Five Shows You Should Be Watching But Probably Aren’t [Friday 5er] Jul12

Share This

Five Shows You Should Be Watching But Probably Aren’t [Friday 5er]

For many years I didn’t have TV – not just a lack of cable but no basic channels either. I would catch up on network programs on my computer at lunch, but there were so many shows I didn’t even know existed at the time.

I’ve since embraced satellite television, and although I’m not one to argue that there is certainly a lot of terrible, mindless crap on the boob tube, there are also some really impressive endeavors I’ve run across lately. Some are well known cultural successes and some I don’t really hear about besides the internal monologue playing in my brain.

These are a few:

1. My Mother’s Ravioli


Much to my delight, I discovered this Cooking Channel gem one weekend morning surfing around my usual “nothing’s on” go-to’s.

The premise centers around multi-talented Mo Rocca, whom you may know from The Daily Show, The Tonight Show, and CBS Sunday Morning among other things (I’m also a radio nerd who catches Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me whenever I can, and he’s always hilarious on that too).

Rocca visits with the senior generation, one person or couple at a time, learning to cook their favorite dishes.

He also delights us with humor and antics in-and-out of the kitchen as he gets to know these people and their histories in a way that only such a gifted and personable journalist can.

This might be my favorite discovery of the year, I like it that much.


2. Defiance


Maybe a lot of you are already watching this show from the Syfy Network (and playing the corresponding game), but I haven’t heard much talk about it for how fresh and well executed I find it to be.

As a lifelong lover of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, etc (I could go on), I’ve checked out many a TV show that looked promising only to find it derivative, badly executed or under-appreciated and therefore cancelled before it could really grow to fruition.

My boyfriend discovered this show during a recent weekend marathon, and we were almost instantly hooked.

While there are other decent sci fi shows on right now, this one constantly impresses me with its creatively imagined world. It takes its cues as to what works from shows gone by (Next Gen, Firefly) while still creating a very original set of species and characters. It’s also, on the whole, exceptionally well cast.

My timing is a bit bad on this one as they just had their season finale, but if you can catch up on it, check it out – you won’t be disappointed.


3. The Newsroom


Ok, so this is a highly advertised HBO series from the likes of Aaron Sorkin (who I admit most people I know have a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” relationship with), but for how amazing I think this show is for anyone watching, regardless of political leaning, even amongst my liberal friends I don’t know many who are watching this fantastic offering.

Obviously I think you can tell I am a fan of Sorkin, but I actually came to much of his other work through falling in love with this show – The West Wing and Moneyball – so I (rightfully or not) feel like I took this show in with a clean slate.

The cast is tremendous, able to carry comedic moments with the same ease as politically charged or romantically charged plot lines.

Veteran actors Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterston are expectedly excellent, but the rest of relatively unknown names also shine: John Gallagher Jr., Dev Patel, and Alison Pill to name a few, with the biggest surprise for me being Olivia Munn, who has grown leaps and bounds over the last season and really holds her own.

If you aren’t already watching this show I probably won’t be able to change your mind, but if you aren’t, you should be.


4. Nathan For You


I think the tag line for this Comedy Central series says it all: “Real People. Real Businesses. Results Not Guaranteed.”

Nathan Felder hits the satire nail on the head in this hilarious take on the popularity of “fix my business/life” type of shows, as he uses his business degree to help a failing endeavor correct its ways every week.

It is smart, original, always hysterical, and Felder’s completely deadpan sincerity really makes it soar.

It’s on break right now, but you can always watch them on Comedy Central’s website if you have a computer, and I’ve totally check mated you on that one because you are reading this article right now.

Get watching!


5. Frontline


It’s not just a pet flea medication folks! PBS’ Frontline is not a new show, nor is it an unknown show, but for my money it’s consistently the best news journalism on television.

Rather than base their stories on what the biggest headline or easiest draw of the moment is, Frontline always seems to pull from very relevant and topical issues that aren’t being discussed as much as they should be.

Each time I catch an episode I find myself thinking of the topic covered differently, or realizing that I hadn’t been thinking of it much at all.

We would be a far better and more informed society if everyone watched this show.