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The Shame of Missing Out on These 5 Shows

By Nadia Chaudhury | Seriously Random Lists | August 26, 2014 | Comments ()


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There is so much good TV on all year ‘round that it’s hard to watch everything. Summer is always the time I tell myself, “Yes, now I’ll have all the time in the world to catch up on TV and life and relaxation and everything that is good with the world,” because I still have that “no school in the summer” mentality. Everyone has these kinds of shows on their list: you know you’re supposed to watch them, and you know that you’ll (most likely) fall in love with them, but it’s hard to find the time to pay the proper attention to them. The Wire used to be one of those shows, but then I finally sat down and watched it, and I didn’t regret that decision. For the record, here are the shows I’m ashamed I haven’t binged yet. But I will. Promise. Soon. (For these purposes, I’m including only shows that have ended.)

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1. Deadwood
I KNOW I KNOW, I really need to watch Deadwood. I love cursing. And Timothy Olyphant! Anna Gunn! John Hawkes! Sarah Paulson! Garret Dillahunt! I imagine it’s like an old western version of everything Armando Iannucci does.

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2. The West Wing
Political shows can be transcendent (See: Veep, House of Cards, etc.) and this is the king of ‘em all, yet I’ve never watched an episode. I blame residual The Newsroom hate.

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3. Cheers
It’s another one of those long-running, beloved shows that inspired pretty much every great sitcom on TV right now. It also brought the world’s best will-they-won’t-they couple.

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4. Angel
I love Buffy, and I originally had ambitious plans to follow the list of episodes you’re supposed to watch in order so that all of the crossover episodes make sense, but then I got lazy (future memoir title?). I know I’m missing out on puppets.

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5. Mr. Show
It’s blasphemy that I haven’t watched any of the sketches from Mr. Show, despite having one friend’s DVD set for over six years and, thanks to a friend, being well acquainted with Pit-Pat. I’ve seen far too many indie films with David Cross on Netflix, though…

So what are the TV shows that you know you should watch, but just haven’t gotten around to ‘em?



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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • rocky

    You don't need to watch all of Deadwood. Season Two ends with a wedding, which is pretty much an indication that they'd run out of narrative and were just going the soap-opera route at that point. First season is pretty excellent but the second just kind of sputters along.

    Friday Night Lights is an enormous guilty pleasure even though it's infinitely soapier than Deadwood. I never regretted a binge, and I may, one day return for more Riggins, Saracen and Coach pleasure.

  • MGMcD

    Battlestar, The Good Wife, The Sopranos

  • Abby Cadabby

    I Just started watching Deadwood. There is not much in terms of plot going on, but damned if I'm not having a great time with all the cursing and old timeyness. Ian McShane is a TREASURE.

    I am also in the process of watching Buffy and Angel alternately so the episodes line up. I've watched all of Buffy and was always semi resentful of the Angel series so I only ever saw a handful of episodes. It is a LONG and arduous road, but Angel does eventually get better. I am in the middle of season 2 now and it is finally getting dark and interesting. Season one is pretty harsh in terms of reasons to watch.

  • Scorptilicus

    Think I'll just binge Deadwood on that list. And eventually season 3 of Angel, which hopefully would make season 4 seem better because that year went a little off the rails.

  • AudioSuede

    The West Wing is my favorite show, though watching it through right now from beginning to end for the third time with my wife, I'm noticing more and more that the writers couldn't see their own sexism, and though characters like CJ managed to transcend the problematic plot contrivances, it doesn't excuse the fact that pretty much every episode includes some element of women being treated as the lesser sex. Still my favorite show, because every episode also contains incredible moments of soaring dialogue, but yeah, it's not perfect by any means.

  • Professor Sara

    I've never watched The West Wing before, and I'm recapping an episode a week for Entertainment Weekly's community blog right now. It's been incredibly interesting to watch it for the first time, yet 15 years removed. Weird sexism and homophobia, but still relevant political issues.

  • jaimejoshi

    I go back and forth between which show I love more - Angel or Buffy but I think Angel might just edge it out. Darker ('Billy' - an excellent performance by Denisof that both terrifies and shatters your heart into a million pieces), funnier ("I do not have puppet cancer!") and just a much richer tapestry that really explored the human (and non-human) soul.

    Don't get me wrong - there's some real shite to contend with (read: Connor) but when Angel is good, it's sublime.

    I've been meaning to get into The Wire for years now. I've heard it's phenomenal but I couldn't make it more than two episodes in before I gave up. I'll have to give it another shot because I LOVED The Shield.

    Of course, this probably has more to do with Walton Goggins than anything else. That man can do no wrong.

  • Lou

    I watched Deadwood for the first time a couple of years back, took me a while to get into it but then I was addicted. I try to pick a new old show up every year, previously I've watched The Wire andThe Shield.
    Currently on my watch list are: Oz (I've had the boxset for years), Homicide: Life On The Streets (seen the first 2 seasons), XFiles (yeah I missed this first time round).
    I tried watching The West Wing but I hated every second of the pilot, I think Sorkin just isn't my thing, I couldn't get through the Social Network either.

  • fracas

    I was just talking to a friend about how I need to watch The Sopranos. I know it's great, but I'm not that motivated. That's just one of many I need to see or catch up on.

  • Coolg82

    This is probably the first time I have seen someone describe Angel as a "must watch show". Even the majority of my friends who happen to be Buffy/Whedon fans make an "ehh" noise when it is mentioned. You should definitely watch Mr. Show, though.

  • muscleman

    Friday Night Lights - It's on my list. Weird because I love watching hot guys strut around and my friends all say, "WHAAAA...you have not watched that yet?"
    Breaking Bad - I just can't get up the energy.

  • Berry

    Out of all of these, I've only seen Deadwood and parts of West Wing. WW really was good, and I wanted to watch more of it, but it was also somehow depressing, because let's face it, it was basically a fantasy. I don't know how you Murricans watched it, and lived with the reality you did at the time, and managed to not jump out of windows en masse.

  • emmalita

    I couldn't watch it for that very reason.

  • Slobby79

    If you want to know about television, cheers is the perfect show. I highly suggest even if youve seen it watching the pilot episode and then finding the script and reading it. its the template for how you create a pilot. No tricks. It introduces almost all the characters, gives you a reason why they are there and enough character development and 2 or 3 jokes per page. its an incredible piece of television writing.

  • Sean

    I hate the West Wing.
    Go watch Mr. Show. It will make you a better person.

  • John W

    Never seen West Wing either.

  • MissAmynae

    Orphan Black
    Deadwood
    The rest of Friday Night Lights (I've seen the first season)
    The West Wing
    Spartacus
    I Love Lucy

    If y'all haven't watched Carnivale, you should add it to your lists. I wish HBO would have given it the proper ending sendoff, but it's a great two seasons of gorgeous creepiness.

  • MGMcD

    Agreed on Carnivale. I held a ridiculous grudge against Deadwood for replacing it in HBO's hearts and budgets and refused* to watch it. Carnivale was such twisty fun.

    (The lure of TimmyO became too much and I eventually caved and watched and loved Deadwood. I still miss Carnivale though.)

  • suzannesusannadanna

    Double down on the I Love Lucy! Slice of life Americana circa 1950's... Great physical comedy, cheesy night club acts, L&R had chemistry to burn! Laugh out loud funny. Prototype for the modern sitcom.

  • Pawesl

    This^. I Love Lucy is my favorite show of all time. I fell in love with it as a 5 year old staying up late to watch Nick at Nite and I will champion it any chance I get. Watch it now! Greatest sitcom of all time.

  • emmalita

    I feel like you would enjoy Orphan Black.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Nothing to do with this thread, but I finally got a chance to watch "Good Ol' Freda" last week and really enjoyed it. What a life for such an unassuming and modest woman! Thanks for the excellent recommendation.

  • MissAmynae

    Oh, hooray! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! You're so welcome, sharing this film really is a pleasure.

  • mrsdalgliesh

    My brother has a list he holds for/over me: it includes Arrested Development & Curb Your Enthusiasm. I'll get to my list (which includes Deadwood) before I get to his, which is weird, because I do love to laugh. I guess I'm worried about not laughing at something everyone else found hilarious.

  • emmalita

    Arrested Development should be marathoned because it becomes increasingly ridiculous. Plan to watch the first 6 episodes. I think you will really enjoy it.

  • Aurora Sky

    Orphan Black! <3

  • Maddy

    Planning on watching Broad City and Veep

  • emmalita

    Veep is amazing.

  • The Wire. Look, until it's available to stream on Netflix, it's gonna be way down on my list.

  • The Wire (it's on the list, I swear)
    Deadwood (maybe? I got through two episodes so far, and I'm not in love.)
    Sports Night (no excuse but time, I own the DVDs courtesy of an excellent friend.)
    Buffy (I have seen episodes, but not the whole thing. This is on dock for watching with my younger son, once pre-calculus stops kicking his ass.)

    On the sorry, but no list: Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. I know they are good. I know the acting is stellar. But I also know people whose lives were utterly destroyed by actual humans doing some of the stuff portrayed on those shows, and I just can't watch it happen on my screen, too. This is yet another reason I do not watch "ripped from the headlines" style law enforcement shows, especially not L&O SVU.

  • amylu

    Same here on Deadwood. I might've even made it through the first season, but it didn't make much of an impression, and I never finished the series.

  • Maddy

    I assume it's better but my Newsroom hate is holding me back from the West Wing. Earnest preachiness is just something I can't do. And I realise I'm leaving myself open for 'pot calling the kettle black' but whatever.

  • Maddy

    I just caught up on Vikings and thought it was really great.

  • basse buus

    It really needs to get more love!

  • Maddy

    I was hesitant but it really is worth watching. Lagertha is everything.

    EDIT: I mean I also thought the directing and fight choreography was stunning. See I am capable of looking at things outside my feminist bubble.

  • logan

    i knew it!

  • Maddy

    OH SHIT YOU CAUGHT ME OUT ON MY MISANDRY

  • logan

    Nice edit up there but you cant fool me!

  • Maddy

    I feel like you think you're making some hilarious good natured point here but really it's just a bit sad. But ok.

  • logan

    I'm just screwing around. I really dont take this seriously.

  • logan

    Really?

  • Maddy

    Ummm ok really what? Should I ask?

  • logan

    i was just surprised you liked it. That's all.

  • Maddy

    I probably don't want to know the reasons why that is but ok

  • Maddy

    The Wire. I know I know. I am going to do it.

  • Zoe

    The Wire...I watched one episode, it was good but I feel like it's a show you need to watch with someone and everyone I know has already seen it....

  • Kala

    Keep going. The first four episodes are a slow burn, but everything after that made me want to devote my entire life to watching it.

  • dizzylucy

    I loved Cheers, but have never felt the need to rewatch it. Same for Angel.

    I have yet to watch the West Wing. Or the Wire. Or Game of Thrones. Or Boardwalk Empire. And I did watch most of Deadwood, but usually before bed each night and I'd fall asleep and miss a lot, so I need to redo that one.
    I have a lot of catching up to do, but for the next 6-8 months I'm finishing up professional licensing exams, so every evening will be spent studying, blah. After that thought, it's game on, TV.

  • Boo_Radley

    Just seeing that still from Deadwood gave me chills. That was the best show, ever.

  • basse buus

    I recently had a big knee surgery and have used my time in recovery to catch up with these shows:

    Episodes
    Orphan Black
    Friday Nights Lights( still not finished)
    Happy Endings( all of the episodes are on YouTube)
    Top of the Lake
    Fargo( still not finished)

    and I think I will start:
    Parades End
    The Returned

    I could use a comedy suggestion? Is Wilfred good?

  • Buck off

    Father Ted!

  • Berry

    Listen to Ray Ray, for real. Better Off Ted is so good.

  • Ray Ray

    Get thee to Better Off Ted.

  • kirbyjay

    I loved The Unusuals, sadly only 10 episodes, and it's not a serial but stand alone shows.

  • emmalita

    Yes! I love Better Off Ted. I am so angry with myself that I didn't hear about it until after it was canceled.

  • MissAmynae

    The husband loves Wilfred. Makes him cackle.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Brooklyn 99 and Moone Boy, if you can find it.

  • Glad to hear Mooney Boy getting a shoutout! It's hilarious.

  • basse buus

    thanks! I have been considering Brooklyn 99 but I can't figure out if I'm up for that much Samberg

  • Halbs

    B-99 is my favorite show right now. It takes a few to get its legs but when it does it's more of an ensemble than all Samberg. I love Samberg (HOT ROD) but the show is definitely best as an ensemble. Give it a few episodes and if you don't like it by 9 or 10 then it's probably not for you.

  • dizzylucy

    I didn't love him at first, but the show grew on me so quickly that I actually like him a lot on it now.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I recently watched Deadwood. It's really good, although it is a shame they didn't do anything with Robin Weigert's and Kim Dickens' characters.

    I'm not interested in the rest of the shows above. I watched a few episodes of Angel (when I caught them on German TV). It's better than Buffy, at least.

  • Brady

    One of the most underappreciated gems on television from the last several years is Starz' Spartacus. Yes, it was bathed in ridiculous amounts of blood and sex. Yes, the first few episodes are pretty awful.

    But damn, that series kicked into high gear halfway through the first season and delivered one of the most satisfying, visceral, entertaining, and fantastically melodramatic stories I've seen on television. Shame more people haven't checked it out.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Yep. I was snobbishly avoiding it until a co-worker insisted I watch her first season DVD and I was hooked. I cried off and on for days when I realized that I'd never get to enjoy Andy Whitfield again. I keep putting off watching the final season because I don't want it to end.

  • Brady

    The series finale just wrecked me. I was an emotional mess for the entire last half hour.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I have a feeling I'll react the same way.

  • Also, it owns its camp. I'm so glad that Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan championed the hell out of Spartacus because I might not have watched it otherwise and then I wouldn't have gotten to crush on Manu Bennett.

  • Kenny G.

    Green Acres...

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I'm all mourned out on NewsRadio.

  • logan

    is the place for me...

  • BWeaves

    FAAAAARM LIVING

  • Sara_Tonin00

    is the life for me.

  • kirbyjay

    I really love a penthouse view
    Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue

  • Peezy

    I actually just finished the first season of West Wing. I always figured the longer I put it off, the more dated it would seem, but aside from everyone using pagers in the first episode, it holds up really well. I love it so far, but then again, I also still really enjoy The Newsroom. I don't get the Aaron Sorkin hate that so many people have.

  • deathandthestrawberry

    1. The Wire
    2. Friday Night Lights
    3. Justified
    4. 30 Rock - This one I'm currently working my way through.
    5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- I only caught the last few seasons when it ran, so when I first signed up for Netflix I was super excited that I could get the chance to catch up. Weirdly, I wasn't as enthralled as I thought I'd be and I dropped off after about the first season and a half. I do plan on picking it up again.
    6. Deadwood - I only missed the third season when it aired but I'd like to rematch the whole thing from the beginning some time.

    +++

    Still running but on my current binge list:
    1. Doctor Who - Was hoping to finish this up before last Saturday's premiere, but still have a half season of Amy and Rory to get through to before the Clara episodes.
    2. Supernatural - Watching this with my 13-year-old daughter. Have to say so far she's more of a fan than I am.

  • kirbyjay

    May I suggest Rome? Only two seasons because it was so expensive to make and not a ratings killer, but still a good series. Ray Stevenson, Kevin McKidd, Ciaran Hinds, Polly Walker, James Purefoy, and you'll see where they got the theme song for Game of Thrones.

  • emmalita

    Buffy really gets going in the second half of season 2.

  • Berry

    I keep trying to tell husband this*, but he hated the season 1 episodes we watched so much, he refuses to give the show another chance. Which wouldn't be a problem, but we need a new show to watch together right now.

    *That people tell me this, to be exact. I haven't seen much of Buffy myself either.

  • I am a rabid West Wing fan (Josh is my tv boyfriend and Toby is my spirit animal), and try to push everyone into watching Deadwood, but I never got into Angel. I liked Mr. Show back in college, but the shine has worn off over the years. I kind of just missed Cheers, because it was on when I was young-ish...

    BUT...for me...it's been Breaking Bad. I tried. I did. I tried for a season and a half, and the characters were so unlikable that I gave up, even though the acting was great. I'm back in it now, with my boyfriend taking me through each season (we're close to the end of season 3 right now), and it's definitely better after season 2, but I still maintain that none of them are all that likable. I dearly love the acting, despite not liking the characters.

    I also haven't watched Orphan Black yet. Or The Wire...

  • kirbyjay

    I felt that way about the Sopranos. Great writing, great acting, but I hated every damn one of them, including the kids. Hard to watch when you can't root for someone. Stayed with it though but it wasn't a "must see" for me, more like a " have to watch".

  • basse buus

    I could never figure out witch episode I stopped at, and kept rewatching episodes. They all look exactly the same!

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Guy I'm dating wants to watch Breaking Bad. But thought I was moving at too slow a pace (i.e. did not want to watch every time we got together.) Now he's trying to start me on True Detective, as it's more manageable in length.

  • emmalita

    Up until the last 8 episodes, I would watch about 3 episodes and then take a long break. I found the increasingly poor decisions of Walter White compelling but soul shriveling. It's worth watching, but take all the breaks you need.

  • True Detective is a masterstroke in acting, but it has problems, mostly with in the female characters. I didn't love the finale or what they did with female characters, but I did really love a lot of the rest of it. The performances are phenomenal.

    Breaking Bad does move slowly, but that never bothered me - I'm a massive Mad Men fan, so I love a good slow burn. And, while the argument can be made that the characters on Mad Men are also not great people, that has never bothered me the way it has for Breaking Bad. If you can get through the end of season 2 of BB, it does get better. I'm still holding out my final assessment of it as a whole until we get through the end.

  • Nylee

    I just started season four of Cheers. I was too young when it originally aired to watch it, so I figured better late than never. I do see the appeal and I understand why it's considered a classic, but I find myself being surprised at times at how nasty and mean the characters are to each other. I guess I had a preconceived notion about the show and how they did sitcoms "back in the day". I'll finish it, because once I start I have to, but if it's this bad between Sam and Diane, I'm not really looking forward to the introduction of Rebecca.

  • 95 Sports Guy

    Carla was always mean. That was the point, I think it was because she had so many men die on her, she didn't want to let people in. And Cliff was always included, even though he was a big blowhard and could be seen as not very likable.

    When you get to Rebecca, the us vs. them mentality was palpable because Sam wanted the bar back. I mean, look at the basic character set of Cheers:

    1) Alcoholic ex-baseball player (in a time before salaries were huge) who was running a bar.
    2) Ex-ball player's father figure dies
    3) Pretentious know-it-all who has to "settle" for a job waiting tables.

    4) Consistently unemployed obese man with a huge bar tab.
    5) Friendless postal worker who is only accepted by #4
    6) Good-hearted hayseed with a penchant for songwriting and kale.
    7) Waitress #2 who has too many kids and dead husband
    8) Money-hungry corporate climber who isn't as smart as she thinks she is.
    9) Paul

  • Joey.blowey

    Rebecca breathes very needed new life into the show. She holds her own and make a perfect foil for Sam
    Also the finale (especially the final scene) is worth it.

  • Joey.blowey

    1- The Wire
    2- The Sheid

    I keep hearing how good these are but just can't get around to watching them

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I was just yesterday talking about The Shield and how good it was. I need to binge watch it again.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    The Shield has one of the best endings of any TV show ever. The rest is not to be sneezed at, either.

  • Peezy

    I put off The Wire for years and years and when I finally watched it, I wanted to strangle my past-self for waiting so long. It's one of those rare shows where it deserves every bit of praise it gets. When people say it's one of the best TV series ever, it's not an exaggeration or an overstatement. It really, truly is.

  • Joey.blowey

    Fair enough. I'll add it to my queue

  • A friend and I are watching two episodes of The Wire per week (except when we got to the end of season 1 and watched 3 episodes to finish out the season and not have it bleed into season 2). It's the only way we were finally able to get around to watching it. We consider it to be doing our pop culture homework except better because The Wire really is great. She had an unexpected move that caused us to take almost a month off but we're back to watching and are half done with season 2.

  • 95 Sports Guy

    Shows I was never into but should have been:

    1) Breaking Bad
    2) Entourage
    3) 30 Rock
    4) Mad Men
    5) Eastbound and Down
    6) Justified
    7) Lost
    8) Friday Night Lights

    Why I never got into those shows, I have no idea. I watched some of Breaking Bad and kinda got into it but the rest of those shows (especially given I have a sports and entertainment background) never appealed to me.

    I think the FNL issue comes from the fact that I played football with someone who broke their neck on the field. Fortunately he wasn't paralyzed (by the grace of God) but what happened to him led to me quitting football. I love the game, but not enough to have a fear like that hanging over my head.

  • Debra Kessing

    I have never watched, nor wanted to watch, your entire list with the big exception of Justified. I watched 4 seasons in 4 days and loved every minute. The rest -- meh.

  • logan

    Eastbound and Down is just crudity IMO.

  • 95 Sports Guy

    Fair enough. It seems when it comes to HBO shows they are either amazing top-notch fare or toilet water.

  • MadKat

    I just started Boardwalk Empire last night. Have always wanted to sit down and watch it, and I'm already enthralled. A mad crush on jerkass Michael Pitt doesn't hurt, either.

  • Sammers

    I just started watching Boardwalk the other week, and binged the first 3 seasons in 4 days, I loved it that much. I wouldn't recommend watching it like that though, makes the brain go a bit twisty.

  • amylu

    I always watched and was enthralled by Boardwalk, but it lost me before the halfway point of last season. So I quit watching. :( I'm not sure if I'll watch the final season or not...

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