A question I ask students at orientation, "What is your favorite film or TV show?" Every quarter I have at least one student who claims that there is nothing worth watching on TV. Guys, I am here to tell you this is an irresponsible assumption.
Just like YouTube, cable and network television has a sea of useless, mindless programming: 99% of reality shows, afternoon talk shows, opinionated editorial segments passing off as news. I agree that it would be easy to get lost when looking for intelligent, entertaining shows. The trick is to read and listen to film critics' suggestions. I have found numerous titles that can compete with the best features produced today.
Below are a few suggestions to keep on your radar. I've broken them down by network.
HBO - This network consistently has great programming in several genres on several budgets. Six Feet Under, Tales from the Crypt, Carnivale, Rome, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and on and on. Their network recently won the Oscar for best short documentary, Saving Face, which is part of their Monday night documentary series. Below I have the trailer for their latest hit, Game of Thrones. If you are a fan of fantasy, you don't want to miss this!
AMC - Home of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Rubicon, and the Walking Dead. Zombies, Drinking on the Job, Thrillers, and Drug Dealers. The line up sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer, however the quality of writing and acting is beyond compare. Below is the season 1 recap for Breaking Bad.
NBC - They are still culprits when it comes to reality TV and game show programming. However, Community and Awake are two shows that should be on your radar. Community is full of film and television references that only film geeks would enjoy. Below is the documentary episode which spoofs Hearts of Darkness- Apocalypse Now documentary.
I hope this expands your television pallet. You can find some of these shows on Netflix Instant, free on the internet or Hulu Plus. The HBO shows are network only or on DVD. Enjoy the suggestions and feel free to leave suggestions of your own. Remember to keep reading the blogs and listening to podcasts to get more exposure. - Eve