Feed my TV!
October 27, 2011 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Feed my TV!

I need some suggestions for awesome TV viewing. I'm currently watching Fringe (LOVE) American Horror Story (not as scary as I thought, but entertaining), Grey's Anatomy (guilty pleasure), Lost Girl (fun!) Warehouse 13 (more fun and clever gadgets!) and have started Ringer.

Shows I've watched and loved in the past include BSG, Buffy, The X-Files, LOST, Twin Peaks and Star Trek (pretty much all of them, yes, Voyager too), and recently, The Killing (LOVED). I watched the first 3 or four seasons of Stargate, then got bored.

I've watched some Supernatural, which I rather like, but I'm only on Season 1. Does the show progress significantly from the "lost father" arc?

Admittedly, I am not a Dr Who fan, and I never caught on to Firefly. Something about both shows just doesn't appeal to me. Ditto Torchwood and Sanctuary. I've often wondered about Carnival, but from what I know it only has two seasons, and the second one wasn't properly wrapped up. That would just annoy me. Then again, ditto Twin Peaks, and that was pretty awesome despite several flaws.

I hardly watch police procedurals anymore because they're too formulaic; that said, I will make the exception if they include a healthy dose of character development (e.g. The Killing). Shows like 24, Law and Order, CSI, (all bazillion versions) are pretty much a miss with me.

So...hit me with your best shot!
posted by New England Cultist to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (41 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The Good Wife is SO much better than you'd think.
posted by lalex at 3:31 PM on October 27, 2011

You should be watching Alphas. You all should be watching Alphas*

says the guy who's only seen the pilot, but enjoyed it enough to keep indiscriminately recommending it
posted by Think_Long at 3:32 PM on October 27, 2011

How I Met Your Mother is my post-Buffy Alyson Hannigan fix (and, yes, my post-Doogie Howser NPH fix, because he is awesome.) It's Friends but way, way funnier, at least for me.

I also liked Dollhouse enough to conditionally recommend it - the first six episodes sort of suck, and it never really gets where it's trying to go, but it's interesting analysis fodder if nothing else. (Also, Eliza Dushku, leather pants. I'm a simple soul.)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:34 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, you should watch the Wire, but for some people it does start a little slowly. First season of BSG and this are probably my two favorite shows.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 3:38 PM on October 27, 2011

We have a lot of overlap. Try House, Pushing Daisies (though it does get all its loose ends tied up very hurriedly at the end of season 2, I'll warn you now) and The Middleman.

If you like Warehouse 13 you might like Eureka.

If you loved Buffy, presumably you watched Angel too, but if not... do. Dollhouse is worth a try too; it gets into its stride somewhere around the middle of season 1.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:41 PM on October 27, 2011

Last year I proclaimed Boston Legal the best TV I've ever watched. This assessment still stands.

+1 vote for The Middleman and Dollhouse.
posted by ringu0 at 3:45 PM on October 27, 2011

I'll first suggest some guilty pleasures:

Revenge. This show is so much fun.

The Vampire Diaries. Seriously. It is so much better than an un-named emo sparkly vampire franchise which it may initially resemble. First 2 seasons on Netflix now. Current season is awesome silly fun.


Life on Mars (again Netflix) was a pretty neat series and wrapped itself up decently (if quickly) too.

For British shows, Being Human is great, as is Misfits. The American version of Being Human is excrable, dont waste your time.

I havent seen anything but the pilot, but "Boss" (Starz) with Kelsey Grammar blew me away.
posted by elendil71 at 3:52 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Damn - I should have mentioned, I hardly ever watch American sitcoms. I get my funny fix mostly via Brit humour. QI !

I watched the first series of Dollhouse, and really liked it (because of the analysis fodder), but then somehow never watched the second season because of the cancellation.

Eliza Dushku, leather pants. I'm a simple soul.

You're not the only one.

Oddly enough, Angel was never a hook for me. No Buffy? Pffft.
posted by New England Cultist at 3:54 PM on October 27, 2011

My list that's not on your list:
Sons of Anarchy
Terra Nova
Boardwalk Empire
The Good Wife
Person of Interest
The Walking Dead
The Borgias
The Event
Game of Thrones
Mad Dogs
Falling Skies
The Hour
The Shadow Line
The Pillars of the Earth
The In Betweeners
Pan Am
Nurse Jackie
White Collar
posted by unliteral at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I started watching Supernatural when Season 1 was showing and gave up after a few episodes because I thought it was rubbish. Occasionally I'd see bits of episodes on late night TV & last year I was interested enough to work though from the beginning to the end of season 5 in a marathon sitting and I loved it. Do stick it, it develops far beyond the missing Dad arc. It's great fun.

I also loved Carnivale but yeah, Seasons 1 & 2 are awesome and then it got cancelled so you will be disappointed. It kind of wraps up those seasons, but you can see it had do much further to go.
posted by goshling at 4:00 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Unliteral - ta!

I've been umming and aah-ing about The Haven for months. Will give it a go. I was terribly disappointed with Terra Nova and stopped watching after the first episode. Nurse Jackie is awesome. And yes, The Walking Dead is pretty good. The Event has gone onto my list, thanks. I also haven't been sure of Person of Interest, but will reconsider.

Revenge and Pan Am might be a bit on the soapy side for me. Even Ringer is pushing it, but there's just enough intrigue at this point to keep me going.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:02 PM on October 27, 2011

I had a quick look at your profile and see you're in NZ. Have you watched the Almighty Johnsons? It's a fantasy dramedy about Norse gods reborn in NZ. Occasionally slightly guilty pleasure feeling for me but overall very enjoyable.
posted by MUD at 4:12 PM on October 27, 2011

You really should be putting The Shadow Line and Luther on your list. I highly recommend them.
posted by unliteral at 4:15 PM on October 27, 2011

Seconding Luther!
posted by smokingmonkey at 4:26 PM on October 27, 2011

If you like Warehouse 13 you might like Eureka.

Party Down was good. It is a comedy, but was on Starz, so not really a sitcom.

I recommend Downton Abbey to everyone.

I couldn't get into Terra Nova either. But another new show you might try is Once Upon a Time. I watched the premier and while it wasn't great, I am going back for a second episode because I think it has promise.
posted by ephemerista at 4:48 PM on October 27, 2011

I say it anytime anyone asks for TV recommendations, but Hustle. It is my favorite show evar.
posted by juv3nal at 4:53 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a few years old, but until it fell apart due to network interference, Sam Raimi and Shaun Cassidy's AMERICAN GOTHIC was awesomely scary and darkly funny. Gary Cole as, basically, the Devil in the form of a Southern sheriff was terrifically fun to watch. I was so sad when CBS ruined it and then killed it.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:05 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: American Gothic was a damn good side of fun. I remember that. Hustle is Mrs Cultist's favourite show. At this point I think Grimm might be the better of the two new Fairytale shows, but I'll give Once Upon A Time's pilot a go. Thanks for reminding me about that, ephemerista.

MUD - thanks for the poke about Almighty Johnsons. Looks neat, and I hadn't heard about it before now!
posted by New England Cultist at 5:14 PM on October 27, 2011

Have you tried Veronica Mars? The pilot is a bit over the top, but if you can make it to the third episode, you can tell pretty well if you'll like it or not. (The first season is the best, unfortunately, though that hasn't stopped me from rewatching it all.)

For British shows, Life on Mars, Skins (no, really, give it three episodes and see if it doesn't suck you in), Kingdom (Stephen Fry -- the first season is tinged with sadness, but still shows all it's small town quirkyness.) Skins and Kingdom are both on Hulu (in the US, at least). Skins also avoids some the most absurd of soaps by having a new cast every two seasons.

+1 for Vampire Diaries (if you start at the beginning, give it 6 or so episodes to start laughing with it, rather than at it), The Middleman, Pushing Daisies, Revenge (conditionally, since it's only a few episodes in -- the pilot is pretty good for telling if you'd like the show or not), Downton Abbey (no really, you have to try this).

Also, I understand if you just don't like Doctor Who or Torchwood, but I will just say both shows got much more awesome later on. Try starting Doctor Who season 5, or Torchwood season 2 or 3. (I didn't like Torchwood initially, then watched just the season 2 episodes James Marsters was in -- Spike, for Buffy fans, then went back and watched it all. Season 2 was fun, but season 3/miniseries was amazing. There are worse things than to watch just that.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:35 PM on October 27, 2011

"a healthy dose of character development" = The Wire. Epic show.

Just finishing up 'The Last Enemy', a BBC Masterpiece Contemporary mini-series. Has a very William Gibson, the future-is-here-now sheen to it. Kinda like 'Enemy of the State', lots of paranoia. And it stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who's so good as Sherlock Homes in the new series also from Masterpiece Contemporary, also highly recommended.

And you said you don't do American sitcoms, but, boy is 'Modern Family' good.
posted by Bron at 5:51 PM on October 27, 2011

My list that's not on your list:

A great list, and I scrolled all the way down expecting to find Breaking Bad. On face value the show's premise is potentially off-putting (high school chemistry teacher becomes a cancer-suffering meth "cooker" in Albuquerque of all places). Plus, the show's star Bryan Cranston was probably best known for playing a beleaguered suburban dad in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle before he took this role. But it really is an outstanding show about the dangers of pride, desperation, and greed, not to mention the ravages of addiction. This last season's finale included a scene which will probably be the subject of many Halloween homages this year.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:12 PM on October 27, 2011

Castle. Its a police procedural but its smart and funny.
posted by buttercup at 6:53 PM on October 27, 2011

Seconding Castle.

If you're interested in going sci-fi: Farscape. Wonderful character development!

Other shows on my list that I didn't see listed: Chuck, Psych, Wonderfalls
posted by wiskunde at 7:21 PM on October 27, 2011

Bones is really fun. Life, which NBC canceled after two seasons, is another cop show that's not a L&O/CSI kind of show. Both have strong character development and good writing.
posted by rtha at 7:47 PM on October 27, 2011

Babylon 5?
posted by clerestory at 9:33 PM on October 27, 2011

Person of Interest is new and has really captured my interest this season. I think it's one of the best of the new fall shows. Have you given the BBC's Merlin a try? I'm pretty sure it's on Netflix. It's pretty great, plus as a Buffy fan you'll surely appreciate Anthony Head as King Uther. Alphas also seems right up your alley. As far as Supernatural, yes, it gets better and better as the seasons progress. Sometimes it barely seems like the same show that it was in season one, but I mean that in the best possible sense.
posted by katyggls at 10:17 PM on October 27, 2011

Benedict Cumberbatch, who's so good as Sherlock Homes in the new series also from Masterpiece Contemporary, also highly recommended.

ditto this.
posted by juv3nal at 12:46 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Prisoner was surprisingly good.
posted by ringu0 at 6:23 AM on October 28, 2011

Seconding Alphas. Suffers some from low-budget issues, but pretty well written and David Strathairn and Ryan Cartwright as autistic Alpha Gary are terrific.

Also seconding Luther
posted by Billiken at 8:03 AM on October 28, 2011

I love Bones, Castle, and Chuck, but they are very formulaic shows (albeit with some good character development). If you don't like police procedurals, you won't like the first two. Chuck is basically a parody of a spy show. Which means they have to follow the basic Alias formula of faking their way into somewhere to steal something, chaos ensues. (Varied occasionally with them being kidnapped or held hostage, chaos ensues.) Person of Interest looked good at first, but is following a very exact police procedural formula, despite not having the police at their center. (I only made it four episodes in, despite not minding some formula if the characters are good enough.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, mefites!
posted by New England Cultist at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2011

Not mentioned yet and first class:

Trial & Retribution
Conviction (the UK series)
Waking the Dead


Doc Martin
Gavin and Stacy

General superbness:
In Treatment
posted by dpcoffin at 10:34 AM on October 30, 2011

And how could I forget:
Spiral (all seasons)? File under As good as The Killing.

Also in Crime: Wallender, Vincent, Criminal Justice…

SciFi: The 4400
posted by dpcoffin at 11:05 PM on November 1, 2011

Oh has no one mentioned Jekyll? It's pretty great too.
posted by juv3nal at 11:09 AM on November 2, 2011

Response by poster: Is Surface worth it, having only the one season?
posted by New England Cultist at 11:42 PM on November 2, 2011

Re: Surface; we thought so; quite rich, non-episodic, single-story-arc plot, lotsa memorable moments, fx and characters… (Which is also how I'd describe all those I mentioned; we don't like tongue in cheek or campy or gadgety scifi.)

All SciFi we like (including all I recommended here) winds up getting cut well before its time, so we're used to it (Sarah Connor!). But Surface ended well, if on a cliff. Sure, it's painful, but not as bad as watching crap that lives forever.

But if you're going to prioritize, we thought Invasion was better, and wrapped up better, too…

Speaking of cut-down-in-prime stuff, we also loved Defying Gravity and still mourn it… But what there was of it would have been a crime to miss or snub on those grounds, imo.
posted by dpcoffin at 7:50 PM on November 4, 2011

(and by gadgety, I mean stuff like Stargate)
posted by dpcoffin at 7:51 PM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: dpcoffin - Thanks, I'm going to give Surface a go :)
posted by New England Cultist at 2:09 AM on November 5, 2011

Response by poster: And Haven turns out to be pretty good, especially once season two starts. Thanks for the rec, all.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:04 PM on November 19, 2011

Just wanted to add a couple of new shows I just came across: Black Mirror - totally surreal scenarios. I'm just watching episode 2 and it is a mind blower (not that episode 1 wasn't). Hell on Wheels - a very good Western, sorta like Deadwood without the swearing. Luck - I don't know much about the American horse racing scene but this is shaping up beautifully. There's a fair amount of jargon and because of that it's a little hard to follow but the cinematography is gorgeous and the acting, first rate. Plus it has a great cast, it's Dustin Hoffman in a TV series for goodness sake (Nick Nolte and his gruff voice and Richard Kind's stammer are a bit annoying though).
posted by unliteral at 3:43 AM on December 20, 2011

Okay, I've finished the three-parter Black Mirror and I have to say it's the best thing on television this year (and I have watched a lot of shows). Part one depicts the ramifications of social media influencing government and the dementedly, black satirical results. Part two is a depiction of life in a dystopian, avatar-peopled, virtual reality show world. Absolutely Brilliant. Part three deals with the notion that everything you have ever seen, heard or said is available for playback.
The series was created by Charlie Brooker who started out as a writer for Oink! an anarchic children's comic.
posted by unliteral at 3:28 PM on December 21, 2011

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