My Pseudo-Obsession with TV Shows

It's only a pseudo-obsession because I don't have the time to indulge the way I'd like.

My most recent love affair is with Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix. Man, is that show good! I finally finished the first season last night, and I feel like I could start it from the beginning again right now. IMO, the overall quality is on par with Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. I'll refrain from any details because it's still relatively new and I'm sure there are many who haven't finished it yet. But trust me. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

And then there's the aforementioned Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. We all know they're great, and I don't really want to talk about things everyone already knows. Why would anyone want to read that?!

No, instead I'd rather talk about shows you probably haven't seen, maybe haven't heard of, or are on the fence about whether they're worth your precious TV time.

12 Monkeys. Let me start by saying my default position is time travel stuff sucks. Every sci-fi show has a time travel episode, and it's always my least favorite episode of the series. So you'd think a show that's entire premise is time travel would be terrible, right?

Wrong. 12 Monkeys is very clever, has surprisingly good characters, and the most number of tense near death scenes of any show I've ever seen. I don't know how many times they made me seriously think Cole was gonna die in those 13 episodes, but it was a LOT and every time I was surprised he pulled it out. And I was absolutely heartbroken at some of the characters who didn't, or had a radical change in development. Check out 12 Monkeys. It's surprisingly good.

Falling Skies. Produced by Steven Spielberg. Basically: aliens invade, slaughter the vast majority of humanity, small pockets of people scramble to survive, while others fight an insurgent war against their would-be conquerors. Sounds fantastic, right? Well....not exactly. Don't get me wrong, Falling Skies IS NOT bad, I definitely think it's worth watching. But it does have a problem that I don't think it's gonna be able to overcome in it's upcoming 5th and final season.

Falling Skies spun out of that time right when all the networks realized Walking Dead had revolutionized what an original series on a cable network could do. So TNT threw tons of money and ambition into getting this show off the ground before taking the time to really develop a clear direction and endgame. As much as I love the concept, sets, and characters, it's always failed to click for me like, say, Game of Thrones does, because every new season feels like it kinda forgot what it was doing last season. I don't think they ever figured out what they wanted to have happen at the end, so they just kinda wing it every year, but they've never failed to deliver a fun ride that I'm sure to relive before the next season begins. And this next one is the last one. I'm looking forward to the ride, but I really hope they finished laying the track before we reach our final destination.

Dominion. Based on the movie Legion. Which was WAY more forgettable than the TV show it spawned. 25 years after all but a few of the angels (as in: God's angels) slaughtered humanity out of jealousy, the surviving humans are forced to live within what amount to walled city-states. These different city-states come complete with their own ruling class, soldier class, and worker class. Holding up what's left of civilization against the hordes of '28 Days Later-level-aggression' lesser angels roaming the wastelands. There's one "good" higher angel guiding the humans living in Vega (pretty sure it's what's left of Las Vegas), political intrigue, betrayal, a Chosen One, sex, death, a crazy cult, and heartache. There are only 9 episodes in the first season, but they manage to pack a LOT of great stuff into them. Definitely worth your time to watch before season 2 premiers later this year.

Defiance. The show that also has a free-to-play MMO on PS3, 360, and PC. To greater or lesser degrees, the actions in the game have an effect on what happens on TV, and vice versa. Another show that has problems similar to Falling Skies', but very enjoyable nonetheless. Another alien invasion, but this time the story takes place like 20 or 30 years after the attack. There are now 7 alien races living side by side with the remaining humans, on a decimated Earth, in an environment not terribly different from a steam punk wild west sci-fantasy land. Edgy. Characters die. Betrayal, love triangles, action, very memorable characters.

In talking about the show with a friend of mine, I kinda came to the conclusion that Defiance doesn't really have, or need, a clear direction or endgame. It feels more like a character drama in a really fantastic setting. Maybe that's part of it's charm? I don't know. But I do know I'll be watching it's 3rd season as it goes back to back with Dominion's 2nd season this summer.

The 100. Like....100 years after humanity renders the Earth uninhabitable after a massive nuclear war, the survivors on the Ark (a space station housing all that remains of humanity) realize their supplies are dwindling, and they need to purge some of the undesirables in their prisons (which, turns out, are super easy to get thrown into). Not knowing whether the radiation has dissipated from the surface, the prisoners (also known as their children) are sent to the Earth like exiled guinea pigs. Turns out the atmosphere is safe! And also that Earth isn't as uninhabitable as they thought..

It took me a while to get into The 100. I found I really didn't care about any of the characters until about halfway through the 1st season, but it kinda grew on me by then. Cool concept, great setting, creepy irradiated beasts, and an interesting 3-way conflict develops. And they're really not afraid to kill seemingly plot-centric characters. Season 2 ran it's finale a couple months ago, but season 3 has already been confirmed. Now is a good time to catch up on Netflix. If you can make it past the first 6 episodes or so, you'll be hooked. Not a bad show.

Hell on Wheels. Comes on AMC, so you know it's done right. Wild west action at it's finest. The story of a former Confederate soldier working on the railroad's drive to the West. Seeking revenge against his wife's murderers, drinking whiskey, killing hostile Indians, and sometimes his friends. Cullen Bohanan  is a bad dude. And the people around him are awesome, too. This one is also entering it's 5th and final season. Not a bad run, really. I think this one is on Netflix, too, and DEFINITELY worth your time.

Well, l'm gonna call it a list here. I've droned on for way too long already. There's a few shows I didn't mention, like Vikings or Helix, but I think I touched on a half dozen or so that I really like and always have to trade sleep for time to watch them.

Do you agree? Think my list is missing something? Care whether I do this again with a list of older shows worth watching?