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Flashback Friday: Round 7, 9/16/2011

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Netflix Instant: Five Drama Shows You Should Watch


Friday Night Lights final season posterFriday Night Lights (2006-2011)

Creator:  Buzz Bissinger (book), Peter Berg (movie director)
Starring: Kyle Chandler (Super 8), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Aimee Teegarden (Prom), Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Jesse Plemons (Observe and Report), Zach Gilford (Super), Minka Kelly (One of Derek Jeter’s ex-girlfriends), Adrianne Palicki (Legion), Gaius Charles (Takers) and Scott Porter (Speed Racer)
Episodes: 63 (Seasons 1-4)

Why You Should Watch It:
It operates in a world independent of the movie by the same name.  The characters are very stereotypical and the drama can be a wee bit over-the-top (what the fuck was going on with season 2? (hint: writers’ strike)).  If you like to vicariously relive memories of high school through 20 something year old actors playing high school students, then this is for you.  This seems to be one of those shows that launches the career of a few of it’s stars as fan favorite Taylor Kitsch (who plays an alcoholic and irresponsible football player that ends up being a 3 year captain of his big time Texas high school football team.  I never said the show was realistic) and Aimee Teegarden have a few starring roles lined up.

californication season 3 posterCalifornication (2007- )

Creator:  Tom Kapinos
Starring: David Duchovny (The X-Files), Natashca McElhone (Solaris), Madeleine Martin, Evan Handler (the Sex and the City movies), Pamela Adlon (Spinelli from Recess) and Madeline Zima (A Cinderella Story)
Episodes: When I started writing this, season 1 was available but not anymore.  Wait it out, it’ll return.

Why You Should Watch It:
Duchovny plays the tragically flawed literary genius Hank Moody as he tries to navigate his rampant sex life, his duties as a father and his writing career.  The show does an awesome job of mixing humor with things like sex, drugs, statuary rape, family life, fame and relationships.  Be warned and get excited because there is A LOT of nudity and it’s often aesthetically pleasing.  For the most part, the characters are all pretty funny and they play well off each other (particularly Hank, Charlie and Marcy).  It’s a very adult like show and it’ll make you feel really mature when you watch it.  One of my favorite shows on TV.

Rescue Me final season posterRescue Me (2004 - )

Creator: Denis Leary and Peter Tolan
Starring:  Denis Leary (Ice Age), Michael Lombardi, Steven Pasquale (Aliens vs Predator – Requiem), Daniel Sunjata (The Devil Wears Prada), Andrea Roth, John Scurti, Callie Thorne (The Wire), Robert John Burke (Limitless), Lenney Clarke (Rounders), Larenz Tate (Dead Presidents), Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Episodes: 74 (Seasons 1-5)

Why You Should Watch It:
Taking place in post-9/11 New York City, the show follows firefighter Tommy Gavin (Leary), his family and the crew in his firehouse.  Rescue Me focuses on Tommy as he struggles with alcoholism, marriage, fatherhood, womanizing, firefighting and the death of his cousin, a fellow firefighter, in the aftermath of 9/11.  The show has quite a bit of mature themes and it would definitely show lots of boobies if it wasn’t on cable.  Tommy’s firehouse crew provides the comic relief and they do a pretty good.  It’s in its final season and it was one of the best shows on TV during its first handful of seasons but it’s been a little drawn out the past few years.

Nip TuckNip/Tuck (2003 - 2010)

Creator: Ryan Murphy (Glee, but Nip/Tuck is nothing like Glee)
Starring: Dylan Walsh (Congo, Secretariat), Julian McMahon (Fantastic 4), John Hensley (Teeth), Joey Richardson (The Patriot, Event Horizon), Roma Maffia Eraser) and Kelly Carlson (The Marine)
Episodes: 100 (Seasons 1-6)

Why You Should Watch It:
Nip/Tuck is another show like Rescue Me (both on F/X) that pushes the boundaries of what’s allowed on network cable.  The show is about the lives and careers of two prominent plastic surgeons and it involves a lot of sex, vanity, fucked up situations and violence.  It’s very risqué and even ridiculous at times but it’s fun to watch.  One of the best things about the show is it’s use of seasonal guest characters played by people like AnnaLynne McCord, Famke Janssen, Rosie O’Donnell, Portia de Rossi, Mario Lopez, Oliver Platt, Brittany snow, Rhona Mitra and Bradley Cooper (among many others).  The storyline get pretty wild, especially in the later seasons, and according to the infallible source of Wikipedia, the medical procedures  are based on real cases.  It’s a wild, entertaining and sexy show so if that’s your thing then this is your show.

MacGyver first season cover artMacGyver (1985-1992)

Creator:  Lee David Zlotoff
Starring:  Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG-1), Dana Elcar(U of M alumnus), Bruce McGill (Cinderella Man, The Sum of All Fears)
Genre:  Awesome
Episodes: 139 (Seasons 1-7)

Why You Should Watch It:
Today’s generation is probably more familiar with the SNL parody MacGruber (the movie is pretty hilarious) but there used to be a time when MacGyver reigned supreme in the hearts and minds of all humanity.  MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) is the ultimate spy/escape artist/humanitarian/life-lesson teacher.  In each episode, MacGyver is tasked with a different difficult situation that he needs to solve using his different elements of his surroundings, his encyclopedia of a brain and a lot of bit of ingenuity.  It’s a fun show to watch as MacGyver defuses bombs, thwarts terrorist plots, save the environment and teaches youth how to become better human beings.  It doesn’t matter how shitty the situation is, MacGyver will still somehow manage to relay some sort of life lesson at the end of each episode (like don’t let your friends do crack).  It’s also fun to see actors before they got famous like Cuba Gooding, Jr and Teri Hatcher play minor roles in various episodes.  MacGyver will fill the nostalgic void you have for hokey 80’s action, dress, dialog and a general disdain for anything Russian.  Former featured artist D-WHY even references MacGyver in his song "Wasted"; "Turn nothing into something so you should call me MacGyver."