Great TV Shows for your next binge watching weekend
A good story can travel in time and borders; it hits you no matter where you are. ~ Hakkan Nesser
Originally posted June, 2018
The beauty of television and Twin Peaks
I think I am falling in love with Legion the way John Thorne fell in love with Twin Peaks. Now, who the heck is John Thorne you might ask, he’s one of my oldest friends and one of the world’s leading experts on Twin Peaks, he shows up in the Twin Peaks documentary on Showtime, was one of the co-founders of the fanzine Wrapped In Plastic, the book, The Essential Wrapped in Plastic: Pathways to Twin Peaks and currently the Blue Rose Magazine, A Twin Peaks Journal. He was also the editor of my first book, Appalachian Trail Happiness, a good writer, a good editor and a good friend as well as a fellow fan of good television, books and movies. He fell in love with Twin Peaks and got me hooked the first time around.
So back to Legion, a quick warning there are some minor spoilers in what’s below but nothing that will reduce your enjoyment of watching this utterly amazing show. Beyond my discussion of Legion, a list of of other shows that would be way worth your time if you’re looking for a binge watch, unfortunately not all are available.
Legion on FX
I always liked Twin Peaks, but never obsessed about it, thought about it, or wanted to analyze it. I’m becoming that way about Legion. I love that the story takes intellect to follow, although I don’t find the storyline nearly as obscure as most seem to. It is so well written, the non-linear choices made at times I find absolutely brilliant and entertaining. The connections are unbelievable, Sydney Barret as a schizophrenic, Syd Barret the schizophrenic former lead of Pink Floyd, coincidence, I think not when they start season 2 with Pink Floyd music. I love the sets, the costume designs, even the lighting which they use brilliantly, the concept of the characters amazing (I’ll need to jump into the comic at some point to see how much comes from there). There are so many little amazing details in scenes some that I catch and squeal with delight, I know there are a lot more I missed and much like my friend John, I find myself re-watching episodes to get what I missed.
The bottom line is what I desire in a television series for me to really dig it is entertaining storytelling, intelligence in the story, performances and directing, great performances, complexity, attention to detail and most of all to be surprised. My real test these days, is this a show I watch where I multitask (on my phone or laptop) or is this a show that engages me to the point that I have no interest in multitasking.
The list below is a list of these types of shows, I’ve done a little categorization and thrown in a note two here or there. There are some shows not on the list that may deserve to be, The Americans for instance and The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m sure there are others. Those two are missing because I have not personally watched them. I’m sure there are others that people will feel should be on the list, Westworld, Stranger Things, and Mad Men come to mind, all good shows but not shows that do it for me. Westworld is a great concept with a good storyline but gets boring at times, Stranger Things I feel is over-hyped, definitely an entertaining show but I’m usually on my phone doing other things when it’s on. There is a lot to like about Mad Men, but I got really tired of the story line, so perhaps the earlier seasons should be on the list. Anyway, I hope the list gives you a find or two that helps give you a happy day. ~ Rev Kane
Shows over time that have done that for me in no particular order:
The Wire – maybe the best TV show ever
The Sopranos – right up til the last season, spectacular
Deadwood – couldn’t believe this show was canceled early
Breaking Bad – A really magnificent series that was as addictive as meth
6 feet under – perhaps my favorite series finale ever, very satisfying
Band of Brothers – if you like war movies, this will do it for you.
The first couple of seasons of Oz – season one blew my mind, so gritty
Homicide Life on the Street – As good as the Wire is, homicide is just a click below
Fargo (Seasons 1 and 3) – love, love, loved season 1
True Detective Season 1
The Newsroom – great first episode, great speech, amazing cast
Hill Street Blues
First season of ER
Dexter – serial killing done right, wait, what did he just say?
American Horror Story (season 1)
Mr. Robot – My only beef, to a degree this is Fight Club the series, but soooo well done
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Star Trek (the original The Next Generation and Deep Space 9, haven’t seen the latest)
Babylon 5 – the best written Scifi series of all-time, and if you disagree we can step outside
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – On the surface, pure pop candy, but so much more!
Firefly – the best series ever cancelled early
The X-files – early on
Lost – the first 2 seasons, the series finale was utterly awful and dissatisfying
Game of Thrones – if he’d only publish the next damn book
The Leftovers – really under the radar good show with a spectacular series finale
Doctor Who – Been in love since Tom Baker, fell back in love when David Tennant arrived
Battlestar Galactica (the remake) – Had few expectations and all of them were blown away
Kolchak the Night Stalker – the original X-files
Life on Mars (the British Version) – Unbelievable show and oh, Gretchen Mol was so good
Jericho – Great dystopian series, probably shouldn’t be on the list but I loved it so
The Walking Dead – the new standard in Zombie TV
Fear the Walking Dead – I love origin stories and this does so much more of that
The Expanse – next to Legion another new show that really has a chance to be special
The Twilight Zone – do I have to say anything
The Outer Limits – campy at times, but so good
Alfred Hitchcock Presents – really clever storytelling
Mash – best comedy ever made, with better drama than most dramas
The United States of Tara – Really interesting look a multiple personality disoders
John from Cincinnati – Maybe he was God, cancelled before we found out
Carnivale – twisted and lovely
Happy! – maybe a comedy, a drama, a fantasy, it’s definitely beautiful, nuts and awesome.
And Legion truly does it for me
What shows would you add?