Dear 100 Hour Board,
What is a tv show you think everyone should watch?
-Need a binge show
You're probably not surprised to learn that I have things to say about TV. Here are a list of shows that I throw my full weight behind when recommending.
- Orphan Black. Duh. Of course I'm suggesting this one. It's the greatest TV show ever created in no small part due to Tatiana Maslany's otherworldly talent in regards to acting. Watch this show now. The fifth and final season is soon to begin.
- iZombie. The CW's usual formula for a comic book adaptation is to create something that's moderately enjoyable for about 1.5 seasons and then immediately make it almost unwatchable for the rest of eternity. (Although Arrow is getting a lot better.) iZombie is the notable exception, and not just because it strays far from the source material. Rose McIver plays Olivia "Liv" Moore, a medical resident on track for greatness until she becomes a zombie and in an effort to hide this turn of events gives up a promising career as a doctor to work as a medical examiner in a Seattle police office, providing her access to the brains she needs to eat in order to continue passing as not undead. However, brain consumption causes her to subconsciously take on the personality traits of the mind she consumes and occasionally gives her visions of the deceased's memories. Since most of the brains are from murder victims, she uses these visions to assist Detective Clive Babineaux in solving cases. It's a very enjoyable show and Rose McIver and the supporting cast are absolute delights. Having recently begun its third season, it is still an A+ show and I anticipate more quality entertainment from it in the future.
- Wynonna Earp. Another comic book adaptation, this time about a descendant of the legendary Wyatt Earp. The town of Purgatory is inhabited by Revenants, the resurrected souls of those killed by Wyatt Earp. Wyatt's descendant Wynonna must use Wyatt's gun, Peacemaker, to send the Revenants back to hell. Wynonna is assisted by her sister Waverly and Deputy Marshall Dolls, a man from a mysterious division of law enforcement who comes to Purgatory to investigate the Revenants. (Side-note: I have headcanon that Dolls is Mormon. Watch the show and you might agree.) Wynonna also deals with a strange man with a vested personal interest in Wyatt Earp. This show has amazing characters and is an absolute thrill to watch. The second season begins soon so I recommend catching season one on Netflix now.
- 30 Rock. This may be the greatest sitcom in the history of television. Most compare it to The Office and Parks and Recreation but in my opinion it blows those two out of the water. Additionally I find it immensely rewatchable (and I am usually averse to rewatching things) so it frequently plays to create ambiance in my apartment. Seven seasons of clever jokes and lovable, absurd characters.
- Firefly. Unfortunately only one season but it's a phenomenal show and has a pretty good movie to watch afterwards (Serenity).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So season one is a bit of a chore to watch but make it through that and you're in for six of the best seasons of TV you'll ever watch. (Make sure you have lots of tissues for season five.) This show is as amazing as people say it is, if not more so, and is a show that has had an incredibly lasting impact on our modern culture. It's both something you'll enjoy watching and something that you should watch.
- Veronica Mars. When I first started watching this at the recommendation of my sister, I accidentally started watching Ally McBeal because I thought that's what she had been recommending. And while I love Calista Flockhart, Veronica Mars is much better than the 15 minutes of Ally McBeal that I saw. The first two seasons are great, the third is a bit of a letdown, and the movie is enjoyable albeit very fanservicey.
- Scrubs. Nine seasons, the first eight of which are definitely worth watching, of hilarity and humanity. I haven't met someone that's seen this show and hasn't liked it.
- The Good Place. I don't want to say too much about this show other than that you should go watch it now. Only one season so far but it's amazing. One scene towards the end of the season in particular is perhaps my favorite scene in all of TV and completely justifies sitting down and watching every episode in one sitting to get to that moment. I also highly suggest that you do not read anything about this show before watching it. It will be worth it, I promise. I have five siblings and it's difficult for all of us to agree on anything but the weight of all six of us goes in to recommend this show.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This is a show that when I initially saw previews about, I assumed I wanted nothing to do with it. I was incredibly, horribly wrong. It's one of the best shows on TV right now. Rachel Bloom plays Rebecca Bunch and is absolutely hilarious, providing incredible takes on mental health. It's also a musical show so there are at least two songs in each episode and in addition to the songs being hilarious by themselves, they are often impeccably executed parodies of a variety of songs and genres, from "Trapped in the Closet" to Les Mis. You have plenty of time to get caught up before the third season begins.
- Mr. Robot. I initially started watching this because it has the most realistic portrayal of hacking in the history of media and while that alone is remarkable, it's a very enjoyable show. Season one was masterfully done and while season two was a bit of a let down, it was still really good.
- You're the Worst. I'll frequently say that I love a TV show, but I am in love with this show. Specifically, I am in love with one of the leads, Gretchen, played by Aya Cash. This is an amazing, albeit insanely emotionally draining, program. It's incredibly well executed and many episodes can be described as nothing less than artistic masterpieces. I almost recommend waiting to binge it until closer to when season 4 starts because I still have some residual depression from the most recent episode.
- BoJack Horseman. This had been recommended to me over and over and I didn't take the bait for the longest time. I'm so glad that I did. It's a depressingly humorous cartoon that, much like You're the Worst, is at times nothing less than a masterpiece. It's a cartoon that not only creates deep, rich characters, it also weaves an incredible universe in which they all reside. Binge it and the Christmas special now before it returns for its fourth season.
- The Cape. OK. I understand that this show is probably not as good as I think it is. Mostly because I hold it in my mind as absolute perfection. It was unfortunately cancelled partway through its first season but I believe we owe much of what the current superhero TV show is to this program. You too can watch all the first season online and then forever wonder what the world would have been like if it had never been cancelled.
- Jessica Jones. This is a difficult show to watch for a lot of reasons but it is so. dang. good. This is not necessarily a "binge" recommendation not just because there's only one season but also because it's very difficult to watch more than one episode in a sitting.
- Nathan for You. This is, hands down, the funniest show to exist or to have ever existed. Season 4 can't come soon enough.
- The IT Crowd. I'm putting this up here largely because it contains what I think to be the most accurate depiction of nerd culture in television. Only four short (British) seasons and one special, it has some phenomenal humor to it. If you're a fan of Peep Show or That Mitchell and Webb Look, or if you've ever seen an episode of Big Bang Theory and thought, "Why is this so awful? How is this popular? What if this were funny and had a more accurate portrayal of nerds and didn't feature a Cheesecake Factory that is very clearly not a Cheesecake Factory?" then you will love this show.
- Atlanta. I moved to Atlanta shortly before the show premiered but that has nothing to do with this recommendation. This show is something else. There's only been one season so far, but every other TV show until now has been playing checkers and Atlanta is playing chess, Go, and The Cones of Dunshire while simultaneously managing an NBA team and developing accessible interstellar travel.
There are already a lot of good recommendations and I don't want to beat a dead horse, because that is what I'll be doing if I attempt to agree with everyone. (We really should just do a poll and see how many people would recommend each show. Next year.)
But, I really loved watching Madam Secretary. The Soulful Ginger complains it's too simplistic in the morals of international relations, but I definitely think there were more gray areas in the second season. I also just really liked seeing the husband/wife relationship because that's still something I'm learning and trying to figure out.
I got a temporary HBO account to watch the Big Little Lies miniseries. It was amazing, and I actually liked it more than the book. I'll second Crazy Ex-Girlfriend since it is probably my favorite show on television right now, enough so that I entered (and won!) tickets to see its creator live.
I think you should also check out The Crown and Victoria.
As usual, caveat emptor on content concerns. (The queenly offerings should cater to PG tastes.)
Top Gear. I was first introduced to it by memes on imgur, then I found it on Amazon Prime. Finally, someone gave me the box set complete back to series 1 (of the reboot, the DVD set didn't go back to 1977), and I have been loving it. The long-format episodes combined with 22 series' worth* of pure gold makes for some seriously good watching.
*Top Gear died in 2015 and will never be again. The Grand Tour is pretty good and their production values are amazing, but I don't get the same enjoyment out of the obviously scripted scenarios and dialogue. I prefer the not quite so obviously scripted old Top Gear.
I'm writing this from my iphone, so I'll be brief. Fresh Off the Boat, made all the more hilarious because I'm married to someone who is and also because much of my childhood was spent in the 90s. White Collar because Neil Caffrey. Monk because it's Monk!
Following Tally's answer, I was going to highjack this question into a tangential rant about Madam Secretary, but I will digress.
Anyways, you should watch How I Met Your Mother, West Wing, and Parks and Recreation.
The Soulful Ginger
A few off the top of my head:
- West Wing
- Veronica Mars
- Good Place
- Stranger Things
- British Baking Show
Avatar the Last Airbender. I like this show so much that I'm not even going to put anything else here. Watch it.
Yo Binge TV Friend,
Some of my suggestions are rated M for MMMMMM SO GOOD. Also Mature.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Master of None (M)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (M)
Grace and Frankie (M)
Nurse Jackie (M)
Bates Motel (M)
Mr. Robot (M)
Chewing Gum (M)
Black Mirror (M)
I also agree heartily with the suggestions of Rick and Morty (M), The Office, Parks and Rec, and Gravity Falls especially.
Have a fun time watching great shows!
The other writers have provided some pretty comprehensive lists, so I will just add that Parks and Recreation is my favorite show of all time. The first season is pretty rough and not much happens plot-wise, so I recommend skipping it and starting with season 2. Seriously guys, this show reaffirms my faith in humanity when it is at its most drained. It is what I watch when I'm having a panic attack or depressive episode and none of my other coping mechanisms are helping. I've seen every episode at least three times (except season 1, that's only worth watching once) and I think I enjoy the show more the more I watch it. I just...I just love it so much. I don't even know what else to say about it. Just watch it.
I so truly believe everybody should watch these shows that I frequently will turn on an episode right before I'm expecting people to come over, just so they can see a minute or two and realize how great the shows are.
This tactic has worked on dozens of unsuspecting guests, and now most everybody I know irl watches the first three. (SMASH will always be a hard sell.)
- Please Like Me (Hulu)
- Take My Wife (Seeso)
- Review (Comedy Central App or Hulu)
- SMASH (you have to buy it on Amazon)
Black-ish - A sitcom about an upper middle class black family that includes incisive observations on race, class, and family. (If you're an absolute neophyte when it comes to discussions about race, this is a good place to start.)
Galavant - Very funny musical medieval parody. (I have to give credit to Uffish Thought for introducing me to this one.)
The Good Place - A woman dies and accidentally gets sent to heaven ("the good place") even though she was a terrible person. It's from one of the creators of Parks and Rec and while it's somewhat different in tone, it's incredibly funny, tightly plotted, and the first season builds to an amazing ending. You can stream the first season on NBC's website and it's been renewed for a second season.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - A forward-thinking, independently wealthy woman becomes a private detective in 1920s Melbourne. The idea of the "strong independent woman" has become something of a cliche, but Phryne Fisher is one of my favorite characters in all of television. (Content warning for nudity and some violence.)
Snow White with the Red Hair (赤髪の白雪姫 / Akagami no Shirayukihime) - A very sweet romantic anime in a vaguely medieval setting. I haven't watched a ton of anime, so I don't know if this show is particularly good or if it was just exactly what I needed at the time, but I really loved it.
It's springtime! Stop watching TV and go enjoy the outdoors. Dern kids.
I'm going to go sideways with this, because other people already took my good TV. So I'm going for favorite YouTube channels, which are kind of TV, right? Good. Watch out for swears and things.
- Nerdwriter1 (analysis of movies, current events, etc)
- Wisecrack (especially Thug Notes, Earthling Cinema, and Philosophy of _____, which analyze books, movies, and whatever)
- CineFix (movie analysis and top 10 lists)
- Every Frame a Painting (movie analysis, okay? I like it)
- SORTEDfood (darling dorky British dudes have a cooking show)
- simonandmartina (Canadian couple who live in Japan and talk about the food and culture and life)
- Now You See It (movies. Analyzed!)
- The School of Life (history, very forgiving philosophies, soothing British accents)
- Lessons from the Screenplay (I'll give you one guess)