Tuesday, September 6, 2016

15 TV Shows I Watch When My Nose Isn't Buried in a Book

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is a TV-themed freebie, in honor of the start of fall TV. I don't consider myself much of a TV watcher, and if Jarrod's not home the TV is rarely on. He likes to have the TV on for background noise -- I do not, and we're constantly arguing about the volume. When I was brainstorming what route to go with this topic, he suggested "10 Things I Hate About TV."

So with that in mind, it's rather surprising that I came up with over 10 shows that I currently watch. Maybe it just feels like I don't watch as much TV because I very rarely watch anything when it's actually airing -- the DVR (plus DVDs and streaming) is my best friend!

So below we have all the TV shows I watch at the moment, some with Jarrod and some by myself. (And I feel obliged to mention that "Downton Abbey" would be on this list if the series hadn't ended this year!)

 Do tell: what TV shows do you watch? Do you have any recommendations for me based on my watching preferences?

I love this Sherlock Holmes spin-off, which features Lucy Liu as a very brilliant Watson (and one who is much less of a sidekick and more of an equal than other iterations of Watson). Like many similar crime dramas, it takes place in modern-day New York City (Sherlock lives in an amazing brownstone), but Sherlock and Watson's deductive detection, Sherlock's personal issues and persona, and the good acting set it apart.

Game of Thrones
We started watching "Game of Thrones" on DVD a couple years ago and quickly got caught up. Since then we've ordered HBO for three months every spring just so we can watch it. I keep saying I'm going to read the books -- one day!

The first season of this twentysomethings-in-NYC dramedy was by far the best, but I'm still enjoying it. I laugh out loud at least once per half-hour episode, but there are plenty of serious issues tackled too. I bet everyone who watches the show identifies more with one character than the others -- flaws and all. "Girls" was my introduction to the hilarious Lena Dunham and the quirky Adam Driver.

I love this PBS Masterpiece Mystery show, inspired by a book series set in post-WWII England. Sidney Chambers is not your typical village vicar -- he's got his vices, he's ridiculously handsome and he assists the police in solving crimes. I love the Grantchester atmosphere and Sidney is just the most likable freakin' guy. And, while he's a clergyman, there's really no actual religion to the show -- so not to worry if, like, me, you're not religious.

Grey's Anatomy
Oh, "Grey's."  After 12 seasons I'm committed to seeing this show through to the end, but it's definitely seen better days. They try to keep it fresh, but there's really only so many romances and tragedies and medical craziness that can happen before it gets repetitive! Still, though, like a long-running book series (a la Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books), watching is easy and comfortable and familiar, which makes it enjoyable.

Jarrod and I watch "Homeland" together and we both really enjoy it, partly, I think, because Jarrod's military career makes it extra relevant for us. Claire Danes plays CIA agent Carrie Matheson, and in the first couple seasons she's focused on Nicholas Brody -- a rescued prisoner of war whom she believes may have been turned. After the Brody stuff is resolved, Carrie continues to be a badass and track down terrorists -- all while battling her bipolar disorder.

Mr. Robot
We streamed the first season of "Mr. Robot" when we were stuck in base lodging when we first got to Hawaii in May, and then the second season started in July. It's about a cyber security expert/vigilante hacker who also happens to be a schizophrenic.

Orphan Black
We binge-watched "Orphan Black" last year and were addicted from the first episode. It's a combination thriller, drama and sci-fi show that kicks off when our main character discovers she's one of several clones -- whom someone is trying to kill. The same actress plays all the clones and she does such an amazing job with accents and mannerisms that you'd never know it was the same person.

I read the book several years ago and was so excited to see it turned into a TV show! It's worth watching for the stunning scenery alone. If you're not familiar with the story, it starts right after the end of WWII, when nurse Claire time-travels back to 1700s Scotland, right in the midst of the Jacobite uprising and tension with England. This show has history, romance, suspense, humor; I loved the first season and I've got the second recorded. I'm *hoping* to read "Dragonfly in Amber" before watching it.

You might recognize Aidan Turner as the handsome dwarf Kili in "The Hobbit" movies. Here he plays an Ross Polark, an Englishman just returned from fighting in the Revolutionary War to find his father dead, his inheritance almost non-existent and his girlfriend engaged to his cousin. Ross Poldark is intelligent, kind and full of perseverance and he's very easy to root for. The show's set in Cornwall and the scenery is gorgeous. Like "Grantchester," this is another Masterpiece show based on an older book series. (Season 2 starts on the 25th!)

I absolutely adore this show. The acting is stellar. The plots are completely engaging. (And, while I do love "Elementary," "Sherlock" is way better.) But there are only a measly 10 episodes! I'm so excited for the next season in 2017!

I watched the show with my family when it first premiered what seems like long, long ago, then didn't watch for several seasons. A couple years ago my husband and I started watching again. It's hard not to get annoyed about the obvious editing and manipulation, but it's definitely entertaining!

Switched at Birth
This show is my guilty pleasure. It's about two teenage girls in Kansas City -- with very different ethnic and economic backgrounds -- who learn they were switched at the hospital as newborns. It's got all the typical adolescent dramas, but I love how the show's creators don't shy away from realistically tackling issues relevant to today's teenagers (the most recent season featured a storyline about sexual consent). And the show is set apart by the deaf element -- several of the characters, including one of the daughters switched at birth -- are deaf, and I've learned a lot of about deafness from watching the show.

The Walking Dead
I had zero interest in "The Walking Dead" and was totally irritated by the world's zombie obsession, but finally I gave in -- and it became one of Jarrod's and my favorite shows! We also watch "Fear the Walking Dead," though it's not nearly as good.

"Turn" is a historical drama loosely based on the true tale of a Revolutionary War spy ring. It's definitely not entirely historically accurate, but the characters are easy to like (even some of the Brits -- gasp!) and, in case you haven't guessed by now, I'm a sucker for period dramas! Jarrod and I watch this one together.

Honorable Mention:
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
I just watched "Gilmore Girls" for the first time a few years ago, but I fell in love! I only wish I had discovered it when it was actually on TV; I'm the same age as Rory is in the show and she would've made a great high school role model (not to mention we both went to school for journalism -- at the same time!). I'm really looking forward to the revival, which comes out in November. It'll be the perfect treat to watch during the holidays, cozied up with a warm drink in my Luke's Diner coffee mug, while I pine for the seasons I'm missing out on in Hawaii! (Since I'm not watching it *yet* I put it here at the bottom.)


  1. Lots of great shows here!! Girls, Grey's and Gilmore Girls are all ones I love. I used to watch Homeland but stopped at some point. Same with Orphan Black. I really want to start GoT and Outlander soon. Great list!

  2. I forgot to add Game of Thrones and Orphan Black but I really enjoy them both. I also like Switched at Birth but boy, it's been a long time in between seasons this time around. I'm interested to see where it heads. Great list!

    1. I know... definitely an unusually long wait before the new "Switched at Birth" season. Kinda makes me wonder if it'll be the last one?

  3. A ton of these made our list this week, too! Plus, I really, really love Orphan Black and Elementary is impossibly amazing :) Great list!

    My TTT.

  4. Switched at Birth is a good show. I just kind of fell off the bandwagon! Great Top Ten :D My Top Ten Tuesday!

  5. Love so many of these! I love Sherlock and Elementary. Mr. Robot is on my "To Watch" list. I keep wanting to check out Poldark. My husband loves TWD, and I follow it, but I rarely sit down and watch an episode because the zombies are a little much for my tastes. We watch Orphan Black together and while it's a little out there, it's fun and you're right, the lead actress is great!

    1. We inhaled the first season of "Mr. Robot" but the second season hasn't been quite as good. We won't give up on it yet, though! And "Poldark" -- it's totally up my alley so it's no surprise that I enjoyed the first season, but shockingly my husband actually watched it with me! I can't wait for it to start back up.

  6. I'm a die hard Greys and Survivor fan. It just seems like there isn't a whole lot out there that interest me. I will miss The Good Wife, it wrapped up in May. If you ever need to binge watch something, you would probably enjoy it.

  7. I have yet to see Elementary. It's one of the shows I would love try out, but I don't subscribe to Hulu and it's not on Demand through my cable company. :-( Someday maybe. I watched Grey's Anatomy for several years, but stopped watching after awhile. Sometimes I consider going back and seeing what I've missed. I've seen the first seasons of Game of Thrones and Homeland and really liked both. I haven't gotten any farther in either series though. I love Orphan Black, but am so behind! I've only seen the first two seasons. Sherlock and The Walking Dead are two of my favorites too. Like you, I'm not so taken with Fear of the Walking Dead. I watch it, but sometimes I wonder why.

    Great list, Lindsay!

    1. We really enjoy "Elementary." It's just fun and easy to watch, and of course -- Sherlock! Does your library do DVDs? The library district I worked at in Ohio had just about every DVD ever, and that's how we watched several shows. Here in Hawaii, though, the library charges $1 per DVD checkout. On principal, I refuse to pay to check out stuff from a library!

  8. Aside from Sherlock I haven't watched all of these. Though I did see the first two seasons of switched at birth and cannot wait for Gilmore Girls!
    My ttt


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