Summer Viewing

I had previously noted my exasperation at summer free-to-air TV viewing options, particularly the continuous loop of Stephen Fry and Kevin McCloud offerings on the ABC (which continues and has been noted by others).

In desperation and because we had some free time in Queensland (you can’t lie on the beach all day long), we embarked on a past TV series viewing-fest.  Our line-up was:

  • Homeland, Seasons 1, 2 and 3
  • House of Cards (US version)
  • The VEEP
  • Newsroom

With the exception of the last one, we have had a great time and have had to apply real discipline lest we engage in too much binge-viewing.  I think Homeland is my favourite but House of Cards was superb (loved Kevin Spacey).

As to Newsroom, it was really a whole lot of sanctimonious, left-wing blather.  And as for the Economics Correspondent – Sloane someone, I’m not making that up – she was probably the worst tosser of them all, sprouting all the familiar progressive lines, such as debt and deficits don’t matter, we need to pay higher taxes, etc.

We have one more up our sleeves – Treme.  Any views?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Summer Viewing

  1. David

    If “Past TV series” extends far enough back try UXB with a young Antony Andrews?

    Despite its age it is excellent.

  2. David

    “Justified” based on the novel by Elmore Leonard

  3. nerblnob

    I recommend (if available in Australia) :
    The Americans
    The Bridge (If you don’t mind reading subtitles) – it’s s lot more fun than the other Danish stuff.

    They are past from where I’m sitting, although both now have current second series)

  4. Honesty

    Imdb.com rates it as 8.1 out of ten which is very high 39 eposides so people kept watching it, Variety reviewed positively as a excellent for a narrow audience base. Slice of life drama after hurricane Katrina. I have not seen it but I trust the imdb reviews and would give it a go.

  5. Sinclair Davidson

    Got home from Queensland to find someone had sent me a copy of Defiance season 1. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

  6. Adrian

    Strike Back; Walking Dead; The Americans; and GoT.

  7. Gab

    For a bit of comedy you can’t go past Last Man Standing where lefties cop a healthy dose of a ribbing, especially Obama.

    I still enjoyed Newsroom despite its left-wing screaming tone.

  8. thefrollickingmole

    I watched the start of Treme a while ago… The subtitle should have been “Bush’s fault/the white man keeping us down(apart from a few nice marginalized whites of course)”.. Couldnt stomach it myself. Pity had some good actors in it.

  9. Honesty

    I would watch Breaking Bad for a third time if I had the choice. As an aside I sent a tweet to SHY recommending Walter White for writing the science curriculum. I thought it was funny, no one on twitter did. Damn left swill.

  10. Gab

    True Detective seems promising, have only watched a few episodes as it’s relatively new but so far so good.

  11. thefrollickingmole

    On the off chance you havent seen it then treat yourself to Deadwood.. But as my darling mum said, “they swear a lot”..

    Rome is good.

  12. Tex

    Avoid Treme. Agonisingly dull, self-righteous preachy shit. And revoltingly hypocritical.

    The entire show is filled with annoying whiny dickheads who endless tell the viewer how:

    1- Everything in New Orleans is true, human and authentic yo.

    2- Everything and everyone outside of New Orleans is cold, cultureless and inauthentic.

    3- America doesn’t care enough about New Orleans, and they should come and help rebuild it and give lots of money.

    4- Everyone outside New Orleans is a cultureless dork and we-don’t-want-those-unhip-losers-in-our-town.

    John Goodman’s character is unbearable. I cheered when that cunt died. There a street musician named Sonny who sadly survived. He was another whiny prick.

    Worst of all was Steve Zahn’s DJ character, who like everyone else on the show, complains how everyone else in the universe isn’t as cool as New Orleans is. Only he does it very loudly. He is, hands down, the most annoying TV character I’ve seen in years.

    Oh, and these are just the bits between the endless goddamned musical interludes that seem to exist for no reason other than to show how much the producers know about jazz music.

    The only interesting story line in the entire series was Melissa Leo’s lawyer looking into the suspicious disappearance of a young man who went into police custody on the day of the hurricane.

    Otherwise, absolute crap unless you’re a serious jazz nut.

  13. You can’t go past Justified – with conservative Twitter hero Nick Searcy second billed.

    Defiance wasn’t bad, Game of Thrones is great, Deadwood and Rome not bad either.

  14. RCon

    Newsroom is a great show but it is an effort to overlook that leftist swill.

    “Love” the line when they’re talking about lifting debt ceiling “but it doesn’t allow them to borrow for new initiatives”. The most amazing straw man argument.

    And Olivia Munn??? *hot*

  15. Your will like Treme for some old style southern capitalism with a big dose of Democratic politics running thru it but not enough to spoil it. The music and free spirits is fantastic.
    Try Justified for some pure Hill Billy capitalism. Be warned its addictive
    Foyles War is compulsive and what we all want our Police to be like. Resurrected in an intelligence role in the last series.
    Hard to go past David Suchet in Poirot for manners, idiosyncrasies and ascertaining the facts before pontificating, something the child senator should view and absorb.

  16. james x leftie

    For a $5 a month VPN and free torrent sites you can watch virtually every program ever made.. from BBC docs to Hollywood TV series. Why feed the lefties with your hard earned cash so they can use it to fund Obama and the like?? Because their lobbyists made copyright law the way it is? That’s not a good enough reason for me.

    Been torrenting for 10+ years and the selection makes TV (cable and FTA) look laughable.

    VPN gives you protection (Australia is very easygoing anyway so not necessary) and it is impossible for video files to carry viruses.

    Stop feeding the beast and enlarge your viewing options by a factor of 10.. watch what you want, when you want, how you want, on what device you want.. welcome to 2014.

    Don’t you feel guilty handing over money to the Weinsteins or feel stupid watching 7 mins of commercials for a 22 minute show that airs weeks/months after the US air date? All because the copyright industry paid lobbyists to buy up lawmakers?

  17. Ken N

    We are enjoying Treme . We are now up to Season 3. The characters are interesting, though not deeply drawn, and the music great. I did not find the political content heavy or annoying. If anything it’s message was that you can’t trust politicians, so you’d better get on and fix it yourself.

  18. Rcon

    Or Netflix for $8/month, tho you’ll need something like unblock-us (<$5/month) to get around geoblocking

    Not quite everything ever made but still pretty special – and you support production of 'house of cards' :D

  19. Sinclair Davidson

    Weeds is good too.

  20. Peredur

    I know it is 10 years old now but I doubt that the six episode “State of Play” with David Morrissey, John Sim, Bill Nighy, Kelly MacDonald has been bettered since. Smart script, smart plot and fine acting. Great entertainment.

  21. Brian of Moorabbin

    NCIS.

    Everything else on TV is a complete waste of time.

  22. hzhousewife

    Best thing I’ve recently seen was the 5 part HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce, best acting ever from Kate Winslet, Guy Pierce is good too, he does evil pretty nicely.

  23. Pickles

    Turn the box off. Go to bed early and at least try to earn your keep.

  24. Fleeced

    Weeds tries to hard – it’s no Breaking Bad (which is awesome). Game of Thrones is OK, but like the books, you end up not caring about anyone (as an emotional defence – let’s just say they all live in “interesting times”.

    Only watched one or two eps of Defiance – couldn’t get into it…

    For older but still current TV shows:
    Hannibal – the TV series…. it’s a “re-imagination” of the character, so doesn’t have the history of the one we know and love from the movies, but I enjoyed the first season.
    Revolution is OK, but not great – or was OK – I’m a season behind now.
    Under the Dome has potential, and has a 2nd season starting.
    Grimm is kind of lame – but OK if you’ve had a drink or are bored.
    Lost Girl is crappy. Even the actors look uncomfortable.
    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is boring, and really just for kids.
    Parks and Recreation is pretty funny. The main character is a lefty, but she’s a goofball, and it also has Ron Swanson (who despite working for P&R, is a libertarian, and believes it shouldn’t exist)
    Sleepy Hollow is a snooze-fest.
    There’s always South Park (but avoid Family Guy)
    True Detective has potential as someone else said, but it’s too new for binge watching, and may not last anyway.
    The first three seasons of Big Bang Theory are great… the later seasons only if you become a fan (or if you’re bored)
    Nikita is finishing up now… that’s not too bad, though again, I’m a season behind.

    I’m sure there are plenty of others, but that’s all I can think of right now.

  25. hzhousewife

    Series 1 Ep 1 of The Americans is on Foxtel SoHo 115 right now………

  26. lotocoti

    Justified would be diminished without Acting School.

  27. Notafan

    If you don’t mind subtitles the French series Spirals is very good. Cop show set in Paris not PC might have been on SBS at one stage but box sets are not too expensive on Amazon UK

  28. Steve of Glasshouse

    Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby..seasons 1 and 2

  29. Pickles

    Gormsby has a grade rants.

  30. Fleeced

    NCIS.

    Everything else on TV is a complete waste of time.

    Yeah, NCIS is still enjoyable, and one of the few shows I never miss… past it’s prime though, sadly. It started going wobbly when they launched NCIS LA (a spinoff show nothing like the original and to be avoided at all costs), but has recovered somewhat since (albeit not quite to its previous standard – but then it is season 11).

  31. Sinclair Davidson

    Judith – you should give The Tudors another chance.

    Sherlock was good too and season three starts on 9 this week.

  32. Brian of Moorabbin

    Ah yes, thanks Sinc. I’d forgotten about Sherlock too.

    Consider my list amended.

  33. Watch Banshee and Justified….Strike Back is also worth watching.

  34. gnome

    Pond Life

    Drawn Together

    Operation Good Guys

    Gormsby

  35. Mr Excitement

    Arrested Development.

    The IT Crowd is piss funny.

  36. Fleeced

    The IT Crowd is piss funny.

    The “I’m disabled” episode makes me laugh just thinking about it.

  37. Notafan

    It Crowd and Black Books both brilliant

  38. Fess

    Agree with David about UXB. Iremember it on TV in the early 1970s.
    Can recommend “Deadwood”.

  39. Andreas

    If you like The IT Crowd try Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – it’s got both Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry in it. Great parody of bad ’80s shows. All the episodes are up on Youtube.

  40. JC

    Funnily enough I actually like newsroom. Of course it’s a leftwing show, however if you’re able to get through the leftwing blather there’s an okay story there. And yea, it’s sanctimonious too.

    I liked Homeland although the story line is a little bit hard to swallow. My wife says house of cards is a great show and I’m yet to see it.

    There’s a really good series on that I’m getting into. – True Detective. It has a very dark story line and also very dark characters.

  41. MattyB

    My recomendations.

    Archer – animated and just a little un-PC.
    Brooklyn Nine Nine – cop comedy, with Andre Brauger as the straight guy (pun intended)
    Orange is the New Black – same creator as Weeds, grows on you.

  42. Fleeced

    There’s a really good series on that I’m getting into. – True Detective. It has a very dark story line and also very dark characters.

    I must say, Matthew McConaughey is doing a great job on that… the dude can actually act.

  43. JC

    I must say, Matthew McConaughey is doing a great job on that… the dude can actually act.

    Yea, he’s really good. What a scary loon.

    Fleeced, I don’t quite get the flash fowards though. Is McConaughey in jail when he’s being interviewed or are we left dangling? I never understood where he is and why he’s there. I thought it’s either than he’s in custody or he left the force and there’s some sort of review of a case that may have gone bad in some way.

  44. Motelier

    I find that Crackle gives a wide variety of entertainment to suit all tastes.

  45. Dan Lewis

    Try to watch ‘Prisoners of War’ which is the Israeli series on which Homeland was based.

    I loved Homeland but found Prisoners even better, free of much of the PC restraint that Homeland inserted. Also, it has a lot more violence and a lot less Claire Danes.

  46. Gab

    It has a very dark story line and also very dark characters.

    I do enjoy Matthew McConaughey’s character, his existential ennui with life and his nihilistic view of the world in general that paradoxically evaporate the minute he is focused on a solving the case; and his Hegelian(?)/metaphysic musings on why God doesn’t exist and why religion is irrational is fascinating. And then watching as Woody Harrelson’s character – the Louisiana good ole boy – reacts to this is hilarious … like this scene.

    Great script, so far.

  47. Noddy

    A glass of iced port and a good book is much better than much of the TV viewing these days.
    The background noise does not make easy listening if you want to follow the story without sub-titles.
    A special favorite some years ago was George Cole (the Minder bloke) in the Independent Man, a short miniseries about local government… classic ‘pom’ comedy!

  48. Fleeced

    Fleeced, I don’t quite get the flash fowards though. Is McConaughey in jail when he’s being interviewed or are we left dangling?

    I think we’re meant to be left dangling a little – not sure if one or both of them are being blamed – but I don’t think he’s in jail in the flash-forwards (which is actually the present – the main show is flashback).

    From ep 1, I got the impression that the new cops brought them in, suggesting they somehow “lost the records” of the initial cases, and so need to pick the brains of the original detectives… can’t remember why I thought that – might have to go back and check the vid. So, I took it that both of them think they’re “helping out” with the new case, but are almost certainly under suspicion.

    I could have that interpretation totally wrong though… but that’s OK, since I don’t think it’s meant to be clear to us. It’s part of the hook to keep us watching.

  49. JC

    ….but I don’t think he’s in jail in the flash-forwards (which is actually the present – the main show is flashback).

    Lol. Its going backwards and forwards you get almost lost in time.

  50. Fleeced

    “…that may have gone bad in some way.”

    [minor spoilers for first episode of True Detective]

    Oh yeah, in the first ep it’s revealed they supposedly arrested the guy, but another (similar) death has popped up with details not divulged in the first one… and so how could it be the same guy if they already got him? So, yeah – potential screw-up, or potential sidekick, or potential copycat (by one of them, perhaps?) etc… I’m sure all will be revealed in time :)

    I actually haven’t watched ep 3 yet… this thread has inspired me to go do so.

  51. JC

    his existential ennui with life and his nihilistic view of the world in general that paradoxically evaporate the minute he is focused on a solving the case; and his Hegelian(?)/metaphysic musings on why God doesn’t exist and why religion is irrational is fascinating.

    Shorter Gab

    McConaughey’s character makes one miserable, unhappy fucker. :-)

  52. Gab

    I like his character, JC, very complex but not motivated by hate. I just loved the scene posted above. Found it hilarious.

  53. Fleeced

    I like his character, JC, very complex but not motivated by hate. I just loved the scene posted above. Found it hilarious.

    Maybe chics dig the depression – they just want to hug him and make him better… Harrelson’s wife seemed to warm to him as well. LOL.

  54. thefrollickingmole

    Hmm, or you could read Marilyn Shepherds twitter feed..

    Its a rouges gallery of the things floating on top of the rancid lefts septic tank…

    Marilyn Shepherd ‏@MarilynShephe15 3h
    Aussies rally for kind sheep and cow killing, they rally to save sharks, they abuse and torture refugees and treat them worse than roaches

  55. Gab

    Maybe chics dig the depression

    Maybe chics do but I don’t Imagine living with that character for real? Talk about squeezing the joy out of life! It would be tiresome and boring after a while, but I can imagine living with McConaughey :) maybe it’s the southern drawl.

  56. Talleyrand

    True Detective is going well so far (episode 4 on Monday). Found Treme hard to get into. Also season 3 American Horror Story for the campiest overacting you’ve ever seen.

  57. Gab

    Oh and Person of Interest just keeps getting better by the season.

  58. Fleeced

    Oh and Person of Interest just keeps getting better by the season

    Yeah, I quite like PoI. Though I do fear that it will suffer the fate of many sf shows (especially those involving JJ Abrams) of initially seeming to be building up to something big, but really just being made up as it goes along and fizzling out… hope that doesn’t happen, because as I said, I quite like it at the moment.

    Continuum was great scifi in season 1 – worth catching up on. Alas, season 2 wasn’t so great and went off the rails at the end – but is redeemable, so hopefully season 3 fixes up their mistakes (there is a s3 at least, for those who fear getting into new shows in case they get axed)

    Oh, and Fringe was great as well… except season 4 gets a bit wobbly (and I’m yet to see the final season – season 5).

  59. ar

    JC,

    Is McConaughey in jail when he’s being interviewed or are we left dangling?

    He’s drinking beer and playing with a knife…

    Could be one of them progressive jails…

  60. ar

    Treme is good. A lot of lefty stuff, but it’s the republicans who get things done.

    If you’re into comedy, Eastbound and Down is one of the funniest series I’ve seen. Final series 4 has recently completed on Foxtel…

    Strikeback looks like a flashback to 70s and 80s action series, but with better production values. From what I’ve seen it’s not very PC.

  61. Tom

    I love this series — Andrew (“Seachange”) Knight is Australia’s best TV writer:

    BLANCHETT RAKE LEZZO HORROR

  62. Viva

    Interesting that American TV shows get the nod from most people here. Apart from the Sopranos I prefer the Bill, vintage English comedies, History channel docos, and right up there – Would I lie to you?

  63. Abu Chowdah

    Agree with the recommendations for The Americans. It’s better than Homeland. And also Justified, which is superb. A lone conservative Marshall kicking leftwing criminal arse. Although it’s based on the Leonard short story “Fire In The Hole”, the author established this premise (cowboy anachronism gunslinger surprises the shit out of modern criminals who fail to take him seriously) in his 1970′s novel, “City Primeval”.

  64. Abu Chowdah

    Interesting that American TV shows get the nod from most people here. Apart from the Sopranos I prefer the Bill, vintage English comedies, History channel docos, and right up there – Would I lie to you?

    If you mean odd when you use interesting, don’t be surprised. The quality of TV series writing and production in the US has been cutting edge for years and is overtaking movies as a form of entertainment.

  65. C.L.

    I love this series …

    Good Lord.

    It’s left-wing ABC tripe.

    Every episode I’ve seen depicts all conservatives as monsters and the ‘loveable’ Rake as a debauched sod but with a superior heart of gold.

  66. Abu Chowdah

    Charles Waterstreet is one of the series creators. So it’s hardly surprising.

  67. Rabz

    Walking Dead, Falling Skies, GoT, Hell on Wheels.

  68. Rabz

    Chowdah – the person you mentioned in your previous comment is a pompous, parasitic deadshit.

    Known in the trade as a ‘Barrasite’.

    Death to them all.

  69. Abu Chowdah

    He’s vile, I agree.

  70. dover_beach

    True Detective looks very good. Will be watching from now on.

    It’s left-wing ABC tripe.

    Every episode I’ve seen depicts all conservatives as monsters and the ‘loveable’ Rake as a debauched sod but with a superior heart of gold.

    Sounds like the familiar excuse, communism is totalitarian in practice but has a heart of gold.

  71. Go Tiges

    As someone else noted above Arrested Development is brilliant. For Australian comedy, Summer Heights High. The Vicar of Dibley also has its funny moments.
    If you like cops and robbers, Breaking Bad is the best of the type. The Shield was also very good.
    The Tudors and Rome were also very popular in this house.

  72. Robin Barker

    Treme is wonderful, yes a ‘liberal’ bias (as in the US sense of liberal) but really you can let that glide by as you get caught up in the characters, the music, the stories.
    A beautiful production by the bloke who did The Wire starring a few of the same actors.
    And, HBO John Adams, fantastic. Also I love Nurse Jackie, but not for everyone
    Free-to-air TV is in its death throes even if the mob involved haven’t quite realised it yet. There are too many other ways to go.

  73. hoppers

    Is it just me who thinks that Josh and Toby in the West Wing are a couple of smug tossers?

  74. Robin Barker

    More on Treme in response to the critics:
    Yes it does take getting into, patience is required. You also need a little background on New Orleans, the history, the ethnic groups (particularly the ‘indians’), the language – all available on the web. And I think using the subtitles is a good idea, that way you don’t miss anything. You also need to like music, if you’re not into the music yes I can understand people not getting the show. It is David Simon’s tribute to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, more snapshots than a continuous narrative which is not for everyone. But Treme has a sneaky way of getting into your head the more you watch. I’m in the middle of Season 3, utterly engrossed.
    And…there were huge stuff-ups by the federal gov under Dubya after the hurricane, which I think is quite reasonable to portray. And, like it or not, there were/are racial tensions but I don’t think the show portrays any of these events/issues in an overly biased way. It is multi-dimensional. Regardless of his politics, I think David Simon is a genius who has broken new ground on home screen viewing.

  75. Honesty

    Some that have been missed.
    Curb your Enthusiasm – R rated Seinfeld.
    Suits – lawyers doing battle.
    Entourage – a look at fame and agents very funny.
    Fringe – if you like a little Sci fi.
    Peep show – funny POV British humor.

  76. Notafan

    Is it just me who thinks that Josh and Toby in the West Wing are a couple of smug tossers?

    oh yes , Are all Democrats like this? (channelling SHY here)-same people made Newsroom.
    Suits isn’t too bad but characters can grate if you overdose on episodes.
    Homeland is great in some ways but the premise is so flawed to me that the main character just seems to be in an ongoing internal conflict that is beyond bizarre.
    The Shield was compromised from the start by the murder of the undercover cop, so that you can never really warm to the main character. I watched til about season 5 then had to give up after reading ahead on wiki.
    Justified is very good though the body count is a tad excessive. The most frustrating thing is when the Americans yank series mid season, they ruined Deadwood.
    Truncating Doll House from 5 to 2/3 seasons spoiled the series, they could have done so much more with the doll concept. Firefly could have gone a lot longer. Joss Whedon is one of my all time favourites.

  77. john constantine

    so for all the grant money poured into the leftie art and creative scene in australia–[or because of it] nothing is made in australia worth watching unless you are into having your awareness raised,or being preached at,or having the imagined weakness of tories skewered.

  78. Notafan

    Damages with Glenn Close was pretty darn good too, I think she left The Shield after season one to work on Damages.
    Before The Wire was Homicide Life on the Streets, first season was wooden but it started to improve after that, also stopped rather suddenly and then had a movie length episode at the end. The Corner is a mini series that shows The Wire / Homicide Life on the Streets from the addict’s perspective. All based on David Simon’s book Homicide Life on the Streets where he was a police reporter with Baltimore Police and did the rounds with the Homicide squad for three years. Homicide Life on the Streets also has cross over episodes with Law and Order, early seasons of this are also particularly good.
    I clearly have an addition to US and European TV series, I find a lot of the stuff now is too PC but HBO series are usually high quality.

  79. Des Deskperson

    ‘ the ‘loveable’ Rake as a debauched sod but with a superior heart of gold.’

    I suspect that every ABC watching pasty-faced, slack-bellied beta-minus male teacher of ‘Australian Studies’ fancies themselves as ”Rake’!

  80. stackja

    Black and White TV series of 1950s and 1960s available at archive.org

  81. Viva

    nothing is made in australia worth watching unless you are into having your awareness raised,or being preached at,or having the imagined weakness of tories skewered.

    Have to disagree: check out Rake, The Straits, Serangoon Road for a start.

  82. AJ

    Orange is the New Black
    Rectify
    Orphan Black

    Those (plus previously mentioned The Americans) are the best new shows that came out last year.

Comments are closed.