Yes this is the original Mike South.
I got an email that noted that I had suggested some really good TV shows and wanted to know what I have been watching lately.
Let me start by saying that Television has changed…A LOT…There are television shows right now that are WAY WAY better than any of the OSCAR nominated movies. That said there is also a lot of shit on TV right now, so lets pre=qualify this a little….If your idea of intelligent writing is “The Middle” or “Blackish” or “The Goldbergs” skip the rest of this article.
Still here? Good! Here are five Television shows currently running that you will not regret the time you spent watching. They are in no particular order.
Hap and Leonard This Sundance series is based on the books written by Joe Lansdale, I have long been a fan and have turned a bunch of people on to this book serial. Its intended audience is men, no doubt but a lot of my chick friends love it too, It defies stereotypes and its rough and tumble, in your face fun reading isn’t what you expect. It is good television and excellent writing, Kenneth Michael Williams may be best known for his role as “Omar Little” in “The Wire” but his portrayal of gay, black, badass Leonard Pine is perfect casting. Hap and Leonard is just plain fun watching.
Billions This Showtime series is outstanding, it doesn’t talk down to you and in doing so it is a bit esoteric if you don’t have a basic understanding of The stock and commodities markets but the casting and the writing is brilliant. It is nice to see Maggie Siff in a show that isn’t a juvenile fantasy of how biker clubs work. her acting ability was way too good for SOA but she really shines here. It’s a great look at passion, drive and raw revenge. They throw in a few porn references too, this season they mention the AVN Awards and “A Traci Lords idea being a market dominating, barely legal, brilliant cocksucker of an idea.” Watch Billions.
The Americans This FX series explores the lives of a family of Soviet Spies living in DC during Reagan’s cold war 80s. The show is smart and brings up topics you likely never considered. It doesn’t preach and it doesn’t take sides except that sometimes both sides are on paths of evil and how much we sometimes had common goals or how important it is that cooler heads prevail despite what the respective leaders may have wanted. One of the things that struck me about The Americans was that the role of the female lead isn’t written to make her a strong character as so many are these days, instead she is a strong character because they play her positives as would happen in real life, and you get the sense that she is not only equal in her importance to the objectives but that she is necessary. A really good look at spying on both sides of the cold war.
Black Sails In its fourth season on Starz. Black Sails is something of a prequel to Robert Louis Stevensons book “Treasure Island”. Set on New Providence Island it is a fairly accurate look at the life of Pirates and Privateers. It is interesting to have a look at the first and the most successful “Democracy” ever formed. Pirates were truly a democratic form of society, everyone got equal shares and captains were elected, Pirates had no racial or even gender barriers. It is so good because it is honest, Forget the Pirates porn movies, forget Peter Pan, Forget Pirates of the Caribbean this is the real life story of people like Calico Jack Rackam, Long John Silver, Anne Bonney, Charles Vain and Edward Teach (Blackbeard)
Sun Records This CMT show is just starting but I can already tell that it is everything that the disappointing “Nashville” should have been. Unlike “Nashville“, “Sun Records” is not a soap opera, it is about the music and about the people who created something new and something that would change history. People like Sam Phillips, BB King, Ike Turner, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Prisonaires, and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart…just to name a few. The look and feel is authentic 1950s and the story is fascinating, I predict good things for this show.
There you have it. Some of these shows like Billions will not get massively popular because the average viewer isn’t intelligent enough to understand it but those of us who do are in for a treat.