Series Talk

N and I finished the last available episodes of Blacklist and started casting about for a new series to watch. We tried Schitt’s Creek but the first twenty minutes made it clear it’s not our thing.

We need something like Blacklist and Better Call Saul – dark, tortured, heavily reliant on acting. Not fantasy, not sci-fi, not vampires.

Blacklist and Better Call Saul are the favorite series of my whole life. And I watch a lot of series.

The ones N loved and I tolerated for his sake were Breaking Bad, Casa de papel, and Making a Murderer. And Бандитский Петербург, which I watched – and this is no lie – 4 times start to finish because N was obsessed with it. He also likes The Ozarks but I feel meh about it.

14 thoughts on “Series Talk”

  1. Try some of the British detective shows on Netflix. They are excellent, darker and with better characterization than their US counterparts, and generally feature superb acting. I recommend starting with Broadchurch. Some other good ones are Wire in the Blood, Luther, Grantchester, and Endeavor (not sure all are on Netflix; I think Endeavor might be on Amazon Prime).

    The following ones I haven’t seen but hubs loves them and since he also loves Better Call Saul, you might like them too: Hinterland, Marcella (both on Netflix), and Call the Midwife (British, not a cop show, but excellent acting).

    Good luck!

    Btw, I watch a lot of comedy and I still think Schitt’s Creek only starts to become bearable (even compelling) in season 3. I only stuck with it because people promised me a big payoff, which did eventually come, but had I not known that, I would’ve dropped the show after the first episode.

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    1. We did like Marcella. It was weird but I like weird.

      Thank you, great recommendations!

      Schitt’s Creek is a comedy then? They should put a warning on it or something. I have no sense of humor, so I need to be told. “Attention! A joke is coming!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you liked Marcela, I guess you would enjoy River. I really liked it but I’m biased because Stellan Skarsgard is one of my favorite actors of all times. For light and cute British show I’d recommend “Last Tango in Halifax”.

        I saw 2 episodes of Schitt’s Creek and I want that hour back. I really don’t understand how people like this show. For a good comedy I’d recommend Fleabag on Prime.

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  2. The only ones I know that would fit the bill are more sci-fi oriented, unfortunately. Orphan Black is less heavy with the science fiction than Dollhouse, though. Both of them operate very heavily on the “if it can go wrong it usually does go wrong” principle.

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  3. series recommendations (not sure on official availability of some of these in the US….)

    Drama:
    Aranyelet (golden life) A small time gangster/grifter in Budapest wants to go legit but circumstances (and his dysfunctional family) make it difficult. I’ve only seen the first season but it was great.

    Pustina (wasteland) A murder mystery set in Northwest Czech republic where strip mining is destroying the landscape. The crime and the solution are both heartbreaking… really.

    Vzteklina (rabid?) Another Czech murder mystery, more by the book but still interesting (I was suspicious of the guilty party right away but still pretty good).

    El robo del siglo (the great heist? awful translation) Based on a real case in Colombia (though most of the people/circumstances are invented for the show). My takeaway was that it was a glimpse of the tremendous potential of Latin America and how it’s sabotaged not only by corruption and crime but by plain everyday fecklessness… during and after the robbery you want to scream in the characters’ faces about how stupid and irresponsible they’re being…

    Craith (hidden) A police procedural from Wales (and much of the dialogue is in Welsh) about a serial abductor.

    Grenseland (Borderliner) Norwegian crime show. The protagonist, a police detective, commits a small irregularity to protect his family and the complications just build and build… it looks like it was supposed to be more than one season but I can’t find another on imdb)

    Il Processo (the trial) Italian police procedural mystery. Great acting and surreal court scenes (and obvious references to socio-politico-cultural tensions in Italy that I don’t completely pick up on) I’m hoping there will be a second season.

    White house murders Based on a real case in the UK. Harrowing

    Deadwater Fell Scottish murder mystery/procedural…. very dark. the solution is obvious but still compelling.

    Comedy:
    Ted Lasso: An American college football coach becomes a soccer coach in England somehow and despite all odds is a success… in a way. The title sequence gives the theme away. Ted, just by being himself, changes the environment he’s in, almost entirely for the better. The secondary romance between a player and a wag (a british thing) is really nice (as is the female bonding between the wag and the club’s bitter divorcee owner). I had very low expectations going into this one but was very pleasantly surprised.

    Casi Feliz (almost happy). Argentine dry comedy…. since when do Latin Americans do dry comedy? The main character is a minor celebrity (has a radio call in show) who’s Jewish and divorced. The first episode is… not good but the quality greatly improves by the second. Lots of voseo….

    Dubbing Street A Czech dubbing studio struggles (around the year 2000) after its owner-director dies on the job.

    Toon A Dutch show about a jingle writer who unwittingly becomes the star of a viral video and a celebrity in his own right against his better judgement

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  4. If you liked Blacklist, then some obvious choices would be Homeland and Person of Interest.
    For Homeland, you may skip a couple of middle seasons, because eventually the enemy being various jihadist factions becomes somewhat boring… And then they switch to interesting stuff, including the Russians (whom they allow to talk a lot, voicing typical post-imperialist grievances), US-internal conspiracies and even Israel.
    If ridiculous plot and main character being a supermodel are not too offensive, you may try Quantico.

    From foreign series, you may try Okkupert (Norwegian) and 1983 (Polish).
    Not exactly a series, but a set of three movies – Baztan trilogy (Spanish).

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  5. I would also recommend Wisting (nordic noir) and Spiral (it is Engranages in its original French version). Also nordic noir is The Wall, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. More French noir: The Break.
    Oh, and a fantastic spy series, also French: The Bureau.

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    1. ” More French noir: The Break.”

      I was going to recommend The Break too! (except that it’s Belgian if you’re referring to La Trêve).

      Wisting was okay but all the Americans in half of it kind of grated…

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      1. In Wisting I found interesting how very differently the local police vs the FBI operated, and how they struggled to work together having such different methods and red-tape. I agree the nordic actors kill it, especially the lead (no pun intended) vs the Americans. But I also think the Americans were given less complex roles to play.
        Oh, didn’t know The Break was Belgian!! Good to know.

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  6. I found the Blacklist a bit overwrought. I preferred the Mentalist. It was funnier and didn’t take itself as seriously.

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    1. Mentalist definitely sounds like our sort of thing. And I agree that Blacklist is very pompous. And extremely woke, which is annoying. But James Spader knows how to act, which is the show’s one saving grace. I watch it for his acting.

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