Commentary

10 Shows You Should Check Out

As we approach the end of 2016, we will be bombarded with top-10 lists for the best and worst of everything.  The best TV show lists will invariably include one or two of the O.J. Simpson-based series, the excellent “This is Us,” and critical favorites that hardly anyone watches, such as “The Americans” and “Transparent.”  

I’ve decided to focus instead on TV series that may not be on most lists, but I think people should check out (and not just new series).  Previous episodes should all  be available to stream.

1 - 3. “Jessica Jones,” “Daredevil” and “Luke Cage” -- Netflix:  The Marvel universe of what they call street-level heroes is firmly entrenched on Netflix.  Iron Fist will soon be joining as well, leading to “The Defenders,” which will combine all four heroes. 

All are excellent, but “Jessica Jones” stands out. Its star, Krysten Ritter, is one of the most casually charismatic actresses on television.  She is a reluctant hero with extraordinary strength (the extent of which we haven’t yet seen).  The show is gritty and violent, and not for everyone, with the first season focusing on mind control, rape, retaliation, and revenge -- and a surprisingly strong social commentary on male/female relationships and the abuse of privilege and power. Season 2 will be available some time in late 2017. 

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Disney and Netflix should consider moving the sometimes excellent, but uneven and low-rated “Marvel Agents of Shield” to Netflix, where it could really let its hair down.  “The Inhumans" and “Ghost Rider” would fit in well on Netflix.

4. “Madam Secretary” – CBS:  While “This is Us” might be the best new show this year, “Madam Secretary,” currently in its third season, has consistently been one of the best overall shows on broadcast television.  Téa Leoni is great as a former CIA analyst with three kids, who becomes Secretary of State, and Tim Daly is great as her husband, a college professor and government operative.  The supporting cast, led by Bebe Neuwirth and Keith Carradine (as the president), are also excellent.  It hasn’t had a weak episode yet.

5. “Lethal Weapon” – FOX:  This reboot of the hit movie franchise teams Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans as the buddy cop duo of Riggs and Murtaugh.  They work. If you loved the movies (particularly the first one), this should be right up your alley.  Fun, mindless entertainment.

6. “Black-ish" – ABC:  Social-issue stories haven’t been this well done in a sitcom format since the heyday of Norman Lear.  Superb writing and an excellent cast, led by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, round out a great family comedy.

7. “Game of Thrones” – HBO:  Six seasons of epic drama defined by the often-grisly deaths of major characters and the rise to prominence of its female protagonists.  This season had some of the best TV episodes ever, and season 7 seems headed for even greater confrontations and spectacular battle scenes.  Winter was coming for six seasons; now it’s here.

8. “Stranger Things” – Netflix:  In 1983 Indiana, 12-year-old Will disappears into thin air. His three best friends, his mom (Winona Ryder) and local authorities investigate, leading to the discovery of secret government experiments and a strange little girl (Millie Bobby Brown in a breakout role) in the woods.  Combine teenage coming-of-age storylines with mysterious goings-on, and you get one of the best new shows of the year for the entire family.

9. “Rick & Morty" – Adult Swim:  Rick is an alcoholic mad-scientist grandfather, Morty his reluctant 14-year-old grandson.  Rick entices Morty to join him on one interdimensional adventure after another. One of my 17-year-old son’s favorite shows. I’ve watched it with him a few times and was surprised to find myself laughing throughout. By the way, in case you never watch Adult Swim — the show is animated.

10. “Westworld" – HBO:  What happens when cyborgs, or “hosts” — created (by Anthony Hopkins, no less), to fulfill the darkest fantasies of guests who plunk down $40,000 a day to play in a giant Wild West theme park — start to become self-aware?  Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton give great performances as hosts.  The slow build has several twists — some you might see coming, others you won’t.

1 comment about "10 Shows You Should Check Out ".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, December 21, 2016 at 3:45 p.m.



    Nice list. I avoided Madam Secretary until this season, but after one episode I was hooked. Intelligent and timely scripts and a great cast.  
     
    Since it's common to post a few of our own favorite shows not on the original list, while insulting the original author's choices, and his education, entire family tree, and his household pets, here are two of my own faves;
     
    Shameless and Black Sails, both of which are way over the top in  their own ways, but fun. (I'll work on the insults and post them later)

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