I usually write about gear or marketing or some nonsense that I'm shooting. Well, not today. This time around we're talking television. In the past few years I've been enjoying TV more, learning about character development and progression, plot lines, and how some TV can be far better than film. Here are my favs:
5. Dark Matter
It's possible I'm just a sucker for anything set on a spaceship but I really enjoyed the first season of this new SyFy channel show which is currently in production on season 2 as I write this post. I binge-watched it on Netflix in a matter of a few days and really enjoyed the intriguing plot (six people wake from stasis aboard a spaceship with no memory of who they are or how they got there), the cool spaceship and VFX, and the interesting character development. Every episode ends with a cool reveal about the background of one of the six characters which makes you want to immediately watch the next episode. My only complaint is that I'm gonna have to watch season 2 one episode at a time.
Conclusion: If you're only going to watch one outer space themed SyFy channel show, watch Dark Matter, not the Expanse, which is convoluted and not anywhere near as good as the books.
I feel like I've been watching this show for a while now, and while seasons three and four felt like repetitive rehashes of each other, the current season is back to form. Suits centers on a fancy-ass NYC legal firm and the firm's star attorney, Harvey Specter, who hires Mike Ross, a kid with a photographic memory, to be his associate. So what's the rub? Mike Ross never graduated law school because he never went to law school, but he is so brilliant and quick witted, Harvey doesn't care. In essence, this show is about a bunch of people who are willingly breaking the law on a daily basis by hiding the truth about Mike, but as audience members we find ourselves taking their sides. Each episode features some witty banter and fancy clothing. The acting is pretty good - I'm particularly find of Rick Hoffman's performance as Louis Litt.
Conclusion: If I knew any of these characters in real life I'd probably hate their guts. Watch this show on USA.
This show isn't on the air anymore, and that's a damn shame. I loved almost every episode of this buddy comedy that featured James Roday as fake psychic, Shawn Spencer, who solves crimes with his partner Burton "Gus" Guster. It's hilarious, off-the-wall humor, that always put a smile on my face. Lucky for you, it's all streaming on Netflix. If you like to laugh, you need to watch this show.
Conclusion: "Have you heard about Pluto? That's messed up, right?"
2. The Leftovers
I love slow burn shows, and the Leftovers is certainly that. It's also one of the craziest shows you'll ever watch. The first season was admittedly bleak, a complaint of many viewers, but the second season of this show is probably some of the greatest television ever made.
Let me back up. The Leftovers is a show about a global event, a departure, where 2% of the world's population simply disappeared in an instant. Almost everyone in the world was affected by the loss of someone whether it be a family member or friend. So, yeah, everyone is kind of depressed and sort of nervous that it's going to happen again. The show follows a small town cop, Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux, who deals with his fractured family - a wife who has joined a cult called the Guilty Remnant, a bratty teen daughter dealing with the loss of her mother, and a step-son who has joined another strange cult led by "Holy Wayne" who hugs away the grief of people.
If it sounds bizarre, it is, but it's also so damn good. Episode Eight of Season Two, "International Assassin", is hands down the best episode of any tv show I have ever watched.
Conclusion: If you have an HBO or HBO-Go subscription, do yourself a favor and binge watch this show. The third season coming later this year will conclude the series and I can't wait to see it.
1. The Americans
So fucking good. I'm not sure how this show is repeatedly at the top of critics list but never gets nominated for anything. Everything about this show is top notch from the writing to the cinematography that perfectly captures a different time period to the acting, especially the show's leads played by Matthew Rys and Keri Russell. That's right, Felicity, and boy does she kick ass, or sometimes she kicks people's heads through some dry wall.
Rys and Russel play Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, a seemingly regular couple who have two kids and run a travel agency. In reality, they are Russian KGB spies, living next door to Stan Beeman, who happens to be an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence. The show is tense and gripping and you should watch it before you watch anything else on this list.
Conclusion: Watch this fucking show and thank me later.
Some of my other favorites that didn't make the Top 5: The Killing, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Justified