In the interests of balance and because I seem to be in a minority of one who enjoys watching the occasional episode of Spongebob or Scooby-Doo, I thought I’d post about adult teevee which I think is great, just to show that I have a brain age of above 12, can write joined up writing (just) and have shoes without velcro.
So, fair reader, I bet you’re thinking: but how do you qualify what makes great teevee, oh blogging sensei? Well, grasshoppers, it’s simple: I only watch stuff that’s good…and stuff that MrsShev thinks is good as well (stuff that I watch on my own I will post about at a later date.)…so it’s really not that simple at all. If it isn’t tales of complex inter relationshops involving love, loss, happiness and despair I literally have to force MrsShev to watch the television strapped to a chair with matchsticks holding her eyes open while she is muttering: ‘me no likey…me no likey…me no likey…’
So, in no particular order
- Six Feet Under Ah, seems so long ago that we watched this – back in the day before Sky+, TV on demand and downloadable media. I remember watching the occasional broadcast when it was first aired on Channel 4 (remember when Channel 4 was good…?) but I never got into it. However, we were eventually persuaded that not watching SFU was the televisual equivalent of not reading Catch 22 as a literary one. It’s the story of a funeral home, run by a dysfunctional family and it is easiest the second best TV series every made IMHO. A HBO classic. If you haven’t seen it then I envy you, because I’d like to watch it again.
- The Wire There’s cinema and then there’s television. Television has always been regarded as the stupid brat compared to cinema, the versatile adult. But television has a major advantage over film in that it can tell a very long story (a story arc) over long period of time without skimming details or compromising the depth of it’s plot or characters. Not much on television utilises this advantage, but the Wire does. Quite simply, The Wire is the best piece of television ever made. It is a masterpiece telling the story of Baltimore’s drug trade over 5 seasons from the angles of the dealers, the users, the police, the politicians and the press. I have kept the DVDs and when I lose my memory in an alien kidnap I will again get the pleasure of watching these all again. Unadulterated genius.
- Grey’s Anatomy Everyone loves a good hospital drama, I don’t know how doctors can tear themselves away at the end of their shifts because it looks so amazing; full of really attractive, funny, quirky people with enough spare time at work to fall in love, drink oodles of coffee and commit crime (back me on this, Dr A). Awesome. Dr Kildare, St Elsewhere, ER, Holby CIty, Casualty, Scrubs – bloody nora, If I owned a private hospital I’d just turf the patients out and turn it into a film lot. Anyway. Grey’s is one of the best ones, with long, long story arcs (always a sign of quality), great weekly plots and consistent characters. It’s pretty lightweight, but I don’t have the emotional stamina to watch BBC4 documentaries about human trafficking or classical suffrage all the time…
- Rescue Me Since No Cure for Cancer I’ve always been a bit of a Dennis Leary fan and when I saw that this series was written and produced by Leary my interest was most definitely piqued. Rescue Me tells the tale, post 9/11, of Ladder 62 mainly through the life of Tommy Gavin. Tommy is a hard drinking, womanising, fighting, 2nd generation irish fireman struggling with guilt, 9/11, fatherhood, marriage and drink and he is a walking, talking car crash. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes moving, often funny and frequently controversial; Rescue Me is very, very good indeed – final season this year: boo-hoo!!.
- True Blood Alan Ball (the creator of Six Feet Under) went off grid a few years ago because he was, apparently, working on a series about vampires. True Blood is what he came up with (I wrote a post some time ago about it which you can read here). True Blood is quite light viewing but has guaranteed a late slot with muchos shots of norks, knobs and furry triangles as well as liberal swearing and plenty of gore – but the characters are great, the locations are superb and Alan Ball has run with the idea so hard that you have no idea what crazy storyline he’ll invent next. Great fun.
- The Inbetweeners My only English choice, which is a touch sad but I think that says more about me than it does about UK television because I want escapism; watching a couple of coppers haring around Slough in a Mondeo after some shop lifters makes it all seem a bit tragic in my eyes. However, the UK still makes great comedy series and this is – by a country mile – my favourite at the moment. New, awkward kid from a private school attends a comprehensive: cue carnage…and clunge. This is 50% hide-behind-the-sofa in embarrassment and 50% laugh-so-hard-you-might-do-a-mini-vomit.
- Sons of Anarchy This was a random find of mine on Amazon, but this show is doing great business in America. In it’s third season now and it charts the ups and downs of a motorcycle gang called The Sons of Anarchy, their ‘old ladies’ and the town of Charming in California. The lead is a guy called Jax who is played by a guy called Charlie Hunnam who used to be in Byker Grove – I kid ye not – and his stint in Tyneside did him the world of good, because he’s fantastic in this. SOA uses huge story arcs, resonant characters and truly shocking plot twists to keep you hooked and it works. Really great show, this.
- 24 (season1) This is going waaay back when America had just started to worry about terrorism (9/11 happened a month before this was aired) – so what better way to deal with the changing world climate than to make a dramatic case for torture, illegal wire taps, lack of due process and denial of human rights? The first 24 is arguably the best – the use of the show’s USP (events occuring in real time) is used brilliantly (you know, apart from Jack or anyone else going for a piss or eating a sandwich…like, ever) and the creation of a cliffhanger at the end of every ep is old skool genius. Yeah, I know Kim is beyond annoying and CTU is the easiest government agency to get a job at without them checking references at all and has more moles than Wind in the Willows BUT this is groundbreaking stuff and even after the initial novelty and unexpected nature of it wears off, the other seasons are great as well.
Obviously, I am missing The Sopranos (never got into it…I know, I know), The West Wing and Deadwood. I am still (!) finishing The West Wing and never really got into Deadwood but may give it another go.