List compiled by Eddie on 08/05/2020
While I don’t normally like to dabble in the TV space here on the site, during this Covid-19 life we all find ourselves in at the moment, time for TV viewing is at an all-time high for most of us as we await the moment we can go about our lives more freely again.
There’s no point arguing that since the early 2000’s the TV space has entered into a golden era where much of what we see streaming into our homes is as good if not even more quality than what we get in the feature film space these days.
Shows like Game of Thrones, Vikings and Breaking Bad are epic storytelling mediums that cost millions upon millions to develop and we are spoilt for choice everywhere we look, as some of the most talented filmmakers and actors in the industry ply their trade outside of the cinematic landscape.
Below is a list of shows that if you haven’t yet seen should get around checking out.
A mix of hearty dramas and idiotic comedies that should help bide the time as you await the news that you can finally get back out there and back into the cinema!
Happy reading and happy watching!
Disclaimer – plot summaries from www.imdb.com
10. Kenny vs. Spenny (2002-2010)
Two best friends, Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice, face each other in various competitions. At the end of each episode, the loser gets humiliated.
Not high-brow stuff or for those with an intolerance to extreme bouts of immaturity, this Canadian TV series is also side-splittingly funny for those that get on board with it. Somehow an examination of good vs evil with the nefarious Kenny often plotting against the more good-natured Spenny, this is extreme reality TV at its most off-kilter and unpredictable.
9. The Outsider (2020)
Investigators are confounded over an unspeakable crime that’s been committed.
One of the most assured Stephen King adaptations yet delivered for either TV or film, The Outsider is an unnerving murder mystery with leanings towards the supernatural as its expert cast deliver award worthy turns throughout its 10 episode run. Lead by the always great Ben Mendelsohn and supported by memorable turns from Cynthia Ervo and Jason Bateman, The Outsider is well worth checking out.
8. Godless (2017)
In the 1880s American West murderous outlaw gang leader Frank Griffin hunts for ex-protege Roy Goode. Frank’s chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico – a town inhabited, after a mining disaster, almost entirely by women.
A slowly paced but expertly delivery western with a difference, this 7-episode Netflix series is a cult-hit that deserves a wider audience. Filled with magnetic performances from its cast that includes Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery and an on fire Jeff Daniels as one-armed bad guy Frank Griffin, Godless’s unique set-up and emotionally charged pay-off make for a great combination.
7. Eastbound and Down (2009-2013)
Many years after he turned his back on his hometown, a burned-out major league ballplayer returns to teach Physical Education at his old middle school.
After years of solid support turns in modern comedy classics, mulleted funny-man Danny McBride was given full license to go for it in this HBO masterpiece that examined the life and times of washed up pro-baseball player Kenny Powers, a megalomaniac of the highest order. It’s a credit to McBride and the shows co-creators Jody Hill and Ben Best that somehow Powers was likeable despite all his floored behaviors and antics. Without doubt one of the most consistently funny shows ever made.
6. The is England 86, 88 and 90 (2011-2015)
Shaun has just finished his final exams and he realizes he is no longer a kid. Its mid 80’s England, and the gang are back, looking for a laugh, a job and something that resembles a future.
Perhaps not a series for those unfamiliar with Shane Meadow’s classic 2006 film This is England, the 3 series that followed on from the events of film act as one of the strongest ever follow-ups to a narrative film that further develop the relationships and livelihoods of those that first came to life in the story of skin-heads and growing up in a Thatcher lead England. By the culmination of the last series set in 1990, its clear what Meadows created is one of the most moving and well-acted British shows ever produced.
5. The Virtues (2019)
Falling into despair after his nine-year-old son leaves for Australia with his ex, Joseph walks away from his present life and boards a boat for Ireland to confront painful memories from his childhood.
A fine showcase for the incredible talents of its leading man Stephen Graham, The Virtues is a 4 part mini-series that is both gripping and heartbreaking as we follow the adventures of Graham’s Joseph, a lost-soul coming to terms with past traumas as his family move away from him and he returns to the place he called home many moons ago. Not easy viewing but most certainly essential, The Virtues is high-class drama born from a place of genuine experience.
4. Band of Brothers (2001)
The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.
A list such as this would never be complete without the appearance of this Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced World War 2 drama that changed the face of small-screen storytelling for good. A tremendously faithful and exceptionally well-delivered mini-series, Band of Brothers is simply unforgettable and well-deserving of the many accolades that have fallen its way since release.
3. The Leftovers (2014-2017)
Three years after the disappearance of two percent of the global population, a group of people in a small New York community try to continue their lives while coping with the tragedy of the unexplained nature of the event.
One of the most consistently great shows of the modern era, the 3 series of the HBO backed The Leftovers make for some of the most unique and unforgettable drama we’ve been treated to in the last few decades. With a star making turn for its leading man Justin Theroux as policeman Kevin Garvey, all 28 episodes of this Damon Lindelof project offer memorable moments, that culminate in one of the most moving endings of TV history.
2. Lost (2004-2010)
The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.
I could sit here and argue all day with those that say Lost is not all that good, and that’s fine everyone is entitled to their own opinions but should one stick with Lost from the stunning start to haunting finale, I am sure the plights and exploits of a collection of plane crash survivors makes for some of the most gripping and unpredictable TV you’re ever likely to see. Perhaps to ponderous and fanciful for some, for those that fall under the grip of this magical 6 season show, Lost will be a show that sticks with you for years after the initial viewings.
1. The Wire (2002-2008)
The Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.
For us to be friends in real life I have a stipulation, you have to have liked The Wire and if you’ve not seen it, you have to. It’s pretty simple really as this HBO classic is without a question one of the most quintessential and important pieces of TV to have ever been produced. Filled with rewarding plot lines, important examinations of American culture and bubbling over with career making performances, David Simon’s masterpiece is an age-less must-see classic that has a reputation that continues to grow in stature.
Honorable mentions – The Mighty Boosh, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, When They See Us, The Night of, True Detective, Generation Kill, Show Me a Hero, Top of the Lake
What are your go-to TV shows? Are there some hidden gems you think more people should check out? Let me know in the comments below!