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24 March 2009 @ 10:44 am
Fishing for series recs  
On the subject of TV, does anyone want to throw out some suggestions for our TV night? We've been doing this for six or seven years now every Wednesday; it started out Movie Night and settled into DVD night instead. We just finished up Scrubs and Burn Notice, and have Being Human queued up for this week, but we are running a little short on shows.

Our habit is one longer drama and one shorter light subject. So far we have done:

Red Dwarf
DS9
Farscape
Adventures of Brisco County Jr
Veronica Mars
Scrubs
Life on Mars
(UK)
Doctor Who (9 and 10)
Avatar
The Wire
Burn Notice
Blackadder

ETA: Forgot Worst Jobs in History, fun Channel 4 Tony Robinson quasi-doc

I favor shows with likeable characters; I can forgive much else if I enjoy hanging with the people. It's nice if they avoid idiot plotting, and we don't have a lot of patience with the mediocre; the last seasons of Red Dwarf and Veronica Mars and the first season of Blackadder all got the hook due to quality issues. Heroes and Supernatural are right out, because hot men do not balance out racial and gender skank for me, and zdashamber is not a fan of Lost.

We are starting to consider nonfiction shows, old shows are just fine (note the Brisco County in that list), and anime is okay with me though I don't know if tersa and zdashamber are fans. I'm thinking of suggesting Ashes to Ashes, since we enjoyed Life on Mars, and Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt series and The Tick cartoon has come up. What else do people want to toss up as suggestions? I've heard good murmurs about Leverage, and Merlin enjoyed a brief vogue on my friends list a few months back (though there seemed to be somewhat of a "silly show, but fun" vibe.)

Pimp your show! Feel free to link this post to other people, if you want them to pimp shows too.

(temporary TV icon enabled, but I'll come up with something else later)
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Alix (Tersa): Arnold--contemplative (tersa)tersa on March 24th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
I started watching (the first 2 eps) of the BBC "Merlin" back around Christmas, and wouldn't mind continuing to watch that.

ebonlock rec'ed me another BBC show, "White Chapel", last night, which she described as a murder-mystery show set in modern day, but the murders seemed tied in with the Jack the Ripper murders (I have the DVD of eps).

I think I have all or most of "Leverage" on DVD already waiting for me to watch.

I think we're not short on dramas at all, it's the short fluffy stuff we're short on. :)
Scarlett Girl: Gen - ted - tv addict - a_galscarlettgirl on March 24th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
Leverage would be my rec. Its smart, fast and funny with a hint of angst that catches up with you. It snuck up on me how much I loved it.
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm willing to give Merlin a try, though mumblemutter warns that there may be some 'oh no they didn't' moments with the female characters. I think I'm going to suggest Leverage for our next drama after Being Human, though, it seems to have near universal approval.
Cyrano: Blipvertcyranocyrano on March 24th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I can't recall if anybody has already pooh poohed these, but they're all shows I'm considering watching.
Deadwood is probably too grim.
Queer as Folk might also be.
Six Feet Under
Arrested Development
The 4400
West Wing
House

That's all off hand. I should actually do some work.
Cyrano: Blipvertcyranocyrano on March 24th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Well. Farscape and DS9 are on my list too, but too bad on me.

Lie to Me has been okay thus far, but not so I'd stand up for it. Kind of like House, but with more corpses.
The one episode I saw of Weeds was funny.
How I Met Your Mother
Chuck
Invader Zim (I've seen this one)
Alias? I occasionally hear good things about this.
Highlander? See above.
Alix (Tersa): Arnold--contemplative (tersa)tersa on March 24th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I've heard okay things about Weeds, How I Met Your Mother, and Chuck, and wouldn't mind those. What little I've seen of Zim hasn't appealed to me.

I like Highlander and wouldn't mind running through the entire series, but I'm 'eh' about Alias. But, again, hour dramas aren't our shortcoming right now. :)


Edited at 2009-03-24 06:40 pm (UTC)
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
I wouldn totally rewatch Farscape, because I kind of adore the show, but I suspect once was enough for tersa. I enjoyed what I saw of Chuck, and definitely wouldn't object to it, and How I Met Your Mother seems to come up a lot in recs, so we can check it out, doesn't sound bad at all.

Arrested Development... I only saw one episode, and my main memory from it was how I despised pretty much everyone involved. House is wallpaper TV for me -- I don't mind watching it when someone turns it on, but I find it very repetitive.

Alias was a little too giant secret conspiracy for me, and I don't object to Zim or Highlander.
Loligololigo on March 24th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
I normally share your requirement for likeable characters, but Arrested Development regularly had me ROFL because it was just so absurd and the snark was just so fast and furious. And oddly enough, it almost never hit my (huge) embarrassment squick, because the characters are just SO SHAMELESS that they're never bothered by their often-embarrassing circumstances.
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
I'm not unalterably opposed to Deadwood, but there are a lot of things I'd queue ahead of it. Queer as Folk is kind of a classic, so I'd be cool with checking it out though I would vote for the UK version. I'd be most down with Seasons 1-4 of West Wing, but I truly hated the Wells version, so people would have to be willing to watch four and then stop. 4400 was okay, but not really good enough to make me want to watch again.
I DON'T LIKE ANGRY FUTURE ROMULANS: it makes my heart feel good!!bossymarmalade on March 24th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Twin Peaks
Homicide: Life on the Street (especially if y'all enjoyed The Wire)
Little Mosque on the Prairie
Futurama


I love them all!
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
James Nicoll has mentioned "Little Mosque on the Prairie". What's the skinny on it? Apart from presumably it's about a rural mosque :)

I quite liked H:LotS in the day, but I caught a couple of episodes on cable a year or so back and discovered it hasn't really aged that well, sadly.
I DON'T LIKE ANGRY FUTURE ROMULANS: broken your vow a thousand timesbossymarmalade on March 24th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
It's a Canadian show about a small town in Alberta (mostly prairie land) with a diverse population, including a large Muslim community. It's a light-hearted half-hour sitcom, but the subject matter's handled really well -- the show was created by Zarqa Nawaz, who's also done a documentary about women's relationships with the mosque.

In the first season some of the acting by the two young leads is a little ... Canadian ... but the rest of the cast is stellar. *g*
Alix (Tersa): Arnold--SHOES! (tersa)tersa on March 24th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
I've seen ads for "Little Mosque on the Prairie" watching hockey, and I would love to watch it for real. :) However, last time I checked, it wasn't available from Netflix and only available for purchase from amazon.ca at rather exorbitant prices (which may be better now that the Canadian dollar has fallen in value as compared to the US dollar).
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
There's a bunch of new copies of the season 1 set on Amazon for $20-ish with shipping currently, which isn't bad. Or I have confirmed that with my dark arts I can obtain episodes via other methods, if we wish to try that.

Plus while I was looking for that I found an article from "American Thinker" magazine explaining how the show was an vile slur on "Little House on the Prairie" because the muslim community were soft slackers who were merely living off the work of the noble white settlers who established the town, plus it was all an plot to infect Canada with images of non-evil Muslims.

Which all makes it sound quite attractive for watching to me :)
Kent: tv-Popularkent on March 24th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
Freaks & Geeks, and then Undeclared when you're through and want some more. (These are Apatow's high school and college years, before the 20/20-something slacker comedy period he's in now.) Boy do I miss those shows.

How I Met Your Mother is great, too. Arrested Development is superb!

Popular was quite subversive and funny, although it ends quite abruptly and has some uneven periods.
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm getting lots of _How I Met Your Mother_ recs. It sounded really gimmicky and 'how does this work beyond a season' from the concept, but I gather it has overcome that?
Kentkent on March 25th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
I think it works so well because the whole mystery over the mother's identity is somewhat secondary to the other strengths of the series, which are 1) the cast and characters really play off each other well, and 2) the show uses flashbacks and retelling events from different points of view a lot -- it's not just a one-off gimmick but a regular storytelling device. Also, I wasn't a huge fan of Dr. Horrible, but Neil Patrick Harris is excellent.
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on March 24th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
I am all over The Tick (animated or live, actually), thanks for remembering that one! Ashes to Ashes also.

I can't think of much stuff, though I've been considering for awhile. Not my forte. I was sort of thinking about suggesting that we spend part of the evening as a project night, quilting and talking or something.
Cyrano: Sudden but Inevitablecyranocyrano on March 24th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Bah! Talking!
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on March 24th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
In part, the thought came to me when I happened to walk by Silk Road Fabrics on Thursday and saw that they were having a sale, and I walked in, and they had the most gorgeous silk brocade in oriental patterns on sale, and I was like Waaaaaant but I need an excuse because I am all full up on fabric and I thought to myself I bet Cyrano would like this too because it could be gorgeous waitcoats or jackets what if we were to pretend that we would piece out these things and sew them up that would be so awesome
Cyrano: Queer Eyecyranocyrano on March 24th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
You are so full of coolness.
But see? That's not talking. That's making lovely things for me. Totally different. (:
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on March 24th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Well, technically, you'd be making your thing and I'd be making my thing. It would just be all inspiring to have to work on it at a set time. I guess we could communicate with semaphore whilst. We'd have the fabric for flags and all.
Cyrano: Hunny Potcyranocyrano on March 24th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've tried to go to craft nights and do my wordsmithing, but it's usually a great big failure. It's either my tragically poor multitasking or just that writing and being social overlap in the brain in a way that knitting or sewing or batiking or macrameing and being social do not.
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Hmm, should I download the early Tick cartoons, for this week?
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on March 24th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
I support this notion!
Elspethelspethdixon on March 24th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Cities of the Underworld. Crazy obessive guy with a video camera explores dangerous and possibly condemned tunnels under a variety of famous cities (Paris's sewers, the limestone caverns under Budapest, New York's abandoned subways stations, freaky underground tunnels in Edinborough, etc.). It's addictively entertaining, and little history lessons on where various underground things came from are included.

It's where we got the giant underground converter room under Grand Central from for the salt aliens fic.

Lonesome Dove and Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years (series one and series two of a Canadian-produced Western very, very loosely based on Larry McMurtry's novel - it's essentially the fanfiction future adventures of Newt Call and his slashy antagonist Civil-War-era-Tony Stark Clay Mosby). Series two is the best of the two, IMO, with an really likeable if slightly anachronistic female gunsmith, but both of them are fun Westerns - and LD: TOY is the only tv western other than Deadwood that I've ever seen have a Chinese recurring character (okay, he runs an opium den, but it's at least an acknowledgement that Chinese immigrants existed). Warning for dead girlfriend/wife angst on the part of both leads.

And in the "so bad it's good" category:
Dante's Cove. Possibly the worst gay supernatural-themed soap opera ever filmed (actually, it's probably the only gay supernatural-themed soap opera, but if there were two dozen of them, this show would probably still be the worst). It's like Dark Shadows, if Dark Shadows starred a bunch of gay porn stars and had a script drafted by badfic writers. And included full frontal nudity and semi-explicit sex.
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Cities of the Underworld sounds interesting! We've done docs before, Worst Jobs in History, which I need to add to that list up there.
Seth Adam Sherdjfanboy on March 24th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
recommendations:

Charlie Jade (south africa) - one season wonder
The West Wing (US) - six great seasons, one iffy (fifth)
The Tripods (UK) - 25 eps. based on the first two books
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
I had someone on my friendslist who was a huge fan of Charlie Jade, can't remember who, but I thought it was Canadian at the time. And I didn't even realize it was science fiction (having just looked it up.)

Hmm, SciFi (oh, I'm sorry, "SyFy") is running it, wonder if we should nab an episode.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on March 24th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Sports Night. Only two seasons; the first is somewhat better than the second, so the second season is only astonishingly good.

And second the rec for West Wing.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on March 24th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
hm, everybody told you why.

Sports Night - because its cast is great, because it has very clever dialog, because it has nothing to do with sports, because the leads are all very very good at their jobs (even as they are often quite dysfunctional at other parts of their lives), because it occasionally gutpunches you like Scrubs does.

West Wing - because its first four seasons are written mostly by Sorkin (like Sports Night was), because it has a terrific cast, and because Bush is no longer president.
Lauratavella on March 24th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
I adore Sports Night! I think everyone involved has seen it already though (not that I'd mind watching it again, but I've seen it twice.)

I've thought about suggesting West Wing, but the problem is that after season 4 it changes from an Aaron Sorkin drama to a John Wells soap opera, which I could not stand at the time and doubt I would like any more now. So people would have to be willing to watch the first four seasons and quit. Well, I might be willing to tolerate season 7 for the amusement of the Obama parallels, but I'm not even sure I'd make it through that. I really, really hate Wells' style.
DNA: Nommotleypolitico on March 24th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
West Wing, seasons 1-4 (5-7 are iffy)
Hustle - British show, about a group of con-artists. Better acting and plot than Leverage, and I liked Leverage.
Leverage
Psych
Babylon 5
Deadwood
How I Met Your Mother - the only comedy I even make a half-hearted attempt to watch

And a bunch of anime:
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Martian Successor Nadesico
X
Cowboy Bebop
Serial Experiments Lain
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Everyone seems to be recommending Leverage, so I think I'll suggest that as our sequel to Being Human.

I've seen Lain, Bebop, and NGE, but I never did finish Nadesico. Might have to suggest that if people are up for anime.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on March 24th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
Psych is amusing. Big Bang Theory is hysterical. I've quite enjoyed Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. In Plain Sight is a good show and should be out by now since season two is due to start soon.

The Dresden Files is out, and it's only one season. Bones is a good series if no one's easily grossed out. NCIS is good. I'm enjoying Lie To Me, but it's only just in its first season, so not out on DVD yet. I enjoyed 7th Heaven, though it can be kind of 'after-school special'-ish. Likewise, The Secret Life of an American Teenager has been a good show, but heavy on the 'very special episode' quality. A guilty pleasure for me is Ghostwhisperer - sometimes it's just very melodramatic and silly. Sometimes it makes me cry. :) I'm a sap.
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Watched Dresden files with katchoo_too, but it was good enough not to mind again, and I've thought about reccing T:SCC. What is "In Plain Sight" about?
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on March 25th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
In Plain Sight is about Mary Shannon, who is a federal marshal that works in the Witness Protection Program. It's a USA show, so the characters are quirky. And dysfunctional.

Also, firmly on the quirky side is the show Reaper.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on March 25th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh and I thought of another series that was really good:

China Beach. Definitely a drama.
my cock still thinks you're a superhero: always and ever i'll never let gomumblemutter on March 25th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
fyi, skanky gender issues <---merlin, so if you can't look past those in supernatural you probably will not enjoy merlin.

leverage! is awesome! a+!!!

also are you watching psych? i think everyone should be watching psych! also i agree with the person who recommended terminator: the sarah connor chronicles.

Edited at 2009-03-25 12:04 am (UTC)
Lauratavella on March 25th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Mild skanky gender issues I can usually cope with. I.e., I could tolerate Veronica Mars's gender skank up until the whole "Despite supposedly being competent, I will sob and flail uselessly while my asshole boyfriend saves the day" second season finale, at which point I was done with the show. So it is bad to that degree, or just the usual American television average?

I adored the characters on Psych, though I didn't love that the concept was based on tricking and to some degree humiliating people; there was a bit where he decided to help buff his 'psychic' credentials by revealing personal bits about people in the station that really grated on me. On the other hand, really charming characters (Dule'!) so I wouldn't mind catching up too much.
my cock still thinks you're a superheromumblemutter on March 25th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
hrm. i will have to say, i watch supernatural, and the ending of merlin made me go "...ohnotheyddint!" so yeah, i would say it's pretty skanky. i mean other than the fact that the show is entirely about merlin and arthur's deep seated true wuv and every other character is secondary, especially the female ones, some elements of it really annoyed me. it's a fun show though! pretty boys doing pretty things and an absolutely RIDICULOUS plot and otherwise adorable banter and all around cuteness?)

psych! to be honest i only started watching during the second season, and by the third i have to keep reminding myself "oh right he's supposed to be PSYCHIC" because i guess they've toned down the whole making people look stupid thing - it's mostly a lot of in-jokes and pop-culture references.