I know I’m always looking for advice on what is good watch on TV. Here are my top recommendations for series that I’ve watched in the last 24 months and by far the best shows on TV right now.
- Breaking Bad (dramedy) – There is no other show like this and there never will be again. The extreme yet believable character development, non stop action, thought provoking storyline and spectacular acting will ensure this remains a ground breaking show for many years to come.
- Les Revenants (drama) – This is NOT another zombie series. This is a study in human nature in a small community when people that have died mysteriously come back to life (and home) and how the community copes with trying to understand and accept the previously dead back into their lives. It is in French, but there are subtitles. Do NOT bother with the American version of this called “The Returned” which is utter crap.
- Mad Men (period drama) – My favourite series for writing, acting, set design, costumes and storyline. There is nothing I dislike about this series which is based on a marketing firm from the 1960’s.
- Masters of Sex (period drama) – I LOVE this show! A series based on the real life couple of Master’s and Johnson, pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Detailed period fashion and set designs make for great eye candy along with the beautiful lead actress whose nuanced conflicted portrayal of a sexually secure single mother raising two children during the 50’s-60’s is award worthy.
- True Detectives (drama) – Did you think that Woody Harrison and Mathew McConneghy were just a couple of stoner second grade loser actors? This series will change your mind. A philosophical journey following two damaged detectives lives and their efforts to catch an elusive serial killer.
- Fargo (dark dramedy) – Amazing all star cast that work together seamlessly to create a roller coaster ride of emotion and suspense. I really enjoyed this series, even more so than the movie!
- Transparent (dramedy) – Hilarious and heartbreaking insight into the world of a transgender male and his dysfunctional family dealing with his choice to finally live his life as a woman. Truly inspired acting by the entire cast but Jeffery Tambour just won a Golden Globe for his leading role.
- Boss (drama) – Extremely well written and acted series about a very corrupt mayor of Chicago hiding a secret that is ultimately destroying him. Kelsey Grammar won a well deserved Golden Globe in 2012 for this role.
- Silicon Valley (comedy) – Entertaining laugh out loud series about what it takes to make it in high tech.
- The Knick (period drama) – Eye opening story about a highly skilled obsessed surgeon with a dark serious secret during the 1900’s. Stars Clive Owen.
- Mr. Selfridge (period dramedy) – If you like Downton Abbey chances are you will like Mr. Selfridges. Based on the true story of how one man grew the Selfridges stores into an iconic retailer.
- Homeland (drama) – Suspense, terrorism, and intrigue keep this high octane series moving. Often shot in exotic locations.
- The Good Wife (drama) – Courtroom based drama that is often based on real life recent events. I like this way more than I thought I would and have become rather addicted to it.
- Downton Abbey (period dramedy) – This series contains some of the funniest and most quotable lines on TV right now. This version of “Upstairs Downstairs” details of the lives of the servants and the owners of a large English estate. Chalk full of great fashion porn, witty banter, no cursing whatsoever, no skin and very little violence. How refreshing to have a series that is SFW and yet so entertaining.
- Nurse Jackie (dramedy) – Sad, poignant, hilarious, bizarre and far too real. Jackie is an ER nurse with a heart of gold and a serious problem. This series is addictive, frightening and heartwarming.
- Sherlock Holmes (dramedy)- Intelligent, funny and twisted in all the right ways with two of the quirkiest characters on TV.
- The Americans (drama) – A well written and incredibly well acted 1980’s cold war spy series that keeps you guessing. The actor playing the part of the father is simply brilliant.
- Game of Thrones (fantasy/drama) – Fantastical detailed, insanely complicated and beautifully shot fantasy series. It can get confusing as there are many different story lines to follow but overall I still enjoy the novelty of the unknown. Often filmed in stunning real life locations.
- Boardwalk Empire (period drama) – Fantastic prohibition era gangster series with excellent character development and enough surprising plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seats.
- Olive Kittridge ( mini series ) – A engrossing character based story about stubbornness, love, loss and aging. This is will leave a mark on your heart.
- Hannibal (drama) – The prequel to Silence of the Lambs we follow the development of Hannibal Lecture and are introduced to his creepy set of well honed skills for cooking and killing. Be prepared for gore and disturbing violent content. The lead actor, Mads Mikkelsen from Denmark does an even better job than Anthony Hopkins in the film version.
- Orange is the New Black (dramedy) – Life in a female prison when you are a white yuppie. This is scary, funny and brutal.
- Girls (comedy) – A witty, weird and disturbing look at four twenty somethings trying to figure out their lives in NYC. I dislike all the characters but that is wherein the beauty lies. We see that everyone is flawed, beautiful and bizarre.
- The Goldbergs (comedy) – I adore this sitcom which takes place in the 1980’s. It is old style comedy and each cast member hits their mark perfectly. Added bonus…it’s set in the 80’s and takes me back to the glory of my youth.
- House of Cards (drama) – A political drama where Kevin Spacey plays a manipulating powerhouse of warped volcanic ambition. Normally I hate politics, this, however, I love. His wife, Robin Wright is the perfect partner in crime, an ice Queen without a conscience and a stunning wardrobe.
- Veep (comedy) – Another political show this time about the powerlessness of the Vice President and her office and all the political posturing, scheming and drama that goes on behind the closed doors of the White House. Julia Louis-Drefus is her usual wonderful hilarious self. Also her outfits are swoon worthy.
- The Fall (drama) – A serial killer that leads a double life of a good father and husband while secretly stalking his victims for months at a time. A chilling series set in Ireland with some strong acting including Jillian Anderson who plays the detective hunting the killer, (check out her gorgeous wardrobe!). The lead actor Jamie Dornan will soon be seen as the male lead in 50 Shades of Grey, and yes he is quite dishy.
- The Walking Dead (zombie drama) – When I first started watching this with my husband I didn’t really care for it. There is lots of gore. And by lots I mean non stop horror film squishy gross “I-can’t-look!” gore fest. I spent the first few episodes covering my eyes half the time. Over time I learned to love the characters and the way they have changed and developed through the extenuating circumstances they have suffered. At the end of each season you are pretty much guaranteed to lose one of your favourite characters.
- The Affair (drama) – This series keeps it interesting by telling two sides of the story, one from the view of the woman and the other from the man. I just kept nodding my head in agreement the whole time, seeing how the opposite sex interpret and remember situations entirely differently from each other. There is a murder as well as an affaire to unravel. I enjoyed this even though I find most of the actions of the characters despicable.
- Peaky Blinders (drama) – A UK version of Boardwalk empire but with a very alluring enigmatic male lead.
- The Leftovers (drama) – This series is like trying to solve a puzzle. It keeps you interested as bits of information unfold. Will this turn out to be another Lost with a horrible ending? I sure hope not.
- Hell on Wheels (drama) – A depiction of the trials and tribulations of building the railroad across the wild west. Lots of scoundrels you love to hate and one very handsome lead male with great acting and a well developed mostly historically correct storyline.
- Black Mirror (drama) – A bit like a modern version of The Twighlight zone but with the premiss of how technology is destroying our lives. Each episode is a complete story. I liked some better than others. Often these are subjects that you can discuss intensely afterwards.
- Vikings (drama) – Intense violent very well acted series about the vikings and their conquests. The main actor is extremely easy on the eyes.
- Broadchurch (drama) – Gripping and surprising murder mystery set in a small seaside town in England. Brilliant insight into how circumstances change human behaviour and how we judge others.
Did I miss any?
What are your favourite programs?
I will be updating this list in the future.
two birds says
This is a great list. I can’t wait for The Leftovers to return. My husband and i recently started watching Sons of Anarchy. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best shows, but it’s definitely entertaining….sort of like The Sopranos on bikes.
Thanks for this, Suzanne. We are seeking a new show on Netflix, having just finished Peaky Blinders (loved it, plan to marry Cillian Murphy) and The Game. We started Island of War last night, about the German invasion of the Channel Islands, but it was too bleak for us. xox
Maybe it’s my demented sense of humor but I love “Broad City” on Comedy Central. It makes me snort laugh which only happens when I’m shocked and amused at the same time. And I have to add “Portlandia.” During my prolonged recovery I’m implementing the laugh cure :-))))
Wow Suzanne your blog is amazing
I’m noticing all the changes, wow
I haven’t the time or energy to do such a beautiful job
Tks for your comment on my nomination, it’s very cool, i get zillion likes now on Instagram, so funny
For your info, you can get a senior citizen membership card at 55 from an org called FADOQ
I don’t normally watch series, I’m more a movie kind of gal. However, I make exceptions for two on your list…Mad Men and Game of Thrones.
Oh Dear God! not only do I think ‘gangham style’ is still a new song, I seem to have missed out on cool TV (I saw the start of Mad Men, that was it!!) we are getting Netflix sorted this week though, maybe I can catch up (that is if I can figure out how to work the bugger) x x x
Good list. You include most of my favorites. I won’t criticize a few clunkers… 🙂
Two shows you don’t mention and probably haven’t heard of are very good. “Episodes” with Matt LeBlanc is surprisingly smart entertainment, both exploring heterosexual coupling and satirizing Hollywood. “Shameless” with William C. Macy is a guilty pleasure; black humor among the poor.
Rachel G says
I’m a fan of Downton Abbey and Sherlock–but the only show we’re watching that’s actually currently in-season is Elementary.
Great list! I’ve watched many, but not all of them. My biggest regret is Mad Men – must put that on my Netflix. The Goldberg’s is my favorite, and I love Veep too. Episodes with Matt LeBlanc is hysterical!
Happiness at Mid Life says
From this list, I am addicted to Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black & Downtown Abbey. I am really into Sons of Anarchy which is all about sex, guns, drugs & alcohol but so much more. I have been really drawn into the characters and how the mix of good vs. not so good. I would really like to start watching House of Cards & True Detectives one of these days.
Mrs C says
Even to me the best series ever is SATC, Breaking Bad came pretty close. We were glued! I tried to watch the first season of True Detective but the Southern accent was too strong that I needed subtitle to understand what was going on! And the one that I am looking forward to this year is The Games Of Throne and Orange is The New Black.. soon I hope 🙂
Hmmm… I clearly don’t watch anywhere near enough television! I’ll bear your recommendations in mind. xxx
What a great list you compiled, Suzanne! I know (of) about 15 of them, there are about 5 series waiting for us to watch (dvd), some I don’t know (yet) and I’m not really into zombies.
I’m now curious about Transparent , The Leftover and Boss.
Breaking Bad was genius, True Detectives was intense and Homeland is so exciting!
I am so grateful for this post, and will refer to it later tonight.
I also loved Madmen, loved the Affair ( my cousin was the director of photography, so those cool snippets in the beginning is his worK) and love Downtown Abbey.
I will investigate seeing the others, in this long cold winter these are great to know!
Was Shameless on your list?
I am loving that, this season.
thanks for this!
and boring as it, is I love Charlie Rose, the Daily show- John Stewart, and Real Time.
and i will admit my pedestrian love for Shark Tank. Hah!
I also loved Orange is the New Black/
No Fear of Fashion says
Holy cow, that is a long list. Most of them I either do not know or I cannot see them (too much action, tension, violence). I love Mad Men and Downton Abbey. I have seen The Good Wife as a series on TV and liked it.
True Detectives I don’t know but I never thought these actors were anything but really good.
I’ve actually never seen any of those shows. We stick mostly with real life documentary kind of stuff. Cop shows, food and travel shows….
Heather Lindstrom says
Wow, Suzanne! First off, your list looks very comprehensive. I don’t have time to watch much TV right now but I do have some faves on your list: Mad Men, Girls, Masters of Sex, Orange is the New Black, The Affair and…Girlfriends Guide to Divorce is funny (I love that it’s set in LA, my old stomping ground!). I hope to someday binge on The Good Wife and couple others.
Your site looks fabulous!!
I’ve watched a dozen of the ones you’ve listed, and enjoyed them all. I’ve been wanting to watch “Transparent”and “The Knick” but will have to wait to see if they come to Netflixx. Am watching Wentworth right now, an Australian series set in a women’s prison.