Enable my television problem
October 3, 2012 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find new great television dramas!

Itching for some new tv. Can you help?

Here's what I love:
The Wire
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Six Feet Under
Downton Abbey

Here's what I like (not love):
Sherlock (on BBC)

Here's What I tried to watch but could not get into:
Friday Night Lights (stopped at end of season 2)
Battlestar Galactica (muddled through 5 or 6 episodes)
West Wing (same)
The Sopranos (saw a few eps out of order, might try again)
Boardwalk Empire (two or three eps)
Twin Peaks (same)

Here's what I watch but resent watching:
Walking Dead
The Killing

I don't know if there's any pattern to the shows I like (other than them being so freaking good). If you do spot a pattern, enlighten me. But most of all, I want suggestions for shows that are so engrossing they beg to be devoured in a binge of tv watching.
posted by murfed13 to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
posted by gaspode at 5:54 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by Garm at 5:55 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Shameless. It's on Showtime.
posted by tooloudinhere at 5:57 PM on October 3, 2012

If you liked Friday Night Lights' first season and didn't like the second, I urge you to go back to it. Season 2 was a severe dip (thanks to, of course, network interference) that was largely corrected in the later seasons. Plus they're only 13 episodes each.

Also, I think Jericho would fit comfortably in your Like section and is only 29 episodes total.
posted by Etrigan at 6:01 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Take a look at British stuff, Misfits, Wire in the Blood, Torchwood, Waking the Dead.
posted by shoesietart at 6:03 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Saving Grace.
posted by jillithd at 6:14 PM on October 3, 2012

posted by brujita at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by backwards guitar at 6:16 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

The British version of Life On Mars was pretty awesome.

Plus how about True Blood? It's by the same guy as Six Feet Under.
posted by pink_gorilla at 6:18 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by justonegirl at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Wordwoman at 6:32 PM on October 3, 2012

Seconding Jericho, which is great. (The first season is great, anyway.)

If you liked Buffy watch Angel!

I've been watching the BBC's Robin Hood lately, which actually reminds me a lot of Firefly - it's a great adventure series, deeply anachronistic but extremely entertaining - the same kind of humor that's in Firefly, I think.

Or Pushing Daisies? A little more magic than the things you love, but about the same amount as in the things you like :)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 6:35 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 on Life

Some older stuff worth checking out:
Homicide: Life on the Street (based on the book by David Simon)
Crime Story

Don't know if you go in for therapy porn, but you might find In Treatment interesting.

Oh, and Weeds is pretty good. Nice, short epidsodes (~20 min); you get on a roll with that show, you'll be popping them down like candy. Also, the music they pick is often awesome, always interesting.
posted by Bron at 6:45 PM on October 3, 2012

I just finished watching season 1 of Misfits. It's fun, a bit creepy at times, very watchable, solid acting and lots of laughs.
posted by Cuke at 6:51 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the British show "Waking the Dead"
posted by rmd1023 at 7:13 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

State of Play (the BBC miniseries.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:21 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lots of great ones here already, most of which I agree with like The Good Wife, Homeland and Damages. I would give Sopranos another try. It's pretty great. I would add:
Veronica Mars
Revenge (a guilty pleasure because it's inspired by Count of Monte Cristo)

They aren't top tier like The Wire or Six Feet Under, but might hold you over between your favorite great shows. I also couldn't get into West Wing, later Friday Night Lights, Twin Peaks and Battlestar, so our taste have some overlap.
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:35 PM on October 3, 2012

If you loved The Wire you should really check out the British detective series Luther (available on Netflix Instant), which stars Idris Elba. I love of the same shows you do and really love this show.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:48 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sons of Anarchy.
posted by lemniskate at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2012

I don't really have any suggestions, other than to say that Angel is pretty bad...I'm a huge Buffy fan but I can't even really get in to Angel.
posted by radioamy at 8:24 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Homeland and Sons of Anarchy are incredible television. White Collar is too, but that might not be up your alley.
posted by signondiego at 8:33 PM on October 3, 2012

I'm not seeing Game of Thrones yet, but that's excellent.
posted by visual mechanic at 8:49 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Shameless is awesome. Really enjoying Entourage right now. Stick with it through a few episodes. It starts out slow.
posted by SciGuy at 8:56 PM on October 3, 2012

The Good Wife.

(Oh god, that show, and the things it does to my heart...)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:10 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Homeland and Justified seem like they fit the tone of your favorite shows best.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:28 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

band of brothers
game of thrones (you have to make it past a cringeworthy 1st season 3rd or 4th episode but its worth it)
true blood (you might find this cringeworthy in parts too)
posted by Under the Sea at 9:46 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pretty similar list to my own (including the resentful watching of Walking Dead and The Killing - I didn't give Killing past episode two of the second season, and glad I stopped. God, the anger).

From the suggestions, definitely Homeland. DO NOT START IN SEASON TWO. GO DIRECTLY TO PILOT.

Justified is quite good, and a nice mix of long story arcs woven in standalone episodes.

My wife loves Sons of Anarchy. Very good show, just not one I've had the time to dig into completely.

OZ from HBO is a testament to the amazing things you can do in a long series - major characters come and go, though I will warn it is severely brutal at times.

And don't bother with True Blood. You'll add it to your resentful watching list past season two, if not season one. Sigh. But I still watch it.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:51 PM on October 3, 2012

Veronica Mars. Everyone I've ever convinced to watch it loved it.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:15 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by raw sugar at 10:30 PM on October 3, 2012

The Killing - do you mean the US version or the original Danish version, Forbrydelsen? Because that is in my list of top three best ever television series. I'd love to add Mad Men and Six Feet Under to that list but they're shown uncaptioned here on Sky tv so haven't yet had a chance to see them.

If you develop a liking for Scandinavian dramas, you should also try Those Who Kill (very dark) and The Bridge.

Seconding The Good Wife and Luther (the Alice Morgan character still gives me the chills) and adding Nurse Jackie and The Big C - strong female characters, brilliant writing and acting - unmissable.

I don't know if this is available in the US but the Australian drama Winners & Losers is a sweet comedy drama focusing on the lives and families of 4 young women who win the lottery. The perfect antidote to all that dark US/Scandi drama.
posted by humph at 11:51 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Borgen is an excellent, excellent glossy Danish political drama.
The Shadow Line is a British seven-part crime series with stellar pacing, acting and cast.
Seconding The Bridge. It starts off a little generic-seeming, but sucks you in.
posted by comealongpole at 12:04 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend 'House of Lies' it has a fantastic ensemble cast - led by Don Cheadle - is contemporary drama and was recently renewed for a second season.

All the shows you listed as 'love' have complex interpersonal relationships. House of Lies has that in large quantities.

Also the dialogue is often so sharp and caustic it causes me to snort liquids outta my nose.

I no longer eat nor drink whilst watching this show.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:51 AM on October 4, 2012

Cracker - British, good acting, riveting characters

La Piovra or "The Octopus" - long-running Italian mafia drama, spooky, good writing

Dead Like Me - quirky, magical, sentimental, creates its own universe

Wonderfalls - by the same creator as "Dead Like Me", same magical realism, short-lived but good quality

Plus you should give Twin Peaks another try!
posted by faustdick at 3:15 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

More votes for Oz, Rome and Game of Thrones.

Depending on what you resent about Walking Dead, you may want to try Falling Skies. It has the post apocalypse survival setting, but the characters aren't nearly as annoying as in Walking Dead.

Depending on your tolerance for violence, Spartacus Blood & Sand/Gods of the Arena/Vengeance (and the upcoming final season War of the Damned).
posted by MinusCelsius at 5:01 AM on October 4, 2012

Enlightened starring Laura Dern.
posted by h00py at 5:15 AM on October 4, 2012

The Slap, for some Australian suburban drama.
posted by h00py at 5:17 AM on October 4, 2012

Of the things in the new season:

Call the Midwife, it just started on Masterpiece Theatre and it's AWESOME!

Sherlock, there are two seasons, eight episodes, but the two most recent are absolutely mesmerizing.

Here's what NOT to watch, and I'm SO bummed about it. Although I'm recording tonight's show, because the pilot is always the throw away episode. BUT, the first one was just terrible.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on October 4, 2012

The Good Wife
Once Upon A Time
Game of Thrones
Veronica Mars
posted by JaneL at 12:23 AM on October 5, 2012

If you do spot a pattern, enlighten me.

The only pattern I see is consistent up and down the list--there's almost nothing with a realistic, normal-ish everyday scenario. Everything is set in the past/future, has fantasy elements, or involves murderers/mobsters/cops/the White House except for 6FU and FNL. Working in a funeral home might be miles away from a typical MeFite's dayjob, but it's closer to that than being a homicide detective or the Oval Office. The shows may have great dialogue and be largely character-driven (instead of all plot with 2D characters), but there is no thirtysomething, Brothers & Sisters, ER or My So Called Life.

I'll suggest Millennium, This Life, Queer as Folk (original UK version), and 24.
posted by K.P. at 4:58 AM on October 5, 2012

Inspector Montalbano
The Kingdom I and II (Danish, very early Lars (von) Triers, hilarious)
posted by Kazimirovna at 12:12 PM on October 6, 2012

check out The Thick of It. It's utterly brilliant. It's satire but works very well as drama too.
And it might just teach you how to swear like a scotsman.
posted by jcm at 1:59 AM on October 8, 2012

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