Thursday, 29 August 2013

Thursday 13-ish binge series list

film reels
Some of use have been batting around lists of television series to watch. Mainly the type that can be binge watched, through box-sets or streaming.

It also means there's a few that get excluded because of their ubiquity on normal television. Friends, Frasier, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Startrek spring to mind because they are always on normal television, often being shown out of sequence.

Here's my quick list of a few series I've watched/re-watched largely in blocks of viewing. I won't rank them, instead add a few comments.

  • Weeds : The one about the housewife who sells weed to support her family. It starts in a 'Little Boxes' housing estate in suburban USA and after various mishaps moves to the Mexican border and further beyond. A few years old, quite funny and handling a few taboo subjects. At various stages it gets new things thrown in to keep the mix running. I've not seen the last two series because of non-UK availability. Would definitely re-watch.
  • Breaking Bad: Ostensibly similar plot to Weeds, stepped up to crystal meth lab but played more earnestly than Weeds. Shows the spiral of a regular teacher as he crosses further to the dark side. Some very sharp writing. On its last few episodes now. Quite intrigued by how the end may play out. Seeing the last few shows makes me think I'll need to watch it all the way through at some time.
  • The Sopranos: One of the original binge sets. I remember sometime in the last century(?) getting the first set on DVD when it was the only set available. Then I missed 2-3 series because of work schedules but decided I'd need to watch it from the start. I only managed this after the last series had finished. Along the way it played around with most of the Goodfellas and similar movie ideas and then finished in a clever way. I'm not sure of I'd watch it all again though. There were some characters that I found too irritating (like Tony's mum).
  • Orange is the new Black : A kind of 21st Century Tenko set in a womens' prison in upstate New York. Much acclaimed although I struggled through the first five or so episodes. Up to the one with the chicken, where it started to settle in and became quite good. The first few episodes were almost trying too hard but then it settled into a more thoughtful style whilst still taking a run at many subjects. It's only run one series through to an unfestive climax although I'm sure I'll watch the next.
  • House of cards : The Kevin Spacey remake of the UK series, extended in an American context from 3 episodes to around 13. I was surprised how good this was, even with the similar storyline and some slightly cliched sections. I may well watch it again at some time, although I watched the UK version after I'd finished the US series.
  • Green Wing : About a UK hospital. Somewhat bonkers and surreal. I keep this for emergency entertainment on my iphone.
  • Black Books : How could so much fun be had with a bookshop and a few bottles of wine. Also on my emergency humour ipod playlist
  • Spaced : A rather north London comedy which references US films and genres. Very funny but might not travel well. I hear they tried to make a US pilot, but it would be a very odd concept. Really moment in time
  • 24 : Jack Bauer making 100s of decisions in every episode. Intense and one of those series that inevitably gets watched in multiple episode chunks. "just one more" but can be exhausting. Maybe I'll go back to the furniture showroom episodes at some point.

I know there's more, including some generally popular ones. I won't include Arrested Development (didn't like it) nor Portlandia (wanted to like it but couldn't get into it). I didn't really like The Office (UK nor US versions) either and wouldn't watch blocks of it.

I can think of others that should be included but I haven't ever watched in blocks. X-files, West Wing?

There's some UK shows like Faulty Towers or The Young Ones which are more a part of heritage. I wouldn't seek them out but still laugh when I see an episode of them.

And I could have mentioned The Killing (which I enjoyed, but watched close to the episodes being broadcast) and Top of the Lake (ditto). The French series 'The Returned' started well but lost my interest by the end when it started to turn into an alpine version of Shaun of the Dead.

So that's my starter list...Anything else I should have mentioned?


OldLady Of The Hills said...

If you haven't seen "BREAKING BAD" from the beginning---you really should. In fact, it is nothing like "WEEDS", at all. WEEDS was a Comedy, and "BB" is not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination. Walter White's motivation for making Meth is to ensure his family's financial situation because he is dying of Cancer. He is a Chemistry Teacher and a Master Chemist, at that. He figures he has nothing o lose since he is dying anyway....What we have been watching for these many years is the demise of a man---not just physically but morally, too. It is so very well written and brilliantly acted....And quite devastating in every way. The things that happen to Nancy Botwin and her family and friends are outrageous, but humorous. Not so with Walter White.

"The Soprano's" is worth watching from beginning to end, if you have the time....It is right up there in the TOP Five, in my Book.
In fact, I read that Vince Gilligan, the creator of "Breaking Bad" said without the Soprano's there would be no BREAKING BAD.

"WEST WING"...A perfect Binge watch series...I LOVED WEST WING and could watch it right now!

I don't know if you get "NEWSROOM" there....but it too is Perfect for Binge Watching....Wonderful WONDERFUL Series, in my opinion.

Personally, I liked the Original UK "HOUSE OF CARDS" better than the US Version....!

Never got into "24" and/or "THE OFFICE"---UK or US.

"SEX AND THE CITY" was and still is, a really WONDERFUL Series...! Watching the DVD's is the way to go---not the watered down version shown on TV with advertising---Here, they "Clean it up" so to speak, and the true heart of the series is undercut drastically because of that...This is a GREAT Binge Watch!

If I think of some others I will come back.

Nikki-ann said...

Did you see Prison Break? I've got that lined up on LoveFilm to watch.

24 - What do you think about the new format they're going for for the forthcoming new series?

rashbre said...

Naomi : Some great comments. I agree the 'positioing of BB is different from Weeds' too. I've watched all of the available episodes of both in the U.K. Still waiting to see the end of BB!

I've also seen Sopranos right the way through, although that was only last year! Kind of late to the party - mainly because I wanted to watch them in the right order.

West WIng - on the list!

I haven't seen Newsroom.. Will check it out.

House of Cards...Actually, I liked both and regard them as fairly different shows.

SATC. I've only ever watched a few of these. Not sure its my thing.

Nikki-ann Not seen Prison Break. I do have Lovefilm though but haven't used it any where near as much as Netflix.

Keep 'em coming!

Pat said...

I often have to refresh myself re Breaking Bad after the long gaps in my watching.
I enthused about it to my Australian son and he said no way would he watch it - after I had given him a patchy resume. When I spoke to him at the week-end he admitted he was totally hooked.

rashbre said...

Pat Yes I'm watching the last few episodes as they come out weekly at the moment.