Waiting for the next playoff game is making me twitchy
May 2, 2011 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend me some TV shows. Snowflakey list inside.

Arrested Development
Futurama (pre-lockout seasons)
Simpsons (pre-double digit seasons)
True Blood (didn't take themselves seriously)
Twin Peaks

Aeon Flux (animated)
Babylon 5
Big Love (later seasons were meh)
Breaking Bad
Cleopatra 2025 (super duper cheesey fun)
Clone High
Children of Dune (SciFi mini)
Dead Like Me
Doctor Who (2005)
The Dresden Files
Fraggle Rock
Generation Kill
Married... With Children (painfully dated now)
The Muppet Show
Night Court (painfully dated now)
Painkiller Jane
Puppets Who Kill
Reno 911! (later seasons were meh)
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spawn (animated)
Sons of Anarchy
Star Trek (OST/TNG)
Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
Tripping the Rift (first couple of [original] seasons were *great*)
The Wire (starts slow, ends great)
Witchblade (although season 2 wtf?)

The Big Bang Theory (didn't give much of a chance)
Commanche Moon
Dune (SciFi mini)
The Family Guy (the specials were good, though)
Firefly (couldn't get past first couple)
Highlander: Raven
King of the Hill
The Office (UK/US) (yeah sorry sorry, not my thing)
Sayuki: Journey to the West (although I like anime/manga in general)
Stargate (didn't give them much of a chance, though, except for Universe which was "ok" I take that back, these last few episodes of the show are pretty neat)

The Tudors (tedious)
Ultraviolet (horrible acting, poor pace)
The Walking Dead (lovely zombie effects, but the comics were vastly superior)
Weeds (jarring "culture")

Stuff I Kinda Liked as a Kid
Max Headroom


I am starting 'The Game of Thrones' and the Spartacus prequel.

posted by porpoise to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Based on the X-Files/ST-TNG/B5 likes, Battlestar Galactica (reboot).
posted by googly at 7:57 AM on May 2, 2011

Freaks and Geeks might be right up your alley.
posted by saladin at 8:00 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: I have enjoyed Fringe. A bit like the X-Files with a more (apparently) coherent back story. The acting is OK, and the "mentally ill" character seems a bit more like an actually mentally ill person than most media portrayals. It's worth a check.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:01 AM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is an oldie, but since you seem to like silliness in your comedy, I'd watch "Soap," a brilliantly silly sitcom from the early 80s.
posted by xingcat at 8:06 AM on May 2, 2011

If you liked The Wire give Treme ago... it's even slower but builds into something special and the music is awesome
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:06 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Archer

Have you seen Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo? They are from the same creators (Adam Reed and Matt Thompson) and have the same general style of humor. As with many of the shows you listed, the earlier episodes are better in both cases.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:09 AM on May 2, 2011

We have a lot of overlapping LOVE and LIKE sections!

My boyfriend and I have just zoomed through all four seasons of Californication, and my roommate and I are watching Buffy for the first time (you need to get through the first few episodes, which have not aged well, to get to some pretty wonderful stuff - although I'm only up to the first disc of season 6, so things might take a turn for the suck again).

For animated shows, have you checked out Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law?
posted by smallvictories at 8:15 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: The Killing
Parks & Recreation
Life on Mars
Boardwalk Empire
posted by marais at 8:18 AM on May 2, 2011

Doc Martin (BBC)- give it a chance, episode one was a tad slow but it picks up at 2.
Did you give up Dr. Who after 2005? Christopher Eccleston is great Dr., but so is David Tennant (2006-2010) imo.
posted by Glinn at 8:21 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Veronica Mars
posted by backwards guitar at 8:28 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Community sounds right up your alley.

You might also like Veronica Mars. It's a show set in high school, which you don't mention many of, but it's got great characters, sharp dialogue, and a season-long mystery arc that gets resolved in an incredibly satisfying way. The first season is so good.
posted by Georgina at 8:32 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Party Down - very funny, sadly cancelled after 2 short seasons. It's got a lot of the same good stuff going on as Arrested Development and Reno 911! It's a raunchy but sweet workplace comedy?
posted by mskyle at 8:33 AM on May 2, 2011

The Shield (how many shows can you say the last season is so good)
Jekyll (James Nesbitt is amazing)
Dollhouse (I liked it throughout, but they say the Patton Oswalt episode is where it really comes together)
Black Books
Glee (I unapologetically love this show)
Jack of All Trades (If you're a Bruce Campbell fan, but who isn't?)
Drawn Together (So wrong)
posted by cali59 at 8:42 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Community.
Mad Men
Party Down.
You might enjoy Parks and Recreation. It's produced by alumni from The Office (US) and uses similar documentary style, but it is less awkward and more straightforward funny. Skip the first season entirely and start with the beginning of season 2.
posted by andrewraff at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Really give Firefly another chance, more so if you only saw it on Fox as they screwed with the episode order when it was on. Grab or borrow the DVD's.

Battlestar Gallactic is another great suggestion.

Farscape was great, look for it.

Buffy and Angel really get going after season one of each. Buffy is more of Bad Guy of the week for the first season, but they do build up the charaters as they go along. Some of thelater episodes of both are very good.
posted by Blackie at 10:11 AM on May 2, 2011

Check out Bones, Chuck, and Burn Notice. Bones is a crime-of-the-week that has recently tended to overarching interpersonal drama, which turns some people (like my husband) off.

IT Crowd and Hyperdrive are both British comedies that are much funnier than the Office. Those two and Better Off Ted are shows I loved as much as Arrested Development. All three are on Netflix.

If you like StarGate: Universe, then you'll probably like Battlestar Galactica.
posted by bookdragoness at 10:30 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: That you loved Deadwood and Dexter leads me to recommend one of my favorite TV shows, Six Feet Under. At the surface it's a drama about a family operating a funeral home, each episode examining a new death. It has the same fatalistic quality, with incredible writing and immense characters. A "serious" but occasionally hilarious and obscure show that still ranks as some of the best moving picture I've ever seen.
posted by artificialard at 10:33 AM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Larry Sanders Show
Pushing Daisies
30 Rock
Avatar (ignore everything you've heard about the movie, the show is great for adults although it's clearly targeted at children.)
posted by DrDreidel at 10:55 AM on May 2, 2011

The Killing
Battlestar Galactica
Dead Like Me
Game of Thrones
posted by brand-gnu at 11:13 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Basic cable has some fun shows right now, most of them are available for past season streaming on Netflix or OnDemand:

Psych - Fake psychic detective buddy comedy. The Airworlf loving kid in you will enjoy the references.
Leverage - Sort of the American version of Hustle (worth picking that up from across the pond), grifters and con artists right wrongs in a vaguely A-Team manner.
White Collar - Another con-based show. This one focuses more on an overarching plot, but the banter between the two leads is great.
Justified - See the Worst. Marshal. Ever. punch his way around Harlan County, Kentucky. Features Seth Bullock from Deadwood as said marshal.

There's also the Beeb and ITV and the like:

Peep Show
IT Crowd
Black Books
Alan Partridge
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2011

UK shows available with that quirky British mean humor going on. All available on Hulu:

Loved these three:
Green Wing
Peep Show
The Book Group

That Mitchell and Webb Look (from the guys that did Peep Show)

Didn't like, but others seem to:
Black Books
Little Britain
IT Crowd
posted by troyer at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2011

Caveat: I'm not really a tv watcher (am also limited to output with closed captioning) so have only seen The Wire and Weeds from your list; thought The Wire outstanding, Weeds enjoyable but I lost interest after a couple of seasons).

Having said that, I absolutely loved both seasons of the outstanding Nurse Jackie and season 1 of The Big C. Both dark comedies with very strong writing and performances by both leads and supporting cast.

Also seconding the Danish version of The Killing - for the first time since The Wire I waited impatiently for each episode every week. I'm hoping that the US version will be shown here in the UK this year but I'm very glad I saw the Danish version first, do try and see it first if you can.
posted by humph at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2011


It may be too obvious, but it's not mentioned yet.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:58 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Give Burn Notice a try. It's got Bruce Campbell, and there's some fun MacGuyver moments, plus it's been on for a few seasons, so if you like it, it'll keep you busy for a while.

Nthing Veronica Mars.
posted by mogget at 12:26 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: I'm not seeing Community or Parks and Rec on your list. Other than Archer, they're (in my opinion) the funniest shows on TV right now.

Also, Bob's Burgers is pretty great.
posted by General Malaise at 2:11 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Oh yeah, and Party Down.
posted by General Malaise at 2:12 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Along the comedy route, another vote for Better off Ted. I'd also suggest Running Wilde if you like Will Arnett. Later on, sadness and rage will occur from realizing both shows have been canceled.
posted by graxe at 3:05 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: seconding californication (although i would NOT watch this show with anyone you consider prudish), and burn notice. i was also surprised to find that i really loved NCIS, and spent many a night burning through the first 7 seasons (i overlap with you quite a bit on your lists).
posted by koroshiya at 4:20 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Try Better Off Ted (only 2 seasons sadly, but really great.)
posted by gudrun at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!

Haha, you guys are great! I've actually enjoyed the entire run of Burn Notice - it's been accidentally left off the list probably because I couldn't decide if it was under the Love or Like category. I've been a fan of Bruce Campbell since the Evil Dead movies and the core cast of that show are all wonderful.

I have seen the occasional episode of Battlestar, but never really gave the show a real chance. I started watching Chuck when it first aired and enjoyed it kind of similar to Reaper, but I was under the assumption that it got cancelled after only a few episodes. <huh> Four seasons.

Some recommendations for stuff that I've heard of, some recommendations for shows that I was completely unaware of. I'll be back marking best answers as I go through the shows, thanks again!
posted by porpoise at 6:41 PM on May 2, 2011

Man, I want to hang out and watch TV with ALL of you people!
Also try...
- The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. (A series made by David Cross & Will Arnett, originally for the BBC.)
- The Mighty Boosh. (Weirder than most things in the comments here, and I didn't like it at first, but it seriously grew on me. Video payoff at 1:30.)
- Flight of the Conchords.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
- The West Wing. (First three seasons, anyway.)
posted by D.Billy at 6:43 PM on May 2, 2011

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace! Please. Here's part one of the first episode on YouTube. All six episodes are on YT.

I have to double agree with The IT Crowd (as well as Black Books and Father Ted) and the Mighty Boosh. Bonus: A lot of the same people are in these shows. Great for once you decide you ONLY want to watch shows that have Richard Ayoade.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:50 PM on May 2, 2011

Response by poster: Has anyone seen Lost Girl or Eastwick?
posted by porpoise at 9:20 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Since you like True Blood, I imagine you might like Lost Girl, though the show it reminds me most of is season one of Buffy. Lost Girl is cheerfully low budget and doesn't take itself too seriously, but it has several things I enjoyed: a pansexual lead in Bo, a terrific sidekick character in Kenzi, and a great female friendship between the two of them. This is a show that definitely passes the Bechdel Test.

The first episode is fairly so-so, but it picks up fast.
posted by Georgina at 2:25 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow. Does anyone else watch that much TV?

From a very infrequent viewer, my suggestion is the show Relapse. It replaced Intervention as my only regulary watched TV show. (And I'm crushing on Patty Powers, one of the sober coaches).
posted by qsysopr at 5:40 AM on May 3, 2011

Best answer: My husband and I really enjoyed the BBC's Sherlock. It's only three episodes but they're each about an hour and a half long and the second season is due to come out this fall. Lots of action and clever quips.
posted by castlebravo at 8:56 AM on May 3, 2011

Best answer: Second the New Sherlock from BBC from castlebravo, it is a very well done version that pulls the whole idea up into current times. I can't believe they only did three shows and now we have to wait this long for more.
posted by Blackie at 11:03 AM on May 3, 2011

You might like Modern Family - which stars the actor who played Al Bundy in Married with Children.
posted by essexjan at 11:06 AM on May 3, 2011

Ditto Sherlock, Hustle & Leverage
also maybe
Warehouse 13
posted by juv3nal at 5:21 PM on May 6, 2011

Response by poster: Fringe is exactly what I needed, thanks! Looking forward to the third season.

Huge fan, in my teen years, of Sherlock Holmes stories. Despite that, the modern "reboot" is freaking hilarious. I kinda hate the new tropes and cliches/archtypes, but they... kinda fit. A little tickled that it picks up a lot of (maybe not intentional) subtext. Emo sexually-ambiguous Holmes, indeed.
posted by porpoise at 4:00 AM on May 27, 2011

Response by poster: Newly loved:
Community (shame about the hiatus and future, but it was at most a 4 season arc)
Deep Space Nine (not mentioned, but as a whole even better than TNG)
Dollhouse (once it stopped being the Elisha Dusku show; the supporting cast was unbelievably good)
Firefly (how did I not know about this show?)

Newly liked:
Bob's Burgers
Fringe was really fun but the show is waning.
Lost Girl (like Georgina said, cheerfully low budget. Neat seeing another show where I keep recognizing local spots)
Sherlock (see previous post)
Six Feet Under (the story between the siblings captivated me)
Veronica Mars (what petty misdeed can the writer come up with this time? but there was a story arc and blah blah Kristen Bell)

Party Down (is totally amusing).

New findings:
The Borgias (like The Tudors but better acted)
The Pillars of the Earth
V (2009) (this choice might make more sense if you saw the original V when you were a kid.)
posted by porpoise at 8:51 PM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: Downton Abbey (I liked the exploration of class differences, and I've had a crush on Michelle Dockery since her role as Susan Death nee Sto Helit [or should that be the other way around?] in The Hogfather)
Louie (Louis CK has become my favourite standup)
Lucky Louie
The Middleman (cheesy and irreverent, came by it via Natalie Morales from Parks and Rec)
Supernatural (didn't think I'd like but I binged on it up to season 6)
posted by porpoise at 8:47 PM on March 3, 2012

Response by poster: The Boondocks
posted by porpoise at 11:16 AM on March 11, 2012

Response by poster: Roots (1977), courtesy of The Boondocks.
posted by porpoise at 9:22 PM on March 22, 2012

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