The Sign of Five Under-watched Television Series or A Study in…Five Under-watched Television Series

Hi, my name is DonnyBagg and I am a blogger and it has been 6 months since my last post. I assume that the lengthy hiatus taken by (almost) all of the factoseintolerant authors will have been enough to shake even the most devoted of readers and I will likewise assume that I am currently addressing myself. Today I am going to deviate from my usual area of…let’s go ahead and say expertise, movies, and discuss pretty much the same thing, television series. Here is a brief list of shows currently on air that I feel more people should be watching:

1. Sherlock (Gatiss, 2010)

A co-worker tipped me off about this show last year. The series catalogs a number of mysterious cases taken on by the London based consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, who along with his friend and colleague, Doctor Watson, work tirelessly to solve crimes that baffle the ordinary police force. He uses a special brand of logical deduction (induction) to string together facts and formulate wildly improbable but nonetheless correct solutions and…like almost everyone already knows who Sherlock Holmes is so this summation has just been unnecessary bullshit. I don’t know why I do that sort of thing, it has got to stop. Anyway, this show kills it. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays an excellent Holmes; I would place his rendition just below Hugh Laurie in House M.D. (Shore, 2004) and slightly above the old Jeremy Brett performances (which are surprisingly good for a late 80’s television series that I watched in the late 00’s). I am also fairly certain that he outperforms Robert Downey, Jr. in the Guy Richie versions but this could just be because I prefer the introverted Holmes and Robert Downey, Jr. puts on a little too much charisma. Of course, this is all coming from a guy whose Sherlock Holmes literary knowledge encompasses once skimming The Hound of the Baskervilles during my junior year of high school, so perhaps I am not the best judge of character. Cumberbatch is accompanied by Martin Freeman, who does an equally outstanding job as Watson, and IMDB informs me that they will be pairing up again next year for the first installment of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (P. Jackson, 2012). O and the first season of the Sherlock series consist of three 90 minute episodes (WTF BBC?) all of which are available on Netflix instant play with more episodes to air this January.

2. Luther (Cross, 2010)

Another amazing drama about bobbies from across the pond. Luther stars Idris Elba as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. It is pretty much a tossup between Luther and Sherlock for which is better so I just recommend watching both of them. I don’t have a bad thing to say about this show, great acting, complex characters, intricate plots, and some pretty crazy villains. I didn’t think I could enjoy Idris Elba any more than I did when he played Russell “Stringer” Bell but in all honesty DCI Luther is just as much a badass and performed equally well. The only drawback (so I guess I do have a bad thing to say about this show) is that there isn’t enough of it. Season one was six episodes at an hour a piece and then season two was only four one hour episodes that pretty much played as two two hour episodes (WTF BBC?), so when compared to great dramas from the colonies like Dexter (2006) it lacks the depth that you gain from a twelve episode arc. Also, factoseintolerant (the author, not the website, legally obligated) would like to note the perturbedly thin upper lip on the character Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), he is convinced that it ruins the entire show but most rational people will get over it or even more likely not notice it. The first season is available on Netflix instant play, the second season is available for pirating on the internet, and they are currently in discussions for a third season but odds are looking good.

3. Delocated (Glaser, 2009)

Delocated is a great little show on Adult Swim about a family in the witness protection program that also take part in a reality show, which sounds like a childish and trite premise but once you get past that you will find one of the funnier shows on television. It stars Jon Glaser who was relatively unknown to me before seeing the show, as it turns out he was a writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien for quite some time as well as Pretend Time (Swardson, 2010) and Human Giant (Woliner, Huebel, Scheer, Ansari, 2007)(a series cut down before its time), he can be spotted in 30 Rock (Fey, 2006) if you look closely and somehow played a part in the only episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (David, 2000) I have ever watched. He also has this website called Auto Buds where people send in pictures of two identical cars parked next to each other and for some reason it makes me laugh every time I visit. A number of other familiar faces pop up including Eugene Merman, Jerry Minor, and the hilarious Todd Berry (who actually isn’t that funny in this particular show, but definitely check out his stand-up). Delocated has the normal ridiculous and absurd sense of humor possessed by all of the Adult Swim shows but out of the handful them that I actually watch it is by far my favorite. It began with a couple 11 minute episodes or half half hour episodes (WTF Adult Swim?) in season one but expanded into regular 22 minute episodes during its second season and will be airing what I can only assume will be 44 minute episodes beginning in January.

4. Archer (Reed, 2009)

Slowly becoming one of my favorite shows, Archer is a cartoon comedy about internationally renowned secret agent Sterling Archer. It incorporates some of the best aspects from two past greats – Arrested Development (Hurwitz, 2003)(another series cut down before its time) and Sealab 2021(Thompson, Reed, 2000). Created by Adam Reed, it still possesses some of the humor of Sealab 2021 and a great deal of the look but as the series has developed (phrasing!) it has started to show more and more signs of Arrested Development. Besides the use of recurring jokes, many of the voice actors play characters similar to their roles in Arrested Development; if Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) was Baby Buster (Tony Hale) then he would share that strange love/hate relationship with his overbearing mother Malory Archer/Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) and his paternity would be thrown into question with Len Drexler/George Sr. Bluth/Uncle-father Oscar Bluth (Jeffery Tambor) also Cheryl/Carol/Crystal Tunt/Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer) is a slutty incompetent receptionist and this is stretching (both the theory of the character relations and the structure of this sentence) it a bit but Noah/Tobias Funke (David Cross) is a doctoral candidate in anthropology/doctor of psychiatry so that’s kind of similar, right? Anywho, great show, on FX, back in January.

5. Homeland (2010)

I have been watching Homeland this season and it has quite a bit of potential. Damien Lewis plays Sergeant Nicholas Brody, a U.S. marine captured and tortured by terrorists for 8 years until he is finally rescued and who…spoiler alert!…may himself in fact be a werewolf (wait, that’s not right). I listened to an interview on Fresh Air awhile back with one of the producers I believe (not sure, it was awhile back) but I guess it is based on an Israeli television series which I was planning on looking up more information about but I got lazy. Lewis is great in this as he was in Life (Ravich, 2007) (another series cut down before its time) and Keane (Kerrigan, 2004), very good at playing the man with the troubled and mysterious past but what the hell was he doing in Your Highness (Green, 2011)? Claire Danes works well opposite of Lewis with the exception that when her character gets worked up all I can see is Temple Grandin. They are supported by Mandy Patinkin (haven’t viewed much of his work but what an excellent name) and Morena Baccarin (who until now I thought looked familiar only to find out just now she played Inara in Firefly (Whedon, 2002)(another series cut down before its time)). I have yet to see the 90 minute finale (WTF Showtime?) because was fucking around yesterday but it is up today so I shall be watching it presently.

5 out of 5 great shows

Just checked the Golden Globe nominations, Homeland along with both stars all received nominations as well as Idris Elba for his work in Luther which the Golden Globes is considering a mini-series or TV movie so I guess I have to rewrite this whole fucking article now. One last question, did you slip Afsal Hamid a razor blade?

About DonnyBagg

Doin' some movie reviews...
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2 Responses to The Sign of Five Under-watched Television Series or A Study in…Five Under-watched Television Series

  1. meredithancret says:

    I’ve only watched Sherlock out of that whole list. Damn you for giving me more TV shows to check out…I guess I don’t NEED to sleep.

    I prefer Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock as well and this from a girl who has read the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, starting from when I was 12. Downey’s version is also good, but I think it pulls from only a certain aspect of Sherlock’s character, while Cumberbatch pulls from several facets of the character.

  2. Leah says:

    I prefer Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock as well and this from a girl who has read the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, starting from when I was 12. Downey’s version is also good, but I think it pulls from only a certain aspect of Sherlock’s character, while Cumberbatch pulls from several facets of the character.

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