TV Addict

When I was a teenager in the 1970s I watched lot of TV. A lot. I once counted that I watched approximately 5 hrs/day (all in the evening). Starsky & Hutch, The Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man (is that all?), Charlie’s Angels, Kojak, The Rockford Files, The Streets of San Francisco, Dallas, Dynasty, All in the Family, Police Woman, Columbo, Happy Days, The Partridge Family, Switch, Hart to Hart, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis, Rhoda, Maude, The Jeffersons, M*A*S*H, Mork & Mindy, Taxi, Welcome Back Kotter, the Waltons … and many others; variety shows such as Sonny & Cher, and Carol Burnett; and of course reruns of Get Smart, Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeanie, The Twilight Zone and more.

And then, I stopped. For most of my adult life I lived without a TV in the house. I have, for instance, never seen a single episode of Friends. A couple of decades of TV pretty much passed me by, and I’m glad to have missed it.

And then came The Sopranos. At the turn of the century, my boyfriend had a TV that I disdained and generally refused to watch, but somehow The Sopranos came to my attention, and not since I was 14 had I been so completely riveted by a show. Obsessed to the point of agony is more like it. We didn’t get HBO in Canada and so I had to wait (after the first season aired, second-run, on CTV) for it to come out on DVD. And thus, binge-watching was born.

I still don’t have a TV in the house, but I do have a computer hooked up to a video projector and a 7-foot screen in my living room. And via DVDs, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” I once again watch a lot of TV shows. Not, I’m happy to say, 5 hours a day, but probably half that.

Much has been made of the current “Golden Age of TV,” that we are currently in. I can’t speak for the majority of what’s on regular TV these days, but most of the shows I’ve watched have been good to excellent. Great TV is my medium of choice over movies. And happily, in the past few years, I’ve been keeping a list. Following is my list to date. It’s short on the “hate” side partly because I’m selective in what I watch, and partly because I’ve forgotten to include many shows that I briefly started and didn’t continue with. Some of this list requires explanation. I will explain later.

Best TV I’ve ever seen

The Wire (5 seasons)
Deadwood (3 seasons)
Friday Night Lights (except Season 2)
The Sopranos – esp. Season 1
Breaking Bad (as an overall arc of all seasons)
The Slap (miniseries)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Freaks & Geeks
Nurse Jackie
Curb Your Enthusiasm
DaVinci’s Inquest
The Office
– British

Excellent shows I’ve seen recently

(not as far back as The Sopranos)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell (miniseries)
The Legacy – Danish (a contender for the top list after the first season, but 2nd season flirts with soap opera)
Bloodline (A stellar first season, but maybe it should have been a 1 season miniseries?)
Dicte – Danish
Peaky Blinders
Borgen – Danish (3 seasons)
Rectify (brilliant? or depressing?)
The Good Wife
Top of the Lake
Intelligence (Canadian)
The Americans (3 seasons)
The Hour (2 seasons only)
Silk – British (3 seasons)
Salamander – Belgian (12 episodes)
The Fall (but the second season was a disappointing repetition of the first season)
The Killing – Danish “Forbrydelsen” (3 seasons)
Wallander – British version
Wallander – Swedish version with Krister Henriksson, esp Season 2

Very good shows

Witnesses (French)
The Jinx (6 part miniseries documentary)
The Missing
Scott & Bailey
Happy Valley – fairly standard cop stuff, but with strong female lead and support
Call the Midwife
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards – British
Hit and Miss (1 season only)
Life on Mars

Shows I thoroughly enjoy/ed

Game of Thrones (until some point in the 4th season when i became excessively bored and remained bored throughout the 5th)
Mad Men
Key & Peele
(I have only ever seen isolated skits on YouTube, but I love them)
Portlandia – (I have only seen clips on youtube – almost all funny)

Good shows

The Affair
Rita (Danish)
Survivor’s Remorse (has its moments)
Justified – mostly because Timothy Olyphant is incredibly sexy
The Office – American
The Long Way ‘Round

Shows that were great for 1 or 2 seasons, but …

Love/Hate – Season 1&2
The killing – US version (3.5 seasons)
Homeland – first season only (Seasons 3 & 4 are abysmal)
House of Cards – American – first season
Misfits- 1&2
True Blood– 1 season

Shows of potential

Black Mirror – 21st C Twilight zone
Fresh Meat

Shows I like/d pretty much or with reservations

True Detective (I have reservations even about Season 1)
Episodes (I don’t think this is very good, and I was slow getting into it, but then I obsessively binge-watched 4 seasons)
Real Humans (Danish Sci Fi)
Ripper Street
Secrets & Lies (miniseries?)
Getting On
Southcliffe (was really good but no real ending)
The Shadow Line (good despite omnipotent antagonists)
The Bletchley Circle
[Broen] The Bridge (Swedish/Danish) (WAY too omnipotent antagonist)
The Thick of It
Shameless (US version)

Guilty pleasures

Dexter – truly an awful show; couldn’t stop watching it (until i did)
Battlestar Galactica – dreadful military dreck: totally addictive
Downton Abbey – utter schmaltz: highly satisfying

Shows that were OK

Wentworth – Australian women’s prison series
The Honourable Woman – well done but Israel vs. Palestine
Last Tango in Halifax
Mad Dogs – very strange. Is it a comedy?
the Riches
the new Dr. Who

Shows I couldn’t get into or didn’t like

Better Call Saul
Schitt’s Creek
Hjordis (Danish: sequel to Rita)
The unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Olive Kitteridge – depressing but well done
Hinterland / Y gwyll
Ashes to Ashes
The Walking Dead
Boardwalk Empire
American Horror Story
Rescue Me
An Idiot Abroad
Spooks (MI-5)
Mr. Selfridge
Parks & Recreation
Arrested Development
30 Rock
Les revenants – the returned
The Newsroom
The Shield
West Wing (I’ve given it only a cursory trial. the reason I’m resistant to this show is an expectation of too-pat liberal utopia)
Veronica Mars
Orphan Black
It’s always sunny in philadelphia

Shows I hated

(not incl. shows I would probably hate but have never bothered to watch)

House – is one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Totally reprehensible misrepresentation of medicine & utterly unbelievable.
Scandal – I watched about 15 minutes of idiotic rapid-fire dialogue up to the point of someone going through a file folder of information and flinging photos to the floor, and couldn’t take another awful second.

Shows I don’t want to see despite recommendations

Sons of Anarchy

Shows I’ve been recommended but haven’t yet seen

Maison Close (French)
In the flesh
The Staircase (Sundance)
Restless (Sundance)