS be on my list.)

  • Captain D

    Wow! Someone else who liked Keen Eddie! I think FOX could have had something had they run it during the fall instead of the summer.

  • I loved Keen Eddie! So quirky and fun. I also thought it a much better vehicle for Mark Valley than Human Target.

  • koko temur

    Life! Argh, i wish i put that!

  • toblerone

    I up vote thee for Wonderfalls.

  • Thanks, Toblerone. :)

  • esme

    The West Wing, Season 1
    Veronica Mars, Season 1

  • Captain D

    This is my list, exactly, and in the same order

  • Wigamer

    The Office, season 2
    Mad Men, season 2
    Friday Night Lights, season 1
    (An added bonus--if I am alone, there are lots of pretty men represented here so my fantasy life shall be well-fueled. Also, if I watch hard enough, I bet Tami Taylor would help me find a way off the island. I know she would.)

  • stella

    Dude you wouldnt even be stranded if Tami Taylor was around. And if you were it would be the most life affirming awesome experience ever.

  • Superasente

    1. Baywatch season 4
    2. Smallville season 3
    3. Full Metal Alchemist (complete series)

  • Joe Grunenwald

    The West Wing, Season 1
    NewsRadio, Season 3 (DAMN, IT'S KRI-ZAPPY!)
    Batman ('66), Season 1

    Runners-Up: Gilmore Girls, Season 1; Buffy, Season 3; Doctor Who ('05), Series 4

  • Superasente

    Batman '66 isn't on DVD due to a legal dispute. Unless I'm painfully unaware of the resolution, in which case, why didn't you tell me!?

  • Joe Grunenwald

    The rules don't say it has to be on DVD. Plus, that would make it even more special. "You can watch Batman '66 whenever you want, but you have to be stuck on a desert island to do it."

  • Captain_Tuttle

    MASH season 1
    Every Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1941-1951 (they didn't really have seasons)
    As Time Goes By series 1 & 2 (because of BBC, that's why)

  • Firefly
    Gilmore Girls, Season 1
    Arrested Development, either Season 1 or 2


  • stella

    Parks and Rec season 3
    Once Upon a Time season 2
    Supernatural season 5
    * Buffy season five was a close runner up

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    The West Wing, Season 2
    Veronica Mars, Season 1

  • koko temur

    this is EXACTLY my list.
    be my new best friend!

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth


  • All three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • Lovely Bones

    I approve. Something tells me that no one will be surprised by that.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Justified Season 2
    Arrested Development Season 2
    Good Wife Season 2

    This will all change as soon as I read what you all put. Except for Justified.

  • Kim Stephens

    I did my list before I read the comments because I didn't want to be overly influenced. Now I just feel like my island time would be woefully misused.

  • Jason

    Lost season 1
    Parks and Rec season 3
    Muppet Show season 2

  • couch and pants

    Season 1, Veronica Mars
    Season 4, Parks and Rec
    Season 2, Sports Night

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Wow, Season 2 of Sports Night? With the dating plan and the porn star? Interesting choice.

  • couch and pants

    I know it is an odd choice, but I really dig the Casey/Dana stuff, and watching it is really comforting for some reason. Like my mom's spaghetti, which would be disgusting to anyone else, but because I grew up with it, I think it is great. Everyone has their thing.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Fair enough. Dana's dating plan drove me nuts, but I really appreciated/enjoyed the resolution of the Casey/Dana story. Also, Agent Coulson buys CSC, so that's awesome.

  • Jakesalterego

    I would put the last 3 eps of Sports Night up against anything (Clark Gregg 4 lyfe). But that entire season? Oof.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Has he aged at all?

    The last few episodes were too portentous for me to be my favorite, but it is one of the few tv shows I own, which probably indicate my answers: Slings & Arrows, Sports Night and (if it counts) I, Claudius. That's it. It'd be Season 1 of all of them.

    (a friend threatened to get me the recent Flash Gordon tv series for my bday, but sadly did not follow through on said threat. It was delightfully terribad, and I'd kinda like to watch them all while drunk on homemade island hooch.)

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I think that Flash Gordon series is like $5 at Target. Treat yoself!

  • Sara_Tonin00

    ohhh, that's even cheaper than it was on Amazon. I might have to do it.

    I generally don't buy dvds because I find I don't actually watch them. :) I barely buy 5 cds a year. I've started forcing myself to.

  • Buellie413

    My are based on rewatchability and length of season.

    The Simpsons, season 6
    Happy Endings, season 2
    Parks and Rec, season 2

    *Edit: Noooope, Buffy season three has got to be there. I can't eat monkeys and coconut juice without the mayor.

  • BWeaves

    1. Life on Mars UK seasons 1 and 2 (can I count them as one? They're only 6 episodes long each, which would make 1 American season.)

    2. Firefly.

    3. Archer, any season.

  • WestCoastPat

    In no particular order and with not nearly enough consideration

    Scrubs S1
    Veronica Mars S1
    West Wing S2

  • AudioSuede

    Glad to see another vote for West Wing. It's weird how much TV writers seem to have scrubbed that show from their memories, even though during its run it won, like, a bajillion awards.

  • John W

    This is too tough. There's so much tv.

  • Modernlove

    This is rather difficult.
    Veronica Mars: Season One
    Doctor Who: Series Four (new version)
    Parks and Rec: Season Three


  • MelBivDevoe

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 2
    Friday Night Lights -Season 1
    Mystery Science Theater - Seaon 8

    That was tough.

  • AudioSuede

    The West Wing Season 2
    Firefly Season Aw :(
    Saturday Night Live Season 35

  • AudioSuede

    I almost did an entire list of single-season TV shows: Firefly, Kings, Stella. But then I realized I would just make myself even more depressed than I already would be trapped on a desert island.

  • Tinkerville

    Shnikes this is hard..

    Doctor Who Season 2 (of nuwho)
    Scrubs Season 3
    Cowboy Bebop

  • AudioSuede

    Oh shit, I forgot Cowboy Bebop. I might have to leave it off just because the clown episode gave me nightmares as a kid, but the Julia/Vicious episodes alone are worthy of consideration.

  • Tinkerville

    The clown episode is indeed terrifying, but it's worth inclusion just for Toys in the Attic. I'll always be afraid of leaving lobster in the fridge for too long after that brilliant episode.

  • AudioSuede

    Oh god, and the episode with the mushrooms. Amazing.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    No one's putting Gilligan's Island, for all the survival/escape planning?

  • toblerone

    And Ginger and Marianne.

  • JJ

    Survivorman seasons 1, 2, and 3.

    So sue me, I'm a pragmatist.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I like that you posted that the exact same time I was posting about Gilligan's Island.

  • NateMan

    Good choice. If you'd come out with some Bear Grylls shit we might have had words.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Bear is crap, Les is the real deal.

  • Les has his props, but if I were you, I'd go for the two seasons of Man, Woman, Wild. Myke has all my respect.

  • JJ

    Thankfully I'm not a piss-drinking masochist in that respect.

  • Boo_Radley

    1. Millennium - Season 2
    2. X-files Season 2
    3. Deadwood Season 1

  • toblerone

    1.Archer Season 3 - Including the Heart of Archness Miniseries
    3.Spaced 1 & 2 - Yeah I know two seasons but it's only 14 episodes

    *HM: Doctor Who 5 & 6

  • Googh. This is rough.

    1. Any of Simpsons Seasons 4-8
    2. Firefly
    3. The Office Season...2

  • himonoonna

    The Wire - Season 1
    Mad Men - Season 3
    The Hour - Season 2

  • toblerone

    +1 for Mad Men (but I'd go for Season 1).

  • himonoonna

    Yeah. It was a hard choice. "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency" and "Shut the Door, Have a Seat" won the day for me.

  • AudioSuede

    Personally, I'm a Season 4 guy. The episode with the death of the woman who *SPOILER* was the real Mrs. Draper was so wonderfully haunting.

    Actually, I'm also into Season 4 of The Wire too.

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