What Should I Be Watching?

From the Nation Of Criminals post some of us got a bit sidetracked and started talking about TV shows. An illustration of how scattered I am at times, I am always complaining that there is never anything on (I got Dish Network Gold, so I get like a gazillion stations) but since I don’t watch that much TV (ESPN and Foxnews mainly, Tennis Channel, TCM, sporting events, but that’s pretty much it) I don’t have the patience to sit through a regular series (with commercials) so there is little I am a fan of. Here is how pitiful I am, I have never watched Friends, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, The Wire, BSG, or any other big time TV show………….I know, what a dufus.

A few years ago I got hooked on Dexter, so I buy the season DVD’s. I have watched The Office (not as good as the BBC original Ricky Gervais version) and Party Down (A Showtime series that was really good, but they only made 2 seasons worth). I watched the first few episodes of Hawaii 5-0, but got behind and never came back. That’s it, not a fan of anything else.

So, here is the question, I got Netflix and access to the best Library on the planet, they stock everything, what shows do you like, that think they are superlative and well worth me getting in to? Good writing is key, duh, something that will make me care about the characters. You can rate them in tiers if you like or just list the shows in order of watchabilty. Anything to get me off of this devil computer.

Comments are closed.

  1. CM

    Heard great things about Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy – I’ve got them lined up to watch soon.

    My Top Tier (9 or 10 out of 10)
    * The Wire (2002-2008, 5 seasons, 60 episodes)
    * The Sopranos (1999-2007, 6, 86)
    * Six Feet Under (2001-2005, 5, 63)
    * Deadwood (2004-2006, 3, 36)
    * Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009, 4, 75)
    * Breaking Bad (2008-, 4, 39)

    Next Tier (8 out of 10, the ones still going could potentially still break into the Top-Tier):
    * Dexter (still going)
    * Southland (still going)
    * Justified (still going)
    * Game of Thrones (still going)
    * Boardwalk Empire (still going)
    * The Shield
    * Friday Night Lights
    * NYPD Blue

    Also enjoyed/enjoying (would recommend, so 7 out of 10):
    * House (still going)
    * Weeds (still going)
    * 30 Rock (still going)
    * Modern Family (still going)
    * Californication (still going)
    * Damages (still going)
    * Lost (well the first 2-3 seasons anyway)
    * Big Love
    * True Blood
    * The Good Wife
    * Entourage
    * 24
    * The West Wing
    * E.R.

    No doubt I’ve missed some.

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  2. richtaylor365 *

    Holy Smokes, you are a couch potato, that is quite a list.

    I need to start off with small bites, so I went to my local library site and got The Wire (first 2 seasons), Six Feet Under (first 2 seasons), and Deadwood (first 2 seasons), I’ll start with that.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

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  3. CM

    Yeah, the couch has a CM-ass-shaped-sinkhole in it, that’s for sure. Although I never watch adverts, and I’m extremely selective and targetted about what I watch, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. Three episodes of a drama in an evening takes a little over two hours. So five nights and you’ve watched an entire 13-15 episode season.

    This is a useful resource – it’s how I found out about Southland and Justified (well along with tv blogs like the one’s on Slate and Salon):

    Personal taste is obviously important, but those shows are all extremely intelligent and should keep you interested all the way along. The final episode of the final season of Six Feet Under is the best final episode I’ve ever seen. I’m not one to get emotional while watching tv/movies, but that one tore me up good and it took me about a week to recover. BTW Six Feet Under was created by Alan Ball, who has now successfully adapted True Blood for the small screen. The final episode of The Shield would be the next best. The worst would probably be Lost.

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  4. CM

    In the last 5 years mostly a mixture of borrowed and bought. Libraries, friends, online purchasing and reselling. Before that, mostly recorded from tv (both free-to-air and cable).

    Community is another current show that I adore.

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  5. Miguelito

    Heh.. it’s cute that you think that’s a lot. :)

    Just in iTunes I’ve got a bit:

    grande:~ mmarion$ df -hl | grep iTunes
    /dev/disk3s2 1.8Ti 1.1Ti 708Gi 62% /Volumes/iTunes Storage
    /dev/disk0s2 1.8Ti 1.4Ti 393Gi 79% /Volumes/iTunes Supplement

    I’m up to >1300 DVD/BluRays now.

    I’d add to what’s already been mentioned…
    If you like SciFi, All 3 Stargate shows are good. Still bummed that SGU was dropped.
    If you like really original/odd Scifi.. Farscape was good.
    Monk was pretty good. Still gotta watch the last season myself.
    MI-5 (Spooks to the brits) is good. Or at least the first 3 seasons (about all I’ve seen so far but have the rest) were. Actually, one ep of that show is probably my all time favorite hour of TV I’ve ever seen.
    I’ve been really enjoying Castle as well. Light hearted, usually pretty funny. 1/2 way decent mystery now and then.

    Still catching up on Warehouse 13 myself right now and finally caught back up with Eureka. Too bad they’re the only actual Scifi shows left on Syfy (God I hate that name change).

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  6. Xetrov

    Modern Family has genius writing/acting, funniest show on television IMO.

    Recently, we’ve watched the first season of Suits from USA Network – it’s a brilliant show, I highly recommend it, but you can’t get it on Netflix yet as it is still in its first season.

    If you’ve never seen the first two seasons of Lie To Me, I strongly suggest them. After the second season, the show went downhill fast. You should be able to catch them on Netflix.

    I also love House.

    If you like sci-fi, you might enjoy Falling Skies, it just finished its first summer season on TNT.

    Word of caution – if you were an 80’s TV junkie, don’t go back and watch some of them on Netflix (such as Airwolf) – you will wonder what you were ever thinking liking the shows.

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  7. Mississippi Yankee

    Games of Thrones was excellent, and followed the book precisely. Although I wonder how the next season will be named as the title “Game of Thrones” was just the first book of five in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Lots of big names, mostly brits and down-unders.

    Boardwalk Empire was damn good too, looking forward to this coming season.

    Deadwood was even greater the second I watched it.

    Being of a certain age I really liked Mad Men, music is very nostalgic Yet there was no Mad Men on the air this year (they come back in the spring) because of contract negotiations, lengthy and contentious . We may have some prima-donna types. And who the fuck ever told Vincent Kartheiser he could act is sadly mistaken. Buffy or Angel should of killed him off on their series. BTW they are great re-watches too.

    As for Alan Ball, may he die of a thousand cuts. He drove a really funny and poignant “Six Feet Under” right off the political cliff. As good as the final episode was it was he who let that series die prematurely.
    BUT his present crime of taking a popular and successful 13+ books series,then agendarizing it is truly unforgivable. If you read Charleen Harris’ books (Sookie Stackhouse series) then TruBlood won’t make a bit of sense after season 1.

    “How I met your mother” and “Two and a half men” will go on to be cult classics but are much more enjoyable when watched on DVD.

    Justified and Walking Dead will be back too. Both worth considering.

    And let me add all or any of the six (24 episodes each) seasons of XENA, or Hercules for that matter, will help you remember why, as a youth, you ever watched such foolishness. (still trying to get the GF to learn the “yell”

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  8. CM

    Yeah Modern Family is constantly laugh-out-loud (if only there was an acronym for that) funny. I was a big Just Shoot Me fan, so I was pleased to see Steven Levitan deliver the goods once again. I completely agree with Lie To Me, I dropped it after the second season.

    Never heard of Suits, will check it out.

    You are SO right about revisting those old series from 20 years ago. Television has improved so much.

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  9. Nexus

    Two thumbs way up for Sons of Anarchy! The NFL is always great! I’ll turn on the Kudlow Report if it’s a really down day just to hear Kudlow try to put a positive spin on things.\
    Beyond that, I find just about everything unwatchable.

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  10. richtaylor365 *

    As for Alan Ball, may he die of a thousand cuts. He drove a really funny and poignant “Six Feet Under” right off the political cliff.

    Do you mean that his liberal leanings ruined the show?

    Does anybody remember Sports Night? A great show, it aired from 1998 to 2000. It was an Aaron Sorkin creation, that flaming lib behind West Wing and American President. He wrote the screen play for Social Network, a talented guy (I hate to use the word “brilliant” but it just might apply to Aaron). I got Sports night on DVD, every episode had some kind of liberal cause written into the story, the show was so good I could stomach it, but it was blatant at times.

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  11. Hal_10000

    If you like sci-fi, you might enjoy Falling Skies, it just finished its first summer season on TNT.

    Doctor Who has gotten has gotten good as well. Even my mom likes it!

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  12. Monolith

    Sherlock: Series 1 with Martin Freeman,the new Bilbo, as Watson and a guy named Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes. It’s Holmes updated for present day and very good. Watson is a retired Army doc and Iraq vet. Homes is a cyber geek.

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  13. Monolith

    I wish they made more than 3 episodes per season CM. I was hooked almost immediately and was craving more. Glad they’re in production on Season 2. I heard the Hobbit production had to shut down for a bit because of the two stars’ Holmes schedule. They’re coincidentally both in The Hobbit.

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  14. CM

    Yeah I felt the same.

    Another good Brit drama is a little BBC/HBO series called ‘5 Days’.

    The series follows five non-consecutive days (days 1, 3, 28, 33 and 79) of a police investigation into the disappearance of a young mother and her two children.


    The spin-off (“Hunter”) is on tv here next week so I’ll be ensuring I record that.

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  15. HARLEY

    I do not watch a hell of a lot of TV, but a few that i do like.
    Game of Thrones
    Falling Skies
    Strike Back
    The Avengers cartoon.
    Walking Dead

    older stuff
    Babylon 5
    The Gates

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  16. Miguelito

    How the hell did I forget B-5? Great SciFi… last season kinda lesser though, since he had compacted the storyline into season 4 when he thought they weren’t going to get a 5.

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  17. West Virginia Rebel

    I liked the West Wing’s first few and final seasons, in between I think it got overtaken by the creators’ politics. Having Alan Alda as the John McCain-type character was a nice touch.

    Also, what happened to Nip & Tuck? For lighter fare, Psych is good. I think Hawthorne has potential.

    As for older stuff…Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Miami Vice, Crime Story, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, the A Team, the New Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, Star Trek The Next Generation (at least after its first three seasons or so)…the Eighties ruled.

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  18. Miguelito

    Ah.. Quantum Leap. Another great show that essentially got regularly dicked around by the network, like someone up high had a beef with someone on the show. It got moved around a ton, pre-empted all the time. Still managed to hang on for awhile. Always hated how they had to throw together a last ep with little time.

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  19. HARLEY

    If you like sci-fi, you might enjoy Falling Skies, it just finished its first summer season on TNT.

    Tehr are certain aspects of that show that just piss me off,

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  20. Santino

    Word of caution – if you were an 80′s TV junkie, don’t go back and watch some of them on Netflix (such as Airwolf) – you will wonder what you were ever thinking liking the shows.

    You obviously haven’t watched back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Charles In Charge after a night of drinking! Loved every minute of it. (Hint: The key is to keep drinking).

    I’ll put Cheers up to any show on air now. Best. Comedy. Show. Ever (sober or otherwise).

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  21. CM

    Looking back, The X-Files certainly had it’s moments. I thought the movies were actually pretty decent to……especially the recent one with Kimberley Kane….;-)
    And of course Moonlighting is a classic. I was in love with Cybil Sheppard (but then who wasn’t).
    I was also a big Scarecrow and Mrs King fan.

    There are some left-field Brit comedies that still make me laugh my ass off every time I see them : Green Wing, The Fast Show, The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentlemen (absolutely mad and absolutely wonderful), anything with Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge character.

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  22. CM

    I missed Sports Night, although perhaps it didn’t play here. Aaron Sorkin is, as you say, clearly very talented but I also found some of The West Wing laid it on a bit thick too. The 9/11 episode (‘Isaac and Ishmael’) was just a patronizing, contentless lecture. But I still watched every episode and generally enjoyed it immensely.

    Speaking of politics, I also thoroughly enjoyed ’24’ despite the ridiculousness of it all.

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  23. Mississippi Yankee

    Six Feet Under started out with some delicious gallows humor. Hell the start of every show (in the beginning) was always just a little sick joke.

    Starting with Nat Fisher running into her past roommate and mother of his child Lisa Kimmel the show took a nosedive IMOA.

    On a bright note Lauren Ambrose in ‘lookin’ good’ and is on the new Starz’ Torchwood.

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  24. Xetrov

    I had heard somewhere that the british comedy “The IT Crowd” was funny. Since I work in IT, I figured I’d give it a look when I found it on Netflix yesterday…it’s bad. Very bad.

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  25. Dave D

    Great show. Read a bio of Augustus after seeing that and it was “fairly” accurate. The need to show a set of tits each episode was a bit unecessary…….

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  26. richtaylor365 *

    Nobody has thrown up any kind of reality show as something they like, where are all those The Bachlorette fans?

    I should have included AI in that group of shows I never watched in the post.

    This morning in the paper they had the cast for this year’s Dancing With The Stars, Chaz Bono is one of them, I may have to check that show out.

    Another show I thought of which I used to catch as reruns on Comedy Chanel was The Man Show, worth watching just for The Juggies.

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  27. Kimpost

    I’ve got a girl-friend of sorts, and we’ve got a thing for watching Jerseylicious together. Damn, it took ALL my courage to admit as much. :) Other than that I sometimes stumble over Top Chef or The Apprentice or something similar. But nothing regular.

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  28. JimK

    Dude. DUDE. I watched the first season of that because Donna did, but I TOTALLY bailed after that. Of all the reality shows I have ever seen, that one is the most fake.

    I literally – and I mean that literally – can’t tolerate that show at all. I’d rather watch Jersey Shore every day for a year than see even five minutes of the Gatsby crew. She watches it in batches when I’m not around.

    You, sir, are either displaying a tremendous amount of courage, or you have the ability to turn off your entire brain while Jerseylicious airs. :)

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  29. JimK

    Me too. I hate the giant holes in the world they’ve built, like skitters not frequency-hopping. And how FUCKING stupid it was to hole up in a school with almost NO defensibility. And how we’re supposed to forget plot mistakes, like how the girlfriend character knew about the school BEFORE she was taken, and so the school was NEVER safe.

    And the score. I fucking HATE the overly-dramatic, puke-inducing manipulative score. The show is preachy enough, I do not need to be told what to feel in every scene with a full orchestral score that even John Williams would say is overblown and pompous.


    I do like the show. I just want them to fix the bits that annoy me. :)

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  30. CM

    I’m not sure I’d entirely agree with ‘unnecessary’. I’d go with ‘a bit of a bonus’.
    Likewise, Game of Thrones seems to constantly want to balance out pretty explicit sex scenes with raw violence.

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  31. JimK

    D) None of the above :)

    You picked the three things that killed my “love” of reality TV. I still watch Jersey Shore because Donna does. This year I am looking forward to Ronnie punching the shit out of The Situation though, I’ll admit that. :)

    Reality TV I love:

    – So You Think You Can Dance. All about the skill. That show kicks ass, and Cat Deeley? Oh my. I am a fan of hers.

    – Ice Road Truckers. Been watching it since the first season. Dig it.

    – Top Shot. Crazy gun tricks and bad-ass weaponry. Yeah, the reality bits are…goofy, but the actual shooting is awesome. Skills make or break you.

    I don’t think I watch any other reality anymore. Lost my taste for it after Bret Michaels raped my mind one too many times.

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  32. Mississippi Yankee

    The only “reality” show I’ve ever allowed myself to watch was “Swamp People” on the Hitler… I mean History channel. It’s all about alligator hunters and such.

    Granted I live much closer to them than Joisey, a ballroom or a 5 star kitchen.

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  33. Miguelito

    I can’t really stand much of “reality” TV. About the only thing I’ll watch once in awhile that comes close is Hell’s Kitchen (or any of the Ramsey shows basically). Mostly because I like the cooking bits.

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  34. JimK

    I loved Ramsay on UK television, but I can’t stand the way they goad him – and he agrees – to play Mr. Shouty Man all the god-damned time on US television. He’s much more thoughtful, insightful and downright useful to watch on UK telly. On Fox they just ask him to scream about donkeys and bollocks and he agrees, because they pay him a fat pile of cash to do it.

    The man can cook, and he has great insight into food. Wish they’d let him show that more often in the States.

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  35. HARLEY

    what Jim Said. and
    piss poor firearm handling,and bad plotting around that.
    POPE, who had the the drop on the traitor humans in the suburb, with his scoped M1A still missed at short range. when he should have easily got 2 or 3 right off the bat, and there the precious professor come along and take his mag away, and ties to talk his wayout of it.
    other plot holes that you could fly the Battle Star Galactica through!
    Where did all the other humans go? how were they all wiped out with a minimal of fus and destruction?and the school attack, oh god what piss poor tactics, straight frontal no flanks no coordination, and that was the just the Humans..

    and given that this is produced by Speilburg, you jsut fucking know that overlord aliens , are here to save us from ourselves or we attacked them first, somehow.. or better yet they are saving the environment from US.

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  36. Rann

    Eh, I dunno how much of it is goading and how much of it is just him being under more pressure. The stakes usually aren’t quite as high on the UK programs as with the US Hell’s Kitchen, where he clearly feels his name and reputation are at risk, whereas on stuff like The F-Word it’s more clear he’s just futzing about with celebrities or gimmicks and probably doesn’t expect from them what he does people who claim to actually be chefs.

    Notice he is more quiet and thoughtful on… what is it, Ultimate Chef, Real Chef? I forget the name at the moment. On that he’s not dealing with a high-pressure situation or putting his reputation on the line, and he’s definitely less intense.

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  37. Rann

    - Just not into dancing, so never really followed that.

    – I watch IRT occasionally, but at least half of the regulars on there annoy the hell out of me. That one guy who’s the biggest asshole… and therefore, by reality show standards, the most popular and gets the most screentime… I just spend every time he’s onscreen hoping he gets arrested or falls through the damn ice.

    – Top Shot is kinda the same thing. I started to watch this same season but some of the “I AM ALPHA MALE, SUCK MY DICK!” personalities (one in particular) drove me away.

    For myself, I’m all about Pawn Stars and Swamp People. Pawn Stars I give extra love because it absolutely infuriates the internet socialists/communists. “How dare he not pay people full retail price or above?! It’s like he doesn’t even know that he’s obligated to redistribute his wealth!” American Restoration is also good, though I don’t like that Rick’s cast as much as Rick Harrison’s.

    I kinda liked Mounted In Alaska but it either disappeared or I just never manage to catch it when it’s on.

    I used to like a lot of the Food Network reality shows, because they were more like… well, reality, rather than the “reality” that usually goes on with those. But they’ve slid further and further down the slope until they’re about as genuine as Survivor or American Idol… in some cases less so. Extreme Chef was so blatantly “reality” with making the food as just part of a competition rather than actually trying to make it appealing or good that I got disgusted and have practically abandoned the channel. Same thing with Next Food Network Star… it’s clear they’ve stopped trying to find actual stars and are just looking for people to fill dead air timeslots on weekends, as indicated by the fact they don’t even bother to solicit viewer votes anymore, they just select somebody who fits whatever demographic they’re trying to play up that year, whether they’re actually a good cook or have star quality. “Can you talk to a bunch of bored housewives for half an hour? YOU’RE A STAR!”

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  38. Monolith

    The people on Master Chef are amateurs. The Hell’s Kitchen people are supposed to be seasoned professionals. He should ride their asses harder.

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  39. Rann

    Exactly. Yelling Ramsay is probably how he is when he actually does a service. (Well, except he clearly prefers to actually assemble competent people for his own restaurants.)

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  40. CM

    Six Feet Under started out with some delicious gallows humor. Hell the start of every show (in the beginning) was always just a little sick joke.

    Starting with Nat Fisher running into her past roommate and mother of his child Lisa Kimmel the show took a nosedive IMOA..

    I generally agree, although I still think it avoided jumping the shark sufficiently enough to put it in the top tier.

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  41. HARLEY

    - Top Shot. Crazy gun tricks and bad-ass weaponry. Yeah, the reality bits are…goofy, but the actual shooting is awesome. Skills make or break you.

    More like Top Doushbag.

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  42. balthazar

    Top shot is my favorite show, I just fast forward from the time they leave the range until they get back to the range. Its a great show watched that way!!

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