Suggest Some Good TV Shows
September 29, 2008 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm in need of quality 30 minute or less dramas. I have a 35 minute bus commute and find it annoying to watch only half a show.

I prefer high quality drama. Rome, The Wire, Carnivale, Dexter, Deadwood, Damages, Tudors, 6 Feet Under, House, The Shield, etc. But these are all 1 hour shows.

The only half hour show I know of is "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," but I am watching that one with someone, so don't want to jump ahead.

I have a few simple rules on picks.

1. Has to be 30 minutes or less.
2. Has to have at least one season behind it and have been renewed for a second (or two season if it's already been canceled). More seasons the better.
3. No comedies unless they are dark humored.

I think this will work. I can come up with more shows that I like, but the above should be a good start. I dig legal dramas, mob/crime stuff, supernatural, super hero, sci-fi.

posted by cjorgensen to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Weeds is 30 minutes. Try it, brah.
posted by mattbucher at 9:43 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Extras might qualify as dark.
posted by zazerr at 9:48 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Weeds is excellent.
posted by mmascolino at 9:50 AM on September 29, 2008

Best answer: Californication.
posted by Perplexity at 9:52 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tricky one. Entourage is in less than half hour episodes. Wikipedia calls is "dramedy" which, while being an absolutely ridiculous word, kind of fits. So there is some comedy and it's not very dark but you could give it a shot.
posted by bjrn at 10:09 AM on September 29, 2008

Thirding Weeds.
posted by cabingirl at 10:12 AM on September 29, 2008

Seconding Californication. Exactly what you need and the second season just started last night.
posted by meerkatty at 10:13 AM on September 29, 2008

There are plenty of anthologies on DVD/iTunes that would fit the bill:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Twilight Zone (the origina series; I think all of the more recent versions are hour-longs)
Amazing Stories
posted by mkultra at 10:16 AM on September 29, 2008

If you're set on 30 minute drama, the only ones I can think of have already been suggested. Weeds is where its at, and Entourage is also pretty decent.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2008

Another vote for Entourage. It is definitely lighter fare, but my television watch list exactly mirrors yours and I very much enjoy the exploits of Vincent Chase. Already into season 5, so I'd start from the beginning and you'll have plenty to watch.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:27 AM on September 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks. I like Weeds. I watched season one. I forgot it was only 1/2 hour. Each episode feels longer. I will give this one a second chance. It got a bit absurd toward the end of season one.

I love Jeremy Piven (Cupid was so underrated), so will try Entourage.

Californication I saw one episode. It seemed good.

And I didn't even think of old TV like Twilight Zone.

Will look at Extras as well.

Thanks for the suggestions.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2008

I'll nth the recommendations for Californication and Entourage. Especially Californication.
posted by AaRdVarK at 10:35 AM on September 29, 2008

The original BBC Office is also excellent, I believe 30 minute episodes. I like both the original and the US remake, totally different feel for each show.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:37 AM on September 29, 2008

Maybe Sports Night? It's a comedy, but there's drama, and it's great so you should see it anyway.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:39 AM on September 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Many original Doctor Who stories were broadcast as a group of half-hour episodes in a "serial". Sometimes they were aired back-to-back, other times over the course of a week. Maybe not your cup of tea, and maybe not in your definition of "half hour drama", but they usually had reasonable break points.
posted by dhartung at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2008

The recent HBO show In Treatment might work. (It doesn't meet the 2-season requirement, but does have 43 episodes.)
posted by dixie flatline at 11:07 AM on September 29, 2008

Larry Sanders - comedy, but very cringe-y.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:43 AM on September 29, 2008

Another vote for Weeds and Entourage.
posted by arcticseal at 12:45 PM on September 29, 2008

Response by poster: I loved Sports Night. Watched 'em all. And I hate sports. That show was good.

In Treatment looks good (love gabriel byrne). I made the second season requirement, since too many of the shows I like get canceled right away, so I've started going back to shows I missed the first time around (like Sopranos). I'm in no hurry to "catch up." Looks like it's still up in the air for a second season, still looks good. And 43 episodes should be enough to keep me going for a while.

I've rather not watch the first three episodes of a great show that never got a fourth.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:41 PM on September 29, 2008

Shouldn't there only be around a half hour of content for a 1 hour show (sans commercials)?
posted by juv3nal at 10:55 PM on September 29, 2008

juv3nal, it's generally around 43-46 minutes of story time in an hour show.
posted by dhartung at 11:47 PM on September 29, 2008

You might want to consider MASH. It is comedy, sometimes, other times, very much not. I'm completely biased about this show, having declared 30 years ago that MASH justifies the existence of television (I find it a monumental statement of the anti-war sort).

I have the collection of a more recent version of Twilight Zone, and it is also half-hour long. It got poor reviews, but we're delighted with it, and find it very engaging. The original can be both good and poor.

Old shows from your childhood may not be as comedic as you remember them, but rather shocking and fascinating as a window into your own head. I've recently started viewing Leave It to Beaver, and am totally astounded at what I've discovered.
posted by Goofyy at 3:34 AM on October 2, 2008

Response by poster: I love MASH. It would be cool to go through them all.

I'm set for a while. Thanks all.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2008

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