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Author Topic: What are the "must-watch/must-have" television series on DVD?  (Read 4653 times)
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PeteRock
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« on: January 22, 2009, 04:36:03 PM »

Recently there just haven't been the extensive DVD film releases I'm usually accustomed to (I usually buy at least two to three movies a week), and so we haven't really had that many new movies to watch.

My wife and I don't really watch much television, especially long-running dramas as our schedules just don't really allow for us to be in the right place at the right time to watch every new episode (and no Tivo or digital recorder), and so we inevitably miss out on shows like "24", Prison Break, Heroes, Lost, etc.  The one show we used to watch religiously was The Shield, and I still have to get caught up with seasons 5, 6, and the final season once it is released on DVD.

My wife watched the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the entire series of Angel recently but I just couldn't get into them.  I'm not sure why, but there was inevitably something that would turn me off to each of those series.  However, my wife enjoyed them so much that she had to have them as part of our DVD collection.

So, what I am looking for is a list of suggestions for television series that go beyond "must-see" status and are considered "must-have" series every DVD collection should include.  For example, Band of Brothers, while not exactly a basic TV show, is what I consider to be a mandatory addition to any serious DVD collection.  And every season of The Shield will eventually be added to my collection as it is by far my favorite television series of all time (I've just fallen a bit behind in picking them up).

I'm trying to determine what other series should be added to our collection (we don't have Netflix and I'm not really interested in shows that might be fun to watch but not worth buying - if something is merely a rental, then we don't bother as we don't really rent films or TV series).  I have seasons 1 and 2 of "24" and I plan to continue with the series as I've really enjoyed what I've seen thus far.  But because there are just so many television series out there, I have no idea which ones are worth purchasing and which ones can be skipped altogether.  I feel like I've missed so much (especially series on cable stations like HBO or Showtime).

So right now my must-have list includes:

24
The Shield
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (for my wife, although perhaps some day I may try to struggle through it to see what the fuss is about)
Angel (again, one my wife felt was a must-have)
Firefly (picking it up today)

I have season 1 of Prison Break but for some reason just eventually lost interest and have no idea if the rest of the series is worth picking up.

So, great GT hivemind, what shows must every serious DVD collection include? 
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 04:37:44 PM »

The Wire.  if you liked The Shield you should like The Wire.
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 04:39:31 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on January 22, 2009, 04:37:44 PM

The Wire.  if you liked The Shield you should like The Wire.

I've heard good things about it.  Is the series finished?  I've seen "Complete Series" box sets available with 5 seasons included and I am curious if I have to worry about any subsequent seasons happening.

Right now we're watching The Beast on A&E and we enjoyed the first episode so far.  I think the next show is on tonight so we're going to see if it really has legs.
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 04:42:04 PM »

Seinfeld is a must-have collection... rocks so hard.  The funniest show that has ever been on television..
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 04:42:35 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 04:39:31 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 22, 2009, 04:37:44 PM

The Wire.  if you liked The Shield you should like The Wire.

I've heard good things about it.  Is the series finished?  I've seen "Complete Series" box sets available with 5 seasons included and I am curious if I have to worry about any subsequent seasons happening.

yep, it's done.
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009, 04:44:42 PM »

Quote from: depward on January 22, 2009, 04:42:04 PM

Seinfeld is a must-have collection... rocks so hard.  The funniest show that has ever been on television..

I think part of my problem with Seinfeld is that I've seen far too many reruns.  And when I was younger it just seemed to always be on TV.  I don't think if I purchased the series that I'd ever really watch it again.  The same goes for Friends.  For some reason I don't watch many sitcoms, although Two and a Half Men has been pretty entertaining so far. 
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 04:45:15 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on January 22, 2009, 04:37:44 PM

The Wire.  if you liked The Shield you should like The Wire.

+1,000,000

Yes it's finished. Amazon has the Complete Series boxset for $82 now and it's an absolute steal for the television greatness you will be witness to.
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2009, 04:45:42 PM »

OMG this is so easy:



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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2009, 04:46:35 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 04:44:42 PM

Quote from: depward on January 22, 2009, 04:42:04 PM

Seinfeld is a must-have collection... rocks so hard.  The funniest show that has ever been on television..

I think part of my problem with Seinfeld is that I've seen far too many reruns.  And when I was younger it just seemed to always be on TV.  I don't think if I purchased the series that I'd ever really watch it again.  The same goes for Friends.  For some reason I don't watch many sitcoms, although Two and a Half Men has been pretty entertaining so far. 

speaking of sitcoms, there's M*A*S*H*, which I plan on getting eventually.
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2009, 04:50:19 PM »

I consider the Prisoner a must.  It's just fantastic.  I especially recommend it to anyone who enjoys the whole "what the hell is going on" angle in shows like Lost.
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2009, 04:52:03 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 22, 2009, 04:45:15 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 22, 2009, 04:37:44 PM

The Wire.  if you liked The Shield you should like The Wire.

+1,000,000

Yes it's finished. Amazon has the Complete Series boxset for $82 now and it's an absolute steal for the television greatness you will be witness to.


With that kind of hearty recommendation I don't see how I can pass it up.  And if it is earning comparisons with The Shield then it should be exactly what I am looking for.

Quote from: Starshifter on January 22, 2009, 04:45:42 PM

Nonsense....

Get out.   icon_wink
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2009, 04:54:31 PM »

Battlestar Galactica gets top nods from me. I had absolutely no interest in it (was actively uninterested actually) until a friend basically made me watch it. Said I had to at least watch the mini-series and preferably the first season; if I made it through the whole first season he'd never bother me about it again if I didn't like it.

He didn't need to worry; by the end of the mini-series I was intrigued. By the end of the first season I was completely and utterly hooked. slywink It's great drama and good action at times.

I'd have listed Firefly, but you're already planning on it. Lost is great fun, but much more polarizing than most shows; people typically either hate it or love it. I love it. slywink

Deadwood was fantastic and well worth watching for the great characters and plot, but just go in knowing that it ends with Season 3 which wasn't really conclusive. It was supposed to be a four-season series from the start, but unfortunately HBO and the creator got into a fight about it all and the fourth season got canned entirely. If you can live with that and the frequently harsh language, the series is phenomenal otherwise and well worth watching.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also a truly fantastic series, particularly the second half of the series. I know a lot of people didn't really dig it, but I loved it, it's my favorite of the Treks because of the strong story threads that weave throughout the series, particularly the strong long-term narrative of the later seasons.
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2009, 04:55:14 PM »

I would also add:

Damages- perhaps not "must have" but it's a really good thrill ride and if you like The Beast, The Shield, etc then it's a good bet.  Only Season 1 is out now.  S2 just started airing.

Mad Men- probably the best show currently airing on TV.  It's not exactly fast paced but the characters and writing are phenomenal (I've got a man-crush on Jon Hamm) and it serves as a great window into New York in the early 60s.  S1 is out on DVD now, S2 will be coming out at some point (not sure when).  It's already been renewed for Season 3.  

Babylon 5- probably my personal favorite television series.  If you liked Mass Effect you should love this.  However it has a few caveats:

- It takes a while to find it's footing. Many people would even advocate skipping Season One entirely (I do not).  But the payoff is enormous and the series is pretty much on fire in Seasons 2-4.  There have been numerous B5 threads on GT if you want some more info.

- It's 15 years old so the level of special effects aren't exactly state of the art, especially if you've been spoiled by Battlestar Galactica and Firefly.  However they do get better as they go along and the space battle in the Season 3 episode Severed Dreams can go toe to toe with the final space battle in Return of the Jedi IMO.  

Re: Buffy and Angel- Buffy doesn't really get good until the second season and even then it's not until halfway through that it's consistently great.  So it may take some time though I think the first season finale, Prophecy Girl, is a decent indication of the quality it would eventually attain.  Angel also takes a little while to find it's footing.  The show kind of started off as a mix of X-Files and police procedural but it would eventually morph into some of the finest serialized television I've ever seen.  
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2009, 04:59:08 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 22, 2009, 04:45:15 PM

Amazon has the Complete Series boxset for $82 now and it's an absolute steal for the television greatness you will be witness to.


I just noticed this comment, and after looking around this is a steal.   icon_eek   Best Buy has the series listed at $135.  Do you have any idea if this is a limited-time thing, or do I have some time to do some research into the series before taking the plunge?  Plus, I'm not sure how to explain a new TV series purchase to the wife when we still have to get through 24 and The Shield.  But, if The Wire is going to go back up in price it only makes sense to buy it at the discounted price.
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2009, 05:01:46 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 04:52:03 PM

With that kind of hearty recommendation I don't see how I can pass it up.  And if it is earning comparisons with The Shield then it should be exactly what I am looking for.

I wouldn't take the Shield comparison too far because tonally they are somewhat different.  I would say that The Shield comes down more on the side of pure entertainment while The Wire is a rather unflinching (and by almost all accounts) painfully realistic look at the ramifications of the drug trade through all levels of a city.  Which isn't to say it isn't enormously entertaining (it is) but doesn't necessarilly feel as high octane as The Shield.  
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2009, 05:03:14 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 04:59:08 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 22, 2009, 04:45:15 PM

Amazon has the Complete Series boxset for $82 now and it's an absolute steal for the television greatness you will be witness to.


I just noticed this comment, and after looking around this is a steal.   icon_eek   Best Buy has the series listed at $135.  Do you have any idea if this is a limited-time thing, or do I have some time to do some research into the series before taking the plunge?  Plus, I'm not sure how to explain a new TV series purchase to the wife when we still have to get through 24 and The Shield.  But, if The Wire is going to go back up in price it only makes sense to buy it at the discounted price.

It changes pretty regularly- I grabbed it from them $89 on Christmas but then it went right back up to $135 so I was actually surprised to see it so low again.  So it may go back up in a few days but chances are if you hold off for a month or so then it will probably drop in price again. 
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2009, 05:04:32 PM »

Personally, I would have bought the Stargate: SG-1 series on the deal of the day if the packaging wasn't such a deal-breaker.  That, and I am still in need of picking up the complete run of Farscape.  Both quality series with quality acting, good effects, (and Ben Browder The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you. )
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2009, 05:06:13 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 04:59:08 PM

Plus, I'm not sure how to explain a new TV series purchase to the wife when we still have to get through 24 and The Shield.  But, if The Wire is going to go back up in price it only makes sense to buy it at the discounted price.

just buy her something really nice with it  icon_wink
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2009, 05:09:51 PM »

Dexter
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2009, 05:13:08 PM »

Another one:

Generation Kill- Chronicles a group of marines during the initial part of the Iraqi invasion in 2003.  One of the best and most honest portrayals of the lower levels of the military I've ever seen.  I generally don't care for most depictions of the military in the media- it's often too sanitized and jingoistic, reflecting the ideals and stereotypes that the military wants you to believe instead of the reality of how most soldiers act.  While my service was vastly different than the marines featured here, all of these characters and their conversations rung absolutely true and authentic.  While the military would probably prefer you didn't see this side of soldiers, I think it makes them far easier to empathize with and understand.  

Perhaps not at the same level of Band of Brothers, it isn't far off IMO.  Like BoB, it's an HBO miniseries instead of an ongoing series so it's complete.  It's also by the same guys that created The Wire.  
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2009, 05:13:23 PM »

Quote from: Farscry on January 22, 2009, 04:54:31 PM

Battlestar Galactica gets top nods from me. I had absolutely no interest in it (was actively uninterested actually) until a friend basically made me watch it. Said I had to at least watch the mini-series and preferably the first season; if I made it through the whole first season he'd never bother me about it again if I didn't like it.

He didn't need to worry; by the end of the mini-series I was intrigued. By the end of the first season I was completely and utterly hooked. slywink It's great drama and good action at times.

I've heard a lot of people talk about Battlestar Galactica.  I guess I've never really watched much sci-fi on television, and so shows like this have passed me by.  I never got into Star Trek, I loved "V" as a kid but never picked it up on DVD (I'm afraid it didn't age well), I've never really watched much of the Stargate series, and even though I'm a Star Wars fan and enjoy a good sci-fi film, for some reason I never got into shows in the same genre, perhaps because of "discount" special effects and a fear of poor writing.  I may really have to give Battlestar Galactica a try.

Quote
Lost is great fun, but much more polarizing than most shows; people typically either hate it or love it. I love it. slywink

I worry about Lost because it has so many seasons and I've read so many complaints about certain aspects of the series.  Plus, when it was new I heard rumors of "secret codes" and some kind of relevance of numbers and that kind of "inside stuff" really turns me off.  It comes across as coy and pretentious all at the same time, suggesting that the "cool kids get it" and those that aren't "in the know" are left in the dark.

Quote
Deadwood was fantastic and well worth watching for the great characters and plot, but just go in knowing that it ends with Season 3 which wasn't really conclusive. It was supposed to be a four-season series from the start, but unfortunately HBO and the creator got into a fight about it all and the fourth season got canned entirely. If you can live with that and the frequently harsh language, the series is phenomenal otherwise and well worth watching.

I hate when series end prematurely.  Although I also hate when a series starts off strong and then goes down the crapper (as I've heard with Heroes).  Heroes sounded great, but I've heard a lot of complaints about later seasons.  Many have raved about Deadwood, but I think the lack of closure could piss me off in the end.  At least it's only three seasons long, so it wouldn't be a huge undertaking to get through the show.  "24" is going to take me forever.

I am surprised no one has mentioned The Sopranos yet.  For some reason no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get into the series.  And I love organized crime films.  Perhaps it was because someone I didn't like kept raving about the show, or because whenever I wanted shows like The Shield to earn recognition, it was always overshadowed by The Sopranos, or maybe I just didn't get into it because it was just too mainstream popular and I preferred watching lesser-known shows.  I'm not sure, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to get beyond all of that to really appreciate the series for what it was.  Which I understand was absolutely great.
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2009, 05:20:13 PM »

Dexter.  Best show on tv.
Californication.(not sure if dvd's are available yet)
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2009, 05:26:32 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:13:23 PM

Quote from: Farscry on January 22, 2009, 04:54:31 PM

Battlestar Galactica gets top nods from me. I had absolutely no interest in it (was actively uninterested actually) until a friend basically made me watch it. Said I had to at least watch the mini-series and preferably the first season; if I made it through the whole first season he'd never bother me about it again if I didn't like it.

He didn't need to worry; by the end of the mini-series I was intrigued. By the end of the first season I was completely and utterly hooked. slywink It's great drama and good action at times.

I've heard a lot of people talk about Battlestar Galactica.  I guess I've never really watched much sci-fi on television, and so shows like this have passed me by.  I never got into Star Trek, I loved "V" as a kid but never picked it up on DVD (I'm afraid it didn't age well), I've never really watched much of the Stargate series, and even though I'm a Star Wars fan and enjoy a good sci-fi film, for some reason I never got into shows in the same genre, perhaps because of "discount" special effects and a fear of poor writing.  I may really have to give Battlestar Galactica a try.

Most sci-fi is either very episodic with the this-week's-feature-alien/gadget/phenomenon schtick. Star Trek (the entire franchise) is particularly bad about this at times. Other sci-fi gets too wrapped up in plotlines but forgets the human element. What I love about Battlestar Galactica is that the sci-fi is the setting, not the driving force behind the series. The human element is the true driving force behind the show, and the characters are what makes it great.

Heck, half the time or more the series doesn't even require being set in space, it's just the setting, and while it's used, the same drama could be done in a different setting. This isn't a weakness of the show, it's a strength. The sci-fi enhances the show rather than taking the driver's seat. smile
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2009, 05:28:15 PM »

Also, no worries about the special effects on BSG- they are generally feature quality IMO.  The scale of what TV can accomplish now is pretty amazing. 
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2009, 05:31:26 PM »

Arrested Development!
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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2009, 05:41:19 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 22, 2009, 04:55:14 PM

Mad Men- probably the best show currently airing on TV.  It's not exactly fast paced but the characters and writing are phenomenal (I've got a man-crush on Jon Hamm) and it serves as a great window into New York in the early 60s.  S1 is out on DVD now, S2 will be coming out at some point (not sure when).  It's already been renewed for Season 3.   
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2009, 05:43:53 PM »

The OC
Six Feet Under
Weeds
Entourage
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2009, 05:45:07 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:43:53 PM

The OC

Are you under the impression that I am 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink
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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2009, 05:46:20 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:45:07 PM

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:43:53 PM

The OC

Are you under the impression that I am 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink

You asked for suggestions.. and I suggested slywink

Love the show, total trash.  Gossip girl is my current teenage drama obsession.
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« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2009, 05:46:50 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:46:20 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:45:07 PM

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:43:53 PM

The OC

Are you under the impression that I am 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink

You asked for suggestions.. and I suggested slywink

Love the show, total trash.  Gossip girl is my current teenage drama obsession.

Well, then are you 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink
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« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2009, 05:49:37 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:46:50 PM

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:46:20 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:45:07 PM

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:43:53 PM

The OC

Are you under the impression that I am 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink

You asked for suggestions.. and I suggested slywink

Love the show, total trash.  Gossip girl is my current teenage drama obsession.

Well, then are you 15?

And a girl?

 icon_wink

You've heard my voice on live enough.. if I sound like a 15 year old girl.. yikes!


I think it started when I was a kid, and grew up with the Degrassi kids.  Ever since, I love teenage dramas.  I'm quite able to recognize that they are garbage.. but they seem to hook me in.

Just think of it as Buffy, without the supernatural.
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2009, 05:51:33 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:46:20 PM

Gossip girl is my current teenage drama obsession.

XO XO
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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2009, 05:51:51 PM »

Law & Order. Shouldn't take you long to get through.
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WorkingMike
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« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2009, 05:53:16 PM »

Sleeper Cell is a particularly standout show

Dead Like Me

Rules of Engagement

Pushing Daisies was a favorite is our house

Six Feet Under

Dexter

we have Secret Diary of a Call Girl on deck, starring Billie Piper(for you Dr Who fans out there). I'll get back about how that one is

oh, and Coupling is one of the funniest shows i've ever seen

BTW, I heard that AMC is making a mini-series of The Prisoner.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2009, 05:55:09 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on January 22, 2009, 05:49:37 PM

I think it started when I was a kid, and grew up with the Degrassi kids.  Ever since, I love teenage dramas.  I'm quite able to recognize that they are garbage.. but they seem to hook me in.

While it is somewhat of a derail, given your appreciation of teenage drama, have you seen the film "Never Back Down"?  Think of it as a martial arts film featuring mixed martial arts along with a healthy dose of OC-like teen drama thrown in for good measure.  I guess a modern-day Karate Kid, if you will, with Djimon Hounsou playing the role of the Mr. Miyagi-like character.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I was sucked in, the MMA action is entertaining, and I just love Djimon Hounsou in any role he plays.  And the teen drama, while noticably present, wasn't too over the top to turn me off.  
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2009, 05:55:30 PM »

I do think that Farscape would be a good one for you.  It's a lost in space tale of an American scientist who it thrust into another part of the universe where a fair amount of his learning is useless.  He's taken aboard a fugitive vessel that's actually a living being with a pilot that's wired into things.  It's not your clean Star Trek stuff.  As the vessel is fugitive, you get some of the monster of the week stuff, but it's really well done.  And half of the core cast is performed by Muppets, which are really well done and not kiddy-fied at all.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2009, 05:56:37 PM »

Quote from: WorkingMike on January 22, 2009, 05:53:16 PM

we have Secret Diary of a Call Girl on deck, starring Billie Piper(for you Dr Who fans out there). I'll get back about how

It's okay.  I'd put it near the bottom of our Tivo priority but it's a good pick for when we just want to watch a 30 minute show.  
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El-Producto
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« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2009, 05:58:32 PM »

How I met your mother is one of the only sit-coms I enjoy, and you can get seasons 1-3 on DVD.  I will admit that season 1 and 2 are the strongest by far.

Nice when you want to watch a quick show or 2.. without commercials only about 20min.
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ATB
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« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2009, 06:01:33 PM »

BSG- It's my favorite show ever.

Don't know if you used to watch the old NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street, but the stories hold up remarkably well.

The Wire: The best police show ever. It will rivet you and blow your mind with its incredible acting, writing, and storyline.

Sleeper Cell: It's a show that turns our perceptions of jihadists on it's head.  A brilliant show from start to finish (3 seasons I think).
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2009, 06:04:31 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on January 22, 2009, 06:01:33 PM

Don't know if you used to watch the old NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street, but the stories hold up remarkably well.

I keep hoping the price will go down on this one.  I really want to watch it now since it shares the same genesis as The Wire (David Simon's book "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets") and some of the same crew. 

Quote
Sleeper Cell: It's a show that turns our perceptions of jihadists on it's head.  A brilliant show from start to finish (3 seasons I think).

Two seasons but, yeah, very highly recommended and also very underrated. 
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