Well, I think it’s officially time for me to put up the post that was supposed to partner one of Rainbowchair’s first post. A long time ago Rainbowchair posted his top ten premium channel shows, now it’s my turn. One note I want to make before I begin. I am NOT including miniseries so Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, the Pacific ect. are not eligible for this list. Well, here we go, Orangechair’s 10 best premium channel shows.
10. Party Down: A sadly short lived show about want-to-be actors working at a catering company. The show features a cast of eclectically hilarious characters, and each episode features the crew hosting a different party, generally for a star who makes a cameo. Featuring the talents of Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally, Lizzy Caplan and Martin Starr, Party Down is the only show on the list made by Starz
9. Carnivale: I’ve heard television shows and films described as bold but I’ve never used that description because I’ve never thought of something as bold. Then I saw Carnivale. A bold series set in the South a few years prior to WW2, the series focuses on a travelling carnival. Pitting the forces of good against the forces of evil, the show is driven by religions references and retellings. Meant to be a six season series, the show was taken off the air after two seasons. Had it been allowed to run its course, I’m certain it would have climbed to the top five of this list.
8. Californication: God Hates Us All and nobody knows that more than Californication main character Hank Moody. The sex-addicted, foul mouthed, ranting character by himself was enough to get Californication on this list but the show as a whole is outstanding. Hopelessly chasing the love of his life, Hank Moody sleeps around California while trying to find the inspiration for his second novel and raise his young daughter. Darkly humorous and full of brilliantly written rants from David Duchovny, Californication is a must see for any who love raunchy humor.
7. Weeds: Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), mother, widower and your friendly neighborhood drug dealer. Living with and supporting her two sons, Shane (Alexander Gould) and Silas (Hunter Parrish) and her brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk), this show comically delves into dealing drugs in the suburbs. With some of the wackiest, most messed up characters on television, each season of Weeds gets bigger and more ridiculous, but usually in a good way. I’m sure there are many out that are surprised Weeds is not higher up on the list but as far as I see it, Weeds had 3 amazing seasons (1-3) and the rest were good but nothing really mind-blowing. It is certainly worth watching though, at least through Season 2 because the Season 2 finale is quite possibly one of the greatest Season finales ever put on television.
6: Trailer Park Boys: Alright boys, I think it’s time we headed up to Canada and visit the world’s greatest trailer park, Sunnyvale Trailer Park. Focusing on trailer park tenants Ricky, Julian and Bubbles and the many illegal schemes and situations they try and pull off while avoiding drunken Trailer Park Supervisor Jim Lahey and his assistant Randy. With more alcohol and drugs than I normally see on television, the show uses repeated jokes and inebriated characters to create one of the funniest shows I have had the enjoyment of watching. The show has its own, odd brand of humor that may be an acquired taste but definitely worth trying a couple of times before making a final decision.
5. Shameless: Based on a British show of the same name, Shameless was picked up by Showtime and set in Chicago. Featuring the uniquely lovable Gallagher family, the show looks at the children of a drunk and a flake as they try to fend for themselves in Chicago. With William H. Macy as the drunken father, the show has an amazing cast playing the five Gallagher children and every aspect of the show works to make the audience love and root for the Gallaghers. Shameless is equal parts humor and drama and as you get to know the characters it becomes clear that the show’s name is in fact the best way to describe it.
4. Dexter: Michael C. Hall takes both the fourth and second spot on this list, this time starring as the titular serial killing, blood spatter analyzing man that many people love. The only show that can make you root for the Serial Killer, the flawed Dexter Morgan was taught by his father Harry to only kill people who deserved it. Needing to keep his Dark Passenger happy, the thing inside that makes him kill, Dexter is a serial killer that kills serial killers. Working for the Miami Police Department, hiding in plain sight as it were, each season pits Dexter against a new serial killer. Fighting to keep those close to him safe, avoid being caught by his own police department and to feed his Dark Passenger, Dexter dances closer and closer to being caught with each passing Season.
3. Homeland: It was difficult for me to put a show that has only has two full season as number three on this list but hopefully that shows you how great I think Homeland really is. Never before have I been so confused if characters are heroes or villains but when it comes down to it, that is the point of the show. Set with American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) is returned home after being a POW for seven years. Convinced that Brody has been turned, bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes, who gives the performance of a lifetime) launches an investigation on the man to determine what side he is really on. As the show progresses, we see how the investigation and Brody’s return home affects him and the world as he is quickly hailed as a hero. Each episode allows us more information about Brody, making us feel like we are working with Carrie all season long to determine if Brody is a traitor or not.
2. Six Feet Under: Warning, Six Feet Under is a highly depressing show but what can you really expect from a show set in funeral home? The show focuses on a family, the Fishers, and the series begins with the death of the patriarch of the family, played by Richard Jenkins. The death brings all the Fishers home to help run the family business and take care of their over anxious mother Ruth. Both sons David (Michael C. Hall who stars as a gay man, very different from the knife wielding Dexter) and Peter are adults and the only daughter Claire is just finishing High School. What is amazing about this show is that it is just about life. It follows the lives, relationships, problems, triumphs and faults of every member of the Fischer family and how they cope with death…literally every single day.
1. The Wire: As far as premium channel shows go, this is quite an old one but as you can see, I think it’s the best. Set in Baltimore, the Wire takes a close look at both sides of crime. Half the episodes follow the Baltimore police department as they try to track down and stop the drug trafficking and violence in Baltimore. The other half of the episodes follow the drug lords as they move and sell drugs throughout the city. I have not seen every season of the Wire but I can say without finishing the series that it is absolutely outstanding. Each season has a slightly different feel to it and each season focuses on a slightly different aspect of crime but every season is full of great characters, great performances and great story.
Notable Shows That Were Left Behind and Why
• True Blood: Many may be shocked that True Blood didn’t make my list but honestly I don’t understand the appeal in this show at all. It is not good and that’s all there is to it.
• Episodes: It was very difficult not to put this on the list. It needs one more good Season for me to have it crack the top ten. I think its brilliant and amazing, I just need to make sure it stays brilliant and amazing.
• Flight of the Chonchords: This show is number 11 on my list. It is a great show, it just missed a spot in the top 10
• Deadwood: I think the show is great, I just haven’t seen enough episodes to justify putting it on the top 10
• Hung: While the first two seasons are great, the show goes downhill and fast.
• Sex in the City: Lots of people love it, I just never really got into it.
• Bored to Death: Much like Flight of the Chonchords, this show just barely missed the top ten.
• Eastbound and Down: I’ve seen all of it and its funny, it just isn’t top ten material for me. I like watching it the first time but I don’t see myself ever going back to watch it again and for me a requirement of a top ten show is the ability to rewatch.
• Game Of Thrones: I hate to be this guy but read the books, they are ten times better.
• The Sopranos: I haven’t seen any of it which I know, is pathetic. It is going to my next big television undertaking though, I promise