November 19, 2013

Whatcha Watching?

Yesterday, in a mammoth feat of lying on the sofa in front of the telly, Clair watched an impressive amount of rubbish. At one point the existence of “standards” on Uborka was questioned. Not that we give a monkeys about quality, but today we are going to turn it around and find out what is the best thing on TV.

In Casa Uborka we tend not to watch much broadcast television. We are bingewatchers of the highest order. Having recently finished a full rewatch of The Sopranos and enjoyed the finale of Breaking Bad very much indeed, we then turned to series 5 of Sons of Anarchy. Now, SOA started really, really well; more than once we found ourselves watching three episodes back to back. By series 3, doubts were setting in. The first two episodes of series 5 were almost unwatchable in their horror and violence, and the series has progressed at such a level of dreary misery that it now feels like watching Eastenders. So we’ve binned it, and happily picked up the new series of Borgen instead. Also in the mix at the moment we have The Good Wife, Eureka, Scott & Bailey and M*A*S*H. (You may also have spotted the theme: Strong Female Characters).

What have you been watching that is really, really good?


20 thoughts on “Whatcha Watching?

  1. In this household, now that Breaking Bad is over, it’s all about Borgen. We are also slowly – rather too slowly – working though The Returned and The Americans, both series-recorded ages ago. Our regular weekly fixtures are University Challenge/Only Connect/Have I Got News For You, so no surprises there. Comedy favourites are The Big Bang Theory (new season running on Thursdays) and Fresh Meat (give or take the odd laptop, student houseshare life barely seems to have changed in the past 30 years, which I find rather reassuring). The next box set will probably be Mad Men, assuming they’ve finally got round to releasing the last series (not having Sky Atlantic does put us at a disadvantage). We have Netflix, but don’t use it much, and we also have a postal Lovefilm subscription, which we use a lot.

  2. Scandal. A bit soapy but epically compelling, leading to quite a bit of shouting NOOOOOOOO!!!! at the telly towards the end of Season 2.

    Castle. Love it. Miss it. Want it to come back very soon.

    House of Cards. Netflix only, but worth the month’s free trial to binge watch and then cancel, should you not find enough else worth paying £6 a month for. Absolutely brilliant. Love it.

    Sarah & Duck. This thing is not like the others, but every adult who’s sat down to watch this at Jnr’s behest has fallen in love with it. If you have to watch Kids TV, this is the very best of it.

  3. Under “Strong Female Characters” I still watch

    Scandal – cheesy, but watchable and fun
    Law and Order : Special Victims Unit – dark in general, but bloody good, and on about Season 15 now
    Agents of SHIELD – currently doing what it says on the tin

    Outside of the previous list…

    The Blacklist – ridiculous, entertaining, and well, James Spader
    Sleepy Hollow – just ridiculous. It’s got one more episode before I decide to bin it

    Eureka was ace (although I’ve seen it all now) and if you’re wanting something with a complete boxset, “The Shield” is excellent. (Morally ambiguous like SoA – some of the same writers – and based(ish) round the Rampart scandal in LA, but an amazing show) “Last Resort” (same creator as Shield) was also interesting, but only lasted one season.

    There’s probably other stuff, I just can’t think of it at the moment.

  4. I’ve been devoting far more time than is healthy to re-watching all of ER – which runs to 15 series. Generally I think it’s aged pretty well. I keep thinking I should watch something else occasionally and then putting more ER on. I’m not sure how much longer I can get away with this.

    I’m sticking with Homeland although I’m increasingly unsure why. There’s many worthy documentaries stacking up on the digibox. I’ve got The Soparano’s, Masters of Sex, Orange & Black and Top of the lake on my list.

    Ms Gammidgy on November 19, 2013
  5. (Also enjoying the tunnel but not finding it that compelling to want to watch 2 in a row)

  6. Ooh there’s a few to add to the list [Pete, are you reading?]. And a few not.
    The Returned – gave up after a few episodes: too Lost.
    Mad Men – very high quality drama, loved it.
    I don’t think we know Castle or House of Cards; I think we might have tried Scandal and not continued.
    Agents of SHIELD was an absolute pile of shite and anyone who disagrees is guilty of claiming the emperor has a new suit.
    Homeland was brilliant for one season only. Wasted too much of our life on series 2 and only a couple of eps of series 3.
    Lisa do stop going on about The Killing and The Wire. We are never going to change our minds about them.
    Shield and The Tunnel are queued up, and I’ve just remembered how much we enjoyed Orange Is The New Black, and are eagerly awaiting the next series. Which will probably disappoint. How few programmes can sustain the dynamic beyond series one.

  7. I recently deleted Homeland S2, having not bothered watching it at all before S3 came on – at which point I admitted defeat, and thought “chuff it”.

    Agents of Shield *is* shite, but I enjoy it in small doses. Whereas Arrow was just shite³, and I’ve no idea how it made S2.

    On real “shite-but-fun”, Revenge is still there, although it’s more soapy than my usual fare. Ditto Nashville, for which I’m looking forward to S2 and hoping it stays doing More Of The Same.

    I’ve still got all of S2 of The Newsroom (Sorkin’s latest one) to watch – really liked S1, didn’t get round to watching S2. That’s what the festering season is for.

  8. Mad Men – I should like this but it’s just SOOOOO ACHINGLY SLOW! That I get bored.

    You’ve mentioned Sopranos, Breaking Bad but I’ll echo the call for the The Wire. It’s different, takes a few episodes to get into but is one of the best things I’ve watched for a long time.

    It’s bit cliched now but 24 (first few series) were good. Far-fetched and OTT but some trends that are now seen in other series.

    Next up for me is either Borgen or Orange is the New Black I think. I think a Borgen marathon on a cold winters weekend sounds ideal.

    I don’t watch all that much TV, I’ll binge on series on Netflix and the like.

  9. Well, I can’t watch Agents of SHIELD without getting massive liberal qualms about a government agency with apparently unlimited powers for some unspecified “greater good”. I’m still watching it, but Agent Coulson isn’t charming enough for me to keep going back for much longer (and I watched episode one of the Newsroom and the preachy exposition immediately killed it stone dead for me, so haven’t bothered with that). We’re a Sky+ house, although as my wife is away so much with work, we don’t get much time to work through the backlog. We very much enjoy Elementary – it really got into its stride and formed a unique identity, plus Lucy Liu is great. We’re also die hard True Blood watchers, although to be honest, it’s a bit disappointing if the announcer before the programme doesn’t warn of gratuitous nudity. Other things on the hard drive are Hannibal…. where if you ask me the premise is too thin and Mads Mikelsen too Danish to be really any good. Banshee… which was nonsense and we watched it all but probably won’t bother with S2. The Tunnel, which seemed promising based on the one episode we’ve got to. The Walking Dead, which we’ve stuck with but has become increasingly dreary…. blimey, I’m not selling any of this am I? We are looking forward to the return of Grimm though. We’re one series through the original Killing, and haven’t got anywhere near Borgen or the Bridge yet, so we have those to look forward to. I’m also keen to get my teeth into Breaking Bad, which I have not watched a single second of (whilst we’re in confession, neither have I watched a minute of the Sopranos and I’ve only watched the first season of the wire. Forgive me father, for I have sinned). I also have a guilty love for Eastbound and Down, which is just finishing it’s fourth season. It’s all about Game of Thrones though, innit? I overheard someone in the pub the other day saying how they were bored of the books whenever the perspective shifted away from Tyrion. Tyrion is cool, but that person is an idiot.
    Ok. Rambling, so I’m stepping away from this comment now…..

  10. Karen – I’ve been waiting all year to say that. Actually, no…. I *have* been saying that all year. My cod Sean Bean accent is coming on a treat! Best, most glass-half-empty, family motto EVER. Followed closely by WE DO NOT SOW.

  11. I also need to re-watch Band of Brothers – now that was brilliant television. Haven’t watched Pacific yet, either. Hmm. Need to get on that.
    On Game of Thrones and strong female characters, have I bored you about the article the New Yorker had on this a year or so ago? Superficially, Westeros seems to be a classic, male-dominated world where feats of arms are celebrated and women are to be traded off for marriage alliances or suffer rape at the hands of conquering armies. BUT, when you look closer, all of the strongest, most steadfast characters are either women or, in the case of Tyrion, a half man. Very interesting dynamics in a genre where you don’t necessarily expect to see that.
    I have already bored you with that? Sorry about that. I’ll try and find the link if you’re interested.

  12. You can have your own post to bang on about GoT if you like. Love the series & totally regret Pete & I pledging to watch before reading.

  13. read anyway! I loved the books – downloaded the first one within 5 minutes of the first episode of S1 and had finished it before ep2 – All 1000 pages…… The point of view chapters can radically change your perspective of a character (although, actually, the TV series did that well with Jamie too, to be fair). Read!

  14. Orphan Black was the last thing I was absolutely gripped by. Apparently, no-one else watched it.

  15. I watched Orphan Black too, and really liked it – but still have the final 4 eps to watch, as life sort of got in the way a bit. (Along with Masterchef Australia, but that’s just geeky and sad 🙂 )

  16. I listed what I’ve been watching in the comments for the previous TV post.
    I’m not going to go through the list of past shows I endorse— most are already listed here, but I would add Person of Interest because it was on last night and Oh MY! Also I enjoy Michael Emerson’s acting even when he’s chomping up the set and because of Jim Caviezel, period.
    I was talking up Orphan Black when it first aired here and wondered if anyone picked up on it, because it’s ace.

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