Friday night topic: Getting hooked on episodic TV

TR reader liar is becoming a veritable font of FNT goodness. He suggests tonight's topic, which is about context-heavy TV shows that carry out story lines for an entire season or even longer. By their nature, they're very engaging to watch once you get into them, but getting into them can be difficult, as this Wired article points out:
Most of us, I suspect, have had this experience lately: You tell a friend that they simply have to start watching one of the new long-format dramas, like Heroes or The Wire. There's no question of picking it up midseason. They've got to go back and start at the very beginning - using iTunes or BitTorrent or Netflix to catch up - or theyll be utterly confused. Invariably, your sales pitch also comes with the disclaimer that theyll have to watch four or five episodes before they really get hooked. Some of the most complex shows - like Deadwood or Lost - take multiple episodes just to introduce all the main characters.
Have any favorite shows along these lines? Mine currently include Battlestar Galactica, Lost, 24 (watching older seasons on DVD), and Veronica Mars (which was amazing the first two seasons but is being turned into a teen soap by clueless network execs). We record these shows on our HTPC and tend to watch them in batches at the expense of movie rentals, since movies seem so, well, shallow by comparison.

But it's not easy to get friends to watch, if they're not starting at the beginning. liar asks: "What is your success/conversion rate? Do you try to get your friends into the stuff you like to watch? I developed a hook; I would show people Serenity, and then say 'oh, did you know it came from a TV show...?'" A friend of mine got me started on Veronica Mars by giving me the first season on DVD for Christmas. Very effective hook, that.


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