Binge-worthy TV Shows for Isolation

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    I think those shows have moments, but not necessarily for binging: I'd put them in the "very good" but not "excellent" category. I agree with you that the first three seasons of Miami Vice were the best. I worked on Season 4 myself, and there was a big drop-off in quality, and the producers were aware of it and tried flogging the writers and cast as much as they could.

    I can't believe I omitted Star Trek! That's an unforgivable omission.

    The rest all fall into the "OK/Good" category for me, but not great. All of the Norman Lear shows to me are extremely dated and hard to watch today: they just don't hold up 40+ years later. (In fairness to them, I would say that about a lot of 1980s/early 1990s sitcoms as well.).

    I wasn't a fan of Friends or Cheers, but I recognize their importance in TV history, and those are actually not too bad. I liked M*A*S*H to a point, and I worked on a bunch of them for Fox Home Video back in the day. Basically, the shows from Season 7 on (where Radar leaves) all seem to get full of themselves and very preachy, and they're really hard to watch. Seasons 1-4 supervised by writer/producer Larry Gelbart are stellar, pretty much among the greatest TV shows ever made.
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  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    Well, bear in mind that some shows (like I Love Lucy) were basically filmed stage plays produced in front of a live studio audience. The actors had to know every word of every scene and perform it all the way through, as if it were Broadway. Even when the audience wasn't there for technical/production reasons, they'd play these scenes in front of a live audience during the show taping/filming and would record the genuine laughs from the humans in the building. So it's not "canned laughter" per se: you're hearing the reaction of real live people who heard the joke at the same time you did.

    The single camera shows (Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, Ozzie & Harriet, Mr. Ed, Munsters, Addams Family, Hogan's Heroes, Get Smart, Andy Griffith, Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, etc.) very definitely did use canned laughter, because they were all shot from just one angle at a time with multiple takes, just like a movie. The multi-camera snows -- Lucy, Honeymooners, Jack Benny, Phil Silvers, Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas, Bob Newhart, the Norman Lear shows, most of the Garry Marshall shows (Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, etc.) and most of the big 1980s shows (Cosby, Family Matters, Cheers, Family Ties, Golden Girls, etc.) all had live audiences. With all of the live audience shows, there were always "pickup" shots done without the audience for various reasons (like a scene being written after the audience leaves), so then the laughs you here were technically canned, but might be from a real moment in another episode.
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  3. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    I never watched Lost until recently, and I must say the first 3 seasons are must see tv (you have to at least stick around to find out what happens if that button isn't pressed every 108 minutes...).
    I would also highly recommend all (since we have time, the 2nd season has a lot of fat but is still worth watching, especially the first 2 and last episodes) of Twin Peaks, season three is way out there but so well done, it seems to have something for everyone even though it's hard to explain (what it all means...).
    The Leftovers is a must 3 season binge, you're over the hump if you get to the second season as it really gets good after that (it's only 3 seasons). The Leftovers resonates to our times as it is set in our world during the aftermath of a worldwide event that wipes out 8% of the world's population.
    Penny Dreadful is top shelf for classic goth horror.
    True Blood is fun for sure.
    HBO's Watchmen is a quick 8 episode self contained binge that totally rocks and has a great ending.
    Taboo with Tom Hardy.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  4. Johnny66

    Johnny66 Laird of Boleskine

    I'm going to recommend Unsolved Mysteries - the first twelve seasons (with Robert Stack hosting) are available for free (in high quality) on YouTube! (The later Dennis Farina episodes are also available.) No subscription service needed!

    But, you ask, why would I want to watch such old cases? Well, beyond the UM true crime approach being admirably sober and measured (compared to today's glossy tabloid theatrics), the episodes now include 'update' sections (circa 2018/19) for certain stories - which are often equal parts fascinating and heartbreaking. Check some out:

    Unsolved Mysteries - Full Episodes
  5. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    Naw, I got it from Ken Levine. He referenced our self-imposed isolation mode and noted the shows he was watching here in LA, and I reproduced his list and referenced his website.

    God, I warn you: don't hold out hope for the final season. There is no "there" there.
  6. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    I actually made it to the end (6 seasons) and agree with most that the last season is very weak, to me it seems they switched directions writing wise during that season probably because they knew it would be the last somewhere in the middle of making it. To me it seemed as though the short version of the end had been pretty much laid out in plain view for most of that last season and then that short version was just thrown together with some vague attempts at tying up loose ends, it isn't all that bad though as it does kind of make some sense, maybe everyone expected a more grandiose end to it all.
    The show is a lot of fun for the most part though.
  7. Big Jimbo

    Big Jimbo Forum Resident

    I always thought “24” was like eating potato couldn’t eat just one. But quite frankly I haven’t seen the last couple. I think the one with the female POTUS was the last I saw.

    I also think “Upstairs, Downstairs” was of consistently high quality. It seems to be a show that handled cast changes right...from Elizabeth to Georgina as the young female; from Lady Marjorie to Hazel to Virginia as the person who runs 165 Eaton Place.

    For shorter series “Rome”...not the most accurate history but gives you a great idea how Roman society was
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    Yeah, I 'd agree with all of what you said. But actually, the Lost producers (Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse) negotiated two more years from ABC & Disney and claimed they had worked out a "road map" to the ending, and that everything would be explained in the end. The reality is that I think they were overwhelmed by the task at hand and just gave up and created the "sideways world" for the final season, the lives the characters could have had. The book The Lost Encyclopedia took the writers guide and expanded it as kind of an encyclopedia, and it explains a great deal that the show itself never did.

    One thing that drove me crazy is that the producer we worked with, Ra'uf Glasgow, assured us during the first four seasons that "everything will be explained in the last season," and of course that never happened. There are entire articles and websites devoted just to "The Top 100 Things LOST Never Explained," and it's a lively discussion. I do think it was a well-made show, and I thought the acting, direction, cinematography, and editing were absolutely first-class. I'm sad that several of the major actors never went on to much bigger things, because they deserved more success.

    Yes, 24 was one of the first series I ever binged, and we really enjoyed the first 5-6 seasons. I think it would've made me crazy to deal with the cliffhangers they had in the last few minutes of every episode, while the show was being aired just once a week.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  9. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    Rome is great!
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  10. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    The Americans
    Dead Like Me
    Orphan Black

    Pushing Daisies
    *Both from Bryan Fuller

    Andy Richter Controls the Universe
    The Detour
    You’re the Worst
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  11. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    I love this show!

    Too bad Fox never aired the whole series, it starts getting really good when Jaye's brother gets really interested in her odd behaviors.
  12. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    I own all the favorites that I love much...I'm good.
  13. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Deadwood is on my list next!
  14. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Lost In Space...
  15. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    I bought the full series DVD.
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  16. fitzysbuna

    fitzysbuna Senior Member

    before the virus I was watching The A-Team on Blu-ray currently I am up to Season 4 for fun and pure escapism in times like this its perfect.
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  17. razerx

    razerx Who me?

    The East
    My wife is addicted to Forensic Files. Once I caught her taking notes. Maybe I should be worried.
  18. Ted Bell

    Ted Bell Forum Dentist

    An under appreciated show that I never see mentioned on these lists: " Halt & Catch Fire".
    Juan Matus, CDV, Tokyo Ghost and 5 others like this.
  19. Paul_s

    Paul_s Forum Resident

    Twilight Zone alternative -

    Beyond Belief, Fact or Fiction. (Always preferred the Jonathan Frakes presented stories)
  20. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law

    If you enjoyed these, you may also enjoy AMC's "Lodge 47", and "Dispatches From Elsewhere", which is only 5 eps. in, but filled with 'the mystery'........
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  21. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    Of course. I did too, but I think the show might have had a chance at some audience if Fox had aired more than 4 out of 13 episodes before pulling the plug.
  22. rmath84

    rmath84 Forum Resident

    This kind of petered out in the later seasons but Tatiana Maslany is amazing in season one. Thanks for the reminder.
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  23. rmath84

    rmath84 Forum Resident

    I worked as an extra on many multi-camera shows. And while it was exciting to hear the sugar fueled pumped up audience "on the day" it doesn't play well for me watching it today.

    I can't even imagine a modern comedy like the English The Office, or Extras with a laugh track.
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  24. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    The networks are merciless. A show I worked on a few years ago, Time After Time was cancelled after 5 episodes aired. There were seven more episodes of this HG Wells vs. Jack the Ripper drama that went unaired. Just this week I discovered a new Warner Bros. TV app called CW Seed that has the whole show available to stream, I’ll be happy to finally see how it all turned out. Sadly I’m well aware this is not the highest grade of show, but many people worked very hard to get each episode done, so hooray for at least having it available at last.
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  25. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    I'm an avid Lodge 47 viewer, it's just a well done comedy with a smidgen of story drama as far as I can tell. I would recommend that to anyone as it's funny (Paul Giamatti is involved), I have yet to get to Dispatches but I imagine I probably have time to check it out now.
    Currently watching Westworld, Better Call Saul and DEVS (which is actually pretty good).
    I've been meaning to check out HBO's the Outsider, anybody have opinions on that one?
    I would also add American Horror Story to the list because the first 4 seasons are really good, a lot of good ol' dark humor with over the top and overdone horror themed stories but with pretty clever scenarios and a decent cast (Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Dermot Mulroney, Lily Rabe and Frances Conroy), after season 4 it becomes a matter of personal choice because it's an anthology and each season has a different theme, I remember wanting to watch the latest season from last year but haven't gotten around to it yet -whichever season had the hotel theme was in my opinion kind of tedious and I got bored with it, even though Lady Gaga was in it.
    A well done and gritty 1 season binge is Quarry that was on Cinemax a couple of years ago.
    The FARGO series from FX is really good, as well as the first season of True Detective from HBO.
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