Here is the list of shows worth watching in particular order.
- HOUSE OF CARDS (USA)
Set in present-day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina who, after being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, initiates an elaborate plan to get himself into a position of greater power, aided by his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright).
Why should you watch it: Executive producer and director of the first two episodes, David Fincher’s heavy influence on the series is part of what makes it so interesting to watch. The script written by Beau Willimon is so unique in a sense that it is a political drama that tells the story of power and how one gains it more than it tells a story about ideology or party definitions. He shows how a political system, which is built with so many checks and balances, can still be completely manipulated by one man. And this man is worth every minute of your time.
- MISFITS (UK)
Focusing on the classic superhero dilemma that “with great power comes great responsibility” this show asks the following question: what happens when five troubled delinquent teens (Nathan, Curtis, Kelly, Simon and Alisha) who, while carrying out community service, are caught in an electric storm and left with the combined ability to turn back time, read minds, disappear and seduce? That said, we should ask ourselves, what makes a superhero a hero? Misfits has couple of ideas and they are all equally hilarious.
Why should you watch it: It is brilliant. And funny. And it feels real. It is as if it ever comes the time when humans are capable of reading minds, manipulating time or fly it will happen and manifest exactly like it did in Misfits.
- TRUE DETECTIVE (USA)
True Detective is American anthology crime drama created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. It is not the best story out there, especially if we are talking about the first season, whose ending was truly disappointing, however, the strongest aspect of this show are its characters. Marty, Rust, Velcoro, Bezzerides, Frank, Woodrugh…you name it. They are masterfully written as well as cast and it is really hard to pick one as your favorite. Following the stories and lives of these people is truly compelling.
Why should you watch it: The aforesaid characters. Cinematography. Established relationships between characters. The atmosphere. Soundtrack and so forth. That said, True Detective is one of those series that prove the rise of the television production making us all believe the TV series these days are far better than films.
- FRINGE (USA)
Fringe, a show that in many aspects resembles The X Files, follows the casework of the Fringe Division, a Joint Federal Task Force supported primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which includes Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), the leader of the team; Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), the archetypal mad scientist; and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), Walter’s estranged son and jack-of-all-trades. They are supported by Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), the force’s director, and Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), who assists Walter in laboratory research. The Fringe Division investigates cases relating to fringe science, ranging from trans-humanist experiments gone wrong to the prospect of a destructive technological singularity to a possible collision of two parallel universes.
Why should you watch it: If the fringe science didn’t do the trick I only got three words for you: Doctor Walter Bishop.
- SHERLOCK (UK)
Sherlock is a British crime drama television series and a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Set in the modern-day London it depicts a story of a consulting detective Sherlock Holmes who is aided by his flatmate and a friend Dr. John Watson.
Why should you watch it: Sherlock set in the 21st century using Google maps, aps, smart phones and is played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
- GAME OF THRONES (USA)
Not much can be said about Game of Thrones that I haven’t said already on my blog. It is a story loosely based on George R.R. Martin’s epic saga A Song of Ice and Fire, one of the best-written and most successful fantasy stories of all time. It is big. It is epic. And entertaining. But the book is better.
Why should you watch it: I honestly don’t know. With each season the show is getting worse and worse. But despite it’s rapid lack in quality it is still one of the best fantasy series on air and after all why not join the global phenomena while it still lasts?
- THE GOOD WIFE (USA)
The series focuses on Alicia Florrick, played wonderfully by Julianna Margulies, whose husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), the former Cook County, Illinois, State’s Attorney, has been jailed following a notorious political corruption and sex scandal. After having spent the previous thirteen years as a stay-at-home mother, Alicia returns to her old job as a litigator to provide for her two children.
Why should you watch it: First of all it is unapologetically feminist, and in a good way. Second of all it has one of the most compelling and equally frustrating love stories on air right now. It is based on real events. It features a strong cast (main and recurring). And it gets better with each coming season, which is truly rare nowadays.
- SEINFELD (USA)
Seinfeld is one of the best shows of all times. Hands down.
Why should you watch it: It is a show about nothing. What more could you wish for?
- DOWNTON ABBEY (UK)
Downton Abbey is a BBC period drama that tells the story of The House, its Upstairs and its Downstairs. It is written by Julian Fellowes, the mastermind behind the Gosford Park, which won him the Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay. The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Such events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the first series; the outbreak of the First World War, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second series; the interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third series; the Teapot Dome scandal in the fourth series; and the United Kingdom general election of 1923, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, and the Beer Hall Putsch in the fifth series.
Why should you watch it: There are number of reasons but the principal one as far as I am concerned is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. “Long live Maggie Smith!” is all I can say.
- SCRUBS (USA)
Apart from Seinfeld this is the best television comedy of all times.
Why should you watch it: The floating head doctor. The Todd. Dr. Jan Itor. World’s most giant black doctor. Multi-ethnic Siamese Doctor. Colonel Doctor. Dr. Beardface. Rex aka Party Doctor. Dr. Hooch. Dr. Acula. Chest Hands. Mexican Apple Thieves.
- BORGEN (DENMARK)
Borgen (The Castle) is a Danish political drama that follows the story of a charismatic politician who unexpectedly becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. Although it is a fictional story, significant parts of it are based on true-life events.
Why should you watch it: Like most of the contemporary Danish television it features the brilliant writing and an abnormally charismatic lead. Besides, Meyer, Strange and Theis are in it as well. And that hot Wildling woman who turned into a Wight at Hardhome.
- THE WIRE (USA)
The Wire is a slice of TV heaven almost completely beyond reproach. It is slow. It seeks patience. But those prepared to do so will be rewarded with one of the most compelling and thought-provoking sociological studies in the history of the medium.
Why should you watch it: If you’ve never seen The Wire, you may have unbelievably high expectations since most TV critics called it the best show of all times. I am here to tell you that these expectations will be fulfilled.
- FORBRYDELSEN (DENMARK)
When talking about the greatness of Forbrydelsen aka The Killing one simply has to refer to the first season of this show. It is not saying that the next two seasons are bad but that the first season of twenty masterfully done one-hour episodes that cover a single murder of Nanna Birk Larson is simply a masterpiece. What makes it a masterpiece is not one single thing but the whole package: the writing, the direction, the acting, the music, the muted colors and dull uniformity of Copenhagen in November. However, what got to me the most are the performances of Danish actors who were uniformly excellent. First that comes to mind is of course Lars Mikkelsen who played the character of Troels Hartmann, the mayoral candidate, who soon falls under suspicion, bearing up under the weight of hiding his loss and depression, is an alluring mix of ambition and self-doubt; of integrity and political game-playing. After seeing the second season whose lead politician is Thomas Buch the masterfulness of Troels Hartmann becomes even more apparent. In Forbrydelsen even the supporting cast is magnificent. Take, for example, the Mayor of Copenhagen, Bremer, whose smug sniping and cutting quips leave the audience constantly wondering what lies behind the mask of bemused confidence. He is the epitome of an experienced politician. The show is not without flaws however, but I will talk about them in my Forybrydelsen review that is coming up in the next month or so.
Why should you watch it: If not for everything I have already said above then watch it for the long, amazing previews, epilogues and the music. If all fails then Lund’s sweaters should do the trick.
- BRON/BROEN (DENMARK/SWEDEN)
This 2011 Danish/Swedish co-production presented a unique and irresistible premise. The halves of two human bodies – upper half of a politician, and the lower half of a prostitute – are found on the five-mile long Öresund bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark. The discovery of the partial corpses sets off a series of murders by a killer intending to point out the social problems plaguing both countries, forcing two completely mismatched but absolutely superb detectives, Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia), from each side of the bridge to team up to solve the case. And this is where the greatness of the show lies – in the beautifully written relationship of Saga and Martin who are so far away from American stereotype of not only how cops should look like but also how beauty should look like. And these people are beautiful. Inside and out. Saga’s character in particular isn’t like anyone I’ve seen in a show before. She is awkward and though. She is unapologetic. Her hair is a mess, she’s got a big scar on her face, she looks tired, she wears the same outfit almost every day, and she seems as though she possibly has Asperger syndrome. Martin is slightly more polished, more sensitive, which is a peculiar choice, but he’s still quite rough around the edges and emotionally insecure to the point of being self-destructive. Together, they are match made in sociopathic heaven.
Why should you watch it: If you don’t you will miss out and you will never get to meet neither Saga nor Martin, who turned out to be the best police duo of all times. Then there is the Porsche.
- LOST (USA)
Lost ended five years ago, yet Lost is still very much up to date which tells us just how progressive this show really was for its time. And while I do agree that the last season, with the focus placed particularly on its ending, was not the greatest television out there, it doesn’t mean the previous five seasons are not well worth your time. Because they are. Some critics will tell you how Lost was really nothing more than just a dream or how they all died in the crash and everything you’ve seen did not really happen however, that tells us more about the said critics than about the show itself. Either these critics are not really the most perceptive bunch or they haven’t seen Lost or well… One thing is sure it all happened and no, they did not die in the crash. Mark that two.
Why should you watch it: There are number of reasons. First off it falls in the category of the oldest series on this list yet it is still so refreshing. It features a list of over 15 main characters, which is perhaps the greatest reason why this show is a must. There is no other show on television that has been able to take such a large cast of characters and develop and examine them to the depth that this show did. Especially with the creative use of time in the storytelling (the third reason) the audience could learn from all periods of a character’s life to get an incredible sense of everything that has, does, and will make this person who they are. The shifting narrative techniques worked so good for this story and they span from limited perspective with flashback, alternate perspective of the same time, past perspective leading to present perspective, to, without giving out spoilers, future perspective leading to present perspective. The story was great but the way it was told was even greater. It was spectacular. The fourth reason lies in its perspective on race. Although we live in a globalized world most TV shows still fall prey to one-dimensional portrayals of minorities. Lost took these stereotypes head on and flipped them on their head, not only for the characters in the show, who run into conflicts because of race and prejudice, but it also opened the eyes of the viewers themselves who were forced to come face to face with their own prejudicial nature. Fifth reason would be the humor. In the bleak and grim environment where everyone can die at any given moment (and a great number of them did even though they are not the members of the Stark family) the characters, most notably Sawyer and Hurley, still managed to find the strength to make us all laugh. Last but not least, the perpetual sense of mystery. It truly is the rabbit hole. Sure, it is a story about the people that crashed on the island but towards the end of first season you come to realize that there is much more to the story than it meets the eye. Others, polar bears, the numbers, doomsday devices, the hatch, atomic bomb and black monster…you name it. It is all there. And it really made sense in the end. Minus the flashbacks. And Jacob. The finale of third season is, without any exaggeration, the single best piece of television made up to date. It was a game changer no one saw coming and it was smart, borderline genius. It is too bad they ruined the ending, but hey, this story was never about the ending as much as it was about the whole journey and this one was truly grand.