TV dramas

What have you been watching?

Do you watch TV dramas? (How many have you watched at least one season of in the past decade?)

None whatsoever.
0
No votes
One or two.
1
11%
A handful.
2
22%
A fair number.
3
33%
As many as I watch sitcoms.
2
22%
More than I watch sitcoms.
0
No votes
I don't even watch sitcoms.
1
11%
I don't watch TV.
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 9

TV dramas

Postby cmsellers » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:37 pm

I've realized that neither Kate nor Tess watches much in the way of TV dramas, and I started thinking about how my threads on individual dramas in these forums haven't gotten much response, and how until 2014* the only drama I followed was Doctor Who, not so much because it was good as because it's a good way to connect with geeky people. That changed when I binge-watched Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, and decided that I'd watch dramas if they got really good reviews. Then when I discovered Justified—still my favorite—I realized that I could enjoy some dramas as much as my favorite comedies.

I've also realized that my threshold for enjoying a drama is still definitely higher than my threshold for enjoying a sitcom. I think the only critically-acclaimed sitcom I haven't enjoyed in recent years is The Goldbergs, and I watch a lot of mediocre comedies simply because they're there. Meanwhile I can't count the critically-acclaimed dramas I haven't liked on one hand (even if I exclude the ones made by Showtime, which seems to be really good at making shows other people love but I can't stand). In particular, I couldn't get into The Sopranos, The Wire, Westworld or Mad Men.

I also realized that literally the only network drama that I've liked has been The Good Wife, probably because they had three legal advisors to make the legal part of the show realistic and interesting. The Good Wife is the only drama I've enjoyed where the overally plot doesn't move forward every episode. All of the other dramas I've enjoyed have tended to be what I would call "fast-paced," since every scene advances the overall plot, though I'm aware that people usually conflate "fast-paced" with explosions. And all the dramas I've really enjoyed have tended to be tightly-plotted, with each scene advancing the episode.

Any rate, these are the dramas I've seen so far which I really like.

  1. Justified
  2. Better Call Saul
  3. The Good Wife
  4. Orange is the New Black
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. House of Cards (UK Version)
  7. Breaking Bad
  8. Ozark**
  9. Sneaky Pete**
These aren't even all the dramas that I've watched, just the ones I like enough to try to push on people. Dramas I've heard about that I'm going to check out include Deadwood, Fargo, and Goliath. I know some of y'all watch Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul, but who all else here watches more than a handful of dramas?

* I started watching TV again in 2010, after not watching any TV since 2001 but as a kid I only watched comedies, PBS, and—when my parents weren't paying attention—20/20.

** I rank these at the bottom because they each only have one season. Given that several dramas I've enjoyed have gone off the rails in later seasons, I'm not going to rank them at the top of my list until they've either been cancelled or made it through several seasons without going nuts.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby ghijkmnop » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:19 pm

What I've learned about myself is that for a drama to work for me, regardless of how realistic it is, there MUST be at least a modicum of what I would call genuine humor-- not just dark or cringeworthy stuff.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby Absentia » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:35 pm

Let's see. Law & Order was cancelled less than ten years ago, so that's one. L&O SVU is two (although the good seasons are more than ten years old now). If you'd consider House and Leverage to be dramas that's four, although watching Leverage was somewhat involuntary. And that's it. Yes, it's been awhile since I watched non-sports on TV with any regularity.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby Australia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:15 pm

Most straight dramas bore the crap out of me but if you merge it with a different genre, like fantasy or comedy or crime, I'm usually fine. Like I tried watching an episode of Good Wife and fell asleep but a dramedy like Suits or Boston Legal are more fun law shows. The exception would be Better Call Saul which is more a drama and my favourite in that law show category, but with a lead character like Jimmy McGill, there's definitely enough comedy there and there's suspense as well. Most crime procedurals are droll but iZombie and even okay stuff like Forever makes the genre fun.

I really gave Mad Men a shot but it's just one of those shows that took itself too seriously and I kept dropping it to watch a show that had action sequences or laughs. If Game Of Thrones was just a drama, I wouldn't be interested but the action and fantasy makes it awesome. My favourite show at the moment is Stranger Things but I wouldn't call that a drama or a comedy. Actually, fantasy is probably the TV genre I watch the most right now, what with all the superhero stuff and the aforementioned biggest show of all time. But to more directly answer your question, I'll watch a drama but it's never going to entertain me the way a comedy does. There's a reason that in the golden age of television, my favourite show of all time is still 90s The Simpsons. Breaking Bad is high up the list but again, that's a combo of crime show and drama and Fargo is both those and a comedy. Then there's stuff that's just fun like Supernatural, which is fantasy, comedy, horror and drama.

If something is just a drama, it's not trying hard enough. To impress me specifically.

I just checked my top 10 shows list from the 2017 thread and there's three comedies, four fantasies, a drama, a dramedy and an action so comedy is beating the crap out of dramas.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby Jeckel » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:38 pm

I'm not sure what you are classifying as a drama, but I have over a 140 shows on my currently watching list, so I'm sure I watch more than a few of them. In general, I like shows that are about the drama of a job or situation and hate hate hate shows that are all or mostly about personal or interpersonal drama.

To start with your list:

Justified, yes, one of the best shows ever, in my top 5 favorite shows of all time, and one of the few that I'd give an actual 10 out of 10.

As for 2 through 7: If I was quickly coming up with a list of my least liked shows, 2, 4, 5, and 7 would probably be the shows I named at the top. I spoilered what I had to say on each of the shows because it got too long. Read at your own peril.
Spoiler: show
I like Bryan Cranston, but I could never see what people thought was so great about Breaking Bad, to me it seems like just another show about a bunch of unlikable people. Add to that how everyone praises it as one of the best shows ever, despite the ratings showing that no one really watched it until the second half of the final season and I've marked it down as an overhyped fad show that will be forgotten in 10 years.

OitNB is not my cup of tea, see my second sentence about me not liking shows based around personal drama. Also note that it suffers from the same overhype that Breaking Bad received, ie based on what numbers are available (which are composed of guestimates and the Live+3 Day numbers for the 1st (6.7m) and 2nd (5.9m) eps of season 4) it ranges somewhere between 'show even CW would cancel' (especially early seasons) and 'moderate cable channel offering' in the later seasons. For comparison, Game of Thrones had about 8m Live+Same Day at the same time and two 2016 middle season episodes of NCIS had 16m (season 13) and 14m (season 14) Live+Same Day viewers. For context, Game of Thrones, starting around season 5 (2015), is basically the most watched cable show and for the past 14 years NCIS has routinely been the most watched show on tv.

Game of Thrones is lite fantasy with blood and boobs so that the casuals who made fun of fantasy geeks in school can now say how much they love fantasy. I watched the first episode all the way through (thanks Rifftrax) and I didn't see any reason people would even want to watch the second episode. I'm sure the books were better, but even then it sounds like a niche of a niche and not something that should be the most hyped show on television. Regardless, I will give that people are watching it, every season it goes up by about 1.5m until as of season 7 this year it's entering big boy network numbers.

I haven't watched much of the Good Wife, but was very meh about what I have seen and a few years ago I would miss out on a show I liked when sports or whatever pushed it late and my DVR recorded the last half of Good Wife and the first half of the show I wanted to watch, so I'm still a little irrationally mad at that show. ;) I haven't seen the UK's House of Cards, but I may check it out. Ozark is on my list of shows to check out, and although I haven't heard of Sneaky Pete before, I've now added it to the list.




If I was going to name off the top of my head a few dramas that I watch and like:

Medical dramas: Chicago Med, Code Black, Night Shift, The Good Doctor, The Resident, Coroner, Doc Martin, Mary Kills People

Legal dramas: Newtons Law, Bull, Suits, Burden of Truth

Crime dramas: Law and Order (Normal, CI, SVU, LA, UK, but not True Crimes), NCIS (Normal, LA, and New Orleans), Hawaii Five-0, Lethal Weapon (for real, one of the few movie-turned-show that is done perfectly), Major Crimes (spin off of The Closer and just ended its last season), Death in Paradise, Motive, Private Eyes, Stalker, Taken

Scifi dramas: Expanse, Altered Carbon, Westworld, Timeless, Dark Matter, Killjoys

Some random ones I can't classify: Happy!, Crashing, Shut Eye, McMafia, Preacher, Get Shorty, Chance (stars Hugh Laurie from House and Ethan Suplee who was Randy the brother on My Name is Earl), Alienist, 12 Monkeys, American Gods


If I was going to name three that I really think people should at least look at, they would be:

Happy!: "An injured hitman befriends his kidnapped daughter's imaginary friend - a perky blue flying unicorn." -- IMDB
Nick Sax (played by Christopher Meloni who was Stabler in L&O SVU) is a crazy, irreverent, possibly immortal uncaring psychopath and when an imaginary flying unicorn (voiced by Patton Oswald) shows up to tell him that his daughter has been kidnapped, he begrudgingly cuts a swath of destruction across the city to find and rescue her. There is really no describing this show, it is just absolutely crazy. Meloni trademark sardonic delivery of the extremely dark humor of the show is excellent. Every episode I didn't think they could top themselves and every episode they proved me wrong. The ratings were pretty terrible, but Syfy renewed it for a second season and it deserves more eyeballs.

Crashing: "A New York comic is forced to make a new start for himself after his wife leaves him." -- IMDB
Pete Holmes, a mostly clean standup comic who came from a devote background, plays himself in a fictionalized telling of how his wife left him and he got into the world of comedy.

Shut Eye: "Charlie Haverford is a scammer with a small chain of fortune-telling storefronts and contracts building tricks for a family that controls the business in the greater chunk of Los Angeles." -- IMDB
Charlie (play by Jeffrey Donovan who played Michael Westen in Burn Notice) is a grifter who is basically owned by one of the local Roma crime families and wants to get out from under their thumb. When he starts having (possibly) real visions, they slowly put him on the road to not being such a terrible person. The drama of the Roma family is a big part of the show and adds a fresh aspect that I would compare to the Russian aspect of McMafia or even the Asian aspect of something like Fresh Off the Boat. I would warn up front that this is not a supernatural show and you shouldn't expect Charlie's visions to a primary factor of the entertainment.

American Gods and Lucifer: Even if you hate them, everyone should flood Neil Gaiman based shows with viewers until we get a (hopefully Bryan Fuller headed) Sandman series.

I might mention a few more as they come to mind, but that will have to do for now as I don't feel like digging into my show lists and cross referencing genres and tags to drag out the rest of the dramas. :)
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Re: TV dramas

Postby Australia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:14 pm

I saw all of Happy! and that is a straight-up comedy. But I second that it's great.

I got into Breaking Bad at the end of the first season and each season was better than the last, at least for the first four years (5 is great but not like 3 and 4 were). I saw it as more like Oz, where the characters aren't necessarily likable but they're compelling as hell. Only it's way better than Oz because there's more than just one setting over and over again for six years. But I can see not liking it if you want to root for main characters all the time. As for Game Of Thrones, you're wrong but I don't like some shows that are supposed to be great so I'm sure we're even on being wrong.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby Jeckel » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:50 pm

It depends on how you define what 'drama' as a genre means. In the strictest sense, pretty much nothing other than what you spoke of as "straight drama" would qualify, while on the other end pretty much any hour long show that isn't pure sitcom levels of comedy can be considered a 'drama'. I'm going with the latter, broad definition.

I found Happy hilarious, but the side story with the detective and with the girls mother lead it some cred as more than just a dark.. dark dark... comedy.

I'll admit, I am one of those people that wants to root for the main characters and because of that I just don't get people's fascination with unlikable protagonists. I don't need them to be good people, I enjoyed the few seasons of Oz that I watched and they weren't good people, but I do remember liking some of the characters.

As for our disagreements in taste on GoT and others, you mentioned Forever in positive terms, so you're alright in my book. That show is an underappreciated gem in the 'episodic crime procedural with immortal protagonist' category of shows. :)
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Re: TV dramas

Postby NathanLoiselle » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:21 am

Top three that I've read in the past few months have got to be. Banshee, American Gods & Lucifer in no particular order. That is all.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby AboveGL » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:41 am

British TV dramas always immediately come to mind since I grew up watching them. Nowadays, TV is as useful as a marzipan dildo to me, so I'm more likely to watch a TV drama through word of mouth, or after looking at the works of an actor I particularly like and finding them online/on P2P programs.

I did that for Matthew MacFadyen, who I fucking love as Tom Quinn in Spooks. I learned about a one-off TV film called Secret Life starring the guy. If you're able to see it anywhere, I suggest you do but I warn you, it's NOT easy watching.

And I have Weeds and Damages on my watch list, largely for Mary Louise Parker and Rose Byrne (but also because I heard good things about the shows).

Has anyone checked out BBC Canterbury Tales? You should.
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Re: TV dramas

Postby jbobsully11 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:11 am

I watch Better Call Saul, Bull, and The Blacklist (*polishes tinfoil hat*), though I don’t really like the latter that much anymore.

Recently, I've been binge-watching the '90s show Quantum Leap. It's a lot more depressing than I thought it was, though I do remember a lot of the plotlines. I just saw the last episode tonight (which I had never seen before), and didn't think it was very good.
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