11.28.2013

wmtc movie and series season is open, please post your suggestions here

What with the Red Sox winning the World Series (!!!) and Allan's book being completed (available for pre-order on Amazon!!!), I forgot to announce the official opening of Movie Season.

Since changing to streaming-only, and since I'm out one or two nights a week, we really don't binge on movies anymore - no more three movies a week for months on end - but we still need a go-to list.

Movies: well-made documentaries, quirky indies, suspenseful noir, crime thrillers or capers, mind-benders, smart comedies - post them here.

Series: We are psyched for the long-awaited Sherlock S3! We're going back to The Wire; we've seen Season 1, and a bit of S2, now we'll restart S2. We're in the middle of Downton Abbey S4 but I've lost interest, as any pretence to historical drama has been tossed, and now it's just a soap opera with cooler clothes. We liked the first two or three seasons of The Big C and Weeds, but gave up both when they stopped being great. House of Cards seems like a possibility. No Game of Thrones, please. We might watch Breaking Bad one day in the future, when no one talks about it anymore.

For me: Know any really good detective series? I need more, preferably with lots and lots of episodes. Absolutely loved Prime Suspect and Wallander, thanks to wmtc readers. Still enjoying Luther. Love love love Inspector Lewis and will probably watch the entire series again. Watched MI5 for about five minutes; cannot stand anti-terrorism shows. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries seems to have potential, but I have no source for the whole series yet.

My Star Trek adventure has come to a close. Watching the entire original series in order was so much fun! And I hugely enjoyed TNG, was sad when I came to the end. But after six or seven episodes of Voyager, I still didn't like it, and I couldn't make it through the pilot of Deep Space Nine. Oh well, it was really fun while it lasted! I could use another series like that, something engrossing but that I don't take too seriously. My favourite is still Xena TWP. Many people have recommended Firefly... or is Serenity? What's the deal?

And finally, my comedy-before-sleep routine has really benefited from streaming. I finished both The Office (US) and Malcolm in the Middle, which just might be the best kids' sitcom ever. (I plan to write more about that soon.) I'm still watching Futurama, but when I reach the end of that... Community? I've seen a few eps and it has potential. I'd prefer to switch off between two shows. Got any?

38 comments:

James Redekop said...

The series is "Firefly", the spaceship and the movie that came after the series is "Serenity".

For mysteries -- a while back the BBC did a series of the Albert Campion stories by Margery Allingham with Peter Davidson (who was the fifth Doctor on Doctor Who). I haven't watched them since they first came out (1989/1990), but I remember quite liking them.

John F said...

No Game of Thrones, please.

But whyyyyy? :-)

Firefly is a good series, but it's heartbreakingly short. Fox (big surprise) cancelled it after 13 episodes. The movie, Serenity, was released a few years later.

I recommend Babylon 5 for all your space station-based SF needs. the first season is spotty, but the series really pays off over time. The creator planned the whole series in advance, so things hinted at in early episodes come to fruition later.

UU4077 said...

You could try "Enterprise", the last Star Trek series. It is set before TOS. They do a pretty good job in creating a retro look for the space ships.

Season 3 is a pain and probably the reason they lost viewers and cancelled after 4 seasons. Too bad, because season 4 had some of the best episodes.

James Redekop said...

And, of course, there's Doctor Who. Lots of seasons to catch up there, depending on how far back you want to go. ;)

laura k said...

OK, so Firefly is not a huge commitment! Sad for fans, but I will try it.

No one has ever mentioned Babylon 5 to me before, and I will go with it. :)

I am intimidated by starting Doctor Who at this late date. Also a bit intimidated by the rabid fan base. I know that's not rational, since I'll be watching it on my own, but... 50 years is a long time! What would be a good point to start, assuming I am not watching 50 years' worth of Doctors?

Game of Thrones... well, I'm not much for epic fantasy. I don't enjoy Lord of the Rings or anything in that vein. Just not for me.

johngoldfine said...

I haven't seen the Kevin Spacey 'House of Cards'--after my devotion to the UK version, I've been afraid to muddy up the memory.

One of its taglines has become a permanent part of my mental furniture and how often does that ever happen?:

Francis Urquhart (with silky menace): "You might well think that...but I couldn't possibly comment."

'Firefly' is a bit too space opera-y for my taste, but who can ever have enough of Morena Baccarin?

johngoldfine said...

Smart comedies: I like Lisa Kudrow quite a bit and have enjoyed both 'The Comeback' and 'Web Therapy.'

James Redekop said...

The most natural starting point for Doctor Who is with the resurrected show, as of 2005. There are seven seasons since then, normally 13 45-minute episodes per season plus a Christmas Special every year. Some seasons varied from this a bit -- Season 4 spanned two years and had five "specials"; this season (season 7) has two specials, the 50th Anniversary and the Christmas.

Since the new series started 16 years after the original run went on hiatus (with only the abortive 1996 made-for-TV pilot movie in between), it's a very clean place for newcomers to enter the story, and gives you the background you need as you go.

The first season of the new series also introduces my favourite bisexual TV character, Captain Jack Harkness. :)


John F said...

I agree with James in his Doctor Who advice. I consider myself a lifelong fan, but I'm only now watching all of the classic episodes in order. Like many North Americans, my introduction came by way of PBS reruns of the Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) episodes.

By all means, start with the 2005 revival. If you become a rabid fan, then go back to the classic era.

That first season has a few cheesy episodes, but also some profoundly good ones. The double episode that introduces the aforementioned Jack Harkness is a highlight.

James Redekop said...

Yeah, the first season of the revived series is a little uneven -- they were still trying to figure out just what sort of Doctor Who series they were trying to make. It starts to gel around mid-season, I think.

laura k said...

Anyone here watching Orange Is the New Black?

johngoldfine said...

Orange is the New Black is quite the soaper, but fun nevertheless.

johngoldfine said...

If you like either book or movie 'Orange is the New Black,' this student piece describing her jail time might ring your bell:

http://fromswanvilletoyou.blogspot.com/2013/10/piece-of-week-so-far-place.html

M@ said...

Firefly is low-commitment, high-quality, and well worth it!

Community is both the best and most disappointing sitcom on TV. Its first couple of seasons were stunningly good -- much of the time. Going back to some of those episodes again, some of them weren't as good as I thought; then again, other episodes are among the best TV I've ever seen.

I would recommend you give it a try, anyhow.

If I think of any other recommendations I'll let you know...

Dharma Seeker said...

Parks and Recreation and Breaking Bad are the only two shows I "love" these days. Breaking Bad set the bar so high that everything else disappoints. Parks and Recreation is a very smart comedy.

I agree with John F. about Firefly. People are still bitter over its cancellation, it's hard to be satisfied with the few, albeit great, episodes that were made.

And Battlestar Galactica. One of my all time favourite series and I think you'd appreciate a lot of the themes.

Dharma Seeker said...

LOVE Orange is the New Black. I wouldn't call it a soaper at all. It will make you laugh and break your heart in the span of a single episode. I can't wait for season 2.

laura k said...

The eps I've seen of Parks and Recreation were quite good. I might do that instead of (or in addition to) Community.

Some other friends have also recommended Battlestar Galactica to me. That might be the way to go, along with Babylon 5. Isn't there more than one series by that name? It was launched, ended, then re-started, possibly more than once, I think.

There's a documentary about the cancellation of Firefly. You all probably know that already... It's called "Done The Impossible".

Thanks, Dharma Seeker! I do look forward to seeing Breaking Bad in the distant future (the way I'm watching The Wire now!).

Oh and PS johngoldfine, if I do watch House of Cards, I will start with the Brit version. I love Kevin Spacey but generally dislike shows about American politics.

James Redekop said...

Babylon 5 was a five-season series which was cancelled after the fourth season, then revived at the last minute for the fifth -- which makes for some awkwardness in the story at the 4 / 5 transition. It was one of the first series to try to have a long-term story arc. There was a spin-off called Crusade, as well as a bunch of one-off TV movies of varying quality.

Dharma Seeker said...

Yes! There are 2 BSGs, one in 1978 and one in 2003 (that's the one I've seen) and Galactica 1980 (I haven't seen that either). I think you'll really enjoy it. I've been looking for another show to fall in love with so I might try The Wire. Thanks Laura!

Dharma Seeker said...

Laura, I love it so much I've watched it and re-watched again and again. The characters are like old friends. It's a very character-driven show and it deals with a plethora of social and political issues.

laura k said...

I've been looking for another show to fall in love with so I might try The Wire.

Show to fall in love with: Justified. You must must must see. Watch from the beginning. It's really hard not to fall in love.

Kim_in_TO said...

You know I've already recommended Firefly (and then Serenity).

I'll add to the recommendations for BSG. NOT the original series, which was prime-time lowest-common-denominator pap for kids, but the incredible remake, which took the idea of the original series and ran with it, staying mostly true to the original story line but following it up decades later. You'll appreciate the political intrigue.

johngoldfine said...

House of Cards (UK) really has very little to do with politics. About the same amount 'Richard III' has to do with English history.

Which makes both of them all the more appealing and appalling.

laura k said...

Very good fine-tuning those BSG and House of Cards recommendations. I'm going for it!

Kim_in_TO, hope you're not too disappointed in me. ;)

On Facebook, several people have recommended The IT Crowd. I pass it all the time on Netflix. Anyone?

johngoldfine said...

If you like 'Justified,' you must be taken with Walton Goggins--and there's plenty of WG on 'The Shield.' TS is one of those complex, intense, long-developing shows the watcher either loves or hates. Me--love.

laura k said...

you must be taken with Walton Goggins

Oh god, am I ever! He is SO amazing in Justified. I've heard he also has a great part in Sons of Anarchy (which I've never seen).

Complex, intense, long-developing... sounds great! I think Allan and I just committed to The Wire S2, but we will put The Shield on the long-term List.

johngoldfine said...

I couldn't get more than a show into 'Sons of Anarchy' (or for that matter 'The Wire') but 'different horses, different courses'!

The thing about TS: the protagonist is about as unpleasant a person as you will ever see on screen for seven seasons. A Tony Soprano had his good moments, Vic Mackey not so much.

But you will have plenty of Walton Goggins!

laura k said...

Hmm, and I wondered if The Shield might be too redundant with The Wire. I guess not! (I've never seen Sons of Anarchy.)

impudent strumpet said...

I've also been enjoying Parks and Rec lately, and I can't even figure out why! I feel like I should hate the vast majority of the characters, but I'm really enjoying spending time with them!

laura k said...

OK, it's Parks and Rec over Community, for now.

James Redekop said...

I haven't watched Parks & Rec, but I just happened to listen to an interview with Naomi Alderman on Little Atoms. Alderman recommended the show, except the first season. Apparently the first season tried to ape the US version of The Office and didn't do very well, so they retooled things for the second season, which is where it took off. So Alderman recommends starting from there.

laura k said...

Funny you posted this. I just now finished the Parks & Rec S1e1, and it is most definitely an Office remix of sorts. It's created by the same people, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, and they use many of the same devices and tropes. It was also very funny and I can see it has potential.

Plus, I can't start at S2! It's just not in me to do that. Gotta start at the beginning and (unless I hate it) go to the end. :)

James Redekop said...

Well, just remember that, if you hate S1, it apparently all changes for the better in S2. :)

BTW, one of the major points in the Little Atoms interview is how well the show handles the Tina Fay character as a strong female character. Alderman compares the show to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in terms of handling of women as something other than plot devices to motivate male characters.

laura k said...

Question for Battlestar Galactica folks. I watched S1e1 last night. I'll actually have to re-watch it, because I wasn't paying close enough attention. But before I commit... Is this going to be an extended war movie in space?

laura k said...

More data points for anyone scoring at home...

I tried only a few minutes of House of Cards (UK), and that's what I meant by politics - inner machinations and intrigue. Not really my cup of tea.

Although I did love the one and only season of Commander in Chief, Geena Davis as the first female POTUS. But that had many other elements to compliment the political intrigue. Plus Donald Sutherland as Davis' nemesis.

But anyway, no House of Cards, I'm afraid.

Also, I finally watched an episode of Murdoch Mysteries, a Canadian detective show set in Victorian-era Toronto. It has potential - straightforward whodunit plus my favourite historical era.

Dharma Seeker said...

Re: Battlestar. I re-watched several episodes last night and in just one night's viewing there were episodes centred around terrorism, election rigging, democracy vs. police state, abortion... there are a lot of relevant issues woven in to the series in a very intelligent, thought provoking way. It's a show about people, it just happens that the premise is those people are at war. One of the things I love about this show is the line bewteen "good guys" and "bad guys" is often blurred. It explores both perspectives, and what drives people to do desperate things. It's not "human good, cylon bad, human kicks cylon ass" kind of show.

laura k said...

Thanks for the thoughtful answer, DS. It sounds very good, especially since it's not all good guys and bad guys.

I will give it a chance, but I'm not sure I can watch a war show. I already found the spectre of multiple mushroom clouds, billions dead, un-nerving. Not how I want to feel from a TV show.

James Redekop said...

The last couple of days, I've been working through An Adventure in Space and Time on the GO Train. It's a 90-minute dramatisation of the origin of Doctor Who, focusing on William Hartnel (the first Doctor) and Verity Lambert, who directed the first two years of the show. Lambert was one of, if not the, first woman to produce a show at the BBC, and An Adventure addresses some of the resistance she faced. The show also touches on the problems faced by Waris Hussein, who directed two of the first four Doctor Who stories, and had to deal with prejudice in the BBC because he was Indian.

The show's well done, though it goes through the story very quickly. It also takes a few liberties with the cast of characters -- it rolls Donald Wilson, who initially opposed making "The Daleks", into Sydney Newman, who created the show, and implies that Waris Hussein directed "The Daleks" (he only directed the first story and "Marco Polo", the fourth).

Sydney Newman also created The Avengers and was head of the NFB in the 70s after returning to Canada from the UK.