There’s been a lot of drama in TV Land this year.
(Not TV Land the channel. Like, the land of TV. Ha.)
Without calling out any shows or networks by name, this week, in particular, has been especially very trying. I watch certain shows that I’ve always watched, and now, instead of being Excited and Fulfilled, I’m just Tired and Done. So I log on to Twitter, or Tumblr, seeking some kind of lighthearted distraction from my TV fatigue, only to find out that that’s pretty much the worst strategy ever, considering the fact that social media platforms are basically overflowing with people who are just as Tired and Done as I am.
So you know what? Instead of bitching and moaning on every social networking website about how our old faves have done us wrong and everything sucks, HERE, let’s all focus on some Good Shit together:
Sharp comedy, heartwarming/wrenching drama, impressive musical numbers that careen from feel-good satire to okay-little-bit-TOO-real. If you’re thinking this is just another let’s-laugh-at-the-white-girl’s-self-indulgent-sob-story type deal, think again. The show’s been praised for the non-stereotypical inclusion of POC in its main cast, as well as its realistic portrayal of Filipino customs. I mean, for once in our lives, the dreamy hot person everyone’s going ga-ga over – listen closely now – ISN’T! WHITE!
Also, Rachel Bloom is a creative goddess who is a serious triple threat as well as important af representation for body posi, self-confidence, and mental issues, and we all need to worship at her toe-tapping feet RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
Fred Armisen and Bill Hader team up to spoof a bunch of famous documentaries. What more can I say? Oh, and, Helen fucking Mirren hosts this shit, so you KNOW it’s good.
Stylistic but raw, gritty but abstract. This 1970s-set show does a fantastic job balancing social issues like race and poverty with positive themes of hope and friendship, all with a killer soundtrack that’s groovy af. It’s also one of, like, three shows I’ve ever seen in my life where I legitimately have to squint to try and catch a glimpse of white skin. Plus, Justice Smith knocks it outta the fucking park with his first lead role as wordsmith Ezekiel Figuero. This really is Baz Luhrmann like you’ve never experienced him before – down and dirty.
Kristen Bell is fucking back, my guys. She’s teamed up with Michael fucking Schur (The Office! Parks and Rec!) to bring us this legitimately hilarious satire on Heaven and the afterlife. It’s pretty obvious some of the cast are still finding their feet, but the writing is sharp as fuck, and Kristen Bell is fucking enjoyable as fuck, plus it’s the AFTERLIFE so everyone’s technically ALREADY DEAD anyway, so fucking watch this and have a goddamn laugh.
This show is well into its third season, and I can count the number of times I’ve seen an edit or gifset of it pop up on my Tumblr dashboard on one fucking hand. That’s fucking insane, considering the amount of comedic AND dramatic talent that’s practically overloaded into this one little lifeboat of a Fox show (Will Forte! Kristen Schaal! January Jones! Mary Steenburgen!). If you want an post-apocalyptic show that doesn’t constantly get fucking high off its own ultraviolent drama, THIS IS THE FUCKING SHOW TO WATCH.
I fully expected this show to be bad. It is not.
Yes it is another grumpy by-the-book detective reluctantly teams up with constantly-smirking-wickedly civilian ‘consultant’ show, but fuck me, the two leads’ chemistry is seriously worth watching. Throw in DB Woodside as Lucifer’s stern, stickler older brother and Lesley-Ann Brandt as Lucifer’s demon protector/sidekick who actively rejects being reduced to just playing the sidekick role and seeks to find her own purpose in life, and honestly, every episode is one hell of a good time. (Also, Tom Ellis is finally getting worked to his full potential, and I could not be more proud.)
FIRST FEMALE PITCHER JOINS THE RANKS OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. Need I even go on??????
I don’t, actually. Because you can find more of my ramblings on why this show is important here.
(Seriously, friends. WATCH THIS SHOW. DO NOT LET IT GET CANCELLED.)
To me, PLM has always been the Original (and far superior) Gangster to Looking. It’s an Australian comedy-drama that does a fucking brilliant job with making you wheeze with laughter and bawl your eyes out, all within the span of twenty-two minutes. All the cast is really great, and nothing ever feels inorganic.
On a more serious note, there’s a lot of shit we talk on social media about how much we want a show with an LGBT lead that’s positive LGBT rep and also normalises LGBT interactions and struggles and other important mental issues like anxiety and depression but is still genuinely funny and sharp and manages to warm the cockles of our hearts. If y’all fucking mean it, y’all better fucking watch PLM.
Like The Office / Parks and Recreation / Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but in a superstore!
Tbh, this isn’t the slickest of comedies, but it’s definitely getting better and more confident as it goes on. Plus, it features the first sitcom male-female will-they-won’t-they pairing that I wouldn’t actually mind finishing up in ‘won’t they’ territory. The two leads (America Ferrera, Ben Feldman) play it so fucking well that they could easily pull off both.
If you’re not already watching this, wyd??????????
This show is, at first glance, an asshole of a comedy. Seriously. It revels in showing the very worst parts of self-absorbed characters who are already kind of terrible to begin with. But ultimately, it really is just holding up a big, fat, magnifying mirror to society, and that’s why it’s so fucking good. It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics about romance and friendship, the social and personal ennui and boredom that leads to increasingly self-sabotaging and -destructive tendencies of our ego-swollen generation, and also heavyweight stuff like PTSD and depression. The writers throw everything they’ve got at an exceedingly talented, game cast, and every episode is truly a fucking Ride. The show consistently gets raved over by critics and fans alike, and I just don’t understand why I never hear anyone talking about it outside of articles and episode reviews.
As downright weird as the premise initially sounded to me (40-year-old woman poses as a 26-year-old in order to get a job in a publishing house), the show itself is just so fucking great that by the end of the first ep, I clean forgot how reluctant I was to start it in the first place. Sutton Foster is literally the only person imaginable who could even begin to pull off a role like this, and the issues her character struggles with in trying to pass off as a ~millennial~ go a lot deeper than just trying to work out who even uses Facebook anymore. This is one of those shows that doesn’t need to rely on huge, over-dramatic plot twists every twenty minutes to create good drama that keeps you engaged, and everyone needs to watch it.
And a bonus,
Despite also being called Underwear, this is also easily the least risqué offering on this entire list. It’s a Japanese-language Netflix original, and it’s basically the Asian cousin to The Devil Wears Prada – if Miranda and Andy had a relationship that was actually healthy, that is. It’s a little slow at times, but on the whole, it’s a refreshing change from the usual spiteful drama or emotional angst that we’re so used to seeing in office-based TV shows. There’s no jealousy or Mean Girls-esque cliques, and everyone is so fucking passionate and committed to the work that they share that it legitimately brought tears to my eyes, on more than one occasion. Also, the lead actress Mirei Kiritani is an actual cupcake of a person, and you just can’t help but root for her to achieve all her fluffy cupcake lingerie-related dreams. (Not those kind of dreams, ya nasties.)
So why is this a bonus? Because the show is only available on Netflix as far as I can tell, I was a little reluctant to include it. But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it out entirely. Seriously, watch this whatever way you can get it!
You can find out more about Mel on her author page.