Need more TV shows to download. Recommendations please!
July 31, 2006 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Need more TV shows to download. Recommendations please!

Shows we like: Entourage, Lost, 24, Arrested Development, Footballers' Wives, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiam, Coupling, Weeds, Monk, Desperate Housewives, I'm Alan Partridge, The Dead Zone, Ali G.
posted by BigBrownBear to Media & Arts (56 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The Office.
posted by MegoSteve at 2:46 PM on July 31, 2006

Try The Office - the American one. Very similar to Arrested Development, IMO - put some time into it and it will be your favorite show.
posted by muddgirl at 2:47 PM on July 31, 2006

Damn you MegoSteve!
posted by muddgirl at 2:49 PM on July 31, 2006

Freaks and Geeks. Alias.
posted by yeti at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2006


I don't know how well-seeded they are, but you can't go too wrong with Mr. Show and Kids in the Hall reruns, either. If you like cartoons, you might enjoy The Venture Brothers.
posted by MegoSteve at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2006

Dead Like Me and a couple of great Canadian shows: Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys.
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2006

Highly recommended: Six Feet Under and this thread (in a non-snarky way, it's one of my faves).
posted by AlisonM at 2:53 PM on July 31, 2006



posted by A189Nut at 2:54 PM on July 31, 2006

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Reno 911, Dog Bites Man
posted by NoMich at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2006

Veronica Mars. Mmmm, mysteries.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:56 PM on July 31, 2006

The West Wing, Six Feet Under, The Office.
posted by sixacross at 2:57 PM on July 31, 2006

+1 Freaks and Geeks

Dead Like Me - A Showtime original series from a couple of years ago about Grim Reapers and their trials and tribulations. I was able to... acquire... both seasons relatively easily.

Life on Mars - Just premiered on BBC America, so I don't know how the torrents would be. I've only seen the first ep, but it seems promising (and in line with your Britty tastes - Footballers Wives?)

Dirty Jobs (documentary series) - a very appealing guy who goes around the country doing the most unappealing jobs possible. Again, not sure about its torrentability.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:59 PM on July 31, 2006

Oh yeah, totally Veronica Mars! Mmmm, Kristin Bell, I mean, mysteries.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:03 PM on July 31, 2006

Deadwood, Deadwood, Deadwood.

MegoSteve, I'd love to track down some Mr. Show re-runs. What network are they run on?
posted by purephase at 3:04 PM on July 31, 2006

I third the Brit version of The Office.

Two new quirky shows I've just discovered are on SciFi. Not quite what your other stuff is like, but good.

1. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - hard to even describe, but it's a spoof on a bad 1980's horror show set in an English hospital. Deliberately terrible acting and effects. Excellently funny dialogue. Interspersed with documentary interview segments of the actors. The main actor, who does a wonderful impression of an awful nerdly dude who thinks he's bad, is tied Kevin Baconly to the Brit version of the Office. The star is the same guy who played the I.T. Geek who worked on Tim's computer once.

2. The Amazing Screw On Head - Interesting old-skool comic book art style, but animated. During Lincoln's administration, Screw On Head (just like it sounds) is his secret super spy, aided by his able manservant, Mr. Groin. He is a head that can screw into various neat-o bodies. He's always going up against Emperor Zombie, who is the undead remains of his first manservant, who has killed his 7 subsequent manservants in service to an odd compulsion, and who is aided by a vampire bat lady, an evil monkey, and two old ladies who are werewolves. They travel in an evil black baloon blimp thing. Emperor Zombie is voiced by the guy who played Frasier's brother, and has some excellent lines. Screw On Head has some understadedly funny dialogue too, especially in trying to genially keep his manservant at a proper level of familarity ("Tut tut, not unless spoken to, Mr. Groin)". Lots of neat retro-technology.

Also on SciFi is an excellent remake of Battlestar Galactica, which returns in October, I think. It's gotten so much critical acclaim and probably only isn't more widely watched because it's a space show and people write it off as nerdy or kid-like (and it lives in the cable ghetto). But honestly the space backdrop is incidental. It's very well written. It's gritty. Bonus for me because I like space and I loves me some Cylons, but it's just good. Excellent actor playing Baltar. Obligatory hottie bad girl, too. Edward James Olmos does a great job as the admiral. The gal who was the white lady amongst the Sioux in Dances With Wolves has a very good part too.

Maybe more in line with your tastes above is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Quirky, funny, over the top, cursing, Danny DeVito, unshaven moral-less slackers. Huzzah!
posted by kookoobirdz at 3:09 PM on July 31, 2006

Entourage is awesome.
posted by grex at 3:11 PM on July 31, 2006

The IT Crowd
Freaks and Geeks
6 Feet Under
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 3:17 PM on July 31, 2006

Response by poster: Nice selection. Yes, love The Office. Never seen the Yankee version though. Should also mention the Extras as an excellent brit comedy (same group of guys).

Should mention that I am looking for things that my wife and i will both like (ie Footballers' wives)
posted by BigBrownBear at 3:21 PM on July 31, 2006

Response by poster: ie not too sci-fi

thanks for all the tips though! Will have to try Deadwood. See that is always in the mininova most downloaded.
posted by BigBrownBear at 3:22 PM on July 31, 2006

Seconding BigBrownBear, and providing a link to Extras. A very funny show, particularly if you enjoy references to film-making a la Entourage.
posted by NYCinephile at 3:24 PM on July 31, 2006

League of Gentlemen. If Euro stuff is ok?
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:24 PM on July 31, 2006

HBO's "The Wire" is an excellent crime drama.

Also a very good, overlooked sitcom from the creators of "Freaks & Geeks" -- "Undeclared"
posted by shakobe at 3:27 PM on July 31, 2006

I second the recommendation of Corner Gas.

Also: Scrubs.

And no one's mentioned House yet? I devoured the first two seasons in a matter of weeks.
posted by Robot Johnny at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2006

Let me second "The League of Gentlemen" -- funny, funny stuff!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2006

Dead Like Me.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2006

If you like Steve Coogan ("Alan Partridge") you may dig his new show, Saxondale. Available from a certain British-only site which is where I get most of my viewing from - on average I probably watch more UK television than North American. Which the following list may demonstrate.

Some others which may or may not have been mentioned, which are in the stack of DVDs in front of me and therefore imminently obtainable:

Great American TV:
Veronica Mars (aka "Buffy methodone"), Penn & Teller: Bullshit, Robot Chicken (and the whole Cartoon Network Adult Swim ouevre), Freaks and Geeks

Great British TV:
Ideal, various Derren Brown shows including "Trick of the Mind", Green Wing, The Mark Steel Lectures (more Brit stuff, hilarious educational programming), Armando Iannucci, The Thick of It, Peep Show, IT Crowd
posted by Gortuk at 3:35 PM on July 31, 2006

Response by poster: gortuk - what site are you talking about?
posted by BigBrownBear at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2006

Oops, I totally didn't see that Entourage was the first show you wrote.

Hustle is a really slick well produced show about a team of long con artists, if you like david mamet movies, you will love Hustle.
posted by grex at 3:49 PM on July 31, 2006

I'll just second previous suggestions. I think the IT Crowd, Deadwood, and Battlestar Galactica all deserve to be more well-known than they are. Six Feet Under is good, but it's popular enough that you can watch it via the proxy of people telling you about it.
posted by scottreynen at 4:06 PM on July 31, 2006

Deadwood is hands-down the finest American TV drama ever - ambivalent and lyrical and sporting easily the most distinctive dialogue to be found on the boob tube.

Galactica is quite good, better than it deserves to be really, but Firefly is vastly better. Anything by Joss Whedon would do you right, actually - the high points on Buffy are among the highwater marks for contemporary TV. If you want to try that show out (and I strongly recommend it, before Veronica Mars for instance), rent Season Four, disc three, and watch episode 4x10, 'Hush,' essentially a silent film that requires not too much backstory and won't spoil too much of S4 and is just a magnificent short-form dramatic achievement. Then try out the pilot, first disc of first season on DVD. Buffy isn't the best show ever but it's my favourite, considerably more stylized and fantastic/melodramatic than the HBO shows but showcasing Joss Whedon's (no shit) genius.

Wanna try something short and fun? Grab the first season of Life on Mars, a new British police procedural with a very-lightly-surreal twist. It's not of the calibre of the above-mentioned shows but as a crime thriller it's got a unique atmosphere and style, and it nails the visual vocabulary of the 70's crime dramas to which it's an out-of-left-field tribute.

Wonderfalls had a neat vibe and constantly improving cast, as well; shame it was cancelled, but its brief run makes it easily digestible on DVD. Strung together with twine and hope but such a unique voice!

The British Office is a masterpiece; Gervais and Merchant (writers) are quite possibly not human beings, and Gervais's performance in the lead is as riveting and frightening and ingenious as Ian McShane's turn on Deadwood. But, um, different. (Thank God.)

When you've got six hours and want to liquefy your brain, here's the heavy stuff:

The Singing Detective, British miniseries, by Dennis Potter. I've never seen any screen performance to equal Michael Gambon's turn as Philip Marlowe. Seriously.
posted by waxbanks at 4:19 PM on July 31, 2006

House, by the way, isn't top-tier. It's just got a fantastic central character/performance (Hugh Laurie, also possibly a god) and a good voice, but you could be excused for wondering what the fuss is about. The pickings are slim on the networks today, I suppose.
posted by waxbanks at 4:21 PM on July 31, 2006

Homicide: Life On The Street.

Best. Police. Drama. Ever.

Trust me.
posted by jonmc at 4:39 PM on July 31, 2006

More votes for Scrubs, the BBC Office, and Veronica Mars (season one -- I ultimately found season two disappointing.) I like House in small doses but if I watch it too often, the medical mysteries blur into a swirl of intubations and broad-spectrum antibiotics, and I start feeling like I'm wasting most of an hour for the few minutes of House saying snarky things that I enjoy.

Also, Malcolm in the Middle.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 4:46 PM on July 31, 2006

I can't believe I'm the first person to mention Spaced -- late 90s BBC comedy. The guys went on to do Shaun of the Dead.
posted by Symeon at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2006

See if you can find State of Play, a British political/investigative journalism thriller in miniseries form. It's suspenseful, funny, sexy and chock-full of Bill Nighy.

You'd probably like Spaced, a much-loved British sitcom -- now I see on preview someone beat me to it. Spaced really is the best thing ever. Also you seem to enjoy mysteries so definitely check out Life on Mars, which I also see mentioned above.

Also I second the vote for Homicide, which is just awesome. Very unique "cop" show with some great female characters.
posted by runtina at 5:24 PM on July 31, 2006

the new doctor who.

Clone High.

second for Veronica Mars.

Deadwood Rules.

So does the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

And if you missed it, Twin Peaks still stands as one of the greatest TV shows ever.
posted by dr. moot at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2006

Titus and The Shield.
posted by concrete at 5:38 PM on July 31, 2006

The 4400 is a good watch. On season 3 now, so a lot to DL.
posted by savagecorp at 6:47 PM on July 31, 2006

psych. New show on USA. It's quircky
CSI (the old seasons available)
Criminal Minds
posted by defcom1 at 7:28 PM on July 31, 2006

The new show Psych is actually rather funny.. Scrubs meets Cop/Detective show..

But its new, so there's plenty chance for them to ruin it :)
posted by lundman at 8:24 PM on July 31, 2006

Boston Legal is hilarious in the subtle Curb Your Enthusiasm way.

Also I highly recommend The Closer. It's IMHO the best crime drama out there.
posted by radioamy at 8:36 PM on July 31, 2006

nobody's mentioned gilmore girls yet?

best-written show on television! seriously! nobody else packs that much fantastic dialogue into 45 minutes. There's some serious fast-talking, which can put some people off, but it doesn't take long to get used to it. i think a lot of people dismiss it as a throw-away girly teen drama, but that's just not even remotely the case.
posted by chrisege at 8:46 PM on July 31, 2006

A second vote for Reno 911! - the only show on TV that makes me actually laugh out loud. Pretty much through the whole damn thing.
posted by anjamu at 9:38 PM on July 31, 2006

Its always sunny in philly - brilliant
posted by wigmore at 10:07 PM on July 31, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I forgot to mention that we love Gilmore Girls. Good call, Chisege.
posted by BigBrownBear at 10:53 PM on July 31, 2006

+1 Corner Gas
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 PM on July 31, 2006

if you like Hugh Laurie (mmmmm!) get Jeeves and Wooster!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:28 PM on July 31, 2006

Forgetting the argument over whether its ethical acceptable to download the shows, and ignoring all shows previously mentioned, I'd recommend trying out LUCKY LOUIE (basically an updated ALL IN THE FAMILY) that stars Louis C.K. (a brilliant stand-up who was formerly the head writer at THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW) and a lot of swear words). The show's still getting its sea legs, but it may turn out great.

BOONDOCKS is absolute genius.

For something a little less over-the-top, than either of those two, there's EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (another Rock-related production that also happens to be another re-envisioining of the classic sitcom).

RESCUE ME can also be great, but they've managed to push the envelope maybe just a little too far this season... Also check out THE JOB, which was the Denis Leary vehicle that preceded it. It was probably a better, funnier show, but the timing was wrong. Brilliant but cancelled. Just like SPORTS NIGHT. Oh, I could go on and on and on...
posted by Sinner at 1:27 AM on August 1, 2006

Mrs Chunder and I have been into most of the stuff that's already been listed; some other things that we're getting into (albeit because we've got the DVDs, not downloaded) are Smallville and Northern Exposure.

Jake 2.0 (downloaded; defunct series) also went down well, and we've got Odyssey 5 (downloaded; defunct series) sitting waiting until we've got some spare time. Perhaps a bit more science-fiction than you're after though?
posted by Chunder at 1:38 AM on August 1, 2006

You seem to like British TV, so look out for: Peep Show, Spaced, The Smoking Room and Black Books (sitcoms), State of Play, Hustle, Spooks, Life on Mars (drama). Life on Mars was the best thing on TV in the last year. Also, don't forget Top Gear.
posted by salmacis at 2:11 AM on August 1, 2006

I will second the vote for Homicide: Life on the Streets and also The Wire. Both are arguably the best police dramas available with rounded characters on both sides of the fence.
posted by jadepearl at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2006

Dead Like Me (again) - super writing, interesting themes, and Mandy Patinkin is truly excellent. Shame it was cancelled, but you still get the two seasons. I was really annoyed when this wasn't picked up.

On the Brit drama side, I have heard a lot of praise for the Sandbaggers , a rather grim spy series where the unexpected death is quite common.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2006

Oh God, skip Twin Peaks until you've gone through the other stuff. Put flatly: its only virtues are its strangeness and overabundance of expressionistic (read: meaningless!) detail, and the great Kyle McLachlan. If you're a David Lynch fan it will likely bring you right to orgasm, but if you enjoy drama about human beings, you're better off skipping straight to one of the high-production-values series it spawned, like The X-Files (which is dumb too but in a different way).
posted by waxbanks at 11:12 AM on August 2, 2006

If you're still reading this, and hungry fore more suggestions in the British humour department, I've just recently become addicted to Stephen Fry's quiz show "QI". It's more a humourous panel discussion with some very bright, funny folks than it is an actual quiz show -- the trivia just serves as fuel for lots of fun banter. I've found the first 2 seasons on mininova.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2006

The Office - both versions are great
My Name is Earl - best new comedy of last year
Sports Night - written by Aaron Sorkin, fantastic show
Freaks and Geeks - classic
Undeclared - underrated comedy
Veronica Mars - excellent detective show
Battlestar Galactica - best scifi on TV today
Adventures of Briso County, Jr. - newly on DVD
Six Feet Under - great drama
The Simpsons - not mentioned yet, but the first nine or ten seasons are some of the best TV ever.
posted by graventy at 3:32 PM on August 6, 2006

I cannot believe my eyes! No one mentioned Dexter OR Nip/Tuck?!
posted by mjao at 5:57 AM on December 26, 2006

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