Keith's Blog

TV Ambitions

So if you haven’t already figured it out, I like movies but those aren’t the only thing I like. I also like television. Television is what I have when I come home after watching movies. It’s quality had increased as of late with better production value meaning better story, acting, etc. Some TV shows feel like you’re watching one hour movies (but really 45-50 minutes with commercials). I’ve talked about TV a few times (not as much as I would like) on this site, all of it here. Because it’s Christmas and also Winter season now, most TV shows are taking a hiatus until next Spring and that break allows me to catch up on some shows I may be behind at and/or start watching a new show. In this situation I have chosen the latter, I’ve recently started watching a show named Scandal.

Scandal is a TV show that is on ABC in the US about a team of “fixers” in Washington D.C., it stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a fixer who can make problems go away. This is a full synopsis:

When you get into trouble there’s only one person to call, Olivia Pope. Olivia is a professional ‘fixer’ who makes problems go away before anyone even knows they exist. For the moneyed, the powerful and even the President, Olivia is a legend in her field. Her spectacular success is mostly due to her unbreakable rule of always trust your gut. No matter how careful you are, when you do damage control for a living, you’re bound to cause some damage to your own life. She and her crew eat, sleep, live and breathe crisis. Each week, as the team races against the clock to defuse intriguing new problems before they become full-blown disasters, they also have to deal with their own personal issues. They may call themselves ‘gladiators in suits’, but little by little, Olivia and her crew begin to reveal the chinks in their armor.

This show has suspense, intrigue, murder, romance, etc. I will say that it does get “soapy” sometimes but I don’t mind. There are also is some quick smart (perhaps pretentious) dialogue but what has me engaged are the procedural and serialized storylines and the acting. As I am writing this, the show is currently in a winter hiatus half-way through season 5 and I have currently caught up to the beginning of season 4 watching Netflix on my TV. With little to nothing to watch on TV right now, I found myself watching multiple episodes a day.

So there’s more where that came from. Sure I’m almost caught up with one show but there are plenty more on my list that I would still like to see. These TV shows are from the mid-90s to now. Either I was too young when they first aired or I just never had time to watch them. Sure I probably still don’t have the time to watch all of them yet with the whole movie thing still happening but it’s still okay to dream.

Here are the TV shows that I have yet to check off of my list in no particular order. Some of you may already know about them and some might not so each have a video and some background information. Some are short, some are long and some are over, some are ongoing. (Hint: There are 20 of them):

Here are just the names but you can click on any of them to jump down to more.

 

Alias

For seven years, Sydney Bristow believed she was working for a covert branch of the CIA, named SD-6. However, when she tells her fiance of her job, Arvin Sloane, head of SD-6 and an old family friend, has him murdered. With this life-shattering event, Sydney learns not only that SD-6 is a mercenary group of terrorists, but that her father, too, works for SD-6. Sydney then works with the CIA as a double agent, trying to bring down SD-6 with her father, a second double. This is only the beginning of a path of betrayal, murder, lies, and disbelief. Sydney Bristow pushes through trials of love, learns the truth about her mother, loses a friend in an utter form of incredulity, pitfalls herself into months of torture and puzzlement, and is tormented with countless revelations to come.

Deadwood

The town of Deadwood, South Dakota in the weeks following the Custer massacre is a lawless sinkhole of crime and corruption. Into this uncivilized outpost ride a disillusioned and bitter ex-lawman, Wild Bill Hickok, and Seth Bullock, a man hoping to find a new start for himself. Both men find themselves quickly on opposite sides of the legal and moral fence from Al Swearengen, saloon owner, hotel operator, and incipient boss of Deadwood. The lives of these three intertwined with many others, the high-minded and the low-lifes who populate Deadwood in 1876.

Empire

Lucious, the founder and CEO of a successful record label has been diagnosed with ALS. He must choose one of his three sons to take over the company when he dies. Meanwhile, his ex wife and co-founder, Cookie, has been released from prison and wants to reclaim her rightful place in the company.

House of Lies

A subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want.

Justified

U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is a modern day 19th century-style lawman, enforcing his brand of justice in a way that puts a target on his back with criminals and places him at odds with his bosses in the Marshal service. That conflict results in a reassignment for Givens to the U.S. District covering the town where he grew up. He is an anachronism – a tough, soft spoken gentleman who finds his quarry fascinating, but never gives an inch. Dig under his placid skin and you’ll find an angry man who grew up hard in rural Kentucky, with an outlaw father, who knows a lot more about who he doesn’t want to be than who he really is.

Masters of Sex

Drama about the pioneers of the science of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution.

Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan, a professional “fixer” for the rich and famous in LA, can make anyone’s problems disappear except those created by his own family.

Oz

OZ chronicles the attempts of McManus (Terry Kinney) to keep control over the inmates of Emerald City as well as the drug trade and the violence. There have been many groups of inmates during the run of the show and not everybody makes it out alive. There’s the gangstas (Adebisi, Wangler, Redding, Poet, Keene, Supreme Allah), Muslims (Said, Arif, Hamid Khan), Italians (Pancamo, Nappa, Schiebetta), bikers (Hoyt), Aryans (Schillinger, Robson, Mark Mack), Christians (Cloutier, Cudney), Latinos (Alvarez, Morales, Guerra, Hernandez), gays (Hanlon, Cramer) and a whole pile of others (the O’Riley brothers, Keller, Stanislovsky, etc.). And there’s a great “everyman” character called Beecher who gives a good look at a normal man who made one tragic mistake. Besides the regular inmates, there’s guest stars such as Method Man, Luke Perry, Master P, Treach, etc. and a bunch of prison staff doctors (Dr. Nathan), a nun/psychologist (Sister Peter Marie), a bunch of guards some honest, some crooked and of course the warden Leo Glynn. The whole thing is narrated and held together by inmates Augustus Hill, who provides the show with some context, some sense of theme, etc. and ties everything together really nicely.

Parks and Recreation

The absurd antics of an Indiana town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.

Six Feet Under

A drama series that takes a darkly comical look at members of a dysfunctional family that runs an independent funeral home. With the prodigal elder son (Nate) returning home for the holidays to shattering news, the family must learn to deal with a death of their own, while figuring out how to go ahead with the business of the living. A funny and emotional look at a grieving American family…that just happens to be in the grief management business.

The Americans

A pair of deep-cover Soviet spies masquerades as a typical DC couple whose children, neighbors, coworkers & friends are completely unaware of their activities. At home, they’re the stereotypical parents of stereotypical kids; at work, they pose as travel agents; but at night, they weave a web of confidants, lovers, dupes, and historical figures from the Reagan-era Cold War. The startlingly realistic plot twists force the viewer to consider the real cost of an undeclared war, what it takes to protect one’s beliefs, if it’s worth it, and if it actually worked for either side.

The Fall

A psychological thriller that examines the lives of two hunters. One is a serial killer who stalks his victims in and around Belfast and the other is a talented Detective Superintendent from the MET who is brought in to catch him.

The Shield

The story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where some of the cops aren’t above breaking the rules or working against their associates to both keep the streets safe and their self-interests intact.

The Sopranos

North Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, self-described “waste management consultant,” reluctantly seeks a psychiatrist’s help after blacking out. Lest he appear weak, he must keep his therapy a secret from the rest of the Mob. He’s stressed: his teenage daughter is giving his wife fits; his mean-spirited mother refuses to move to a retirement community; his aging Uncle Junior, jealous of Tony’s rise to the top, won’t stay in line and engineers a plot to kill Tony; and the feds, armed with RICO, are circling. In therapy, Tony must come to terms with his father’s example, his mother’s manipulations, and his own fears of death and loss of family.

The West Wing

When the erudite Democrat Josiah “Jed” Bartlet is elected U.S. president, he installs his administration. He places confidants from his electoral campaigns in the White House. Each of these people play a significant role in the Washington power game: the Chief of Staff (Leo McGarry), his deputy (Josh Lyman), Communications Director (Toby Ziegler), deputy (Sam Seaborn, and later, Will Bailey), and press secretary (CJ Cregg). Also in key positions are the assistants of each of the power players. We follow these people through many political battles, as well as some personal ones. Also playing roles are the First Lady (Abigail Bartlet), the President’s daughters (Elizabeth, Eleanor, and Zoey), and the personal aide to the President (Charlie Young). All make this series, which supposedly follows the political events (often paraphrasing historical reality) almost day by day, more than merely a political soap. The demands of office on each character show the personal sacrifice and the forced compromise of ideals and principles for tactical necessity and allows some insights into many aspects of U.S. society and international politics.

The Wire

Set in Baltimore, this show centers around the city’s inner-city drug scene. It starts as mid-level drug dealer, D’Angelo Barksdale beats a murder rap. After a conversation with a judge, Det. James McNulty has been assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team, in order to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale. Avon Barksdale, accompanied by his right-hand man Stringer Bell, enforcer Wee-Bey and many lieutenants (including his own nephew, D’Angelo Barksdale), has to deal with law enforcement, informants in his own camp, and competition with a local rival, Omar, who’s been robbing Barksdale’s dealers and reselling the drugs. The supervisor of the investigation, Lt. Cedric Daniels, has to deal with his own problems, such as a corrupt bureaucracy, some of his detectives beating suspects, hard-headed but determined Det. McNulty, and a blackmailing deputy. The show depicts the lives of every part of the drug “food chain”, from junkies to dealers, and from cops to politicians.

True Blood

The series follows Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid living in Louisiana who can read people’s minds, and how her life is turned upside down when the Vampire Bill, walks into her place of employment two years after vampires ‘came out of the coffin’ on national television.

Twin Peaks

The story begins with the murder of Laura Palmer, a teen aged girl who lived in the quiet town of Twin Peaks, near the US – Canadian borders. Everyone seems surprised and devastated by the girl’s murder, and the town’s sheriff welcomes the help of FBI agent Dale Cooper, who comes to investigate the case. As Cooper begins his search for Laura’s killer, the town’s secrets are gradually exposed. This is definitely not an average quiet town, it seems as everyone has something big to hide. At nights, agent Cooper sees strange visions of Laura and other mysterious people, visions that tell him that something big is happening here, something far more evil than a single murder case…

Veep

Former Senator Selina Meyer has accepted the call to serve as Vice President of the United States. The job is nothing like she imagined and everything she was warned about. ‘Veep’ follows Meyer and her staff as they attempt to make their mark and leave a lasting legacy, without getting tripped up in the day-to-day political games that define Washington.

Weeds

When her husband, Judah, dies of a sudden heart attack while out with his ten-year-old son, Shane, Nancy Botwin finds herself in a financial crisis. With no other option available to her, she turns to Conrad Shepard and his family to sell cannabis, using a fake bakery to move the goods. Aided by her wayward black-sheep brother-in-law, Andy (Judah’s younger brother), she struggles to keep her new means of bill-solving secret from suspicious PTA members and her nosy neighbors as well as from her children, Shane and his teenage brother, Silas. Coping without Judah as the patriarch of the family reflects in the Botwins, especially Shane, who is going through the painful process of growing up without his dad, with Andy as the reluctant and rather poor substitute for father-and-son topics that go with growing up.

So this is the longest post I’ve ever had so I will just end it now by saying I hope this has inspired you and given you some ideas on some TV shows to watch yourself. I will admit that I’ve been watching Scandal while I’ve been writing this because it is gosh darn addictive. I promise I will have more to say about movies real soon.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.

 

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