Shows for Short Days

With the days growing shorter and colder, winter invites everyone to cozy up at home and to seek relaxation in form of a good TV show.

Television has enjoyed a kind of Golden Age with many great movie actors giving the small screen a chance. Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire, Kevin Spacey in House of Cards or Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock have brought a whole new quality of acting to TV. I’ve talked about some of my favorite series before, so I wanted to add the shows I’m currently watching to that list.

Breaking Bad

The first show I’m catching up on is AMC’s Breaking Bad. I’ve seen parts of the first season and have loved it so far. Bryan Cranston, whom I loved on the comedy “Malcolm in the Middle” plays Walter White, a High School chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer. In order to ensure his family doesn’t suffer financially, he turns to his old student, Jesse Pinkman and begins to cook Meth. The show finished its five-season run about one month ago and has been one of the most critically acclaimed series around. Even after seeing only a small fraction of Breaking Bad, I can tell why it was so adored. The story is gripping, the writing feels real and the acting is special. I can’t wait to see more episodes.

The next show I enjoy is far more cheerful than the bleak Breaking Bad.

New Girl

New Girl is one of the pleasant surprises for me. I remember watching the first few episodes and being annoyed by the quirkiness of Zooey Deschanel. Normally a big fan of the actress, I felt she was overdoing it at the beginning of the show. But I recently found myself giving New Girl another chance and I haven’t regretted it. Ms. Deschanel tones down the awkwardness of her character to acceptable levels, while Max Greenfield as Schmidt and Jake Johnson as Nick continue to steal the show. Coupled with strong guest stars such as the stunning Olivia Munn or Carla Gugino, the show hits its stride at the end of the first season. It’s funny and relatable. I’ve enjoyed many of the storylines on the show like Nick planning on getting back together with his ex-girlfriend or Schmidt trying to win back his model ex-girlfriend Cece.

Sherlock

Sherlock, based on the novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, is the show that has impressed me most in the last few years. With the third season coming up in a few weeks (January), you should definitely catch up on the famous British detective. After all, there are only six 90-minute episodes. The show, which runs on BBC, features the fantastic Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It transports their cases to the modern world. Seeing Mr. Holmes work with modern technology and laboratories is fascinating and intriguing. The cases are extremely gripping and well written. But without wanting to spoil too much, the highlight of the series so far have been the confrontations with his famous antagonists, Ms. Irene Adler and Prof. Jim Moriarty. Two more months remain until season three arrives!

Which shows are you watching currently? And what should I definitely check out?

Thank you very much for reading, see you on Friday with the next chapter in my story.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

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The show must go on

Summer is not the best time to start watching TV and spend a lot of time in front of screen, as the sun tries to call us out into the open. But from time to time, I need to relax on my own and enjoy some witty banter, delightful acting and funny writing on the small screen to recharge my batteries.

While I don’t watch regular TV programming (so 20th century), I used to follow two handfuls of shows of my choosing starting my slight obsession with my medium during my first of university studying computational science. It was the perfect way to procrastinate and celebrate my newfound independence. Since then, I’ve cut down on the shows I watch immensely, which doesn’t mean there are some gems I’d recommend to anybody.

Suits 

One of the best shows on air today, Suits follows the cases of two lawyers, Harvey Specter and Mike Ross, played brilliant by Gabriel Macht (also known as the Spirit) and Patrick J. Adams. Harvey is a famous closer and winner, whereas Mike has the unique ability of remembering everything he has every read. A few things make this series stand out among its competitors chronicling the lives of white-collar professionals such as the consultant comedy House of Lies: It’s great taste in music, the chemistry between all of the actors and most importantly the detail which lends the show its name: the impeccably tailored suits. Whereas Harvey, who greets from the top, shows his prowess with double windsor knots and three-piece suits, Michael, the young gun on his way up, chooses to stay modern with some excellent fitted tailoring and slim (but not skinny) ties. The show is in its third season and manages to bridge the daily business of everyday cases with the overall arc of a season pretty well, making it my number one series for summer.

Game of Thrones

The nerdy pick among the TV shows is a spectacle to watch. There are too many story lines happening each season, since the show is based on the excellent A Song of Ice and Fire series, but in general, it covers intrigue, love and war in the fantasy medieval setting of Westeros. HBO has gone to great lengths to ensure the highest quality of production and one can tell with the writing, which remains rather faithful to the original and with the exquisite choice of actors. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister stands out and has been rightfully awarded with a Golden Globe and Emmy for his performance. Other highlights are the wonderful Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and the cold, calculating Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. A special treat for me is the inclusion of Skins alumni Hannah Murray and Joe Dempsie, who played my favorite characters in the first two seasons of the British Teen drama. The series is not shy with a visual representation of battle and sex, so it isn’t for the fainthearted, but I doubt there is a more sophisticated series out there at the moment. Season 4 will start to air 2014, so take the time to catch up on it.

Psych

USA Network’s second pick on my list is the detective series Psych, starting James Roday and Dulé Hill as Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster,a tag team supporting the Santa Barbara police department. The quality of mysteries Shawn, who uses his considerable powers of observation and logic to solve cases, has been shaky, but unlike other detective shows, the quality of the mystery doesn’t make the show. Like in my first pick, the chemistry between the actors is fantastic and the writing make the show stand out as it is jampacked with pop culture references to the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Episodes that stand out is the homage to 80’s high school movies (one of my favorite subgenres of all time) approriately named “Murder?… Anyone?… Anyone?… Bueller?” as well as the season 3 and 4 finales featuring Mr. Yin and Mr. Yang respectively. Psych has also managed to pay respect to classics like Twin Peaks, Indiana Jones or the Shining. Season 7 has such finished with a special musical episode to be aired as a Christmas Special.

So, these are my top 3 series, which I still follow regularly, along with the comedies How I Met Your Mother (unfortunately this show has been declining in quality for the last two seasons) and The Big Bang Theory. I’m planning on starting to catch up on some classic shows such as the Sopranos which I’ve only finished the first season of and the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad, which is heading into its last season.

Do you have any tips for my summer viewing? Let me know! Please also be sure to like, share and subscribe.

Sincerely yours,
Albert