Monday, December 18, 2017

This One's Got 11

As the year comes to a close, it's time for yet another Best TV list. Working two jobs makes it difficult to watch as much as I used to. Gary and Robin both put me to shame these days.

I still managed to watch a bunch of stuff, and here's what stood out in 2017:


Twin Peaks: The Return (SHOWTIME)
American Vandal (NETFLIX)


Big Little Lies (HBO)
Wasn't difficult to figure out "who did it", but the performances were very good and it was shot beautifully. Season two should be interesting.

This Is Us (NBC)
I caught myself staying up for the end of the last ep after Debbie fell asleep. It's sappy, it's network, but it's still done pretty well. I'm in.


The Good Place (NBC)
Tried it early and didn't really get it. I heard about the plot twist, so perhaps I will revisit. Wish I had the time.

Master of None (NETFLIX)
Tried it. Thought it was okay, but expected a heck of a lot more. Maybe I'll return someday. Or maybe I'm just too old.


Brockmire (IFC)
Love Hank. Love the premise. Just haven't gotten to the rest of it yet. But I will.

Alison Brie is awesome. That is all.

The Deuce (HBO)
I'm saving this one for when I don't have to watch late at night and can really focus. I've seen most of it, but I'm starting over again. David Simon deserves THAT kind of attention.

Godless (NETFLIX)
Liked the first two eps, but wasn't compelled to immediately return. I will go back though.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (AMAZON)
It's kitschy. It helps if you're from the metro New York area and Jewish. A lot.

Fargo (FX)
Veep (HBO)
Last Chance U (NETFLIX)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
The Americans (FX)
Narcos (NETFLIX)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
The Crown (NETFLIX)


11. Ozark (NETFLIX)
It's not the next "Breaking Bad". Let's get that out of the way. But when it focuses on Jason Bateman and Laura Linney struggling to keep their family together in spite of his laundering - it's pretty damn good. 

10. Mr. Robot (USA)
Every episode feels like a movie. The mystery of season one is long gone (but not the plot), and plenty of weird twists and turns remain. Top notch performances from Bobby Cannavale and, of course, Rami Malek carry the show. Even when it gets lost in the weeds (or wherever it might go) it remains compelling.

9. Stranger Things 2 (NETFLIX)
Any show that starts with Dragon's Lair is going to rate high in my book. The bar was set so high, and the second season delivered. It recovered from Eleven's disastrous trip to Chicago with two killer episodes when the gang is all together. Good characters, decent mystery, and lots of fun references from when I was a kid.

8. Better Things (FX)
This could have made my "Shows My Wife Convinced Me To Watch" and "Really Good Shows But Not As Good As The Previous Season" lists, but it was still one of the 11 best this year. What's not to love about Pamela Adlon? Comedy...drama...slapstick...morbid - this Louis CK/Pamela Adlon combination checks all the boxes. Again.

7. Last Week Tonight (HBO)
I am no fan of TV news, but John Oilver's diatribes make me laugh and learn. I don't feel talked down to, and I'm getting a biting, honest reaction to the crazy world we live in. Easily the best late night show on TV.

6. Mindhunter (NETFLIX)
What's more entertaining than going inside a serial killer's mind? Getting into the head of the guys who figure it all out. Nice seeing Olivia from "Fringe" back in the mix as well. Can't wait to see who the next jail visit is going to be.

5. The Handmaid's Tale (HULU)
Creepy and powerful. Peggy Olson from "Mad Men" is in a whole new world. Fantastic acting across the board in this bleak outlook of the future. I need to read the book.

4. Better Call Saul (AMC)
Heartbreaking, dramatic and still funny. Michael McKean was fantastic this season, and Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks are so steady they get overlooked. Welcome back Gus Fring! It's great to have some New Mexico on the small screen once again.

3. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Absolutely taken for granted. It's such a spectacle and so overly hyped that you forget how epic a program it is and how well it's done. Every season isn't going to have a Red Wedding or a Ned Chop. This season had plenty of cool moments, including the best dragon fight entrance since, well, there have been dragon fight scenes. Can't wait to see how it all ends.

2. The Leftovers (HBO)
Gut wrenching. Carrie Coon can do no wrong in my eyes. Some of the plot twists are ridiculous, but for whatever reason they work in this universe. Truly exceptional television that stood out in a very crowded field.

1. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
I have a soft spot for this show since I'm a computer geek. The evolution of the characters and their relationships is masterfully done. Each season gets progressively better, and it was never afraid to take chances. The acting, writing, and of course, the progress of the computer world, all in one excellent series. I'll miss this show the most.

Those are my favorites. Let me know what I'm missing.

Happy holidays, and here's to a great 2018!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

TV update

My last post was in September. Of 2016. I apologize.

I'm a lucky guy. A busy guy. My day begins working on the Stern Show and culminates hosting LoudMouths at 530. Killer combo - Howard and sports. Rockefeller Center to 4 World Trade Center, then back to my apartment on the west side of Manhattan.

On a side note, we moved earlier this year into the city. Now I wonder why I waited so long to do it. I thought I would miss my house. I thought wrong. Highly recommended.

The view next to my TV. Distracting.
Back to my schedule - which has led to cutting back on my TV time. It hurts.

But I felt it was time for an update on what I've watched and also what's coming down the pike.

On My Radar

Sports - I would watch anyway, but I need to tune in for my SNY gig. Weekends are college football (Go Blue) and pro (Here We Go Steelers).

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) - The best show no one is taking about. Sadly, like AOL Instant Messenger, it's coming to an end. If you ever cared about a computer, this is for you. Plus the acting is fantastic.

Better Things (FX) - Debbie and I enjoy Pamela Adlon dealing with her 3 daughters and mother as only she can. Good moody stuff.

This Is Us (NBC) - Another one I watch with my wife. It's well done sappiness - especially for network television, which is notably absent from this list.

Survivor (CBS) - My daughter Rachel and I have been watching for years. It's not about the people - it's all about the game. Jeff Probst, keep it coming. This is the only "reality" show I can stomach.

The Deuce (HBO) - David Simon creates a show, I watch it. I recommend you do the same.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) - Long wait over. Foisting helped Larry pick up where he left off. Welcome back.

Last Week Tonight (HBO) - John Oliver deserves those Emmys.

30 for 30 (ESPN) - I've caught myself rewatching some of these. Subject matter is irrelevant - it's always quality. The Two Escobars didn't win an Oscar, but it's the best of the bunch.

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) - Worth the hype. I miss Peggy Olson.

Ozark (Netflix) - It's not Breaking Bad. Adjust your expectations. But it's very good. The family struggles are more compelling than the crime, but Jason Bateman is excellent. And you can never go wrong with Laura Linney.

Narcos (Netflix) - Still gritty and well done. Season 1 was the best, but 2 and 3 aren't very far behind.

Last Chance U (Netflix) - Loved the first season. Liked the second season. Glad they're going elsewhere for season three. Now I understand how a Juco works.

The Fall (Netflix) - Great first season. British crime drama. Get to know the bad guy and the good gal, and both aren't so good or so bad. Use subtitles - it helps.

The Crown (Netflix) - I've fallen asleep during every episode, but it is still done well. Masterful acting. And some history too!

Coming Soon

I will be watching Stranger Things (how can they top that trailer?) and The Walking Dead (I'm not sure why at this point).

I'm looking for the other "great shows" worth checking out. I know I'm missing some stuff. It can be old shows too. I'll take any recommendations you're willing to give.

Thanks, and happy viewing.