Is there any good TV left that I haven't watched?
June 19, 2011 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I feel as if I have watched all the good TV that exists... (on Hulu/Netflix/YouTube/Vimeo/ help prove me wrong please! I like shows like Californication, The Wire, Sons of Anarchy, a lot, but when it comes down to it I'll also watch stuff like Shark Tank, Top Chef, Bones, Lie to Me... anything even vaguely interesting.

I don't have cable, so all of the internet I have is either downloaded, bought through iTunes, through hulu plus, or Netflix. I like longer web videos on YouTube and Vimeo (documentaries, mostly) and I like a lot.

I'm going to put a list of all the shows I've watched (completely exhausted all seasons) and enjoyed. Some of these I've watched a couple of times...

Law & Order SVU
Breaking Bad
Kitchen Confidential
Deadliest Catch
BBC's Sherlock
American Chopper (I live in Orange County, so it's marginally interesting.)
The Wire
Swamp People
Ancient Aliens
That 70's Show
Lie To Me
Sons of Anarchy

So really, any TV that isn't hideously bad reality television would be pretty good. Thanks everyone for your recommendations!
posted by ejfox to Computers & Internet (77 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Mad Men.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 9:19 AM on June 19, 2011

posted by BlahLaLa at 9:20 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Sorry, I got a little overexcited with the Post button!) I've also really been loving Parks & Recreation and The Killing.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 9:21 AM on June 19, 2011

Game of Thrones is my favorite right now. Also, I love Mad Men.
posted by Maisie at 9:21 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Prime Suspect
and, The Night Stalker if you can find it, hugely influential short lived series from the '70s.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:22 AM on June 19, 2011

Before "The Wire," there was "Homicide: Life on the Street."

"Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Homicide Unit. It ran for seven seasons (122 episodes) on NBC from 1993 to 1999, and was succeeded by a TV movie, which also acted as the de-facto series finale. The series was originally based on David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Many of the characters and stories used throughout the show were based on events depicted in the book, which was also used for Simon's own series, The Wire on HBO.

"Homicide featured an ensemble cast, with "starring" roles given to Richard Belzer, Daniel Baldwin and Ned Beatty. However, Andre Braugher (as Frank Pembleton) emerged as the series' breakout star.[1] The show won Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Drama in 1996, 1997, and 1998. It also became the first drama ever to win three Peabody Awards for best drama in 1993, 1995, and 1997.

"The show inspired the spin-off Homicide: Second Shift, which was shown exclusively online."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:24 AM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

The Night Stalker is available on Netflix streaming. I would add that you should try the British TV series Luther starring Idris Elba from the Wire. I also like Wire in the Blood.
posted by dortmunder at 9:25 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Downton Abbey (DOWNTON ABBEY!!!!!) and Community come to mind. Downton Abbey is wonderful and ridiculous and posh and British and Community is pretty much hands-down the funniest show on television right now.
posted by kate blank at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

The West Wing
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Syfy's American remake of BBC's Being Human is available over hulu, though only the most recent five episodes. I'd start by getting discs of the BBC original from Netflix.

Lots of Joss Whedon's tv programs are available to stream I'd recommend Firefly and Dollhouse to you.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like most of the same TV shows as well, and I really enjoyed "Dead Like Me" on Netflix. Weird and interesting. (Also throwing in genre votes for Buffy/Angel, Farscape, Firefly, Babylon 5, all of which are available on Netflix instant watch)
posted by gemmy at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Shield is a nice match for a lot of that list.
posted by nonliteral at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2011

X-Files. Angel/Buffy/Firefly. Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and (soon) Universe.

And all seasons of all Star Trek series will be on Netflix instant in... less than two weeks. That's 3 seasons of the original series, 7 each for TNG, DS9, and Voyager, and 4 for Enterprise. Something like 600 hours of TV right there.
posted by SMPA at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also Justified.
posted by nonliteral at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Doctor Who
posted by Telpethoron at 9:30 AM on June 19, 2011

And the first five recent Doctor Who seasons, plus an epic ton of the old Doctor Who. And Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galactica. Skip BSG 1980 though.
posted by SMPA at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2011

If you watch Dollhouse, you must commit to watching the first seven episodes before giving up, by the way.
posted by SMPA at 9:32 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Spooks (on Netflix as MI-5)
posted by des at 9:34 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

The two best current shows on TV are Peep Show and Outnumbered, both from Britain. I know PBS in Buffalo plays the latter.

Six Feet Under, and two tragically short-lived shows, Huff and The Riches, which are both Netflixable even here in Canada, have the same sort of tone and quality of Breaking Bad and Weeds and whatnot, and they are very good.

And then there's Oz.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:38 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mad Men
Battlestar Galactica
The Good Wife
Game of Thrones
posted by nihraguk at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Oz is great (plus it's fun seeing the Wire actors turn up...).

And I guess everyone assumes you've seen it, but no-one's said The Sopranos?
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2011

posted by jamaro at 9:45 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Damages is really compelling and exciting to watch -- especially the first season.

24 is fun, if intense, but I think all the seasons are on Netflix Instant, so it's a good show to binge on.

The Sopranos, of course, especially for the last few seasons which reach near art-status.

I'd second watching through The X-Files, also on Netflix Instant. There's a rough couple of seasons in there, but the series ties up nicely.

Also, yeah, Deadwood. For Ian McShane alone. Al Swearengen will be your favorite character for a while.

Last - Carnivale. Only two seasons and a bit out there, but such a cool show and visually amazing.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 9:45 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! Seconding The West Wing! Of course! I could watch the first four seasons over and over again. (The last few aren't as good, but still worth a watch.)
posted by Laura Macbeth at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2011

House, Bones, Law & Order, Psych, Lie To Me-> White Collar, maybe Leverage, or Hustle
Kitchen Confidential -> Better Off Ted, Community
Freaks and Geeks (for the John Francis Daley trifecta)
posted by alikins at 9:48 AM on June 19, 2011

Another big vote or The Sopranos and Community.
posted by brynna at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2011

Party Down is currently on Netflix
posted by birdherder at 9:56 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I watched a lot of shows during my recuperation from a broken ankle. These were my favorites:

Six Feet Under
Rescue Me (Surprised this hasn't been mentioned - great show!)
Bleak House
Battlestar Gallactica (not usually a sci-fi person but this was really good)

My favorite show at present is The Killing.
posted by knolan at 10:14 AM on June 19, 2011

I'm working my way through Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night. "It's about sports. The same way Charlie's Angels was about law enforcement."
posted by kbar1 at 10:16 AM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you like The Wire, you might also be interested in Treme (also from David Simon). Treme is definitely different from The Wire, but is fantastic in its own way.
posted by El_Marto at 10:16 AM on June 19, 2011

Veronica Mars
White Collar
posted by firei at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, oh, oh! And the Walking Dead.
posted by firei at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2011

If you liked Breaking Bad, you'll probably also like Nurse Jackie.
posted by wayward vagabond at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! And I just finished watching HBO's miniseries adaptation of Mildred Pierce, which was great. Only 5 hours, but a great series nonetheless.
posted by wayward vagabond at 10:34 AM on June 19, 2011

Burn Notice
Veronica Mars
posted by mogget at 10:39 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

A note on watching The X-Files. It has three main episode categories: conspiracy/mythology, funny, and monster of the week. I couldn't stand monster of the week episodes, but I did like the mythology and funny episodes. I'd recommend looking for fan made lists of these categories if you want to skip the episodes that don't advance the story.
posted by chinesefood at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2011

You need to take advantage of all the BBC stuff on Netflix.

Wire in the Blood
Doc Martin
Sherlock Holmes

God there are like thousands. I can't imagine myself EVER running out of TV to watch with Netflix and I watch a LOT of tv.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:46 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have dogs, or have ever had dogs, I think you'd enjoy DogTown, which is available on Netflix Instant Watch. There are four short seasons available, and each episode covers the stories of three abandoned dogs being rehabilitated for adoption.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2011

I started watching White Collar, which I really like, and took a look at Chuck because one of the leads guest stars in a few episodes, and I just loved Chuck. It gets a bit slapsticky, but all in all, very watchable. There are four seasons and it just got renewed for a final episode of 13 episodes.
posted by lemniskate at 10:49 AM on June 19, 2011

Just want to third Veronica Mars. The premise gives the impression of something kind of silly and cheesy, and I never would have watched it if a very trusted friend hadn't recommended it. It is a lot darker than I expected, and a whole lot more compelling too.

We seem to have pretty similar tastes, so based solely on the fact that I'm watching these, I'd recomment to watch or rewatch Twin Peaks (it's on Netflix streaming now) and possibly The Kingdom. The Kingdom's a little iffy. It's weird and cheesy and Danish and it's Lars von Trier, so it's a guilty pleasure at best; but the great thing about streaming is that you don't have to commit.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2011

And apparently, I was too busy making stupid typos to remember that one of the main ones that I haven't seen recommended yet is Life on Mars.

There's the original UK version and a US version. I've only watched the US one, but the British version is supposed to be good too.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:00 AM on June 19, 2011

There are a metric ton of great shows from the BBC. Try Upstairs, Downstairs and see if that interests you.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2011

I recommend the BBC Miniseries Jekyll to everybody. Only 6 episodes, but well worth a look. James Nesbitt is amazing here. It's on Netflix instant.
posted by cali59 at 11:11 AM on June 19, 2011

Boardwalk Empire
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:31 AM on June 19, 2011

Modern Family.
posted by sillymama at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2011

The Criminal Intent series within the Law & Order franchise is the BEST, better than SVU.
posted by taramosalata at 12:03 PM on June 19, 2011

Can't believe no one has mentioned it so far but "The IT Crowd" is available for streaming on Netflix and is hilarious.

Also you might enjoy Hill Street Blues.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Peep Show (we watched it on hulu last summer, but it might have been removed since then) and Outnumbered.

Flashforward is available on Netflix instant, but beware: there's only one season. Still worth watching. Prison Break is also good, although we lost interest after season 3.

Also from the UK: Silk (lawyer-y drama...awesome in the same way Sherlock was), Kitchen Nightmares (the UK one is better), Great British Menu, anything with Derren Brown (not really a series, but he is amazing), Shameless (UK one is awesome, but I haven't seen the US one), IT Crowd, Whites, Teachers...

I'll keep thinking, cos I know there's more. If you're in the US, you can get most of those UK shows with a membership for Expat Surfer, and stream them through the Channel 4 OD or BBC iPlayer websites.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:30 PM on June 19, 2011

Season 1 of Archer is also available via Netflix stream and is pretty damn funny; right up there with The Venture Brothers, imo.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:32 PM on June 19, 2011

There has been a veritable krav maga's worth of quality TV in the last 10 years. This is what I've seen and liked...

Arrested Development
Battlestar Galactica
Better Off Ted
Big Love
Coupling UK
The Flight of the Conchords
Game of Thrones
How I Met Your Mother
Life on Mars US
Louie (2010)
Nurse Jackie
The Office
Parks and Recreation
Six Feet Under
Stargate Universe
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
True Blood
The Walking Dead
Wire in the Blood

You should be set for awhile.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:13 PM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

we have very similar lists.

the good wife, for sure. way better than i thought it'd be. i managed to watch both seasons in about 2 or 3 weeks because i had to see what happened next.

sports night - the hair is misleading, this is a great show

some british reality tv - seriously - their masterchef is so much better.

in the brit vein - british comedy panel shows - simon amstell's 'nevermind the buzzcocks', QI, mock the week.

certainly veronica mars.

just started battlestar galactica (the new one). i hold my breath constantly because it gets so tense and good.
posted by nadawi at 1:23 PM on June 19, 2011

Battlestar Galactica is The Wire of science fiction. (WARNING: Watching it renders all other film & TV space operas corny and stupid by comparison)

Parks & Recreation is the best sitcom going right now. Except for the weeks where it's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:52 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Twin Peaks.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:28 PM on June 19, 2011

Dammit, Kbar1! Seconding Sports Night so hard.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:34 PM on June 19, 2011

Seconding lots of the above suggestions, especially Deadwood, Homicide, The Shield, Big Love, and Life on Mars. Here are some other series we've watched and enjoyed in their entirety:

Murder in Suburbia

I'll assume you've watched Lost, but on the far outside chance you haven't, it's worth watching. We just finished the final season, and although some of it was a bit WTF, I'd still recommend the whole series.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:12 PM on June 19, 2011

Bored to Death!
posted by coraline at 3:41 PM on June 19, 2011

See also: TV Guide at the metafilter wiki.
posted by Terheyden at 4:28 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh man Misfits is so good! It's Heroes (if it had lived up to its potential) plus Skins plus hilarity. Only two seasons so far, but they hold up on re-watch.

Black Books is mega hilarious, and if you end up watching The IT Crowd and liking it, you'll like BB even better. It's streamed on Netflix in the past, though it isn't currently; it'll probably come back on some time.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 4:41 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm halfway though watching Intelligence, and it's so good I'm putting my viewing on hold for a few weeks because I don't want it to end. It's a Canadian show, is on Netflix instant streaming, and I think I heard about it on another AskMe thread.

It shows both sides of organized crime investigations, from the point of view of the criminals and the investigators, and how the two sides overlap and interact. Great plot, writing, suspense, characters, acting. I like several shows on your list (The Wire, Breaking Bad), and this is one of my all time favorites.
posted by daikon at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pushing Daisies
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:46 PM on June 19, 2011

Pawn Stars
Flight of the Conchords
Archer (already mentioned, seconding)
posted by XhaustedProphet at 9:51 PM on June 19, 2011

My husband and I do a lot of exploring on Netflix and Hulu, and here's what we've discovered recently: Lockdown (crime documentary series about American prisons), The Kennedys (starring Katie Holmes, awesome mini-series type show), and The First 48-Hours (crime doc). Oh, and on, we like to watch 20/20. Those are neat sometimes. And I'm quite a fan of Whale Wars, too.
posted by I_love_the_rain at 10:11 PM on June 19, 2011

posted by willnot at 10:19 PM on June 19, 2011

I'll add my vote for these:
Archer (I feel like it's a little uneven, but mostly really good.)
Rome (I liked the first season a lot, the second not as much.)
Veronica Mars
Better Off Ted

Here are some I haven't seen mentioned yet:
The Office, UK version (I think the US version is good, too, but I haven't seen much of it.)
Friday Night Lights, season one
30 Rock (It feels a little repetitive to me, but it's pretty good.)

And here's something completely different:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (There are two versions; one has "Brotherhood" in the title, one doesn't. It's anime, but it's possible you'll like it even if you don't typically like anime, which is the case for me. This recommendation is kinda iffy.)
posted by -jf- at 11:34 PM on June 19, 2011

Sherlock from the BBC, it's short but great. Watson finally makes sense as a chacter...
posted by mimi at 4:21 AM on June 20, 2011

Another hand waving wildly for "Friday Night Lights".
posted by Ginesthoi at 4:32 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mad Men
The Big C
Battlestar Galactica
Dead Zone
Arrested Development
posted by corn_bread at 7:50 AM on June 20, 2011

For a real change of pace from all these modern shows try the Rockford Files.

It's available on Netflix watch instantly.

I've only watched the first 5 or so episodes, but it's been a good show. A couple words of warning. The pace is glacial compared to that of a modern show, but it's a nice change of pace. Also even the most single character centric shows mentions so far (like dexter or house) are ensemble shows. James Garner carries the entire show himself. He is in every single scene and he's the only regular character. There are some recurring characters, but they're relatively minor. Luckily, Garner is tremendously charming.
posted by jefftang at 8:28 AM on June 20, 2011

This Life (BBC)
Tales of the City (Channel 4, UK, based on the book and set in San Francisco)
posted by K.P. at 9:10 AM on June 20, 2011

Can't believe Friday Night Lights has only had one mention - I thought Mefites would be onto this underrated show in a big way.

It is wonderful, even if you have zero interest in football (as I do).
posted by 8k at 11:55 AM on June 20, 2011

You seem to like procedurals. One I haven't seen mentioned that's pretty entertaining is The Mentalist. It's kind of like Lie To Me.

Also, you can watch PBS online. Antiques Roadshow & Secrets of the Dead are good.
posted by lurkElongtime at 1:36 PM on June 20, 2011

Skipping through my digital and DVD collection. Bold for extra recommendation.

Danger Man / Secret Agent
The Prisoner
The Avengers

Star Trek
Babylon 5
Doctor Who
Blake's 7

The IT Crowd
Peep Show
Green Wing
Black Books
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
Man to Man with Dean Learner
The Day Today
Brass Eye
everything with Alan Partridge
Mitchell & Webb
Armstrong & Miller
The Trip
A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Game of Thrones
Robin of Sherwood
The Edge of Darkness
Band of Brothers
posted by Harry at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2011

Generation Kill
posted by AceRock at 3:41 PM on June 20, 2011

Let me first admit that I'm not even looking at what others have suggested before posting my suggestions so as not to be influenced. Dunno if that makes a difference to you or not.

Veronica Mars. (It's NOT the dull-minded teen junk that it was advertised as.)

Lost. -- You don't list this and I don't know if you watched it when it was actually on. I'm personally positive that it was WAY better the way I watched it. Seasons 1-5 in about a one month period streaming, then watching the 6th season live. I would have preferred to watch it all streaming.

Jericho. So far i've only finished the 1st season. I know that it was cancelled and then reinstated. Can't say how it ends up since I'm not all the way through, but I really enjoy it so far.

Survivors. British post-apocalyptic series.

If you liked Law and Order:SVU, I'd recommend Law & Order: Criminal Intent, too.

Hope you have fun!!!
posted by INTPLibrarian at 9:13 PM on June 20, 2011

If you watch Life on Mars, watch the UK version! It actually has a proper conclusion, and then if you liked it you can watch the spinoff/sequel series, Ashes to Ashes. Yes, the creators like David Bowie.

If you're not allergic to Japanese animation, might I recommend trying to track down a subtitled copy of the series Turn A Gundam? It's a spinoff of the original franchise, but it's so wildly different from basically everything else, ever, that you don't need any knowledge of anything else at all to enjoy it (although there are secret little references for the hardcore fans of the original 1979 Gundam in there). Basic gist: people are doing their early-20th-century North American thing all happily when suddenly some giant robots come COMPLETELY OUT OF NOWHERE and the pilots demand that they be allowed to MOVE BACK TO EARTH FROM THE FREAKIN' MOON. But it's nothing at all like what it sounds like from that description: it's basically a series about diplomacy and politics, that happens to have giant robots, and the moral of the story is essentially "anyone who goes and tries to be a hero/badass almost invariably makes things way worse for all involved." Highly recommended if you're okay with slow plot progression in exchange for very rich characterization. If it's any indication of anything, my girlfriend and I both positively adored it.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:57 AM on June 21, 2011

Oh, and if you're going for Survivors, maybe also check out the original 70s Survivors it's based on. It's deeply British seventies with a "living off the land" vibe like "The Good Life", but with plenty of serious post-apocalyptic thoughts as well. Produced by Terence Dudley (Doomwatch, Doctor Who, Blake's 7) and Terry Nation (Daleks in Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Avengers, The Saint).

Hmm.. I suppose I'm just a sucker for old British (sci-fi) shows.
posted by Harry at 3:02 AM on June 21, 2011

Ditto Hustle & Doctor Who
If you like Hustle and want more, then also ditto Leverage, but I strongly prefer Hustle and they're similar-ish so don't bother until you've worked your way through Hustle.

Not mentioned yet: Foyle's War
posted by juv3nal at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2011

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