November 11, 2013 at 4:59 am #3452
I think we’re in a pretty damn good era of great TV shows, and I’m wondering what everyone is watching. Here are the ones I’m watching right now…
1. Elementary – I think this is one of the best shows on American TV right now. When I first saw the promos, I hated the idea of another Sherlock in modern times, and of Watson being a woman, but Lucy Liu isn’t annoying at all, and in fact, is a pretty good foil for the star of the show, Jonny Lee Miller. He is just fantastic, and it makes me wonder if he’d made better choices in his career if he’d have been further along right now. Sharply written, never boring, it’s just great great stuff.
2. Sherlock – I hesitate to even include this because I don’t even consider this a TV show. It’s sort of transcendent, somewhere between a movie and TV. This British-made Sherlock, set in modern times, was so good in my opinion that I thought the American Sherlock couldn’t be nearly as good. This cemented Benedict Cumberbatch in my mind as someone who should be in everything, and he damn near is at this point. And let’s not forget Martin Freeman, who, like Lucy Liu, is an outstanding Watson. Can’t wait for the new episodes early next year.
3. The Bridge – I like the idea of a show that doesn’t pull punches, and this one definitely does not. Diane Kruger is great as the driven, Asperger’s suffering detective in El Paso, and Ted “put the lotion in the basket” Levine plays the police chief. I can’t spoil anything in this show. It’s a slow burn, but since I’m big on character, as you all know, I ate it up. Got a while before the next season, but I really enjoy it and am really anticipating it.
4. Person of Interest – Jim Caviezel as a government-trained badass and Michael Emerson as an eccentric millionaire who created a machine that spies on the whole of America. I was already in after hearing that. They have a tendency to focus a bit too much on “the weekly target” instead of the big picture, but I understand that they have shows to fill out the long American seasons. It’s the one thing that I don’t like about American TV – more is not necessarily better. Still, a pretty good show.
5. The Walking Dead – Gruesome and gritty, this is probably my biggest guilty pleasure on the list. The acting is uniformly pretty good, and you do get good some good character moments, but there seems to be a lot of water-treading in this show, and I wish they would shorten the seasons to intensify the story. Last year, in my unemployment, I read all of the comics up until that point, and if they’re using the plot of the comics as a guideline (there are many differences, of course), we’re in some real crazy shit coming soon. What can I say? I like it.
The following are shows I used to watch, but don’t anymore for one reason or another.
Breaking Bad – you should totally watch this if you haven’t already. Watch the first few episodes, and if you’re not hooked, don’t look back, but I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t be. One of the perfect TV series ever.
Under the Dome – I love me some Stephen King, but this show is so middle-of-the-road with its actors and the special effects and everything. Not sure when the new season starts, but I’m giving it two or three more episodes max, and I don’t expect it to be on my list anymore.
Falling Skies – This one was one I started watching when I was unemployed and was starving for entertainment, but it really is pretty terrible. The last season finale made me roll my eyes so much that I swore I wouldn’t watch it again.
The Americans – I’m not sure about this one. I remember sort of enjoying it, but the story of two Russians living in America in the 80s hasn’t really stuck with me. I barely remember details. I’ll give it another try when the next season starts, but I’m not holding my breath.
I don’t really count shows like Tosh.0 and South Park, but I still watch those. Of course, I still watch a lot of Food Network shows, but those DEFINITELY don’t count.
So, what say you, you few SOS’ers still left out there?November 11, 2013 at 5:15 am #32917
Shit. I forgot Homeland. Damn, that show is intense! I’m actually saving it up until season 3 is over so I can watch them all at once. Great great show.November 11, 2013 at 6:47 am #32914
Yeah, I almost never watch hour-long dramas. The only one of your list I’ve gotten invested in is Sherlock, 2/3rds of which is awesome and 1/3 of which (for some reason the middle show of each season) is just ok. I watched the first episode of Elementary but I was pretty bored by it. I felt like the formula was very naked and Jonny Lee Miller failed to make the always cunty Holmes entertainingly cunty like RDJ and Cumberbatch recently have, so he was just cunty. Having said that I know full well that judging a show on its first episode is unfair and given that my wife’s favourite fictional character is Sherlock Holmes (she’s read EVERYTHING) I might find myself giving it another go, especially on the recommendation of you and couple of other folks I know.
The only hour-long I’ve stuck with is Game of Thrones, which had a somewhat ropey second season but picked up again in the third, but it’s not on at the moment. If I had time I’d definitely watch Breaking Bad though. Heard nothing but great things about that show.
Apart from that I watch a couple of comedies, some Top Gear and a shit-ton of Grand Designs.
- Women sense my power and they seek the life essence.November 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm #32918
Yeah, I probably should have said shows that aren’t documentaries (even though Top Gear flirts with being a flat-out comedy most of the time). I have seen every Top Gear.November 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm #32910
This is a great thread…
1. Elementary – I agree that this show is probably one of the best on US TV. It’s not as strong this season as previous seasons, but it’s hardly gotten less than very good. Being that LL annoys me as that default hot Asian that’s not hot, she’ pretty good and pretty ‘real’ in this show. JLM is awesome, and manages to pull off the level of intelligence without being “too much” to believe. I’m quite happy with this show, and watch it every week.
2. Parenthood – I can’t say that this is one of the best shows out there, but it’s a good show. It’s something Jessica and I can both watch, we identify with bits and pieces of it a lot, and I’d say it’s acted well enough, written decent and directed quite well. Monica Potter is super fucking weak on the show (because she’s super fucking weak) and so is the ever annoying Lauren Graham. In fact, they haven’t done a good job with any of the women on the show, seems like they could have done better on casting, because the characters are really there. Dax Shepard is really good (and very much a real guy), Peter Krause sums up eldest sibling so well, but I’m most impressed with Craig T. Nelson on this show. He’s awesome, he’s strong and he’s so many dads and granddads summed up as the simple man of a previous generation. I’d say he’s the best on the show, even if his character gets less dramatic story lines.
3. Sherlock – Fuck this needs to hurry up and come back on. Everyone got so involved in movies that they didn’t have time for this TV series of movies. Martin Freeman is an incredible Watson, my favorite to date. I like this show better than the US TV series (Elementary, duh!) but that’s likely because I think both actors are better, and more importantly, the episodes aren’t forced to rush the story quite as much. I also feel like the Moriarty story is better in this series.
4. Homeland – I really enjoyed the first 2 seasons of this show. It’s the story that really got me interested, even though more than half of the cast is just plain not good. The Saul character is good, and our primary two characters are great –but can anyone really stand Claire Daines? She’s ugly, gangly and awkward 110% of the time. Her character only calls for it some. Season 3 (after a year off) has really showed that after the Brody reveal(s), and the big publicized events… they’ve left themselves with little else to do than try to explore personal journeys while attempting to get some spy shit done. It’s not good this season, hopefully it improves. Sorry Rob, maybe you just didn’t read that.
5. Game of Thrones – (How did Rob leave this one off?)I put off watching this show forever, then Jessica and I took in 3 seasons in just under 2 weeks. It’s fantastic, it’s appropriately graphic. The only complaint I have is that there are too many fucking characters to follow in many cases, but I think it allows them to do the things they’ve done without stalling out the series. I can’t complain about much in this show, except that there are several characters I want to personally kill. I think that says a lot about how they are written. I think a few performances or characters are weaker than others, but holy fuck this is good television. I was joking with Jessica after weeks of watching this, that we’d have to get our fix by watching Kingdom of Heaven and/or Lord of the Rings with lots of porn playing in the PIP. I’m not at all a fan of the zombie thing (don’t give me any lip, they are fucking zombies), but this show has built up a ton of trust with me, so I’m in.
6. Breaking Bad – Damn I loved this show. Good performances, great stories and a character arc that actually worked from series open to end. Quotable, super entertaining and just a great dark look at struggle and self-made men. I really only had a problem with Anna Gunn, she’s weak and she’s mannish. Betsy Brandt annoyed me for a long time, but I think they finally got this character dialed in, and I found her decent. RJ Mitte (WW Jr) was damn near unnecessary in the whole series, and was over the top at everything. I guess he was kind of annoying too. I really loved Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. I’m cautiously optimistic about the “Better Call Saul” spinoff… the comedy route makes me more hopeful.
7. Dr. Who – I still have SE7 Part II to watch (I think), but this is more of a way to passing time than anything. I really enjoyed some episodes of the 10th Doctor (David Tennant was great in this show), and the writing really started to improve. I liked seeing the stupid ‘Carpenter’ Christopher Eccleston in the newer series at the beginning, and even though it was hokey, and had TV budget effects, he made it fun. Tennant made it better, and Matt Smith makes me wonder why I still watch this show. Oh wait, maybe I don’t now.
8. Arrested Development – I’d say I really enjoyed this show… enough to watch them all, but not enough to be crazy about it. I thought it was going to be weak when it made the transition to Netflix, but I’d say given that they kind of ending they left the Primetime show with it’s carried over pretty well. I’ll keep watching if they keep making them. Bateman is very Batemaney, but I like that. My favorite running gag in the show (and there are many many of these, that may be what is the absolute best about this show) is the chicken impressions. Cera’s typical awkward thing is great and underplayed enough in this show, and even Will Arnett’s mostly unfunny over-the-topedness is great here. Maybe this is the only place for him. David Cross is super funny, and Ron Howard appearances are among my favorite moments. Tambor is one of the unfortunate things that later seasons have made less funny. I don’t think it’s him at all, they just screwed up what made the character great.
9. Parks and Recreation – Yes, I still watch this damn show. I don’t like Aziz Ansari, I hate Aubrey Plaza, I don’t like most of the characters there… but I do like joke delivery on this show, and the Ron Swanson character is perfect. I probably watch for this, and to be a completionist.
10. Batman the Animated Series – Do I even have to explain this one? I’m currently taking my third pass through these. I really like that show. I’m not listing the Superman Animated series here, but I like it too (it’s not as good), as well as the Justice League series. I’m only watching BtAS again right now.
11. X-men animated series – The popular ones from Fox. I’ve never watched these in order (until now) and although I understand them mostly, I always felt like I was missing something seeing them as they aired as repeats and first-time aired episodes. I’m hoping to get a bit more clarity from this series by rewatching.
Shows I’ve started, but I’m not watching enough to say I’m ‘watching it’.
1. Wilfred – This show cracks me up. It’s odd, and I don’t particularly like Elijah Wood… the premise is just odd enough, it’s kinda stupid but whatever. Expect some funny, see/hear some funny. Jason Gann has killer delivery.
2. Archer – Fucking crazy show. Hilarious, really wrong… and really funny. I’ve gotten about halfway through SE1, but Jessica says she doesn’t like the show (she laughs at it)… so I have to watch it when I have “free time” -whatever the fuck that means.
3. Louie – We’ve talked about this a lot before, so I’ll just say I dropped off at some point, and need to catch up. Is he still doing this show?November 12, 2013 at 1:24 am #32919
I don’t watch Parenthood. Probably because I can’t identify with it. But that’s okay.
Glad to hear you enjoyed Breaking Bad, and also nice that you like Elementary and Sherlock.
I thought Game of Thrones Season 2 was a bunch of treading water, and I’m not a fan of that. Season 3 was better, and I will watch season 4, but I’m just not as crazy about it like everybody else. Dr. Who just fucking confuses me. Like, it confuses me why everybody likes it.November 12, 2013 at 2:36 am #32911
I think I started watching DW because I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I have to admit, if I were sitting down watching it, I’d have quit. Instead, I watched it will working. Once I got a couple of seasons in, I probably started watching more with focus, but as the show went crap again, I stopped focusing. I wouldn’t say I like it, I just wouldn’t say I hate it. I’d say I passed time with it.November 12, 2013 at 5:59 am #32915
@Version3 51487 wrote:
Parks and Recreation – Yes, I still watch this damn show. I don’t like Aziz Ansari, I hate Aubrey Plaza, I don’t like most of the characters there… but I do like joke delivery on this show, and the Ron Swanson character is perfect. I probably watch for this, and to be a completionist.
For me the writing on that show has gotten stronger with every season, to the point where while I used to watch it only for Andy and Ron I’ve started to really enjoy Rob Lowe as Chris and not find Ann as boring as a plank. I guess my timing is awesome since those two are leaving the show. Enjoying Lucy Lawless dropping in from time to time too.
I also really dig how the show can be super sweet without going all the way to Friends-sachirine. The Leslie/Ben relationship has so much potential to be sickening, but instead I just find them loveable. For the record I’m still only on Season 5 though (about ep 15 I think), so all of this could change by the time I catch up to where you are.
- Women sense my power and they seek the life essence.November 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm #32912
I do agree that the writing has gotten better… or at least they’ve learned to play to their strengths and can still manage to make me enjoy it. Yes, Rob Lowe’s Chris has been good all along for me, I’ve not liked Ann Perkins since the first season, the Andy character has stopped being as fun this season and I see what you are saying about Leslie/Ben; I’m just desensitized completely to sitcom couples at this point. I actually think the Ben character is not as good as when he was introduced. I like the stupid ass Councilman Jam –stuff with him always makes me laugh. I never realized that was Lucy Lawless by the way… as soon as I read that my brain screamed “duh you dumb fuck!”.November 13, 2013 at 8:32 am #32916
Oh yeah, that’s Lucy Lawless. The only woman on Earth who’s woman enough to truly win the heart of Ron Swanson.
The only other non-NZ comedy I’m watching currently since 30 Rock finished and Veep and Peep Show are off season is Hello Ladies. It’s fun enough to watch Stephen Merchant be dorky as fuck and 11 and a half feet tall and fail at dating and the support cast is strong, but the formula is barely hidden so I can’t count it among the best around.
@Version3 51487 wrote:
Game of Thrones – (How did Rob leave this one off?)I put off watching this show forever, then Jessica and I took in 3 seasons in just under 2 weeks. It’s fantastic, it’s appropriately graphic. The only complaint I have is that there are too many fucking characters to follow in many cases, but I think it allows them to do the things they’ve done without stalling out the series. I can’t complain about much in this show, except that there are several characters I want to personally kill. I think that says a lot about how they are written. I think a few performances or characters are weaker than others, but holy fuck this is good television. I was joking with Jessica after weeks of watching this, that we’d have to get our fix by watching Kingdom of Heaven and/or Lord of the Rings with lots of porn playing in the PIP. I’m not at all a fan of the zombie thing (don’t give me any lip, they are fucking zombies), but this show has built up a ton of trust with me, so I’m in.
It must play better marathon-style like you guys are watching it because week-to-week Rob is totally right about the stalling. Dany goes from being awesome in the S1 finale to an annoying cow in S2 because over the course of 9 weeks it feels like sweet fuck all happens in her storyline beyond her acting like an entitled dipshit until Ep10. The Bran and Rickon storyline also seems to have stalled for about two and a half seasons now, although you can hardly blame the kid for being slow since his legs are fucked. Jon can be too wet sometimes but at least he’s put a sword in a few peeps and boned a hot redhead.
On the plus side anything to do with the Lannisters is completely glorious and that slimy fuck Littlefinger is a ton of fun to watch. Varys the eunuch is too. The only problem I have with the Lannisters is Tyrion doesn’t spend anywhere near enough time with Bronn so Bronn doesn’t get anywhere near enough screen time.
- Women sense my power and they seek the life essence.November 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm #32913
I’d say that yes, this is the case. It’s not like we were coming off of a week of waiting for an episode to air, then have it not live up to expectations. It was more like when you have a weaker scene in a long movie. In later scenes you can see how it helped move a character along if not the story, but that didn’t keep you from noticing you really need to go pee; kinda the same thing here. We were taking the show in so fast, that slower episodes still had 50 new fucking characters, and a few things to figure out; I guess it felt like a slow few scenes, rather than a few slow episodes –or a whole season.
Does that make any fucking sense?
I agree that the Bran and Rickon story has been weak, I think they suffered from holding them back to find a place for them. I don’t think they’ve done it even with the state of the Starks. I don’t like the Jon Snow character, or his journey so far… so I’d rather have seen him killed off.
I really love hating the Lannisters (except Tyrion of course… Dinklage is the man!), I want to see their skulls bashed in each and every episode… and it’s awesome. I’m kind of into where Jamie has ended up, even though they took a long time to get to where we are with him. I’ll be interested to see if he’s learned anything about himself once he’s inserted back into Lannister life, or if they just make him all sad and feeling sorry for himself.
I could do without a lot of characters, but in the experience I’ve had with the show so far, they do manage to remind you that there is a whole world of shit going on around our characters and it does help make the world rich, when it’s not really moving the story.
I’m ready to see dragons burn villages and cities, and Joffrey’s royal scrotum.November 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm #42384
I should amend my earlier view on Homeland… it did finally start picking up, and actually has had a few decent episodes. I’m about to watch the one from the weekend, so I’ll be able to better say if I’m still ‘watching’ this series.November 21, 2013 at 2:17 am #42488
Just started watching The Thick Of It Again. Somehow they make cussing sound like the most intelligent dialogue you’ve ever heard. They make it art.
- Women sense my power and they seek the life essence.December 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #60918
I know I ended up saying S3 of Homeland was a dud… but would you guys hurry the fuck up and watch the boring episodes and get caught up so I can talk about it again?December 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm #60921
I haven’t seen anything but the first episode. Not good? Wait, don’t say anything! I’ll watch it soon.
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