Love Television? Help me out.
March 22, 2007 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I enjoy watching television shows once they're on DVD, but never sit down to watch when they're actually on. I'm picky, so now I'm out of stuff to watch.

And the tv/dvd combo to go with the treadmill just arrived, so I could use some suggestions!

Likes: Long-term, underlying mysteries (a good one will get me to try a genre I'm not normally in to); strong female characters; supernatural elements.

Dislikes: Sap; formula (most of the time), most cop shows, sitcoms, Dawson's Creek-style soaps.

Shows I have enjoyed: Supernatural, Veronica Mars, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, The Pretender, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Smallville, Buffy, Angel, Bones, 4400, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Firefly, Star Trek.

Shows that sucked or got old: Ghost Whisperer, Dead Zone, Medium, Alias.

Thank you, TV people.
posted by frykitty to Media & Arts (88 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Firefly, Star Trek

Stargate SG1? Really hits it's stride in season 3, has lost it completely by season 9.
posted by Leon at 10:01 AM on March 22, 2007 personal fave ATM. only show i'll actually schedule my day around, lol.
posted by picture_yellow at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2007

Lost. ::Sigh:: Love that show. Also, we watched a min-series type show called The Lost Room that was supernatural-y. Freaks and Geeks is great.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2007

You've not listed Lost anywhere; that would cover pretty much all of your criteria.
Also, Twin Peaks was pretty groovy, although only series 1 is available on DVD so far...
posted by Chunder at 10:07 AM on March 22, 2007

You didn't mention X-Files; if that wasn't mere omission, you've got several very watchable seasons (and a few trail-offy ones at the end of the run) right there.
posted by cortex at 10:07 AM on March 22, 2007

The Wire is somewhat a cop show, but is the best show that has ever been on television.

Freaks and Geeks lasted one season but was fantastic.

The new Doctor Who is a bit cheesy but not as cheesy as it used to be, and the supernatural elements are often lots of fun. See also: Torchwood.

Heroes also sounds right up your alley.

You might also try Big Love. The female characters are strong, albeit in a polygamous marriage.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:08 AM on March 22, 2007

How about some gritty HBO shows?

Deadwood, the Wire and the Sporanos are all intricate, fascinating shows that are even better on DVD. However, not too many strong female leads, although they all have their moments.

Also, how about Star Trek:TNG? It's cheesy, but great on a rainy day.

You might hate sitcoms, but what about the ones without laugh tracks? Arrested Development, Scrubs, and the Office (both versions) are all fun to watch.
posted by Alison at 10:14 AM on March 22, 2007

Likes: Long-term, underlying mysteries (a good one will get me to try a genre I'm not normally in to); strong female characters; supernatural elements.

Yeah, that basically describes The X Files. Seasons 1-4 are great, personally I thought they tailed off after that but depending on how into the overall theme/plot you get you might enjoy them anyway.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:14 AM on March 22, 2007

Thirding The Wire.
posted by Penks at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2007

Lost, but only if you want to go nuts by the third season with all the damn mysteries, already. Also, agree with Firefly.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2007

Oops, I see that Star Trek has already been posted.
posted by Alison at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2007

Hrmm... you may or may not like Roswell. It has pretty much all of the elements that you say you like, but it also has a bit of angsty teen romance thrown into the mix too. I personally quite liked it, but your mileage may vary.
posted by antifuse at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2007

Nthing x-files. That should keep you busy for quite a while if you decide you like it. Also, how about old twilight zone?
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2007

Weeds, Gilmore Girls.

I began my addiction to DVD shows with The Shield, Grey's Anatomy, The Wire, and The Office.
posted by GaelFC at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2007

Highly recommend Star Trek: The Next Generation. Might be a bit too supernatural or sci-fi at times, but there are some really great, emotive episodes focusing around character development. Stargate SG1 is similar, although it's more comedic at times and a bit more supernatural, but it's a bit like Firefly so you might like it. Heroes is good as well, but it's not out on DVD yet.
posted by Meagan at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2007

You might also like Quantum Leap.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2007

I would recommend Carnivale heartily. It was an HBO show, but it was disappointingly cancelled after only two seasons. It fits the bill you describe perfectly, though.

For a good miniseries, try The Lost Room. Great underlying mystery.

You don't list Six Feet Under, which is an incredible show. Another great one that is currently my favorite show is Rome.

Have you tried Northern Exposure? I think it is one of the greatest shows that has ever been on TV, although the last couple seasons were kind of tough.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2007

Chunder, season two of Twin Peaks is already available., and it really is awesome, mysterious and has some strong female characters.

Then there's Carnivale, a series about a troupe of carnies touring the United States during the Great Depression. I've only watched the pilot but it seems to be amply mysterious and looks really intruiging.
posted by Glow Bucket at 10:32 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: I just finished season 3 of Six Feet Under. I'd say its pretty a unconventional show with interesting characters and it makes you think. About death. If you can handle that.
Its a drama thats funny and spooky. Theres ghosts. The first season is GREAT.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 10:32 AM on March 22, 2007

I think a fan of Veronica Mars would like The Wire and The Shield. They all have a very satisfying amount of moral ambiguity and great writing. The Wire and The Shield both have short seasons (13 episodes or fewer, I think). Even though they're cop shows, they have season long (or even multiple season) story arcs, not just pedophile-of-the-week episodes like Law & Order.
posted by amarynth at 10:33 AM on March 22, 2007

What? No "Sopranos"? I held out for years and now I'm watching them on DVD via netflix. It turns out, it really is as good as everyone said. I would check out all the shows that HBO and Showtime produce. This includes other gems like "Bullshit," "Sex and the City," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

To be honest, I didn't much care for Sex and the City but I appear to be in the minority.
posted by chairface at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2007

24? I just started watching that on DVD about a month ago. I'm into Season 3 now.

I too prefer watching TV shows on DVD.
posted by iguanapolitico at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2007

Homicide: Life on the Streets. It's about as far from formula cop show as you can get - incredibly well-written, character-driven, generally fantastic. I still miss it. Produced and written by a bunch of the same folks as The Wire.
posted by rtha at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2007

Have you watched Twin Peaks?
posted by milarepa at 10:35 AM on March 22, 2007

Farscape, for the love of god Farscape!
posted by Rhomboid at 10:39 AM on March 22, 2007

Lost, House, Heroes, 24, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, The Wire.
posted by ztdavis at 10:43 AM on March 22, 2007

Always Sunny in Philadelphia (IMHO the funniest show on television) is available for download on Amazon, but not sure how to get it to DVD. Entourage. Also most of the the seasons of Blackadder (including a very funny Hugh Laurie and a still-funny Rowan Atkinson).
posted by charlesv at 10:43 AM on March 22, 2007

You might want to check out the short-lived but brilliant "Sportsnight."
posted by chairface at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2007

Thirding Freaks and Geeks. The only problem with it is that it was such a good show, and there was only one season!

Undeclared is by the same people who did Freaks and Geeks. It's about a group of first-year students living in a dorm at university and is really funny and well-written. On first appearance it looks like a sitcom, but it is far better than most in that category. (No annoying laugh-track, for one.)

Second Sight is a good British mystery series with Clive Owen (mmm!) as a police detective who is slowly going blind (and trying to hide the fact from his colleagues).

I really enjoyed the original Danish miniseries The Kingdom. It's creepy, dramatic, atmospheric, and also amusing in parts. MUCH better than the Stephen King remake.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:57 AM on March 22, 2007

Always Sunny
Austin Stories
posted by thilmony at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2007

Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Firefly, Star Trek

UFO, purple-haired moon maidens and all. Best. Theme. EVAR.
Space: 1999 (holds up surprisingly well)

Neon Genesis Evangelion. Underlying mysteries, strong women. Warning: anime. Warning: depressing. Warning: weird.
Buck Rogers. Arguably strong women. Warning: campy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:02 AM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: Okay, a little follow-up. Well, a lot of follow up:

I've watched:
  • X-Files. Okay until the shark jump.
  • Lost, season 1. Kind of wait-and-see on that, as the writing in the first season was not the best.
  • Farscape. Great show, but too many irritating, screechy characters. I mean, cripes, calm down already.
  • Carnivale, season 1. I am waiting to develop the emotional stamina to complete the series.
  • Doctor Who. A bit cheesey for meesey.
Stuff that sounds good so far:
  • Six Feet Under
  • Stargate I've been considering for a while, but have feared the cheese factor. One season won't kill me.
  • The Lost Room--I've never heard of this one.
  • Roswell
  • The Wire
  • Heroes I'm already waiting for.
Not really my thing:
  • Sex and the City
  • 24
Add to dislikes: Gangster anything. Afraid I shall never watch The Sopranos.

Thank you for all the great suggestions so far!
posted by frykitty at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2007

This isn't on DVD yet, but I'll recommend it anyways: Heroes.

Also, I loved Dead Like Me.

Even though it doesn't have supernatural elements or a big underlying mystery, I enjoyed my purchase of Season 1 of "Weeds" (Mary-Louise Parker is phenomenal).
posted by Zephyrial at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2007

Invasion only lasted for a season, but it was pretty good, as long as you're okay with it ending on a cliffhanger.
posted by Bearman at 11:13 AM on March 22, 2007

Homicide shares a few creators with The Wire. Both are fantastic, imo.

Space: Above and Beyond was nice for it's space grunge. Anticipated alot of the feel of BSG.

And Twin Peaks is stellar. Give it a try. I think they *just* eeked out the (less fantastic) season 2 on dvd finally, so we get to see how it ends.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2007

I think Monk might fit your taste - it's a mystery-a-week, but the characters are really interesting, and his assistant, Sharona, is definitely a strong, likeable character.

For a strong female lead, try The Closer. I know it looks like a cop show, but it's like Bones - it's about a female who's really good at her job, but not so good at social/office interaction.

And, at the risk of getting totally laughed at, I also recommend you try a little Xena. It's a little light-and-fluffy, but it does have supernatural elements, fun battle scenes, and underlying story arcs. Like Buffy of Ancient Times, maybe.

As for Twin Peaks, wait until the whole series is out on DVD, or you'll drive yourself nuts.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2007

Based on your preferences, Weeds will absolutely make your week/month/however long it takes.
posted by Mach3avelli at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2007

Dexter's good -- it's about a serial killer who works for the Florida crime lab. Sounds schlocky, but it's actually really well done (if you can deal with a bit of blood and gore). It's not yet available on DVD, but put it on your list. Also, I second the Dead Like Me recommendation.
posted by littleme at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2007

Go on with Carnivale, it's truly amazing. I'd also nth Big Love, it's not a soap opera-ish as it could be.

What about Prison Break? Lots of intrigue, not usually my thing (I hate 24) but I've gotten immersed in it this season. Has a couple strong women characters, but they aren't the main characters.
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:29 AM on March 22, 2007

I hear you not liking the sitcoms but have you considered scrubs ? It's a one camera show - so it has a different feel then most sitcoms. It's also one of the funniest shows on tv now.
posted by jourman2 at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2007

OK, there's no supernatural elements, and it is pretty much a cop show, but you should really give Dexter a chance, if for no other reason than because the entire season forms an arc around one large secret, that is only revealed at the end.

Great writing and terrific acting.
posted by thewittyname at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2007

Since formula (most of the time) is listed among your dislikes, I'd give Stargate a pass. I mean, it's fine and everything, but it gets really repetitive, especially since there are like two dozen seasons worth when you factor in that it's been on the air forever and has a handful of spinoffs.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:45 AM on March 22, 2007

I know it's all over the thread and you've already pointed it out as something that sounds good, but I can't resist stating that Six Feet Under is the greatest show ever, in the history of television, and this is coming from someone who thought American Beauty was way overrated. Season 2-3 is where it starts to hit it's stride, but start from the beginning. God I miss the Fischers so much.

I'm working my way through Deadwood right now and it's pretty good. It's worth watching just for Ian McShane, who is incredible.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2007

Regarding Twin Peaks, I see that you are in Portland. Movie Madness has all the episodes on VHS, including the pilot.

And, I'll second (or whatever) Stargate SG1, Freaks & Geeks, Deadwood, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Rome, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

You might also try Profiler or My So Called Life (sappy though it is).
posted by thinman at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2007

You can't go wrong with any HBO drama. None of them have been bad. They all have long arcs and the worst episodes are better than the best episodes of most network dramas. Twin Peaks is addictive and fun.
posted by I Foody at 12:03 PM on March 22, 2007

Strongly seconding Six Feet Under. You will love it.

I would second Arrested Development, even considering that you don't like sitcoms. It's the smartest, funniest show to be on network TV in a very long time. Unbelievably clever and scarcely comparable to the average sitcom.

I have the same feelings about X-Files as you. I think you might also like the classic show The Prisoner, with Patrick McGoohan.

Also recommending American Gothic. Creepy and supernatural for sure, and well-made.

Mission: Impossible was pretty darn good. Formulaic, but only in the way that The X-Files always was.
posted by zebra3 at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2007

House should be top of your list. Then Weeds. Monk. Dead Like Me.

And when the first season comes out on DVD, Dexter.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:13 PM on March 22, 2007

Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren as Detective Jane Tennison.
posted by matildaben at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2007

Likes: Long-term, underlying mysteries ...; strong female characters

I second Prime Suspect. I think you'll love it, based on your likes.
posted by booth at 12:48 PM on March 22, 2007

You might maybe if you can deal with anime get a kick out of Cowboy Bebop. But I'd nth Six Feet Under as the first show you should check out.
posted by furiousthought at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2007

I normally hate cop shows, but The Wire is amazing.

Dexter is pretty great, and what I've seen of Six Feet Under is even better, and what I've seen of Freaks & Geeks might be even better still.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2007

Homicide and The Shield. Without a doubt.

MI-5 (or Spooks, as it was called in the UK), particularly if you liked Whedon's willingness to just off someone unexpectedly.
posted by phearlez at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2007

Another *Twin Peaks* shoutout - god, it's crazy and fantastic and addictive and memorable and scary - but warnings: the first season DVD boxed set does not include the pilot episode, and the second season DVD boxed set will not be released until early April (according to Amazon).

And another *Homicide* shoutout. I've rarely seen a show with such well-developed characters.
posted by cadge at 1:02 PM on March 22, 2007

TRAILER PARK BOYS - Seasons 1 & 2 are the best. The first two episodes from season 1 are not very good, but they do introduce all of the characters. My favorite episode: Mrs. Peterson's Dog Gets F***ed Up! I have never laughed so hard in my life - scared my dog and the neighbors.

THE WIRE - Everyone reading this thread must put the first two seasons in their Netflix queue! Amazing. Storytelling. Period.
posted by cinemafiend at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2007

FREAKS & GEEKS - I second this nomination. Great comedy series centered around a strong female character.
posted by cinemafiend at 1:14 PM on March 22, 2007

nth-ing Twin peaks - although you should be on the lookout for Season 1 NOW, because they've pulled it (now that season 2 is finally coming) and it's going for exorbitant prices. If you should see a copy in a retail environment for list price, buy it immediately - all the copies you can get.

If you're willing to go back a bit, The Prisoner will totally turn you on. Has the advantage of having a beginning/middle/end (the latter of which my beloved Lost appears to be in search of).

Plus, try the short lived but incredible NBC show Boomtown. Truly visionary stuff that was waaaaay too good for television.
posted by jbickers at 1:19 PM on March 22, 2007

Most of mine have been mentioned (Wire, Sopranos, Homicide, Deadwood, Prisoner).

House is very formulaic (which is why I'm not recommending it, just cautioning you), so that might turn you off, but Hugh Laurie is fantastic.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:24 PM on March 22, 2007

I'm not sure if you can get it on DVD yet in the US, if ever, but the BBC series Life on Mars is quite good. A cop has an accident in 2006, wakes up back in 1973 where he inexplicably finds himself a part of a head-knocking police team. There are hints that he's actually in a coma, hints that he's not. Great acting by all involved. Won an Emmy last year and is currently in its second series (which I believe will also be its last -- there's closure coming). Since it's a British cop show, even the cliches will be fresh to American audiences. And though most of the main characters are men, there's a female cop who becomes increasingly important as the series goes on. I highly recommend seeking it out.
posted by kindall at 1:31 PM on March 22, 2007

Rome!!! It's a bit different than your listed favorites but it's got the strong female characters and just a touch of supernatural. Based on your preferences Lost is the first thing that comes to mind, but it's really lost its way, no pun intended. Season 1 was great though. And nth'ing Six Feet Under.
posted by edjusted at 2:00 PM on March 22, 2007

the first season DVD boxed set does not include the pilot

That's only true for Region 1. The UK edition has the pilot. If you have a player that can handle import discs get this one (bonus: UK edition is not OP and going for ludicrous prices).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:03 PM on March 22, 2007

Oh - how about Hustle? It's from the Beeb, ran here in the US on...cable, somewhere. AMC, maybe. Great show about a group of con artists - funny, suspenseful, excellent writing. The underlying mystery is that you don't know how - or if - they'll pull off the con. Sometimes they don't.
posted by rtha at 2:03 PM on March 22, 2007

I really enjoyed Firefly and am a huge Star Trek geek (with the exception of Voyager and Enterprise). If you haven't seen it already, you might try Star Trek Deep Space Nine. It possesses a truly massive, space-opera/galactic war story arc that's quite different from the rest of the canon. Though my position is controversial amongst the geek set, I think it's the strongest and most engaging Trek series out there.

Though it's far removed from the Sci-Fi realm, you might enjoy HBO's Rome. I found it absolutely engrossing and am looking forward to the next season (though, like you, I'll wait for the DVD).
posted by aladfar at 2:45 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sliders and classic Twilight Zone.
posted by textilephile at 2:49 PM on March 22, 2007

(Some of these have been mentioned already, but I thought I'd add another vote)

Boomtown - unique cops 'n robbers show with exceptional cinematography, very deep characters with very human flaws (which are further developed by the multiple viewpoints technique that's used). This show was way too good for NBC, and required too much attention from the viewer to be a mainstream success. While it involves cops, it's doesn't share the usual aspects of a cop show (though it was marketed as one, which didn't help draw the right audience). It's one of the best things that's been on TV in a long time.

Murder One - First Season, especially. Lawyer/courtroom drama that followed a single case for the entire season (with the occasional sidetrack into other cases the firm was working on). Got great reviews, but ratings suffered because it aired in the pre-Tivo days, and if you missed an episode, you'd find yourself missing important details. Now, with shows like 24 and Lost, this doesn't seem as unusual as it did in the mid-90s.

Freaks and Geeks - Great if you were a teenager in the 1980s (I was). I've been told that it's only so-so otherwise.

Weeds - comedy, drama, and human-interest story, all rolled up into a zig zag. Has a female lead.

My Name is Earl - yes, really. The cast alone makes this one interesting, and although it's a comedy, it's not a typical sitcom (the one-camera no laugh track aspects alone should say that). It's still shot on film (not tape), which lets the director use heavily saturated colors through underexposure, especially in dark scenes. The premise of the series isn't really a strong one, but the absurdist characters and the on-camera chemistry between the actors more than makes up for it. Plus, it's got a great soundtrack (which thankfully was not changed for the DVD release). I think the second season (so far) is better than the first.

V - Especially the miniseries that started it all. This was the show that made X Files possible. The aliens have landed, and the humans are food.

Keen Eddie - One part comedy, one part action drama, two parts sexual tension, and one half part cops in London. This show was canceled early, but deserved better.

Tour of Duty - Strong Vietnam drama from the 80s. While there are combat scenes, it focuses more on the interactions and relationships between the characters of a single unit in-country (and it wasn't afraid to touch on some difficult aspects of the war, like fragging and suicide). Unfortunately, the DVD release doesn't include the spectacular music that really helped set the scenes. The show jumped the shark after season 2... ignore the season three release.
posted by toxic at 3:05 PM on March 22, 2007

Freaks and Geeks ^n+1. I am going to marry Lindsay Weir and there is nothing any of you can do about it.

However, Audrey Horne will always be my true love. Twin Peaks.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2007

Nthing Twin Peaks. It's seriously brilliant. My friend introduced me to it, and you do have to give it a chance for the first few episodes, but after that, oh god it's so good. I believe it is said that Twin Peaks sort of pioneered some of the techniques later used on X-Files, and showed that TV audiences could tolerate a long-running, more movie-like plot.

If you're open to comedy, Scrubs is really a good show (though the earlier seasons moreso, natch). I think there are 4-5 seasons out on DVD, so it should provide you some good hours of watching.
posted by !Jim at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2007

Along with the aforementioned Prime Suspect, British TV can offer you some great cop/mystery shows (although I personally did not like Life on Mars.)

Wire in The Blood is one of my favorites. Tony Hill is a Forensic Psychologist who can really get into the minds of killers but cannot connect with normal peope very well. Carol Jordan, is the steely female cop who uses Tony's skills and offers him friendship. Some truly twisted crimes are featured in this series.

Before he starred in Wire in the Blood, the same actor had a series called Touching Evil in which he played the head cop role. It is good, but more formulaic.

There was also a mini series on BBCamerica recently that would be right up your alley, but for the life of me I cannot remember the title. It was about a woman psychic who saw and conversed with dead people and this talent made her life hell.

Finally, I have to admit that my husband and I gave West Wing a miss when it was on and are only now watching it in DVD. We are both enjoying it immensly and rate it right up there with The Wire, 6 Feet Under, and Deadwood.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:33 PM on March 22, 2007

Nthing the Dexter suggestions above.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 4:40 PM on March 22, 2007

I thought The West Wing would be incredibly boring, but it's turning out to be one of my favorite series of all time as I currently work through the DVDs. I also have loved House, ER, BSG, Lost, The Wire (esp s1), and Heroes. And 24. And Six Feet Under. :)
posted by kcm at 4:58 PM on March 22, 2007

A few not mentioned so far:
- Tamber Amblyn (as I always think of her) is terrific in Joan of Arcadia, which is — ostensible subject matter aside — pretty far from Touched by an Angel territory
- Crossing Jordan, although often pretty formulaic, is interesting for Jill Hennessy's conflicted title character, who is basically not very likable
- The BBC version of I, Clavdivs is notable for many things, chief among them Siân Phillips's masterful portrayal of the abominable Lady Livia
posted by rob511 at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2007

There was also a mini series on BBCamerica recently that would be right up your alley, but for the life of me I cannot remember the title. It was about a woman psychic who saw and conversed with dead people and this talent made her life hell.

That would be Afterlife. Since we're on the topic of BBC America, let me make another strong "heck yeah!" for Life on Mars. I also loved Eleventh Hour and Viva Blackpool.
posted by jbickers at 5:14 PM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: I just finished my first workout to the pilot of Six Feet Under.

Thank you. I'll be saving this thread when I'm ready for the next series!
posted by frykitty at 6:15 PM on March 22, 2007

Everybody Hates Chris is about the only show I've been excited about since Arrested Development left. They are both good shows, ostensibly comedies, but they are a huge step up from the usual, good writing, no laugh track, that kind of thing.
posted by 6550 at 6:30 PM on March 22, 2007

pretty comprehensive list but no one has mentioned WONDERFALLS!!! yet... that show is sweet, funny insanely character driven, and hilarious. It's just all around awesomeness...
posted by stratastar at 6:59 PM on March 22, 2007

I'm pushing the "Freaks & Geeks" barrow, too -- and it looks like I'll be fighting nathancaswell for Lindsay...

Also, notwithstanding the fact that you don't like cop shows, give "The Wire" a go. It's awesome.
posted by robcorr at 8:20 PM on March 22, 2007

Oh, yeah, Afterlife, almost forgot that one.
posted by kindall at 8:36 PM on March 22, 2007

I managed to hook my sixteen year old sister on The West Wing and Dexter -- and I like just about every show on your list. So despite any misgivings you might have, the West Wing isn't boring -- it's hilariously funny, and has strong female characters a-plenty (I remember being when it was first airing, and completely idolizing C.J. as a strong female figure who is still human).

Dexter is just a stunning experience.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:41 PM on March 22, 2007

Wow, I'm late to this, but, yes, The Wire is fantastic, as is Deadwood. The fifth season of The Shield comes out on Tuesday, and it guest stars Forest Whittaker in an amazing role. Better than anything not on HBO.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:04 PM on March 22, 2007

You may have seen this but if not check out Ultraviolet.
posted by lucien at 11:13 PM on March 22, 2007

The newer version of Twilight Zone is available, and very affordable. While I'm not fond of the announceer, the shows themseleves are better than might be expected.

Second "6 Feet Under". Great show, we're on season 2.

This really is a great way to watch TV. I call it "Gourmet TV".
posted by Goofyy at 12:51 AM on March 23, 2007

This is going to sound really lame, but my wife and I rented the early-eighties miniseries, The Thorn Birds, a year or so ago on Netflix, and we loved it. Yes, it has strong female characters.
posted by jayder at 12:52 AM on March 23, 2007

stratastar: pretty comprehensive list but no one has mentioned WONDERFALLS!!! yet...

Nobody except for, you know, the original poster. :)

And oooh, I totally forgot about Invasion. That show was really just starting to hit its stride and BAM, cancelled. Dammit!
posted by antifuse at 3:39 AM on March 23, 2007

A note about Stargate SG-1, the first season is very formulaic (as in planet-of-the-day) and has very little plot development besides some key episodes.
I'm not saying it's bad, I love it... just that you may have to be somewhat forgiving about the first season before really starting to enjoy it.
posted by Memo at 7:44 AM on March 23, 2007

There was also a mini series on BBCamerica recently that would be right up your alley, but for the life of me I cannot remember the title.

That would be Afterlife.

Heh. So it was right on the tip of my tongue.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:14 AM on March 23, 2007

Stargate SG-1 ... you may have to be somewhat forgiving about the first season before really starting to enjoy it.

If she liked Babylon 5, I think this won't be a problem. ;)
posted by kindall at 10:21 AM on March 23, 2007

Re: Stargate. I've never, ever been a huge fan of SG-1, I just couldn't get into the show. Then, wham! Stargate: Atlantis whapped me upside the head (in a good way!) and I couldn't stop watching.

I find it more compelling than the episodes of SG-1 I've seen, and I just like the characters better for some reason. I'd say give both shows a try, but Atlantis might be more what you're looking for than SG-1. The first two seasons are available on DVD.
posted by i feel possessed at 12:31 AM on March 31, 2007

I just revisited this thread and saw jayder's comment. It reminded me of another excellent miniseries, Lonesome Dove. Great cast, starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.
posted by booth at 7:09 AM on April 16, 2007

Nthing Homicide. It doesn't get the credit it deserves, but it was really an early pioneer in the currenty popular format of season-length story arcs, film-quality cinematography and character-driven drama.
posted by lunasol at 7:26 AM on May 28, 2007

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