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Written by: 24 January 2016 5 Comments

So last year due to the combination of encroaching age, being busy with study and work, and general laziness, chilling out on the couch watching some tv became a prime source of entertainment for me. Luckily this coincided with ‘peak tv’ – the result of streaming services, cable and your traditional US channels all fighting it out for new content. The downside is there is a ridiculous amount of shows, an impossible amount to take in. The second season of True Detective was eminently skippable so that helped a bit.

To help you all out further here are six of my favourite shows from the last year that you should take a look at.

Show me a hero

HBO came through with this mini-series, focusing on low income public housing in yonkers, NY in the late eighties. It’s a pretty serious premise and show but features excellent work from ‘the wire’ writer David Simon, ‘Crash’ director Paul Haggis, and a huge cast, the highlight being Oscar Isaac in the lead role. At 6 installments it’s a tightly focused and sad true story.


This one snuck up on me a little, being at first a bit slow moving, and building into a pretty intense story. Ben Mendelsohn (who you’ll know is an intense actor if you’ve seen anything he’s in) is the highlight as the black sheep in a family running a luxury lodge in the Florida keys. The show does really well developing all of the characters and showing the humid soupy atmosphere of the Florida keys.

Fargo (Season 2)

Finally a little humour! I went into this show with pretty high expectations after the awesome first season, but after getting my brain around the complete change in time period, found this season even better. This season keeps the humour and slickly stylised violence of the first season, and movie, but moves things back to a late 70s, pre-reagan era setting. The cast (including Breaking Bad’s ‘Meth Damon’) are great, and the direction and cinematography are really interesting. Apparently there’s going to be another season, but it’s going to be tough to top this one.

The Knick (Season 2)

Clive Owen stars in this hospital based historical drama. The historical setting is on point, the direction from Steven Soderbergh is amazing, and I am a big fan of the soundtrack from Cliff Martinez (who made the music for ‘drive’). I’d recommend checking the first series first on this. There’s also a podcast each week from the writers of the show interviewing the cast and crew and talking about making the show, which is a neat idea.

Bojack Horseman (Season 2)

I think some of the BMP are already on board with this show about an anthropomorphised washed up former tv star horse. The first season took a little while to find its feet, but this season was good from the get-go, with a huge collection of weird and funny characters, and an inner darkness and self loathing from Bojack himself that lends the show a dark core.

Rick and Morty (Seasons 1+2)

I was a bit late in checking this show out but it quickly became a favourite last year. Dan Harmon (creator of Community) is co-creator of this show about an alcoholic, misanthropic, scientist and his dull witted, perpetually horny 14 year old grandson. Once again there’s a lot of weird characters and ideas and some real darkness.

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  • Mick said:

    Nice. Some shows I will have to check out.

    Some TV I enjoyed more than I expected
    Fargo S2 (really didn’t know how they would get a S2 done but it was the best telly of the year for me, but I’m still not sure about the UFO)
    Master of None
    BoJack Horseman
    Making a Murderer

    Still cued up on the AppleTV Gen 4 (best device ever btw):
    Better Call Saul
    Wet Hot American Summer

  • Bob Daktari said:

    my picks for essentials

    Walking dead (best season yet)
    Mr Robot
    Halt and Catch Fire
    Silicon Valley
    Show Me A Hero
    The Americans (beats Deutschland 83 narrowly in cold war show of the year)
    Orange Is the New Black
    Fresh Off The Boat (for generic bad sit com)
    Better Call Saul
    Mad Men

    So many others worth the couch time too

    I think we’re a long way from peak TV…. thanks to the way we consume media and as someone who spends more of my entertainment time in front of a device watching than I think I’ve ever done I’m pretty pleased with that

    Already 2016 is a stunner – War And Peace (bit fluffy), The Expanse (shaping up to be possibly the best sic fi on telly ever), Jericho (not the 2006 us series – a brit thing), Colony (this will turn to poo soon as its already flying through the usual plot devices)

    wish it was winter

  • Mick said:

    Oh yea, the final season of Mad Men was ace.

    Someone else said the writers have changed on the Walking Dead and it’s now way better. I just don’t know how many times I can watch those dickheads (I hate them all) get chased out of their new digs by walkers.

  • Bob Daktari said:

    I don’t know about the writers changing – possibly, and the scenario of hating the characters and the ever move in and then move on scenario hasn’t changed

    They just did it in a really interesting (for any tv show) way over a season – everything that happened would normally have taken one to two episodes… as you know I’m a sucker for zombies and will see walking dead through to its probably grossly demise, it went from a will watch to really looked forward to each week show, which doesn’t happen often – should you check it out on my advice, no. I am that guy who keeps rewatching World War Z (it never gets any better)

    I probably should have put in Downton Abby too, I did all 6 seasons last year and I don’t know why but I giggle more during downton than any other show, without any aid

  • Benny said:

    Damn Bob, you watch a lot of tv – will have to find out more about ‘the expanse’ on your rec..

    Mick – I’m Meaning to check out ‘making a murderer’ – you’re among several people who’ve mentioned it. did you see ‘the jinx’ on HBO? I recommend that, also watched ‘better call saul’ and liked it.

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