They say movies are in a bad realm these day. Again, not sure who they are but they say it. Fortunately for us, the couch potatoes of the world, television is on an incredible upswing. Thanks to cable and streaming services even the networks have had to up their game.
Because more and more TV is switching from episodic to serial form, which only go ten to thirteen deep in a season, a lot of the extraneous fluff has gone by the wayside. It also makes binge-watching more palatable because you need to know what happens next. Very few of the tired episodic network dramas have to chutzpah of the new wave.
I watched the first season of Blacklist. It was good but I realized it was just like (mostly) every other cop show. It had its hook but I was pretty damn sure they weren’t going to tell me the answer for years—if it lasted that long. I’ll just have someone tell me who Red really is when its time.
The great shows now have a beginning, middle and end of a season—usually with a cliffhanger if they know there will be a second season. They are almost like ten-thirteen hour films that you can watch at your leisure (or all at once for some.) They can’t afford to have people watch an episode or two and say “this is boring. What the hell is happening or going to happen.” Got to get right in there if you want folks to stay and watch.
Having said all that absolute drivel… here are some shows – new and older.
I have been a fan of The Big Bang Theory since the start. There are real lol bits in the show. However, for the past few seasons they are becoming few and farther between. It’s time for that show to go into the vortex and make room for the new. And that new is Catastrophe. Not sure why people think youngins have all the problems. These middle-aged folks, one Irish and one American have a big one—and its comic gold. Because of an unfortunate one-night stand they are trying to work things out. While being so wrong for each other, they realize they may be so right. We need more of this show—much more.
Other comedies to take a look at – Broad Street (this show is a gold, Jerry!), Silicon Valley, Transparent,
Dystopian society, multiple factions trying to control the planet, hot teens… what’s not to like in The 100. It’s not your father’s CW show. Earth has been uninhabitable for years. Apparently the space station everyone lives in is dying so they send all their juvies down to see if Earth is alright to conquer again. After all, who cares if 100 kids go by the wayside? Turns out the world is rough but okay and there are others, naturally, who survived. Pretty soon everyone is back on Earth. That’s when the real fun begins. Besides the Ark survivors, there are other factions called Grounders, Mountain Men and the dreaded Reapers. Sounds like a picnic. Actually, good drama and interesting characters… for the most part.
Other teen futuristic dystopian dramas – Sorry, we have more than enough mediocre films about that genre, thank you.
Dramedies have always been a favorite but good ones are hard to find in television form. Thankfully, one of the best recent dramas had great supporting characters. And one of them got a spin-off—a prequel, in fact. Better Call Saul had a great rookie season. Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman began to show why he would be such a great help to Mr. White and Pinkman. The show could have been too comedic and schlocky but it found a nice groove and now we all want to see how Goodman gets to New Mexico and when and how Mike (the always extraordinary, Jonathan Banks) joins him in his future endeavors. The show is a steady build and may have just enough secondary carriers to pull it to greatness. I believe the second season will surpass the first in all ways. They do need, however, to step up with the other characters a bit. Saul and Mike will slowly become master craftsmen but they can’t do it alone.
Others – Shameless, Girls
Sci-fi/Fantasy has again come back around with a vengeance. Everyone knows Game of Thrones, whether they watch or not. It has a slew of great characters on a grand stage. Orphan Black, as I have stated before is a joy to watch. Tatiana Maslany may win multiple Emmys for playing different roles on the same show. One year she may win playing British Sarah Manning and the next, any one of several others fascinating characters. She is truly amazing and is captivating to watch on screen.
Other sci-fi shows to watch – Dark Matter and Killjoys. Killjoys received great praise as the stars are futuristic bounty hunters but I find Dark Matter more gripping. Six people awake on a spaceship to find their memories have been wiped. Their stories were far more engaging and the characters—diverse.
What a great time to be a geek. Superhero shows, as well as films, are in abundance. Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Arrow, Flash and Supergirl are all good shows—Gotham is NOT. The Netflix dramas are, of course, very dark but they back it up with compelling story and characters. The DC shows are produced by (mostly) the same people and are consistently fun and absorbing. Looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow by the same team coming very soon. And, let us not forgot Agents of Shield and the fantastic but underappreciated, Agent Carter. Again, can’t be said enough… good story and characters. Hayley Atwell is a delight and her chemistry with James D’Arcy (Jarvis) helps to drive the show.
Lastly, I don’t watch many police procedural shows but I have to say Blue Bloods, without much fanfare, has been on Friday nights (death night for ratings) for six seasons and has endured. It is just a nice family-police drama with good stories and has warmth. For a cop drama… it is not dark just consistently watchable.
Others – I’ll leave it up to you.
Do you watch any of these shows? Some I’ve missed or missed the boat on?