For a guy who works in television, I watch surprisingly little television. Well, relatively speaking.  In comparison to most, I watch what I consider a somewhat below average amount.  In comparison to my friends like Martin Gero and Mark Savela, I hardly watch any at all.  Not counting a few guilty “non-scripted” shows like Top Chef and the like, my t.v.-watching consists of: Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead.  I’m catching up on Louie, South Park and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on DVD and will download the second season of American Horror Story if/when it becomes available online.  Oh, and I have been watching Modern Family, but that’s more Akemi’s show than one of mine.

All that said, I’d like to find a brilliant new series to watch.  Something along the lines of past favorites like The Sopranos, The Shield, Arrested Development, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Rome.  The type of series that’s so good, so well-written, so well-directed, and so well-acted that you simply cannot wait to watch the next episode.  I checked out other strongly reviewed shows, and came away decidedly underwhelmed.  Some I found too slow-moving.  Others I found offensively contrived.  Still others were simply not my cup of tea.  So I’m going to try my luck again with a new round.

I’ve heard great thing about each of the following.  Which one should I start with?

1BOARDWALK EMPIRE

As a big fan of The Sopranos, I had my eye on this organized crime period drama when it premiered back in 2010, but my initial enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by critiques from trusted sources.  The consensus opinion of the early episodes: good, but slow. Slow?  Life’s too short – and watching shows that make it feel longer aint the way to go.  So I took a pass on this one.  But since then, I keep hearing very good things.  Apparently, once you get past the set-up, it’s riveting viewing.

1JUSTIFIED

I avoided this show because I’m not the biggest fan of Timothy Olyphant.  He’s a fine actor, but I fear my intense dislike for the character he played in Deadwood could taint my enjoyment of this show.  But my friend and former fellow Exec. Producer (on a show I honestly can’t remember working on), Alexander Ruemelin, swears by its brilliance. And, as wacky as that lovable German is, I do value his opinion…

1ARCHER

Unlike some of the other shows on this list, no one I know has ever watched Archer.  All the positive reviews I’ve read have come from online sources that call this animated series clever, controversial and, above all, hilarious.

1DOWNTON ABBEY

This one has a lot of fans but the premise seems, quite frankly, a little dry.  Still, Robert Cooper, another fellow whose opinion I trust, says it’s a damn fine show – although he warns it IS a soap opera.  But that’s fine.  In many ways so was The Sopranos.

1GIRLS

Hmmm.  At first blush, not my cup of tea, but this one comes highly recommended by my uber-caustic buddy Tara in Toronto.  I can fault her taste in many things (hats for instance), but her sense of humor is dead-on…and, not so coincidentally, very similar to mine.  So if Tara says Girls is worth watching, maybe Girls IS worth watching.

1CALIFORNICATION

Another Alexander Ruemelin pick.  And those who like it, REALLY like it – among them, my buddy Nige in Montreal.  Then again, Nige also liked both Transformers movies so I’m not so sure…

1LUTHER

Idris Elba is terrific and I’ve heard great things about this show, but I’ve yet to get around to watching it.  Why?  In the words of Scooby Doo: “I run row.”

1SHERLOCK

Another Brit entry and another series no one I know watches, but everyone online seems to love.  I’m sure more than a few of you have already checked it out.  Thoughts?

97 thoughts on “March 2, 2013: Help me choose my new favorite show!

  1. Sherlock. Hands down. It’s an impressive take on what Holmes would be like if he lived today. And it’s got a lot of references to the original works that are fun if you know them and don’t detract from the stories at all if you don’t.

    Plus, the second season ended on a major cliffhanger. Don’t you want to be in suspense like the rest of us?

  2. Justified, The Big Bang Theory, Top Gear- The BBC version not that swill the Smericans have been putting out. I love the cast and stories for Justified. The Big Bang Theiry always makes me laugh. Top Gear a show about cars, that is absolutely hilarious, don’t get me wrong I’m not a big car guy, but this show I love it. Those 3 Brits do the craziest funniest things.

  3. Have you tried Big Bang Theory? I recently discovered it and it’s hilarious, especially for us sci-fi nerds!

  4. Have you seen any episodes of falling skies yet the third season is coming this summer you can find it on tnt

  5. Have you seen “COAST”? A BBC production, you should be able to find it on one of the PBS or TVO channels… No “plot”, but VERY Visual and educational!

  6. Sherlock, hands down.

    I mean, just that one. Maybe Luther. I haven’t watched it but have heared good things about it, though it is supposedly a tad dark, and probably too dark for me.

    Downton Abbey is a breath of fresh air, if you have time for a serial story. I’ve watch a little of it, but just don’t have the patience to get into this sort of tale. I think it all depends on how much time you have to give to this sort of thing. I honestly don’t know how you find the time to watch so much!

    The rest just look…pedestrian. There comes a time when the ‘let’s push the sex, violence, and over-the-top realism envelope’ becomes so commonplace that it becomes yawn-inducing. Oh, look…another throat slit. yawn. Oh, look…boobies. yawn. Oh, look…a disembowelment – that is sooo last year! double yawn. I am having a time finding something new and fresh and worth watching. Just had a discussion about the current trend in shows, and how so many don’t have a distinct hero anymore, and tend to glorify bad behavoir. I’m kinda tired of that sort of thing. World’s too dark as it is, don’t want it in my entertainment ad nauseam.

    But really, I need to get to sleep, so I may not be making much sense right now.

    das

  7. @ Michael A. Burstein – Heh. We both said the same thing. 🙂 I love Sherlcok, I love both the actors and the way they handle their respective characters, and I like the modern twists on the traditional Sherlock stories. It just works really well for me, but I am a mystery fan first and foremost, so I am naturally drawn to this sort of thing. Joey strikes me more as a gore and whores sort of fellow, so maybe he should just go for Ripper Street instead. (No offense, Joe…but you do tend to like the stuff that is obviously designed to appeal mostly to men, even if you are on the outside of the target age group. But I will stand corrected, old man, if you end up falling for Downton Abbey. 😉 )

    das

  8. Out of the above I would go with Californication.. I feel sorry for Hank…

    As for other shows… I would recommend Suits and White Collar.. The Original Top Gear is great as well, and I am not a car guy.. I would also recomend the best British import, Doctor Who.

  9. Sherlock is brilliant! I just recently watched it on Netflix and am now hooked! It’s one of the few shows that I will actually sit and watch and not be multitasking.

    There is also a new show called Vikings that airs on the History Channel (the Canadian one) tomorrow. Not sure how good it will be but it seems that they are trying to feed off of the Game of Thrones. Might be worth a look.

  10. Ditto what Michael A. Burstein says. Sherlock is a great show that I eagerly await. The down side is they only do 3 episodes as a season – can’t remember but I recall each is at least 90 minutes long. And to sound really stupid…I have no idea when the next batch will be shown in the US. Derrrrr.

    Been meaning to try Downton Abbey…but have not been bitten by the “must watch” bug yet.

    .

  11. Sherlock is fantastic. Moffatt at his best. I think he writes better for a shorter series than for a weekly (or so when it’s in production) show like Doctor Who. I couldn’t get through Downton Abbey, even with the stellar cast. Justified moves a bit slow for me, and if you’re not into Olyphant, might not be your cup of tea. His character is centric in the episodes I’ve seen.
    The shows that we feel that way about that are on air all come from your neck of the woods or feature cast/crew that you know: Arrow, Continuum, Once Upon A Time, Hell on Wheels, Falling Skies.
    If you haven’t checked it out, you might like Arrow. One of the best based on a comic book shows that’s come out in a while. Fantastic cast, good action and tight writing (most of the time).
    Yeah, FS isn’t hard to figure out each episode, but I like it.
    I know it’s a bit older but there was that one series.. Think it was called Stargate. 😉
    Oh, for just pure unthinking entertainment — something everyone needs at times — Duck Dynasty. It gets addictive.

  12. Downton Abbey – Yes, the premise, to me, is more than dry, it’s so opposite anything I have a basis to understand. The best I can figure, the definition of aristocracy is members of a pact among rich people to not only wield their economic and accumulated political power to horde privilege among themselves, but to also create complex economic and social incentives to demand the less-privileged treat the pact members as their betters. Why would I care if such a system survives?

    And then the writers do the work to put the circumstances into the context of what’s important to the individuals involved and it becomes something so universal it transcends the premise. And there’s a history nerd rush to watching them get a telephone and a toaster.

    Sherlock – The series is by Steven Moffat. Case closed.

    I plan to pick it up, but this series requires uninterrupted attention to follow. The kids would paint the dog in the time it took to watch. Then, I’d have to figure out where they found a dog.

    Showboating his concluding stuff from minor clues routine is so painfully awkward. I hope I can get used to that.

  13. You’re a hard one to give recommendations to, because you know how the sausage is made, so to speak. So shows we find clever and surprising seem to underwhelm you! That said, Downton Abbey is must-see TV for me. Yes, a soap opera, but complete engaging and at times hilarious as well. Season 2 was a bit off the rails, but S3 was awesome.

    I love Sherlock but with seasons of 3 or 4 episodes, years apart, I don’t get too excited over it.

    I started watching Boardwalk Empire, and I think it’s extremely well crafted, but the violence was just too much for me. Scalping, seriously? Brutal.

    A show you didn’t list that I really like is Longmire, about a sheriff in Wyoming, co-starring Katee Sackhoff and featuring none other than Lou Diamond Phillips! I find it real and gritty, but in an understated way. Great writing, based on a series of mystery novels. Only its first season has aired, A&E network.

  14. Sherlock, Justified, and Supernatural. Sherlock won’t take you long to catch up on, so it doesn’t really count. Justified is on S4 but they are also short seasons. That will leave you plenty of time to catch up to the current S8 of Supernatural! 😀

  15. Downton Abbey is an Edwardian soap, but lots of fun. I love the dialogue but you’ll pick holes in the story arc … every minor calamity is quickly resolved. Start at Episode 1 and work from there …

    Boardwalk Empire is amazing. Well acted, strong story line, conflicted characters

  16. The Following on FOX is a nice surprise. I’m no Kevin Bacon fan but the premise is gripping and the villain is like a combination of Hannibal Lector-Professor Moriarty-and-Charles Manson!

  17. Sherlock is the best of that bunch. Luther is great as well. (I do so wish Ultraviolet had gone more than a single series.) Archer is a guilty pleasure best enjoyed with a strong cocktail.

    I found DA predictable and repetitive fairly quickly, even for a soap opera. Shoddy writing for excellent actors. “Girls” is self-indulgent in a way I didn’t enjoy.

    Not on your list:
    House of Cards: This Netflix series really surprised me. Spacey is doing a brilliant job and the writing gets better with each episode. Setting a new standard for online direct entertainment.

    Arrow: Only as you’re a comics fan. Better than Smallville, by leaps and bounds (or perhaps because it got rid of the leaps and bounds and relies less on Fx). Another one I was surprised about.

  18. I love Justified! It’s a great show and for me right up there with GoT, Sopranos and Breaking Bad. I didn’t love the first season though, in fact I almost gave up after a couple of episode, but please stick with it, s2 knocks it out of the park.
    I’ve tried Boardwalk Empire twice, but I can’t get into it. I just recently gave up on Californication. I loved the earlier season but it just got too tedious/repetitive for me. The only other show I watch out of your list is Downton Abbey. I don’t love it, but it’s pretty good entertainment.

  19. Archer is indeed “clever, controversial and, above all, hilarious”. I just picked up season 3 on DVD and couldn’t turn it off. Funny, funny stuff. I can’t believe you haven’t see this yet. Seasons 1 & 2 are on Netflix. But, I recommend the DVDs as the extras are funny as well.

    And, yeah, Sherlock. Awesome.

    Now, for some older shows…

    If you’re a fan of the perfect balance between comedy and drama, watch Boston Legal. Brilliant. Same for House, M.D. Both of these shows are over-the-top.

    If you want something fast paced, try Nikita. I love the series. You won’t believe how fast things happen in that show. Arcs that some shows would take 5 years to tell are done in a few episodes. Great “bad guys” and of course the lovely Nikita herself.

  20. Sherlock definitely. Bit disappointing that it only has 3 episodes per season. Elementary is also fun and Justified is on our weekly watch schedule. For laughs, Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, and Malibu Country (Lily Tomlin is absolutely fabulous).

  21. Need to add:
    Falling Skies – familiar faces and reasonable story
    Once upon a Time – familar and totally new faces, cool use of nursery rhymes and children’s stories to make a “modern” and older story.
    Arrow – with James Bamford handling the stunts and fights – wow.
    also with some familiar faces.

    Then the tried and still running:
    NCIS
    Hawaii 50 – yeah, I have a rather large bias….
    Elementary – kinda Sherlock Holmes in today’s world. Different from the BBC Sherlock, but so far entertaining.

    ok…I stop now.

  22. Everyone I know loves Sherlock but I haven’t watched it. I do love Downton abbey. I also think Suits is brilliant and fun and addictive. I’ve watched NCIS for a billion yrs, love it but it may not be your cup of tea at all.
    I don’t get into most shows that make criminals (ie mafia, killers, etc) the main characters.. but I love Sons of Anarchy. sue me.

  23. my vote goes to Downton Abbey, but I disagree with the comment that it’s a soap opera as it is too fast-paced – i.e. passge of time in the storylines – to be a soap. My friends like Sherlock, but I have not watched as it is always up against something else I watch – probably NCIS or NCIS:LA

  24. I recommend Justified, Downton Abbey, and Continuum.

    Justified is run by Graham Yost. His work includes Band of Brothers, John Adams, Speed, and the list goes on. He and his fellow writers have put together some outstanding stories.

    Great cast. Goggin as Boyd is fantastic.

    It isn’t only the leading characters but recurring characters too that grab your attention. Arlo, Art, Ellen May, Sheriff Shelby, Constable Bob, Dewey Crowe, etc.

    Location. Harlan. It is a character in itself.

    Only complaint. More on Tim and Rachel (Raylan’s coworkers).

    Downton Abbey. Like the characters and actors that portray them. True it is a soap opera and it has its weaknesses but I find myself rooting for the characters at Downton. Maggie Smith is great as the Dowager and has some of the best lines. And of course, Mary and Matthew 4ever.

    Finally Continuum. It has great stories, characters and cast. I’ve been impressed with the work of lead actress – Rachel Nichols. A lot of the other cast members have appeared in the Stargate series: Tony Amendola, Lexa Doig, Mike Dopud, Jennifer Spence, Katie Findlay, and Roger Cross to name a few.

    I like the way Kiera’s present experiences bring back memories she lived in the future. I also like the little reveals at the end of the shows which are usually little twists to the story.

  25. Oh, and two more I like, but you may not get in Canada – Silk and Whitechapel with Rupert Penry-Jones in the lead for both series. From Britain, there are only six episodes are made for each season. Silk (S1) is about 2 lawyers working for the same firm who are vying for the opportunity to be made a Queen’s Council and Whitechapel is about a fast-tracked (ie. university educated & trained) police inspector who has to solve (in S1) a Jack The Ripper style crime wave in London. RP-J is currently filming S4 of Whitechapel & S3 or Silk (I think).

  26. Archer is a passion of mine, the show is funny, smart and so cool. I’m also addicted to Portlandia, Lost Girl (Buffy meets Xena) and Person of Interest. I think you will like The Americans, in just a few eps it’s become my must see. Plus Noah Emmerich, Margo Martindale, exfiltrations and dead drops; it’s just so good, like a cool 70’s movie every week. Lost Girl I find adorable and they say the funniest stuff, they just look like they are having fun every week and the actors are fun to watch.

    I think you’d like Teen Wolf; I know it’s on MTV, it has the word Teen in it, but it’s actually really funny, it’s like Election with werewolfs.

  27. I think you’ve probably already got enough votes for Sherlock but I’ll toss mine in as well. And with it being only 6 episodes long, what have you got to loose. Also I love Doctor Who, especially the first four seasons. Brilliant show. And Downton Abbey is quite good. Those Brits sure know their TV programmes.

  28. “Sherlock”, yes, but also “Elementary”, the CBS series inspired by the famous fictional detective.

    “Downton Abbey”, yes, but I was slightly less impressed with S3 than with S1/2.

    Passing a message from Lou Diamond Phillips as requested at tonight’s Cinefestival screening:
    “Countdown starts now! #FillyBrown opens nationwide in 200 theaters on April 19. Mark the date & tell some friends! We need your support!”
    (Copied from LDP’s Twitter timeline)

    I saw the film tonight; it is GOOD. One of the themes, perhaps the main one, is the concept of family honor; recognized it from Siglo de Oro Spanish literature class in the 70’s.

  29. The only one of those I’ve watched is Sherlock, and from what I’ve seen, it’s very enjoyable. Also, there are only like 6 movie-length episodes so far, I think, so it wouldn’t take long to catch up on.

    Why don’t you tell us which of the ones we rec’d before you saw and didn’t like (and why) so we knew what not to suggest again? Or are you trying to stay away from posting negative things of shows that don’t actively offend you?

  30. Luther would be just your cup of tea, but Sherlock is not to be missed. It’s wonderful. Everything about the production is top notch. From the first moment you watch the first interaction between the modern day Sherlock and Holmes – you’ll be hooked. The stories are imaginative and chilling. It has the best, most spine tingling cliffy at the end of season one I’ve ever seen, but everything in the production is excellent. Seriously, this is one show not to be missed.

  31. Luther, definitely start with Luther. Idris Elba is brilliant and the story is fantastic. There aren’t a lot of episodes but it’s well worth it. There’s a 3rd season in the making.

  32. +1 for Sherlock. It’s only 6 episodes so it’s not a huge commitment if you don’t like it . . . but you will!

    +1 for The Big Bang Theory. Consistently funny and lots of in-jokes for nerds like me.

    Noone’s mentioned Community yet. If you like your comedy a bit more over-the-top then give Community a try. Although the current season is even more crazy so far.

  33. Sherlock, definitely. I find I can watch the episodes multiple times and still find them riveting! But, as others have mentioned, the wait between seasons is agonizing. Still…each episode is almost feature film quality, and I’ll gladly take quality over quantity any day.

    I’m also a huge fan of Downton Abbey. Soap opera? Yes. But scrumptious. Even my husband is hooked…and I can’t tell you the last time there was a “can’t miss” show on his schedule!

    My other favorite show is Doctor Who, but if I recall, you’ve passed on that one before. A bit nervous about the new companion, but this is the 50th Anniversary year of the show, and they seem to be planning quite the celebration, so it’s not to be missed, in my book.

    Good luck finding something, Joe!

    Stella

  34. Sherlock, for sure. And Elementary just keeps getting better. A bit of a twist in that Watson is played by Lucy Lui. I started watching because of Jonny Lee Miller, who is a talented actor, and eagerly look forward to it because of the writing and JLM and LL just zing off each other in their budding partnership. Good show! Person of Interest is very good, too. Again, it’s the writing, but also the four main actors work so well together in various combinations. It’s violent at times, but it works and there’s a dog added to the cast now. He’s not window dressing, either. He’s also an actor. I am addicted to Downton Abbey. Try it. You’ll like it!

  35. G’day
    I love Once Upon A Time and Hart Of Dixie.
    Agree on the UK Top Gear. Funny stuff, those three get up to some weird antics.
    Do not like any of the recommended titles you stated. Sorry. Have not even heard of most of them.

  36. Boardwalk Empire is great. Yes, there are parts where it’s slow, but it always leaves me wanting to know what happens next.

    Never seen Justified, but I want to.

    Archer… why aren’t you watching this? Why aren’t you watching this RIGHT NOW!

    Downton Abbey? No interest.

    Girls? No interest.

    Californication is a show I thought was funny, but that it would very quickly write itself into a corner. So far it’s yet to do that, remaining quite funny the whole run through. I’ve not seen the latest season though, or anything past the first few eps of the previous season either (blame Australian broadcasters taking it off air with no notice and no notice of return either).

    Luther is fantastic. The first season (technically there’s only one season, as the second “season” is just three feature length films divided into two parts) has one of my fav endings – and ending lines – to any show I’ve ever seen.

    Sherlock is fantastic. The two main actors are pitch perfect in their roles, and it’s hilarious.

  37. Both Luther and Sherlock are worth checking out. As someone has already pointed out Sherlock is only six movie length episodes (with three more on the way sometime this year). Although they have updated the setting, they haven’t changed what makes Sherlock Holmes such a great character.

    Luther is also excellent from what I’ve seen. Idris Elba is a fantastic actor but by the end of it you almost wish he could catch a break. As is mandatory for most brilliant detectives his personal life is a mess and only gets worse.

  38. Unlike you I watch tons of tv…so I started limiting my tv watching (and I only had basic cable for a very long time) So I’ve only seen Sherlock (on DVD) and Downton Abbey…..Both I can highly recommend, but I’ve followed DA more…it’s just so very good….and heartbreaking….

    Not sure if anyone has posted (I don’t always read the comments) David Blue has a Q and A session on Geek Nation…it’s fun and he talks a bit about SGU, especially an idea he pitched to Brad…
    http://www.geeknation.com/videos/tweet-out-ep-40-david-blue/

  39. Downton Abbey is a great show. My youngest daughter and I got hooked on it on Netflix/Hulu over the Christmas holiday. I would also recommend Falling Skies!! It is such a well written show. Hope that helps. 🙂

  40. Das’s mention of disembowelment triggered my memory. The miniseries World Without End. It’s a hearty meal of 8 episodes, set during the 100 Years’ War. That’s dramatic enough on its own, but the series takes that history by the collar and demands even more.

  41. Of your pics: Sherlock is a must! If you can handle the soap opera nature Downton Abbey.
    Some here have mentioned Big Bang Theory which I also love.
    But I’d like to throw in Burn Notice. Although it can seem kinda slow in its story arc, each episode is fun and the cast is fantastic.

  42. My wife and I love Downton Abbey it’s a great show that is well written, shot, lighted, well… Everything. This comes from a guy who sits in a movie and critiques things like: why did they use that shot, or why is it lighted that way, etc. oh and I love BBC’s top gear… It’s funny, brilliantly edited and on a plus side there are gorgeous cars to look at. I want the new Zonda… Drool…

  43. Since the end of Stargate, I’ve watched very little scripted TV. I do watch The Walking Dead regularly, and am waiting for the return of Continuum, which I thought was pretty well done.

    Like Das, I’ve never thought much of cable shows which substitute gratuitous sex and violence for quality. It seems that for a lot of them, it’s more about “look at what we can do because we’re on cable!” than about good story-telling. I have some friends who are big fans of “Sons of Anarchy”. I tried to watch it with them, but found that I really didn’t like ANY of the characters on it. They all seem to be terrible people and I guess I have enough of those in my real life.

    I have heard some good things about Boardwalk Empire, but to be honest I haven’t heard of a few of those other ones.

    I’d second the recommendations of Continuum and Big Bang Theory, although I find the quality of the humour in the latter pretty variable by episode. If you didn’t watch it at the time, I’d also suggest Marty G.’s own “Bored to Death”, which was quirky and hilarious. Kind of like Marty G., I suppose.

    I tried to watch “Californication” once, and maybe I was just not in a good mood, but I found it awful. Downton Abbey – almost every woman I know totally gushes about it, but every guy I know either has never heard of it, or rolls their eyes. Take that as you will. Haven’t seen any of it myself.

  44. Hey Joe
    Count me in for recommending Sherlock.
    I’d also recommend Elementary. And Doctor Who, you don’t need to go back to the beginning to start, just start in the modern era, 2005. Or just watch one, “Blink” with the Weeping Angels, Series 3 episode 10 and tell me you don’t want to watch more.

    Elminster

  45. Have you seen Homeland? Very, very good and Claire Danes does some superb acting. We are waiting for the release of the second series on dvd.
    The first few seasons of Californication are a definite yes, but to me it reached its peak a while back.
    You will like Sherlock, I think… Downton Abbey is just too British for me – even though I’m British!
    Whatever you choose… happy viewing!

  46. Echoing the love for Justified and Sherlock. I’ve also fallen hard for Vegas, which is everything I was hoping Boardwalk Empire would be, but snappy and fun. Still loving Dexter. And Arrow is really good fun, lots of punching and mayhem.

    Sidenote: I’m finally watching Atlantis after chainsmoking the 10-season SG-1 set, and loving it. I saw one ep (can’t remember which, think it was early s2) where your exec credit listed your last name as “Malozzi” – did anyone spot that, or would it have been to pricey to fix? Loving the show, trying to go extra slowly because I know I’m running out of episodes…

  47. Hands down, Sherlock. They are about to film season 3 so you have plenty of time to view the episodes that are really like movies. Freeman and Cumberbatch are an awesome team.

  48. WordPress ate my comment. Oh well, I’ll try take 2.

    Between Akemi, the dogs, reading four/five books a week, cooking or dining out, working on several projects, when do you have time to watch TV? If you did have time, I’ve only heard/seen two of the shows you listed. Downton Abbey is very good but it’s more of a chick flick. You might enjoy Sherlock. Sherlock it’s dark and twisty. His character is unpredictable. I believe you might enjoy the mental twists and turns of his mind.

    Do you watch Dr Who? If not, that’s a winner! The new lead always wins me over.

    Continuum is becoming interesting. The tech toys are very nice.

    Arrow is good and Bam-bam working in it makes it a must see.

    Falling Skies is interesting but it’s been on hiatus so long, I’ve forgotten where they left off. I’ll have to Netflix it to refresh my memory for the new season.

    The Big Bang Theory is funny. The humor is more slanted to my taste than some of the other sit-coms on TV. The characters are nerdy, techie, Sci-fi geeks and the humor is more intelligent/science related. They could lose the laugh track though.

    Have a great day all! Sushi for lunch, then I’m dropping hubby off at the airport for another trip.

  49. I echo the suggestion Das made – the BBC’s Ripper Street is really good, especially since you like horror. Like Das, I am a fan of the Preston & Child Pendergast books. Just finished Two Graves and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  50. The only show I’ve watched since SGA is Grimm. You might like it, it’s a fairly good boadcast TV level horror story plus a bit of humor thrown in. Nothing like OUAT despite somewhat similar themes.

  51. PS – not sure if you ever go to Twitter (I remember your pups did) but there’s a poster by the name of @JeffLieber who posts “Showrunner rules” that makes me think of you. Examples of his tweets:

    Showrunner Rule #131: When interviewing 1st AD, make’m wait 20 minutes. Ask assistant to see how many times they check watch. If >10, hire!
    Showrunner Rule #118: When interviewing editor, sit behind them & talk to back of their head. It’s what 93% of your relationship will be.
    Showrunner rule #83: When interviewing script supervisor, drink water w/ 1 hand. As they leave, ask WHICH hand. If they know… hire!
    Showrunner Rule #147: When hiring DP, sit directly under a light. If <5 min before DP tips shade so that 1/2 your face is in shadow… hire.

  52. My favourite current:
    Justified – my: I can’t wait to see the next episode. Good writing, not too much violence.

    Banshee is a great show too, very violent and bloody and things seem to be coming to a head fairly early in the show’s run. If you haven’t seen it you might want to check it out.

    I’ve watched Archer, found myself laughing out loud, watching show after show, but after a while it becomes more of the same.

    Luther was a good show. I enjoyed watching it and would definitely recommend it.

    I really enjoyed Sherlock. Couldn’t get enough episodes fast enough. I’m anxiously awaiting for the next set of episodes.

    I got tired of Doughy Abbey after four episodes. I couldn’t watch any more.
    I didn’t care for Boardwalk Empire. Just not my type of show.

  53. While you don’t know me very well, you DO know me. And I say watch Sherlock. Then again, I also say NOT watching Sherlock is criminal.

  54. Archer is a must. Big Bang Theory is ok.
    I start a revival dvd run of Black Books, Spaced and IT-Crownd ( o boy is fun).

  55. BTW, Joe, if you didn’t like Oliphant in Deadwood, you might not like him in Justified.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Deadwood, but if I recall they are very similar characters. But then I think a lot of his characters are similar. I don’t think he’s quite as self righteous and hypocritical in Justified.

  56. Sherlock is amazing! Steve Moffat (Dr.Who show writer) has manage to keep the core of Doyle’s characters while brining them into the 21st century. Season 1 and 2 are addictive. There has been a delay on season 3 since Martin Freeman was busy being Biblo in the Hobbit. However, it should be back in 2014.

    Luther for me lost it’s way in season two which led me not to watch season 3. Brilliant premise but went a wee bit wayward in my opinion.

    Downtown Abbey is a typical British costume drama which was fantastic in season 1 and 2 and first Christmas special but with many of the actors in the series dropping out in season 3 I think this could be their swan song.

    Bought Grimm season 1 on a whim and found it surprisingly funny – good cast, characterisation and plots – a new twist on the hunting of supernaturals where the Grimms are the hunters who are hunted by reapers – very enjoyable.

    Still enjoy Doctor Who and Supernatural (got to love Dean Winchester) Plus Teen Wolf is so bad that it is actually good particularly Stiles and Derek – they make that show!

  57. Justified and even if you are not a fan timothy im sure you will find other characters to love, also Suits is a really good show:)

  58. Revenge? British Sherlock is Great, Elementary is Sherlock in vein of CSI (overused science; sorry that’s my opinion). Sherlock-esque: The Mentalist?

  59. Once Upon a Time is all the talent available in our age thrown full-commitment at an inherently corny premise. I loved the first season. That would have been a good conclusion, but there’s still more story. It’s just that you need the optimal story to make it work and they already did that. So, just planning on watching the first season would be hedging your bets.

    Do I need to even mention Doctor Who? That goes without saying.

    My first impression of Elementary was a gimmicky visual of a bondage threesome immediately after the Superbowl. I didn’t appreciate it being that greedy to go to such lengths to appeal to the assembled adult male audience while the rest of the country also happened to be assembled. So, it’s either disrespectfully gimmicky or really like that. No, thanks.

    There’s supposed to be a new Bible miniseries on the History Channel tonight. Now, I know THC has done a dismal job on the topic in the past, but they are rumored to have used a better crop of advisers this time around. There’ll be some inaccuracies like the wise men showing up too early because they tried to fit it all into ten hours, but it won’t be packed with smart-aleck academia straw-manning and smirking for an hour. I’m sure THC has one of those lined up, too, though.

  60. Sherlock. It is magnificent. Amazingly acted, well scored, flawless cinematography, excellent scripting…

  61. Out of the ones you presented I’d have to go with Sherlock first and then Justified. I actually think you’d like them.

    Then I’m gonna have to put in a vote for “Elementary,” the US version of Sherlock Holmes if you haven’t watched it already. I’ll refrain from doing an in depth explanation of why since I’d only fumble it. Safe to say that it’s a good show, with great characters and a female Watson that should be required study for people who try to write female characters. Strong, smart, capable. Not afraid to stand up to Sherlock. Honestly, the show is worth it for her alone, and when you add Sherlock to it and their interactions? Yea, it’s great. Well worth the time.

  62. Although I don’t mind suggesting anime sometime Joe, you and Akemi should watch Macross Frontier and Sword Art Online, both are fantastic shows, but both haven’t had a home video release outside of Japan. So you’d have to watch over the internet, or if your Japanese has progressed enough, import the Blu Rays.

    Sword Art Online certainly if you love fantasy shows, and Macross Frontier if you love Science fiction/drama/music anime shows.

    It also has an epic battle theme lol

  63. Start with Luther and Sherlock. I’ve seen them both and loved them. I think you would like them.

    I like Downton Abbey (still catching up on Season 2, haven’t seen Season 3 yet), but I ‘m not sure it’s for you. I think it will depend on whether or not you find the characters engaging. Definitely a Brit soap opera, but it moves along at a decent pace.

    Can’t comment on the rest. I’ve seen a few minutes of Archer. That was enough for me, but you might like it.

    The other day (or week) you also asked for limited run anime suggestions. Have you seen SpeedGrapher? Very dark, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. 24 episodes, . Jyo-Oh-Sei (Planet of the Beast King). Cheesy title but a pretty good story. 11 episodes. On the lighter side there is Soul Eater. Rather silly, but fun. A bit longer at 51 episodes. All of them have the virtue of an actual ending.

  64. I often don’t find cause to make a comment because I have nothing to contribute, but THIS is something I can talk about.

    Sherlock is incredible and definitely my first pick. Steven Moffat’s greatest enjoyment in life is blowing people’s minds with his writing and in this he doesn’t disappoint. The only downside for me is that the character Sherlock resembles Matt Smith’s Doctor a tad too much. Ah well, it still puts me at the edge of my seat.

    Californication is a guilty pleasure. You know you shouldn’t enjoy watching it but you really do. That said I think there are two types of fans for this show, those that love it and those that hate it. I think this one comes down to a personal opinion.

    My third opinion rests with Downton Abbey. A great period drama filled with all of the right amounts of love, lust, death and scandal… or perhaps a bit too much death. Still, highly recommended.

  65. I agree with the Doctor Who recommendations, tho I prefer the Matt Smith eps the best, just love his energy and he’s so damn charming.

    @Carl Binder: phrasing.

  66. Joe,
    Californacation,and one which you did not mention but i beleive you will like is
    “Longmire”…..Robert taylor,Katee Sackhoff, and Lou diamond phillips.

  67. I hear a lot about Downton Abbey, seems it’s pretty good storytelling. Sherlock is great. Elementary is another good show.

    Arrow is fun to watch – nice story, great stunts, love the actors.

    Supernatural – Didn’t like the first season, got a lot better afterwards.

    NCIS – The original one – great writing, witty, amazing actors. Started to watch it during the 6th season, watched every episode from the start one summer. Love the banter between the characters.

    If you don’t mind watching some french series, there’s 19-2 on Radio-Canada that’s really amazing. Oh, and “Dans une galaxie près de chez-vous” Earth dying, trying to find a new planet for 6 million de tatas, lots of humour, yet a lot of stuff to make us think.

  68. Just echoing other people – I really, really enjoyed the BBC Sherlock and I didn’t think I would. I kept putting it off and putting it off. Then I watched it and was hooked. My husband and I have rewatched the 6 episodes a dozen times over.

    None of the others I know much about. Have you ever tried Dexter? That was another show that surprised me. I don’t usually go for Showtime’s ilk, but this one has me shelling out every season so I can watch it first run. I’ve found it to be an incredibly well put together show and Michael Hall blows my mind (once Dexter is finished, I really hope he gets picked up by mainstream tv/movies. He’s got a really phenomenal screen presence).

  69. I see others have recommended Elementary. I resisted watching at first because I was very opposed to a female Watson. One of the things I love most about Sherlock is his bromance [for lack of a better word] with Watson. Add a female element and you risk screwing up that traditional relationship with lovey dovey smoochie face stuff. Ugh.

    However, my in-laws (huge Brit-everything fans, including all things Sherlock) love the show, and they basically intimidated me into watching it. So I did. I didn’t love it at first, but I also didn’t hate it. The more I’ve watched, the more I have enjoyed it, and I do think that for the first time in a while I’ve found a show that I’m actually starting to look forward to each week. I like Sherlock’s quirkiness, even though I would say that this is the least Sherlockian of all the Holmes movies/tv shows in the past. Judge for yourself if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.

    das

  70. Joe, I found this while looking up some things about Elementary. It’s a commentary about why Holmes and Watson should never hook up, and since you’re working on a female-centric story I thought maybe you would get something from this. I have to say that I agree with the analysis, and it’s probably why I dislike most female characters so much – because of the role they really end up playing. They can never truly be equals or their own person if their whole existence always depends on who they’re sleeping with at that moment. Here’s the meat of the article:

    It feels desperately important to me that Watson and Sherlock in their male-female incarnations never take on a romantic angle for reasons that are hard to articulate but hey, that’s my job, so here they are as syllogistic treatise if you will:

    1. It’s very rare that a platonic female character appears in any kind of “buddy” genre TV or film. If there are two friends who stay friends all the way to the end, 99.9 percent of the time they are either both male or both female.

    2. If a female friend is introduced, it’s insinuated that she wants some kind of romantic reward in exchange for her friendship. That, or narrative romantic urges complicate the relationship until it’s untenable. (Dawson’s Creek theme playing in anyone’s head right now?)

    3. This has the effect of keeping female characters largely relegated to B stories, appearing as two-dimensional trophies and villains, and implying that males and females cannot have satisfying longterm platonic relationships.

    4. Without cultural models or acknowledgement of a reality where women can be platonic friends, tacit permission is given in the real world for sexualizing any co-ed interaction and therefore keeping professional venues male-only. Encouraging male coworkers on some level to feel more comfortable with the guys, encouraging female students to feel more valued when they are sexualized, etc. This breeds a general distrust and alienation between the sexes and a closing of ranks against members of the opposite sex trying to network within “gendered” industries.

    5. Thus half the human population is kept out of the best and most exciting storylines on and off screen.

    When a man and woman can lock eyes like that and it’s not presumed they’re making sloppy, violent love in their off hours, then it will truly be a more perfect world.

    http://www.tv.com/news/elementary-details-review-why-watson-and-sherlock-can-never-hook-up-30628/

    This is a huge problem I’m having withCastle right now. Ever since Castle and Beckett have ‘hooked up’ it’s never felt (to me) like her conquest, but his, and that weakens her character, imho. It’s the assumption that every male/female relationship MUST end in sex to be fulfilling that irks the crap out of me. As a woman who has had many platonic male friendships throughout life without a single one ending up in bed, I take issue with the notion that sex is the be all and end all of a male/female friendship.

    I suppose that’s why so far I’m liking Elementary, while at the same time holding my breath they don’t screw it up (literally and figuratively) with romance.

    das

  71. Justified is pretty damn good. Tim does a great turn as Raylan Givens and is different enough from his Deadwood role you won;t be distracted and should be well inducted into the cult by the second episode. A super strong supporting cast through the seasons helps and Walton Goggins is just tremendous as his nemesis.

    Luther is tight and raw and Idris is just a stand out so it’s kinda worth it just for him alone, but the stories are actually pretty engaging and it’s not as depressingly dark as shows like Homeland and Walking Dead.

    You might want to try out House of Cards (Kevin Stacy) which is understandably doing quite well. If you know going in that it’s going to be slick and a twee hip (4th wall is broken with his first person monologues to the viewer) the remaining story is brisk and gratifying. (And Robin Wright is gorgeous and noteworthy in this, I’d not be surprised if she gets put in for an Emmy) I’d say it’s one of the few that really does have me jumping right into the next episode as soon as I can. It’s SorkinLite!

    I’d also recommend Ripper Street from BBC if you can get it. (BBC America shows it here) if you like well paced, well-executed period crime drama. Think CSI in the late 1800’s London.

  72. @Das: Monk didn’t hook up the lead with the assistant but you’re right most of the shows do. Agree with you about Castle but then I’ve always felt it was bit silly. I just watch it for Nathan Fillon, he rocks. Have you seen Rizallo and Isles? That show beats all for silly. The leads were good in other shows, so it must be the writing.

  73. Sherlock: If you could write David Hewlitt’s character as an OCD Brit, you might enjoy this show. ;D

    Justified: Just coolness. You’ll love it.

    Archer: Hilariously filthy and some gorgeous animation work to boot.

  74. We like Downton Abbey, but given a choice between it and Sherlock, I would pick Sherlock hands down. Have to admit I have never watched any of the others you listed.

  75. Since I’m late to the party(like always on the weekends), I’m sure I’m just repeating others before me, but here are my choices:

    Sherlock. Period. Unbelievably brilliant. Completely cerebral. Entirely entertaining.

    Top Gear UK. Avoid the American version like the plague. You’re welcome. (For a great couple of episode recommendations, I’d select the most recent:S19-Ep.4, then S16-Ep. 2, S15-Ep. 4, S14-Ep. 2, S11-Ep. 1, S9-Ep. 6, S9-Ep. 3. Watch ANY of these episodes and you’ll be hooked, instantly.)

    Like you, I’d really like to start watching Luther and I love Idris Elba, I just need to start from the beginning. Downton Abbey……too many people like it and LOVE it. In the past, when a show is THAT popular, it’s a little slow and overly easy to understand(everything is spelled out and there’s nowhere for the viewer to “participate” mentally), for my likes. Either that or it just plain sucks and everybody SAYS they like it so they can be part of the “club”. Honestly, at least half the popular things in America wouldn’t BE popular if it weren’t for people saying they like something just because the “cool person” in their life likes it.

    I’ve mentioned it before and I’m trying to stay with Continuum, but it’s starting to slow down a bit, long-term-story-arc wise. I guess that’s what happens when you have a limited number of antagonists that you start to kill off one per episode. Slow down, work some paradox’s, send another person from a “changed” future…. There’s plenty of time to do some great stories here.

    -Mike A.

  76. A relative “forced” Archer on me, I really had no interest in watching it. Boy was I wrong about the show! It is HILLARIOUS. Definitely worth watching all of the old episodes.

  77. Archer is BRILLIANT. I love that show. It’s vulgar and uncouth, but hilarious and incredibly smart.

    Please, please do not watch Girls. I am incredibly upset by the popularity of that show.

  78. I’ll echo what most people said: Sherlock. Brilliantly done. And only 6 episodes to watch to be completely caught up.

    I’m also a huge fan of Justified. Boyd Crowder is one of the most interesting, complex, and enjoyable villans ever.

    I adore Downton Abbey. I’m not a fan of soaps but I enjoy it as a period piece and as a look at a slice of life I’ll never experience. Above all, Maggie Smith is AWESOME.

    FWIW – I also agree that Falling Skies and Suits are gripping. Well worth checking out.

  79. Big Bang Theory ! Hands down winner. awesome writing and characters, perfect for us nerds. Falling Skies so far has been good, not as tightly written in my opinion as The Walking Dead, but a reasonable WD substitute. I don’t do period dramas…period. I started watching Continuum but fell by the wayside after episode 6, Revolution…Revolting, laughably so.
    Well thats my humble input. Not enough good stuff out there, get your skates on sir, your audience awaits:)

    1. Don’t watch Walking Dead, but Falling Skies is one of my Must See TV! Love it Love it Love it and Colin Cunningham is excellent as Pope. Highly recommend it.

  80. Archer is hilarious! Definitely a must see. My elections for TV shows for you would be Elementary ( a re-imanging of Sherlock Holmes starring Johnnie Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Watson), honestly it’s pretty good, and Face Off on the Syfy Channel (a show about make-up artists competing in challenges not unlike Top Chef), it’s really incredible to watch some of the things they do and really helpful for figuring out ways to do make-ups for TV shows on a budget.

  81. Sherlock has to be the best of this list, CBS should be ashame to put out Elementary when we have this show around. The episodes are like mini movies on it’s on, more episodes are coming…unfortunatelly since the actors are now movie stars (Cumberbatch will be awesome in Start Trek Into Darkness watch his performance),the writers and creators are busy with Doctor Who and it’s made in the UK we can’t expect many more. Watch the awesome first episode of Season 2. Archer is hilarious! I only discovered it this season by accident, didn’t need online reviews to get me hooked.

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