TV Show Recommendations For 2016
What a time to be alive!
Everywhere you look around you there is a paradigm shift. Remember Finding Nemo? Our attention span is like Dory, and our greed and consumption of anything new is like the ‘Mine!’ screaming pelicans.
While almost every industry/concept surrounded by a business model has only improved and grown, I find (for obvious reasons) the rise of TV/Internet series astoundingly fascinating.
Like every other industry, consumerism has created a whole new universe for TV/internet series to compete and grow in. Story lines are more gripping, budgets are larger, characterisation is more vivid, stars are bigger and there a lot and I really mean A LOT of more variety that strive for TV titles than ever before – as a result we could have a lot to look forward to.
TV shows are able to provide what movies can’t: regular entertainment that is quite literally addictive in form. Look back at your Game of Thrones or Gossip Girl marathon to understand what I mean by addictive. Unlike movies, the fact that it’s little pieces of entertainment that have you glued exactly for those 40 minutes, keep you a lot more engaged, even with the Dory-like attention that gets you creeping on Facebook and Instagrambetween episodes.
While TV shows like Gossip Girl and 90210 (Rather Nate and Liam) will always have our hearts, it’s true that our minds are getting a little wiser and not exactly nicer. Thrillers and drama, gripping with dark noir backgrounds, and flawless execution of twisted characters seem to be making repeated appearances and are being downright loved. It’s smarter and more intriguing entertainment that appeals to our darker sides, and I’m not one to complain!
Dramas and sci-fi thrillers with plots, cinematography, sets and performances that match up or even outdo movies has me a lot more hooked on than just 2 hour movie screen time, or the regular drama variety.
While I’m sure you’re up to date on shows like Game of Thrones, How To Get Away With Murder and Suits, here are my recommendations of 5 rather off-the-grid TV shows that are a must watch, giving you just the right amounts of thrills, action and drama.
So, Netflix and chill anyone?
The Man in the High Castle
A geo-political spy thriller, a far-flung love story and sci-fi conspiracy. Life under occupation with an alternate look at history if the Allies had lost World War II and Japan and Germany took over the U.S.
By executive producer Ridley Scott, The Man in the High Castle is unlike anything else on TV, built on ideals of magic realism and an immediately engrossing plot driven by a powerfully accented cinematographic style in a fully realised post-WWII dystopia. The feel and look of a parallel bygone era is immaculately achieved by flawless execution and beautiful shots. Characterisation is well supported by strong performances to match the high stakes that each of the characters face, thus proving to be pivotal to the central plot. Take all those history lessons on an unnerving twisted tale, and give this one a go, you will not be disappointed!
Based on a Franco-Italian movie, an ex-assassin having escaped from the secret government unit known only as The Division, returns from hiding to seek revenge and expose the covert agency.
Maggie Q’s portrayal of Nikita factors in all the va-va-voom needed and more. Her convincingly real emotions surfaced with her flashback love story, and her badass, violent mastery of action and martial arts shows that she’s more than just the red bikini babe (Props to a kickass female protagonist!). As do all the supporting casts with their own set of quirks, developing on the plot and interest to show you it’s more than just a boom boomkapow kind of show. When it comes to espionage stories or action-adventure in general, originality isn’t as crucial as is good execution, so I find it immature to compare it to the original series/movie, as in the case of this zooming fast paced, and unique characterised version it’s definitely worth a watch.
An origin story with a twist; this takes place at a time before Batman existed, where a more human than symbolic hero rookie detective Jim Gordon sets out to clean up the GCPD of corruption and the gruesome outlaws that begin to arise and terrorise the city of Gotham (most of Batman’s arch enemies). Meanwhile, a young Bruce Wayne looks into the murder of his parents, and darker secrets of the Wayne empire that he unknowingly inherited.
Any Batman fan knows that Gotham is not just a city and the Batman villains and supporting characters are as crucial and loved as the central character himself – which is exactly what makes the show so exciting! The show’s gritty screenplay and brilliant directional focus truly does justice to the character development. The deco-noir sets, costume design, and sweeping city shots are top-notch as is the cinematography that just add and recreate the vivid personality and identity of the city of Gotham.
This dark fantastical tale can definitely live up to the expectations of Batman loyalists as well as invoke real anticipation for those not familiar with the DC world.
Rami Malek plays a cyber security engineer by day and a vigilante hacker by night, Elliot. Recruited by an underground group of hackers to join their organisation to bring down corporate America, including the company he is paid to protect, presents him with a moral dilemma. Elliot’s complexity of an anti-social and mentally disturbed morphine addict, takes viewers into strange new territory, where the viewer becomes Elliot’s imaginary companion. An endlessly fascinating premise to this eerie thriller, you’re always on the edge of your seat suspecting what is the reality. Furthered by elements and production quality that show how raw and deep it cuts into the world we live in, it creates the perfect amount of startle and intrigue for viewers that the cinematographers and writers of this fantastic show have aimed to create. Sam Esmail’s incredible attention to detail and realism makes this a brilliantly dark and thrilling take on a very really cyber world that we live in!
Devious Maids (The Guilty Pleasure)
So while the other 4 can get a little too serious and a little too dark, here’s a little guilty pleasure that still has you in splits but on the edge of your seat. 4 (hot and yet well-characterised) Latin maids working in the rich and elite homes of Beverly Hills with a murderer on the loose and everyone as a suspect, is your perfect wine night in!
The writing is clever and witty, and the characters are quite distinctive and lovable, each of their stories are interesting and don’t seem dragged in most senses, plus it’s refreshing with its storyline and comic relief compared to the usual socialite vs. socialite soap drama that is so overdone.