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    1. My previous recommendations: Person of Interest Psych So, I just finished binging all five seasons, and I think I can safely recommend this series to an audience that enjoys adult humor and series...

      My previous recommendations:

      So, I just finished binging all five seasons, and I think I can safely recommend this series to an audience that enjoys adult humor and series that juggle between the very funny and very serious.

      BoJack Horseman is a series that starts slow and doesn't really seem to truly find itself until Season 3. I personally didn't enjoy the first half of Season 1 at all (got very bored). The second half of Season 1 got me to keep watching purely on the humor and the gags, which pretty consistently increase in quality as the show continues.

      I especially got drawn in on all the "animal" gags. The series at some point early on becomes very comfortable going all out on visual&storytelling gags based on the animal playing them (BJH is an otherwise-normal universe where a significant part of the population is half-animal half-human). The humor is pretty high quality, I would easily compare it to the humor in Arrested Development (early seasons).
      It is a series that makes fun of itself, without relying too much on gimmicks or breaking the fourth wall too much. With that said, Seasons 3 and 4 introduce more experimental episodes (including an entirely mute one, similar to the excellent Hush from Buffy, as well as another that only consists of a beautiful entire 22 minute monologue). None of them bored me. I was always extremely impressed with the execution and the quality.

      What really gets me to recommend this series is its later seasons. Seasons 3 and 4 are of exceptionally high quality and the show becomes… very dark. But not without losing its humor. BoJack Horseman made me cry three times. I'm not talking about tearing up, I'm talking about the full waterworks like I've done only a couple of times in my entire adult life.
      It's a show that punches you in the gut not by having grand romantic storylines; not by having heroic moments with epic music; not sympathetically by having manly characters tear up; not even by killing off beloved characters like Game of Thrones. It's a show that hits you because it's too fucking real.

      In many ways, I would say that I enjoyed BJH for similar reasons that I enjoyed early GoT: It's unforgiving to its characters. But I don't want this to put anyone off from watching; it's a unique series to which I have a very hard time finding parallels. Its humor sits between Arrested Development, Futurama and Rick & Morty and is very much its own thing. Very reminiscent of Adult Swim.

      BoJack Horseman is available on Netflix. Come for the gags, stay for your own reasons.

      24 votes
    2. Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let...

      Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let alone among science fiction stories. Though The Expanse wins for sheer SFX pyrotechnics and breadth of technical scope, it's wonderful to sit in for a deep, thoughtful drama like Counterpart. The series focuses on character, story, world-building, plausible plotting, and avoidance of the usual alternate universe cliches. Counterpart is a genuine Cold War Noir spy thriller which happens to occur in a science-fictional setting, and the writers have managed to avoid or refresh the tropes of both genres in ways that ask interesting philosophical questions. It's quiet, slow, and meticulous in a way that most current television writing seems to have abandoned. There's tense action, but no primary colored-supersuits, no scary aliens, no gaudy laser beams, just... a split of history that leaves two distorted mirrors, reflecting each other.

      J.K. Simmons' performances in the roles of Howard (Prime) and Howard (Alpha) are mesmerizing in a way that outmatches Tatiana Mazlany's Orphan Black characters. There's a slow unveiling of the respective parallel worlds' history, with continuing evolution and interplay of characters and relationships, which brings to mind the best of series like The Wire or The Americans.

      To the extent that Counterpart borrows from literary canon, the most significant underlying influences are John LeCarre's find-the-mole games in the Smiley series, China Mieville's The City and the City, and Philip K. Dick (particularly, The Adjustment Team).

      The really guilty pleasure, and the lightweight pressure relief from the grimdark of Peaky Blinders or Counterpart, was a spit-and-giggles Canadian production called Letterkenny. I didn't have high hopes, but the 22-minute episodes are exactly what my brain needed to get over the daily doses of blah.

      The opening credits of each episode refer to the fictional rural Ontario town of Letterkenny as follows:

      There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.

      The plots are barely coat-hangers, with most of the comic tension spent on interactions among the Hicks (farm people), Skids (creative-but-disaffected Internet subculture wannabes), hockey players and Christians - a/k/a small-town tribes recognizable anywhere in North America. The portrayals are caricaturized enough to be both humorously offensive and humorously sympathetic simultaneously. [Could be some toxic racial/gender meta, but mostly, the treatment of women and minorities is in keeping with the setting.]

      The banter, and the utter Spock-like deadpan of Wayne (the toughest guy in Letterkenny)'s Hick character are the stars of the show. Some people have complained that the rapid-fire use of heavy dialect in the dialogue is impenetrable; that actually helps with comic timing. When your brain catches up to what was actually said, it's like receiving a two-by-four between the eyes of funny. I've got a bit of home-team advantage in the midwestern North American dialects area, and usually get it on the first run, but it's good enough to re-watch happily if the spouse needs a do-over. Transcripts are available, but watch the show before looking.

      We now have a new battery of in-jokes and gag lines to add to our secret spousal language - "Hard no.", "That's what I appreciates about ya", "...and he was never the same after that."

      There's really nothing quite like Letterkenny, and it's exactly smart/dumb enough to make fantastic comedy. Two seven-episode seasons are currently available on Hulu.

      6 votes
    3. Link to Google doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hc-Ti6Pff_qUZLAfzzL7WjhFNh2m_XPvMkdYBL6mLzI/edit?usp=sharing I created this document a while back and update it every couple months....

      Link to Google doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hc-Ti6Pff_qUZLAfzzL7WjhFNh2m_XPvMkdYBL6mLzI/edit?usp=sharing

      I created this document a while back and update it every couple months. There's an Introduction tab with guidance on how to browse the spreadsheets, which I've copied below for reference:

      (1) This document outlines various TV shows and is broken up into 3 tabs: Watched, Watching, and Want to Watch.

      Watched: Shows I've completed through series finale or given up on. Some of these were canceled early.

      Watching: Shows I'm actively watching day-to-day or shows in between seasons that will air new episodes in the future.

      Want to Watch: Shows I haven't started and want to watch. Many of them are recommendations I jotted down to avoid forgetting, so this list will sometimes be unalphabetized.

      (2) Certain columns of information were exported directly from IMDB, and the page for each show is linked in the rating from the IMDB column.

      (3) On the Watched and Watching tabs, there are columns for Recommend? and Notes to provide background that will help decide what to watch. Don't let any of my negative comments stop you from watching a show you're interested in.

      (4) The Recommended? column is divided into the following categories: Must Watch, Yes, Maybe, No. These are all based on personal opinion with extra discussion/information in the Notes column.

      (5) I've shared this with most people using View Only permissions, so download the Excel file (or copy to your Drive account) to filter columns by genre, rating, and personal recommendation.


      Disclaimer: not everyone will have the same tastes as me - that's okay. I welcome any disagreement about how I've rated shows and hope to get some discussion going.

      • What shows have I missed that I need to watch?

      • What shows did I strongly recommend that you didn't like?

      • What shows did I give up on too early?

      I expect to take some heat for quitting Brooklyn 99 around season 3.

      • What shows haven't come out that I should keep an eye out for?

      Like Jack Ryan which debuts this month.

      • How can I improve the document?

      I considered including a column with the show's network or where it can be legally streamed, but this is pretty tedious given the nature of broadcast rights.

      35 votes
    4. For me, its Arrested Development and South Park. I love AD for its meta-humour and inside jokes. However, I liked only the first three seasons. Here is a great video explaining what makes AD...

      For me, its Arrested Development and South Park. I love AD for its meta-humour and inside jokes. However, I liked only the first three seasons. Here is a great video explaining what makes AD different. South Park for great satire and taking the humourous approach on complex topics. This video explains better than I could.

      So, which are your favorite comedy tv shows and why do you recommend them?

      18 votes
    5. It's a good time to have Netflix if you need some quirky original comedy in your life. Both seasons look like they'll be split in half, which means we'll have more to look forward to later in the...

      It's a good time to have Netflix if you need some quirky original comedy in your life.

      Both seasons look like they'll be split in half, which means we'll have more to look forward to later in the year too!

      Only sad thing is that it looks like this'll be the last season of Kimmy and who knows about more AD - but let's not be sad, let's be happy that we are getting what we are!

      5 votes