Friday, December 26, 2014

Holiday Viewing: 5 Show Suggestions To Watch for the Holidays

Another year of more TV suggestions for you to avoid family members, I'm just trying to help.  Holiday season is the best time to binge watch shows that may have passed by you.  With the rise of streaming networks like Netflix and Showmi and with more quality programs airing on non-network channels it's understandable if haven't watched certain programs.  But Netflix is becoming a bit of a crutch, while the selection of shows is huge, it's slow on picking up newer shows and there's a constant update of programs being removed from the service.

Now, I don't have Netflix.  I consider myself: a live TV watcher, if I miss the first airing of a show, I'll try and catch the west coast viewing.  If I miss it both times then I'll watch it online.  And there's been a bunch of new shows out now that conflict with my TV schedule that has staying up to catch or closing ad window after ad window to watch it online.  Now like the previous installments, you won't hear any of the shows that's already created enough noise (sorry no True Detective or Fargo or Archer) that everyone is talking about. Here's five show suggestions for the holiday season.

Broad City (1 season, returning for Season 2)

For the past few decades, the stoner duo has been an essential part of comedy.  Duos such as Cheech and Chong, Craig and Smokey, Harold and Kumar and Jay and Silent Bob had marijuana smokers laughing out loud as they coughed up a lung with one hand in a chip bag.  They can now add Ilana and Abbi to that stoner hierarchy after the first season of Broad City.  The show centers around two low income, struggling women who try and navigate through the world while smoking a lot of weed.  Also Hannibal Burress shows up and the show has Amy Poehler as it's executive producer.

Critics call it the anti-Girls and anything that isn't Girls is a-OK with me.  It's different from other women-centric comedies, it doesn't focus on the romantic relationships of it's characters like Sex in the City.  It's about the friendship of two women.  Women that don't need a love subplot to keep the audience interested.  One of the best reviewed shows of 2014, it's highly recommend for stoners, women and their girlfriends and any fan of Comedy Central programs.

Peaky Blinders (2 seasons, returning for Season 3)

Think of Peaky Blinders as England's answer to Boardwalk Empire (another show I told you watch which sadly ended and suffered with a shorten season).  Tommy played by Cillian Murphy (Batman Trilogy, Red Eye) is a World War I veteran who is providing for his family by any means possible.  So obviously he finds himself in a notorious street gang known as the Peaky Blinders, named after the trend of sewing razor blades to the peaks of their caps.  Tommy finds a stash of guns that the IRA and rival gangs are interested in, so is Inspector Chester Campbell played by Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) who works along side a young Winston Churchill.  It's violent, has great storytelling, great acting and in season 2, Alfie Solomons the baker is introduced who's played by a bearded Tom Hardy (you know Tom Hardy). 

Banshee (2 seasons, returning for Season 3)

Fights and fights and fights and fights.  And a castration.  Lucas Hood a recently paroled convict who cons his way into becoming the sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania.  Hood reconnects with his past love and partner in crime, Carrie Hopewell to retrieve stolen diamonds.  Think of it as Blue Streak meets Andy Griffith meets mixed martial arts.  And there's nudity (Banshee airs on Cinemax).  Lots of nudity.  It doesn't come off as a stocky version of the current trend of gritty, edgy or dark (I'm looking at you Once Upon A Time), it's smart and there's a sense of danger as Hood cons his way in this small town while avoiding trouble with the local Amish mob boss.  Yes Amish.  So add Witness also into the equation.

Devious Maids (2 seasons, returning for Season 3)

Executive produced by Eva Longoria, Devious Maids follows a small group of maids that bond through their jobs, sharing their struggles while living in the rich lifestyle of their employers.  Now it does share some similarities with Longoria's old show Desperate Housewives (not to mention it's created by Mark Cherry) but it's a lot more campy.  There's drama, romance, suspense and very attractive women who play mundane maids.

Almost Human (13 episodes, cancelled)

Shouldn't be too surprised that Almost Human wasn't able to find an audience.  The show set in 2048 LA is about a human cop John Kennex, played by Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek) has to be teamed up with an android named Dorian played by Michael Ealy (Think Like A Man, Takers) that's mandated by the police force.  Now with that premise, most tuned it out like most of Fox' sci-fi shows since The X-Files ended (but somehow Fringe made it to five seasons on airing on Fridays).  It's a fun show with a sci-fi twist to cop tropes.

Honorable Mentions

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Suggested it last year and suggesting it again this year. Best opening theme on television.  Fight me. (Plus it won two Golden Globes and continues to get better and better.  And the social media war of Team Diaz vs. Team Santiago is getting stronger).


More Andy Samberg!  From the BBC, the sitcom follows the Thompson family as their daughter returns home with her newly husband, an American hippie (Samberg).  Old traditional family values meets outlandish, eccentric hippie philosophy.


The 11 minute comedy is a parody of every CSI, Law & Order, NCIS and every other police procedural show and movie from past and present, created and starring Paul Scheer.  It's action packed, filled with enough laughs to pack a punch in those 11 minutes and a cast that brings in such attractive people like Rebecca Romijn, June Diane Raphael, Alison Brie and Karen Gillan.  You can knock out a bunch of episodes in one sitting.

Silicon Valley

I don't think I've heard a word more used this year than the word "algorithm."  I literally heard the word a good dozen times, used in both TV and movies but I heard it most with Mike Judge's (King of the Hill, Office Space) HBO show Silicon Valley.  A timid programmer creates an algorithm for a music app called Pied Piper but after the head of a company, Hooli, discovers it can be used to compress data, everyone wants a piece of it.  TJ Miller, Martin Starr and Kumali Nanjiani star as the programmers in the start-up incubator.  It's a definite watch if you want to hear the best dick joke of all time.