TV Worth Watching

I love watching TV. I love talking about TV.

Somehow I’ve ended up with a group of friends who, mostly, have interest in neither watching TV nor talking about TV. I need to find a way of fixing that.

In the meantime, here are the shows that are keeping me up late at night these days:

  • 11.22.63 — Based on a Stephen King novel and starring James Franco. Scratches my time travel itch and my 1960s nostalgia itch both.
  • Billions — Stars the great Paul Giamatti and the equally great Damian Lewis: reason enough to watch. But there’s a great supporting cast and it’s tightly shot and edited with an compelling, pulsing sound track.
  • Broad City — Sweary and otherwise profane and too much for some in the household. But I love it.
  • Colony — Science fiction from the LOST team and starring Josh Holloway from that series. Aliens invade earth. There’s a shimmering wall around Los Angeles. Hijinks ensue. It’s better than he average cable sci-fi.
  • Madam Secretary — There are some strong Téa Leoni feelings, pro and con, in my sibling community (pretty well the only people who will engage me in talk about TV these days); I’m on the pro side. This ain’t no West Wing, and it’s a little too much like The Waltons from time to time, but it’s got enough to keep me watching.
  • The A Word — Currently airing on the BBC. Inevitably controversial as it portrays the life of a family where one child is on the autism spectrum, and how can you get that right. It may or may not be an accurate portrayal of life on the spectrum, but the first episode at least suggests it’s a pretty good approximation of life of parents of someone on the autism spectrum.
  • The Americans — Just started back up after a long hiatus. More deliberative than I generally like, especially in recent episodes, but I enjoy the 1970s spy nostalgia. Could go either way this season.
  • The Blacklist — James Spader. That’s all you need to know. Confusing by times, and dragging a little these days, but still, James Spader.
  • The Catch — Mireille Enos (The Killing) and Peter Krause (Sports Night, Six Feet Under) star. It’s got shades of The Thomas Crown Affair. I love a good caper series.
  • The Night Manager — Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston star in this BBC series written by John le Carré. Locations are delicious; supporting cast is talented, and Laurie and Hiddleston are a joy to watch.

Filling in the gaps otherwise are Modern Family, Scandal, and The Big Bang Theory.

And I’m waiting for new seasons of Casual, Catastrophe, Homeland, Mozart in the Jungle, Mr. Robot, Narcos, Sherlock, Shipping Wars, The Affair, The Code, The Man in the High Castle, UnREAL and You’re the Worst.

Oh, and that crop of comic book-derived shows that I watched a lot of last year – Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Arrow, Flash, Gotham: I’ve completely lost interest in them. To the point where I wonder how I ever had any.


Todd Gallant's picture
Todd Gallant on March 30, 2016 - 07:43 Permalink

Oh great. Even more series to look into :-)

I'm with you already on a few of those shows. Homeland and The Blacklist are among my top ones. I'll probably finish this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then I'm out. I think we're of the same mind there. Only 1 episode into 11.22.63 and I'm hooked.

Others worth mentioning if you haven't discovered them already...

Call the Midwife (Based on true midwife tales in 1950's East end London)

Galavant (Goofy musical theater period piece sitcom - weirdly wonderful)

Better Call Saul (previous Breaking Bad experience not really necessary)

I use Sidereel's site/app to keep track of my shows and their episodes. How do you manage your viewing experience, if at all?

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on March 30, 2016 - 09:51 Permalink

I also love TV and will happily discuss any time. Surprised you didn't mention The Good Wife. Emily Nussbaum and I both love it.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 30, 2016 - 14:00 Permalink

The Good Wife is something I made a false start on, walked away from, then it became popular and long-lived but I always felt out of sync with it.  I expect that, like Seinfeld, which I missed entirely in its first run and watched only in syndication, I’ll come back to it once y’all are done with it.

That said, a recommendation from both you and Emily Nussbaum is a recommendation of the highest grade.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 30, 2016 - 14:04 Permalink

Postscript: I arrived home after writing this post to find (a) Catherine watching Gotham and (b) Oliver reading this blog post, noticing that I expressed a dislike for Gotham.

Sandy Nicholson's picture
Sandy Nicholson on March 31, 2016 - 13:19 Permalink

My family has lost interest in the comic book shows as well. I seem drawn to British shows - Broadchurch, The Fall, Happy Valley, River, Call the Midwife, Bletchley Circle and The Detectorists. I did get caught up in The Affair as well and have been considering starting Billions so will probably give it a try.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 31, 2016 - 14:10 Permalink

I second the motion on Happy Valley and Bletchley Circle. My mother recommended River and we watched an episode, enjoyed it, but for some reason never went back. I’ll put it back in the queue. I loved The Affair.