During a heated bit of trolling at Mindless HQ, Brother Bobsy expressed his incredulity that “anyone watches US TV drama expecting it to be somehow better than TJ Hooker (which at least had Shatner and Locklear in it).”

Curious little Mindless that I am, I decided to expose his statements on the overwhelming silliness of American TV drama to the True Facts contained within my might brane… 

Properly Good American TV Dramas:

  • The Wire - Or ‘How the West Was Won and Where it Got Us’ part 2.  Like David Peace’s best work – his GB84 tells part 1 of this story, of course – The Wire ends up feeling even more mythological for its reliance on things ripped from the real.  If season five presses its argument home too hard then it’s a testament to the strength of the show that it’s details remain as crooked and cryptic and free even at the point where the system is finally completed.
  • The Sopranos - Embodies everything that’s annoying about so much popular serious drama, with its faux cinematic stories about serious men hurting each other (some of them are quite ugly,  THEY DO CRIME!) but nevertheless stays far ahead of its peers by allowing visuals, plot lines, and actors as much focus as they demand.
  • Mad Men - All the strengths of the Sopranos divorced from the macho genre weaknesses, plus this show deals with the protagonist problem that is inherent to this type of TV show more confidently than some of the reactions might have you believe.
  • Twin Peaks - Half of this is admittedly not so good, but the best stuff is still excellent at a lot of things that the rest of the shows on this list have approached only tentatively.
  • The first three episodes of the third season of Battlestar Galactica - Watch the first two series so you get the full impact of this story, which represents the point where the American military imagination somehow manages to conceive of itself in the Al Qaeda position. Watch the rest of it if you want: it’s neither as good as it threatens to be nor as bad as its worst episodes might suggest.  The board game is still totally amazing though!
  • Gilmore Girls - One of the few successful uses of the chatty American dialogue style, probably because it aspires to pseudo-Shakespearean fencing instead of pseudo-Shakespearean posturing.  Horrific warning signs such as “quirky,” “offbeat,” and “irreverent” somehow manage to stick without turning everything they touch to shite for a change. Also one of the few American TV shows to display and awareness of and willingness to investigate ideas of class, how money effects relationships, etc.  You will all disagree with me about this one but I am not wrong.
Good American TV Dramas
  • Girls - Generation Vice on autocritique, manages to be both massively cringey and genuinely empathetic at the same time; an exceptionally strong show, if narrow.
  • Generation Kill - Girls for boys.
  • Breaking Bad - Starts slow but builds to a sustained tension high before tipping all the way over into wonky Batman logic. Limited re-watch potential, but fuck me was it good, awful fun for a while there! (Richard Cooper makes a case for the first four seasons being Properly Good here.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Yeah yeah yeah, but fuck it, I don’t even give a toss about Joss Whedon anymore but this is the best adaptation of that Stan Lee/Chris Claremont style of self-aware soap opera to the screen, screw yer Marvel movies and yer Agents of S.H.I.T.E..  Shame the last couple of seasons are a bit duff though, eh?
  • The Corner - Somehow manages to be both more didactic and more anecdotal than The Wire, but it’s good even if it does feel like the materials for a modern myth than the real thing.
Shite But Entertaining American TV Dramas
  • Game of Thrones - Dynasty with actual backstabbing, Dinklage is phenomenal, it can get a bit racy, etc; don’t worry, I’ll get round to the books once people stop telling me that they don’t read fantasy but they do like to read Game of Thrones.
Ambitious and (Accidentally?) Relevant American TV Dramas That Aren’t Actually Very Good
  • Dollhouse - see Plok for the why of this.
Shite But Entertaining But No Wait They’re Probably Just Shite American TV Dramas
  • Dexter and True Blood - these shows are both full of high nonsense from the word go, but I’ve actually got more time for the increasingly absurd and unstable True Blood these days. I couldn’t pretend that it was good but it’s a fun train wreck that I can watch without worrying about my girlfriend’s enjoyment levels so we fuck with it every now and then just to make sure everyone’s entertained (basically, she just wants to bone Alcide).
American TV Dramas I’ve Not Seen Enough Of To Properly Judge But Which Might Be Good
  • Treme, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, True Detective, The Shield - actually I’ve seen a bit of SFU but I’d need to watch it again to get a sense for how good it is. Never watched more than a minute of the rest but they have their enthusiasts, so.
Having completed this survey I am now relieved to be able to confirm that while Bobsy isn’t right, he’s not entirely wrong either.
Tell me, friends – would you have it any other way?

121 Responses to “If White America Told the Truth About Its TV Drama For One Day Its World Would Fall Apart”

  1. David Wynne Says:

    Too bloody right about Gilmore Girls. Criminally under-rated show, superbly written, amazing cast.

  2. taterpie Says:

    I have a hard time separating comedy and drama as genre types. I would have said Gilmore Girls was mostly a comedy.

    I’d add Friday Night Lights, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies… Mmm, how far back are we allowed to go? Because Homicide: Life on the Streets, yeah baby. ER was very good in its early years. Now? I’m very happy with the silliness that is Sleepy Hollow and I much prefer Elementary to Sherlock.

  3. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Oz?

  4. Rick Vance Says:

    Rome!

  5. Andrew Hickey Says:

    “I much prefer Elementary to Sherlock.”
    So do I, but that’s mostly because (for the three episodes I’ve seen) Elementary is a perfectly competent piece of genre fiction with some mildly annoying tendencies (I’m told it gets better, but I don’t have enough interest in that type of TV to persist), while Sherlock is a collection of Tumblr gifs glued together something that at first sight approximates a drama by the application of racism, misogyny, and jokes about how embarrassing it would be were anyone to suspect you were gay.

  6. Adam Says:

    Take down!

  7. Mark Says:

    Obviously missing:

    Weeds, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Looking, The West Wing, Boardwalk Empire, Scandal.

    I’ve always thought of Weeds as a good show: very complex lead character, philosophically interesting, weird, nuanced emotional landscape, properly funny.

    Looking is good too, even if I’m unsure as to whether I’m ever going to love it. The relationships are already very detailed indeed, as if the show had been running for a few years before we first slapped eyes on it. In fact Looking’s focus *is* relationships, so it really hit the ground running. It’s nice to watch a drama that knows what it is right from the get go. Hmm. Thinking about it, it also has a light but sure touch when it comes to the political stuff (see the chat about marriage being heteronormative a couple of episodes back.

  8. Adam Says:

    Never saw Rome. Always suspected it was a sub par clone of better dramas. Sopranos lite or something.

  9. Adam Says:

    Oh, I love Weeds, especially because, you know: not about a terribly important man, but it’s a huge mess. Its plot is whimsical in the extreme, and the characterisation drifts into some peculiar places.

    Looking is good. As I’ve said elsewhere in the Mindless Ether, I want to say that it’s virtuous in and of itself in that it effortlessly sells the idea that the way we’ve constructed society is not how society needs to be. Something that many of us straight types know intellectually, but shows like Looking take it to your gut.

  10. amypoodle Says:

    Shit, yes, Friday Night Lights. Where to place it? Part of me wants to say it’s a lovable piece of sentimental nonsense, but…. In a sea of ennui it’s the one show that dares to hope, dream and inspire, and it convincingly achieves all of these goals! That *has* to count for something. Coach Taylor still makes me feel like I can take on the world and I’m grateful to FNL for bringing him into my life. Especially so given how skeptical I was at first.

    I think FNL, for all its faults (THAT FIRST SEASON), just scrapes its way into Good.

  11. Tim O'Neil Says:

    Don’t forget, even if you can be forgiven, MASTERS OF SEX.

  12. amypoodle Says:

    “it effortlessly sells the idea that the way we’ve constructed society is not how society needs to be. Something that many of us straight types know intellectually, but shows like Looking take it to your gut.”

    That’s what I was trying to say at the end there, but you put it much more eloquently.

    As for Weeds, the plot is gonzo and whimsical because it’s about chaos, which in the end means it’s about life. There’s a serious intention in there.

  13. Adam Says:

    Nyyeah, I had that thought about Weeds, and a thought about how its lack of rigidity could maybe be read as a rejection of a trad male dramatic paradigm. These things may or may not be true or worth thinking about, but that doesn’t change the fact that the show feels like it’s hanging together by the skin of Nancy’s shiny teeth.

  14. Adam Says:

    Masters of Sex is one of those shows that didn’t work in Season 1, but maybe it’ll find its feet in Season 2. I’m not ready to give up on it.

  15. amypoodle Says:

    To quickly categorise the others:

    Orange is the New Black – the definition of mildly entertaining. Average. Average probably needs to be a category.

    House of Cards – ridiculously pompous and hammy, in fact ridiculous all the time, but has a really interesting central relationship and is a great deal of fun. Entertaining but silly shite.

    The West Wing – don’t know. Haven’t watched all of it. Opinions? Adam always used to describe it as a liberal wank fantasy. Dares to do all the stuff FNL does though, and it got there first. Opinions?

    Boardwalk Empire – at first glance looks like sub-Sopranos with less of an emphasis on psychology. A deeper look reveals a grim machine of a show, almost entirely plot focused like Breaking Bad (i.e. not really concerned with saying anything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but, depending on taste, pleasingly less whizz-bang. I actually think it’s Good, but it’s bleak and hard work.

    Scandal – I don’t watch it but my partner does, and she’d place it firmly in the Entertaining but Shite category.

    Master of Sex – strong performances and engaging characters, but… it’s just not that interesting is it? Average.

    True Detective – stock characters, stock setting, stock jaundiced colour grading all wrapped up in a stock genre narrative. Plus all that supernatural stuff is massively derivative. I think it’s just boring and crap, but Adam and the legion of BOY TV FANS (of which I know he wants no part btw) disagree.

  16. Adam Says:

    I wonder if one of the reasons I like True Detective more than you is because I’ve only recently read Ligotti and John Gray. I’m more amenable to miserablist ontologies that I used to be, that’s for sure.

    Also, the most striking thing about the show visually is the yellow filter. Yellow filters are not common. They are weird.

  17. werdsmiffery Says:

    A big yes to Homicide; a lot of the rhythms and tropes of “quality” tv dramas are already present there in embryonic form. There’s also the David Simon connection, the show being adapted from his book; it’s the mid-point of the evolution of the cop show between Hill St Blues and The Wire. Also, Pembleton and Bayliss = best odd-couple detective pairing ever. Accept no substitutes.

    I’d also put Justified in the good bracket; it’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a fun crime show which is also maybe the first Elmore Leonard adaptation to really nail his dialogue style and slightly skewed sense of humour. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins play off each other very well.

  18. Adam Says:

    Re TD, I don’t think the supernatural stuff is straightforwardly derivative because it’s not actually supernatural, its ontological. That’s what makes it nasty. All the King in Yellow allusions are pointing towards a way of viewing the reality in which we live, which, okay, that could be Se7en, but I think its case is… perhaps not compelling… maybe gripping in the same nasty way that Ligotti is gripping. Also I like how the show takes the premise of forbidden knowledge what men aren’t meant to what and tries to make it work in a quasi-realistic setting.

    To be clear: I’m not saying it’s phenomenally successful at any of the above, but it’s a fun stab.

  19. Adam Says:

    FNL gets a lot better after the first over long season. It’s deffo in the Good camp.

    Not seen enough Justified to have an opinion.

  20. amypoodle Says:

    This is it though, 7even springs immediately to mind. The only difference being that while it deals in Christian symbology, TD is all about the Lovecraft. Hmm. 7even was pretty yellow too, I think. And I’m sure it inspired yellowness in other things, even if nothing’s springing directly to mind. One reason why that might be is because all 7even’s derivatives felt redundant…. a bit like TD.

    I do see how someone might find the supernatural as ontology thing interesting, but, well, I just don’t find TD’s ontology that interesting in the first place. A worldview that incorporates bleakness can be good, properly destabilsing and challenging, but TD is a long way from being a Cormac McCarthy novel – not that you’d know it given how irritatingly portentous and up its own arse the show is.

  21. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I wouldn’t describe Orange Is The New Black as mildly entertaining or average. Seems a bit of a sniffy dismissal. I thought it was really strong. Some really interesting characters, and an interesting counterpoint to the absurd nihilism of Oz (a show I loved, but one that reveled in despair and horror to a cartoon level). OITNB has it’s won sens of futility and despair, but also captured the mundanity of prison life. A really strong female led show. Apparently season 2 will move away from Piper and more into an ensemble piece, which is basically where it was heading anyway.

  22. Illogical Volume Says:

    Good comments, folks – I’m glad that my garbage post is being put to good use here today.

    Re: Gilmour Girls, I’m glad I’m not the only Dave who rates it!

    Taters: I did hum and haw over whether or not I should include Gilmore Girls, asked a few friends how they’d classify it and got a series of responses with the aforementioned (knowingly) terrible descriptions, e.g. “it’s more of a quirky, off-beat drama” so decided to go for it.

    Plus, you know, I just really wanted to rep for Gilmore Girls!

    With regards to the other shows that have been mentioned:

    I’ve never actually watched Oz, Weeds, Elementary, Masters of Sex, Justified, True Detective, Scandal, Looking, Sleepy Hollow or Friday Night Lights but I’m definitely up for giving them a try. Weeds and Looking sound particularly good to me from Amypoodle’s descriptions, so I’ll try to take them in sometimes soon.

    Pushing Daisies was a bit rich for my taste but I enjoyed Dead Like Me at the time – as with Six Feet Under, I’d need to re-watch it to get an idea of how and where I’d now rate it.

    I’ve not seen enough Homicide to fully evaluate that either, but Mr Werdsmiffery’s estimation seems dead on from what I remember.

    I never managed to keep my attention on a whole episode of ER but I’ve got friends who enjoy it. Likewise, what little I’ve seen of Boardwalk Empire did nothing for me but I’m willing to concede that I didn’t really give it the time of day.

    I saw about half of Orange is the New Black over Karen’s shoulder and while it wasn’t hugely my sort of thing it was consistently entertaining so I’d be happy to categorise as such – Dan makes a good case for giving a bit more time, so maybe I’ll try to do that when Karen’s watching series 2.

    I’m not often in the mood for ham, so I’ve been saving House of Cards for a day when I feel the need to add a bit of that into my diet.

    Rome never really appealed to me for the reason’s Adam has outlined, but I’m obviously open to hearing arguments in its favour if you’ve got the time and inclination Rick!

  23. Illogical Volume Says:

    *writes post about what’s good in American tv drama*

    *spends the next day discussing how many American tv dramas he hasn’t actually seen*

    I STAND BY MY LIFE CHOICES PEOPLE!

  24. plok Says:

    The West Wing isn’t a mere liberal wank fantasy — it just pretends to be that so it has an excuse to give you the world’s most sanctimonious hand job. Why would somebody be sanctimonious about giving someone else a hand job? What sense does that even make? How did this person even get inside your house in the first place?

    Battlestar Galactica has a far more credible claim to political relevance. And I mean the one with LORNE GREENE in it.

    Sorry to all those who love it, but it’s horrible.

    But, you know…generous.

  25. plok Says:

    As for ER…don’t go to that hospital. Even the fucking doctors are dropping like flies over there!

  26. plok Says:

    They save no one!

  27. amypoodle Says:

    @THEBEAST:

    Yes, the move away is a good thing. And obvs I really appreciate a non-rubbish show that foregrounds women – see my aside about THE LEGION OF BOY TV FANS. It’s just that OITNB never gripped me. That’s not being sniffy, that’s just the way I felt about it – and reading back through your comment, while you’re quite complimentary about the show and its virtues you’re not coming across as excited or moved by it. I don’t know, perhaps we’re more on the same page that it would first appear. Maybe it does qualify as Good, just not a variety of Good that ticks all my boxes.

  28. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Yes, House of cards is pretty compelling, although I have some reservations. It’s a bit too on the nose, and often spells things out in an unnecessary manner. It also asks it’s secondary characters to act in bafflingly stupid ways to allow the supposed Machiavellian machinations of the Underwoods to wake. I also worry it has a secret hard on for power hungry assholes – too often I feel that I’m supposed to have some form of respect for Frank and Claire.

    Spacey also deserves a big dollop of mustard for his hammy performance, but Robin Wright is icily horrible in her Lady Macbeth role. Very unnerving and hard to read.

  29. plok Says:

    Sorry, serial commenting…

    Andrew, I am amazed to hear myself say it but Elementary actually does change from one kind of show into another kind of show after a while. I have seen things on it that made me not hate it. That’s not a recommendation, obviously, but…

    Admirably concise description of Sherlock, I tip my hat, and will probably copy and paste as well.

  30. Adam Says:

    For the record, I suspected that TWW was just a liberal wank fantasy. I actually saw maybe two episodes.

  31. plok Says:

    House of Cards is a remake of the Urquhart story, I take it?

  32. Illogical Volume Says:

    I agree about The West Wing, actually. Forgot to write about it in my previous comment, but the comedian Daniel Kitson had a bit where he complained about people using the “liberal wank fantasy” line of attack. His point is that it’s sort of like complaining that a pie’s just a load of pastry slopped around a hunk of meat, but my contention here would be that THAT’S NOT MEAT!

    Again, I have various friends who will passionately disagree – I can actually hear Mhairi’s battle aura charging up already…

  33. Tim O'Neil Says:

    I secretly suspect that anyone who didn’t think the first season of MASTERS OF SEX didn’t pay off didn’t make it past the first three-or-so mediocre episodes. The show took off like a rocket after a shaky start, I think it stands a chance of becoming one of the all-time greats if Showtime can keep from fucking it up like they have everything else.

  34. plok Says:

    Adam, I figured that — I can’t imagine you mincing your words so much as to only call it a LWF, if you’d seen more than a couple episodes.

    Homicide is gripping, though I haven’t seen it since it aired. I have two boxes of someone else’s VHS tapes of it sitting right next to me though, so…

    “Shameless”, the five or six episodes I saw of it, interested me as a TV show that seemed to be aiming at a (for want of a better term) novelistic approach…”God’s Pocket”, or something, something of the American bestseller that has redeeming qualities. Can’t say how it executed this, though, as I lost track of it…

    I saw Veep on a plane, however!

    It was kinda awesome!

  35. Adam Says:

    Tim, how did it take off like a rocket? I’m open to persuasion.

    Plok, yeah, HoC is based on the book/original BBC adaptation.

  36. plok Says:

    THERE’S A BOOK?!?

  37. amypoodle Says:

    That opacity is one of things I enjoy about HoC. The way you’re never sure what’s going on beneath the surafce or what Frank and Claire know/are thinking/doing. It infuses every scene with treacherousness. There’s the feeling that the plot is always teetering in all these different directions at once (the details I mean. Obvs the overall arc is easy to read: Frank takes over the world).

    As for the respect thing, yes, the last couple of episodes in season one kind of put paid to that, and probably make for a less interesting show. I think there’s a real tension there actually, because I do find Frank and Claire’s relationship (its rules, its operations, the way it defines itself) very interesting, but as you say total engagement is made very difficult by the weirdly incongruous and cartoonish fact of SPOILERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRS Frank being a murderer. It’s like a ten ton weight pulling the narrative down every time the interest level threatens to break the surface. An ongoing reminder of the shows essential schlockiness.

  38. Adam Says:

    Sorry, Plok, the book’s by Michael Dobbs

    http://www.michaeldobbs.com/house-of-cards/

  39. plok Says:

    I like the radio play they made of The Invisibles in 2005…you can still get it on BBC 7, all 111 episodes!

    Oh, wait, no…

    That was a dream I had, wasn’t it?

  40. amypoodle Says:

    I definitely made my way past the first three episode of MoS, it just never really grabbed me. Will deffo be returning for season 2 though and I second Adam’s desire to see Tim unpack his rocket analogy!

  41. amypoodle Says:

    I should maybe point out that Mad Men is my favourite show, only I didn’t realise I loved it until the end of season three, so I’m totally open to things abruptly becoming amazing. That said, I didn’t watch MM as closely as I watched MoS. I feel like I’ve got a handle on the former in a way I know I didn’t on the latter…. Ah, but saying that, isn’t MoS about to fast forward a few years? That DOES sound interesting. That hospital was never going to carry the charge of Sterling Cooper’s various iterations, but maybe that doesn’t matter.

    MUST ADD because I meant to say this earlier – I can’t bear True Blood. Fuck that show. (Sorry Dave.)

  42. Illogical Volume Says:

    Heh, no need to apologise, True Blood’s shite, I’m not going to waste time defending it.

  43. Thrills Says:

    I’d also rate Gilmore Girls, which when it is good, it is very good soap opera larks with likable characters, genuine wit and POWERFUL EMTIONS. But when it’s bad? It’s ‘Ed’ with an embarrassing appearance by Sonic Youth.

    I’m watching a ton of American telly just now on Netflix/Lovefilm, which are sort of permanently on while I potter about the flat. I was intensely bored and annoyed by the oily-but-not-in-a-good-way first episode of House of Cards, mildly diverted by Orange is the New Black which seems to have a good mix of characters but is still a bit too, I dunno, middlebrow?

    I watched the pilot to some awful new Chris Carter thing about the world going to pot (it was hard to tell if there was zombie/Crazies shit happening or if it was just a bunch of people acting unrealistically due to bad writing). It redeemed itself slightly in the final minute with some crappy Lost-style puzzle/coincidences, and a hilarious gibberish-spouting crab-scuttle human, but gee whiz, do we need another programme where the non-white characters are street-talking street-smart toughguys with criminal backgrounds? NO.

    I have been enjoying Fringe, which I like to imagine is a Dawson’s Creek spin-off. It is, for the most part, a less-good X-Files, which differs in that the ongoing story is actually quite entertaining. It has some great moments, and I am certainly enjoying the Days of Future past-style Season 5.

    P.S. Oz was great but I made myself stop caring about the characters after I realized only bad things would happen to them.

  44. Adam Says:

    Is middlebrow a complaint? Most things don’t get above middlebrow. Come to think of it, most things don’t get near middlebrow.

    I was wondering whether Fringe’s over-arching plot was good. I’d got the impression – somehow, I’d don’t watch the show – that the showrunners had learnt the lessons of X-Files and Lost.

  45. Thrills Says:

    Fringe’s overarching plot is pretty decent, for the most part, and resolves itself in satisfactory ways from season to season, changing as it goes, but still staying thematically on-point. There’s very little feeling of “Oh it’s just going on and on and we’re getting nowhere!” (though there is still a bit of that). Some of the monster-of-the-week stuff’s good fun, too. I dunno, it’s not AMAZING TV, but it’s good fun with some decent characters, good acting, some science japes that are sometimes overexplained but for the most part assume some intelligence on the part of the viewer. Ocht, I like it, anyway.

    But yeah, it’s pretty middlebrow as well! I guess that’s not really a criticism? I just think with Orange is the New Black, there were never any moments when I thought “WOWSERS!”,so ‘middlebrow’ probably was the wrong word to use to get that across.

  46. amypoodle Says:

    Like Dave and TB, I’m not really about to defend HoC. I guess the only thing I might say is that to enjoy it you probably have to give it a bit more of your attention. But it doesn’t demand attention, if you know what I mean. If the vibe puts you off – and I’m not overly enamored with its vibe myself – then maybe just switch over or turn off the TV and go out and do something less boring instead.

    You have reminded me though, Thrills – I forgot about the zombies. Not sure where I’d place The Walking Dead because I only watched one season. Other than the Draugr in Skyrim (who are amazingly terrifying), zombies generally just put me to sleep. But the peeps at Basket of Kisses seem to like TWD, and I respect them, so…. maybe I should give it another go?

  47. amypoodle Says:

    No, middlebrow’s a perfectly good word. It generally refers to something good but unexceptional doesn’t it?

  48. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Season 2 of HofC is much better – pacier, just more gripping really. Season 1 is a slow burn, but really picks up around episode 8.

  49. Adam Says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlebrow

    Accessible art/culture, basically. Nothing challenging to those with a modicum of cultural capital, so yeah I guess it fits as a description of OitNB, but also to a good chunk of other stuff that we’re talking about.

  50. amypoodle Says:

    I sort of agree. It’s definitely all the things you say. But I liked HoC when it was still figuring itself out and the writing room felt able, in a way I’m positive they don’t now, to give us character driven episodes like the one where Frank returns to his old Alma Mater. This isn’t because I require the show to provide reasons for Frank’s callous behaviour, just that these things make for nice textures. Ah, but maybe they’ve just found a way to do this stuff on the run now… Not sure.

  51. Thrills Says:

    House of Cards is one of the ones I actually set aside an hour to watch, and I think the “doesn’t demand your attention” thing was maybe part of the problem? There’s such a wealth of other stuff to be watched (“should I be watching Battlestar Galactica instead? The Killing? etc”) that I’m hideously inclined to abandon things if they don’t completely grab me.

    It never used to be like this! Back before I got medication for my OCD, I’d pretty much HAVE to watch anything I started on, to the bitter end, so my flighty non-loyalty to things I’ve started but not finished is sometimes a liberating manifestation of my newfound mental freedom. Hooray!

    That said, on recommendation, I’ll give House of Cards another go.

  52. The Beast Must Die Says:

    In all honesty I think the writing on HofC is pretty variable. For every decent line there’s a painfully obvious metaphor lurking around the corner. The wisdom of the rib-shack owner was a particularly irksome stylistic tic, and obe that they’ve thankfully lost (although contrarily, in one of the better episodes). And sometimes Frank’s supposed devilish manipulation is so crushingly obvious that I want to grab the characters by the shoulders and scream “YOU KNOW THAT REALLY DUPLICITOUS SLIMEBALL STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU??? HE’S THE ONE CAUSING YOU PROBLEMS! TALK TO ANOTHER CHARACTER FOR FUCKS SAKE!” I think the writers, or Spacey needed to try and make Frank a bit less one-note really.

    As you say though the Frank /Claire relationship is fascinating, and the real gristle of the show.

    They have some great secondary players too – Doug Stamper in particular is a great, complicated character. I kind of like that it’s a show without a clear hero or good guy.

  53. amypoodle Says:

    The Freddie episode was good, yes. Hmm. I’m not entirely sure about the grabbing shoulders thing. I think at the points where I really found myself thinking like that, the writing room was generally intelligent enough to have whoever it was turn on Frank. That said, Frank’s fucking letter at the end of S2, and the Pres’s response, was entirely unconvincing.

  54. amypoodle Says:

    Oh and I think the writing is variable too. Yeah, this one is firmly in the Entertaining but Shite category.

  55. amypoodle Says:

    The American version of The Killing is poo.

  56. The Beast Must Die Says:

    SPOILERS – ain’t finished S2 yet…

  57. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Plok, the original House Of Cards book is, frankly, crap. Andrew Davies (back when he was still a good TV writer), *radically* reworked it, including changing the ending (Urquhart died in Dobbs’ original), and turned it into what it is. Dobbs then incorporated lots of Davies’ changes into the two sequel novels, which Davies then also improved immensely.
    There’s absolutely no need to read the books unless you really like Jeffrey Archer-esque potboilers.

  58. jameswheeler Says:

    Maybe it was watching them around the same time, but I’d say a big plus for Orange is the New Black is the “Men Are Disgusting” thesis it shares with Top of the Lake; I’ve especially enjoyed the takedowns of Nice Guys (we’ll see where they land on Biggs – hopefully his skull, with anvil-impact).

  59. Adam Says:

    Needless to say, the original BBC adaptation of HoC is very different to the American remake.

  60. Adam Says:

    I wanna see a Rust Cohle & GJ team-up show. Top Detective.

    I don’t.
    (I do)

  61. werdsmiffery Says:

    Top of the Lake was excellent; maybe the best telly of last year?* (It was co-produced by the Sundance Channel in the US, so maybe it sneaks onto this list.)

    * Basically a three-way tie between Lake, the ending of Breaking Bad, and Utopia on Channel 4.

  62. jameswheeler Says:

    Be like a cat

  63. jameswheeler Says:

    Utopia! How annoyed am I that it’s getting FincHBOered? Very.

  64. Tim O'Neil Says:

    I wrote about the first season of MASTER OF SEX here:

    http://whenwillthehurtingstop.blogspot.com/2013/12/munchausen-weekend-masters-of-sex.html

    Also, I can’t believe I forgot SHAMELESS. By far one of the strongest shows on TV, and yet inexplicably absent whenever they’re handing out awards or plaudits. I have only seen a few minutes of the UK original, but I think the US one has nicely carved out a distinctive tone of its own.

  65. Adam Says:

    Haven’t seen the US version. The UK one went on waaaaaay too long.

    Wasn’t keen on the final episode of Breaking Bad. Like the man says, too Batman, also not in keeping thematically with the best of the show.

    Will read your post, Tim.

  66. amypoodle Says:

    Just read it. I like it. Cautiously optimistic.

  67. amypoodle Says:

    I can foresee massive colouring between the lines problems though. Characters may be with us well past the point of redundancy.

  68. plok Says:

    “Distinctive tone” — yeah, like I said! “God’s Pocket”, etc. etc. John Irving with a shiv.

    What’s amusing is the sense of…uh, rancid immortality in Shameless, now THERE is an American wish-dream! They can all be like this and not die. Demimondean ubermenschen: no matter how bad they feel there is always MORE BAD, and they’re gonna have to feel that TOO.

    I wish they had not identified the city, just left it as “Modern American Eastern-Town”…

  69. plok Says:

    Sorry, bit DRONK.

    More anon.

  70. Matthew Craig Says:

    I’ve just finished a run-through of Fringe. More on-the-fly-sci beautiful nonsense from Frankie Lensflare that gets a bit anti-sci, gets a bit HOW could I play GOD!, loses one of the main characters in the final series, just plain gives up and d20s it into tomorrow. I loved it! Although, I did have a dream where John Noble was Norman Osborn and he tried to kill me.

    I love Mad Men too. Missed series 5, but 6 was grand. Real consistency of character, albeit with a sense that the character_s_ are open to change, or something.

    //\Oo/\\

  71. amypoodle Says:

    How did you miss season five? It’s all waiting for you on the interillegalweb.

    Be very weird watching MM without context. It’s all about the context.

  72. Matthew Craig Says:

    I’ve been watching it on DVD, thanks to some weirdly fortuitous purchases from second-hand shop thatsentertainment (series 1&2 for £1.33 each!) Series 6 was in Tesco after Xmas for £3.75, so pazow.

    //\Oo/\\

  73. Adam Says:

    I dunno, Matt, the Mass Men purist in me is impressed by the bargainiferousness of yer purchases but horrified that you missed a season.

  74. Tam Says:

    Oz was terrific, pulp fiction at its finest, thrilling, inventively horrible, a great ensemble cast, the occasional very tender moment and none of the irritating smugness that pervades pretty much every single other HBO show ever.

    The early series of Homicide (which Barry Levinson was also involved with) were very very good. Much more formulaic than, say, The Wire but that was okay because murder investigations ARE formulaic.

    I’d also add Roseanne to the list. I know it’s classed as a sitcom, but it was fantastic and just about the only us show to bear any resemblance to most of its viewers’ lives. As Lucy Mangan neatly put it recently ‘When it first appeared, it was greeted as a simple novelty, a window on to lives that were seen almost nowhere on TV, unless neutralised by being in yellow, cartoon form.’

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/14/roseanne-barr-sitcom-lucy-mangan

  75. Nate A. Says:

    Not an American show, but that “Red Robin” trilogy did it for me, big time. I like TD, but I’m wary… My concern is that we’re going to end up with heroes and villains, and that the season closes with something like a moral core. If it doesn’t go all the way into the abyss, it will fail.

  76. amypoodle Says:

    Oh, Red Robin was good. Now *that’s* how you do bleak.

    Assuming I’m thinking about the right show….

  77. taterpie Says:

    Red Riding Hood, y’all.

  78. taterpie Says:

    CLUSTERFOO. Red Riding. No Hoods.

  79. Troy Wilson Says:

    THE SHIELD definitely qualifies as a Good American TV Drama, if not a Properly Good one. And it ends very, very well.

  80. Adam Says:

    How does it qualify?

  81. Illogical Volume Says:

    Currently imaging Adam as my old Irish Lit tutor: “Say more.”

  82. amypoodle Says:

    Yeah, we’re well trained. Barbelith used to get really pissed off about threads that were just lists. Lovely, beautiful people, DO NOT ADD THINGS TO THE LIST WITHOUT EXPLAINING WHY.

  83. amypoodle Says:

    Thanks for the correction, Taters. I knew it had to be something else when I ran a Google search.

  84. Adam Says:

    I can’t imagine how TD is going to be straightforwardly heroes and villains. I’m not sure Marty, frinstance, can be redeemed for the way he treated his wife and kids, let alone the two kids he beat to a pulp, and I see no evidence that the show wants to try. So far TD has been impressively condemnatory, at least as far as he’s concerned.

    Via gratuitous T&A natch.

  85. Nate A. Says:

    Yeah… I meant “Red Riding.”

  86. Andy E. Nystrom Says:

    The Shield in my mind is one of the best American dramas if not THE best. Aside from having some decent action, it’s very much a morality play, and actions can having consequences that don’t arise right away. But when consequences do arise, there is often a snowball effect. The main character is the kind of bad guy who has a strict honour code that he tries to always live by and even acts heroically at times. Only his good deeds are undercut by all the bad he’s done without any real remorse.

  87. Troy Wilson Says:

    My flippant, one-sentence description of THE SHIELD is that it’s like THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, and BREAKING BAD, but without the boring bits. In other words, you get all (or nearly all?) the great writing, acting, characters, tension, moral ambiguity, humor, etc, etc without the slow burn.

    The show hits the ground running, and doesn’t let up, leaving it all on the field from start to finish. And though THE SHIELD has breakneck pacing to spare, it also knows how and when to breathe and pause.

    It is an important drama that doesn’t come across as trying to be AN IMPORTANT DRAMA. The show doesn’t come across as taking itself too seriously, and nor do its characters, but it can in fact be taken very seriously indeed. It doesn’t wear its art, its craft, or its intelligence on its sleeve, but it has plenty of each. It totally and completely embraces its genre, presenting a potent mix of the downright pulpy and the deliberately problematic. Is there sometimes a bit too much pulp, a bit too much sensationalism? Sure, but its excesses are pretty easy to forgive, what with the heady brew on offer.

    THE SHIELD hangs together nicely as a whole, with repercussions from the first episode continuing to reverberate through to the very end. The seeds of the main character’s destruction are sown right away – and in hugely dramatic fashion.

    Plus, the show’s high level of quality is remarkably consistent. Viewers can argue about which season is the weakest (maybe the first, maybe the second), but they can’t credibly argue that there is a weak season. Because there isn’t. It begins well, middles well, ends well – ends *very* well.

    The show contains a shit-ton of machismo (some of the best on-screen machismo I’ve ever seen, in fact – and I’m not a fan of it, generally speaking), but it’s balanced with many other modes of competence (and incompetence). And the actors portraying those modes are fantastic across the board, even performers with only one scene.

    THE SHIELD may not be anywhere near as artfully shot as THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, or BREAKING BAD, but its shaky-cam, documentary-style approach is nonetheless effective and fitting. It may not be quite as multi-layered and high-minded as THE WIRE, but it’s not trying to be – and it’s by no means simple or simple-minded.

    As already mentioned, THE SHIELD does veer a bit too far into the gratuitous, the titillating, the sensational, and the pulpy now and then. But, given how often and how inventively it pushes the envelope, it’s remarkable the show doesn’t veer into said territories far more often than it does. It also drops the odd plot line a titch too summarily sometimes, but the show more than makes up for that with the multitude of plot lines that pay off handsomely.

    It’s gritty, uncompromising, and underrated. It’s easy to see (and say) just how damn entertaining it is, but given its excesses and its lack of visible pretense, it can be a little harder to see (and say) just how damn good it is.

  88. Matthew Craig Says:

    I fell away from the Shield around the end of the Glenn Close story (I think). Can’t remember who said it, but the thought that Dutch and Claudette would have been the superstar dicks of just about any other cop show, were they not trapped in Mackey’s orbit, always gets me. Not a fan of testosterone TV, gentle fop that I am, but for a while there, I made the exception.

    Man, that was a whole slew of great characters, wasn’t it? Aceveda, the young cop, the lot. Amazing to think that Chiklis was doing Dad Sitcoms before he starred in The Shield.

    (ha, Agents of The Shield)

    //\Oo/\\

  89. Admiral Neck Says:

    Seconding, thirding and fourthing everything said above by Troy about The Shield. Truly the most underrated of the recent Golden Era (with possibly In Treatment as second most underrated). Shield is one of the most accomplished dramas with regards to testing audience patience with the protagonist, possibly even more than Breaking Bad, which sends Walt on a downward trajectory with very little deviation, whereas it’s possible to think Vic is in the “right” (relatively speaking) pretty much until the last few episodes, at least in terms of occasionally being a terrible human being who is the only bulwark against even worse evil. Plus Chiklis does great work making Vic sympathetic without tipping into mawkishness or audience-placating sentimentality.

    Plus, the season five finale is the greatest hour of TV ever. And the series finale is the greatest finale on TV ever. IMO. :-)

  90. Troy Wilson Says:

    Matthew Craig: From one gentle fop to another, I highly recommend that you finish up The Shield. From Season 5 onward, the testosterone-soaked chickens come home to roost in spectacular and heartbreaking fashion. Well worth your time.

  91. Andy E. Nystrom Says:

    Yeah, without getting into specifics, the elephant in the room from the first episode of the Shield becomes the driving force of seasons 5-7. An already great show got better still at that point.

    Agreed with Admiral Neck about the season 5 ender. While I love the final two episodes of the series as well (the second last episode might well be the best TV directing of any first time director) everything comes to a head at end of season 5.

    Again, it’s not just about the action. One recurring character is obsessed with retiring and therefore tries to remain detached with any remaining cases. But while normally a humorous character, one case still manages to get under his skin in heartbreaking fashion. And without ever feeling like melodrama.

  92. Illogical Volume Says:

    Well played Team Shield, I’ll add that to the “Soon!” pile alongside Weeds and Looking.

    The Bottie Beast talked The Shield up a while back but I’m notoriously averse to crime shows – blame it on The Bill, blame it on the fact that I’m a massive arsehole, whatever, but Mister Attack was bigging up The Wire from way before the Guardian got a sniff of it and it took him fucking ages to convince me it was worth a look.

  93. Mark Says:

    Yeah, but I think “the boring bits” are actually integral to why, for instance, I like The Sopranos. As far as I’m concerned, paciness is vastly – VASTLY – overrated. Saying that, though, I can enjoy a well oiled machine of a show, it’s just not what I’m looking for.

  94. Mark Says:

    Mark = amypoodle, btw.

    btw, btw, I really don’t like Breaking Bad very much.

  95. jameswheeler Says:

    I like Breaking Bad very much, enough that I watched the first episode straight after the last. I’m midway through the third season now, having admittedly slowed down a bit. I’m struck by how many of the moments of tension still work despite knowing the outcome – it really is a very well-made show.

    I did have problems with the ending (spoiler warning presumably redundant but hey: that) – as much as I want to agree with Jimmy Werdsmiff and Beastie Bots that a moral stance on Walt is besides the point, and I don’t DISagree – the cop-out of he’s a Bad Man but also a Super-Cool Winner Dude is especially unsatisfying when combined with the unprecedented neatness of plot. Walt’s first scheme to go off without a hitch; handy! But in terms of pure thrillpower it held up its end, and the consistency of that over 5 seasons is Breaking Bad’s real strength.

    I read more than once that the action-packed Ozymandias was the REAL finale, but for me it was the one after, with Walt truly pathetic and beaten. That’s probably how it should have ended.

    Watched the first true Two Detectives yesterday, and was (inevitably, at this point) a bit underwhelmed. I liked it enough to carry on, but I was surprised to find myself agreeing with amy’s charge of stockness (I’m not usually that discerning).

    The second series hasn’t really grabbed me, but I really liked My Mad Fat Diary. Frequently funny and a great lead performance, it’s a pretty good Boy TV antidote.

  96. Adam Says:

    Yes, good going, Team Shield. I might try and fit it in.

    And now this:

    Where do you think Cohle and Hart fit within the world of HBO’s antiheroes?

    I don’t think either of these guys are antiheroes. I see that term used a lot in the media but I don’t think they know what they means. Tony Soprano wasn’t an antihero, he was just a very bad man. He’s just somebody you’re fascinated with watching. I think both of these men are straight up heroes — they’re flawed men but they’re not corrupt. They’re kind of throwbacks, for better or worse, to a different kind of masculinity. They’re real men.

    –True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto”

  97. Adam Says:

    Yeah, I liked the first My Fat Diary as well. The second season, which admittedly I haven’t seen any of, feels somehow redundant.

  98. jameswheeler Says:

    That was my worry, and 2 episodes in it seems justified.

  99. Adam Says:

    Shame. Probably won’t be watching that, then.

    I remember feeling that Teachers was a one season show. It had a proper character arc with a proper ending and everything, and then they made MORE and MORE.

    TD didn’t click with me until episode 3 or 4. Whichever one it is that has the amazing tracking shot.

  100. Illogical Volume Says:

    Intrigued by this Mad Fat Diary love, but as we’ve wandered off-topic – anyone care to venture Good and/or Properly Good UK TV drama, old and new?

    We mebbe don’t have as many long form, “novelistic” shows of note as America but our kwality dramas tends to be more confident in areas that the US dramas only occasionally step into – I’m thinking of everything from classic (#classic) stuff like The Singing Detective and The Prisoner to more modern shows like Black Mirror (the better bits, indebted to older US models as the show may be),the aforementioned Red Riding, etc.

    There’s a deliberately poetic quality to parts of Mad Men and The Sopranos (and I remember SFU baring the mark of Dennis Potter, but I might be wrong there) but it seems to me that the shows I’ve just listed are more comfortable immersing themselves in the abstract and the hazily stylistic in a way none of the yanquee shows listed are, Twin Peaks aside.

    I might be wrong here – not usually comfortable making such sweeping statements.

    Breaking Bad felt very comfortable whenever it added this tone to the mix, for example. BB was a very-straight forward show, but it wasn’t always narrow, despite my tendency to remember it that way. Still not a big fan of its more Batman moments though, for all that I enjoyed them at the time.

    Oh yeah, hey – I liked Utopia too Jim! It didn’t feel too long to me, and even if the payoff didn’t quite live up to the build up I still took great pleasure in seeing the lost’n'lonely feel of the first volume of The Invisibles translated into a post-Lost mystery with toxic visuals.

  101. jameswheeler Says:

    I noted after the fact that the latter 3 episodes of Utopia had a different director(ing team) than the first 3, which I thought might’ve accounted for that slight drop-off, there.

  102. Matthew Craig Says:

    I really enjoyed Mad Fat Diary series 1, although the ending was a bit too cute (semiotics alert: her hair is suddenly much less lank, indicating Happy). I ususally have a hard time watching stuff set around then, being the same age +/- as those characters at that time, as shows like that tend to reinforce my fears that The Glory Days are twenty years behind me (denim jaisket notwithstanding). But no: it’s a sweet little show about a time in one’s life where the sap is on the rise (ew), the world is suddenly bigger and more full of promise, and the bright rays of the dawn (no pun intended) are just o’er the horizon.

    …I’m all sad now.

    I dunno. I sympathised with Rae’s self-loathing and often self-imposed isolation. It’s closer to my memories of coming of age in the early/mid-90s than anything else I could name – and far far closer to what might be an authentic teenage experience than Channel 4 usually bothers with (in fiction). The ending’s a bit neat and wish-fulfilly for something based on an ongoing journal, but it is a TV show, after all.

    The “graphic novel” MacGuffin in Utopia nearly put me right off watching it. Don’t get me wrong, it was dumb-a-ding-doo, but the inescapable tension, the alienation! THE MENACE. I kind of wish they’d gone for a stronger, more definite ending, but there you go.

    What do we think of Misfits? I couldn’t watch if for years and years because of pure vomitous jealousy, but an accidental misplacement of the remote caught me in its web for the final series. Went back and unwrapped the Series 1 DVD I’d dumped in the bottom of the box and fuck it all, it’s great. Bastard ye.

    //\Oo/\\

  103. bobsy Says:

    What about Arrow? Is Arrow good?

  104. Mark Says:

    I hope the TD creator made those little quote mark signs with his fingers when he described Cohle and Hart as real men.

    Dear me.

  105. bobsy Says:

    There’s Smallville, Smallville’s good.

  106. Mark Says:

    Why are you trolling your own website?

  107. Illogical Volume Says:

    Looking forward to seeing Bobsy troll his own post next time.

    Classic Bobsy.

    Clobsy.

    My favourite thing about Smallville – aside from looking at the guy who played Lex Luthor because YUM! – was the bit at the end of the first (?) series where they go to the school disco and Remy Zero off of the Smallville credits are playing and Clark’s friend is all like “Remy Zero! My Favourite Band!” as though that’s a sentence any human being has ever said.

  108. Thrullz Says:

    That is also my ‘favourite’ bit of Smallville, like a perfect hideous distillation of all the awful ‘cool’ bits of Buffy. “Cibo Matto are playing the Bronze?!?!”

    Lexy Luthor and his dad always seemed too good for that show.

    I tried watching “Mad Fat Diary”, but I couldn’t get past the lead’s acting. Everyone says she’s fantastic, but she just seems stilted and wooden? Is that the point? As I saw an American write on Yahoo! Answers, of all places, “is it bad acting, or just British acting, and I don’t understand it?”

    It’s a shame, though, as I’m primed for some hideous examination of angsty teen hell, though maybe my loathing of self-involved misery-guts Teen Me turns me against that sort of narrative sometimes.

    I also think Utopia was great for the first few episodes, I agree, proper 90s Vertigo fun, but lost it a bit after it all started to fall into place or find its feet or whatever? Like Matthew Craig says, I also wish it had a stronger ending, as I have no real interest in a second series. It was the correct length!

  109. Mark Says:

    Oh God Cibo Matto are too awful. Proper darkside 90s.

  110. jameswheeler Says:

    The repeated use of “graphic novel” in the Utopia trailers did make it seem like it might be hateful; thankfully not! I liked the characters enough to kind of want a second series, or maybe I could just feel it not-resolving by the penultimate ep… I thought the ending was okay, despite not quite landing.

    Neill Maskell, “Arby”, is absolutely ace. Watch Kill List if you haven’t.

    Re: MMFD Matthew, the neatness and wish fulfilment is quickly unpicked in the second series, as per realism, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to keep watching. It

    I keep meaning to check out Misfits.

    I thought Smallville started out alright, really. Some neat telly-fication of various bits of super-MYTHOS, and a very good post-Matrix depiction of super-speed. It’s annoying to have all of DC Comics happen before Clark will admit he’s Superman though, what a bad idea. Arrow seems to be doing a similar thing, where at first he’s called Arrow, then he’s Hooded Arrow, then he’s Greg Arrow… imagine setting up the name GREEN Arrow as some ultimate chalice to be obtained, when mindlessones.com has scientifically proven that colours in super-names are stupid.

    Batman Begins ruined everything: even that terrible new Robocop ends with him going “I’m silver again, for the first time!”

  111. Some Sherlock Holmes Remarks On “Elementary” | A Trout In The Milk Says:

    [...] can blame The Illogical One for it, Bloggers! For in the comments of his recent ad-hoc survey of American TV dramas, in response to someone who said they preferred Elementary to Sherlock, our own Andre Whickey had [...]

  112. Adam Says:

    Thrullz, re the lead in My Fat Diary, acting crit is peculiarly subjective in my experience. I found her performance naturalistic and charming, so, you know, make of that what you will.

    Volume, The Perfect Spy and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy are both well worth a go. A window into a time when programme makers put uncommon trust in the audience’s intelligence.

  113. madarab Says:

    I think the thing that saves game of thrones from being shite is this extremely compelling geographical logic that drives the show. All the characters and events are tied to where they are, and where they come from, and this is the logic that compels the narrative. It leads to an inevitability that is really interesting to see unfold

    The books, of which i only read half of the first, are pretty shite though. Just tok cinsistently on the nose, and on the nose at length.

    The ultimate way to experience that world though, is the fantasy flight board game, a 3-7 hour lesson in the strategy and politics of backstabbing. You may be rolling your eyes, but i’d really recommend it. It does more to explain the world’s motivations than anything, most specifically its spatiality, and it is a blast to play, if you are comfeotable with doing things like breaking an alliance that has lasted three hours with your girlfriend just because it’s your only option for survival.

  114. bobsy Says:

    I’m confused because her dad’s missing (sadface; drama) but there are jokes (funniness; comedy) and she has powers (touching her fingers together stops time; superheroes) so where does that fit in?

  115. jameswheeler Says:

    Bernard’s Watch must be an Antarean artifact

  116. Illogical Volume Says:

    Oh Bobsy…
    Well you came and you gave
    Without taking
    But I sent you away
    Oh Bobsy!

  117. jameswheeler Says:

    Bobsy is a series of video games created by Michael Berlyn and developed and published by Accolade.

  118. plok Says:

    Sorry, it’s the Bobsy-module operators here…we had some trouble earlier tonight, bit of a glitch in the system, brief power-outage brought on by a lightning-strike, nothing to worry about. Nothing we can’t handle. Some random character-generation may have occurred on your screens, you may have had to endure some talk about non-HBO programs, and for that we apologize.

    You may return to your labours.

  119. plok Says:

    I like “The Closer”. Oddly compelling television.

    About UK dramas I have no idea at all…we get some here, but a lot of them seem to consist of people getting “real” with other people? ACK.

    I liked “The Bletchley Circle”, such an odd program. All of the main characters were women. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and did you know half the population of the WORLD is women? Of course I’ve never met one myself, good heavens what a suggestion. But I hear things, you know.

  120. Mario M. Says:

    You’re absolutely write about Twin Peaks.

  121. jameswheeler Says:

    MMFD 2 wasn’t too bad in the end.

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