NOW what the hell do we watch?
September 4, 2022 1:05 PM   Subscribe

We finally finished Better Call Saul after an epic binge. What should we watch next?

Our lives feel so empty now...

Breaking Bad is off the table. I've already seen it and my partner doesn't want to see it.

We have already finished both seasons of Only Murders in the Building. The first season was better. We loved Severance, Ted Lasso, and Slow Horses. We also loved After Life and the first two seasons of Derek.

My partner is very picky about TV but I know there's some good stuff out there now. Knowing that we loved the above recent shows, what would be a good next show to tackle, preferably also a recent-ish one?

I think the overall idea is we like shows with interesting characters, smart plotting, character growth over time, suspense, but not overly grim, overly violent, or full of characters who are horrible people who are horrible to each other.

No Star Wars universe or Tolkien shows please. Hard no on anything in the fantasy realm in fact.

We are going through Jimmy McGill, Kim Wexler, and Lalo Salamanca withdrawal now. Help us!
posted by nayantara to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: We also prefer drama, dramedy, or very dark comedy. Not really into sitcoms here.
posted by nayantara at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2022

It's only one season so far, but The Old Man on Fx/Hulu sounds like it would fit.
posted by true at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Well, if you can get access to MhZ, you might enjoy Tatort Weimar. Also less funny but good, Tatort: Streets of Berlin

A little background on Tatort in general.

Professor T, possibly.

And finally, Crime Scene Cleaner, labelled as German comedy, which is true, but it's so much more. (Inside joke- our hero's ring tone is the theme from Tatort.) Highly recommended, if perhaps not quite your remit (There is a British knockoff, I've only seen clips, to my mind it doesn't have a touch on the original.)
posted by BWA at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You might like The Leftovers. Which I suggest because the female lead (Carrie Coon) reminds me of Rhea Seehorn, in my mind all of their characters are sisters.
And that one in particular is quite poignant in this pre-post-pandemic world. It had a lot of interesting & true observations I thought that made it even more relevant now than when it came out.

You might also like the FARGO tv series - watch all the seasons in a row, and it turns out they're telling a big story about the history of America. It also has Carrie Coon in another great role & similar vibes to BCS.
posted by bleep at 1:19 PM on September 4, 2022 [9 favorites]

Call the Midwife.
posted by jgirl at 1:20 PM on September 4, 2022

How do you feel about subtitled shows in general? I've been watching two seasons of Deadwind (on Netflix) a Finnish cop procedural with a cool female lead. A little grim but no worse than Slow Horses, imo, and it's nice and thinky. I've just started Borgen (on Netflix) which may be a bit too slow motion but it's kind of like House of Cards if everyone wasn't loathsome, taking place in Denmark. I also really liked Shetland which has seven seasons, kind of an ensemble cop procedural in rural Scotland. Not sure where to find it.
posted by jessamyn at 1:21 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you're o.k. with subtitles, Bordertown, while a crime drama, isn't too grim. "Darkly quirky" is maybe the right term.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:24 PM on September 4, 2022

interesting characters, smart plotting, character growth over time,... and insanely funny (but still with a serious soul?)

I'm so jealous of anyone who hasn't yet watched Catastrophe!
posted by ojocaliente at 1:25 PM on September 4, 2022 [13 favorites]

(Trailer for Crime Scene Cleaner. For a taste.)
posted by BWA at 1:27 PM on September 4, 2022

Hell on Wheels, Godless, or The Good Place
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:52 PM on September 4, 2022

Best answer: You might try the first few episodes of Shameless. It has 11 seasons if you're into it. I think it ticks all your boxes.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Wire. It’s on HBO Max.
posted by BostonTerrier at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I just finished binging BCS and really liked it, and it put me in the mood for a rewatch of maybe The Americans or The Leftovers. The Americans for plottiness and a complicated slow-burn relationship; The Leftovers for the dark quirky humor and I agree that if you like Kim you’ll probably like Nora. I might start with season 2 of The Leftovers and then go back to the beginning if you’re into it.
posted by jameaterblues at 2:04 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Not sure how recent you want, but I'd try The Americans if you haven't already.

I think if the level of violence and terrible people in Better Call Saul is acceptable to you, The Americans should be ok. The characters and acting are Better Call Saul level, which is a high bar.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:13 PM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

You know what, just sign on to Mhz and poke around.

I would recommend France: Agatha Christie's Criminal Games. The Art of Crime, Blood of the Vine

Italy: Murders at BarLume (uneven in later episodes, but otherwise real good), Love and Bullets (silly, but funny); Nero Wolfe (I want some of those cars.)
posted by BWA at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

posted by sanka at 2:18 PM on September 4, 2022 [9 favorites]

Russian Doll is a great-- darkly funny, character driven, smart plot, somewhat trippy.
Lupin is a fun heist TV show (in French)

(both are netflix)
posted by geegollygosh at 2:23 PM on September 4, 2022 [8 favorites]

posted by rongorongo at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Bad Sisters is only a few episodes in but really enjoyable, and right in line with what you describe.
posted by supercres at 3:08 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Ipcress File on AMC+ (only 6 episodes)
The Little Drummer Girl on AMC+ (a few years older) - spy stuff but stars Florence Pugh
Vigil on Peacock - detective goes on a nuclear sub to investigate a suspicious death (there's a second season coming)
The Flight Attendant on HBO (two seasons) - flight attendant with a drinking problem gets tangled up in spy intrigue - there is a death and lots of threats of death
Resort on Peacock (1 season) - a couple on a resort vacation stumble upon clues to an unsolved disappearance of two tourists
After Party on Apple - high school reunion where someone ends up dead
Julia on HBO - Julia Child starts a TV show about cooking
Dispatches from Elsewhere - AMC+ - a group of strangers team up to solve a puzzle
Call My Agent - Netflix (subtitled) - a French talent agency - light workplace drama with oodles of cameos
Ten Percent - AMC+ or Acorn - A British talent agency - remake of the French version

A note, I found The Old Man to be violent.
posted by typetive at 3:11 PM on September 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Bear, it’s outstanding
posted by walkinginsunshine at 3:15 PM on September 4, 2022 [8 favorites]

Forever waving the flag for Beforeigners, a Norwegian black comedy/police drama in which people from past eras suddenly appear in the present and the Norwegian social welfare state struggles to cope. Two seasons.

Into the Night, a very fast-paced Belgian/multilingual series starts with a NATO soldier running onto a passenger jet that has just started to board to insist that it take off immediately. Three seasons (the last one has a different name), episodes are 30-40 minutes long and did I say fast paced?

With these two, it's best not to read up about them, just watch the first episode to see if it grabs you (by the throat).
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:40 PM on September 4, 2022

Longmire. It should still be on Netflix.
posted by MagnificentVacuum at 4:01 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Seconding Crime Scene Cleaner, one of the best comedies I've seen in recent years. It's worth signing up for the mhzchoice free trial just for that one show.

We enjoyed the Korean show Extraordinary Lawyer Wu on Netflix, a story about the life of an autistic lawyer.

Last Tango in Halifax and Six Feet Under are both worth watching... but really, few if any shows equal BCS!
posted by Agave at 4:03 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Deadwood, if you haven't seen it.

And on MHZ:

Amsterdam Vice
A Good Year
posted by dobbs at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2022

Use code LABOR22 on MHZ before midnight for 50% for six months.
posted by dobbs at 4:11 PM on September 4, 2022

Seconding Patriot and The Bear; also Brockmire (4 seasons)
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 4:12 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Atlanta hits a lot of these notes, along with some of the genre mashups and visual/surreal playfulness that BCS had. It's often heartbreaking but it's wickedly funny and smart.
posted by miles per flower at 4:26 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Also: Dark Winds
posted by sonofsnark at 4:36 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

I really really really liked Borgen. 3 + 1 seasons on netflix. DO IT
posted by capnsue at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Outlaws - it's by/with Stephen Merchant so might scratch the same itch as After Life and Derek. Funny, smartly plotted, suspenseful, an ensemble piece where you really root for pretty much everyone, but all in different ways - they're all flawed but trying their best in one way or another. It's crimey, but definitely not miserably grim.

The only downside is that there are only 2 seasons and 12 episodes in total so far, but they are at least an hour apiece.

And where else are you going to see Christopher Walken renovating a derelict community centre in Bristol (and painting over a genuine Banksy just for the show)?
posted by penguin pie at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

It's not recent, but other than that, The Closer ticks all your boxes.

Seconding Catastrophe, as well.
posted by Dolley at 4:54 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

interesting characters, smart plotting, character growth over time, suspense, but not overly grim, overly violent

I just finished Money Heist (La casa de papel) from Netflix. The English dubbing is fine and gets much better over the 5 seasons with a definitive finale.

Its a fun heist show with very clever (but not super serious) plotting that's an action-soap opera. The plotting is unbelievable but very compelling. There's guns and shooting and injuries (and deaths) but the show drills down on relationship development and character progression. Everyone's very easy on the eyes and there are regular pieces of levity.

Great production quality, lots of polish and style. I enjoyed it very much, very bingeable.
posted by porpoise at 5:14 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "Halt And Catch Fire" has "interesting characters, smart plotting, character growth over time, suspense, but [is] not overly grim, overly violent, or full of characters who are horrible people who are horrible to each other." And, like BCS, it takes place over a long period of time and demonstrates how people's choices ratify and ripple over time. And it has (in my opinion) a very satisfying ending.
posted by brainwane at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: There are so many good suggestions in this thread!

I feel like if you were OK with the level of violence in Better Call Saul you will probably be OK with the level of violence in Barry. It’s about a depressed hit man who accidentally ends up participating in an acting class and discovers he prefers acting to being a hit man. This trailer gives a reasonably good idea of the first season, though it leans heavily on the comedy aspect—subsequent seasons are less comedic (though not grim, and still with comedic elements) and more heavy. Some themes that pop up other than murder for hire: depression, PTSD, intimate partner violence.

We tried it on a recommendation from AskMe and ended up bingeing it. It’s just so, so good, with fantastic characters, plotting, and dialogue, and excellent acting from all the leads—Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan and Henry Winkler. Also, Janet from The Good Place has a supporting role!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

I didn't see a mention of "Mad Men," so accept my apologies if you've previously ruled it out. Fantastic writing, character growth out the wazoo, I'll stop now.

I don't know if this applies to your "no fantasy realm," but I just rewatched "Agent Carter," and I think this would be fun for you. Knowledge of the Marvel universe is helpful but not required. No superheroes in this show, except for a single flashback at the beginning. Great dialogue, zippy pacing, minimal character growth. The only downside: only two seasons.

Seconding Beforeigners. It's got a weird comic vibe and the main female character is awesome.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:37 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Did you watch Justified back when it was on? If not, all six seasons are on Hulu.

Seconding Dark Winds that just finished up its first season on AMC.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

The Kominsky Method
Bojack Horseman (arguably fantasy of a kind, but the characters and their stories are really well done)
posted by crocomancer at 1:39 AM on September 5, 2022

I second Halt and Catch Fire.

The first season can be a bit of a slog (the writers lay on an antihero thing a bit thick). But the subsequent seasons, which are more of a rich ensemble, are just beautifully done. And the final season is perfect.
posted by champers at 3:37 AM on September 5, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Thirding Patriot, which I feel is the only show I ever recommend -- largely because I don't know anyone else who has watched it but I think it's one of the most compelling, thoughtful and oddly funny shows I've seen in a very long time.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:15 AM on September 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

posted by Sassyfras at 7:01 AM on September 5, 2022

Best answer: Perpetual Grace, LTD. I'd suggest watching it without knowing a thing about it.

Frayed on HBO, 2 seasons. Dark comedy/drama.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

interesting characters, smart plotting, character growth over time, suspense, but not overly grim, overly violent, or full of characters who are horrible people who are horrible to each other.

How has no one recommended Succession yet?? Except for the violence, this is pretty much a perfect description of the show. Horribly funny, too.
posted by coraline at 10:36 AM on September 5, 2022

Response by poster: We've seen Mad Men (loved, I watched it in real time and we watched it together afterwards on Netflix), The Kominsky Method (also loved), Julia (loved), Call My Agent (loved). I watched one episode of 10 Percent and got annoyed as it's a completely redundant remake and I much prefer the way the humor in the French version lands. Six Feet Under is my favorite show of all time and my partner enjoyed it for the most part. We liked most of Last Tango in Halifax though it sort of ran out of steam at the end. Everyone tells us to watch Succession but after one episode my partner noped out, on grounds of "horrible people being horrible for the sake of being horrible." He cannot deal with shows where he doesn't like or feels no empathy for at least one main character from the get go. (He's more sensitive than his too-cool-for-school Gen X laconic brand of masculinity belies; I have no problem with psychopaths and brutal murder - this is why I loved Breaking Bad and he, having read reviews of how the show progresses, can't fathom liking it. He has seen the episode where Gus massacres everyone at Don Eladio's house and where Hector Salamanca blows Gus' face off with the bell-bomb and that was enough for him. Decapitated heads on turtles, Gale getting shot point blank in the head, everything Neo-Nazi, and Jesse Pinkman being kept in a cage and tortured is just not something he will be able to handle. BCS was just about the most violence he could manage on a show.)

I think we're going to start with The Leftovers and The Americans and see how it goes. Shameless might work because we love Bill Macy. Halt and Catch Fire looks interesting, as does Barry. I'll try some of the other suggestions here too.

Thank you all for your suggestions and keep them coming if you are inclined!
posted by nayantara at 11:42 AM on September 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

By the way, about Halt and Catch Fire, champers is right -- the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons are much more likely to be to your taste than the 1st. I think of it as: the 1st season is a kind of bait for a certain kind of viewer, and then there is a switch, like, "gotcha, actually the women are just as important here if not more so, and also being a Cool Disruptive Rebel doesn't actually make a dent in the world on its own."
posted by brainwane at 12:14 PM on September 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think people underestimate the power and quality of NYPD Blue, especially seasons 2-6. Now on Hulu!
posted by PaulVario at 5:38 PM on September 5, 2022

We're on our fourth time through Patriot and I strongly nth it.

The creatives behind it made a second show with mostly the same cast called Perpetual Grace, LTD, which is also fantastic.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:15 PM on September 5, 2022

Nthing The Leftovers and seconding Fargo.
posted by taltalim at 6:16 AM on September 6, 2022

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