So this is the first of a series of suggestive posts, not because they are provocative in the sexual sense (well, one or two of them have plenty of that) but because I’m attempting to point you in the right direction for entertainment.
Note: I do the majority of my TV watching via Netflix, the b/f’s DVR, the web, and by buying series on DVD. I don’t have cable. This also means I do most of my viewing in the winter, as I’d rather be out and about in the warmer months.
1) Sherlock, BBC (2009-currently airing)
I’m sure you will soon notice that I’m a bit of a fan of the stuff they’re rolling out at the BBC, mainly because it’s good stuff.
Why should you be watching Sherlock? well, if Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the titular character (and will be playing Smaug in The Hobbit before you know it) isn’t enough for you, how about that it’s clever, well -written, and suspenseful while not being over the head of most viewers. Also, they’ve thus far released 2 seasons of three 1.5 hour episodes, so it won’t be hard to catch it all. Just take my word for it, and do it, Season 1 is on Netflix.
2) Game of Thrones HBO, (2010-currently airing)
As if you haven’t heard from everyone who is anyone how deliciously awesome this show is, I’m going to tell you again. This isn’t your run of the mill HBO show, nor is it a simple Legend of the Seeker popcorn fantasy. This show is on par with Lord of the Rings without all the figuring out new species and knowing other languages. The story is gripping, the writing is superb, and the acting is pretty darn good. If you thought The Tudors or The Borgias was good, this will make you forget those two ever existed with its awesomeness.
If you don’t believe me, just watch the opening credits to the show and tell me you aren’t amazed. No, really. Anyway, you only have until April to catch up on the show because that is when the new season comes out and it’s going to be GOOD!
3) America: The Story of Us History (2009)
This is a documentary about American History. I know what you are thinking, but it’s not boring in the slightest and tells a historically accurate story of American development from Colonization all the way up into modern history.
If teaching my classes about basic American History (when they are in college, mind you) because they apparently missed out on it in the public education system says anything, it’s that you will probably be amazed by all the fun and interesting things this series brings to light. It’s entertaining but also informative and in the least will give you plenty to say at dinner conversations. Fact of the matter is, if I were supreme ruler of the universe everyone in the US would have to watch this to get a sense of the American identity.
The entire series is available on Netflix.
4) Big Bang Theory NBC (2008-currently airing)
So, were I to tell you that a sitcom about 4 physicists and a cute girl next door was one of the funniest things on television, would you be inclined to believe me? Fact of the matter is, smart people can be very very funny. The show is not just likeable but loveable and is again a great way to learn things. All kinds of math/science/geek references abound, but don’t worry it’s not going to be over your head, there’s still plenty of potty humor.
As a bonus it stars the little boy from Roseanne which means that not only is he still alive, but he was able to find work. Bonus bonus for having an Indian guy in the main four of the cast.
5) Firefly Fox (2000)
Maybe you’re like me and you think that any show that has such a cultish fanbase as this one is probably awful (just look at glee) but that’s apparently not always the case. I avoided watching this show when it was on Fox and when it was on as a rerun because of that premise. However, when it showed up in my Netflix suggestions and my friends wouldn’t stop hounding me about it, I finally gave in. Hell, you can watch all that there is in a day (which consequently, I ended up doing).
This show is good in that popcorn sort of way where you’re just entertained. Nathan Fillion (who went on to do Castle) is pretty fantastic, and it’s not like any of the casting sucks. All the characters are drawn from stock and it provides something akin to a live action version of Cowboy Bebop as they are both Space Westerns involving some illicit trade and intrigue. By the end you will also want to stab whatever Fox exec cancelled the show at Episode 2.
Available on Netflix, as is Serenity the movie that attempts to tie up all the lose ends.
6) Castle CBS (2008-currently airing)
Speaking of Nathan Fillion, he’s got a new gig now where he kinda sorta gets to play himself. He’s a goofy and cooky guy that also happens to be a writer of mysteries who gets assigned to a detective so he can both help solve cases and do research for new works.
Yes, admittedly this is some more popcorn watching but is great for if you are trying to relax after a stressful day. The show is very cooky and they keep the episodes interesting and it comes off like a less scientific CSI meets a detective show meets a sitcom. You know, the trifecta. Don’t take my word for it, just watch it.
7) Cold Case
This show was actually in every way the best of the CSI spinoffs and it sadly became a cold case after a not as long as I would have liked run. What was so cool about this particular show? Each episode was set in a different time period and hod costuming and interplay between back when the murder occurred and now. As a bonus there was a soundtrack from the time period. Delicious, like time traveling each and every week. Just because it has been canned doesn’t mean you can’t watch it.
I’m not going to lie, you’ve probably already seen this show and loved it and are currently a huge fan of all the wonderful stock characters because they were so artfully chosen and the cases are entertaining. If not, watch the show and report back with all that I just said.
9) Being Human
If you’re going to have to put up with the nonsense that there are vampires and werewolves in the universe, at least make sure they don’t sparkle. This show is dark, that kind of sinister funny that I can appreciate and really plays to the tween and thirtysomething crowd and I’m OK with that. It has some interest, some intrigue, and some hott main characters, which makes me wonder why this didn’t originally air on the WB, but that’s a side story. Less sex, violence, gore and naked Anna Paquin than True Blood but I’m OK with that.
First season available on Netflix.
10) The Incredible X-Men
The 90’s had some good cartoons that kids and adults could watch together and enjoy, and this is one of them. If you remotely like the X-men, which I believe that we all should because Stan Lee’s characters are so relatable, then this is the X-men animated show to watch. The end. If you want a fun intro into the world of the X-Men, this will get you there, the show gets pretty steep into the comic lines including the Dark Phoenix Saga, The Rise of the Sentinels, Savage Lands, Genoa, the alternate future that includes Bishop and Forge, the romantic triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey and everything in between.
Available on Netflix
11) Batman: The Animated Series
This might be the single best animated show that the United States has ever produced, ok scratch the might and move on. The animation style is striking in its future retro motifs and the writing is Emmy winning. The score is orchestral, and true to form the subject matter is only comical if it involves the Joker. Don’t bother trying to Netflix this show, just buy the show, it’s available in a boxed set that is totally worth the money in every way.
No, really, just buy it already.
12) Boston Public
Ridiculous, this show watches like a cross between Glee and Criminal Minds, if you don’t believe me then watch it and tell me what you would compare it to. A little dark, a lot demented, and every bit sensational this show will entertain you. Will it educate you? No more than Desperate Housewives but you will continue to watch it for the same reason you watch that show or House M.D. because you just want to see what they are going to do next. Also Fivish Finkel is an amazing actor and should have been in more prominent roles throughout his career Picket Fences just wasn’t enough. Also, Jeri Ryan, and other really really attractive teachers that never would have cut it at your high school.
13) The Twilight Zone
Watch this show and discover what every single writer ever since it went off air has been ripping off for twists or creepy endings. Also, this show is just about as much a classic as Hitchcock:Mystery and is pretty much the primordial ooze from which creative television writing comes. Fact of the matter is, this show is timeless, seminal, and all the more creepy in black and white. If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks to buy the huge boxed set, catch it on SyFy for NYE, they air 48 hours of episodes.
14) Warehouse 13
SyFy Channel’s first independent series is popcorn fun akin to a cross between Indiana Jones and a modern sitcom. Bring in your sense of adventure, find out about cooky artifacts, and fall into this popcorn entertainment. What? it’s no worse than Harry Potter and you all watched that.
That’s all for now, I will periodically add to this list as I discover strange new things, so check back or feel free to make suggestions.