My 12 Favourite TV Shows Of 2013

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So, these are my favourite shows of 2013. I’m not really going to call them the “best shows of 2013,” because that’s subjective and my mind is always changing, but these are the ones I enjoyed the most. And, yeah, don’t put too much stock in how I ranked them, because I have no clue, I like them all, and my opinion of them is always shifting and jockeying. In fact, I just thought of a new order to put them in…..

1. Enlightened

A simply beautiful show that masterfully handles comedy and drama better than either full-fledged dramas or comedies can. Elements of short stories and a long form narrative give the show everything it needs to be successful on a plot level. Laura Dern, Mike White, and Luke Wilson among others are perfect in their roles and inhibit areas of sadness that make their characters feel so, so real. I’m crushed it won’t get a third season, but I’m happy with what we got.

2. Breaking Bad

Not as high on it as a lot of people, but I still greatly enjoyed the ride. That’s the keyword, “ride.” I don’t think the show is particularly all that great, or even close to the best show of all time, but it was damn fun, suspenseful and entertaining that actually got me counting down until the next episode aired.

3. The Americans

The best new show of the year, a spy drama in the 80s. Faced under Cold War pre-texts a married Russian spy couple goes undercover in the States. Not only is it a action drama in that sense, but it also gets great depth out of it’s portrayal of a forced together and crumbling marriage and how to deal with these emotions in the face of geo-politics.

4. Orange Is The New Black

Even better than I anticipated after all of the hype. Mainly focalized in a women’s prison, it allowed the show to work through a formed structure and keep the action clicking along under one roof. Very funny and dark, and mixes these two elements perfectly.

5. The Good Wife

Has always been good, but season five has pushed things to a new level. After Alicia and co. have moved on from Lockhart/Gardner they face all sorts of new problems dealing with their own firm, and the fall out from where the once came. The best show on network TV, a procedural, but bucks all preconceived notions that come with that title, keeping it fresh every episode.

6. Hannibal

The most surprising show that not only turned out to be good, but was often great in spots. One of the few shows to have actual imagery that was frightening and rivaling most current horror movies. Hugh Dancy is utterly perfect as Will Graham, a frayed and conflicted Special Agent who gets unraveled to his last piece of yarn. Mads Mikkelsen is equally chilling as Hannibal, driving the suspense to a constant peak. I’m not sure what season two will bring, a lot of shit went down at the end of the first, but I’m just glad we’re getting some more of the show.

7. Justified

Consistently one of the best shows on TV. Olyphant continues to own the role, really like he was born to play it, and just oozes cool at every step. They always tell a compelling, intertwining and smart story with enough action and twists and turns to keep you guessing. The odd stand-alone episode only further cements how great this show is, and how in control of its motives it truly is.

8. Masters Of Sex

Was very unsure and luke-warm to the show at first, but progressively grew on me as the episodes wore on. As the sex studies experiments became more in-depth and real so did the relationships that it accidentally affected and changed for the better or worse. Michael Sheen is great as the withdrawn and calculated Masters, while Lizzy Caplan puts in excellent work as the driven assistant who becomes much more than that.

9. Mad Men

A down year of the show in my eyes, not that it wasn’t any good, but to the standards I hold this show (one of my favourites of all time), it wasn’t what I had hoped.

10. Game Of Thrones

I really like this show, but sometimes it becomes a slog for me becuase I really can’t stand fantasy. That being said, there were some fantastic episodes, of course “The Rains Of Castamere,” and there’s usually always some crazy shit going down or about to go down, with seemingly nobody safe.

11. Treme

I like this show a lot more than most, but I see why others don’t like it. Yeah, it comes off boring and not much plot propulsion, but it really is just about the characters, the city and the atmosphere of these intertwining people and the short stories trying to recover in their own way from disaster.

12. Homeland

Yeah, I was pretty disappointed with season three, and it turned me off of a lot of the show, but goddamn if I still like watching and see what ridiculous well they go to next. It’s an entirely different show from when it started out, and I never really know what they’re going to do next. That’s pretty much it, I look forward to watching the show still, and they continue to somehow keep roping me back in.

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65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

NPH 2013 Emmys

Alright, so the Emmys are tonight, and I’ve been pretty sparse on this here blog, which I’m trying to change, so let’s predict some Emmy winners! I’ll pick two, the one who I THINK is going to win, and the one who DESERVES to win.

Also, I should say that I’m uniformly pretty terrible at predicting awards show winners, and this year is especially tricky where I could see things going either way and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least with whoever wins. This is also a clever little fallback disclaimer that I can rely on when come Sunday night all my picks are wrong. Let’s do this.

Outstanding Drama Series:

This is a prime example where I could see it going multiple ways and not being surprised. Mad Men was a king crusher until Homeland came along and won last year. Mad Men’s as good as its ever been and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won. Homeland won last year for a terrific season of TV, but season 2 was pretty lackluster in spots and a definite step down, but, hey, sometimes the academy is dumb and just votes on name. Breaking Bad is what everybody’s obsessing over now, its never won one of these, but its got that acting category on lock. It’s good as well, and deserving, so, maybe. The new kid on the block, House Of Cards was pretty much tailored to win Emmys, and it’s alright, but not deserving, but again, it’s the type of show that the academy LOVES. Game Of Thrones was good too, but still a little too out of the Emmy wheelhouse to actually win. So, yeah, I’m gonna say House Of Cards wins, while I personally would give it to Mad Men to win. It could go so many ways, though.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series:

I’ll come right out and say that Kevin Spacey wins this, and I feel semi-pretty good in that. He’s got the name recognition, everybody loves him and he was pretty good. Most deserving? I’d say Damian Lewis, a lot was demanded out of him in season 2 of Homeland and how he was able to flip the script and shift into different modes and sides of Brody was some awe-inspiring work.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series:

Claire Danes deserves it and wins it on Sunday. No real competition here, she was fantastic yet again. Robin Wright was good, if never given much to do, and I guess Elisabeth Moss is the next threat, but, nah, Danes got this thing. If I had my way though, Connie Britton would win, because I love her more than most of my family members, and she’s awesome and everything positive should go her way. Connie 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:

I think Peter Dinklage wins this thing again, but Mandy Patinkin is the most deserving. Dinklage is great, and although not as good in this last season of GoT, I still think he gets it again. Patinkin is arguably the best part of Homeland and he’s just fantastic. Plus, that fedora and beard. The man knows old man chic.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:

I’m going to say Anna Gunn wins this, but I’m not really that confident in it. Nobody else really jumps out at me, even while I enjoy every single nominees work on their show. I don’t even know who’s most deserving, so, hey, Emmys, just make it a six-way tie. Emmys for everybody.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

We all know Louie should and deserves to win this thang, but that just ain’t gonna happen, because we live in a cruel and unjust world. So, say hello to The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family winning. Modern Family is not a good show, but it was slightly better this year. I’ve stopped watching The Big Bang Theory for awhile now, but people tell me it’s on kind of an uptick and doing good things, so it wins tomorrow. You guys can all wear your totally awesome BAZINGA! shirts in celebration. You know you want to.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:

Do you think Alec Baldwin is gonna win this thing for the 395th time? I don’t know, but I think there’s something in his contract that even now with 30 Rock off the air, he’ll continue to be nominated into eternity, a forever reminding cloud that makes you question your life just so, because what kind of world would it be if Alec Baldwin had to cease being nominated in this category. What kind of world I ask of you. Anyways, Jim Parsons wins, but Louis C.K. is most deserving.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:

Strong candidates abound and I love them all, except one. I’ll let you figure out which one that is. JLD ain’t gonna win this again, though I love her so. I don’t think they give it to Tina Fey even though it’s her swan song. No on Dunham and Falco. So, Amy Poehler wins and Laura Dern is so, so deserving of it. Writing this just reminded that Enlightened is gone, and I’m so sad now, guyz. You should watch it if you haven’t, it’s such a beautifully poignant, sad, funny and uplifting show. Please, someone give Mike White another show.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ty Burell wins this, and yeah, I think he deserves it. I absolutely loved Burell in the first seaon of MF, but just got tired of his schtick. I’ve come around, it is what it is, I love Ty Burell, he’s funny, so give him the Emmy.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:

Sadly, I think Sofia Vergara wins this. I can’t stand her because the show only derives two outlets of comedy from her, her nationality, and how hot she is (I’d argue against her perceived attractiveness, but, hey, that’s just me a sane straight male). Jane Krakowski deserves this to the world’s end, because she’s been my favourite thing about 30 Rock since it began. She is so great, I can’t even function how good she was on that show and never gets any recognition for it. Krakowski 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie:

I’ve only seen a couple of these, but knowing things I’d say Behind The Candelabra wins and deserves it.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Emmys just can’t wait to give Michael Douglas an Emmy. Wins and deserves.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Again, the Emmys love their old, distinguished and creditable thespians (am I using that word right?). Jessica Lange wins, and deserves because the only other one in the category I’ve seen was Laura Linney in The Big C, and no, just no.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

I’m gonna say the American Horror Story love doesn’t leave Lange, so Scott Bakula continues the “Candelabra” love. I don’t know, maybe the Emmys might really love Zachary Quinto. Who knows.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Man, I have no clue. I think Political Animals was bad, I don’t know, I didn’t watch it. So, lets say Ellen Burstyn wins because she’s an OG and just great and kinda looks like all of our grandmothers. Sarah Paulson was cool and had commitment for days in AHS, so maybe she pulls the rug out.

Outstanding Variety Series:

The Daily Show, are you even kidding with other nominees? It’s the don mega of variety series. Which is, like, the most broad category ever.

Outstanding Reality – Competition Program:

Where’s Big Brother? Hahaha, I’m a jokester, but seriously I don’t watch any of this. The Amazing Race had the crown for awhile, until Top Chef screwed it up a few years back. I don’t really care, but we’ll say Phil Keoghan and company retain the award. I haven’t watched it since, like, Reichen and Chip just totally Jordan/Pippen’ed the entire show.

Let’s keep going, because why not, I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series:

You’ve gotta be dreaming if you think David Fincher doesn’t win this. An A-list director directs one of the most anticipated and Emmy bait shows of the past year? Get outta here. I think my girl Michelle MacLaren deserves this, though.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series:

“New Year’s Eve” is such a beautiful piece of television that C.K.’s gotta win. I’d like to think that the academy has started to turn even more towards C.K. after last year, and less towards the perennials of Modern Family and Glee and such. They probably haven’t, but I’m gonna stick with C.K. winning.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special:

Steven Soderbergh is the boss and he wins this. Hahaha, you actually thought dude was retiring to paint?

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series:

Man, I don’t know. None of these have real unique directing styles except for Portlandia. Maybe, it wins because of this. But, lets just give it to The Daily Show because they haven’t won enough. I don’t know.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series:

I was going to say that one of those Breaking Bad episodes was gonna win, but I completely forgot about “Q&A,” because I’m an idiot, with it being a jaw agape hour of television written by the late and forever great Henry Bromell. He’s gotta win.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series:

Louie, Louie, Louieeeee. And Pamela Adlon. They’ve got this in the bag, with a decidedly weird and inventive episode.

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie, Or A Dramatic Special:

Behind The Candelabra, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series:

The Daily Show, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Choreography:

What? You think we’re not gonna talk about choreography? Of course we are. Some would argue that it is the most important category, and I cast myself as chief among them. Some would also say that I always forget how many goddamn Emmys categories there are, and I’m just reading these off the Wikipedia page. That could also be true. Good thing I also always forget that the Creative Arts Emmys are a thing, as well. Anyways, my girl cousins like that So You Think You Can Dance show, so one of its four nominees wins. Let’s say the “Sonya Tayeh” one wins, sounds like a cool enough name.

So, I hope this was all informative. No real need to watch the Emmys now I guess, sorry for the spoilers, but whatever, watch Breaking Bad instead or the sure to be cracking Dexter series finale. All the props to you if you read this far, but I think my own eyes glossed over this thing about halfway through. Happy Emmys watching, I’m gonna go watch some hockey.

My Top 15 Favourite TV Shows Of 2012

1. Mad Men

Probably the best season so far in my mind, with a handful of classics. The Pete-centric “Signal 30” is probably my favourite episode the show has ever delivered. What can I say, I’m a big Pete fan. “The Other Woman” was devastatingly beautiful and nicely shook up the Mad Men format. It works expertly as a downfall of a season for many people, but individually works as a collection of impeccable short stories

 2. Parenthood

No show makes me happier or enjoy watching more than Parenthood. It’s not flashy and gets absolutely zero hype, but I love well-made family dramas like this, and Jason Katims is the perfect architect. Season four’s “cancer” arch with Monica Potter is the best storyline the show has ever done. The back-half of season three seemed to have started this roll with the awesome detour episode of “Road Trip.”

3. Homeland

While not as great as the first season (see the article I wrote on it), I still immensely enjoyed myself through season two. A little disjointed and less tight as the first season, but the risks they took and being not afraid to majorly shake-up the show instilled again a sense that anything could happen. I’m wary of season three, but the audacity of Gordon and Gansa promises the show will continue to be entertaining and engaging.

4. Breaking Bad

Season four was the season that really made me love this show. I’d always liked it but season four finally put it on another plane for me. The show kept getting darker and Walter kept getting further and further buried under the weight of himself. The final scene of “Gliding Over All” delivers what we’ve all been waiting for, and looks to set-up a classic string of the eight remaining episodes. The train robbery of “Dead Freight” was one of the greatest sequences in both TV and movies I’ve seen in a long while.

 5. Louie

As I’ve wrote earlier, Louis CK is in a position on TV different than any other. This show is painfully Louis’ as he’s in control of pretty much everything, delivering beautiful pieces of work. “Miami”, “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)”, “Late Show (Part 3)” and “New Year’s Eve” were all perfect episodes for me and even months later I still remember the feelings I had watching these episodes. “New Year’s Eve” features one of the most beautiful endings and touching moments to end a season on that also included an insane sex-crazed Melissa Leo.

 6. Treme

I’ve been meaning to write longer about this show forever, and I will one day, especially that it has a final shortened season up ahead. Watching Treme is basically just soaking in the great New Orleans culture for an hour, as plot is always secondary to the feel and atmosphere of the show. We’ve known these characters for so long now that our emotional connections to them are at a peak, and when characters intertwine our history with them proves as a little treat.

 7. Luck

Luck had an unfortunate life span, one that should’ve continued into a second season were it not for some behind-the-scenes troubles. I don’t know that you could pick better collaborators than David Milch, Michael Mann and Dustin Hoffman, and somehow they didn’t disappoint. Milch and co. made all the seemingly boring horserace scenes incredibly cinematic and a counterbalance to the great drama outside of it. It’s incredibly regrettable that we’re not getting another season of it, but I’ll enjoy looking back on this great “mini-series.”

 8. Justified

Nothing could top Margo Martindale’s perfect performance as the villainous Mags from season two, but the tandem of Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson gave it a pretty good run. McDonough was especially notable as his character became more and more manic and weird as the season progressed. Goggins continues to outshine supporting actors all over TV and Olyphant makes Givens a supreme badass with a sarcastic wit. It  gets critical praise, but is still not recognized to the level of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones etc., but it constantly puts in great work with a fantastic setting and a unique setting not seen too much on TV.

 9. Archer

The funniest show on TV, and season three only solidified it. The jokes are so smart and layered that there’s many that I don’t even know what they’re referencing. H. Jon Benjamin remains one of the best voice actor today (along with his equally great work on Bob’s Burgers), complimented by some nice guest voices by Burt Reynolds and Bryan Cranston. Few things illustrate the hilarity and off-the-wall nature of Archer than the great two-part finale “Space Race.”

10. Game Of Thrones 

Not being familiar with the book, the first season of Game Of Thrones was completely overwhelming for me. It was good, but it was hard to keep track of all the characters, storylines, locations and the extent of their relationships. Season two put me on better footing though, knowing all the characters and how they knew each other which greatly skyrocketed my enjoyment for the season. These fantasy types of shows aren’t usually my thing, but much of the politics and posturing is reminiscent from HBO golden age shows, just with a different backing.

11. Veep

Like Archer, just incredibly smart and hilarious jokes. From the brilliant minds of The Thick Of It, it mixes the political satire of that show with the awkwardness and situational humour of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is perfect in the lead role, providing a great mix of bitchiness obliviousness. Watch the great third episode “Catherine” to see the show firing on all cylinders.

 12. New Girl

When this show started I never thought it would reach any type of list like this for me. The backhalf of season one really kickstarted the roll its on and showcased the different show it had become. Moving slightly away from so much of a focus on Zooey Deschanel and making it more of an ensemble show did wonders for it. Not to mention my favourite comedic performance by anybody on TV currently, Jake Johnson. Just watch Jake Johnson reel off a bunch bunch of rapid-fire lines in succession, and you’ll see why he deserves the honour.

 13. The Middle

Consistently the funniest show on ABC’s Wednesday block of comedy’s. Supremely more funny and consistent than Modern Family and never goes off the deep end with its tones like Suburgatory often does. Very plain and not flashy, but solid jokes and nice to see a “poor” situation being portrayed on television. *cough* Modern Family *cough*

 14. Boardwalk Empire

A lot of characters and storylines to wade through, but after the kickstart of the end of season two, season three continued to deliver solid TV. Will never reach the quality heights of a Mad Men or Breaking Bad but consistently delivers good episodes with the penchant for great ones every so often.

 15. Happy Endings

Again, another hilarious show with smart and inventive jokes. Maybe the best laugh-a-minute show outside of Archer. The jokes you see here are supremely unique, and you’d be hard pressed to find them treading over common ground. Elisha Cuthbert is the MVP, makes the “dumb blonde” trope feel fresh.

 

Why Even Good TV Can Be Hard To Get Through

As great as a lot of TV is nowadays, it can be awfully hard to slog through an episode of a show that you realize is technically good, but is just a boring viewing experience. This past season of Game Of Thrones really got me thinking about this idea, where a show can be doing everything right, yet I find myself disengaged and lost due to a number of reasons. The first season of  Game Of Thrones was good, I followed it all the way through and enjoyed it, yet always found myself struggling to fully comprehend storylines, which character was which and how the alliances all shaped up. Coming at a disadvantage not having read the books, I was really out in the wind in trying to fully comprehend everything. While I progressed through the season I realized that the show was technically good and executed well, but it was hard for me to fully give myself into it as I was constantly playing catch-up by trying to keep the dozens of characters, relationships and storylines in order. Finally parsing through it all when season 2 came around, I was a seasoned Game Of Thrones viewer who knew all the characters, how they related and where every location was situated on the map. A characters’ name would be mentioned, and I could immediately put a face to the name. Having understood the majority of the minutiae of Game Of Thrones, I could now follow along in both aspects of respecting it as a proficient series and also as one that legitimately engaged me and made me look forward to it every week. Season 2 was a rewarding experience because of the the groundwork that season 1 developed in allowing me to be introduced to the world. As in season 1 I was not always enjoying parts as I was trying to understand it all, with season 2 I was more able to enjoy the by being confident in my knowledge of the happenings in the show. Season 1 would probably play better for me now, but my experience with it drove this idea of good TV that is awfully hard to get through and comprehend, even while recognizing its competence.

There are several shows like this that I realize are good, but it’s quite the ordeal to actually make it through an episode, because it’s boring, bogged down in necessities of the period and wading through specific rules intrinsic to the show. I’m not sure if it’s just me or evidence to my “theory”, but a lot of these good shows that are hard to get through tend to be period pieces. Shows like Boardwalk Empire, The Tudors, The Borgias, and hell, even the beginning of Deadwood to an extent. I’ll take Boardwalk Empire as an example, though it can be applied to most shows that fall into its range. I like (not love) “Boardwalk” and think it’s a pretty decent show, especially after some interesting steps taken in the latter part of season 2. I don’t particularly enjoy watching it though, and never look forward to watching it on sunday night (when it was airing). It’s always like an hour-long black hole on sunday nights that I know I’ll have to suffer through. These shows seem good in retrospect where it’s hell getting through, but once you’re on the other side you appreciate some of its finer points (mostly because you’re done slogging through it). That’s where I find it hard to gauge my interest in these shows, I like Boardwalk Empire, I like The Borgias, but god if it isn’t hard to get through an episode.

I have a few ideas to why these types of shows are hard to get through, though I’m reticent to single them out to only period pieces, yet those are all the examples that pop up in my mind right now. Firstly, coming from our 21st century viewpoint it can be hard to overcome the hurdles of watching life in the 1920s, 1490s or 1870 because of how different it is. We have to learn a new set of rules when viewing a show set in a different time period, as customs and society operate much differently than we are used to in our current mind frame. These customs when integrated in the story and off of characters can be hard to comprehend when we have no clue what’s happening due to the alien subject matter. Secondly, these types of shows tend to be very wordy where long conversations occur between characters that can be so ingrained in the time that the slang can be difficult to understand and hard to follow the motivations. These types of shows are usually always dramas as well where every word needs to be hung on as it could be relevant to a plot point. Attention to detail and your full focus is required to follow these shows, and it can be tough to always be “on” and following everything that is going on. It’s not a secret why two of the most popular shows are, Two And A Half Men and NCIS where critical thinking and following every utmost detail is not important, and where you can just dip in and out of an episode or within a season and not be lost. Most of this “good” TV requires you to be caught up on all the story and remember it all. While this can be rewarding if it is as well executed as Breaking Bad or Mad Men, it can also be frustrating and cheap following all the required details that go inside the spiraling disappointment of something like the The Killing. Lastly, this type of TV usually operates inside a relatively specific formula of episodes, where they have the same beats, archs and goals that they cyclically accomplish. Once they find their niche, most are simply fine to work within it which creates fine TV, but nothing great to the levels of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, who constantly flip the script. Once a system is in place these shows can coast off this previously put upon idea and just create dozens of episodes in the same vein, that are fine, but nothing spectacular. This system eventually runs out though into tedium, and the spinning of its wheels (doing the same thing over again, not moving into a forward direction) with shows like 30 Rock and Dexter which should have been over long ago, but were once good in terms of 30 Rock and semi-decent in terms of Dexter.

I think comedy shows are mainly an outlier to this theory and have a stronger line between you liking them or not. Basically you’re much more likely to keep watching a drama that is hard to get through than a comedy. I don’t think comedies have this sheen like some dramas do where they are good but hard to get through. Comedies can’t hide behind much, other than if they’re funny, where the plot usually takes a backseat. So if something isn’t funny, you’re not likely to keep on watching it as it is very cut and dry, while dramas receive more leeway as the things they are trying to accomplish are stretched out and paid off over multiple episodes as stuff builds, where comedies are more here and now, either you like it or you don’t. There are probably are some shows that are “good TV that is hard to get through”, but through a slight twist. Instead of “hard to get through”, you may think it’s good TV that you recognize, but maybe not jiving with your sense of humour. I’m like this with 30 Rock where I realize a lot of it is good and funny, but I’m not the biggest fan of wacky and meta comedy with all the constant guest stars, so it turns me off sometimes and creates a disengagement.

There’s also a flip side, which makes my previous argument null and void though, Mad Men, the greatest show on TV right now. It’s a period piece, it’s slow, lots of talking and concentration on the inner-doings of the 1960s, yet I love it and it’s my favourite show. It is obviously executed on a higher level than current Showtime or HBO “period” pieces, but it still maintains many of the overarching similarities to these shows that should make it more similar, like setting, social differences, little action attention to detail and drawn out conversations and archs. Mad Men though is kind of uniformly modern in it’s 1960s that displays a sheen reflection of our current society and operates like a connection of short stories, that build up to something big that serves both drop-in and consistent viewers relatively equally. I think there’s a confidence and flexibility in Mad Men that puts it on a higher pedestal than these other shows and puts it in a league of its own, where, hey, it’s good TV that I look forward to AND it’s easy to watch. As mentioned above, Mad Men breaks a lot of the normal sense of formula and you never know what kind of episode to expect week to week. It’s an always changing and morphing show that ironically from its outset is never static and always moving, even it it looks like it’s slow and boring. Another show that would seem to fall in line with Boardwalk Empire and The Tudors in being hard to get through is Rome, yet I was addicted from the first episode and found it to be surprisingly easy to get through, when coming in I thought I was going to be bogged down in period specific banter that would put me at a lost. Basically, I’m saying that I’ve disproved my theory in regards to period pieces, so article this is now null and void…

When devising this article I wanted to write about shows which I liked, but don’t particularly enjoy watching, which I hopefully did. What I didn’t expect was that they would mostly all be “period” pieces, and that the bulk of this post would be related to these shows. Now, I’m not saying only “period” shows can be good yet hard to watch, but for some reason that occurs for me. I guess these shows are hard to get through for me (as evidenced above), but I’m sure there is some more “modern” shows like this for me as well. Maybe this is an ongoing idea and endeavour, but it certainly fascinates me, especially due to the amount of TV I watch, how I really do like certain shows, but man is it hard to get through their episodes sometimes. The nail on the head to this article, maybe, is that I would actually much rather perfer/be able to get through an episode of 90210 (the reboot, which is actually kind of decent in a weird way, but that’s an article for some time in the future) than an episode of Boardwalk Empire, or a universally thought of “good show”. If you put a disc of each in front of me and allowed me to choose based on my own enjoyment, I’d be watching Naomi Clarke and company gab and gossip before you could even finish the question.

I think when it all comes down to it though, we all have these shows, different to all, that you realize are good, but just can’t understand or find it hard to get through, for a variety of reasons, probably different than mine. Maybe mine just happen to be “period pieces”, where yours might be “teen dramas”, “political dramas”, or a certain type of comedy. I don’t think we really have a problem or anything per say, but I think these types of shows encourage us to be better viewers, where we have to work to more fully understand and appreciate a show, and which hopefully will be all the more rewarding for you in the end.