Please recommend interesting/funny/awesome TV series to a bored shut-in
March 6, 2013 6:19 PM   Subscribe

I've finished watching all my favourite things and am televisually lost while I wait for Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire to start again. Can you suggest English/American/Australian etc series (will also accept interesting BBC documentaries) that are actually watchable?

I am kind of half heartedly watching Archer at the mo, and just winced through the pilot episode of How I Met Your Mother. I tried the pilot of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia but the intro sequence seemed too close to bad improv. Help me root out the stuff worth eyeball time! As a guide, things I like/d (apart from the aforementioned BB and BE):

- Pulling (UK)
- Catterick (UK)
- Human Remains/Nighty Night/the pilot of Lizzie and Sarah (UK)
- Twin Peaks
- Downton Abbey
- Girls
- Dexter
- Wilfred
- Eastbound and Down
- Futurama

I know there must be a ton of stuff I'm missing. Please help me to make it through this awful stomach bug that won't seem to go away!
posted by abbagoochie to Media & Arts (60 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Have you watched the IT Crowd? What about Coupling? Episodes of The Graham Norton Show?
posted by netsirk at 6:22 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pushing Daisies
posted by dottiechang at 6:23 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

6 Feet Under, The Office (UK and US), Dead Like Me
posted by Fig at 6:24 PM on March 6, 2013

Freaks & Geeks
posted by fings at 6:24 PM on March 6, 2013

Justified! I finally started watching it recently and it's really, really good.
posted by grapesaresour at 6:25 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: This Breaking Bad superfan loves Sherlock.

I also loved Peep Show.
posted by phunniemee at 6:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]

Walking Dead
BattleStar Gallactica
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Yup - partner really likes IT Crowd. I used to enjoy the ubiquity of the Graham Norton show and would watch it again. Oh and I forgot Harry Hill's TV Burp, but that's finished now anyway, right? I haven't seen Coupling though - will check it out, thanks!

I've seen all of 6 Feet Under and both Offices. Not Dead Like Me/Rome/F&G or Justified though.

Super glad I asked this!
posted by abbagoochie at 6:26 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: Friday Night Lights, Mad Men.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:27 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Are you interested in the Broadway theatre? There's a wonderful webseries called "Submissions Only" I discovered during a boring month at home after surgery. Clever, funny, kind of "Let's put on a show!" where aspiring actors audition for shows. Written and acted by . . . aspiring actors who are living that exact life. I cannot wait for season 3, which the writers (actors, of course) successfully pitched on Kickstarter to pay for producing season 3.

Disclaimer: I was a (small) kickstarter contributor, and am letting you in on a secret you will thank me for!
posted by citygirl at 6:27 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I feel like there's a big Scarlet "G" on my chest for suggesting this, but I really, really liked the first couple years of the British version of Being Human. (The North American remake sort of comes close, actually, but I still like the British one better. )

Just stop watching once Aidan Turner's character dies; it gets all weird after that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]

posted by goshling at 6:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Summer Heighs High. Effing brilliant.
posted by Leezie at 6:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Episodes - I didn't like it much at first, then totally fell in love with it about half way through season one.
posted by goshling at 6:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Veronica Mars and its older/funnier cousin, Party Down.
posted by loveyallaround at 6:32 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The Wire
The new or original House of Cards
The Traffic miniseries (BBC)
The State of Play miniseries (BBC)
posted by shothotbot at 6:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Better Off Ted
Flight of the Concords
Arrested Development
QI And MythBusters for some nonfiction time
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:35 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

Doctor Who? If you like it, there's lots....
posted by The otter lady at 6:35 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Because Peep Show kinda goes without saying, The Royle Family is my current go-to rec for lesser known British comedies. I first heard about it in one of those Amoeba Records "What's in my bag?" videos, where Bob Odenkirk described it as basically a show about a family sitting around watching TV together. And so it is, but I found it quite charming.
posted by Lorin at 6:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Veronica Mars
Doctor Who
White Collar
posted by firei at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: Have you looked at Luther? UK, Idris Elba as a detective with some troubles. Pretty dark, but you have Dexter on your list, so maybe.
posted by curious nu at 6:39 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Legit is on hulu now and has the actor/commedian who played Wilfred in it. I've enjoyed it so far!
posted by shortyJBot at 6:40 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: The United States of Tara.

See also: What's the Best TV Drama of the Past 25 Years?. A good way to get a sense of each show.
posted by munyeca at 6:41 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Black mirror ?
posted by travelwithcats at 6:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by barnoley at 6:48 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: Extras
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:52 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: How about Call The Midwife? Upstairs, Downstairs. Both the new and the old one!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't recommend The Choir highly enough. [fairly spoiler-free wikipedia page, it seemed to me] It's going to be a bit outside for you, but it is a documentary series, "reality television" done the way the Brits do it best. No competitions, no elimination rounds, instead it's a group of people pushing forward toward a common goal. Great stuff, I highly recommend it.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

In addition to the many great programs listed here, there's one I'd like to add: Slings and Arrows. It's a wonderful, rewarding show, and it's relatively short, just 18 episodes across 3 seasons. Available on both Netflix and Amazon Prime.
posted by switchsonic at 7:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

Some UK TV shows/miniseries:

The IT Crowd
Father Ted
Black Books
Green Wing
Peep Show

Wire In The Blood
Life on Mars (UK)
State of Play
Case Histories
Call the Midwife
posted by fireandthud at 7:11 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: We have similar taste! I recommend two series about the British secret service:

Spy. It's a comedy and so, so, so clever (and might I say, never hebitudinous).
MI:5 aka Spooks is a thriller/drama and brilliant. Shocking and addictive.
posted by mochapickle at 7:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

OH! Do yourself a favor and watch Q.I.!! It's a comedy panel show hosted by Stephen Fry and really is "quite interesting". They do each season by letter and are currently on season 10 (letter J!). I am constantly bombarding people with the knowledge I gained from that show.
posted by fireandthud at 7:13 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by Artw at 7:20 PM on March 6, 2013

posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on March 6, 2013

Arrested Development has only been suggested once so far. I'm here to at least give it a second vote. Best TV ever.

Also the next season (number 4, after a long hiatus) is currently being filmed, so you can get in before all the excitement on this site when it hits.
posted by trialex at 7:23 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seems like you have HBO? Enlightened is very good. And needs more viewers!
posted by ephemerista at 7:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yes, I have to third Arrested Development. I always take it as a given.
posted by loveyallaround at 7:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

A lot of these are seconds, but...

Being Human

And finally, possibly the best thing on tv: Black Mirror. It's like a Twilight Zone for our technological age. Scathing, affecting, clever. Just awesome all around.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Green Wing is my favourite show in the world. It's a surreal British comedy set in a hospital (though without any doctor/patient interaction) and it's genius.
posted by littlegreen at 7:55 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Months ago I started Teen Wolf just to laugh at it (and that's tons of fun; there's plenty to giggle about re: effects and editing and dramatic music and shots) then got sucked in, at first in a standard page-turny guilty pleasure way, then with genuine surprise and affection when there was actually some critical/thought-provoking meat to gnaw on re: character development, notions of trauma and power within teen allegory, etc. Plus then you can be one of the Mefi Wofl cabal.
posted by ifjuly at 8:08 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: Also, hard to find but Get A Life (Chris Elliott, some Simpsons guys, Bob Odenkirk, and early Charlie Kaufman) is fascinating (it gets more surreal as it goes on, gotta have some patience) given the context in which it was made (it's amazing it went on as long as it did!) and the commentary goes into that a bit. Cupid with Jeremy Piven and Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Party Down) is worth hunting down too maybe. Possibly The Riches...

Nthing Slings and Arrows (that show doesn't get nearly enough love) and Peep Show/Mitchell and Webb and Friday Night Lights.

And if you missed 'em, Pete and Pete and Rocko's Modern Life.
posted by ifjuly at 8:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

The first six seasons of The Office USA. Very funny, but also good story arcs and elements of drama. (The style and tone of the show changes after season 1. You could skip season 1 completely, really. And spoiler alert: The writers run out of ideas at some point during season six, haha.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:16 PM on March 6, 2013

Comedy Bang Bang! A million times Arrested Development!
posted by ruhroh at 8:19 PM on March 6, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no, really. Really.)
Walking Dead
posted by mazienh at 8:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Please don't have the same knee-jerk against Battlestar Galactica that I did. My tastes are not dissimilar to yours. I scoffed at Battlestar for a long time. I gave in. I loved Battlestar. It is very high-quality television, with way, way more going on than space battle whatnot.

Also: The Ricky Gervais Show, and Louis CK's 'Louie.'
posted by kmennie at 9:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

No longer topical but Australian show The Games
And yes Slings and Arrows
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:08 PM on March 6, 2013

On preview, ifjuly: Rocko's Modern Life ruled.
Also along those lines: Invader Zim! Compulsory
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:11 PM on March 6, 2013

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles sucked me right in
posted by honey-barbara at 12:16 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The League is particularly hilarious. And if you like it, I'd also suggest listening to How Did This Get Made?, a podcast done by some of the cast members.

The Americans is only 5 episodes old, but I'm loving it so far (Soviet spies integrated into American society in the early 80s.)

Sherlock really is one of the best things ever.

And the first three seasons of Trailer Park Boys were pure gold.
posted by fso at 4:19 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You might like Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, which is a Canadian comedy that's a cross between HP Lovecraft and Degrassi High.
posted by dortmunder at 5:00 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Friday Night Dinner - A comedy series about a Jewish family that gets together for, well, Friday night dinner. A bit wacky and out there, but once you've seen an episode you'll plow through the rest of them.
posted by BrianJ at 7:10 AM on March 7, 2013

Best answer: Survivors (2008, British series) - seriously good, but a word of warning: the series ends on an epic cliffhanger. There are only 12 episodes, as it's one of those 6 eps a season British shows, so if you binge on it, at least you can brace yourself for the sudden stop.

Raising Hope (2010, US) is heading into its 4th season, and I'd say that the humor is similar to Wilfred, and is something of a successor to My Name Is Earl (2005-2009), with Raising Hope even having a "MNIE reunion show" recently.

Memphis Beat (2010-2011, US) is a southern crime /procedural drama, with a southern music bent. Enjoyable, but short-lived. Starring Jason Lee, but in a serious role.

I'll second Reaper (2007, US) as a fun series, if it's a bit fluffy. Warning: you might become a fan of Tyler Labine, which will lead you to some less-than-stellar shows, just to see more of him, in such shows as:

* Sons of Tuscon (2010, US), which is mostly enjoyable, though the show slides downhill towards the end. Not so bad that you want to turn away, but enough that you're OK that the show ends.

* Mad Love (2011, US) is more of a romantic comedy than I'd generally suggest, but dammit, Tyler's in it. So we watched it, and this is another show that slid downhill, ending in a whimper.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

No one recommended Bored to Death yet?!?
posted by jabes at 8:05 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just watched The Slap and love love loved it. The book had some amazing and some awful reviews, but everyone I know who has watched the series has really enjoyed it.
posted by thegirlmaxtous at 8:45 AM on March 7, 2013

I just came back in case no one said Community. That show is pretty great; hope you enjoy!
posted by fireandthud at 2:22 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Enlightened, it is so good and I hope HBO hangs on to it for as many seasons as Mike White and Laura Dern want to do, everyone watch please! I like Luther as well. Mad Men is brilliant and would be at the top of my list if I hadn't already seen it.

More with female leads, not as unique as your HBO/AMC series but very good television (esp when ill and not wanting to think or get stressed too much):
The Good Wife, Scandal, Damages

Super weird, unlike anything else I've seen, cancelled too soon:
John from Cincinnati

I love Breaking Bad too, though nothing else I watch is like it, I despised and/or rooted against Walter all along. (POLLOS)
posted by citron at 5:05 PM on March 7, 2013

You mention Futurama, so you must not be averse to animation. Try Loren Bouchard's current show Bob's Burgers and earlier show Home Movies.

The crime comedy-drama Terriers (sadly cancelled after just one season), is also excellent.
posted by w1nt3rmut3 at 1:46 AM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Bob's Burgers, a quirky/wacky sitcom. Vaguely similar to The Simpsons, but I like the characters more, especially that Homer has become more of a ridiculous clown in the later seasons.

Also seconding Community. They have some great themed episodes, and the writing is great.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2013

posted by cupcake1337 at 8:46 PM on March 8, 2013

wonderfalls made by one of joss whedons acolytes and really good and cancelled too soon.

malcolm in the middle only season 1 is available on dvd but the rest may be available on hulu or such. really good, quirky comedy with a different twist on the american suburban life

wkrp in cincinnati kinda dated but a huge cultural touchstone for the us and full of odd characters

scrubs a refreshing take on hospital life (and I have been told much more realistic than ER or most medical procedurals)

better off ted just a weird, weird funny show

angel-both follow a similair premise and are some of the best drama tv ever produced in the us

firefly-from the same mind joss whedon) as buffy and angel and a great sci fi drama. Battlestar Galactica is good, this is better

newsradio-a wkrp for the 90's
posted by bartonlong at 9:12 PM on March 11, 2013

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