In the “golden age of television” it’s often easy for some shows to be overshadowed by the entertainment behemoths like Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Orange Is The New Black, House Of Cards and Mad Men. Considering it is a golden AGE, that doesn’t seem particularly fair on some of the other shows that don’t always get the attention they deserve. Comedy also gets dismissed but for now, that’s ok because I’m going to dismiss comedy for the sake of this article as well. The trouble with TV being so good at the moment is that it’s not ALL good. It’s the cream of the crop analogy that you should look to here because most TV shows are still rubbish and only a handful of shows make their way to the top to clot together with the rest of the cream. Fortunately I have a lot of spare time and I chose to spend this spare time wading through the s**t to bring you a list of TV dramas that deserve a lot more recognition.
Generally speaking, as soon as a Netflix original makes its way online, it’s considered a hit by the very next day. Unless you’ve seen Daredevil beat half of Hell’s Kitchen to a pulp or witnessed Piper Chapman stumble her way through prison life then you have no reason to even visit the water cooler (unless you actually want water). So it still baffles me that Bloodline made its debut online five months ago and almost no one has heard of it.
Bloodline centres around the Rayburn family and the havoc caused by the black sheep of the family, Danny(Ben Mendelsohn). There’s not much more to say about the plot than that and the only way I managed to explain it to my friends is that it is a show about a really f**ked up family. It may not sound like much but after you get through the first few episodes Bloodline is really gripping. Although, it’s not just the writing that makes this show great, Bloodline has got one of the strongest casts ever to grace the screen. Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini and Sissy Spacek are the stand-outs and it wasn’t until I Googled the show that I even remembered that Ben Mendelsohn is Australian. I really can’t say enough about this show and though it may be a bold claim, I would go so far as to say that it is the best Netflix show to date.
The first season is available on Netflix now.
Now I promise I’m not just being bias but this next show also has a main character called Daniel (if you didn’t know, my name’s Daniel, hey how are you going?). Though he may be the lead of the show, Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is definitely not the hero. That role is saved for his younger sister, Amantha (Abigail Spencer). Yes, she has a name that sounds like Samantha and Amanda had a fight and no one won but there is so much more to her character. After Daniel gets wrongfully prosecuted for raping and killing his teenage girlfriend, it’s only Amantha that doesn’t give up on the fight and Daniel is set free nineteen years later when new DNA evidence comes to light.
The best explanation I’ve ever heard for this show is from an online forum where someone mentioned that they thought the show was, “the most interesting boring show of all time”. It’s true, whole episodes can go by where nothing happens but Rectify still manages to keep you enthralled. This has got to be down to the characters, almost all of them are just good, honest people whose lives have been destroyed by this horrible crime and you can’t help but sympathise with them all. It could also be due to the titles, which are spellbinding. As the hauntingly beautiful Balmorhea plays, a collection of stills roll by on screen that use a mesmerizing trick in which only one section of the picture is moving.
Season 1 is available on Presto, seasons 1 and 2 on DVD and Blu-ray, and season 3 is available on iTunes.
Now this one is only for the Moffat fans, but who isn’t a Moffat fan right? He is responsible for the greatest show on television and in his spare time created the wonderful Sherlock. Jekyll acted as the BBC’s trial run for Moffat, before he became show runner on Doctor Who they wanted to see if he could manage a drama on his own. Of course, he pulled it off.
Jekyll is a modern day retelling of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, sound familiar? It seems to be Moffat’s trademark to reinvigorate old favourites. It may well be the most Moffat show of all time and if you watch this after a few Doctor Who or Sherlock episodes you will be able to play the fun game of, “Spot the Moffatism”. To be fair, it is a little bit goofy and I could never tell if that was intentional or not but James Nesbitt as both Jackman and Hyde will distract you from the silliness. When he makes the switch, it really is like you are watching another person and Hyde only narrowly missed out on making my top villains list.
The entire season is available on DVD, Stan and iTunes now.
If there ever was a show more suited to the phrase, “what has been seen, cannot be unseen” it is Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker is responsible for this episodic anthology series that will forever haunt your dreams. Each episode tells a different story of our modern world and points out each and every one of its flaws. It’s like The Twilight Zone for disturbed adults. Like The Twilight Zone, it manages to wrangle up some pretty impressive guest stars, like John Hamm, Rafe Spall, Hayley Atwell, Jodie Whittaker, Rupert Everett and Lindsay Duncan.
Don’t let my description put you off because some of the stories Black Mirror tells are incredible. So much so that Robert Downey Jr. has bought the rights for one of the stories to be turned into a movie. There are also plans to do an American version of the show, which if I’m honest I don’t see working, part of the charm of Black Mirror comes from its Britishness.
Series 1 and 2 are available on DVD and iTunes. Unfortunately the Christmas special is not available anywhere.
I have saved the best for last. It may be impossible to do Mr. Robot justice in writing but this show is nothing but amazing. Mr. Robot tells the story of Elliot(Rami Malek), a computer hacker that has anxiety issues and major issues with society. Eventually he teams up with Mr. Robot and gang to try and fix these issues or bugs as he sees them.
This show is my next pick for a show that will get everyone talking. It’s first season has only just finished airing but the pilot was so well received online that it was recomissioned for a second season before the first has even aired. Give it a year or two and like Breaking Bad I expect this show to be one everyone’s’ lips. Mr. Robot is definitely something special. For my spoiler free review of the complete first season click here.
Season 1 is available on Presto now.