June 19

I’m going to prepare you for this one. It’s going to be long! I wanted to write a post on some of my favourite shows that I’ve seen or am seeing so far. Some are recent, some are old, some are quite possibly the best shows ever made and one or two may be shows I just love for sentimental reasons.  There will be some shows missing from this list. I haven’t seen (yet) The Wire, The shield, Homeland and some others so if you don’t see these in the list, this is why. Remember, this is my opinion only and we all feel differently about things. However, if I have missed a show and you think it is one worth seeing, please let me know about it in the comments. I appreciate any suggestions on how I can happily while away the hours of my life! Just to clarify, the shows are more drama based, not comedy as I feel like comedy shows should have their own list. I might do a post later on my favourite comedy shows so watch this space!

DISCLAIMER: There will be SOME spoilers but I will try to be somewhat cryptic so as not to give everything away.

Anyway, let’s kick things off with my number 1…..

1) Battlestar Galactica

This has got to be my favourite show so far, which is all the more surprising as I had to be forced into watching it by my partner. He insisted I would love it as it was more a drama than a typical sci-fi show. So I agreed to try it after many days of nagging and fell in love with it. For most of these shows I could write separate posts alone talking about how much I love them and for this one I could write a book! But I’m going to try and be brief…… everything is amazing in this show, from the characters to the acting and the story line is just perfect. In some places this show can make you smile and in other places can make you cry. Occasionally it can also make you incredibly frustrated or pissed off!  My partner could pass for a rugby player and he often sheds a tear over what happens to Starbuck! The pacing is good, it never felt like things were dragging or being too rushed but the story just seemed to unfold effortlessly which is a testament to the writers. There were people I loved and people I HATED, which made watching it a real experience for my blood pressure! It has elements of comedy, drama, it is political and isn’t afraid to bring difficult issues to light. If there’s only so many thousand of you left, where would you stand on the issue of abortion? The use of music is so well done in the show as well. The score is beautiful and emotive and the reworking of an incredibly iconic song is actually iconic in it’s own way, it not being something really done before. The atmosphere is special as well…… it’s the type of show you’ll be thinking about years after watching it and wanting to watch it again and again and again. It really is that kind of one-in-a-kind show that will stand the test of time. So if you haven’t seen it then you really need to, and if you have then you know exactly what I’m talking about! I don’t want to say anymore for those that have yet to experience this true masterpiece, instead I’m including the trailer for this awesome show. I hope it’s a motivator for those to watch or rewatch it and a sense of nostalgia for those of us who remember how this incredible show made us feel. Enjoy.

2) The Sopranos

And the surprise for me continues as this show takes my number 2 spot. I have spent my whole life convinced that I hate any mafia-type film or tv show and then my fiancé forced me to watch it and I loved it! I feel like the show is a slow-burner, but that’s what’s so great about it. It’s more about the people than the criminal activities they get involved with. It’s about how these mafia bosses live with their families, their crime families, their rival families and the normal public. Tony Soprano even has a long-term friendship with a guy who never was and never is involved in the law-breaking life that Tony leads. They live in totally separate worlds but they co-exist in a (mostly) innocent relationship. There were characters I HATED, characters I loved to hate, characters I loved even if they were horrible and characters I loved because they were nice and should never have been involved in the mafia life (I’m talking to you Bobby!) There were even people I HATED and then grew to like only to have them killed. And that’s a big one. Try not to get attached to anyone, they’re all at risk! I always liked Johnny Sacramoni and his story was sad. Adriana’s bothered me for days afterwards. And Ralph….. I hated him so much and then when he finally changed and I finally started to like him….. well let’s not spoil too much! As for Tony, I just couldn’t find a way to like him. Not from start to finish. But then again, isn’t that the point? He may be going to a therapist to cope with his difficult life but at his core he isn’t a nice person. We shouldn’t like him.  And not to be the only one on this list, the end is not only debated on what really happens but also whether it is good or not. In my opinion, the ending is perfect. It is hinted at all the way through the last season and it couldn’t have ended better. This is the mafia after all. It’s not going to be happy-ever-after! I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t seen it but for any of you that have, let me know what you thought of it in the comments section.

3) Mad Men

Mad Men is such an amazing show but one I find difficult to explain why. It’s a drama set in the 60′s in an advertising agency, where we get to see the men who work there, their business lives and their family lives. And……. that’s it really! Problems arise like for everyone. We get to see Peggy move from being a secretary to being a copywriter, something very difficult in a time where women never really got ‘men’s roles’. We get to see Don, the main man, cheat on his wife numerous times and Betty, his wife, struggle to cope with their relationship. And of course there are Don’s secrets….. But there is so much more to it than that, it is just hard to explain why. For me, the show is magic. The acting is just incredible, possibly the best I’ve seen so far in a TV show. When I watch it I really feel like I’m there with them. And the characters are great, so varied and interesting. And despite how flashy their lives are, the show can be so sad when you see what some of the characters are keeping behind closed doors. After watching an episode I sometimes need a break because I can really feel heavy after watching a sad or difficult episode. But despite that I want to keep watching to see how it’s all going to turn out. It’s maybe not a show for everyone but for anyone that loves a good drama, this show’s for you. I haven’t finished it yet and I’m already loving and putting it at my number 3. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

4) Breaking Bad

I guess this entry isn’t a surprise to anyone and I doubt that there’s a lot of people left who haven’t watched this show! For those that haven’t, the very brief synopsis is that it is the story of a chemistry teacher, Walt, who gets cancer and cannot afford to pay for the treatment without leaving his family bankrupt. To earn money fast he teams up with an old student, Jesse, a small-time drug dealer, and together they make the best meth ever seen. Together they climb the ranks, coming into conflict with the cartel and other competitors, all the while Walt hides what he is doing from his wife. In the meantime, Walt’s brother-in-law, Hank, who works for the DEA is looking for the people behind the meth distribution, unaware that Walt is behind it. Another slow-burner, this show isn’t going to have something HUGE happening every episode. Instead it is a slow but steady rise in power and decline in  humanity for Walt and a decline in everything for Jesse. In fact, even more so than for Tony Soprano, I found it VERY hard to like Walt at all after season 1. His total disregard at all for the feelings of Jesse made me hate him by the end. The last few seasons, seeing it all begin to unravel, were amazing and stressful to watch, despite the comic relief provided by Saul Goodman! In truth, I found it hard to watch more than 2 episodes a day because of the stress it was causing me! Not to mention how sad it was. I really liked Hank and seeing how his story turned out was difficult to see. Another show where the acting was really incredible, I truly felt for Jesse, Hank and Skylar. The end of the show made me feel relief that it was over as I don’t think my blood pressure could have taken anymore! But it didn’t make me feel happy, it was more like justice was done and sadness for all the hurt that Walt had caused. What had started out as good intentions left a wasteland of hurt people behind. But the journey is really amazing and it’s one everyone should watch. So if you’ve not seen it yet, go get watching! You won’t regret it!

5) Lost

Ok, so anyone reading my previous posts will know what I don’t like about this show. Making it simple for you: Kate and Juliet. I wrote a whole post on why they pissed me off before and I stick by that. But this show comes 5th for me because despite those 2, I really enjoyed the show. The show starts with a plane crashing in the arse-end of nowhere and that isn’t even the biggest thing to happen in this show. I really don’t want to say a lot about the story of this one because it could really spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, so let’s just say that on the island nothing is as it seems. There were so many mysteries and secrets that left you guessing and wanting to see more to understand what was really going on. But unlike some people, I loved that about the show. And I felt like all the questions I needed answering got answered. The story is brilliant, there’s always something happening and it’s never boring! But what makes this show really special is the characters. There are characters you really like and ones that really annoy you….. as I’ve written long enough about! Not everyone makes it off of the island and in those instances I found it incredibly sad. It is very easy to cry at this show. But unlike most people, I am a big fan of the end. I think is both sad and happy, really lovely and heart-warming, and a perfect way to end the show. And the way they intersect it with a certain character’s sacrifice was very touching. I have thought about the show many times since watching it and because of this and the way it made me feel, I have given it spot number 5 which I think it deserves.

6) The Walking Dead

If I was just going on season 1 and 2, this show probably wouldn’t be this high up on this list. But from season 3 onwards this show has just got better and better. Who doesn’t love a good zombie apocalypse! I am already a fan of anything zombie related but I think this show is better than a lot of recent zombie films have been. But the secret is the people. As even though there are zombies, the show isn’t really about them. It’s about people. The bonds you make in a crisis, how you can get through, and the sort of awful people and acts that can emerge in a world with no law and little food or water which we see numerous times in show, including cannibals, rapists and sinister dictators. The bond Rick’s group has is really special considering how they were mostly all strangers before it started. Seeing the characters grow and transform is always really great to watch. A perfect example is Carol who went from a naive, battered wife to a real fighter who rescued Rick’s group from Terminus all by herself and is now able to manipulate and fight people to protect the group. Her journey from start to finish though has been full of tragedy which makes it all the more interesting to watch.  And like a lot of other tv shows on this list, you should try not to get attached to characters because no one is safe! And when they die, it can be really sad.  You really want the characters to make it and you feel like you’re on the journey with them. It’s a great show that everyone should watch and if you haven’t seen it yet, you won’t regret it.

7) Game Of Thrones

I know a lot of people will think this should be higher. Let me first explain why for me it isn’t….. Game of thrones is an awesome epic show but what appeals to me the least is the setting. I’m not normally a fan of shows set in in this kind of setting, and there is also such a high number of characters for me. I like shows with less characters who interact with each other a lot as I feel like I get to know them more so feel more emotional on seeing what happens to them. I also feel like their journey’s are better explored like this. In Game of Thrones there is such a high number of characters that we only see them for about 10-15 minutes an episode and sometimes they don’t appear at all for a number of episodes. Therefore I feel like I know them less so I don’t feel so attached and I feel less involved in their journey in the show. But nevertheless, the show is really amazing. It is epic, it is beautiful when you see all the different settings, towns, villages e.t.c. The characters are great, there are so many people to love and SO many to hate. You also tend to pick a side. Who do you want to take the throne? The story is truly amazing, especially how it develops for all the different characters, what has happened to them and what their fate will be. Take Arya and Sansa for example. Will Arya ever see Sansa or Jon again? Will Sansa reclaim the north for the Stark’s? If you are someone who loves to be immersed in a different world, feels passionate about characters and loves an epic storyline, this is the show for you.

8) Spooks

I suggested trying Spooks when my partner and I had run out of things to watch and I am so glad I did! A British show of 10 series is unheard of usually but I’m glad Spooks kept going this long. A show about M15, we get an insight into the life of a spy and it’s great to watch! Full of action, terrorism, death, there’s never a dull moment! The show definitely got even better from about season 3 onwards when there was a plot line running through the whole season instead of individual plots for each episode. You really grow to love the characters in this show although each episode you have a little feeling inside you that there’s the chance they’re going to die. And trust me, they will die. Getting attached in this show is really a fruitless task, even more so than in The Walking Dead! A couple of deaths really made my partner and I sad as it was characters we really loved and wanted to see more of, and sometimes the way they died was incredibly sad, such as for Colin, Zaf and Lucas. Sometimes when it happens you never even see it coming and it is such a shock. The fact they make a show about people that put their lives on the line for the protection of the country and kill them so violently and suddenly really emphasises the real danger these people face everyday and the risks they take for us. The ending of the show was both sad but perfect, honouring all those lost along the way, the return of an old face and showing how life goes on. I thought it was very moving and that’s why Spooks has to be on this list.

9) Six Feet Under

A show about death and life and how they coexist in the home of the Fisher family. Running a funeral business and having a morgue in the basement of their home means they are perhaps more used to and prepared for death than most people. But when they lose their dad it doesn’t make it any easier. Each episode we begin with the final moments of someone’s life before they end up at the Fisher’s place to prepare their service. For the rest of the episode we follow the lives of the fisher family; Nate who has a fatal brain condition who is bound to have a stroke and no doubt doesn’t have long to live. We see him lose his wife under suspicious circumstances and struggle to get over her death. We follow his brother David and his tenuous relationship with Keith and his sister Claire as she goes through school and college in the hopes of becoming a recognised artist. And not to forget their mother who tries to find love again and be there for her children. It is a wonderful drama, simple but lovely to watch as they go through great and hard times. And it’s not always easy to watch, it can be very sad in places. I haven’t finished it yet and I’m finding it difficult to raise the courage to finish it after hearing about how sad the end is. But I will finish it. It had to be on the list by how it can make me feel such a wide range of emotions thanks to the great acting and emotional subject matter. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea but a pleasure to watch so if it sounds like your thing, give it a try.

10) American Horror Story

I am a total fan of scary films/books/games/shows as you’ve probably noticed from previous posts! So when I heard about American Horror Story I really had to give it a try. Each season is in a whole new setting, time period and with a completely different storyline. The first season is the ‘murder house’ and is about ghosts in today’s time. The second setting is in an asylum in the 60′s where awful experiments are being conducted on the inmates, a serial killer is on the loose both in the 60′s and today and innocent people are being locked away. The third setting is back in today’s time with a witches coven where they must undergo tests to find the new ‘supreme’ witch and the last season, ‘Freak show’ is, just as the title suggests, all about a freak show and is set in the 50′s. What I love about this show is how they keep the same cast and have them play totally different characters in each season. It is something really unique and great about the show as the actors are really brilliant and include the amazing Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange. The show, although creepy and scary, is great at surprising you by making you feel sad at some moments. But for me, what made 100% sure the show made the list was the last season. Not only did I love the story (and what an awesome actor Finn Wittrock is!) but there were moments when I felt so sad. I really got attached to the characters so in some places I was genuinely upset. The scene with Ma Petite and Dell was really upsetting to watch. And with Twisty the clown I was surprised…… he was portrayed as a terrible guy but when we hear his story it was so sad it made me cry. The scene with Elsa and Pepper, and Pepper’s story also made me cry and really showed how amazing an actress Lange is. The way we could see how much she really loved her and didn’t want to let her go really moved me. And Elsa’s ending, and the ending in general, was so sad and sweet and touching it made me cry again! This really surprised me given the nature of the show and how violent the rest of it was, to have these moments in there that could make me feel like that. I am so glad to hear there is another season and I hope it continues like the last one as I’m really stating the think the series is something special.

11) The Killing

I watched the American version before knowing it was a remake of a danish one and I won’t say a lot about this one as I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who’s yet to see it. The show is about a young girl who disappears and the police who try to find what happened to her that leads them all the way to the local politicians. It is very dark in atmosphere. The case is one that eats away at the two detectives and where the investigation leads them is surprising until the very shocking conclusion that left me with my mouth open! Again this is another show where the acting is really wonderful to watch. Mireille Enos is brilliant as detective Lindon and Joel Kinnamon is great as the troubled detective Holder. The ending of the show made me cry, seeing the dreams the girl had for her life and knowing she would never get to fulfill them. I liked the fact it was split across 2 series as well as it made the mystery last longer and that was something I enjoyed. Despite a lot of people I was also a fan of the third series and was genuinely surprised by the killer’s reveal and loved how Lindon discovered who it was. But the third series was very sad as well, especially with the relationship between Holder and Bullet. If you enjoy crime shows you should give this one a try.

12) Band Of Brothers

Despite this being a short one, it’s on the list simply because it’s a great one. It’s an account of ‘Easy Company’ during World War 2. It is beautiful to watch with the locations used, the effects, it really feels like you’re there and it’s real. The acting is superb and unsurprisingly for a war film it is very sad in places. You get easily attached to the characters, based on REAL people who were in Easy Company and when some inevitably die it is both shocking, quick and saddening. Watching their journey through the war is difficult as they go through good and bad times, easy and scary moments, and seeing their bond with each other is nice to see and all the more sad when they lose their friends. There isn’t more I could say about it, it needs to be seen to understand why it’s such a good series. So go watch it if you haven’t already and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

This is my list so far! I will update it as I watch more shows. But I also wanted to include a list of honourable mentions; my shows that I really liked but didn’t quite make it onto the list!

  • Jericho

 

  • Luther

 

  • CSI

 

  • House

 

  • 24