Looking for suggestions on what to watch.
June 4, 2014 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I usually get suggestions from friends on things to watch, but they seem to have run out of things that appeal to me. I like crime drama, horror, SF, and intelligent comedy. Do you have any suggestions? Things that do/don't appeal to me beneath the fold.

I find that more and more I prefer British or European shows, but am open to any.
Things I have watched and enjoyed:
The Wire
Wire in the Blood
Life On Mars (UK)/Ashes to Ashes
Doctor Who/Torchwood
The Kingdom (Riget)
Eureka/Warehouse 13
Law & Order: UK (None of the US ones)

Can't stand GoT, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, or any shows that rely on humiliation as humor.
Many thanks for any and all suggestions.
posted by Meep! Eek! to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I are working our way through season one of Orphan Black and it is pretty amazing. Fits in with your crime drama and SF tastes.

I think the show is only on season 2 now so there's not too much to catch up on.
posted by bondcliff at 1:31 PM on June 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

Have you tried Kingdom? There are only three seasons, but it's Stephen Fry, so they are fabulous.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:32 PM on June 4, 2014

Top of the Lake
The Fall (BBC series starring Gillian Anderson)
Battlestar Galactica
posted by something something at 1:33 PM on June 4, 2014

Hannibal, surely?
posted by Wretch729 at 1:34 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you liked Wire in the Blood I think you will like Prime Suspect (British), and Cracker. Both are really good and intense.
posted by Blitz at 1:35 PM on June 4, 2014

Have you checked out Ripper Street? It's very engaging cop procedural in Victorian England set in White Chapel. I've really enjoyed watching it on Netflix.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian show set in Melbourne in the 1920's.

If you liked The Wire, you may enjoy Homicide: Life on the Streets. Personally, I LOVE it! The book is amazing too.

I thought Top of the Lake was a bit slow, but you may like it.

X-Files may also appeal.

Happy Viewing!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2014

Oh and don't forget FanFare is a thing here at Metafilter now, maybe cruise that to see if anything interests you?
posted by Wretch729 at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by elizardbits at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Breaking Bad
Top of the Lake
Orphan Black
posted by barnone at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2014


All conveniently on Netflix!
posted by mibo at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2014

Also, I don't know if you'd be into older Britcoms, but there are lots of great ones like Fawlty Towers (the best), Are You Being Served, Blackadder, Keeping Up Appearances, One Foot in the Grave, As Time Goes By, etc. In some ways British humor can be very silly and stupid, but I tend to think of British Comedies as more "intelligent" than American.

Also, I highly recommend Veronica Mars.
posted by Blitz at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Hannibal, The Fall, Top of the Lake, and Orphan Black.

How about Broadchurch and Penny Dreadful (althought you'd need a SHO subscription for the latter)?
posted by bcwinters at 1:41 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wretch729: "Hannibal, surely?"

Took the words (and suspiciously-sourced veal) out of my mouth. (And don't call her Shirley.)

Along similar lines to the cable dramas you have there, I also heartily suggest HBO's True Detective, along with BBC's Broadchurch (w/ David Tennant) and Luther (w/ Idris Elba). Also if you like Community and Doctor Who I think Dan Harmon's current Adult Swim sci-fi cartoon Rick & Morty may be to your liking.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:42 PM on June 4, 2014

I really enjoyed the French TV series The Returned.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:42 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Americans
posted by sanka at 1:42 PM on June 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

Sherlock (BBC version)
posted by goggie at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

It's not exactly in your genres, but "Six Feet Under" is, for my money, the best TV show ever made. It's also what most of the current alleged "Golden Age of Television" shows are rather pale derivatives of.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

intelligent comedy

Misfits. I believe it's on Hulu.
posted by cosmic osmo at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Goggie just beat me to Sherlock.

6 Feet Under has great writing, and was often comedic in a gallows humor way. It's more fantasy than sci-fi.

This is a little out there, but Max Headroom, especially if you get into Orphan Black. Max Headroom is a lot broader, satirically, but the shows share Matt Frewer and that dystopian future feel.

Veronica Mars--it looks dated now but I loved the writing on the first two seasons and I love detective dramadies. I know the main character is a high school girl, but I don't think I would have appreciated it then. I watched as an adult.

I'm enjoying Penny Dreadful but it's just starting, so it may tank.
posted by Lardmitten at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2014

Fargo (if you enjoyed the movie and/or the Coen brothers generally, you will like this)

Shameless feels almost like a combination of crime drama and intelligent comedy, although it's more about poverty (featuring a lot of crime) than crime itself. The UK version just concluded after 11 seasons and the US version just finished season 4-- I think most people prefer the US version, as a whole.

True Detective for sure-- crime drama/horror/SF
posted by acidic at 1:54 PM on June 4, 2014

Another big vote for Luther, Foyle's War and Broadchurch.

Shows within this genre/wheelhouse that I have LOVED that tend to get overlooked: Jekyll, Blackpool/Viva Blackpool, Cape Wrath (aired in the U.S. under the name "Meadowlands").

Also, Black Mirror, for sure.
posted by jbickers at 1:56 PM on June 4, 2014

These are my fave tv series, all available on Netflix:

Breaking Bad
Lilyhammer (highly recommended, if you don't mind subtitles)
posted by photoexplorer at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

LUTHER, absolutely one of the best series I've ever seen.

The Hour (BBC) is absolutely wonderful.

The Killing. The first season is a bit too long (too many red herrings) but it's still very good, and once it really picks up it's fantastic.

And, if you have a stomach for dramatic death tableaus, Hannibal is A+++.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have similar tastes to you. I like Elementary (on CBS) as well. I thought it was going to be pretty not-great but I like the idea of Lucy Liu as Watson and Johnny Lee Miller really brings it as Sherlock. The Tudors is a little GoT-y but I enjoyed it. You should try to track down Party Down as an intelligent comedy series (alas, too short) and maybe Doc Martin featuring another poorly-socialized surgeon turned country doctor in a small town. It can be wince-y at time but the show has a very good heart.
posted by jessamyn at 2:10 PM on June 4, 2014

Rick and Morty

It's an intelligent sci-fi comedy, plus one of its creators, Dan Harmon, also created and produced Community.
posted by pickles_have_souls at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2014

Response by poster: Wow. You guys are ~fast~! I forgot to mention Sherlock, Homicide, Veronica Mars, and some of the others that have been mentioned but so far people seem to be honing in pretty well. Thank you all.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 2:15 PM on June 4, 2014

Nthing Luther (SO GOOD why not more episodes Netflix why?)
Also nthing Top of the Lake, The Fall, The Killing.
Wallander (I like the British version because Kenneth Branagh)
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would pick Elementary over BBC Sherlock, personally.
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I quite like Silicon Valley. There is, however, some light-hearted humiliation involved.
posted by No Robots at 2:35 PM on June 4, 2014

Burn Notice
White Collar
posted by magnetsphere at 2:38 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Middleman
posted by Catseye at 2:39 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Continuum is decent sci-fi. Seconding those who have suggested Orphan Black and Veronica Mars. I also liked the first season of Helix.

I'm about 12 episodes in on the first season of Fringe for the first time and so far it's shaping up okay. I may feel differently in a season or two.

Battlestar Galactica's first two seasons were superb. The last two seasons somewhat less so.
posted by zarq at 2:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Murdoch Mysteries - "a Canadian drama television series aired on both City and CBC Television, featuring Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto, Ontario, around the turn of the twentieth century."
posted by belladonna at 2:46 PM on June 4, 2014

I'm not sure either of these are available on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/etc yet, but perhaps for future reference:
- Endeavour, a 1960s crime drama, technically a standalone prequel to the Inspector Morse series
- In the Flesh, zombie drama with a focus on people (some of whom are zombies) readjusting to normal society after the zombie uprising rather than the uprising itself. I haven't seen The Walking Dead but I have read the comic, and this is the polar oppposite.

Both are very short – less than ten episodes each after two seasons.

Probably available now:
- The Sarah Jane Adventures, the third part of the New Who trifecta. It's skewed at a younger audience than Doctor Who or Torchwood (haha, to say the least), but if you enjoyed Russell T. Davies' work on either show then you'll probably like this one too
- Primeval, the other goofy British time travel show
- Sleepy Hollow

On preview: Yet another voice chiming in for Broadchurch and Elementary (which I also prefer to Sherlock). I adore Psych, but as someone with a strong embarrassment squick I found the first season very hard going, so YMMV.
posted by bettafish at 2:47 PM on June 4, 2014

This may be a stretch, but how about Grimm? It ticks a lot of those boxes (crime/low-key horror/sorta-sf/sometimes funny/has heart.)
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 3:00 PM on June 4, 2014

In the intelligent comedy category, Louie.
posted by alon at 3:05 PM on June 4, 2014

I hate coming in late to these threads because there's usually not much left to recommend. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest Attack on Titan. It's... horror/sci-fi anime, I guess. You didn't explicitly rule out animation, so there you go.

It bogs down once in a while with characters fretting about their personal shortcomings (somewhat redundantly), but apart from that I found it to be creepy and engaging. It's streamable on Netflix (in the US anyway).
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:12 PM on June 4, 2014

- Luther and Breaking Bad (as many others have already said)

- Survivors (UK show, aftermath of pandemic flu)

- Dollhouse (What happens if you can rent people's bodies and implant them with the personality of your choice for the day/week?). If you like that, you'll probably enjoy the rest of Joss Whedon's shows, so there's Buffy, Angel, and Firefly to watch next.

- Battlestar Gallactica

- Star Trek TNG (the first season is quite cringe-y, but it's wonderful by the end, so give it some time). Voyager and DS9 are great too, but I think it makes sense to start at TNG.

- Life (it has a very different premise but feels sort of similar to Life on Mars to me)

- Being Human (UK version)

- Psych (with previously mentioned caveats given your requirements). The Finder if you wind up liking Psych.

- I'm hesitant to recommend Supernatural because it's really uneven, but we have pretty similar taste and I've watched all 9 seasons, so you might as well give it a go. I'd put Grimm in the same category. Your enjoyment of Warehouse 13 suggests that you have the tolerance for ridiculousness to give these two shows a try.

- Seconding Doc Martin. Lots of embarrassment, but so good-natured and soothing.
posted by snaw at 3:20 PM on June 4, 2014

The Following starring Kevin Bacon is pretty good at sucking you in, but in a guilty "this is a little ridiculous" way.
posted by PSB at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2014

Case Histories is a great mystery series

The IT Crowd is pretty classically British

I still think Bob's Burgers is one of the funniest things on tv, and it does not rely on humiliating others for its jokes.
posted by fireandthud at 3:40 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another vote for -

Dollhouse (the first couple of first season episodes aren't so good, and really give the wrong impression what this show is about).

Continuum - way more intelligent and shades of grey than I ever predicted from a SyFy show. Great Canadian ensemble.

The Americans - best thing on TV right now, I didn't realize Keri Russell was so good an actress. Her co-lead, Matthew Rhys, and the young girl who plays their daughter are both excellent.

Plus -

Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Mad Men

The original House of Cards series (UK) with Urqhart.

Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoons (the recent series). After reading comments here and on I09, I sat through a few episodes - and then was hooked. Some very sophisticated work here.

The Good Wife - great ensemble acting, wicked sense of humor

Babylon 5. The first season is also something you'll need to tough out a bit, but the show really hits its stride once Bruce Boxleitner shows up. Enormously influential on subsequent science fiction shows.

Battlestar Galactica - you like Jane Espenson's work on Warehouse 13

The Bletchley Circle - former WWII operatives, now homemakers (and one waitress), solve mysteries in 1950s Britain.

Agents of SHIELD started out very, very bland but got much better and is now shaping into a typical Whedon family show, which is to say dark, witty, and willing to kill off beloved characters (showrunners are Joss Whedon's brother Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen.)

Also consider -
The West Wing, Band of Brothers miniseries, The 4400 (on Netflix possibly), Moonbase 3 (episodes from this UK 1970s series are on YouTube).

If you're open to Star Trek, try Deep Space Nine, particularly after the first season.
posted by mitschlag at 4:03 PM on June 4, 2014

posted by Sassyfras at 4:16 PM on June 4, 2014

Babylon 5
posted by Freedomboy at 4:31 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two words: The Bridge. I haven't seen the Swedish/Danish program on which it's based but the re-locate to the U.S./Mexican border is brilliant. Great cast. Great writing. Sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Based on what you've liked I'd say this is a safe bet.
posted by cleroy at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2014

I recently started watching Longmire and it's pretty good. I always seem to recommend Justified and that's because it's great! Very well written, tv for grownups.

You might like Rescue Me but it jumps the shark in like season 3? The first season is excellent, the second is good.

Supernatural is great if you like horror, crime procedurals and humour. It has all that. The most recent seasons are atrocious but 1-5 make a good cohesive story and 6-7 are ok.
posted by fshgrl at 5:39 PM on June 4, 2014

Another vote for Foyle's War.
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 8:16 PM on June 4, 2014

Oh, and Justified.
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 8:17 PM on June 4, 2014

Response by poster: A huge thank you to everyone. I'm not going to mark best answer(s) because I think everyone gave great answers (I've watched Bab5, Dollhouse, the first 3 Trek series, Supernatural, the first few seasons of Rescue Me, Fringe, The 4400, and a few others) so I feel like everyone really understood the direction I wanted to go.

I'm going to go ahead and mark this resolved, because catching up with all of these shows will take me a long time. :)
posted by Meep! Eek! at 9:50 PM on June 4, 2014

I enjoyed Wallander (the Swedish version) quite a bit. Each episode's about 90 minutes, so it's a bit of a commitment, but it hit the spot.
posted by Atom12 at 12:55 PM on June 5, 2014

It depends how far back you want to go. If you don't mind watching something from the 90s then you may like Ultraviolet (a series that was originally on Channel 4). It starred Jack Davenport and Idris Alba. Another, more recent, vampire series that you may like is Moonlight (starring Alex O'Loughlin and Sophia Myles).

I would definitely recommend the original The Bridge (i.e. the Swedish/Danish one).

If you're looking for comedies then I would recommend Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (it does help a lot of you understand British politics of the 80s and the British political system).[1] From the 90s I would recommend Waiting for God.

[1] Apologies if you already know this but:

There are currently appoximately 650 constituencies in the UK. There is one candidate for each party standing in that constituency. To stand each candidate must gain a certain number of signatures and deposit a sum of money (I believe that was about £500 in the 80s but my memory may be playing tricks on me). Most parties have local committees to choose the local candidate but the party leadership may strongly suggest/impose (depending on the party) a candidate on a constituency. This is ofen referred to as "the local party".

If a particular party has more than a certain number of candidates standing then they automatically get a set number of 5 minute slots on national TV to make their pitch. The slots are headed "Party Political Broadcast on behalf of X Party". The parties still have to make the videos. There are arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for parties that are widespread only in those countries. When we vote we vote for a particular candidate who just happens to represent a party.

A "safe seat" is one where the current MP won by a landslide (and s/he or the party s/he represents is likely to win in the next election). A "marginal constituency" is one where the current MP just scraped in and it is generally accepted that that candidate/party could lose that seat in the next election.

If one party gets a majority of the seats then the leader of the party is automatically Prime Minister. Ministers sit on the front row in the House. Therefore, anyone who is not a minister is referred to as a "backbencher". The PM can then appointment anyone they feel fit to ministerial posts. The "Whips" are the PM's enforcers. Their job is to get backbenchers to toe the party line. Good whips also feedback reasons for discontent to relevant people.

Why do I say backbenchers gain the attention of the whips and not the ministers? In the UK we have the doctrine of "cabinet acccountability". The idea is that when the a cabinet meeting is finished (when the ministers discuss matters around the table with the PM), everybody is honour bound to support the decision of cabinet on matters discussed.

It is changing but it is still (largely) the case that the top of the civil service does not change when a new Government comes in. The person who was advising the previous minister is likely to be advising the next minister. A major part of the Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister series is the idea that the civil service has its own agenda and tries to impose that on any administration. In that sense it is quite Thatcherite in outlook (she was very suspicious of the civil servants in her office when she was a minister).

You've probably already guessed it but the department to which Hacker is appointed has never existed. It was thought up so that he could get involved in all aspects of policy.
posted by HiFranc at 2:49 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! Millennium recently became available to stream. At the time it was Chris Carter's weak replacement for the XFiles but compared to recent TV it is fantabulous!
posted by fshgrl at 11:24 PM on June 7, 2014

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