A friend of mine on Facebook requested (I love requests!!!) that I share my TV shows and book recommendations. Both of those lists are probably pretty long so I am breaking it into two parts. First, the TV shows.
Television or, more accurately, Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu tends to serve three purposes for me. I watch it actively, passively, and for sleeping. Active shows are the ones that I watch without distraction because I love the show, they cover deep issues, and they tend to require information about previous episodes to follow the story lines. Passive shows are the ones that I have on in the background while working, they provide white noise and the occasional break from work, but they aren’t distracting enough to make me unproductive. Sleeping shows are the ones I put on at night before bed, they are shows I am familiar with and provide a certain level of comfort and consistency to me. So, here we go…
Black Mirror – I’m completely in love with this show right now. I like it when television shows make you think and this show consistently lead to deep conversations with my partner about technology, transhumanism, human nature, philosophy, political institutions, and where we, as a society, are heading. There are going to be a lot of new ethical questions in the coming years as technology advances. I also really like that each episode is a stand-alone episode, you don’t need to commit to the show to get a lot out of it. It is a universe focused show instead of a plot or character focused show. I can’t recommend it enough.
See also: The 100, The Man in the High Castle
Six Feet Under – This show is representative of the “new tv” that has come from cable television (and later online providers). Without worrying about censorship from the government or commercials they are able to tackle more mature and serious issues. Some shows use this as an excuse to show lots of tits, but Six Feet Under doesn’t do that. There is some nudity and sex, but it is very real and appropriate to the story lines. The show takes place in a mortuary and makes you think about serious issues like family, love, mortality, and how our society views death. The characters are very real and human, there are no good guys or bad guys, everyone has moments of good and evil, they are all flawed people who are just doing their best.
See Also: Hannibal, Sense8, The Wire, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Transparent
Face Off – One of my guilty pleasures (okay, it isn’t a “guilty” pleasure, I don’t feel any guilt for the things I enjoy) is reality tv competitions. My favorite is Face Off. I am not a very creative person and it amazes me when I see the creativity and talent that some of these artists show. I love that we live in an age where people can pursue their passions and have opportunities that didn’t exist a decade ago.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – I know this is blasphemy but I think DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series. It is a little slow moving but having a series on a space station allows for some long story arches that tackle issues there were ahead of their time. It was made from 1993-1999 but talked a lot about terrorism and how to combat it, religious conflict with secular societies, military occupation, and the proper role of the military and government. It also was one of the first shows on primetime to show a lesbian kiss, which was highly controversial at the time (1995).
See also: The X-Files, Modern Family
Jessica Jones – I love just about everything that is happening in the Marvel universe right now. The use of TV and movies to create a cohesive universe is an amazing evolution for the art and would likely be impossible just a few years ago. Jessica Jones is my favorite in the series, likely because it is very adult. It definitely isn’t for children and tackles subjects like rape, PTSD, and how society treats those who are different. This is definitely a show that causes you to say “just one more episode” at 2am.
See also: Arrow, Flash, Gotham
The Biggest Loser, Pit Bulls and Parolees, Top Chef, Ancient Aliens, American Ninja Warrior, The Voice, Shark Tank
The Office, Parks and Recreation, Star Trek: The Next Generation, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Firefly, The League