If you still don’t have enough TV

I watch so much TV that I frequently run out of episodes. The Good Wife is only one hour of my week, and even though Girls, Togetherness, Looking, Parenthood, and Downton Abbey are all back, altogether that is only like three hours of TV. Fortunately there are a few shows that even I have not gotten around to, and recently this backlog has been a source of total delight. Also in honor of the ridiculous charade we are all about to embark on in which we pretend movies are great, I think it is a good idea to remember why TV kicks movies’ butts. Also all of these shows were snubbed by the Golden Globes, which exists in some parallel planet where The Affair is appointment television.

1. Penny Dreadful
I dragged my heels on this one. It seemed a bit gimmicky and I don’t like scary things. But I finally came to this via the Slate end of year TV Club, which is a total treasure trove of TV recommendations.

Things that are great about this show: Eva Green truly embraces her big ears and gives an incredible performance as a lady in touch with spirits. If awards were actually about quality she should have won the Golden Globe for best female lead in a dramatic show.

Josh Hartnett, remember him? My thirteen year old self would be stoked to find out that he has finally found a venue for his beautiful and rugged visage. But most importantly, this show actually understands what is interesting about the nineteenth century Gothic = it is the queerest cultural moment ever.

2. The Missing
It is like True Detective, the Killing, and Serial but with the added bonus of showing you how not appealing France really is.

4. Happy Valley
It is like True Detective if you replace Mathew McConaughey with a middle-aged, charming, normal weight, and FEMALE detective.

Bonus, all of these shows have short first seasons (ten episodes or less).

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4 thoughts on “If you still don’t have enough TV

  1. What is number three? I like Happy Valley but have only watched one episode, but if you want some good British female cop show Prime Suspect with Helen Miren is the best. Also I liked Broadchurch. And we just watched the last season of Newsroom – a lot of fast Aaron Sorkin dialogue but still gratifying. We did try the Francis McDormand Olive Kitteridge but it seemed too depressing. Of course one of the bright spotsin the Golden Globes was the aknowledgment of Transparent which you reviewed so beautifully. TV addict and mother of D

  2. Can we talk about The Fall? I have such conflicting feelings. On one hand, it is well-acted, beautifully shot, and Gillian Anderson is luminous in it (seriously–she is my current style icon). However, its depiction of violence against women is troubling because it is beautifully shot. And elaborate. Contrast that with Happy Valley, whose depiction of violence against women–while sparing–is still effective in terms of narrative and makes The Fall look relatively gratuitous. Add to that the fact that Jamie Dornan is about to portray another popular, fetishized man who likes to tie up and dominate women, and I feel unsettled by how much I liked The Fall. Thoughts?

    • I am also super conflicted about the Fall. I am so into Anderson and her sexy blouses, but I feel really gross after watching this show. Which is partly my fault because I watch so many shows that show a ton of violence towards women, and then this one tips me over the edge. But I think you are right that some shows like Happy Valley (and the Missing, although it is violence towards children), are more judicious. I feel like if the Fall had come out in a different era, pre-Dexter perhaps, I could appreciate its slick aesthetics and impressive pacing with less guilt.

  3. Pingback: My humble suggestions for a balanced tv diet | ladies of habit

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