Thursday Thirteen: TV Shows I Wish I had Time to Blog

The Thursday Thirteen is a meme-type post invented by PartTimeMonster. It’s a freestyle feature. Just blog about 13 things and make them into a coherent list, is the game. I think of it as a Top Ten Tuesday and a weekend coffee post rolled into one, only published on Thursday. And why 13? Because Diana, iconoclast that she is, thinks of 13 as a lucky number. She even made us a graphic:

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Here are 13 TV shows I’d blog if I had the time to do it. I’m behind on some of them, but I love them all.

1. Hell on Wheels (AMC). A former Mississippi plantation owner goes west after the war on a quest for revenge and becomes an important player in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s as gritty and violent as a basic cable tv show can be, but the violence is never gratuitous. The cast is stellar and the writers make the most of them. This is one of those shows I just don’t miss.

bwempire2. Boardwalk Empire (HBO). Prohibition-era gangsters. Steve Buscemi. That’s all I really need to say about it. I’ve followed this show from the beginning, and it’s my favorite HBO offering since Deadwood. I’m eager to see how this final season turns out, and trying to figure out where I’m going to get my gangster fix once it’s done.

3. Da Vinci’s Demons (STARZ). Follows the intrigues and adventures of Leonardo Da Vinci and Lorenzo di Medici. The production isn’t as good as most of the other shows on the list, but the acting is fantastic and the stories are interesting. I binged on the latest season a couple of weeks ago, and I want more already. If you have STARZ and you haven’t checked out their original programming, they’re definitely worth a look.

4. Justified (FX). Crime drama based on Elmore Leonard characters set in Harlan County, Kentucky. This is another one I’ve followed from the beginning. Its quality is uneven, but Timothy Olyphant and and Walton Goggins more than make up for that. I’m looking forward to the final season and hoping for an appropriate ending. It has the best theme music on television:

5. Sons of Anarchy (FX). All about the family and criminal drama of a gun-running outlaw motorcycle club from northern California. It’s set in the same continuity as The Shield, which makes it even more interesting. Its only weaknesses are that Charlie Hunnam has never really been convincing as Jax Teller, and it’s not the same show without Ron Perlman. The final season is shaping up to be a barn-burner. I’m hoping we get another show set in the same continuity once it’s done.

6. The Walking Dead (AMC). I missed the second half of the last season, so I’m behind. Sometimes TWD is my favorite show. Sometimes I wonder why I’m still watching. It’s definitely bloggable, though, and it’s been more good that bad so far. I’m looking forward to the new season and I am trying to find the time to get caught up.musketeers

7.  Musketeers (BBC). A standard action-adventure drama about Dumas’ Musketeers, with Peter Capaldi as Richelieu. It’s sometimes funny and sometimes tense, but there’s always a sword fight brewing. If you enjoy character-driven action/adventure, this one is for you. They also have cool pistols.

8. House of Cards (Netflix). Kevin Spacey is a Congressman. A ruthless and powerful Congressman. He doesn’t get on well with the President. He has an equally ruthless and powerful wife (Robin Wright). Based on a BBC miniseries with the same title. I’ve only seen the first season because I don’t have a subscription to Netflix. If you’re in the same boat as me with Internet subscription services, this is the best show you’ve never seen. I’m hoping to pay my sister a visit at some point and binge on the latest season.

9. Orphan Black (BBC). A sci-fi show about clones, all played by Tatiana Maslany, who does an awesome job with the character acting. I missed the second season, but I’m hoping to catch up before the third one airs next year.

10. Turn: Washington’s Spies (AMC). I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but I was so impressed I put it near the top of my “to watch” list. AMC really does know drama. I’m interested to see how this one plays with the wider audience, and I hope it survives. I’m already thinking of it as a too-good-to miss program.

11. Penny Dreadful (Showtime). This is another one I missed entirely, but Diana reviewed every episode here and she sold me. This is another one I need to catch up on if I ever get the blogs far enough ahead to take a television weekend.

blacksails12. Black Sails (STARZ). I started the first season couple of weeks ago because, strangely, I was out of free things to watch. It’s a pirate drama featuring a few of Stevenson’s Treasure Island characters, some historic pirates, and a well-armed Spanish treasure galleon for them to hunt. Acting and production are superb. I’m hoping STARZ doesn’t cancel it.

13. Gotham (Fox). Crime drama focusing on the origins of well-known supervillains from the DC Universe. I watched the first episode out of curiosity. It’s too early to give an opinion for certain, but it looks like a show I could get hooked on and the early reviews are positive.

Honorable mentions: Ripper Street (BBC), The Americans (AMC), Masters of Sex (Showtime), Ray Donovan (Showtime), Vikings (The History Channel)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite TV Shows

The good folks at The Broke and the Bookish have a weekly meme post called Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is favorite movies or TV shows. So here are ten TV series I’ve seen every episode of. These may be the only ten shows I’ve seen the entire run of. I go through phases where I watch very little television, and it was tough to come up with ten of these.

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1. The X Files (1993-2002). Possibly my favorite television show ever, and notable for its long run. I watched it religiously back in the day, but it makes this list because my wife and I watched every episode in syndication the first few years we were married. My favorite episode is the one where we see that the Smoking Man had a hand in the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are awesome, of course. Mitch Pileggi is just as good, and this is the first show I remember seeing him in.

2. The Shield (2002-2008). This one is a close second for “best ever” in my mind. I can’t think of a better police drama. The cast is stellar, the writing is good, and the camera work was exceptional for a basic-cable original series at the time. The best part about it: it put Walton Goggins on the map. It’s one of those rare shows that manages to pull off an anti-climactic, unsatisfying ending but still gives the characters exactly what they deserve.

3. Copper (2012-). A BBC show about New York policemen in the Five Points during the decade after the Civil War. New York’s never looked so much like London on the screen. This is one of my favorite currently-running shows. I’ve never regretted following it for one minute, and I am eager to see how it ends.

4. Justified (2010 – ). Another gem, this one an Elmore Leonard story translated into 5 seasons of awesome television. Set in Harlan County, Kentucky, it’s all about the relationship between U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens and his childhood frenemy Boyd Crowder, a cunning and thoroughly ruthless professional criminal. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are phenomenal together. The acting and the dialogue are so good, it’s easy to forgive the uneven quality of the long story arcs from season to season. And it has a theme by Gangstagrass:

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