Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2014 Contents 11
Issue 152• Friday, August 8, 2014
Television was the most effective piece
of technology in the 20th century.
It kept kids inside and stopped them from
committing crimes way before the internet
was invented. Sure it rotted your kids' brains
but it stopped them from loitering right? This
list is dedicated to the hidden gems on televi-
sion, the shows you need to watch and can
watch over the summer. Of course with a list
like this it's understood that shows like:
House of Cards, Games of Thrones, Orange
is the New Black and Breaking Bad are
more or less must watch shows because
everyone's been talking about them, so their
inclusion isn't altogether necessary.
10. The Americans.
What's It About?
The Americans is a fascinating FX title
that revolves around a pair of KGB agents
posing as an American couple in the suburbs
of Washington DC in the 1980s. The show
handles its spy premise with a level of matu-
rity that similar spy dramas like Covert Af-
fairs and Burn Notice lack. It's a much heavier
show with its focus not necessarily on the
cool and engaging fantasy elements that
made spy fiction what it is today but the
more realistic, tense world of espionage.
Why Should You Watch It?
What makes the show engaging are the
choices made by the creators to distinguish
from other spy shows. We get a period
drama as opposed to setting it in modern
day, an engaging female lead as opposed to
her playing a more conventional femme fa-
tale sort of role and of course that the lead
characters are in a sense, and by modern cin-
ematic standards and portrayals by the
media-the bad guys. The show definitely
raises a sort of moral compass, presenting us
with the other side of The Cold War---por-
traying a different ideal and utilising sympa-
thetic, human characters to portray these
ideals that were considered 'wrong' in past
spy films. Also it has lots of shootin' and ex-
plosion and boom, pow kablam. Also the first
ten minutes of the pilot has one of the most
engaging chase sequences set to a Fleet-
wood Mac song I've ever seen in my entire
9. Penny Dreadful.
What's It About?
Eva Green (Casino Royale, 300 Rise of an
Empire), Timothy Dalton (A JAMES BOND!)
and Josh Hartnett (that likeable actor who
never seems to get cast appropriately) round
out a very enigmatic cast of monster hunters
in Victorian England. The show draws heavily
from literary roots, from its title which de-
rives from penny dreadfuls, which were a
cheap British publication that featured serial
stories that would appear weekly, to the fact
that Dorian Gray is part of the main cast. The
series fixates itself mainly in its Victorian
time period and it's pretty comfortable there,
with an ability to generate tension in every
episode and the make the things that go
bump in the night even more terrifying than
they usually are.
But I Already Have American Horror
Yeah well...now you have two. You have
two shows, some people don't even have
one. You have a whole two.
What's It About?
Well, they finally did it. An acceptable tele-
vision spinoff that does the original source
material justice and has enough credit to
stand on its own. This is like the Frasier of
film-to-television spinoffs. The pilot opens
with Billy Bob Thorton as a drifter who
rounds into a meek insurance salesman
played by Sherlock's and The Hobbit's Mar-
tin Freeman. Violence and dark humor akin to
the fantastic Coen Brother's film ensue.
Of course the best thing about the show is
that it gives you an excuse to revisit the 1996
film of the same name. Now when people
say 'Oh man, that wood chipper scene,' you'll
finally know what they're talking about.
7. Better off Ted
... That's usually the response that follows
when you talk about this gem of a series.
Now with the previous three entries featur-
ing pervasive violence and/or scenes of
graphic nudity I thought I'd lighten the mood
with a comedy. The show was unfortunately
short-lived but had definitely had enough
character and substance to stand out. It un-
fortunately lacked the diversity of characters
seen in other comedic shows such as Ar-
rested Development and Parks and Recre-
ation but featured witty satirical humor
revolving around a research and development
department in a stereotypical 'big-wig' corpo-
ration. Highlights of the show include the hi-
larious pitches and advertisements of the
ludicrous products developed and Portia De
Rossi as a fiercely sarcastic and cold supervi-
6. Freaks and Geeks.
Awww Man Freaks and Geeks Again...
The thing about Freaks and Geeks is that
it's a sin to omit it from a 'must watch TV
shows list.' It is. I'm not emotionally prepared
for what could happen if I left this out, You
could afford Arrested Development but Lord
bless your soul if you forget Freaks and
Geeks. The shows appeal mostly comes
from how incredibly relatable it is. We've
watched the occasional sitcom and maybe
uttered 'yeah, been there' but even in
Trinidad, where the tropes of an American
high school don't usually apply, you do find
yourself relating to the characters and sce-
narios in the series. The show doesn't try
over dramatized like Degrassi but carves out
its own identity by being simple and minimal-
ist. Besides it's always really nice to revisit
the show that started the careers of Seth
Rogen, James Franco and Jason Segel.
Follow It Up With...Undeclared. Another
Judd Apatow production with Rogen and Jay
Baruchel, especially if you're starting your
first year in college abroad. You might learn
5. Young Justice
A CARTOON! BUT ANTHONY!
Yes, a cartoon! Yes! Yes! Now see it's a pop-
ular internet trope to brag about being a child
in the 90's mainly due to the fact that we had
better cartoons. 90's cartoons did tend to
have a flair and charisma that cartoons a
decade later couldn't seem to replicate or
even come close to. It was only until cartoons
like: Steven Universe, Clarence,
The Amazing World of Gumball, Adven-
ture Time and Regular Show we see a star-
tling return of that very same character that
made cartoons what they were. But the su-
perhero genre still faltered, we didn't get an
animated superhero series as good as Bat-
man: The Animated Series and Superman:
The Animated Series. After Justice League
and Justice League Unlimited wrapped up we
had nothing to hold onto...that is until Young
Justice showed up. The show featured the
sidekicks of the Justice League: Robin, Kid
Flash, Aqualad squaring off against their own
threats, and it was incredible. But I'm a Big
Hardback No Cartoon Watchin Man
The thing about 90s superhero cartoons is
that they retained a distinct level of maturity.
Plot-lines and character development were
handled with the same level as a traditional
show meaning that cartoons weren't only for
kids. Young Justice has that, it develops its
large and ever growing cast of characters in a
balanced and well executed way and the
show itself isn't afraid to get dark.
Louis C.K is becoming quite the commod-
ity, appearing as a hilarious side character in
David O Russell's American Hustle. His series
retains a lot of his humor while at the same
time showing the difficulties of becoming a
professional comedian. The humor is well
paced and honest. It's one of those shows
that never needs a laugh track to be funny.
Christ, Another Firefly Fanboy....
That's right! Here I am in all my glory, a
Firefly fanboy! One of the shows that fans
threw a tantrum after its cancelation is Fire-
fly. This sci-fi western lasted a single season
before being ripped off the air. In spite of all
that, it's good. For lovers of science fiction,
the show blends all of its elements in quite
an interesting way resulting in a refreshing
mix of genres---something you could always
applaud a show for doing. It mixes humor, ac-
tion, adventure, westerns---it's like a swiss
army knife of good things. The show features
a cast of characters trying to make a living in
the solar system in a world where China and
the US have formed together to make on big
superpower. The show also features one of
the best Nathan Fillion characters since the
last time you saw Nathan Fillion.
Follow it up with...Serenity.
Sure it's canceled but that didn't stop the
show's creator Joss Whedon from directing
the awesome cinematic follow-up Serenity.
A great show with a great premise that
never got to stretch its legs due to its cance-
2. True Detective.
This show...Oh man...
Nothing short of being one of the best
shows ever produced as well as the best
show in the past year. The first season fea-
tures a pair of homicide detectives tracking a
killer for over seventeen years. The show
uses a great overarching plot coupled with
fantastic, human performances by Woody
Harrelson and Mathew McConaughey. Very
thrilling. Very smart. Very good. Nothing
short of a masterpiece. Don't even touch
Hannibal before looking at this piece of art.
Apologies for not blowing your mind with a
series that nobody even know existed. In fact
the Wire was one of the first television series
I watched from beginning to end alongside
the Sopranos. The Wire was a different kind
of show, it was the Breaking Bad of 2002.
The series jumped between characters show-
ing the lives of both law enforcement and the
criminals they hunt painting a love-hate rela-
tionship between both factions. The show
was elegantly crafted and remained pretty
consistent through its five season run and it
takes top spot because of that consistency.
Nobody can say they watched every episode
of Dexter and Smallville because both series
have at least one season where the writing
falters significantly. The show was realistic, it
was mature and tackled a lot themes identifi-
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