Needed: TV Recommendations

In a couple weeks Carrie and I will be in Mexico for a much needed vacation for a week. We will spend our days in the sun by the pool or listening to the ocean, and our nights watching TV on DVD (or off BitTorrent). Okay, there will also probably be tourism and shopping. What we need now are some recommendations for good shows we might have missed. So far we’ve got Season Ones of Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock. We know and love the usual HBO shows and their relatives. We’re going to try and score season 4 of The 4400 (my bT is a little slow these days and I don’t have time to troubleshoot), but we could use one or two more (in case of a rainy day).

Suggestions? I suspect I’m asking the wrong crowd (except for Steven) but it’s always worth a shot. For instance, is The Dead Zone actually any good?

14 replies on “Needed: TV Recommendations”

  1. People say that HBO’s “The Wire” is the best show ever on TV. No really. I’ve heard this from word of mouth, and read it on the Guardian website, so it must be true. “Surely not better than Six Feet Under?” I hear you ask, but No, Yes, my sources say (after a second’s thought), it is. So check it out. I’ve not seen it myself.

  2. I come here having just watched next week’s episode of The Wire, which had me crying. It’s no show to be watched on vacation, though. Jonathan doesn’t need to know my opinion of the show, of course, I’m sure he knows it already.

    If you already have full seasons of Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock and you’re only gone for a week, you should have enough, shouldn’t you? Remember that the first episodes of 30 Rock were meh, so don’t give up too soon.

    Not sure what else to recommend … maybe an FX series? Both Damages and The Riches were good … erratic, never really great, but worth your attention, I think, and there’s only been one season of each so far, so you wouldn’t be that far behind. The Shield is better than all of them, but it’s been running for so long now it’s not worth it to start on it when you should be having fun (it is also a very not-fun show).

    But honestly … I can’t think of much beyond The Wire after tonight’s episode.

  3. I’d echo Steven’s dual sentiments on the Wire’s brilliance and inappropriateness for beach vacations. If you’re looking for a short-term commitment, some good short-lived shows include Wonderfalls, Kidnapped, Damages, and more well-known options like Firefly or Freaks & Geeks. And if you have a tolerance for whimsy, Pushing Daisies seems like a perfect choice for a romantic getaway. Enjoy!

  4. Thanks for the suggestions but please keep em coming. We’re watching the Wire (a week behind so SHHHH), we’ve seen all of Freaks and Geeks and Entourage and Damages. The Riches is new though, so perhaps that’s it. Lighter fare is better than heavier but suspense is always good (we loved Damages). I’m not looking for a good cry on vacation.

    Carrie was thinking of The Closer, a British show.

  5. Glad to hear you’re already caught up on The Wire and Freaks and Geeks and Damages. I’ll second Ira’s Mad Men pick. I assume you ‘re Battlestar Galactica watchers? If not, it’s a must. Gilmore Girls? Veronica Mars? The TNT version of The Closer, with Kyra Sedgewick is really good police procedural, too.

  6. If you want to know what Aaron Sorkin was like when he was still good, try Sports Night.

    State of Play is a British mini-series from a few years ago that has a great cast (David Morrissey, Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald, and MILF-of-the-century Polly Walker) and is pretty good. If you can’t get enough of Polly Walker and you never saw it, Rome is almost as good as Deadwood.

    Hadn’t seen the Mad Men mention. That’s a must-see.

    Not everyone likes Weeds or Dexter as much as I do, but I’d toss them out there as well.

    If you love The Wire and never saw it, The Corner is a brilliant mini-series by the same people, featuring a lot of the same actors, with the same Baltimore setting. It’s also extremely depressing.

  7. I was reluctant and dismissive at first, but I got hooked on Lost. Arrested Development is great for laughs and light watching. Ultimately, tho, I think Deadwood, Six Feet Under, and Battlestar Galactica are three of my favorite television shows, especially Deadwood. Utterly brilliant, with a few episodes depicting interesting intersections between the rise of the public sphere and the telegraph.

  8. I think you’ve already left, but: The Office. It’s perfect for watching when not at the office. And it appears Curb Your Enthusiasm has a new season out. To fill those half hours as you wait for your pina coladas to be swirled…

    For my break I’m going to buy a few seasons of Thirty Something and watch what my life looked like in the 80s.

    PS Nice to see the TV posting got the most comments on an academic’s blog. The truth always leaks…

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