This is a tad off-topic but, with streaming video services gaining universal popularity, I guess not too far off the beaten track. Anyway, it’s an article I’ve been keen to present for some time. TV shows and movies are extremely subjective of course — one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so to speak — and there’s every chance you may choose to disagree with some of my selections. That’s fine, as I say, it’s all very subjective.
Gamers, make sure to catch up with Marc’s game picks: My 10 Favorite Games of All Time
My wife and I absolutely love this unique and somewhat unusual show. Four series in all with a total of 38 episodes and we’ve watched the whole lot twice through.
Synopsis: We first meet our leading man, Lucas Hood, as he is released from prison following an extended period of incarceration. He immediately heads off to locate his former lover who, as it happens, is now happily married and residing in a small town called Banshee. Through a series of bizarre events, the ex-con Lucas Hood ends up as sheriff of Banshee and that’s when all the fun begins. Throw in a powerful town villain, past associations with a dangerous gangster, plus an eclectic cast of outrageous characters and you have a recipe for plenty of fun and action.
The cast is outstanding with little-known New Zealand actor Antony Starr in the leading role. Ivana Milicevic playing the sexy but lethal ex-lover. Ulrich Thomsen is perfect in his role as the powerful villain. Frankie Faison plays the lovable bar owner and ex-pugilist who befriends Lucas Hood. And Hoon Lee is fantastic as Lucas Hood’s partner in crime and technology expert.
If you haven’t seen Banshee, do yourself a favor, track it down and watch it. A great show.
#2 Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul
I could not split these two terrific shows so they share the second spot.
Breaking Bad Synopsis: Chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given only two years to live, he decides he has nothing to lose and embarks on a career of drugs and crime.
Brian Cranston is superb as ex-teacher turned drug manufacturer Walter White ably assisted by his young and rash offsider (Aaron Paul), and Dean Norris plays the role of Cranston’s brother-in-law, who just happens to also be a DEA agent, to absolute perfection. This is surely one of the must-see shows of all time. The story is a mix of, fun, humor, sadness, action, and never dull. I found it fascinating to watch Walter White’s gradual transformation from a mild-mannered school teacher and family man to a violent criminal who ends up caring for nothing but money. Brilliant.
Better Call Saul Synopsis: This prequel to Breaking Bad stars Bob Odenkirk as lawyer Jimmy McGill and chronicles the formative years leading up to his transformation to the shady alter-ego Saul Goodman and his association with the now-infamous drug dealer Walter White.
Bob Odenkirk reprises his role from Breaking Bad as the lawyer Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman and, in all honesty, it is his performance that really makes the show. He is simultaneously sad, brilliant, and funny, playing the role of lovable rogue to absolute perfection.
#3 NCIS – The Early Years
Some of you might consider this to be a strange choice but I just love the early seasons of NCIS. The stories aren’t always the best but the interaction between the cast of characters more than makes up for any failings in that area.
Synopsis: A team of NCIS agents, headed by Leroy Jethro Gibbs, solve murders and crimes involving navy personnel.
The actors and the interaction of their diverse characters are really what makes this show. They purport to be a “family” and that is exactly how they come across– in much the same way as the crew of the starship Enterprise created that family feeling. NCIS is very much a character-driven TV show with much kudos to the cast.
From tough, enigmatic leader and father figure Leroy Jethro Gibbs to the wonderfully weird and eternally maternal Abby Sciuto. From the lethal but equally lovely ex-Mossad assassin Ziva David to the lovable, nerdy computer guy Timothy McGee. And my favorite of all, the irrepressible group clown Tony DiNozzo– Michael Weatherly really struts his comedic prowess in this role.
Unfortunately, as cast members left the show and were replaced, later seasons have not quite managed the same magic. I don’t understand the thinking when NCIS’s popularity was largely based on the diversity and eccentricities of its characters why those in charge would choose such dull replacements. Not the actors’ fault, of course, they can only play the roles to which they are assigned.
#4 The Sopranos
Any wonder this superb TV show won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes.
Synopsis: Follows the life of New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano as he tries to lead his criminal organization while maintaining his family life.
A tour de force from James Gandolfini, who tragically passed away prematurely at the age of 51, as the fictional Mafia Capo Tony Soprano. With a superb, utterly believable cast and storyline, The Sopranos has to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
I love my westerns and, as far as I am concerned, Deadwood is the very best western TV show ever.
Synopsis: Follows the intertwining lives of lawman Seth Bullock, ex-lawman Wild Bill Hickock, and saloon owner/ruthless boss Al Swearengen in Deadwood, South Dakota, a lawless town of crime and corruption.
A fantastic cast headed by Timothy Olyphant as the straight-shooting town sheriff Seth Bullock (what a great name) and Ian McShane, in what I believe is his best role ever, as the equally well-named Al Swearengen. The sets, locations, and costuming are all very realistic and perfectly enhance the atmosphere. A true western classic in every sense– the goodies versus the baddies, brilliant.
#6 Sons Of Anarchy
Not everyone’s cup of tea, lots of violence, and very much “R” rated. That said, it is also one of my lovely wife’s all-time favorites– what that suggests, I’m not too sure. 🙂
Synopsis: Follows the day-to-day lives of an outlaw motorcycle club operating in the fictional Californian Central Valley town of Charming.
Charming by name but certainly not by nature. Charlie Hunnam made his name in the role of Jackson (Jax) Teller (de facto club leader), ably assisted by Katy Sagal (Jax’s mum) in a very different role to what she played in the hit comedy Married With Children, and Ron Perlman as Clay Morrow (Jax’s stepdad and club leader). There is nothing much to like about any of the characters. They are all inherently violent and evil but, in the context of the show, that is to be expected and only adds to the realism. As I said, not everyone’s cup of tea, but one of my all-time favorites.
- Game Of Thrones: Not bad but far too many scenes of couples just talking for my liking. And that terrible ending… woeful
- The Walking Dead: Great early but then descended into a cycle of more of the same. Is it just me or are those zombies way too slow and easy to kill?
- Start Trek – The Original: Absolutely one of my favorite all-time TV shows. Yes, I am a devout Trekkie. Wonderful show in its day but somewhat dated now
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I am definitely not interested in anything to do with special abilities; marvel characters, superheroes, and the like but I guess those sorts of shows appeal more to the younger ones. I don’t much like anything that is all action with no discernable storyline. And as for so-called Reality TV, no thank you very much.
Your turn, what are some of your all-time favorite TV shows? Let us know in the comments.