Sunday, September 25, 2011

Good Television

For well over a decade I've relied on Internet hockey fans to tell me what TV shows and films are worth watching. I know there isn't a causal link between good hockey talk and a sharp eye for quality drama, but it's worked so far. From Arrested Development, Cranivale and Curb Your Enthusiam through to The Wire, Breaking Bad and Community ... you cats have rarely let me down.

So an open question to anyone who still stops by this abandoned blog ... what's worth watching?

Breaking Bad has me hooked, though I'd advise against watching more than one episode a week if you buy DVDs. The protagonists are just too frustrating. Parks and Recreation may well be the most underrated comedy ever produced, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia continues to push boundaries for the sake of it. No show is more likely to make you laugh until you cry.

On the film front, I'm ten years behind with the zombie film craze, but they're awesome. The Resident Evil series was hammered by critics, I don't know why, they are all great. 28 Days is the benchmark, though. And there are a raft of terrific independent films out there as well, reminiscent of the character driven movies of the 70s.

Any road, what is good?


Blogger Coach pb9617 said...

You're watching Archer right? I hope you're watching Archer.

Treme was pretty good, but if you go in expecting The Wire, you'll be disappointed.

I've been hooked on QI from the BBC for awhile, but it's not a drama, it's essentially a trivia show.

9/25/2011 8:37 pm  
Blogger Coach pb9617 said...

Oh yeah - Louie is fantastic.

9/25/2011 8:38 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Thanks Derek, I'd never even heard of Archer, Treme or QI before (Silent Witness was a great show on BBC btw, though it's been vanished for a while). I'll check them all out.

I've never been a big Louie C.K. fan. Lucky Louie wasn't awful, but it never made me laugh either. If I spot 'Louis' on the screen guide I'll give him another watch, though.

9/26/2011 3:28 pm  
Blogger dawgbone said...

If you aren't a Louis CK fan then you won't find much in Louie to keep you around.

Walking Dead is a good one if you are a zombie / apocalypse fan.

Big Band Theory and how I met your mother got me interested in sitcoms again for the first time in forever.

Whitney might be good. I'm a fan of Whitney Cummings stand up, but the first episode was a bit weak.

9/26/2011 4:27 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

This is long past Vic but I just got into Deadwood this summer. Unfortunately they stopped making it after three seasons, it really is fantastic. Al Swearengen is perhaps the greatest TV character of all time. Grab it on DVD or maybe you can find it on HBO, they're running the third season now.

I'm into Boardwalk Empire as well.

And on regular TV Raising Hope is twisted and very funny. Not afraid to push the envelope a bit either, they had a 9/11 joke the other day, kind of just slipped it in there.

Oh, one last ... Flashpoint. A couple of the actors are a bit wooden but its a great cop show. Intense. And Canadian!

9/26/2011 4:53 pm  
Blogger Jonathan Willis said...

The Good Wife has ruined all other lawyer shows for me, because they don't waste a bunch of time on 'how can you defend that slimeball' type story lines.

9/26/2011 9:46 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

The League and Workaholics are great comedies.

The league is about a few guys in a fantasy football league, and the workaholics is about a few guys that are anything but.

Shaun of the Dead is a great zombie comedy if you somehow haven't seen it.

Sons of Anarchy is a pretty entertaining drama about a biker gang. The lead character is a little angsty, but its not that hard to overlook.

Game of Thrones is great if you like fantasy style shows. Much more gritty, and less general weirdness then say Lord of the Rings.

9/26/2011 11:10 pm  
Blogger Mr DeBakey said...

I don't watch TV, haven't for decades. But the DVD revolution is helping me catch up.
My son owns several seasons of a show called "Seinfeld." From the 90s. Very humourous.

Peter Davison is a fairly famous British TV actor. Back in the day he starred in "All Creatures Great and Small" and later was "Doctor Who". About five years ago he starred as "The Last Detective", a nice-guy cop hated by the other coppers for testifying against a corrupt cop. Typical British series, 16 episodes over four years, so everything remains fresh. Whimsically entertaining.

Another fairly recent British thing I enjoyed is "Sherlock" – “a thrilling, funny, fast-paced adventure series set in present-day London." As in the original, Dr Watson is suffering from wounds received in Afghanistan. Mycroft, Mrs Hudson and Moriarty also appear.

I also have some book suggestions; I read two goodies about Thoroughbred racing this summer:

"The Longest Shot" by John Eisenberg.
As a two-year old, Lil E Tee had colic, surgery and was sold for only $2000. A year later a bunch of $1 million horses got stare at his ass as he crossed the finish line first at the 1992 Kentucky Derby. Rags to riches!

The second is called
"Stud: Adventures in Breeding" by Kevin Conley.
Its about sex. Sex for money. Lotsa money. $500,000 per. Seriously. Horse sex. Its also funny.

9/27/2011 11:54 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Dawgbone: I like both those sitcoms, I PVR them. I missed the early seasons, which is handy now. It's nice because you can watch them in 20 minutes, and they're funny and light.

Walking dead didn't float my boat, I watched it for the first time a week or two ago. Good production value, though.

Never heard of Whitney Cummings or her show ... I'll keep an eye out for it.

9/27/2011 2:36 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I'll have to get the Deadwood DVDs. I remember you and commenters referencing it at your blog a while ago. I'd never heard of it, sounds cool though. I'm a cowboy at heart, so I'm sure I'll like it.

Boardwalk Empire gets rave reviews, including last time we talked about this subject here. I dunno, it just doesn't have curb appeal to me. Maybe I'll rent the first season at some point to see if I sensed wrong.

And I don't know how long Raising Hope has been on TV, but I caught a couple episodes this summer and it killed me. Funny stuff. I'll make a mental note to start PVRing that.

And Flashpoint, really? Never seen it, maybe by bias against Canadian television. The trailers make it look crap.

9/27/2011 2:45 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


The 'good wife' gets rave reviews, and there's sumthin' sumthin' about that Margulies woman.

I've got the Red Lobster effect with this show though (and Flashpoint as well). I've never eaten at a Red Lobster in my life, but I've advised others not to eat there, because it's crap. How do I know this? ... I just do.

This is also known as the grey's-anatomy-effect and the Yentl-effect.

If at some point in the future, when the good wife is syndicated ... if I catch an episode and recommend it to the hockey blogiverse, be sure to remind me of my hypocrisy :D

9/27/2011 2:55 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Thanks Bankshot. Never heard of either of the comedies, I'll check them out.

Sons of Anarchy is another one I keep meaning to get, it's loved by the oilogosphere. Just never sticks in my head when I'm browsing DVDs. I'll download the premiere off of HBO before I forget, just to get me rolling.

I have a neighbour who is a retired biker. Who knew bikers retired? I never really thought about it, I guess I just assumed they all died young. He has a lot of land (yes, I am a country bumpkin) and I shudder to think what he's actually up to. None of my business.

LOVED Shaun of the Dead BTW, saw it for the first time last winter I think. The Walking Dead should have taken a page from their book, humour and zombies are a perfect marriage.

I'm not a big fantasy guy, but thanks for the Game of Thrones recommendation anyways. That's another one that's popular with the cool kids.

9/27/2011 3:05 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Just googled Peter Davison. The name didn't ring a bell, but I recognize him from All Creatures Great and Small. Which was surprisingly good, way back when.

I'll check out 'The Last Detective' and 'Sherlock' ... are they on TV, DB? I've been looking for a British show recommended last year (Shameless) and I haven't seen it anywhere.

I love horses btw, though maybe not enough to read books :) I own a failed racehorse. They're not like other horses, life at the track means they've seen it all twice. They sell failed racehorses at auction all the time, by the pound, 20 to 25 cents, somewhere in that range. It's heartbreaking. Depending on a couple of other things, I think I might buy some next spring and put them out to pasture. Let them get herdbound and just be horses.

9/27/2011 3:21 pm  
Blogger Mr DeBakey said...

I don't know if either is on TV now.
As I said, I don't watch series TV.

Sherlock is on the shelves, or was until recently for sure.

Mrs DeBakey brought The Last Detective home from the Library.

9/27/2011 6:13 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Vic - Shameless is on Showcase I believe, they are just starting to run the first season again, I believe the second season will start soon.

The English version is better but the American version stands up pretty well, I sloughed it off at first but once I started watching it I got into it.

Flashpoint is, I think John Doyle calls them, cop procedurals? Something like that. Its a formula, for me the formula works. Had ignored it entirely until a few weeks ago, now we're watching all of the old episodes on Bravo.

Catch one, its like Law and Order, you can see any one and you get the jist. Watch it right through, the payoff scene is usually great tension. You'll know by the end of it if its for you.

9/28/2011 6:42 am  
Blogger Swabbubba said...

Lets see
Sons of Anarchy... great well written show think Sopranos with Motorcycles
The Killing although the cliff hanger pissed off a lot people

Can DL the above shows from torrents np

9/28/2011 10:20 am  
Blogger dawgbone said...

Walking Dead is actually based on a Graphic novel by the same name, so humour wouldn't have fit too well (would drive the fan boys nuts).

It actually shifts away from a traditional Zombie movie and sort of diverts into how shitty and selfish human beings are and how even though there's the big apocalypse, we'll gladly screw each other over for a chance to have power.

If you didn't manage to watch the full season, give it a bit more time it may drag you in.

Oh, and scratch Whitney... episode 2 was pretty terrible too.

9/29/2011 8:13 pm  
Blogger speeds said...


Admit it, you only watch Shameless for Emmy Rossum.

9/30/2011 5:50 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Vic: You have to watch Justified. Right now I'd rank it second behind BB in terms of best dramas still in production.

I loved the pilot - one of the best I've ever seen - but then S1 lags for a bit until they decide to drop the standalone format in return for a serialized approach.

I think it's the best thing no one's watching.

10/03/2011 6:32 pm  
Blogger spOILer said...

I can't watch TV Shows. Due to their format they all devolve into soap opera, which is what I guess Vic is calling "character-driven" drama.

Really, what can one offer an audience from such a platform other than a distraction?

Movies, however, I watch avidly and do recommend. Here are two of the most difficult movies to watch on the face of the planet, however the pain is well worth it:

The Sweet Hereafter

If there is no risk or danger to one self involved, really why waste time watching?

10/04/2011 1:10 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Speeds - her presence does not hurt, no. :)

Another great movie - Away From Her - Sarah Polley's directorial debut. Very poignant.

10/04/2011 5:25 pm  
Blogger Jonathan Willis said...

Completely agree on Justified - Olyphant's a strong character to lead the show with and the villains - from Goggins to Martindale are superb. I'm a little scared it's going to fall into a formulaic pattern in S3 as I can't see them repeating the glory of S2, but for now it's a superb show.

Also in agreement with DeBakey's British suggestions - I liked Last Detective but have had trouble finding it, while Sherlock is absolutely superb.

10/10/2011 12:51 pm  
Blogger Jonathan Willis said...


I absolutely refused to watch the 'Good Wife' for two years, while my wife plodded along with it. I was sick for a couple of days and pretty much got forced into watching it - it's arguably the most nuanced show on television over the last two seasons. I like it because I'm a political junkie, and the show's hugely political - even in the scenes that involve law rather than politics.

It's a tactically-driven rather than emotionally-driven show, at it's heart, and I like that.

10/10/2011 12:56 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Deadwood is awesome. Saw the pilot, loved it.

Olyphant is great, nobody has done the righteous maximum lawman as well since Eastwood got old. McShane plays a great villain too, I'll get the whole set for sure. A shame there are only three seasons.

Those were the days to live. What adventure, plus all men had facial hair, rode horses, carried guns, smoked, drank and wore hats. We live in dull times, Pat.

10/12/2011 1:30 pm  
Blogger Josh said...

I couldn't agree more on Justified. Fantastic show.

Archer and Wilfred on FX are also worth checking out. I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by Wilfred.

Parks and Recreation is really high up there as well. Office-style show with the same producers, and Ken Tremendous of Fire Joe Morgan-famr as a writer.

10/23/2011 12:11 am  
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11/12/2012 6:46 am  
Blogger Jim Philips said...

Breaking bad is quite awesome. I really like how from the good will man to a really man of respect. It was a good recommendation as weel as price per head free trial

5/30/2013 11:33 pm  

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