5 Streaming TV Series You Always Meant to Get Around to Finishing But Totally Forgot
(All the series below are available on either Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant)
Rubicon — Like most folks, I bailed on AMC’s incredibly challenging, excruciatingly slow drama after five or six episodes It’s one of those shows, however, where those that finished the first and only season swear that it not only got better, but that it transformed into a remarkably great series by the end. I never know if they’re saying that to justify their own patience with the series, or if the series actually did improve significantly. It had a nice cast, led by James Badge Dale, and I often wonder if we simply hadn’t been trained yet to stick with slower-moving, more complicated series. I still can’t tell you what the series is about, though, and I’ve always wanted to go back and investigate, if only to satisfy my curiosity about where the show takes the viewer, and if those who praise it are being honest with themselves.
Dollhouse — If you’re a Joss Whedon completist, but couldn’t force yourself through the rough early goings in Dollhouse, those who stuck with it also contend that Dollhouse was worth our patience. Again, I bailed, and never found out because I could not abide by the Dushku, but now I’m finding that there are references that I don’t get because I couldn’t stick it out for the series’ entire run. It’s part of the reason why I jumped back on the Agents of SHIELD bandwagon recently after taking a month or two off: If it gets better, as people say Dollhouse did, I don’t want to miss it.
The Riches — The Riches was one of those casualties of the writer’s strike, and who knows how long this show might have lasted had it not been interrupted. We could be looking at the 7th seasons of The Riches and Pushing Daisies right now. The Riches starred Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard as the heads of a family of Irish Traveller con artists and thieves. They travelled around in an RV and pulled off little mini-capers throughout the series. I liked the first season immensely, but — like a lot of people — bailed after the delay caused by the writers strike. Though I saw the first season in its entirety, I didn’t even realize until this very moment that the older son and daughter were played by Noel Fisher and Shannon Woodward, familiar to fans of ShamelessRaising Hope.
Bunheads — I like to believe that those who began watching Bunheads didn’t bail on it because it was so good, but it lost enough viewers between its fall season and winter season (really, networks shouldn’t break up seasons like this) to cost the show a second season. The first season and only season, however, was delightful if you stuck with it. It’s basically Gilmore Girls set in ever-so-slightly different whimsical town populated with ballet students taught by the fast-talking and quick-witted Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop, who basically reprised her Gilmore role. The pilot, the midseason finale, and the series finale will gut you, but along the way, it’s a banter of riches.
Sleeper Cell — Before there was Homeland, there was Sleeper Cell, and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Sleeper Cell was the better of the two series, both of which dealt with terrorist threates. In Sleeper Cell, the soulful Michael Ealy infiltrated a cell, and ultimately ended up developing some sympathies with the men tasked with suicide bombings. Not with their causes, mind you, but with their motivations. it’s very much in the vein of one of those movies like Donnie Brasco where a cop infiltrates the mafia to take them down from the inside, but here, the stakes are much larger. The gripping and intense series simply came out ahead of its time. I don’t think viewers were ready to see the humanity in terrorists yet, and for my part, as much as I loved the first season, I never did get around to watching the second.