Re: I Finally Gave Up And Watched The First Episode of Downton Abbey

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It's not that it gets better, per se, but it gets frothier and more enjoyable with ever more Maggie Smith bitchface. (Series 2 is a mess and I hear series 3 is more of the same; if the charms of series 1 aren't doing it for you after a few more episodes, I'd just stop.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:20 AM
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I was going to recommend State of Play (the original BBC miniseries) but it doesn't seem to be available on Netflix streaming. The first season of Archer is up there, though!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:26 AM
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I enjoyed World Without End, but it's only something like six episodes long. It's a Netflix original series. Worth a try if you're into medieval costume drama type things.

Also I recommend Borgia (as opposed to The Borgias, basically the same show but not produced by enlightened topless Canal Plus). Lots of intrigue and sex and violence.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:26 AM
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I guess "If you don't like Downton Abbey, you'll like Archer" makes sense as a recommendation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:27 AM
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4 - You're in the danger zone, Ned.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:28 AM
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Upstairs, Downstairs. Although I'm guessing you've seen it. But Downton motivated my wife to re-watch it, and she at least enjoyed it thoroughly on a second viewing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:29 AM
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It does get better in a soap opery but (IMO) satisfying way, though the legal/business aspects of the show are kind of a consistent weak spot, though not a particularly important one. Also at this point the show may be suffering from overhype syndrome for first time viewers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:30 AM
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If you don't like Downtown Abbey, you'll be certain to like Zardoz.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:31 AM
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The problem with Upstairs Downstairs is that it's about 5 billion episodes long.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:31 AM
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If LB doesn't want to be awesome and watch Archer but instead wants to stick to costume dramas, I've heard good things about Lark Rise to Candleford, which seems to be available via Amazon Prime streaming.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:32 AM
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apo's recommendation of A Town Called Panic. enthusiastically seconded (thanks, btw) My kid has been on a Sweden kick and we've been enjoying Wallander, lots of outdoor filming. Microcosmos. I've been meaning to watch After Porn Ends which looks at the lives of actual ex-porn stars, a question close to the one that Kanye + Kim's announcement raised for me. But our just-watched netflix list is a big part of my browsing with an 11-year old, so no. Memento and pretty much anything with Harold Lloyd are good.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:34 AM
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The first season of Archer is up there, though!

There's two seasons on Netflix. What the shit, snarkout.

Netflix also has the entire run of Star Trek TNG which has held up pretty well. I've also enjoyed going back and watching the Donofrio years of Criminal Intent.

Hulu plus has the all seven seasons of The Shield now and Grimm has been more entertaining than I thought it would be, with the caveat that I'm usually watching it with my wife on Friday nights and there's alcohol involved.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:39 AM
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You could watch Kingdom, which is not a costume drama, but mild and pleasing and Stephen Fry-y. (Really, it's Murder She Wrote with Norfolk local color rather than Maine. Also, not so much murder. CA was very fond of it because his gran lived in the area they filmed in.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:40 AM
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Let me once again make my standard pitch in these threads for the best TV show of all time, Heimat.*

Someday one of you will watch it!

*Including Part 2.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:40 AM
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13 - Also Spooks ice queen Hermione Norris playing Fry's drunken roundheels sister.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:42 AM
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I'm amazed/terrified that GSwift can enjoy the Shield given his day job.

In my view streaming Netflix basically sucks it but they do have the Rockford Files.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:43 AM
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House of Cards on Netflix looks promising but I have not seen it yet. I plan on watching it this week.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:45 AM
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You have to stick with it until you get at least to the awesome episode (you'll know). But I'd also say definitely quit after season 1.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:45 AM
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Is this actually a thing?

Also:

"Look at the incredible impact Downton Abbey has had over here. It's a perfect example of how America is fascinated by British culture."

If the BBC bought an American period drama about everyday life among the robber barons and some English pundit cited it as a perfect example of how Britain is fascinated by American culture, wouldn't you guys be justifiably offended?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:46 AM
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I've watched the first two seasons of Archer, shamefully, and am planning to watch the rest when it's on Netflix.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:49 AM
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My view of British culture is pretty much 33% period costume drama, 33% unfogged, and 33% based on Top Gear, so my view is that British culture is confusing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:49 AM
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21. You may rest assured that none of those three is even remotely representative.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:51 AM
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If you want the real picture watch Ali G: Indahouse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:52 AM
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Damn, this post prompted me to discover that Kolchak: The Night Stalker is available on Netflix streaming; now I will be up all night seeing how many episodes I can get through. The Thick of It (on Hulu) is pretty great, though probably best in smallish doses (the invective can get a little fatiguing). Better Off Ted (on Netflix) is also fun.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:54 AM
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Is The Pallisers on Netflix? I bought the dvds from Amazon years ago and they're good fun. If you're into that sort of thing.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:58 AM
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I second the recommendation of Better Off Ted.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:58 AM
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The Hour is a beautifully shot, stylish, wonderful show about newscasting in the '50s arcwelded to a beautifully shot, stylish, incredibly stupid show about skullduggery. But the costumes are very nice.

Better Off Ted was great.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:59 AM
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21: sounds pretty accurate, actually. Most of us spend a third of our time worrying about our social position, a third of our time commenting on eclectic web magazines, and a third of our time wanting to kick Jeremy Clarkson in the head.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:59 AM
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Oh! The Forsyte Saga is on Netflix. Worth watching. (And the books of course worth reading if you haven't.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:00 AM
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I second the recommendation of Better Off Ted.

STILL unavailable in Knifecrime Island.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:01 AM
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Oh my god, don't watch this last week's if pregnant.

I enjoy both Downton and Archer, though watching the latter makes me insert "Hurray for metaphors!!" into too many conversations. And season 3 isn't up on Netflix, the jerks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:03 AM
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we made it through maybe three episodes of Downton. it's a soap in stuffy costumes. meh.

if you want a real soap, watch Revenge!


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:05 AM
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Most of us spend a third of our time worrying about our social position worrying about our mum paying her winter gas bill, a third of our time commenting on eclectic web magazines updating our FB profile, and a third of our time wanting to kick Jeremy Clarkson in the head telling the kids to shut up because Eastenders is coming on.

FTFY


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:06 AM
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I really like Misfits, which is entirely on Hulu. It's South Park/Always Sunny -esque in its obscenity but with much more of a heart than either and more thoughtful.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:07 AM
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I'm in the middle of the second season of Justified via Netflix, which I've really enjoyed so far (caveat: if you don't like seeing people get shot, you will hate it).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:07 AM
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32: I really wanted Revenge to be the revenge procedural it was for the first few episodes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:08 AM
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Does anyone else like telenovelas? Apparently the only distribution channel is dish television. Netflix doesn't have them, buying the 99 dvd sets is super-expensive, and the bodegas that sell pirated music near me don't do DVDs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:08 AM
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Started watching Breaking Bad. First three episodes are good so far and I heard it gets better. But I do chemistry so it has a special charm, although I called bullshit when they showed a high school chemistry teacher with 12 1-gallon jugs of HF in his store room. No fucking way.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:09 AM
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Archer fans might also enjoy Home Movies, on Netflix streaming.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:11 AM
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Netflix has the first season of American Horror Story now, which is worth the price of admission just to watch Jessica Lange be awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:11 AM
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if you want a real soap, watch Revenge!

Every time I watch an episode of that show I think "this isn't actually very good, and I'm not really even enjoying it. I'm not going to watch this anymore", and then I come back to it anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:13 AM
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We just finished season 3 of The Tudors. I've watched worse.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:14 AM
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I second Justified. I've never watched Downton but from what I hear of it, Justified is the anti-Downton. Little exposition, amusing characters, lots of action and jokes.

But, yes, I think at least one person is shot in each episode in the first season or two, so if that's not your thing you won't like it.


Posted by: Matt | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:15 AM
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I'm realizing that something like half of the TV I actively watch is on FX.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:18 AM
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Recently I've been watching a lot of DVR'd episodes of "That Metal Show" which my Girlfriend accurately describes as "Like The View, but for Dokken fans." I can't really recommend it for anyone but me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:20 AM
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RuPaul's Drag Race. New season!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:22 AM
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45: I'm just mad at you for not going on that Metal Cruise for us.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:23 AM
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39: Yes! The Franz Kafka/Metamorphosis rock opera is unforgettable.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:25 AM
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You have to stick with it until you get at least to the awesome episode (you'll know)

Which is that? I was conned into watching the fifth and sixth episodes and they were both pretty dire.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:32 AM
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The best home movies song is Freakie! Outie!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:33 AM
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50 is entirely correct.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:34 AM
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My current guilty pleasure is Market Warriors, which I can't recommend to anyone unless you really like watching annoying people rummage through flea markets and haggle over prices, with the narrator from Antiques Roadshow telling you more about the items. Which I have an endless appetite for. And technically only 3/4 of them are annoying; Bob is fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:43 AM
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Louie season one is on streaming, so if you've been missing out on that, there it is. Almost painfully funny most of the time.

I've started watching Alias on streaming, all seasons are available. It's completely ridiculous (a CIA agent discovers that she's really working for the anti-CIA, and so becomes a double agent for the real CIA, then discovers that her estranged father is also a double-agent with the anti-CIA for the real CIA), but so very entertaining. Garner's default expression is "holy shit I am in so much danger right now", and she spends at least 2 minutes of every episode sprinting either towards or away from something.

I can't believe nobody told me how good this stupid show was while it was on. Presumably everybody but me knew.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:44 AM
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I have been enjoying, in a sick way, everyone else on Twitter getting all bent out of shape about idiots on BBC Question Time. You don't have to watch it! If you get rid of your telly, you don't even have to use any willpower to not watch it!

I've even stopped compulsively listening to Prime Minister's Questions. Awesome though the theory is, in practice it's mostly dreadful hack politicos asking plant questions in order to suck up to the whips, the PM repeating his talking points, and the Tories doing their North Korean Mass Games act every time a woman tries to speak.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:46 AM
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They only have one season of America's Funniest Home Videos on Netflix, and I dunno about you but I can't stand Tosh.0, but they do have all three Jackass movies, so that's a solid twenty hours or so of people getting hit in the groin.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:46 AM
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The Thick of It (on Hulu) is pretty great, though probably best in smallish doses (the invective can get a little fatiguing).

Seconded on all counts.

Also: Battleground on Hulu; Leverage (not sure if it's on Netflix); Whites on Hulu but there are only about 10 episodes.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:52 AM
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Pitch: Jackass, but with politicians!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:57 AM
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I started watching Alias when it first aired, but I was fresh off the mess they'd made of The X-Files and recognized that the same thing would eventually happen. Years later, I unlearned that lesson and watched Lost straight through.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:58 AM
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Leverage is on Netflix but not instant. I'm sure I would have watched it all by now otherwise.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:05 AM
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Come to think of it, I enjoyed Lost, knowing it wouldn't have anything close to a satisfying resolution (and was pleasantly surprised whenever they answered anything at all), so I suppose I should go back and watch Alias.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:06 AM
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19: I'm not really seeing the offense there. It'd be ridiculous, but other than that.

And I don't think there are packs of rabid Jane Austen fans out there, just the usual bunch of people who don't ordinarily read anything more than fifteen years old but make an exception for Austen because the novels are fairly short and straightforward. (I love them, don't get me wrong, but as eighteenth or nineteenth-century novelists go, Austen is less threatening than most of the alternatives.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:07 AM
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I'm really excited to start Alias.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:11 AM
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Mrs. E highly recommends Damages, available on Netflix instant. Don't know if that would be a good choice for LB, though—do actual lawyers enjoy shows about lawyers?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:13 AM
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I would be so much fonder of X-Files if I had stopped watching soon enough. I Googled "alias jumped the shark" and random commenters on the web seem to agree that I should stop watching after season 2. Would you agree, or did you not make it that long?


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:14 AM
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64 to 58.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:16 AM
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63: If it's something I really don't know anything about, it's okay (which there's plenty of room for in the legal profession). Anything close enough to what I do for a living, though, and I get testy and impatient.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:19 AM
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I don't think it's streaming anywhere, but the A&E version of Nero Wolfe is quite good.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:20 AM
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I watched all of Alias (caught up on the first two seasons, then watched the rest as it was broadcast). I think it goes steeply downhill mid-second-season; they took advantage of having a broadcast slot right after the Super Bowl to rearrange the premise of the show. There's still lots of Jennifer Garner and/or Victor Garber to watch, if that's what you're watching for, but it loses a lot of the double-agent edge and complexity. Also, the whole series made it impossible for me to trust J.J. Abrams with serial plotlines ever again (I avoided watching Lost because of that, and having heard how that wandered around and ended up, I think it was the right choice).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:20 AM
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64: Honestly, you could probably just go through a list of the best episodes (and there are some fantastic ones) in any order. It's not like the continuity will be missed.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:25 AM
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||

But don't take our word for it:

Pay and benefits should be as competitive as practical, working conditions safe, harassment policies in place and strictly enforced, and employee views and opinions respected.

||>



Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:28 AM
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I second the recommendation of Better Off Ted.

I fourth it. Fantastic, criminally overlooked show.

Other wholehearted recommendations:

Archer
Justified
Breaking Bad
The Thick of It
Arrested Development (duh)
Black Books (on UK Netflix, don't know about US)
Green Wing (likewise)
15 Storeys High (ditto)

On House of Cards, I've no idea if the Netflix production is going to be any good, although for what it's worth the buzz seems to be positive. The original BBC mini-series is great fun.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:35 AM
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I haven't started watching it yet, but have had Wilfred (streaming Netflix) recommended vociferously by multiple people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:39 AM
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Are the House of Cards sequels worth watching? I enjoyed the original a great deal but presume that there are diminishing returns.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:40 AM
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I think they're worth watching, though to be honest I haven't for some time. They definitely aren't as good, or as believable.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:43 AM
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71: Black Books and Green Wing are both available on streaming Netflix here. The Thick of It and 15 Storeys High seem not to be there at all (I seem to recall seeing the former, so that might be a recent deletion).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:47 AM
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I'll try Black Books again -- I gave it an episode or two a while ago and it didn't grab me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:50 AM
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The first episode of Black Books - setting everything up - is rather less compelling than the rest where there's more of a rhythm. My brother was lukewarm at first but loved 2 and 3. "Nobody is prepared to admit that wine doesn't have a taste!"


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:55 AM
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I'll repeat my recommendation that LB might enjoy William and Mary (with Martin Clunes).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:57 AM
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Is it on Netflix or Hulu?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:01 AM
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71: how did you manage to watch it? Do you have a US DVD player or something?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:03 AM
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71: The Thick of It is on Hulu for free. (A Hulu *exclusive* as it never tires of reminding me.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:05 AM
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I second 34's recommendation of Misfits. It's like Heroes, except that it doesn't take itself so seriously and is a lot funnier and has plots that make sense and is set in working-class England and... well, I guess the only thing it has in common with Heroes is the low-budget, low-stakes superpowers, but still, I like it.

Another recommendation: we're liking Lost Girl.

19
If the BBC bought an American period drama about everyday life among the robber barons and some English pundit cited it as a perfect example of how Britain is fascinated by American culture, wouldn't you guys be justifiably offended?

The problem with analogies is that it's so hard to make them fit. For example, your hypothetical show seems to have much more in common with actual American culture than Downton Abbey does with British culture. (Never having seen it, but that's the impression I get, anyway.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:05 AM
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63 -- The wife likes Damages, but I find it infuriating. Intermittently, anyway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:08 AM
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Misfits has been sitting in my Hulu queue for a while. I think this thread will push it up to the top.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:09 AM
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If the BBC bought an American period drama about everyday life among the robber barons and some English pundit cited it as a perfect example of how Britain is fascinated by American culture, wouldn't you guys be justifiably offended?

That got me thinking -- are any of the Kardashian shows broadcast in Britain?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:10 AM
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Lately I've been watching Dr. Who because my niece is super into it. So far, I've seen season 2* of the current doctor. Which are the best seasons/doctors? (I've never seen any other episodes.)

*'Cause season 2 is what happened to be in at my local library.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:11 AM
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I liked the first new doctor best, then the next one, then the current one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:13 AM
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Black Books is great. Especially once (as others have said) it gets into its flow.

Downton Abbey, the first series is fine in a slightly preposterous soapy manner. It goes completely insane for the later series. We still watch it, but it's definitely in a 'so bad it's almost good' sense, rather than pure enjoyment. It doesn't help that most of the characters are completely unsympathetic. Wet Matthew, Bitchy Mary, the Actually Not Unattractive Sister That Everyone Treats Like She's Quasimodo, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:14 AM
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re: 85

All of them, I think. UK tv, once you get away from the main three or four terrestrial channels, is full of US reality TV.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:15 AM
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89. The real question is whether anybody watches anything but the main terrestrial channels and Sky Sports, apart from people staying in hotels on business trips when it's snowing out.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:19 AM
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Oh, YES to William & Mary, and to Doc Martin.
Fishlips Clunes is strangely compelling.


Posted by: uncle rameau | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:22 AM
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30: Better Off Ted isn't on Netflix or Lovefilm or even DVD over here, but if you're willing to pay the iTunes TV tax, it is available.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:23 AM
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Kid A loves Misfits. I just got a bit confused the only time I watched it. We are watching Girls together though, which amuses me as she is rather Hannah-like. We just finished watching Rome (I bought the dvds for her as she has been studying Julius Caesar), and can go back to The Wire now.

We have been watching all the Scandi stuff - Borgen atm, loved The Bridge.

Can't see how one could ever get tired of the invective in The Thick Of It. I think of C at work as basically Malcolm Tucker ... friend of mine went to see some play last year with Peter Capaldi in it - then texted me to tell me she'd waited at the stage door and got him to swear at her. I wonder if he gets bored of that?

Have never watched Downton. Have got the first 3 series of Breaking Bad on dvd (very cheaply from HMV before Christmas), so looking forward to starting that when this series of Borgen finishes.

And the kids and I are up to series 10 of ER! So not too much further to go ... After that I am going to make the girls watch The West Wing I think.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:26 AM
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It doesn't help that most of the characters are completely unsympathetic.

Even from the first episode, I was wondering if there was anyone who could plausibly be rooted for. I had it narrowed down to the limping valet and/or the blonde housemaid. Maybe also the redheaded housemaid. Everyone else seemed to have established themselves as either unpleasant or actively boring (butler, earl) immediately.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:27 AM
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90 - Sky Atlantic! Which is almost swaying my Murdoch-hating but tv-loving stepMIL into attempting to talk my equally Murdoch-hating but not so tv-loving FIL into getting Sky.

92 - Does nobody just download stuff illegally anymore?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:29 AM
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After that I am going to make the girls watch The West Wing I think.

I really liked that as it was airing, but you might want to give it up after about season four, IIRC, when the writers decided that it was self-indulgent making the characters appealing and occasionally successful, and stopped doing either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:29 AM
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Oh, and Kid A and I watched The Following last week (on the strength of the Rome/Mark Antony/James Purefoy connection) - anyone watched that? Worth carrying on with?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:31 AM
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89, 90: So, still no definitive answer on whether Britain is fascinated by American culture.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:31 AM
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96 - oh, I watched it first time round. But I think I missed the worst couple of series when it changed to a channel that we weren't paying for at the time, and then picked it up for the final election. So I'm not definite about it, but it's been nice having something to bring us all together for 40 minutes whenever we are all in the house with nothing better to do, and something long (and mostly PG-rated) so we don't have to think about it much seems best. It'll be another 6 months before we finish ER anyway.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:35 AM
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It's funny, we really don't watch TV together as a family at all. Buck and I watch an hour or so after the kids are in bed. Anything they're watching themselves, though, is usually something that would make my eyes bleed from the pain, like Glee, or the eighteen millionth episode of something on Food Network (Robert Irvine Doesn't Like You Even A Little, or whatever the show's supposed to be called.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:41 AM
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Which are the best seasons/doctors?

Generally whichever ones you watched as a kid.

I've always loved the early seasons of the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker). They really had a great "gothic horror meets scifi" vibe going for a while.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:41 AM
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98. Definitely fascinated by the culture of a particular district of Los Angeles; likewise Orlando. People who read the Guardian like to regard themselves as sophisticated would add New York and possibly San Francisco. For the rest, fascinated in the sense of a rabbit in the headlights.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:45 AM
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92 - Does nobody just download stuff illegally anymore?

Well, obviously, but I assume ajay was referring to it not being available legally.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:45 AM
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I find it amazing that the thing middle schoolers watch when left to their own devices is ... the Food Network.

I found Damages unwatchable and suspect LB would too, for similar reasons.

I'm sure it's not on Netflix, but the last season of Boardwalk Empire was actually good after two seasons of interminable slow. I agree with Apo about FX-- pound for pound best programming now on US TV. Oh, you know what's on Netflix? The League. I'll bet LB would enjoy that in a horrified way. The guy who's the son of Kroll is one of the better lawyer characters of our time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:50 AM
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ms bill and I like Doc Martin, esp the early ones where he is getting settled in Port Wenn. Is the weather in Cornwall as good as that series makes it seem?

Downton Abby is starting to pall. I liked how once one of the men appeared for dinner in black tie and the others asked why he was wearing his play clothes.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 10:53 AM
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The star of Downtown Abbey is the architecture. Whenever I check out that show I want to mute the sound and just check out the rooms...go in another room, characters!

The new season of Girls is pretty funny, if you like excruciating-awkward funny. It gets at something real about single-in-your-early-20s.

I'm also sort of enjoying Enlightened, it's a very ambitious show


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:03 AM
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Recommendation before reading other comments: Cougar Town (horrible name, awesome show) and Bunheads.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:06 AM
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I think Girls this season is pretty bad. But I only liked, didn't love the first season, so YMMV.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:07 AM
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The new Doctor Who is good from series 3 on.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:07 AM
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Man vs Food! I said to my girls that I knew a surprising amount of women who admitted to somewhat fancying Adam, and as way of explanation, said something about enjoying eating. The 14 year old made a comment that made it clear she had taken what I'd said in a lewd fashion. No, not that!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:09 AM
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I avoided watching Lost because of that, and having heard how that wandered around and ended up, I think it was the right choice

Lost is really good for three or four seasons. no, it doesn't end well, but it had a lot of promise.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:13 AM
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My impression of British TV from staying in hotels:

25% "panel shows" that are set up as some sort of competition where they bring in a panel of random celebrities, mostly comedians and suddenly tell them to make up jokes about random topics. In the US this sort of thing is limited to sports talk.
25% horrible American movies. No good movies, just bad ones. And no non-American movies.
25% travelogues starring Michael Palin or Alan Davies or somebody
25% reality TV. There is some stupid crap, but compared to US there is a higher proportion of shows about real people living vaguely real lives.

The scripted TV shows seem to only exist on DVD and streaming services.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:15 AM
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FX-- pound for pound best programming now on US TV

This phrase has a very poorly defined meaning even when used in the specific context in which it originated--to compare fighters across weight classes. Outside of that context, it's complete gibberish. Are you intending to convey something other than: "FX has the best programming now on US TV"? If so, what?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:17 AM
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Lost is really good for three or four seasons. no, it doesn't end well, but it had a lot of promise topless Sawyer. Which worked for me.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:17 AM
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Addendum: "Top Gear" would be in the "travelogues" category.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:19 AM
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I actually thought the final seasons and ending of Lost were pretty good.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:24 AM
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104, 113: pound for pound s/b renminbi for renminbi


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:27 AM
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113 -- it does by far the best job of marshalling its resources, so that while it is a different "weight class" than say HBO or a traditional network (ie cant afford a Game of Thrones, pays Louie CK basically nothing) its programming is really excellent. Happy, motherfucker?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:28 AM
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104: I loooove The League, though I spend most of each episode cringing.

If I start watching X-Files, at what point does it jump the shark?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:29 AM
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Definitely fascinated by the culture of a particular district of Los Angeles; likewise Orlando. People who read the Guardian like to regard themselves as sophisticated would add New York and possibly San Francisco

So. pretty much exactly the same as U.S. -Americans living in the Heartland. Just as I suspected!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:29 AM
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My favorite doctor is actually the current one, which surprised me quite a bit since I've watched from the start of the reboot and was unprepared for such a youngster. But I think he's really good!

Things that are streaming on Netflix - we've been watching a lot of The Vampire Diaries. Not exactly high brow and LB might hate it, but oh man, I enjoy it for the Twilight jokes alone.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:29 AM
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I am still on Portlandia episodes.

I watched all of Weeds. Amusing. Got a little annoying at the end.

I enjoyed Archer too. Arrested Development is excellent.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:35 AM
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Happy, motherfucker?

No. I may never really be happy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:39 AM
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95
Does nobody just download stuff illegally anymore?

Yes. Doctor Who, actually. Hulu has everything else recent we'd want to watch, but I can't find episodes of Doctor Who until like two years after their original air date. If anyone knows how, I'm listening. (For reference, we have no cable, just Internet. We have a very nice new TV and Blue-Ray player which are set up for Hulu and Netflix.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:39 AM
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The new Doctor Who is good from series 3 on.

Do you mean series 3 with the 10th Doctor? The British series/season thing confuses me even without ever changing doctors.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:39 AM
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I loved the first few episodes of Downton, but then it went steadily downhill, and by the end of the first season I gave up. It was just one ridiculous contrivance after another. I'm told it doesn't get better. Pretty to look at, though.

CCarp or anyone else, is Tudors actually good? I saw the first episode and it seemed awful, so I stopped (although I love the idea of Jeremy Northam as Sir Thomas More). I'm reading Hilary Mantel's books on HVIII right now so I'm re-interested in the era. But what I like about Mantel is how closely she hews to documented histories, and I don't think I'll like Tudors if it strays too far.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:40 AM
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119 - By the Robert Patrick season, definitely. The thing is, I still like a lot of the monster-of-the-week episodes even after the mythology episodes have gone completely off the rails. I'm pretty sure all my favorite episodes are in the first five seasons.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:42 AM
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I was going to recommend State of Play (the original BBC miniseries)

Oh hell yes.

I'll also second Justified, although I've really only watched the second and third seasons. My girlfriend and I just started the first season over the weekend, and it's kind of amazing just how much the show has changed in its relatively short lifespan.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:42 AM
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I'm pretty sure we saw State of Play on Netflix, although maybe that was back when we were still getting disks. Loved it, anyway.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:45 AM
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126. BBC is planning a series of Wolf Hall/Bring up the Bodies scripted by the guy who did Tinker, Taylor... I should wait for that.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:51 AM
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I'll also second Justified, although I've really only watched the second and third seasons. My girlfriend and I just started the first season over the weekend, and it's kind of amazing just how much the show has changed in its relatively short lifespan.

I suppose this isn't really a spoiler: Goggins's character was originally going to be killed off in the very first episode.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:53 AM
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I don't think it's streaming anywhere, but the A&E version of Nero Wolfe is quite good.

You can borrow my DVDs, LB.

Also, you should watch Prime Suspect on streaming Netflix if you haven't already.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 11:56 AM
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some recent UK shows that do not suck: Foyle's War, Sherlock, Luther


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:01 PM
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The Tudors isn't very good, except for maybe the soft porn.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:14 PM
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Goggins's character was originally going to be killed off in the very first episode.

Seriously? He's the best thing on the show!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:17 PM
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As soft-core porn, it's really good history.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:17 PM
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The problem with analogies is that it's so hard to make them fit.

Like pith helmets.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:18 PM
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Oh, yes, Sherlock is great, if a tad trashy. I mean, not by the standards of the Tudors or whatever, but it's sort of throwaway drama, for want of a better phrase. Not sure if it's on Netflix US or Hulu though. It's not over here.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:20 PM
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Sherlock's on Netflix in the US. I almost liked it a lot -- thought both of the leads were great, thought the writing was very entertaining on a line by line basis -- but the plots could have used quite a bit more in the way of actually making any sense.

Which means I will be eagerly awaiting the third season whenever it happens, but I expect to be annoyed by it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:24 PM
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re: 139

'Could do with a bit more in the way of actually making sense' could be a succinct summary of Moffat's writing style.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:31 PM
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true, that


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:35 PM
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The whole naked Irene Adler factor could be increased also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:36 PM
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Seriously? He's the best thing on the show!

And that's why they decided to keep him around.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:39 PM
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If you can completely put aside any considerations of logic and sense, the new American Sherlock Holmes series, "Elementary" is enjoyable. Although now that I think about it, I've never succeeded in staying awake for an entire episode.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:40 PM
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Sherlock's on Netflix in the US. I almost liked it a lot -- thought both of the leads were great, thought the writing was very entertaining on a line by line basis -- but the plots could have used quite a bit more in the way of actually making any sense.

That was my reaction as well. I was continually impressed by how good the two leads were, and disappointed by how little point there was to anything that was going on.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:42 PM
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I second the recommendation of A&E's Nero Wolfe series.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:43 PM
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The pilot episode of Justified is basically the Elmore Leonard story "Fire in the Hole," from his collection When the Women Come out to Dance , and indeed Boyd Crowder dies at the end. (The same collection contains the back story of Karen Cisco from Out of Sight, too.)

I agree that season 8 is when the X-Files went south. I looked over the episode list from those seasons and I can't remember most of them, though I think it's true that there were some okay monsters-of-the-week mixed in there. I mean there must have been some reason I kept watching until the bitter end.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:47 PM
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To be fair, "Sherlock" was advertised as "does not suck", not as great television. And in the same conversation as things like the Tudors.


Posted by: A. Lea Toric | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:48 PM
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Oh, I liked Sherlock about as much as I like anything. I just don't like anything much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:49 PM
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The Tudors is a lot more surprising if you don't realize there was more than one Cromwell.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:54 PM
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132: You can borrow my DVDs, LB

I'll take you up on that. Although I'm a little dubious about any adaptation of Wolfe -- I think I'm likely to get immediately hostile when it's not exactly what I was imagining during while I read all forty-some-odd of the books in high school.

I kind of wanted to grow up to be Saul Panzer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:57 PM
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I recently watched the pilot episode of Dead Like Me and was really impressed. I'm looking forward to the rest of it, and can report back, but unfortunately it isn't available on streaming so I don't know that it would be a useful recommendation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 12:59 PM
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151: They'll probably bug you. They bugged me -- even though I basically liked the series. And while I adore Timothy Hutton*, his take on Archie was not mine.

*He will always be a skinny 20yo in a PIL shirt to me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:00 PM
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fwiw, LB, if you might fancy like murder mysteries, or WWII era period stuff, Foyle's War is genuinely well done.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:00 PM
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Carp or anyone else, is Tudors actually good? I saw the first episode and it seemed awful, so I stopped (although I love the idea of Jeremy Northam as Sir Thomas More). I'm reading Hilary Mantel's books on HVIII right now so I'm re-interested in the era. But what I like about Mantel is how closely she hews to documented histories, and I don't think I'll like Tudors if it strays too far.

They'd probably annoy you then, or at least, me. I also (for some inexplicable, grounded nary a bit in reason) hated the actress that played Anne Boleyn, which also colored my perception of the show.* I did enjoy what I watched, but only if I actively turned off my brain.

The thing is, I still like a lot of the monster-of-the-week episodes even after the mythology episodes have gone completely off the rails. I'm pretty sure all my favorite episodes are in the first five seasons.

I still love pretty much every season of X-Files for precisely this reason. J'adore monster-of-the-week anything.

*Thank god she doesn't have too much screen time in Game of Thrones, or she'd ruin that for me as well.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:03 PM
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J'adore monster-of-the-week anything

Such a charming combination of pretentious and trashy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:05 PM
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152: I like that show, but the rest of it doesn't live up to the complete awesomeness of the pilot and the first few episodes.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:05 PM
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J'adore monster-of-the-week anything.

You should definitely watch Lost Girl -- not good, but genuinely fun (particularly if you find low budget charming).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:08 PM
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the complete awesomeness of the pilot

I was really impressed. That must have been a tough pilot to write -- it delivers a lot of exposition while maintaining good control of tone.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:09 PM
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156: I think I shall take that as my epitaph. Thank you.

157: I have the first episode ... I keep meaning to give it a try! (But then I start watching things like The Carrie Diaries and Hart of Dixie instead, which is pretty much why no one should ever listen to my television recommendations. (But they're fun, really.))


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:10 PM
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By the way, is the first half of Breaking Bad season 5 available streaming anywhere? Netflix instant only goes through the end of season 4 so far.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:17 PM
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I don't even own a streaming service.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:23 PM
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The Tudors is bloody terrible, btw. Although quite entertaining in bits for the usual blood, intrigue and nudity reasons. It starts off barely plausible, with a skinny dark-haired Irish Henry VIII, and then gets steadily less plausible, and the accents and acting even more wildly daft.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:27 PM
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The Tudors is a lot more surprising if you don't realize there was more than one Cromwell.

Also it turns out that like 80% of Tudor England was named Thomas.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:32 PM
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Sorry if pwnd, but honest-to-god, somebody got a ladder, climbed up and unscrewed my TWC connection.
Been out for 28 hours.

Anyway, series to watch via Netflix?

CHOBITS!

(Anohana, which actually has a very long title; or Haibane Renmei, or Paranoia Agent )

Now to read the thread


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:35 PM
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A Russian history professor once lamented the tragic lack of imagination for names in the Russian royal family -- if they had more than three boys, at least two of them were likely to be named Ivan.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:37 PM
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14: I have watched Heimat, but only part one. It is indeed a masterpiece, but not quite the bestest thing ever. Although I can't think of much better, but I haven't watched BerlinAlexanderplatz or whatever, the Fassbinder thing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 1:38 PM
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Netflix instant only goes through the end of season 4 so far.

Huh. It's available here, but that's possibly because it's never really had much of a "proper" TV audience in the UK. Based on the general rule for airing TV, I would have expected Season 5 not to go on US Netflix until the next season started, but this is the final season, so maybe it will when the DVDs go on sale.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:09 PM
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re: 166

And the other Nicholas or Alexander?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:11 PM
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I adore Timothy Hutton

You should watch Leverage. While it has definite flaws and Timothy Hutton's character is sometimes irksome, it's funny and moves along quickly enough for most of the gaping plot holes to slide by.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:13 PM
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Parenthetical and whoever else likes that sort of thing should watch Supernatural. Not that I've ever watched it, but I'm sure it's great. I know for a fact that two of the people involved with it are great, and that should obviously be sufficient.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:21 PM
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I want to watch Justified just to see how Kentucky is portrayed and if they bothered to get a diction coach or have everyone going around doing the same generalized Foghorn Leghorn thing Hollywood assumes is spoken from Norfolk to El Paso. But I don't really enjoy watching people get shot all that much so...


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:29 PM
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125: Yes, I mean series 3 with the 10th Doctor. Though looking at the list of episodes, series 2 is better than I remember. David Tennant's take on the 10th Doctor only really settles down in the last two episodes of series 2.

I had the same reaction to Dead Like Me as Parenthetical. The first few episodes make it seem like it's going to be great, but then it sort-of meanders after that.

Lost Girl is terrible, and yet I must watch it. I like the way it deals with the long shadow of Buffy by giving all of the Whedon-like dialogue to one character.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:29 PM
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Alias is Grade A television for two seasons and then plummets into awfulness. The ending of Season II I still sometimes go back and watch on youtube.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:31 PM
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171: It's on my list. I assume I'll like it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:40 PM
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172: I'm told that the accents are definitely not accurate Harlan County, but they're also not Foghorn Leghorn. Kentucky is certainly not portrayed favorably--nearly everyone in Harlan County is a criminal, a junkie, poor, stupid, or some combination--but it only occasionally boils over into high caricature.

I don't really enjoy watching people get shot all that much so...

The current season is less shooting and more snakes, if that helps.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:46 PM
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Oh yeah, Weeds. I am a broken record but: it's fun at first! I've seen the first 7 seasons except I skipped one because it looked like it was going especially stupid places. Whether you will like it depends entirely on whether you're amused by Mary Louise Parker and Justin Kirk, with bonus points in later seasons if you think Hunter Parrish is hot. Season 7 proves the theory that Michelle Trachtenberg can brighten up even the most tired series. It's not that the writing ever gets really bad on the level of characters, it's just not a premise that was meant to last more than a few seasons. Eventually you get tired of seeing Mary Louise Parker in another horrible predicament.

Why am I going on about this? Work avoidance!

Damages is fun because it's the only thing I've seen that is written at such a pitch of melodrama that Glenn Close can't make the whole thing ridiculous by stomping all over it like Godzilla.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:49 PM
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Eventually you get tired of seeing Mary Louise Parker in another horrible predicament.

This, however, is mitigated by the fact that I will never get tired of seeing Mary Louise Parker in various states of undress.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:57 PM
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Or even a singular state of undress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 2:59 PM
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Alias is Grade A television for two seasons and then plummets into awfulness

I watched Alias ages ago and remember basically liking it and thinking that Lena Olin was fantastic (and Victor Garber was fun).

I tried to re-watch an episode recently and decided that it was impossible for me to enjoy it after having watched Chuck. I had been able to suspend disbelief the first time around but the second time, having been primed by Chuck, I kept wanting to watch it as parody.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:18 PM
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Supernatural is a terrific series, I would have mentioned it before if I'd realized it was on streaming (which I just discovered it is). You've gotta love a group of writers who decide to make angels as weird and terrifying as any other supernatural creature.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:19 PM
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The dude who created The Tick is one of the writers on it. (And my friend plays an angel, a role which has earned him no end of preteen-and-older female admirers.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:23 PM
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The dude who created The Tick is one of the writers on it.

Okay, this is pretty much what it would take to get me to watch a TV show about angels.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:25 PM
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170: the first season of that was much better than what followed. You could just imaging the meeting where they decided to dumb it down and go more mainstream.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:26 PM
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I don't think the angels show up until like the 3rd or 4th season.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:36 PM
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Angels, no angels, a writer from The Tick is enough to put it on my list.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:37 PM
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What 186 said.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:38 PM
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You could just imaging the meeting where they decided to dumb it down and go more mainstream.

John Rogers mentioned on his blog that they discovered through test screenings that a large chunk of their audience does not care in the slightest about narrative coherence or plausibility. They just want to see the bad guy get his/her comeuppance. Given that, I can't say as I'm surprised they dumbed it down.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:39 PM
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186: Well then I assume you've watched Angel ?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 3:53 PM
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186, 189: And, apparently, Firefly.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:02 PM
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I seem to remember that his time on Angel was not very happy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:07 PM
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I'm working my way through Campion on Amazon Instant Video - I've not checked Netflix for it. The adapters tend to step on the best lines from the books, though.


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:20 PM
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Huh, I never knew about the various Tick - Venture Brothers - Whedon connections.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:22 PM
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Re: Tudors: You're not supposed to like Anne Boleyn, I don't think. Or anyone in her family. They take a lot of liberties: it's not history, it's drama. Henry is played charismatically, if sort of manic and amazingly capricious: there's not a minute you'd wish to live in a monarchy. I thought the actress playing Katherine of A was very good, and you find yourself liking More until he starts burning heretics, and then suddenly all that preening integrity doesn't look so admirable. And the politics is hilarious: Henry allies with the French and the HRE each against the other, switching pretty much as soon as one or the other agrees to an alliance.

Henry Czerny is marginally better as Conrad Grayson than as the Duke of Norfolk -- but they really should have kept him on past the first season, because without him, we get Catherine Howard as just a lost waif (so far) rather than another attempt at a political play by courtiers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:33 PM
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188: About 27%, maybe? Has someone pointed this out to the Democratic strategists?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 4:41 PM
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||

Teaching is hard work.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 5:17 PM
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Preach it, brother.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 5:20 PM
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Sifu Tweety, if Mischa Collins is a friend of yours, but you're not intending to watch the whole series, I highly recommend season 6 episode 15 to you, "The French Mistake." Sam & Dean are thrust into an alternate universe in which they are actors on a show called Supernatural; Collins' bit playing himself is hilarious.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 5:24 PM
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"Friday Night Lights" is great. I binged on the first 13 episodes in about a day and a half, and now I'm waiting for a friend to catch up so we can watch it at a less unhealthy pace.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:00 PM
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Dead Like Me was great all the way through even if the rest of the episodes aren't quite as good as the early ones.

Those who like Archer should like The Venture Bros.

I guiltily enjoyed the first season of Downton but couldn't stand the second season. I find this season more like the first.

Supernatural is good fun (though it's been a while since I've watched it.

If you like sci-fi weirdness give Lexx a try. Please. I can't be the only one out there who thinks it's one of the best things ever.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:08 PM
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Re: Tudors: You're not supposed to like Anne Boleyn, I don't think. Or anyone in her family

For reasons I can't quite figure out, I was walking down the hall today (well that part I can figure out the reasons for: it was to get from one place to another) thinking about Mary Stuart through the filter of Schiller and getting just furious about what a bitch Elizabeth was. What the loosely historical fuck?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:19 PM
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And I renew my endorsement of Friday Night Lights. That Tammy Taylor would have straightened Elizabeth I right out with her endearing mix of patience and sass.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:21 PM
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I know it sounds all "I don't even have a TV," but it may be that a handful of Portlandia bits is all the TV I've seen since The Wire. These other programs, they're better, you say?

Speaking of TV, since you all are racists and like talking about accents, maybe you should have a conversation about racism, accents, and the Volkswagen Super Bowl ad.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:41 PM
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I'm certain I'm going to get all sorts of grief for this, but The O.C. was really great, for all the reasons outlined in this article. (Plus, I love picturing Ira Glass in tears over it.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 6:48 PM
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I will recommend Eureka from SyFy as a kind of great formulaic tv show - smart people do something dumb (which will distroy the world obvs) and then dumb sherrif fixes everything. There was a serious reboot somewhere along the line to beware if you're jumping between seasons.

I also can't stop watching Lost Girl even though I'm not entirely sure I like it. Well that's not true - I have stopped because I can't deal with the wolf guy moping all the time.

I spoiled this season of Downton Abbey to see if it was going to be a soapy as Season 2. I hated how many story lines they would start and resolve over a single episode. Give me some time to care dude!


Posted by: hydro batiste | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:02 PM
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This "hydro batiste" thing is starting to grow on me. Speaking of which, time to be indulgent and go read in the bath. This is why I don't have tv recommendations. But Lillian Faderman's book about Boston marriages among prominent professional women in the 19th and early 20th centuries is every bit as good as I expected it to be!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:07 PM
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198: I heard about that but never have watched it; I'll check it out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:12 PM
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207 cont'd: that episode title alone is pretty fantastic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 7:13 PM
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thinking about Mary Stuart through the filter of Schiller and getting just furious about what a bitch Elizabeth was. What the loosely historical fuck?

Perhaps not all that surprisingly, I was thinking about the same thing at some point today. But then Leicester abandons her, bam! Er is zu Schiff nach Frankreich, bitch!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:11 PM
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Those who like Archer should like The Venture Bros.

And yet, I just... don't. It's some missing ingredient in me, I'm sure.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:14 PM
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203: I know it sounds all "I don't even have a TV

I know. I'm gobsmacked at the number of shows I've never heard of it. And that people have time to watch, apparently. I'm totally out of it. That said, I will be happy if I ever induce someone to watch Monster. Or even Detroit Metal City.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:24 PM
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I always recommend an Australian show called Dance Academy. It could at times be taken for a teen soap opera with ballet, but for the most part it's very well done, and I've enjoyed it despite being neither a teenager nor a big ballet fan. Netflix has it.


Posted by: JoeV | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 8:42 PM
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211:I know of Monster, good stuff I'll get around to it someday.

Anime is time-consuming, and I will watch my early Sokurov and Fliegauf and Pen-ek Ratanaruang

Ya know, there is a lot of Web out there, and if you want to learn about something before you dive in, or get expert recommendations, and I guess if you learn how to evaluate reviewers, it just takes time. I research the fuck out of my entertainment.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:01 PM
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Just requested the Nero Wolfe show from the library!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 01-29-13 9:14 PM
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I'm amazed/terrified that GSwift can enjoy the Shield given his day job.

It's more twisted than you think. The Shield was just coming to an end when I started this job in 2008. Now that I'm a few years in and watching the series again from scratch I'm pretty sure I'm liking it even more the second time around.

My wife doesn't share my enthusiasm though. The Shield and Breaking Bad stress her out too much. Too much realism or something. She also complains now that no thanks to me she can't help but notice things in cop shows like how everyone's using poor tactics clearing a building or running around with their finger on the triggers like noobs.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:53 AM
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I found it difficult - no, impossible - to watch an episode of Sherlock without finding myself wondering why they run about 90 minutes without having 90 minutes worth of material. I probably won't pick it up again now that they've apparently decided to do a third set of episodes.

Without claiming that Elementary is a better show, I'll say that I've continued to watch it mostly because it's nice to see an investigative-style show where the main character is not relentlessly an asshole to the rest of the characters and it's good enough as light entertainment. Plus, I think they're doing some interesting things with Lucy Liu as Watson.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:05 AM
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Seconding Lexx. Oh, the brake calipers of doom.

I haven't seen all of anything video* --well, I haven't read the last season of Buffy yet -- but Bunheads may be a coming-to-adulthood story for a MPDG, which is interesting. Needs more training montages.

* and yet, I have read Sylvie and Bruno Concluded at least twice and it wasn't worth once.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:23 AM
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Those who like Archer should like The Venture Bros.

And yet, I just... don't. It's some missing ingredient in me, I'm sure.

I do. Not as much as Archer, but a lot. Individual episodes can be somewhat hit or miss, but there's great characters in there like the Monarch's henchmen, the Monarch himself, and Brock Samson. I'dd say it's much closer in tone (and concept) to Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law, though. Which is also excellent.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:49 AM
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British TV has basically six channels - the four historic terrestrial ones, the football (which is what 100% of Sky subscribers actually want it for), and all the other will-this-do shite, which can be considered as just one meta-channel.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:58 AM
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You're not supposed to like 16th century aristocrats. Of course Elizabeth Tudor was a prize bitch. So was Mary Tudor, Mary Stuart and all Henry VIII's wives and sisters. The men, of course, were worse. If you want 21st century people to sympathise with your characters, set your story in the 21st century, or at least the late 20th.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:19 AM
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running around with their finger on the triggers like noobs.

Surprising how often you see that. On posters too. Aaargh.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:46 AM
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180
I tried to re-watch an episode recently and decided that it was impossible for me to enjoy it after having watched Chuck. I had been able to suspend disbelief the first time around but the second time, having been primed by Chuck, I kept wanting to watch it as parody.

Oh yeah, Chuck, I've been meaning to finish that. T. and I liked most of it, but something about the last season really turned her off it, and we didn't finish watching it together. There's nothing stopping me from finishing it on my own, though, I just haven't got around to it.

She watches a lot more TV than me. I'd rather spend some of my free time on games and stuff. She seems to like Suburgatory, Bones, and Revenge, if people still need more recommendations. And another show I watch is Castle. There are a couple more I watch, but wouldn't actually recommend.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 7:28 AM
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There are a couple more I watch, but wouldn't actually recommend.

That opens up a whole 'nother line of inquiry.

Dexter seasons 1 & 2 fall into the watch and recommend category.
Dexter seasons 3+ fall into the watch (in the foolish hope that maybe they'll recapture more of what I liked about seasons 1 & 2) and do not recommend.

I could say much the same about True Blood, though the line of demarcation is less clear. More of a gradual descent into badness.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 8:04 AM
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Catle falls into my "watch, but don't recommend" category too. I only really watch it because I'm a Nathan Fillion fan. The last couple of season's have been pretty iffy, with only a handful of standout episodes. And even at its best, it's still just a light police procedural.

See also Fringe, which I have actually recommended, but only to sci-fi fans of a certain type.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 9:45 AM
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I always recommend an Australian show called Dance Academy. It could at times be taken for a teen soap opera with ballet

TeenNick was billing it as "Degrassi meets Black Swan." I still haven't seen the latter, so I can't really say whether that's accurate or not. But we liked it enough that, after the season finale of season 1 last year on Teen Nick, Rory found season 2 on Netflix and we plowed through that in like a week. "Teen soap opera" is a genre that works just fine for me, so YMMV, but it's thoughtfully done and the dance element was enough to persuade Rory to sign up for her first ballet class since she was 5.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 11:16 AM
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225 was me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 11:17 AM
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I could say much the same about True Blood

This reminds me that I saw an episode of Gilmore Girls recently, and had two immediate reactions: a) I'd completely forgotten Melissa McCarthy was in this! b) why are they not pronouncing her character's name "Suckeh"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 11:28 AM
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With respect to disliking Anne Boleyn -- I'm perfectly comfortable not liking a historical character for all sorts of historical reasons. The thing is, I really like the historical Anne Boleyn (it's not like I think I'd want to be her friend, or something, but you know what I mean). But, and I find it inexplicable but sometimes it just happens with actors and actresses, I detested the actress. Am I alone in such things? Does this happen to others?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:30 PM
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Strike the second historical in the first sentence, if you will!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:31 PM
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My wife has such visceral hatreds for certain actors (e.g., A Jolie) that she simply cannot enjoy anything they are in. I guess I'm better at suspending disbelief.

That said, I found several of the facial expressions N. Dormer offers as Boleyn off-putting enough to distract from the story. I wouldn't watch something because she's in it. But I don't think I'd skip something that otherwise looked interesting because she is in it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:40 PM
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225: Have you recommended Degrassi yet? I don't think I've actually watched it since having kids or haven't much, but it used to be what I'd put on if Lee went out on a Friday night and I wanted to do some quiet knitting.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:42 PM
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I guess we're really supposed to see N. Dormer's Boleyn as a tragic figure. She gives up her life at the insistence of her father and uncle, who want her to seduce the king, even though she's not interested. She ends up getting into it though, and plays the climber well, but gets above herself, thinking she can order the king about. And failing in the one true task for which the king has recruited her, it's sort of a lives by the sword dies by the sword sort of thing. We see it as an obvious frame-up -- made all the more obvious by converting Brereton from a royal friend who was actually taken down because the plotters wanted wealth under his control, but converted in the show to a proto-Jesuit who confesses to adultery with the queen because he was too cowardly to just kill her (as assigned by the Pope).

She dies well. Better than More, I think. Cromwell's death, which ends season 3, is probably the most gruesomely accurate.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 12:47 PM
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Seconding Fringe.

And as long as someones recommending Degrassi I'm going to go ahead and recommend DaVinci's Inquest. I just wish Acorn would come out with seasons 4-7 (when it goes from really good to great).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 8:39 PM
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223: Season 4 of Dexter is worth it for Lithgow.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 8:52 PM
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I haven't read through all 233 comments (just skimmed), but has anyone recommended the UK crime drama Line of Duty? It's available on Hulu. There are only 5 episodes (I think?), but the 5 episodes form a tightly-plotted narrative arc. Okay, the plot does, at points, tend to strain credibility (it's a police-detective drama, after all), but great characters, solid acting, and overall just a lot of fun to watch.

Like LB, I watched one episode of Downton Abbey and was seriously underwhelmed. And I'm a viewer with 'Janeite' tendencies: if it's done well, if it's done properly, I'm willing to temporarily suspend critical faculties and sink into the welcome relief of a chintz-upholstered chair by a roaring stone fireplace in a stately English home.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 9:03 PM
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Yeah, Lithgow was fantastic. The show in general did lose the plot, though. Dexter went from being a psychopath who might conceivably kill his sister trying to mimic normal human interaction* to a family man with an unusual hobby.
*What drew me in. I occasionally bake muffins and bring them into work following what I call the Dexter theory of office relations.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 9:10 PM
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My wife has such visceral hatreds for certain actors (e.g., A Jolie) that she simply cannot enjoy anything they are in.

I have more of these than I used to. Nicole Kidman is president of the club I guess. Jack Black used to be, but then he was kind of perfect in Bernie.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 9:43 PM
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231, 233: Yeah, I loves me some Degrassi. But it definitely fits more into my teachable-moments-parenting-prop quiver.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 7:42 AM
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