Sorry I’ve been away… actually I’ve just been on the couch.
I’ve watched a lot of TV lately; Older shows on Netflix and new shows and stuff from over seas. I’ve previously posted my favorite Brit shows & you can find that here. So now this is the first part of my TV mega post in 5 parts. (Sort of a 5 by 5 + 5)
My top ten favorite shows in 5 categories. Animated, Basic Cable, Pay Cable, New Shows & Best Shows Ever. First 4 with only current shows and the last with my all-time faves.
When I was a kid TV kind of sucked. The ads were the best thing on. If you wanted good stories and good acting you had to go to the movies. There would be these extraordinary moments when a TV show or miniseries was surprisingly good but they were few and far between. In my estimation, this all changed with The Sopranos. With that show, HBO would help establish television as an artistic medium and not just a commercial enterprise.
Here are my Top 10 Favorite (current) Pay Cable Shows:
Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
I’ve grouped these together because I’m loving the Showtime addiction group of series. These are 3 fantastic shows w/ beautiful & talented lead actors and stories with which I can identify personally.
In Californication the gorgeous David Duchovny plays the writer/sex-addict Hank Moody to perfection. Writer? Sex-addict? Remind you of anyone? I may not be much of a writer lately but I still am a world-class sex-addict. fun funny smart sexy show with a great soundtrack.
In Weeds the beautiful Mary Louise Parker plays the widowed mother of 2 (then 3) who becomes a weed dealer to pay her bills but gets addicted to it. Addicted to danger? check. I used to get myself into sticky situations just to see if I could talk my way out, fight my way out, fuck my way out, etc. Do not try this at home. Most danger addicts end up dead. Fact.
In Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco plays the drug addicted E.R. Nurse in this immensely enjoyable comedy. Drug addict? check.
But it’s her sidekick the infinitely enjoyable Merritt Wever as her trainee that steals the show from the moment she walks on-screen.
True Blood (HBO)
Both of these shows are no more than bisexual soft-core splatter porn. But oh so good and so sexy.
I am a True Blood addict. I wanted to be Sookie early on. She got all the hot vampires. They wanted her for her blood or something and they’re all magically lusting after her and if that’s not a sexy fantasy then what is. Later we find out that she’s half faerie (Hey so am I!)
This season I want to be Jessica…
or have Jessica…
Spartacus breaks the rule of my list a bit. It is actually three different Starz miniseries. Blood & Sand, Vengeance & Gods of the Arena. All with the same basic premise. Insanely buff guys with amazing bodies wrestling & fighting with swords and making love to slave girls and Roman noblewomen (and each other), while being hunted by Roman soldiers or forced to fight in the arena wearing nothing but loincloths and… uh… uh… oh… um, I’ll be back after a little nap.
There’s a new Spartacus series coming next year; War of the Damned.
The Borgias (Showtime)
Real Time w/ Bill Maher (HBO)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
You might ask, why would you put these three shows together? and I may answer, I was stretching to look for associations and I stumbled on to one: Religion.
Religion does not come off well in any of these shows. Ok that’s stretching a lot and a bit forced but, you know… you asked.
The Borgias, created, largely written & often directed by Neil Jordan, has great performances by Jeremy Irons & a beautiful cast of younger Borgia (most notably Lucrezia Borgia played wonderfully by Holiday Grainger) & famous figures from the period and is packed with drama & intrigue and politics & religion and sex & violence in a historical context. It’s a great show.
Real Time w/ Bill Maher (not shown) also features an outstanding performance by its talented lead as well as drama, intrigue, politics, religion, sex & violence but in a more recent historical context. It’s a talk show but it is consistently good.
Game of Thrones takes all those elements but places them into a fictional world with Dragons, Zombies, Magic & Epic Battles that must be watched over & over & over again. If Game of Thrones maintains the level of excellence, that it has for the first two seasons, for the rest of the series, it will end its run as the best show in television history.
I really like Game of Thrones.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Both of these shows are direct descendants from the Sopranos legacy of the bad guy as protagonist. In Dexter, the hero (played my Michael C. Hall) is a serial killer & vigilante who is completely out of his mind and obsessed with blood. In Boardwalk Empire the main character played by Steve Buscemi, is a corrupt politician tied to bootlegging & organized crime who is not above murder himself. Yet we root for them. A testament to great writing and great acting.
Boardwalk Empire also features amazing performances from its other cast members
Especially Kelly MacDonald who is fantastic as Margaret
and Michael K Williams as Chalky White.
Dexter is pretty much carried by its lead actor, and Michael C. Hall is sensational. My only problem early on was that the other characters were so clueless. But I guess that’s necessary because otherwise they would realize that they’ve been working with a serial killer/vigilante this whole time. In much the same way that Clark Kent’s co-workers never worked out that he was the man of steel.
Every season features amazing guest actors and super villains from John Lithgow to Jimmy Smits to Edward James Olmos to Julia Stiles. Dexter is a lot like a comic book where the superheroes’ power is his ability to make people disappear.
In conclusion, HBO & Showtime are doing great work. You can catch up on most of these with Netflix or Hulu or pirating but I wouldn’t recommend watching on a small monitor… or with the lights on.
Next Time: New Shows. My top ten favorites from this year (or last year [depending on which side of the equator you’re on]) Shows that are returning for a second season in 2012-13.
Meet you on the couch,