This is Good TV Tuesday (A One-Off Post, Not a Series)

I had lunch with my agent, Meg, Saturday, just because we hadn’t seen each other in such a long time.  Also, I love Meg.  We caught up about kids and general social stuff and then got started on TV.  Like me, she is cordless, getting her moving pictures from Amazon and Netflix and other streamers, and we got started on that “Have you seen this?” thing you do when you talk about TV.  What really surprised me is that I hadn’t seen any of hers and she hadn’t seen any of mine.  I thought we were soulmates.  What happened?

Meg’s picks were deeper and more serious, more emotional that mine.  She went for The Americans, The Good Wife, Homeland, (I know they’re good, I just can’t face drama right now)and The Detectorist (Toby Jones!).  I’m sure those are all great, but right now I want escape, not More Bad News.  So I pitched my usuals: Leverage, Life on Mars (UK version only, do not watch on Hulu), Galavant, and Person of Interest.  I figured iZombie and Legends of Tomorrow would be a bridge too far, as probably would Legion and Limitless.  Looking at the two lists, I realized that I’ve been avoiding reality, or at least realistic TV, but given that the greatest reality show of all time is unspooling right now in real life (Michael Cohen’s third mystery client is Sean Hannity; I defy you to think of a reveal this good on fictional TV, probably excepting the end of the first season of The Good Place.), I’m getting enough realism thanks.  Give me compentence porn in capers, time travel, singing serfs, and okay, PoI is not exactly a laff riot, but that community is so good, I escape there anyway.

We both agreed that we’ll have to binge The Good Place as soon as possible, so that might be a place where we’ll meet.  Then she leaned back and said, “This really is the Golden Age of television,” and I had to agree.  The storytelling on the tube right now is amazing.

So I know we missed a lot of good stuff–neither one of us watches enough to keep up-to-date plus no cable so we miss a lot–so what else is out there that’s good?  Don’t worry about us sneering at your picks; remember I’m the big Legends of Tomorrow fan.  Also, this is not a new weekly series.  It’s all I can do to keep up with four now.  

So whatcha watchin’?

203 thoughts on “This is Good TV Tuesday (A One-Off Post, Not a Series)

  1. I’m hooked on Upstart Crow. It’s Shakespeare by way of Blackadder, and written by Ben Elton. I love the cast, I geek out on the Shakespearean references, and I just adore Susannah, Shakespeare’s teenage daughter.

      1. In Australia (Melbourne) it’s on ABC Tv on Friday at about 9.30pm, or on iView. It’s so much fun.

  2. So for people who haven’t heard me enthuse before:

    Leverage: Five seasons about five con artists and thieves who steal from the bad to help the good. One of the best pilot episodes I’ve ever seen and extremely high quality for the majority of the episodes. Wonderful team show that becomes a family. Great cast, great writing.

    Person of Interest: Began as a case-of-the-week slight SF show about a computer genius and an ex CIA agent who find out the social security numbers of people about to be involved in murders and go to the rescue. The two-person operation develops into a team that becomes a family, and the slightly SF aspect becomes a I-think-this-might-be-real look at the use of AI to surveil the populace and the dangers therein. Great cast, great writing.

    Life on Mars (UK version): This is a ten-year-old series that you have to get on DVD because Hulu cut the hell out of the episodes (not that I’m bitter). It’s about a cop in 2007 who gets hit by car and wakes up in the sexist, racist, homophobic seventies working under the most sexist, racist, homophobic boss who somehow becomes his partner and–I still don’t understand this myself–admirable in his own way. Sam Tyler doesn’t know if he’s lost his mind, dead, hallucinating or actually back in the 70s, and the two seasons it takes him to figure out (sort of) are just superb. Great cast, great writing.

    Galavant: It’s Fairy Tale Musical Farce. I’ve seen some of the episodes half a dozen times and I still laugh. Half hour episodes packed full of songs and absurd characters and ridiculous situation and wonderful romantic gestures along with great friendships (the hero helps his erstwhile antagonist out on a date by singing the encouraging “Maybe You Won’t Die Alone”). Great cast, great writing, surprisingly great music (well, it’s by Alan Mencken, so yeah.)

    Legion: I’ve got the general gist of this, but frankly, I don’t think the writers can describe it exactly. The hero is a young man who’s been institutionalized several times for schizophrenia, who one day discovers that his problem may be that he’s an extremely powerful mutant (think X-Men) but nobody remembered to tell him. Bad guys in suits are after him, so it’s action-packed but it’s also trippy as hell because David and reality have only a passing acquaintance. It’s visually stunning, so much so that you almost don’t care that the plot is confusing as hell (which is because we’re experiencing the events through David’s eyes and that’s what he sees). Incredible visuals, great cast, I think the writing is really good but I actually don’t care. Also it has Aubrey Plaza in it as one of the weirdest characters and nobody does weird like Plaza.

    Limitless: I still have to watch the last episodes of this because I stopped, depressed because it had been cancelled, and it’s SO GOOD. Based on a Bradley Cooper movie of the same name, this is what happens after the movie. In the movie, Cooper’s character is given a pill that makes him super-intelligent, which sends a lot of bad guys after him because whoever takes the pills is incredibly powerful. The character in the movie is a complete dickhead, doing one horrible thing after another, and since I don’t like Bradley Cooper much, the movie was real turn-off for me. Fortunately, I watched the TV pilot first. The hero in the TV show is a slacker but he’s charming and funny and vulnerable, and I really wanted him to win, so when he gets the pill and starts working for the FBI as a consultant, the good times roll. You can understand why everybody at the bureau wants to slap him, but at the same time, they like him. He’s a fuck-up, but he’s such a sunny, friendly, kind, funny fuck-up, you want him around. Bonus: Cooper’s character from the movie comes back, now a powerful senator, and becomes one of the antagonist, and Cooper is great at being characters I loathe; he practically oils his way across the floor here. I STILL can’t believe the stupid network cancelled this and Agent Carter. Idiots. Oh, yeah, great writing, great cast.

    iZombie: Liv, the perfect woman (beautiful, smart, med student, engaged to gorgeous hunk named Major Lilywhite) gets scratched by a zombie the one night she stops studying to go to a party. Now her glossy brown hair is white, and she’s alone because she can’t tell anybody what happened. She quits med school and goes to work at a morgue because it’s a good supply of brains; the only drawback is that she takes on the memories and the personality of the brain she eats. Shortly after getting the job, the ME says, “I know you’re a zombie;” he’s in the morgue because he got canned from the CDC for warning about the approaching zombie apocalypse; this is the wonderful Ravi, and I love the fact that he and Liv are close but with no romantic attachment because we need more of that. Then a murder victim shows up in the morgue and Liv eats her brain and tells the police detective who comes to the morgue for information things she couldn’t possibly have told from the post mortem, so they tell Clive (that’s the detective) that she’s psychic. He takes her on as a consultant, they solve the murder, and that’s just the pilot. It’s another community show, funny as hell, with a great cast and great writing, although this is another writing team (like the Legends writers) that has no shame. There are major turns in the plot, the show constantly evolves, it’s great writing and a great cast.

    I have more, but those are my top picks at the moment.

    1. Love iZombie (team Ravi!!!) and Limitless was so underrated. I feel you on your pain with that one.

      I highly recommend Detectorists – it’s funny and sweet and warm. Gentle is how I described it to my friend.

      I love Riverdale, although I’m not sure I’d be allowed in that town, as I’m A) pretty sure it’s set in an altverse, and B) there’s definitely some beauty test to get in. I’m a fan of the comics from childhood, and am team Bughead. Archie is pretty but dumber than a really stupid rock (sorry, rocks). However, his mum is Molly Ringwald, so there’s that. It’s soapy, silly and completely over the top.

      Back – this is David Mitchell and Robert Webb and horribly funny and cutting and vicious.

      Speaking of Vicious, I highly recommend the gay sitcom, Vicious, starring Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Derek Jacobi. It’s very deliberately old school. Hilarious, and has a lot of heart. Your mileage may vary with such things, but they are so spot on as an old pair of over the top, bitchy queens that clearly love each other, it’s perfect.

      People of Earth. I love this show. So worth watching and it’s much more than it might seem. I’m super happy there’s another season coming. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is a journalist who infiltrates a support group of alien abductees. Bonus – have fun on YouTube after you’ve seen a few episodes for the trailers and teasers. Lovely stuff.

      Misfits -first three series. A group of young offenders on community service are caught in a weird storm and end up with powers.

      If you can find it, an old Australian show called Sea Change, where a lawyer’s life implodes and takes a job as magistrate at a little sea side town. (it’s super old, though).

      Mr Robot is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while, and am very partial to Better Call Saul, too.

      If anyone likes panel shows, I recommend QI, Only Connect and Would I Lie to You.

      Now I’m going to have to check out Upstart Crow properly. I love David Mitchell.

      Oh…and just a couple of recommendations… Garth Marenghi, and Toast of London. They will not be to everyone’s taste, but worth checking out.

      Okay, I’m going to do some work now as I’m ashamed I know a lot of shows.

      1. Ooh! S1 of Sea Change was great. There was something weird about S2 that put me off. Did they do away with the guy? Diver? Or something…

        1. I tried to show a friend of mine PoE, but we only got about 5-10 minutes in before he was dissing it and muttering and claiming – erroneously – he knew what it was about and it was just cliched.

          So I turned it off.

          Let him miss out on a wonderful show full of wonderful and realised characters.

          I’m cruel like that.

      2. Upstart Crow is David Mitchell? Oh, yeah, I think I heard about that! I love David Mitchell, too. I really enjoyed That Mitchell and Webb Look; I got all of the seasons of Peep Show (but was disappointed that it was a “slice of life” type show, instead of a “moving toward a happier ending” show). Well, there are two recs (so far) for Upstart Crow. I’ve got to see if it’s on DVD!

        1. If you love David Mitchell, then check out Back (mitchell & webb), I think by the guy who wrote Peep Show. It’s about a guy (David) who’s Dad died and his apparent short term foster brother returns and everything just goes wrong.

          And…Soapbox (on YouTube), and Would I Lie to You.

          David Mitchell’s wife has a great quiz show, Only Connect, that’s on YouTube. It’s the most difficult (and very lateral) quiz I have ever seen. I love it. I am lucky if I get one question!

          1. Yay! I love Victoria, but haven’t seen her much except as a guest on QI. I will also check out Back — that’s got Webb in it, too, doesn’t it?

            I’ve been watching Travel Man/Gadget Man clips on YouTube, and oh, boy, Richard Aoyade. Love him very much, too — he’s on Deborah’s The IT Crowd. He and Webb did a segment on Christmas villages, where they did “The Little Drummer Boy” in front of some carollers. “Do you want to be Bing or Bowie?” LOL.

        2. Yes, Robert Webb is in Back. And it’s well worth a watch. I’m hoping for a second series.

          If you haven’t seen Only Connect, please give it a go. The only thing is I can never really pick a team to go for as everyone is just so bloody nice! The QI Elves were a team a couple of years back, too.

          Love Travel Man. Richard is hilarious. And I think my favourite was when he went to Moscow with Greg Davies. Cat. Circus.

        1. No, they are not. There are 14 episodes, that comprises of two series and two specials.

          There are ways to watch, nefariously.

          The only issue I had was when I introduced it to a gay married couple I know, one screamed at me “you’re our Violet!”

          I’m still not sure how to take that.

          But I’m glad you also adore it.

      3. +1 for Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and then Man to Man with Dean Learner for more of it. It’s kinda like 80s horror cheaply done with the pretentious author in the lead role. Ridiculously funny.

        Garth Marenghi: You know, my books are all essentially about ‘what ifs’. In Black Fang I asked: What if a rat could drive a bus? And what if it and its rat brethren took over and ate Parliament? When I wrote, directed and starred in tonight’s episode of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, I was asking another ‘what if’. Now, I won’t tell you which ‘what if’ it is, but it’s basically along the same lines but with a different animal. Without giving too much away, think Planet of The Apes.

    2. Limitless is actually based on a really good book by Alan Glynn. The original title was the Dark Fields, I think. I’ve not seen the TV series and only liked the first half of the movie. Then it went Hollywood.

      1. The series has a completely different vibe because of the central character which I chalk up to the actor playing him. I based Rab in the Nita book on him.

        1. I did not like Limitless the movie because Bradley Cooper is such a dick. But Brian on TV is adorable. And a crafter!

          You should see the end if you can, it really ended well.

          1. That’s what I’m hoping. I loved that show. To see it cancelled after one season was just awful.
            I’ll start from the beginning just to enjoy the whole thing again. It had so many twists that were just wonderful, and Brian was always such a joy, the dumbass.

        2. I think the character was so well written, and the actor was great in the role. Brian could have been annoying and obnoxious, but he wasn’t.

  3. …small voice…Is it ok to say Lucifer here?

    It’s gotten better and bettter since the pilot and really uses the ensemble cast well. The murder stuff is just a frame(and usually played for laughs) for all the mythic interactions.

    The Magicians is another highly entertaining ensemble show but you do need a high level of tolerance for millennial angst and attitudes. Plus there’s a musical episode each season!

    The Good Place. Ethics education as a sitcom-who knew!

    The Handmaids Tale. I have to force myself to watch it but it’s really brilliantly done. Harlots on Hulu as well.

    I’m also watching the first season of Supergirl and enjoying it quite a bit.

    The remake of Howards End is fantastic so far. And also Outlander on Starz. I can’t watch all the good stuff that’s available either.

    1. It’s okay to say anything here. I thought the show improved radically and I love the characters.

      1. It started when I hated the Lucifer pilot because of the TERRIBLE writing (loved the cast) and I fumed about it on here and talked about how I’d change it, and then that led to more changes and that led to the Nita book. It’s not based on it at all. I think the only thing left over is that Nita is a cop and there’s a drive-by shooting that starts the plot.

        1. Yes, I read your takedown of the pilot and that’s why I wasn’t sure you wanted to hear about it again. 🙂

          But it’s really become a quality show and one I look forward to.

          I’ve been cautious about reading your Nita excerpts because I’d really like to buy the book and read it that way so I didn’t know how much influence was still there from Lucifer.

          I’ll have to bookmark this post. So many great recommendations already,

          1. Oh, I’m ready to hear about anything except possibly what’s happening in DC. Even that has the awful fascination of one of those painful comedy shows. I laughed out loud at the news yesterday (Sean Hannity?) and thought, “This is going to make a great movie if we survive it.”

        2. If Tom Ellis could voice Nick I would die, swooning. The best thing about doing a part on the show was being on a side set listening to him noodle the piano with a song he was writing.

          1. I like Tom Ellis a lot, but I can’t see him as Nick. There’s an eagerness about him that comes through in everything he does. It’s charming, but not right for Nick.

    2. Love The Magicians SO MUCH! That’s a show that’s just gotten better and better… (and I unconditionally love it, while I have a love/hate relationship with the books – this is notable since it’s ALWAYS the other way around…)

      1. It has really improved, hasn’t it? This last season was sooo good. I appreciate that no matter how insane the plot gets the focus is always on the character interactions. And they mix up those interactions quite a bit. Julia and Fen teaming up was a surprise and a real highlight. Quentin and Eliot in “A Day in the Life” was a winner as well.

  4. Imposters – Season 1 on Netflix, season 2 just started on Bravo – Leverage light, but fun.

    Death in Paradise on Netflix. 6 seasons of light hearted cop show mystery in, well, Paradise! (Plus British TV is the best!)

    Granite Flats on Netflix – from Brigham Young TV of all places, but a really terrific series about some 11 year olds in the early 60s. Parker Posey was in season 3 which is really all you need to know.

    Totally intensely serious but SO GOOD – Bosch on Amazon Prime.

    1. I loved Death in Paradise right up to the big twist in Season Three (?) and then I had to regroup. It’s on Netflix, so I’ll got back and try it again.

      1. I’ve realised that I’m good with that twist – I think that episode gave due weight to the character. I’m … trying to work out how to talk about later stuff without spoilers, and I can’t. Just that I had more of a problem with another twist, even though I think I wasn’t meant to because it was a happy one.

        But I still love Death in Paradise. It’s one of my go-to shows, and I’ve just finished watching all of season 7 in rapid succession.

        1. I want a little resolution/continuing info on twist #2. Did it work out?? They shouldn’t leave me hanging!

          Where did you find season 7? Do you have a VPN or other access to the BBC?

          1. I’m in Australia and it’s just come out on DVD. Death in Paradise is one series where I go old-school and buy on DVD, because I tend to rewatch it so often.

    2. I keep nearly dropping out of ‘Death in Paradise’, but it’s an hour of sunshine in grey Britain – usually first shown in the winter, too – and I really watch it for that, I think.

      1. I liked the fish-out-of-water stuff. It’s not Great TV but it was a comfort watch. I watched the first seasons and then the season after the transition and that’s all there was at the time so I stopped.
        Wow, I just looked that up on Wikipedia and found what that next transition was. Also it’s been renewed so it’s on its eighth season now? I must have stopped after four. Have to go back and catch up. That level of tension is about what I can deal with now (aka none).

  5. Big yes to Leverage, Person of Interest, the Good Place, and iZombie.

    Recent favourites I turn to as a distraction from real life:

    Brooklyn Nine Nine: highly entertaining cop comedy. I was dubious of this one since I was not an Andy Samberg fan, but Samberg and the rest of the cast are a great ensemble perhaps especially Andre Brauer whose deadpan humour is amazing. Also, there are all kinds of high jinx but the cops are still incredibly competent at their jobs.

    New Girl: Again, I was dubious since I was imaging a manic pixie dream girl centered show. But the cast is amazing and the characters on the show amuse me to no end. They’re heightened versions of people you might know and the humour just gets better as is goes. Look out for the recurring Thanksgiving episodes.

    Please Like Me: An Australian comedy series that may be the best thing I’ve seen in a decade. About a group of early 20 something friends trying – and often failing – to figure out their lives. The ongoing storyline related to the main character’s mother’s mental illness, including repeated suicide attempts, is incredibly well done and manages to achieve a fine balance of emotional truth and deep humour.

    Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Another Australian show. Case of the week format with well crafted murder mysteries and a heavy dose of early 20th century feminism. Miss Fisher is unrepentant when is comes to having a satisfying sex life even though it’s socially unacceptable given the era. And the slow build romance between the lead and a police captain is so good. There is a mountain of mutual respect as the foundation that is so very attractive. And Miss Fisher’s wardrobe is to die for.

    1. Please Like Me!!! I love that show. The characters are sometimes not at all likeable, but there are such real moments in it, and it’s funny and able to make me cry.

      I’ve seen a few of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I also loved Rake (Australian, not American remake).

    2. I re-watched a lot of Miss Fisher recently. Phryne and Jack are fun, but there are times you want to yell at them to just make out already. Dot, Miss Fisher’s companion/assistant, is actually one of my favorite parts of the show – fantastic character arc from nervous maid to assistant private detective. Very excited they’re going to make a movie. The crowd funding campaign apparently went well.

      1. Well, Jack was married for a lot of the first season, as I recall. After his wife left, I don’t know what was keeping them apart. It was annoying, but that’s standard for a lot of slow moving TV shows. So annoying.

        1. I think what kept them apart was that Phryne was scared of what Jack meant to her. Remember, this is the woman who hasn’t taken anything seriously since 1918, and her feelings for Jack are most definitely serious. She was just running scared. Accepting Jack meant giving up all of her defenses and all of her ability to pretend that her life didn’t mean anything and that everything could be taken away in a heartbeat and she wasn’t ready for that. His war wounds might have healed but hers, and the scars of what happened after the war, hadn’t.

          1. Also, I think Jack was being cautious about it all. He knows that Phryne is going to throw herself into dangerous situations, and live an adventurous life, and while he doesn’t want her to change he is aware that being with her is going to keep him on tenterhooks and sometimes scare him silly.

      2. I keep meaning to go back and watch more of Miss Fisher than the first few episodes I saw, and catch up on the rest of Leverage (I think I watched the first 3 or 4 seasons on Netflix and loved it). Thanks for the reminder.

    3. Love Miss Fischer and have recently started to read the books which are close enough to the show to have the same vibe but different enough to be a satisfying read

    4. I second the Brooklyn 9-9 recommendation. It’s my favorite show on tv. The ensemble is fantastic. I had to watch the opening of this week’s episode three times because it was so funny. I can’t believe it’s on the bubble.

  6. Zimmerman’s List: Again I say writing (and shows) about cooking can be great and cool ethnography too. As the visit to Branson, MO reveals.

  7. I really like a lot of the shows mentioned here. Actually found some new favorites based on previous discussions here (iZombie, POI). Happily saw other people from my tribe here that appreciated some gems I had already fallen for (Miss Fisher, Galavant, The Good Place).

    I am enjoying Supernatural- in it’s 13th season and managed to do a pretty cool, IMO, crossover with Scooby Doo. My other fave that I have not seen mentioned here is ‘This is Us’. I think the shifting time story-telling may not be to everyone’s liking, but what drives me crazy is that all the media blitz for the show is how “it’ll get your cry on”. I feel like that sells the show short. Yes it is an emotional show, but at times it hits this perfect piece of humor in the middle of all the other stuff going on, and for times that I don’t want a show that is super heavy, it has some very uplifting moments.

    1. You should check out the ill-fated and short season of Constantine. They start getting into a few stories from the graphic novels. It’s not always great, but it’s a lot of fun and when it’s good it’s fantastic. And Matt Ryan is lovely.

      1. I did see the first season. It was really uneven, but Matt Ryan was terrific and when the series was good, it was great. I think it was another example of the showrunner/writers not getting a solid idea of the story before they started–I know it’s based on a comic series, but TV is a different beast–so it was all over the place in the beginning. Very pleased he’s going to be a regular on Legends next year.

    2. I watch Supernatural. After 13 seasons it feels like it might never end but they always pull out something sufficiently weird to keep me coming back. Scoobynatural might be the weirdest though.

        1. I saw the first season and liked it, and then never went back. The first season was gritty but really compelling.

          1. The next two seasons are worth it. There’s an amazing arc that I just love, but you may want to save it for a time down the road.

            The 4th (now I’ve forgotten if there’s a 5th) has it’s moments, but it does have the spectacular Joseph guilgin (sp?) In it, which is worth it.

      1. I still think you would like My Love From Another Star.

        It’s only 16 episodes (or 20?), so not a huge commitment. Also, it takes the first 15 minutes to understand where the setup is going. After the first 30 minutes, you have a good feel for the show.

        I loved that the heroine had many bad qualities and the show eventually made me love her without changing any of them. Instead, they use the lovely art of the reveal to add layers. Beautifully built. And I would watch it just to see his library. Beautiful. Very fun and uplifting.

        1. Or Healer? That had a different vibe, but great characters. Well told story with lots of fun. Love the heroine and her dad. Best morning coffee dance routine ever.

          Or Master’s Sun. Perfect and scary and romantic.

          City Hunter is a little on the super romance side, but I love it. Not the movie. The show with Lee Min-Ho. Lots of fluffy fun and drama angst.

          And maybe Goblin, but maybe not the bittersweet ending, but definitely the cinematography and the fun bromance. Best. Bromance. Ever.

        2. K Drama is definitely on my list, it’s just that my list is so long. I still haven’t finished the Legends season, or iZombie, or Legion, or even Limitless, which I loved. The list goes on . . . and I have this book to write. ARGH. But it’s definitely on the list.

      2. It’s funny: I watch all the DC superhero shows (Black Lightning is really good, but a very different vibe), but it’s now Legends I look forward to most, and I would never have predicted that! It’s got a great cast and heart and it’s not even remotely afraid to be goofy (I’ve just watched the penultimate episode of the season and it had a 4th wall-tottering scene that made me laugh so much!)

        I’ve stuck through Arrow with all it’s ups and downs, but the current season is really hard to find any enjoyment out of, while The Flash has picked up quality this year.

        1. I gave up on Arrow and The Flash, but Legends is such pure pleasure I can’t quit it.
          Maybe this weekend I’ll binge the rest of this season. I love that damn show.

  8. I’m watching Ru Paul’s Drag Season 10 as the first season where I watch every week. I caught some of marathon of old seasons plus All-Stars and feel slightly caught up. Lately I’ve been depressed and need something to both cheer me up and make me cry a little. These people are fearless, fun, and have overcome some prejudice and hardship to be their trueselves.
    then I watch political late night– daily show, full frontal, the rundown with Robin Thede. Sometimes it gets too much, but I enjoy these shows and the people on them.
    Thanks for the reccomendations! I will consider what else I should watch now!

  9. Imposters is soooo good, so seconding that vote. It’s about a con artist who married three people to swindle them and the trio (2 guys and 1 girl) partner up to track them down and end up getting sucked in to the con life. Very clever and twisty and fun.

    And Killing Eve on the BBC is amazing. It just started so there’s only two episodes so far, but it’s a procedural featuring Sandra Oh as a very quirky woman who is asked to join an M1-6 task force to track down a female assassin. It sounds dark and depressing but it’s actually surprisingly playful. It’s so character-driven and humorous and there’s a lot of great feminist commentary and framing, esp w/r/t workplace politics so far.

  10. Grace and Frankie is currently my binge-watch. Only just recently discovered it so I’ve got 4 seasons to get through (yay!) Loving the zinger one-liners.

    Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are two women whose husbands decide, that after 20 years of being in love, they’re leaving their wives for each other…

    Sam Waterstone and Martin Sheen are the husbands, which is a giggle in itself.

    1. That’s on my list and a friend told me I’d love it, so I think I need to make time for it even if it has to be one episode a day before work.

      1. I only saw the first season, I think, but I thought it was terrific (and so did Meg, I forgot that was the one we agreed on). And I love the oldest daughter, I used her as the starting point for Keres.

        1. One of the things I love about the shows progression is how they give the oldest daughter moments of softness and affection, and the younger daughter becomes a lot more spine of steal/ cut throat on occasion. They’re both great arcs.

    2. I watched the first episode at a friend’s and loved it, but I only have Freeview and it’s not on there. Maybe she’ll need me to cat-sit again, and I can binge.

  11. Between all the books I’ve been reading and work, this season the TV watching has dropped down to SHIELD, Legends of Tomorrow, and iZombie, all of which I love. Unfortunately, only Legends has been renewed so far, which makes me nervous.

    Legends has completely embraced the crazy, and I can’t wait for Constantine to join the time traveling fun next season. Where there will apparently be demons for them to fight. Season 1 was rough, but once the team turned to protecting history and got better antagonists, it became my favorite superhero show. The undead soldiers during the Civil War and the second Old West episode are major highlights. This season, Helen of Troy landed in studio era Hollywood, so that was fun.

    I lasted through the cross over with Flash this year, and then I lost interest. That has become a Netflix show for me. Arrow is down to me reading recaps that look important so I know what’s going on when I watch the cross overs. Maybe I should give Supergirl a shot. I like Kara when she guest-stars.

    Jessica Jones is also really good. There’s a certain film noir vibe to it that really works, and Kristen Ritter is killing it as Jessica. Her reluctance to be a superhero is entirely reasonable and you just have to enjoy her unapologetic attitude. Also, and I don’t think this is stressed enough, she’s a really good detective. Super strength aside, she investigates and solves mysteries. It fills a hole Veronica Mars left for me.

    Question: has anyone watched Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix, and is it good? The premise and Sean Bean appeal to me, but I don’t know anyone who’s seen it.

    1. Constantine on Legends is going to be excellent. Matt Ryan is so good. I have to catch up/binge the end of the season. Love that show.
      I think iZombie will be back because it has such good buzz. It just started its second season, so I can see why they’re delaying renewing that and Legion.
      I’ll try Jessica Jones again. The first season was so brutal, I dropped out after two episodes, I think. Great TV, but I need comfort stuff right now.

      1. Yeah, that show isn’t comforting, although there are some funny moments. Due mostly to what comes out of Jessica’s mouth. For comfort, British mystery is the way to go. I finally watched the final season of Lewis. It was so relaxing. Hearing people talk about Death in Paradise here makes me want to go back to that, too.

  12. Last Man on Earth: a comedy about the last survivors of a huge plague. It sounds grim, and sometimes is, but it’s primarily a comedy. At least the first couple of seasons were very funny. I haven’t watched the latest ones. It’s dark because a lot of the comedy comes from how eccentric the characters are… and a lot of the reason for that is how traumatized they all are. But so funny. Hard to explain.

    1. I really loved the first two seasons of last man on earth, and then got distracted and stopped. I did enjoy it, though.

  13. I don’t watch enough TV. I feel like I’m missing out on some good stuff. I loved POI. Always recommend it to people, but most people are scared off by the zillion episodes.

    I am watching Louis Theroux documentaries I had saved. Not escapism, but always interesting. How the hell does he get his subjects to dig themselves into such deep holes?

    I recently caught an episode of an old favourite ‘Gavin and Stacey’ – a now finished show about love and family. Funny, lovely and great characters. Written by James Cordon and Ruth Jones, who also act as Gavin and Stacey’s besties.

  14. Someone recommended The Good Place during Good Book Thursday a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to start it. It is a wonderful show! I finished Season 1 in just a couple of days and now I’m planning to buy Season 2 from Amazon the next time I have time to really sit and pay attention.

    iZombie is another favorite of mine, hopefully it will be renewed.

    I’m trying Legends of Tomorrow. I haven’t been able to make it through episode 2 yet. I find it very easy to turn off, maybe I will try Legion instead. Knowing in advance that there is only one season may soften the blow.

    Thanks for all of the great recommendations – I have found many new authors and shows through you all!

    1. Legends of Tomorrow has a bad first season. Very bad. It has three excellent characters that are always worth watching, a few good other characters, the worst antagonist in the history of TV, and some truly horrible writing. HORRIBLE writing. I stuck around for Mick and Captain/Canary which was worth it, but I did a whole series of posts on how damn bad it was. Then over the summer, they did a major revamp, got rid of most of the annoying characters, rebooted Rip and the power structure, and decided that reality was overrated and so was logic. It’s almost Legion-like in its insanity now. You hit plot points and think, “Oh, hell, why not?” and go with it. Starting with season two, it’s just bananas. If you want to skip season one (although you’ll miss good stuff), I think I recapped all the episodes on here.
      Or just hit the “Legends of Tomorrow” tag in the cloud to the right. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the first one.

  15. House Hunters on HGTV and I like renovation shows but only if they are for half an hour long. Too much drama otherwise. Also This Old House, men with tools always appealing. Otherwise I can’t stay with a program for longer than three seasons. BBC on PBS programs The Detectorists, Vera, Shetland, etc. I didn’t care for Downton Abbey after the first episode and came back to it by the third season (just didn’t like Lady Mary such a snob) but PBS is showing it again on Sunday evenings so I’m catching up backwards. We watched the third season of Outlander but didn’t watch the second (didn’t care for France read the book so I knew what was happening). My husband has control of the clicker so I’ve been able to see five seconds of every program on every station there is. I’m looking forward to Claws on TNT this summer. It’s quirky but I like it.

    1. Also, what is with charging to watch an episode on Demand after you’ve already paid for cable?

      1. I actually think I know the answer to this: they only charge for On Demand if the show is on a channel you haven’t purchased. So if you don’t have the channel, and don’t want to upgrade, but really love the show, you can purchase just those episodes rather than paying for the upgrade.

        However, cable in general is a rip off, which is why we switched to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

  16. The Librarians! I havnt see. This season since I ditched my regular television service but I just found out there is a tnt app

    Likewise an hbo app. If anyone has it, can’t reccomend No1 Ladies detective agency highly enough

    1. Every time you lot talk about the librarians, I get excited and think you’re all talking about the Australian comedy set in a library. Called the librarians.

  17. Jenny, I’m in the same boat. I just want to escape. Everything needs a HEA or HFN. I can’t handle too much darkness.

    I luurrrve Killjoys. I’m on S2 and haven’t watched more yet. It’s a rocking show. Powerful female MC and supporting characters.

    Good characterisation (so far) and Thom Allison as the coolest bartender with a past. He’s totally replaced Star Trek’s Guinan as my favourite bartender. Killjoys is from the same folks that made Lost Girl. Which I never watched, but now want to.

    I caught half hour of ep one of Marvel’s Runaways. It took 30 minutes for a superpower to show up. Meh.

    I liked what I saw of Limitless but didn’t watch more.

    My escapist watching also tends to be Grand Designs, Amazing Spaces, Restoration Home (re-runs), and, sometimes House Hunters International. Lawks, how I wish I could build an eco-friendly house with found/salvaged and used items.

  18. One Strange Rock is interesting. Long though. I keep pausing, thinking it’s mostly over and we’re at the 1/2 way mark. My kids are ok with it. Not excited but not leaving either.

    Expedition Unknown – my daughter has a kind of crush on Josh Gates. She’s meh on his new show Legendary Locations and we won’t let her watch Destination Truth because she’s just getting over her fears of the dark and things that go bump in the night.

    Holiday Baking Challenge, Kids’ Baking Challenge, Master Chief Junior, Worst Cooks and American Ninja Warrior are stuff we DVR for the kids. I’m around when it’s on but not too involved.

    Beat Bobby Flay – I watch in hopes he loses. Plus Alex Guarnaschelli is sometimes on it and I really enjoy her.

    Secrets of the Dead on PBS.

    The Librarians on TNT is ok.

    We tried the Knights Templar thing on History? TNT? It’s really gory. And they’re mucking around with history/time lines enough to annoy me.

    We also do/did Curse of Oak Island. My husband was doing Curse of Civil War Gold but I couldn’t bring myself to care. He also likes Vikings and that Revolutionary War show – Turn?

    Doctor Who.

    1. I started to watch One Strange Rock, but got bored less than halfway through. The information was interesting, but boringly presented. It could have been so much better.

  19. Friday nights we collapse and watch only TV that makes us laugh: Schitt’s Creek, with the great Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy; Let’s Get Physical, a hilariously stupid show with Jane Seymour as the evil mother of an out-of-shape musician forced into an aerobics competition (although it recently took a dark turn and I’m not sure we’ll stick with it); Hollywood Darlings, about real-life former child stars playing exaggerated versions of themselves as grownups; and sometimes Teachers or Broad City. And then Rehab Addict, just because.

  20. The Good Fight. Christine Baranski. Margo Martindale just showed up. Love to watch her. Andrea Martin for comedy. Delroy Lindo. Second season. On W network. Fave TV show. Elementary and The Blacklist with husband. Most things British television. And some classics.

  21. DH and I are watching ER. We both watched more or less of it when it originally aired, but neither of us has seen the whole series front to back.

    We also just finished watching the three available seasons of The Librarians, so it’s been a Noah Wyle-fest chez nous. Really enjoy that series, it’s like a goofier version of Warehouse 13, which I also really enjoyed.

    DH watches a POS called “Blindspot” and I sit and mutter about the lazy writing as it plays. Did the same thing as he watched “Alias.” We watch “Star” mostly because of love for Queen Latifah.

    After ER I want to watch “Leverage” if only because Jenny loves it so much, but also I have a new appreciation for Christian Kane. And I am drawn to “The Americans” because I have a crush on Matthew Rhys after seeing “The Wine Show.”

    Waiting very impatiently for a new season of “Elementary.”

    1. If you like Kane in The Librarians, you’re going to adore him in Leverage. Also great: His stuff on Angel.

      1. I can’t remember where (maybe even here?) but someone said that Kane would make a great Wolverine. And now I just want to see that!

    2. The Americans is great. I personally fell off because of timing and having to wait for Amazon Prime, but it’s in the last season now, so I plan to start over and go through it all. The detail is really good; seeing the height of 1980s technology can be very entertaining. The espionage is great to watch, but it’s Phillip and Elizabeth’s relationship that sucks you in the most.

  22. Nikita is the third entry in my non-supernatural genre show trinity along with Leverage and Person of Interest. Complete with 5 seasons, all available on Netflix. In that PoI spun off into sci-fi stuffs, I’d say Nikita is better at being just the essence of the spy show, elevated by the fact that everyone keeps communicating with each other, so the plots can’t fall on cheap secrets, everyone protagonist and antagonist alike has to up their competence game to keep up with each other. The community building is top notch, too, with one of the core themes being how Nikita rejects the notion that relationships are weaknesses. Unlike the lone wolves of PoI or Arrow, she doesn’t try to push people away when threatened. And, the show actually has a few Leverage and PoI writers, hah.

    Dark Matter was on Syfy, is now on Netflix with three seasons, but unfortunately ends on a cliffhanger because they were cancelled by surprise. Follows a crew on a spaceship, in a world where corporatism controls everything. Really rough season 1, but really turns it around on the community building (better than Legends, even), and has some all-timers in the subsequent seasons.

    Doctor Who Series 10 was brilliant. Can’t wait for Thirteen’s run, but am kind of apprehensive, due to the showrunner changeover. Chibnall’s DW episodes are kind of meh, but he also did Broadchurch, but that means he’s probably not going to have much ambition on the sci-fi end, but he’s also going for a writer’s room instead of the usual freelance UK model, so it could work out if he gets some good voices.
    The entire Capaldi run was just amazing, though. Many of Moffat’s all-time best work.

    Otherwise, I’m actually recommending some anime!
    Sound! Euphonium is about the high school concert band life. Two seasons, complete, available for free viewing (with some ads) at Crunchyroll. Themes about artistic passion, and how people are socially performative, and the effects of social dynamics on creating art (music) in ensemble.
    Little Witch Academia is available on Netflix. There are two shorts, and then the show proper, but the two shorts are in a separate continuity. It’s the true spiritual successor to how Harry Potter’s early books prioritized that sense of wonder about magic, along with a neat underlying metaphor about the value of “lower-brow” art vs. “higher-brow” art.
    Steins;Gate is on Crunchyroll subtitled, but the dub is great (though you may not find it legally streaming online without paying). A thriller of a man who accidentally discovers time travel, and is desperately trying to use it to save the life of his friend, but fate seems determined to thwart him. And at the same time, a wonderful slow burn romance develops.
    Ping Pong The Animation is on Crunchyroll. One of the best examinations of the social dynamics of a competitive sports scene, how passion and humanity are both enhanced or repressed in order to play at one’s best.
    Yuri on Ice is on Crunchyroll. It was rightfully a bit of a sensation all over the world, as anime about professional ice-skating, featuring some landmark gay representation in the core couple.
    Kyousougiga is a good start for getting into the anime that diverge from traditional storytelling rhythms. It’s a story about family, of the tensions that arise as siblings realize the flaws in their parents and each other, with all of the emotions visually amplified and raised to apocalyptic stakes, as they live in a fantastic world. A similar show that’s bit more “grounded” would be The Eccentric Family.
    Arguably the best anime comedy is Nichijou, which doesn’t really have a story, but is just a series of comedy skits about the absurdities of normal daily life, amplified by our emotions about them. Unfortunately, Nichijou appears to only be legally available streaming on the Funimation site, which I’ve heard is free but doesn’t always work smoothly. But there are clips all over youtube and Dailymotion for your perusal.

    1. In regards to who, in with you about chibnall. I’d prefer them going classic who in regards to writing it (and script editor and runner are two different entities), but this might help Chris.

      Being a fan doesn’t mean you can write great doctor who.

      Looking forward to Jodie as 13. I’m on the fence with my beloved Peter capaldi as 12. I’m such a fan of his but he’s in the middle of my doctor hierarchy. At the top is Smith and Tom. But there’s room for all the doctors to be someone’s favourite. Which is nice, because I like them all.

      Mind you, I own the horns of Nimon, so…

      1. Having fallen in love with 12 so thoroughly (helped by the fact that I also adore Clara, Missy, and Bill loads), the Eleven episodes read so weirdly to me now. Despite Smith and Tennant being so praised for being able to portray old age in a young body at the time when they were the Doctor, they both came off a bit overblown and teen drama-ish when I rewatched DotD recently. Peter’s chemistry with Alex (and so the Doctor-River relationship) going off the charts didn’t help, either.
        It might be that where Moffat was working out his most ambitious sci-fi concepts with Eleven, he pivoted to working out his most ambitious character concepts with his Capaldi run. (Apparently, he was getting burned out at the end of Eleven’s run, but was reinvigorated when Peter was cast, which I suspect stemmed from Moffat falling in love with writing the War Doctor, which Twelve’s characterization in Series 8 somewhat follows from.)

        But that would bode well for Chibnall, if he decides to anchor his run in strong character arcs, instead of in his nostalgic view of DW as a vehicle for sci-fi fluff.

        1. I was never a fan of tennant’s doctor. I was sure Smith wouldn’t work. For me he had that magic and alien thing Tom has.

          But I know there are those who despise all different eras (and act like overgrown children).

          I think Peter C is the best actor to have played the doctor, but I don’t think he as the best actor in the role. This is, of course all very subjective. And I love hearing why someone loves another doctor.

          There are sublime episodes, though, and he was amazing in (I think it was) heaven sent.

          I adored Matt and Alex’s chemistry. But also loved Alex and Peter’s. Gosh, river is a bit of a marmite character for some!

          Have you dipped into big finish yet? I’m pretty sure Peter capaldi will end up doing 12 with them and I can’t wait to see what they do with him.

          I always like dear old sixie, but big finish have him some beautiful work and he’s now tired in second place favourite with pertwee for me.

          Everyone recommends 8’s audios, but I’m recommending sixie. Everything with Evelyn Smythe (she was lovely!) And The One Doctor which is hilarious and wonderful in all the right ways.

          If you dip into 8, I recommend the Lucie Miller stories, and especially, before you finish those, listening to An Earthly Child (Susan), a Lucie / Susan Christmas special, and then Lucie Miller, and To the Death. But before the last two, you need the two with the doctor’s granddaughter.

          1. Added bonus is you can walk/go to the gym/do mundane things like house work, listening to them.

            And there are a number that are very cheap on the big finish site.

          2. I loved Tennant’s Doctor. I loved the way he could go from playful to dangerous, I thought he and Rose were great together (big Rose fan), and the stuff with him and Simm as the Master was great. That said, it’s still Eccleston for me. Those scenes with Rose and Jack in “The Empty Child” were so insanely good, and that ending–“Just for once, everybody lives!” gets me every time. And the ending where he regenerates . . . that was a great kiss. Sigh. Loved Nine. That was a great pilot, too. I watched it because I’d heard so much about Doctor Who and it really wasn’t my thing based on the clips I’d seen of the older show and then about a minute into the pilot they had me. So. Good.

          3. Eccleston was awesome. I so wanted another season with him. The War Doctor hit a lot of points for me too so they’re my top 2 Doctors.

            Matt Smith is my least favorite Doctor. Most of the rest of them are sitting somewhere in between those 2 ends. 🙂

            I’m looking forward to the new season. I didn’t watch Broadchurch so I’m a bit nervous about it though. And I really dislike the previous of the new Doctor’s garb. Reminds me too much of Mork. Just no.

          1. God, yes. Skip Clara. I kept hoping she’d fall into a pit of lava or opt to stay behind somewhere.

          2. I adore Clara during Twelve’s tenure. And she arguably has the best companion arc of New Who, with Moffat doing a Take That to the horrible ending Donna got.
            Clara’s storyline informs much of how Capaldi plays The Doctor in Series Ten, in a good way.

            So I’m curious as to why she’s disliked in these parts. To me, outside of her Eleven days, Clara is defined by how she’s too similar to the Doctor. Her arc is overtly about her Doctorfication. She’s clever, she’s a little bit ruthless, she’s performative, she’s got that curiosity and drive to find the wondrous. And still, she’s got passion, compassion, and a heroic streak, pushing the Doctor to do better in response. What’s not to love?

            (In some aspects, we see Clara do more overtly Doctor things than we do River, whose most impressive feats are mostly left as Noodle Incidents)

          3. You might need to see some of the Clara time. They have an interesting dynamic. It’s either a love/hate for fans, though.

            I’d recommend Mummy on the Orient Express (good fun, plus Capaldi does a spot on Fourth Doctor impression), Flatline. (s8)

            S9 has a lot of Clara, but if you want to skip most of it, watch Face the Raven, and then Heaven Sent (brilliant and dark and pretty much a Capaldi stand alone).

            And the you get Bill in s10.

            I’d also recommend a bit of reading up before you get into the Bill season/series. The final two-parter is stellar.

          4. I thought Clara was great in the first one, with the Daleks, where she was making … omelets? I forget.
            I thought she was okay in the snowman Christmas special (loved the episode).
            Then she came on full time and she just annoyed the hell out of me. The last thing the Doctor needed was a manic pixie dream time anomaly.
            I have heard marvelous things about Bill but there’s a sad ending and I can’t face it right now. HAPPY THOUGHTS ONLY.

          5. Yeah, Clara does a HUGE turnaround once Twelve comes on. I much recommend.

            Technically, her blandness with Eleven was a part of the storyline (in that she and Eleven never really let their walls down with each other, and Clara is hella socially performative, but in a guarded way vs. Eleven using wild grandstanding as his misdirection, and Eleven was intentionally not paying attention to her as a person because Impossible Girl, which was wrong of him), but that doesn’t make it any more entertaining a watch. But from the very first episode with Twelve, that barrier gets torn down as a core part of the episode’s plot, and Clara gets a really interesting personality from there on.

            The Doylist explanation is that Moffat was getting burned out writing DW towards the end of Eleven’s run (especially with the huge production woes of series six), but he got a whole bunch of new inspiration once Capaldi was cast, and that would include rebooting the Doctor-Clara dynamic. (Likely from seeing how the War Doctor and Clara interacted in DotD)

      2. I will always have a passion for Nine, but he was my first doctor. And I loved Ten (break my heart, you bastard), and thought Eleven was a lot of fun (although Moffat can be so damn uneven; he’s either brilliant or all over the place, especially when he added Clara which is when I lost interest). Loved the anniversary special with the multiple doctors (and Clara, bleah), hated Eleven’s finale. I tried Twelve, and I do like Capaldi, but the writing didn’t seem to connect and I loathed Clara, so I just wandered off. Will definitely give the Thirteen a chance.

        But Nine, Ten, and Eleven (without Clara) will always be comfort views for me.

        1. Ha! “Nine was my first Doctor” I was just about to ask you that.

          I’m a life-long fan. I do not remember not seeing it, and I’m pretty sure my parents had it on their old black and white TV when I was days old. (Hey, I’m from country Australia. We had TWO TV channels growing up. TWO.) And things were on repeat so my Doctors get mixed up. But I do love them all.

          However Tom Baker was always my favourite. He was so weird, and alien and was the Doctor. As in the actor wasn’t really acting, he just was that weird. And Matt Smith has that.

          Unlike certain other Who fans, I like it when people say why one Doctor is their favourite and why. Each Doctor deserves love. They all hit the right note for a somewhat adjusted fan at some point. I’ve enjoyed every episode, even the bad ones (okay, okay, NOT Sleep No More. Gah), to some degree.

          Some like the more human doctors, and others prefer the alien doctors, and others like the pompous ones.

          I will say, 12 is excellent. As is Bill. I adore Bill as a character and the last two parter is fantastic.

          And I say that with 12 in my mid-range doctors. It’s a conundrum. If you can find it, I urge you to find The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written by Peter Davison (5), and is the utterly perfect 50th anniversary that the other one didn’t quite pull off.

          1. I say that nicely about your passion for nine. Lots of Who fans, insane and casual feel the same about the Time Lord who seduced them into that world.

            The thing I like if you’re not hardcore or even medium core, or…soft serve? then you can still dip in and have a taste of the show and still enjoy.

          2. Oh, absolutely. Clara is the reason I gave up. But I had a great time with Nine, Ten, and Eleven until we lost Amy and Rory. Great companions.

          3. I haven’t seen the Capaldi shows, but the all time worst was Love and Monsters. That was just . . . bleah.
            I loved the 50th anniversary (that’s the one with the War Doctor, right? And Queen Elizabeth?), but I also loved the Five Doctors if it’s what I think it was. The five who weren’t in the anniversary show trying to get in? The one with Olivia Coleman saying, “I’m not in it, and I’m in bloody everything”? I loved it.

          4. Dear Jenny – I am apparently abysmal at working out how to reply.

            BUT yes! Olivia Coleman (with third Doctor Jon Pertwee’s son at the beginning) is definitely The Five(ish) Doctors. And yes the 50th (I may or may have not had a party with Doctor Who food and non Who fans. They came for my food) was War Doctor and Liz 1.

            As a lifelong fan I adored the Fiveish Doctors. I mean, they got bloody everyone to take part, including Sir Ian!

            I am not that excited by Clara, but there have been worse. I think you’ll like Bill.

            Rory and Amy were the best. I like a full TARDIS crew

            Growing up on it where it’s part of your life, I think Eleven really made me feel that magic again, and I forgave episodes for all kinds of things. I knew Rory was important because I loved Rory and he made everything better and the pretty man was blah, possibly noble, but…Rory. Now he was perfectly imperfect.

          5. I wasn’t a fan of Rory–he was comic relief at best–until the Centurion stuff, and then he was just so amazingly wonderful that I became a huge Rory fan. Two thousand years he protected her. That’s love.

          1. Nine was perfect. Weird enough to be an alien, human enough to love Rose. And Ten picked up on that so beautifully. I love Ten’s first episode, the Christmas story, for a lot of reasons, but one of them was watching Rose realize he was still the Doctor she loved even though he looked completely different. There’s a moment in one of the shows where they’ve landed on a new planet and they’re walking across a field and Rose says, “What is this stuff?” and Ten says, “Apple grass,” and Rose says, “Of course. Apple grass,” and they both laugh like teenagers. So lovely.

            I should give a shout-out to Donna, too. Donna was fabulous, bitchy, snarky, active, loving, and platonic. Davies should have been shot for what he did to her at the end.

        2. Clara was making souffles.

          When you watch, skip Sleep No More (oh, Mark Gatiss, why??). The final ep with 13 ends up with a happy ending (his last Christmas special).

          Yep, 11 deserved a better last episode, but I do love his final speech in it.

          My favourite NuWho episode is The Doctor’s Wife. Such a wonderful love letter. And Idris!

  23. My husband and I jumped on the “Stranger Things” bandwagon during my pregnancy (when all I wanted to watch was Horror, for some reason).

    After I gave birth I couldn’t handle anything emotional or scary, though, so we haven’t seen the second season. Maybe this October – we REALLY loved the first season and need to catch up. I got so attached to Eleven and the boys. Check it out!

    If anyone is looking for a children’s recommendation: our morning breakfast/cartoon time is currently filled with Sofia the First (my daughter is obsessed). As a family, we are completely invested. We hum the tunes from favorite episodes at the grocery store. I heard my husband singing the genie song in the shower. We’re haunted by burning questions. Will Sofia grow up to marry Prince Hugo? Will Amber and James battle to rule the kingdom – and who will win? What’s Cedric going to do when he’s no longer hatching evil plots? *not to mention Clover the Rabbit is played by Wayne Brady, and he steals every episode he’s in.

    1. Well. My girls stopped watching Sofia lol these many moons ago, but perhaps I need to catch up.

    2. I agree with you on Wayne Brady stealing the show. But I was glad when my kids moved on.

      Have they worked all the other Disney Princesses into it? I know I saw some of them visit.

      1. They show up now and then. There’s an excellent Mulan episode where the princesses (Sofia, Amber and June) have to rescue the kings and princes.

  24. I’m starved for enjoyable fiction on TV. I have no tolerance for dark stuff at all, especially at the moment, which rules out almost everything. I do enjoy both Montalbano and The Young Montalbano, although they do have dark themes – being about murder and corruption – but two hours of Sicilian sunshine compensate.

    I haven’t yet watched the last four episodes of Endeavour, because it got too depressing. But the acting and the styling are both great.

    Loved Last Tango in Halifax. Also (but it’s a few years ago), Borgen – especially the first series.

    1. Endeavor was great, but yeah, dark.
      Super light: Galavant. So much fun.
      You know, Life on Mars isn’t really dark. It’s about a bunch of screwed up people trying to do the right thing. And it’s often really funny.
      The Matt Smith Doctor Who years are often funny. His pilot episode is terrific: “The Eleventh Hour.” Very uplifting.
      There’s always Python. I can watch the parrot sketch over and over.
      Oh, I know: Fawlty Towers. Especially the rat episode.

      1. There’s a sketch comedy called the elegant gentleman’s guide to knife fighting, but it might not be to your taste.

        Laugh out loud funny is the Australian show, no activity. It’s basically 2 detectives sitting on their car, editing for a busy to go down. It’s mostly a six hander. The detectives, dispatch ladies, the criminals.

        1. I think Youtube made Drunk History into a half-hour show. I don’t know if you’ve watched the web series but it’s excellent. The show gets random people completely drunk and makes them explain historical people/events. Their explanations are acted out by celebrities.

  25. My mum and dad visited last week to drop off a painting and I accidentally taught them how to binge on netflicks with the Good Place (it was supposed to be only the first 2 episodes….3 hours later mum was on episode 8 and dad had fallen asleep).

    Mum swore she didn’t have the attention span for binging but I suspect she’s now consumed the entire series 🙂

  26. I binged Alias 3 years ago when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I just needed to watch a kick-ass heroine take on the world. Also, it was probably the best I’ve seen from Bradley Cooper. I loved his character a lot.

    Eureka is always my happy place. I don’t know if it can be found anywhere but on DVD now, but I own them all. If I could move to a fictional place, it would be this smart, quirky little town full of misfit science nerds.

    I’m having surgery in 3 weeks, and I’m making a list of things to watch while I recuperate. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  27. The Great British Baking Show. Not story, I know. amateur bakers trying to win — I don’t even know what they win in the end. Just the title? Flowers? and a trophy maybe. Not the millions that people win on American shows. But they are all so nice to each other. I love that. They don’t want to be kicked off, but they don’t want their competition to be kicked off either.

    And then, when they get kicked off, they all say how wonderful all the other contestants are.

    I have no idea why I like it so much, except I miss England and it’s very English.

  28. Scrolling down the responses, I was delighted to see so many good Brit tv shows going down well across the Atlantic but I didn’t see the two series of “Unforgotten”. I have just finished rewatching series 2 on late night cable. It takes a common crime theme – the “cold case” and makes something really new and watchable. First, the senior investigator is female, yet doesn’t have: problems with male members of her team, alcohol, gambling, her father, student son. She just quietly and patiently gets on with the investigation. She (played by the wonderful Nicola Walker) is sort of Nemesis as, one by one, her persons of interest are forced to relive their various parts in the death being investigatED. Since the cases are very old (29 years in series 1), you get these brilliant older actors really inhabiting their roles: eg Tom Courtenay, in the interrogation scene that breaks the case open, gives what is pretty well a ten minute monologue. NC, in interview for the “Radio Times”, said he nailed it in one continuous take ! Each series is a kind of Greek Tragedy unfolding, with all the guilty punished and yet, where appropriate, catharsis and redemption. Very powerful, six part, TV. Do look out for it.

    1. Oh, I love Nicola walker. Have you watched River, yet? It’s Nicola walker and stellan skasgard.

  29. Ooh, and if anyone hasn’t seen it yet, watch Nailed It! on Netflix. It’s a baking show, and it’s hilarious. Our family binged on it once we found it, and my boys keep showing episodes of it to any of their friends who come around.

    It’s a baking show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Three contestants who are not, by any stretch, expert bakers are given two challenges to recreate decorated cakes and goodies for a chance to win $10,000. The results are… interesting. But no one’s mean, and the judging is quite kindly. The judges are fabulous, and I’d watch it for the host herself, who is gloriously over the top. One of my favourite moments is when the elderly judge in the first episode wanders off into the pantry and starts helping herself to the cookware.

    1. I’ve been strolling through seeing if someone would mention The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – without a doubt the best show of the year. This and The Good Place were absolute standouts for me.

    2. Yes, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

      Though I’ll admit it took me awhile to face the last episode (it should not have taken me that long, the lawyer in me blew it way out of proportion)

  30. I subscribed to Acorn tv for British shows and don’t watch much American shows, other than some that have already been mentioned. Acorn lost Vera (dark, but amazing) to Britbox, but they have The Heart Doctor (New Zealand show, I believe) and Brokenwood Mysteries (also NZ or Australia), and Murdoch Mysteries , and The Good Karma Hospital (sometimes a little sappy, but the Indian scenery is amazing), and I forget what else. I wouldn’t say any of them are GREAT (except Vera), but they’re solid and not dark. They also have Doc Martin (wonderful!) and George Gently (darker) and Kingdom (no, wait, that’s at Hulu, but really good, with Stephen Fry), and a bunch of older British shows for bingeing.

    1. I love the Brokenwood Mysteries. They’re my follow-up to Midsommer Mysteries and Lewis. Sue me, I like British cosy on TV. (Well, Brokenwood is NZ, but it feels the same.)

      1. I love the remakes they did a few years ago of all of the Agatha Christie mysteries. They got wonderful actors. Also, I wanted to love the new mystery series with the Anglican Priest (Granthom? Something?). Beautiful, but the mysteries fall a little flat for me. Fun though.

        1. I really liked the first season (Grantchester?) but the love interest made me want to slap her, and the previews for season two said she didn’t go away and it was going to get darker. The first season was great.

          1. I gave up on the second season for those reasons. I caught the odd glimpse and wondered whether it got better later on, but not willing to sit through the dark melodrama.

  31. We don’t watch much tv but a friend got us watching the Detectorists and we love it. I don’t think of it as bad stuff at all (of course we’re only thru season 1, so I don’t know). The show is hilariously funny and has a good heart. The writing is superb, as is the acting. Last time I fell in love with a show like this it was Foyle’s War.

    1. I tried to reply, but I’m on my phone and an idiot.

      Detectorists never gets dark. It’s lovely and funny and heartfelt. I love the entire interest group.

    2. Oh, Foyle’s War is great. I watched a preview for The Detectorists and it seemed a little sad.

      1. If you haven’t seen the British mini-series, Noryh amd South, you might live it. The writer was a contemporary of Jane Austin’s and the cast is perfect. It’s a great balance of dark with romantic – kind of a mix of something by Thomas Hardy (not my fav) and Pride and Prejudice. Just enough dark and light. Love the actors, especially the leading man. Wonderful story.

          1. It’s Mrs Gaskell. They did a great adaptation a while back; the book’s good, too. She lived in Manchester, at about the time Engels was studying the condition of the poor there.

          2. I don’t know Tom Hardy so can’t speak to that, but the North and South mini series is a good time. Richard Armitage. It’s on Netflix. When I recommend it to people, I usually describe it as Pride and Prejudice but with industrialization and some union politics.

          3. Katie’s description is more spot on – Pride and Prejudice with industrialization – It’s really good.

            I agree with the Thomas Hardy stance. Bleak!

  32. Too busy to watch lots of new things. I have just binged the comfort shows on fast forward. They all have subtitles:

    Casese Queen Pueda – Written by actress who stars in it. Love her. Fantastic story about a bride to be who finds out her groom is cheating on her when she is at her fitting. She gets drunk and ends up in the jungle in Mexico in her wedding gown. Love the message and it is so beautiful to watch. The beach and the jungles of Mexico are a great escape without leaving the couch. Also, the actress who plays her sister is truly her sister. Perfect movie.

    Road To Your Heart – A South African movie written by the lead actress in this film, too. In fact, the co-stars are married in real life, and are some of the prettiest people on the planet. Such a great romance between the entitled businessman whose dad has died and the free-spirited heart patient fulfilling her bucket list. Beautifully paced. Very bright and life affirming. Fun. Has a great emotional pull without being sad. The best scenery of South Africa.

    Master’s Sun – The most incredible horror-romantic comedy ever. So scary and funny and fun. Love the quirky characters – especially the marriage broker for the dead. The heroine is tormented by the ghosts she sees, but they vanish when she touches a rich self-obsessed business owner. Every time I watch, I marvel at the themes, especially how they handle the problems that come with using someone’s body for your own needs. So good. Lots of laughter and angst. It has a good mystery, too. I’ve rewatched the scene where the piano player tries to steal her to bring back his dead wife about a million times. So good!

    Goblin – I have rewatched some of the first episode for the sheer beauty and fun. Love the bromance between the goblin and the grim reaper. So fun to watch them as hostile roommates. Love the tragic circumstances of the heroine who cheats death. The first 15 minutes of the old country I can skip, but Canada with a magic Goblin? I could watch and rewatch infinitum. Love it until the end as it is bittersweet.

    99% of Something (or Anything – whichever is the new one) because it is the classic romance. It always amazing me that it slips up on me – the moment they are suddenly really in love vs. stuck with each other. It’s beautifully subtle and real. It’s about the rich heir to a fortune whose grandfather forces him to date a teacher. Neither knows how the grandfather put them together, and they fight the process most of the way (which is great). Typical story, but perfectly done. Fun to rewatch. Love them.

    Watched La Hipocondriaca on fast forward again because I love the set-up – beautiful hypochondriac is erroneously told by her new doctor that she is dying. He has to try and convince her to live vs. get sued and lose his clinic. Fun on fast forward, but too long and drags by the end. However, I could watch them dance on that boat to “Yo No Se Mañana” over and over. It’s just so full of life and promise. I would bottle that moment if I could.

    I am live watching My Husband Jae-Ok (I think that is the tittle). Good so far. Enough predictable to fun to keep me happy.

    1. Oh, I adore Goblin!! And the chemistry with all the characters, romantic or friendship, is just beautiful.

      1. I know – I could even just watch for the cinematography. The first episodes are a good comfort watch for me. I still wish the ending were less bittersweet and more sweet. I get it, but I still want to change it.

      1. Viki or DramaFever for free (or a low fee for no ads).

        Sometimes I find them on YouTube, but the video quality is awful on those. Netflix has some, but they happen to be ones I really dislike or think are just so-so (at least most of them).

        I think Hulu had some.

        Goblin is awesome, but tragic. But awesome. And not completely tragic. Worth watching.

  33. Love all the recommendations. Current scripted American TV shows for me are: Lucifer; Elementary and the last season of The Originals (when it returns). I also love Finding Your Roots (love me some Henry Louis Gates Jr.); Nova, Antiques Roadshow, pretty much any music performance. Check out Joe Bonamassa, Live at Carnegie Hall. I love other docs other I find on PBS.

    Most of my TV are Kdramas. Favorites are Goblin; Scarlet Heart:Ryeo; Just Between Lovers; Because This Is My First Life; Coffee Prince; Healer. I’m currently watching My Ahjussi. Some of these stories have had such an impact, when they’re over I think “what can follow that?”

    1. Thumbs up for Louis Gates Jr! Amd I love all the Korean shows you named (except for My Ajusshi because I haven’t seen it).

  34. Santa Clarita Diet – Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play realestate agents and there world changes when Drew Barrymore is turned into a zombie. Season 2 has just been released on Netflix. It’s got some gross moments but its really funny and full of heart as they try to come to terms with new reality while trying to find a cure and find the cause to save everyone else.

    Also The Good Place, Leverage, POI, Limitless etc.

    1. Totally agree with you on Santa Clarita Diet. I wasn’t going to try it based on the reviews but a friend recommended it so I gave it a try. Really enjoyed it although I was scared of how season 2 would end. Since it was good/hilarious, I am going to go back and watch them from a more relaxed, enjoy-the-humor and character interactions viewpoint.

  35. I’m with you on not being able to watch anything too dark. The closest to that I get is Elementary, NCIS, and Madame Secretary (which often cuts too close to home with the politics, but I love the entire cast and the family relationship dynamics are amazing).

    I love to escape to British shows, and just finished watching Doc Martin series 7 & 8, which I hadn’t realized had come out. I think I’m going to go back and watch them all from the beginning.

    I like Scorpion, which is a drama with humor about a team of geniuses, although I just watched the season finale and HATED the direction it went in (they broke up the team and I watched it for the team, dammit), so we’ll see.

    Love the Librarians, and some cooking shows like Beat Bobby Flay that someone mentioned.

    Tried the new Rosanne and almost threw up, so back to my search for good comedies. I am enjoying Young Sheldon, and still watch The Big Bang Theory although it is seriously flawed.

    Going back to finish Leverage, now that I’ve been reminded to. And there is an older British comedy called The IT Crowd which is my happy place.

  36. I just discovered Westworld. And I love Silicon Valley — such a great compilation of unique characters. I was afraid it would be like the Big Bang (I know people like it but I just can’t get into it) instead it was smart and funny and nuanced and surprisingly sweet. I also love this season’s Homeland.

    1. I got into BBT S1 but couldn’t get past the rest. Even with all my geek heroes showing up.

      1. Sure Thing, if you like geek heroes, definitely give Silicon Valley a try. Very clever, and the lead guy, Richard, is one of those heroes who fall forward. I didn’t think I’d identify with him, but I found myself cheering him on.

  37. I’ve been watching Republic of Doyle – comfort crime fighting tv about a bickering, loving family run detective agency, with a great sense of place (it’s set in Newfoundland). They drag the main romance arc, and some of the jokes feel dated/ written by a man, but overall it’s got characters you love who beat the bad guys, but in doing so screw up their own lives just enough that I have to watch the next episode to make sure my people are ok (they always are). I think what I love is how incredibly loyal this family is to each other, and how generous their definition of family is. They’re horrible at expressing emotions, but their actions show over and over again that they will always choose the people they care about.

  38. It’s been a rough winter for external and internal reasons, and my comfort watch is NCIS on Netflix, where the good guys are pretty good, and usually win. I also like Elementary, and Agents of SHIELD, although this season they were always on a space station in the dark and dystopian future, it felt very cramped, which is probably one of the points. I wanted adventure and flying cars.

  39. Like a lot have said, I like fun shows. My latest binges have been The Imposters, Grace & Frankie, and the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. All good fun.

    Also found a lot to like about a French show called “Lâcher Prise” about a single mom in her thirties who basically has a nervous breakdown. Sounds serious but is dealt with mostly in humour. Very interesting in many ways, but mostly I love the relationship between her and her mom that shows all the difficulties but also the unbreakable ties. Lâcher prise means letting go and that’s what the character needs to do–so typical of lots of us who get used to holding up everything and everyone around us, so exploring what happens when that go-to person gets to a breaking point and has to learn to let go is very interesting. Especially when getting back on her feet is shown to not be an easy, linear process but more a work-in-progress. I watched both seasons on a streaming app but not sure it shows outside Canada, though.

    Am also a fan of Househunters International and some Brit house shows. Aside from being fun, can also be pretty to watch. As is Marvelous Mrs. Maisel–really do a fab job with the look of that show:)

  40. I don’t see anyone recommending “Life” with Damian Lewis so I’m suggesting it. One of my favorite shows to re-watch. (Unfortunately it’s not on Netflix anymore.)

    Love the characters. Hilarious overall with great dialogue but not fluffy – deals with real life issues and serious topics. Good character development. Great relationship between the two main characters with chemistry but no sex, just growing respect and affection.

    It was cancelled after two seasons with some unanswered questions but the immediate dramas were all wrapped up in a satisfying way.

    1. Oh, I love that show. Damien Lewis and Sarah Shahi, just fabulous. And that killer of a finale. So, so, so good.

    2. I was just thinking of this yesterday – I am not attached to this car, I am not attached to this car….I am a little attached to this car.

    3. It was cancelled btw because it fell during the big writers’ strike and by the time the strike was over NBC sort of let season 2 fall by the wayside.

    4. Yay! I’m so glad you two have seen it and enjoyed it too! I haven’t met anyone else in real life who has watched it. :{ Love the finale too. And, Bridget, I’m always wanting to quote it to people but no one’s watched it so they don’t get the quotes.

      “You think you’ve hit rock bottom? You don’t even know what that means.”

  41. I love the Good Place, but a show that I 100% fell in love with this year is

    Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

    ABC, available on Demand, or get it on Amazon or iTunes

    Starring Jason Ritter (who has that lovely quality that his father did of just being fully affable) as a hot mess of a guy who moves into his sister’s home and finds out he’s been chosen to save the world.

    Sounds hokey, but it turns out it’s the nicest, cutest, funniest thing on tv and I love it! It’s the only show besides The Good Place that I’ll watch over and over again. Check it out!

  42. Most of my favorites have been mentioned, but I wanted to recommend The Expanse, on SyFy. It’s fascinating. Fairly dark, but with lots of things that make you laugh too. And while I don’t care about such things, it’s apparently VERY careful about the science of space and space travel.

    We also just rewatched two one-season wonders: The Middleman and Wonderfalls, both of which are whimsical, fun and a delight to watch. (Not sure where they’re available – we have the DVDs.)

    1. The Expanse is excellent! I got bored with the first episode first time around because it wasn’t what my brain thought it was going to be (sometimes it’s a dumb brain). But I finally went back and loved it all.

      I have the first three books so I need to start reading them.

      Humans is also excellent and stars the impossibly beautiful Gemma Chan as a sentient synth (synthetic human/robot/android).

      And no one has mentioned one of my all time favourites I dip into still…Fringe. Oh, how I love Walter.

    2. I love The Middleman. It took me a minute in the beginning because it’s so mannered and weird as hell, but once you pick up the rhythm, you can’t stop watching. I think the one with the giant trout was my fave.

      Now I want to watch them all again.

  43. I love lots of things already mentioned here (Leverage, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place) but I want to put in a late plug for some I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend–just started watching this and it’s GREAT. Musical comedy about a high-powered New York attorney who ditches a partnership to move to a small town in California to try to reconnect with an ex (so far that plan is failing HILARIOUSLY, but I’m only a few episodes in).

    White Collar–ridiculously hot con man recruited by FBI to help solve white collar crime. Some elements remind me of Leverage (team dynamic, competence porn, twisty plots), plus sometimes Matt Bomer is shirtless. 😱

    Chuck–maybe the opposite of competence porn? Haha. Well, it’s a fish-out-of-water story, a romance, and a spy show, but also set in a big box retail store, an ensemble comedy with action, and a community/team show with a huge focus on family. Like if Burn Notice were more lighthearted and had way more slapstick. Chuck has dropped out of Stanford and is working an unfulfilling retail job when his former roommate gets him entangled in spy stuff; the girl of his dreams shows up and pursues him, but isn’t what she seems (or is she?).

    Hmm, writing this really makes me want to go watch Chuck…

    I’ve also been watching Veep, which I like, but the characters are basically all awful people (kind of like on arrested development?) and the politics part is maybe a little too raw right now.


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