TV Time #2

During last year’s Blaugust I decided to dedicate a whole post to what I had been watching on TV, be it live, via the DVR or through streaming services like Netflix and HBO GO. Though I have touched on things that I’ve been watching via this blog or on Twitter throughout the year since that last post, I thought it would be interesting enough to write about again. Bear with me, there’s going to be quite a few shows on this list, though I will try to keep my descriptions mostly spoiler free.

As I have mentioned in the past, the majority of the shows I watch on television are on the AMC and FX networks, though I have been watching more shows that are on HBO, due to having access to their streaming service, allowing me to catch up on things I missed, or keep up on new shows without having to set the DVR. Netflix has also fully committed to their own original programming, releasing full seasons all at once with instantly lends itself to binge watching — this just so happens to appeal to me. So what am I currently watching?

Halt and Catch Fire – AMC

I spoke briefly about Halt and Catch Fire in that post I linked above. The first season was the origin story of these characters, and how they came to be intertwined. Season two (which just had it’s finale last night) centers around Cameron and Donna (the two women pictured above) and their company, Mutiny. Joe, (picture at far right) has parted ways with Cardiff, as has Gordon (left) and are trying to sort out what to do with their lives. The birth of multiplayer gaming over the Internet along with chat rooms are on clear display throughout season two. I love the retro tech industry tidbits present in the show, along with the real world issues that all of the characters have to deal with. It feels very true to the source material, though I was only alive for 8 years during the 1980’s, so my memory of them is a bit hazy. Still, I recommend this show to anyone who has ever loved tech, be it the hardware, the software, or even just the Internet itself.

Humans – AMC

Humans is a new show that turned up on the network this summer. It is apparently a British TV show that has been ported over to the States. It has a very I, Robot feel to it, albeit with very little action. For the most part it is just centered around the interactions between real humans and “Synths” which are machines that are designed to look just like us, but have the Asimov laws programmed in. Some of the synths are different than others however, as one family begins to discover. The side story revolves around this particular synth and the rest of her “family” — synths given consciousness via their creator, who is now dead. As the storyline has progressed, it appears that more of these synths are present in the world than we know of, but not all has been revealed just yet. As with most AMC shows, if you missed this one, look for it to turn up on Netflix eventually.

Hell on Wheels – AMC

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Another show I have been watching since the beginning, Hell on Wheels recently entered its fifth season. It is still based on Cullen’s mishaps while trying to reach the west coast with the trans-continental railroad, though now he works for a different rail company, and is trying to win the race over his former company. The main point of contention now is the Chinese workers, and Cullen’s own issues surrounding the disappearance of his Wife and Child, who were last seen with the Mormons. An old nemesis rears his head, and of course Cullen butts heads with new people in new areas as the railroad continues to move forward. I’m not much for Westerns, but I can’t get enough of this show.

The Making of the Mob: New York – AMC

This new show on AMC is actually a mini-series, in that there shouldn’t be new seasons beyond this one, unless they decide to jump to other areas of the world (I.E. “The Making of the Mob: ____”). The Making of the Mob: New York centers around a handful of Italian and Jewish immigrants who rise from lowly street urchins to criminal kingpins. Every Mafia movie you’ve ever seen, every Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire like show either centers around or has referenced these men, who really lived and died as mobsters. You’ll recognize the names. You probably even already know the story. But the way this show is put together keeps things interesting. Ray Liotta narrates while various actors who are portraying these mafioso act out the life long story of these men. It’s fantastic television, in my humble opinion.

The Strain – FX

The Strain started out last summer with a bang. A cross between a zombie apocalypse and a series about vampires, it was right up my alley. This season looks to be more of the same, with more details being discovered about the Master, creator of all of these zompires, and the backstory between “the Jew” and the Nazis/Master unravels some of the mystery of the present day nightmare. I’m actually behind on a couple of episodes due to recording conflicts (stupid older DVRs not being able to record enough shows at once), but so far it has held my interest just as well as it did last year. If you haven’t watched this show yet (and aren’t squeamish) do yourself a favor!

Defiance – SyFy

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Defiance is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. When the series started I only knew it as the TV tie-in to the MMO, and I had actually purchased the MMO during a sale. Then it went free to play, and I lamented the loss of my $5. The game wasn’t really my cup-o-tea, but it did get me interested in the TV show, so I went back and watched the first season. I watched the second season last year and still enjoyed it. This year, I’m watching the third season and have come to realize a couple of things. 1. The show is pretty damn hokey. The acting is good at times, sub-par at others. 2. The effects can be great, or terrible. This is typical of TV shows, but I don’t understand the lack of continuity between scenes. It appears that scenes that are fully CGI look better than those that only have a little CGI in them. The storyline is fairly similar to other science fiction shows I’ve watch in the past, though it refreshing to have a post apocalyptic world that isn’t infested by some sort of other-worldy creature, and is instead populated by aliens (who by proxy are partially responsible for the current state of the world). The aliens are all just humanoids though, so it lacks the creativity of some of the better Sci-Fi shows out there. Either way, I’ll continue to watch this show til it ends most likely.

Ballers – HBO

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I happened to catch preview for both this show and the next one I’m going to talk about while watching Game of Thrones earlier in the year. The Rock isn’t necessarily a go-to actor for me, but the appeal of this show was in being able to take a peek into the lives of football players, however dramatized this might be. Ballers centers around Dwayne Johnson’s character, who is a retired pro football player, and is now working as an agent for new players. He spends most of his time trying to maintain relationships his clients, working through his own issues with potential brain damage, and bailing people out of trouble. There really isn’t much else to it, but I’ve rather enjoyed the show so far.

The Brink – HBO

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As I mentioned, previews for this show were floating around back when Game of Thrones was on air. This one is about current day political climates, with Jack Black starring along with a host of other actors you’ll recognize. Black plays the part of an employee at a US Embassy in Pakistan, while a slew other other characters intertwine in political scandal. It’s light-hearted and fun, and I’d recommend it to fans of this type of satire.

True Detective – HBO

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I didn’t see the first season of True Detective when it aired, but as I have said, HBO GO is great for catching up on stuff you may have missed. I ended up watching it on a whim, as generally speaking I find Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey to be good actors. The plot was solid, the acting was great, and I was sold. I wasn’t aware however, that the show was designed in the same way as say American Horror Story, where each new season focused on a whole new storyline. I was expecting a continuation of the first season, and instead we get Colin Farrel and Vince Vaughn taking part in a whole new tale. First off, I have to say that this season started very slow, but it has picked up and become more exciting. Secondly, it’s refreshing to see Mr Vaughn in something other than a comedy. He’s actually a pretty good actor, despite being in some shitty movies in the past. It’s been good stuff, I recommend it.

That’s what I’ve been watching as of late. There have been quite a few new and recurring shows that have already ended for the year though, so I thought I’d share those as well:

Game of Thones – HBO

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Of course I watched season 5 of Game of Thrones. I am anxiously awaiting season 6, which is supposedly going to be the last season, but we shall see. Having never read the books, I’m not sure where this season ends up where the narrative is concerned, but I can attest that I haven’t been nearly as offended by additions or subtractions to the story line as the book followers have been. Nor do I take issue with the graphic nature of the show. I knew what I was getting into as soon as I started watching the show, and I understand the concept of spectacle fueled viewership. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, one thing GoT does is gets people talking, and that’s never a bad thing (even if we’re talking about bad things).

Silicon Valley – HBO

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Silicon Valley started up last year but I wasn’t paying attention. I noticed that it was on after GoT this year though, and so I went back and watched the first season, then kept up with the second. The story follows one man’s life, where he works for a huge company (that feels a lot like Google or Apple) and ends up creating a program or algorithm (I can’t remember which) that allows for compression that is outrageous and great for streaming. This leads to him creating a startup, where an oddball cast of characters helps him to live the dream. Hilarity ensues. If you’re interested in tech, startups and like goofy friend comedy, this one will be up your alley.

Turn – AMC

Turn is another show that started last year, and that I continued watching this year. It’s a historical piece (though the accuracy could be debatable) following the story of one man who gets involved in a spy ring. He’s on America’s side, but the British occupation and Revolutionary War are taking place, so being caught as a spy would get you killed. He walks a thin line between his spy games and pretending to be in service to the British, and though it’s playing on patriotism that only Americans will appreciate, it still tells a great tale.

Better Call Saul – AMC

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A spinoff of the ridiculously popular Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul failed to hook me until a few episodes in. I suppose I was expecting something more akin to Breaking Bad, but in the end this is a show that is only loosely related. The main character Saul was lawyer to the main character from BB, but this is his origin tale. He starts from humble beginnings, uses his backhanded nature to get ahead, and starts to build a reputation as a first class lawyer. How this will eventually lead to him meeting Walter White and becoming the lawyer to criminal kingpins remains to be seen, but rest assured I’ll continue to watch it.

I also wanted to take a look at some upcoming shows that I’m looking forward to:

Fear The Walking Dead – AMC

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I know, I know. There’s already a Walking Dead TV show, so why does there need to be another? That was my immediate reaction when I first heard about this “companion show.” Apparently the only difference between Fear The Walking Dead and the original The Walking Dead is that it takes place in Los Angeles, and centers around different people during the same zombie apocalypse. Being the sucker for zombie stuff that I am, I will be checking this out later this month, but I’m still waiting with baited breath. I have low expectations, so perhaps they will be met. But I don’t see this show being better than the original.

The Walking Dead – AMC

Speaking of The Walking Dead, seaons 6 returns this October. Some familiar faces have turned back up, and there looks to be more conflict happening within the new compound the group has found themselves in. This is bar-none my favorite show on TV, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The key is that it’s not really about the zombies, but about the human confrontation that I so regularly talk about. I love the drama, even if it’s sometimes needless (though less so since Lori kicked the bucket).

American Horror Story: Hotel – FX

American Horror Story and I have a strange relationship. I have watched every episode to date, though I have become less and less thrilled with the show in the past couple of years. I love the fact that the same actors come back year after year, though they all play different roles and each season is based on a different horror tale. However, after the murder house and asylum seasons, things have gone down hill. I wasn’t thrilled with Coven. I disliked Freak Show altogether despite watching the whole thing. I was prepared to write the series off, but Hotel sounds like it’s ripe for horror, and I’m going to give it another shot. I just hope it turns out better than the last couple of seasons.

Fargo – FX

I watched the first season of Fargo last year and loved it. I hadn’t seen the movie, but I understand that it’s based off of that, which is in turn based off supposed real world events that happened in Minnesota. Either way, the actor who played Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit movies and Billy Bob Thornton put on a great show. From what I have read the show has found a new Fall time slot, and this season is supposed to take place further in the past, detailing other bits and pieces of the backstory. So I don’t know what to expect but I hope it’s as good as the first season.

The Bastard Executioner – FX

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The only things I know about The Bastard Executioner is that it’s written by Curt Sutter, who also wrote and starred in Sons of Anarchy. I enjoyed the hell out of that show, so I assume this will be entertaining as well. Curt is in this show, along with his wife, Katie Sagal, and it’s set in medieval times. It’s set to show up this fall as well, so I’m going to give it a whirl and will report back on it at a future date.

Now that I’m nearly 3,000 words, I think I’ll count this post as done. If you made it this far without skipping anything, I congratulate you. Oh, and check out Blaugust over on Anook.

#television #roundup

State of the Game: Playing & Watching

Another week down, more stuff played and watched. I mostly have blurbs this time around, because I spent the majority of the week playing League of Legends. I did play some other stuff as well as keeping up on TV shows so let’s jump right in.

League of Legends

I played a shit ton of League as I said. I mostly played ARAM, but did get some team builder matches in as well. As a result, I earned my support icon from the mode. support_iconI did end up buying one new champion, as I hit 4800 IP. Riot has been keeping up with their policy of dropping one champ from the 6300 tier down to the 4800 tier each time a new one releases, so there were some extra options. I was tempted to just continue saving until I hit 6300, but I ended up purchasing Fizz. I haven’t played him a whole lot, but in ARAMs where I got him (due to being in the free rotation) I did fairly well. Plus my end goal is to eventually own them all, so add one more to the pile. I believe at this point I still have 36 to collect. Meaning I own like 70-something. Not bad, but considering the amount of years I’ve played the game you’d think I’d have more. I had a rather good performance with Janna within the last few days, so I’ll just leave this here:

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I have been keeping up on the World Championship matches. This weekend I watched Samsung White utterly DESTROY Samsung Blue in the first semi-finals match on Saturday (early – 1 am) morning. Going 3-0, SSW will be representing Korea in the Finals. This morning I watched OMG and Royal Club as well; it was a better series, but RC advance to the finals for their second year in a row after a 3-2 victory. This will be the second year in a row we see a China vs. Korea final, with RC falling to SKT T1 last year. With the performances this week, I’m feeling pretty positive that Korea will take it all in the end, again.

Other PC Games

I gave a rundown of the newest Alpha build for The Forest along with some screens of a recent playthrough in this post.

I played some Starcraft II over the course of the week, finishing up a few more missions. I believe I am nearing the end of the Terran campaign, though it’s interesting the amount of missions you get to play the Protoss. Their missions help to break up the monotony of playing only one race for so long. I like the Terrans quite a bit more in SC2 than I did in the original. I didn’t like the Zerg all that much when I tried them in multiplayer, but I know that when I get to know them again in the campaign I’ll probably be back to loving them. I’m hoping to complete the first campaign within the next week or so.

I hadn’t touched Orcs Must Die in months (since I purchased really), but not so long ago I was gifted a copy of the sequel by Welshtroll and decided it was time I beat the first game so I could move on to the second. I played quite a bit yesterday, completing a handful of missions. I have a handful of levels left to beat, but also have expansion content because I bought the complete pack so I’m not sure how much I really have yet to do. Either way the game is fun for short bursts, or longer sessions. Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be ready for the 2nd game. I’m steadily moving through my backlog, despite not being able to focus on one game at a time 😛 The last mission I completed was pretty straight forward, but the one I’m on now where they introduce “the pounder,” is completely unfair. I failed twice, so I gave it a rest.

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Bring on the horde!

The Path of Exile event played out on Saturday. I was a little late to the group so I had to sit out for a little while. I played my Witch solo for a bit, and hit level 23 (I could have sworn she was a bit higher level than that). When I joined in with the group, I played a Ranger I had created previously but hadn’t used much. It worked out as everyone had created new characters and they were about level 6 at that point which was the same level as said Ranger. We played for a couple more hours and I leveled that Ranger from 6 – 14. I got to experience some of the newer content in that the boss battles were more intense, but also had some new instances/events added in from one of the expansions. I didn’t take any screens… I don’t know why I keep forgetting.

The past week’s flash game for Bragtoberfest was called Axon. Initially Doone posted a laughable score, and I beat that rather quickly, posting one around 25k. Next thing I knew Jeromai made a post where she had hit 66k, completely blowing my score out of the water. I commented there that I was done… but then I decided to take another stab at it.

It didn’t take long for Murf to answer back at over 98k, and then Jeromai iced it with 108k. Now, I’m officially done. Next week’s challenge might play out differently.

Playstation Plus

I totally skipped over doing my typical Playstation Plus post. It was mentioned a few times in my circle so I just let it ride. I did dive into the games though, beating Chronicles of Mystara in one sitting. It was ok, but would have cost a fortune in the arcade where it originated. Those games were purposely designed to rob you of your lunch money. I played some Spelunky as well, and though it’s fun it doesn’t seem to have anything going for it as far as using it in Bragtoberfest. Maybe the daily challenges? sort of unsure about that. Giving us Batman Arkham Asylum seemed dumb. They already gave us Arkham City (the sequel, which I never played). Would have made more sense to give us Arkham Origins, but either way I’ve already beaten Asylum so that’s lame.

On TV

Hell on Wheels – took a mid season break, not sure why AMC is so fond of doing this. Been good so far, lots of intense scenes between the new governor and the main character. Was shocked that Common’s character was still alive but he was not himself after indians nursed him back to health. Sad that he had to be put down.

Boardwalk Empire – final season has been slow moving, but the weird part is the fact that they keep delving into Nucky’s past.. like why didn’t they care to do that in the first 3 seasons? Watching Capone be an idiot is fun, I love the actor playing him, as he was good ol’ Tommy in Snatch and that’s one of my favs.

The Strain – Season finale just happened, sorry to say that the “master” got away. Crazy that he could withstand direct sunlight, didn’t see that coming. Great show, can’t wait for next season.

Sons of Anarchy – Shit is getting really thick. Not only is there a huge gang war brewing between the bikers, the chinese, the mexicans and the blacks, it seems that Jax has played all ends against the middle. This is typical for SOA, there’s always these backhanded deals going on, but it’s hard to keep up with who is doing what. Then Gemma is “taking Juice out of town to safety” and he catches on that she’s gonna try to kill him. He looked like he might kill her. Sad thing is that he’s in the shitstorm for doing things for Jax and for her… yet they want him dead. No idea where this is going, but oh yes, there will be blood.

American Horror Story – I can already tell that this season is going to be much better than the last. For whatever reason I couldn’t get into Coven, but Freak Show has already started off great. The special effects for all the freaks (though I think some bits of that isn’t special effects) are great (particularly the two headed main character). The creepy factor of the serial killing clown.. man it’s gonna be a good season.

The Walking Dead starts later today. I cannot wait. When we left off, the crew had just made it to Terminus, and the consensus among fans is that they are cannibals. This wouldn’t be the first time the subject had been broached in the walking dead universe (season 1 of the game had a nice little farm with em). With the crew locked up in a train car, who knows how they’re going to bust out. But Rick didn’t look too happy going in there. He’ll be back with a vengeance.

So that’s about all I have for this week’s edition. 1.5k words later, I’m spent.

#stateofthegame #roundup

TV Time: An Update

Last Summer, I wrote a post about Why I love AMC. It’s been a little over a year now, and there have been some changes to that lineup, and I didn’t really touch on other shows I watched outside of that particular channel. It’s still my favorite channel when it comes to TV series, though I do watch a few shows on FX and other networks.

Changes on AMC

Mad Men entered its final season at the beginning of this year. The longest running of these shows, it’s sad to see it go. They decided to do the same thing they did with Breaking Bad, in that they split the final season into two parts. So although we’ve seen half of it, we have to wait until the beginning of next year to see the last episodes. I cannot express how good the show is, despite really having a simple premise. Breaking Bad had it’s latter half of the final season play out last summer, and the conclusion was a bit different than I expected, though it wasn’t overly shocking. Another show that is no longer on the network that I had listed before was The Killing, which followed two cops in Seattle trying to catch a serial killer. The third season aired last summer, and the fourth and final season was picked up by Netflix (which I have yet to watch). You’d recognize the actors, with the main character starring opposite Brad Pitt in World War Z, and her partner having played Robocop in the recent reboot. All of these shows are on Netflix in there entirety (outside of the last few episodes of Mad Men), so you have no excuse to get caught up.

The other shows from that list, The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels, are both still going strong. The 5th season of the former starts in the fall, and the 4th season of the latter is on currently. I watched the first episode, but having moved I forgot to add it to the DVR list, so I might have missed an episode or two by now. I’ll get caught up.

Additions for those vacant time slots have been pretty good as well. Low Winter Sun started after Breaking Bad ended last year, and it’s another cop drama. The plot twist is that the main characters have gotten wrapped up in a crime that they committed, and are trying to avoid being caught in the process. It has that vigilante spin that I rather enjoy.

Turn is another new show that looks to take the Mad Men time slot. It’s based on early colonial America, and the first spy ring forming. George Washington isn’t a president just yet, and the revolutionary war is brewing, but not started. The main character is the son of a judge of a small town, and he gets involved in the spy ring, being rather good at it. I enjoyed the first season and will tune in when it returns. Time period pieces with some historical accuracy are great in my eyes.

Halt and Catch Fire is taking the summer time slot that The Killing occupied. It’s a story about three wildly different individuals that come together to build a new computer in the 1980’s. The main character is a bi-sexual, the son of an IBM corporate exec, and a charismatic salesman type. His counterpart has worked for Cardiff Electric for years as an engineer, but had dreams of building his own computer (that he did with his wife in the past, but it failed) for years. The wildcard is a girl who dropped out of school and was basically a gutter punk, who is discovered by the main character and turns out to be a programming genius. They reverse engineer an IBM machine and start creating their own entry into the industry — The Giant. It’s a great show and rather gripping, and since it takes place in a time frame that I am more familiar with, I rather enjoy it.

Other Channels

Another channel that has been in my steady rotation for a number of years is FX (and to a lesser degree, the newer FXX). I used to only really watch their sitcoms like Wilfred, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Legit, and Louie. In more recent years I started getting into their original series.

The first show I watched with any regularity was Sons of Anarchy.  A biker gang from central California, the SOA crew have had many adventures, and in a lot of ways it was a successor to shows like The Sopranos for me (for lack of a better correlation, the organized crime aspect is the only factor the two shows share). More recently I started watching American Horror Story which is a unique show in that it isn’t an ongoing series, rather it favors individual stories per season. The first two seasons really hooked me, though the last season centered around a Witches’ Coven in New Orleans fell a little flat.

Fargo which is loosely based on the movie from the 90’s (and stars Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit movies) and is factually based on events that happened in Minnesota, just ended a few weeks ago. I loved it. It has an all-star cast, is a gripping crime thriller, and though the main character is the criminal, you really feel for him and his sad life (that changes throughout). I recommend it!

The Strain is the final show I’ll talk about on this channel, and it’s based on a book series. I haven’t read the books, before you ask. I have been watching the show though, and so far it has been really interesting. It’s currently running its first season, so I won’t go into the storyline because of potential spoilers. Just know that it’s an epidemic, and it’s not what you think. I’m seeing a bunch of different horror ideas rolled into one, and as a fan of the horror genre, it’s up my alley.

The only other show that I’ve really been watching is on Sy-Fy, and that is Defiance. You’ve probably heard of it as a gamer. It tells a story about a post-apocalyptic earth, where alien races have taken up residence and a small town called Defiance (in what would be St. Louis) is the focal point. The characters are well-rounded and engrossing, and the sci-fi meets real-world setting is interesting.

I am still very much a Game of Thrones fan, but that is obviously between seasons. Via HBO GO, I’ve also been catching up on Boardwalk Empire, which is most definitely a good substitute for The Sopranos, but in a further-in-the-past setting.

Any of these shows listed come with my recommendation. If we are semi-like-minded, you will enjoy them as well.

#tvshows #blaugust #amc #fx #hbo

5 Reasons Why I Love AMC

You can ask anyone, I’m not that big on TV. As it is, I had to add a “Television” category to the blog just now, because I really don’t ever watch it, let alone blog about it. However, I was watching the newest episode of Mad Men on the DVR a little while ago, and I just had to point out the fact that AMC is the best network on Television. I mean, there have been countless other shows that I have watched over the years, but I really never wanted to watch them when they were on, and never used to have a DVR, so I just didn’t watch TV. My free time was propagated by video games and socializing. In more recent years, through a Netflix subscription I have discovered shows that maybe I heard about, but never bothered to watch, and I now believe I was doing myself a disservice. So, without further adieu, here’s 5 reasons why I love AMC:

1. Mad Men

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Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that Mad Men was the first original series to hit AMC. Also, because it is the show that is currently playing on the network, I felt it fitting to start with. The show started in 2007, and I remember hearing/reading about it, but that was back when I was firmly addicted to MMOs and didn’t have time for TV. The Mad Men moniker is a combination of “Madison Avenue” and “Ad Men” as the characters are in the advertising business on Madison Avenue. The show is set in 1960’s New York, and focuses on the main character, Donald Draper, who himself is a successful albeit troubled man. His womanizing and alcoholism are on full display, and snippets of his troubled past pop up from time to time. It is a period drama, so if you weren’t alive in the 60’s, things might seem a little strange, but anyone who has studied history or just watched a few old movies should feel right at home. I enjoy the fact that they take their fictional stories and intertwine them with real-world events, much like the movie “Forrest Gump” did. I won’t go any further into the plot twists, but let’s just say that the show will hook you, and keep you hooked. Excellent writing and acting are evident throughout. If none of this interests you, let me give you one last reason to check out the show:

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God I’m in love.

2. The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead marries my love of Zombie movies and comic books. I’ve been into the Zombie genre for years, and have a pretty extensive collection of Zombie flicks, but making the concept into a show and stretching out the story with greater detail is amazing. To top it off, the show is based on a comic book that I have since gotten into, and though the storylines are different, the overall feel of the show stays true to its comic book roots. Take any Zombie movie you’ve ever liked, and then stretch it into 13 hours of viewing goodness, and you’ll have the Walking Dead. I started watching this show from the beginning, unlike any of the other shows I have and will be talking about. As soon as I heard about it I was on that shit. I like the fact that the show centers around the main character Rick Grimes, but that all other characters, no matter how attached you may get to them, are subject to death. This is unlike most TV shows, where only supporting cast members pass on. I can’t go into specifics without ruining anything for someone who hasn’t seen the show, but trust me, the drama in the show is addictive and you will not want any particular episode to end.

3. Breaking Bad

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The concept of Breaking Bad is simply too good to pass up. A high school teacher diagnosed with cancer and feels that he will die without anything to leave his family, decides to start cooking and selling meth to take care of his family. That’s enough to make anyone go “say what?” From there, you’ll be forever stuck wondering how you missed out on this gem. Breaking Bad is in its 5th and final season sadly, but if you’re caught up, you’ll know they couldn’t stretch this particular story out forever. The acting is superb, the story is fantastic, but it is distracting every time you see the Dad from “Malcolm in the Middle” pulling bad ass gangster shit. I mean, he pulls it off, but I just always see him as that goofy Dad. In an effort to stretch out the show, and probably to continue to help ratings, this final season was split in half, and won’t be returning until summer. I will come back with commentary after this season (and the show) concludes.

4. The Killing

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As evidenced by this promo, the Killing comes back this summer as well, in its 3rd season. I remember seeing advertisements for the show but I had missed the original season, so I ended up watching this show on Netflix. I will be recording the new season when it starts. This is the typical cop drama, with some twists and turns that keep it fresh and interesting. I didn’t recognize any of the actors from any other shows, but the main characters do manage to make you care about them, and you care about the family that is the victim of the story. The first two seasons centered around the death of a teenager, and the two detectives that are trying to solve the murder. This upcoming season seems to be focused on a serial killer, as the last case concluded in season 2. Stretching out a single case over the course of a season (or two) is better in my opinion rather than having cases solved in one episode (think Law and Order). I like the attention to detail, and how the writers can throw plot twists at you in every single episode.

5. Hell on Wheels

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Another period drama, this time focusing on the transcontinental railroad in the late 1800’s. Hell on Wheels is one of the newer series on AMC, which would have started around the same time as The Killing, as they are both coming into their 3rd seasons. This show reminds me a lot of the HBO series “Deadwood”, although the subject matter is slightly different. “Hell on Wheels” refers to the rolling town that follows the construction of the railroad from the east to the west. It isn’t a town with an address, it’s more like a moving campsite. The main characters are troubled, which is a theme amongst AMC’s series, but this touches on the humanity of us all. The construction of this railroad affects everyone differently, and the way the cast interacts with each other, the environment, and even the Indians who are pissed off at them, seems to be pretty historically accurate. All in all, this series is captivating in that it transports you to a world much like our own, but far removed from anything anyone alive today can remember.

If you aren’t convinced that these shows are awesome, check them out for yourself. All old seasons of each of these shows are available to stream on Netflix (probably other streaming services as well), and you can get caught up and then jump on new seasons as they release. Compared to anything else on TV, there really isn’t any comparison.