Essential TV Shows Part 2: More of the must see shows recommended to you…
Warm greetings and welcome back to Written Mirror. This week it’s time to return to the list! What list? If you haven’t already read part one, please do so by clicking here…
Now for more of the essential tv shows you should strongly consider watching, if you haven’t already. In no specific order here are numbers 10-1…
10. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
I was young enough (Old now) to see this during its original run. Saturday mornings were awesome right from the opening theme. That epic sequence, the silky animation and the lightning strike with Batman’s proud chest protuding from the top of a Gotham skyscraper at the end, was just poetry in motion.
This is not just a cartoon! I regard this as the single most important (Western) animated series ever made. This set the precedent for what animated series’ needed to compare to during and following its run. It is the gold standard. Don’t worry anime fans, I’m not about to compare the styles. Just know that if you haven’t seen this series, you need to!
Superhero Fans Unite!
Similarly, if you’re into the live action superhero genre and have somehow missed this; right that wrong immediately! If you’re not into animation, this could be the series that changes that. The storylines, the characters, the voice acting, the score and the sound effects. Oh and let’s not forget that sexy batmobile!
This is the definitive Batman and as close as the Bat Detective gets to the source material. Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman we all want and need. No gargling marbles here, just pure class. Bruce Wayne and Batman are two very different people. Mark Hamill as the Joker, need I say more? How about this; all the iconic villains with interesting origin stories to boot. Sounding obsessed? Well, this series will do that to you. I can hear the opening theme in my head right now!
9: House of Cards (2013-2018)
HoC is one of the best shows there is; this is just the truth! How it will be viewed by those new to the series is intriguing. Especially, if it involves coming from the other side of the track. Personally, I went into HoC when it came out in 2013 as a huge Spacey fan. I even forgave the Superman Returns debacle and just dived right in. So I wonder, what it might be like for those who have become aware of the many accusations against him off screen and how that affects their viewing experiences. Just to be clear I am not advocating support for predatory behaviour…
Many people put in a lot of hard work to make this show tick and it is just too good to become collateral damage. The writers, top tier acting talent like: Robin Wright, Mahershala Ali, Michael Kelly and others. I hope HoC continues to be viewed by audiences worldwide. So much of what a TV show can aspire to in terms of high stakes drama is enveloped into HoC.
Also, deviant behaviour by someone holding political office in the United States? Admit it, you’re intrigued…
8. Mad Men (2007-2015)
This was fascinating to me. It was brought to my attention late and I made it my mission to catch up. I caught up in time for season 5 and it quickly became one of my favourite shows along the way.
The mecca of advertising during the 60’s. The ills of the time and the highs of the lies they sold to keep the myth alive (mainly tobacco). Welcome to Madison Avenue, New York and meet the mercurial Don Draper (Jon Hamm)…
As with a lot of great shows, they arrive, they peak, they maintain and then they come crashing down to earth. Even with that being said, the dropoff wasn’t unwatchable, so I stayed until the very end.
For anyone who has heard/researched about the accusations against the shows creator Matthew Weiner, this article is not intended to cause any offence. It merely suggests content on its artistic/narrative merits.
7. Game of Thrones (2011- )
It’s the show everyone on the planet has heard of and yet not everyone has seen it. Containing lashes of ultra violence and the old in out in out; sorry, that’s A Clockwork Orange (1971). However, the same warning does apply. If that isn’t an issue, prepare yourself for an adventure one does not simply forget.
Adapted loosely from the now legendary A Song of Fire & Ice series by George R R Martin, GoT mixes adventure with conflict on unprecedented levels. Most of the actors you will know by now, having been in almost every major film there is since its release. Some you’d know from before GoT. There’s even a totally irrelevant cameo from Ed Sheeran to look forward to. Good times!
You have a year to get up to date as the next season is scheduled for release in 2019. That leaves you with ample time to pace yourself in the lead up to what will definitely be an epic final season….
6. House of Lies (2012-2016)
There’s a lot of serious high stakes drama and epic adventure in this list. You’ve earned a little chill time. Sit back, relax and let House of Lies do its thing. Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Ben Schwartz carry the lionshare of the load here to hilarious and often devastating effect. HoL does light hearted well, it also stands upright when it needs to be serious. Ever wondered what a management consultant actually does? Marty Kaan takes you on a MTV cribs style journey through it all…
5. Sherlock – (2010 – )
If by some miracle you haven’t seen Sherlock, but you’ve seen Elementary, my thoughts are with you. Take your time with this show, you have to savour the episodes, there aren’t nearly as much as we’d like. I could be wrong but this is the vessel that launched Cumberbatch and Freeman into orbit!
4. House (2004 – 2012)
If this was a ranked list House would be my number one without question. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Very rarely does the end of a show leave me reeling the way this did. The void I mentioned in the first post was because of House. It was the best TV series I had ever seen.
To put it in perspective, I conducted a poll amongst my network for what I should watch next and the leading answers were Dexter, The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy. These shows came nowhere near to the levels I had grown accustomed to…
House MD is Sherlock in disguise. I can’t see Hugh Laurie as anything other than House and because of that, if we ever meet, I’ve already decided I’m calling him House!
The cases are interesting (Pre-requisite for House to work), his staff all hate him (with good reason) and his boss can’t control him. House is a detective who refuses to wear his hospital uniform or be courteous to his patients. In fact, House isn’t even nice to House. He’s a genius on a warpath during peacetime.
Absolutely must see; no one should go through life having never seen House… – JM
3. The Sopranos (1999 – 2007)
The Godfather meets its very undisciplined and dysfunctional great grandchildren. I think that description does it justice. Don’t trust my description? Then step right up and meet The Sopranos…
2. The Wire (2002 – 2008)
There is nothing like it and there most definitely will never be. Intentionally set in a world where technology is crimes best friend and legal red tape makes law enforcement almost prehistoric. The Wire gives you unrivialed character development and takes you behind the curtains on both sides. See the law and how they run their shop, then come and look at operation the law breakers run. Cat and mouse? No try a Prius vs a F1 car.
What makes crime so attractive? Why do people become police officers? How does it affect their family? Is homicide investigation fun? How do criminals avoid getting caught? Does the government care about unglamorous cities/towns? Everything you’ve ever considered in a crime/gangster serial is wrapped up in a very appetising buffet of rich storytelling.
Before we knew what an Idris Elba was, we knew The Wire sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet… – JM
Before the number one show is announced, just a few honourable mentions. These shows are most likely still early on in their run or a comparator on the list predates it or does it better…
- American Gods (2017 – )
- Hannibal (2013 – 2015)
- Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)
- Boardwalk Empire (2010 – 2014)
- Mr Selfridge (2013 – 2016)
- How to Get Away with Murder (2014 – )
- Ray Donovan (2013 – )
- Power (2014 – )
1. Billions (2016 – )
Not many shows early in their run made it into the complete list. Stranger Things and Billions are pretty much it, and for good reason too. They take their subject matter to elevated heights. Having to wait for a third season of Billions has been very hard, especially as both the first and sophomore seasons were of such high quality.
This has to be one of the best shows with a quiet fanbase. It doesn’t take over your timeline like some of the others do and you don’t have to worry about spoilers on a particular day. Catch up now while you still can. When this makes that all import social media breakthrough; it’s going to be here to stay…
Two very distinctive routes to power and influence. Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) has chosen public office and wearing the white hat. On the other side of the fence is Axelrod (Damian Lewis) aggressive in the (loosely regulated) financial sector and prepared to risk it all for the highest rewards.
Billions is what happens when Cowboys who hate each other drink at the same bar. Someone has to go and it won’t be pretty when that time comes… – JM
That’s all folks!
Thank you for reading another Written Mirror article. Here’s to hoping some of the shows from the list make their way into your personal schedule. As always please like and share the content.