TV Shows I’m Addicted To

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane

I have my DVR set up with countless shows I record. My husband also knows my interest in the strange and peculiar NOVA Science shows or historical documentaries. As a writer, anything can stir your imagination and you never know what small tidbit can fuel a book or series. I once did a whole proposal after seeing a science show on venomous snakes.

Here are a couple of my fav TV shows adapted from books:

Hannibal – OMG! I am giddy for Thursday nights now because of this show. This is an adaptation of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, but it is a prequel where FBI BAU profiler, Agent Will Graham, is brought in to consult with his old boss, Jack Crawford, and hunt serial killers. We meet the infamous Hannibal Lecter in the wild, before he gets caught. Will is good at his job, depicted as closer to Asperger’s & sociopaths, and can visualize himself as the killer. This puts him in need of therapy, as you can imagine, but his boss picks Hannibal Lecter as his psychiatrist. This is graphic stuff, but the tongue in cheek dark humor is over the top and the psychological trauma worsens in Will, as we see him falling apart and under the care of Lecter. It’s mesmerizing to watch. Hugh Dancy is yummy as Will Graham and Mads Mikkelson as Hannibal redefines the role, big shoes to fill after Anthony Hopkins.

This show is beautifully shot and the acting is amazing, but the reinvention of the Red Dragon book, in such a creative way, has me coming back every week. I went back to read the book and got even more out of the show. 

Justified – This show’s season has ended, but it gets better each year. Writer Elmore Leonard is the guy behind this show and the writing is superb. The characterizations and the dialogue are worth every minute of your time to watch this show. One of my favorite things to do is tweet my fav lines as the show is one. Many of my writer friends do this. Marshal Raylan Givens and criminal childhood friend Boyd Crowder are two characters to watch. The season that just ended was my favorite (and that’s saying something). Pure Rayland and Boyd.

Cable Shows I Have Recently Become Addicted to:

The Borgias – Jeremy Irons is damned sexy as a Pope. And his son, Cesare Borgia, has me spellbound…especially when he’s naked. Family scandal and treachery in enticing scenes.

Game of Thrones –I hadn’t watched this show until I recently caught up in a marathon of recordings, but I got totally hooked. Some of the recent storylines left me so sad though and it reminded me how emotional our stories have to be to grip readers.

What are some of your favorite guilty pleasure TV shows…and why do you like them? Do you get something from them that helps your writing? Are you addicted to any of the shows I watch?

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45 thoughts on “TV Shows I’m Addicted To

  1. I am a total news hound, totally addicted to cable news. I also love to watch the Military History Channel for things like biopics of 5-star generals. Strange, I know! Oh, and I love Morgan Freeman’s ‘Through the Wormhole’ and the NASA channel’s archives. But I don’t feel guilty about these, because I always learn something from them. 🙂

    • That Morgan Freeman show is terrific. Love it. And I’m with you on the many offerings from the History Channel. These kinds of shows can really stimulate ideas for stories.

    • I record Longmire. I like the characters and the setting, but it is terrible for police procedure. HA! That aspect has me laughing. They must never go to court, but I still watch the show. This last episode had some nice plot twists.

  2. Good morning, Jordan.

    Great topic. You asked:

    Breaking Bad (AMC): I have all recorded all of the episodes to date. I watch them in order for however long it takes and then start again. It’s a man’s life unreeling in slow motion while he feeds out the line.

    Justified (fX): The dialogue. The acting. The story. I used to practice law in the northernmost part of Appalachia and I would swear I used to represent some of the people who pop up on that show.

    Sons of Anarchy (fX): Hamlet as the head of a motorcycle gang. You never know what is going to happen next, or, as the limerick goes, who is going to do what to who.

    The Killing (AMC): Beautfully shot in a dark, unrelentingly grim Seattle where it is always raining and no one can be trusted.

    Longmire (A & E): A modern Western. I like shows where old guys can still get the job done.

    Hell on Wheels (AMC): A historical western about the construction of the Eastern half of the Continental Railroad. Not your grandfather’s “Wagon Train.”

    Banshee (Cinemax): An ex-convict assumes the identity of the newly acquired sheriff while attempting to rekindle a romance with his former partner in a jewel heist while her father, a vicious gangster, attempts to hunt them both down. Cringe-inducing violence and some really hot adult scenes. What’s not to love?

    Strike Back (Cinemax): Two special-ops soldiers — one British, one American ex-CIA — are part of a British Special Forces unit that drops into trouble spots, blow up everything, and uh, have sexual congress with everything that moves. Again, what’s not to love?

    Homeland (Showtime): An American POW who is retrieved from Afghanistan may or may not be a sleep agent. Start with the first season and watch every single episode as quickly as possible, and hang on to your hat for last year’s season finale.

    None of the above influence my writing. They each and all influence my personal life to one degree or another.

    • OMG…yes, THE KILLING & HOMELAND. Very intense & well acted. And you’ve given me more to check out, Joe. Thank you.

      Oh, and I watch Hell On Wheels too.

    • As for influencing my writing, my current WIP is a serial killer book. I’ve never attempted one before, but this plot and the characters won’t leave me alone. HANNIBAL and re-reading the RED DRAGON has stirred something dark. Bwahhh Haaa Hhaaaa!

  3. Oh, and how could I forget…

    Luther (BBCA): An edgy police procedural featuring a brilliant, driven but warped homicide detective who skirts the edge of sanity, and Zoey, a homicidal woman who will do anything in the world for him, including murder.

    • There is another BBCA show that I got hooked on. RIPPER STREET, I think is the name. Period piece that dabbles in early forensics.

      LUTHER sounds really different and interesting. Very cool.

  4. At first I balked at watching Breaking Bad…I have several meth heads as relatives, but once I started the first episode, I enjoyed the perfect scripting and characterizations. I love Wallander, but when he became sober and exposed his touchy-feely emotions, not so much.

    • There is something addictive about WALLANDER. Dreary eerie setting, but it keeps my attention. The slower tempo and haunting setting is similar to a U.S. based movie series-JESSIE STONE with Tom Selleck. Thanks, Helen.

  5. Jordan, We record (watching at our leisure and fast-forwarding through commercials) primarily two types of shows: sitcoms and dramas.
    Of the former, our very favorite is Big Bang Theory. Love those geeks.
    The latter group is headed by Blue Bloods. We enjoyed The Closer, but since the cast changed, the jury’s still out on Major Crimes.
    Recently, we’ve gotten hooked on Shark Tank, which is sort of like Monopoly, using other people’s money.

    • We LOVE Big Bang too. And Modern Family and The Middle. Smart to speed through the commercials too.

      Major Crimes just started up again. We record it, but their police procedure is terrible. The thing that I love about the show is the relationship the woman lead has with the teen kid she fosters. Very touching.

    • Ditto for me too, Joe. Anything to do with the macabre, is my guilty pleasure, since I have to keep it PG during the day for the kids. Then hubby comes home and ESPN usually takes over. LOL.

  6. I have two favorite shows that have changed my writing.

    The first is Castle. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of romantic comedy/detective dramas like this create great sexual tension between the characters, but when the couple becomes intimate, the series fails. Moonlighting and Remington Steele are examples. Castle has managed to make the characters intimate and still maintain the tension. I’m learning how to keep a relationship in jeopardy after the characters have committed to one another.

    The other show is Once Upon a Time. Robert Carlyle’s Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin character is a great example of a bad guy who steals the show. I feel such empathy and sympathy for the horrible things that have happened to him. He shows glimmers of genuine humanity. Then he makes a decision to walk on the dark side that has me hating him! It’s a wonderful lesson in how to write engaging sympathetic villains.

    Kathy

  7. My husband and I love it when we can get hooked on a good show.

    We followed True Blood for four seasons. We cancelled HBO so it kind of lost interest. It was fun while it lasted.

    Generation Kill was an HBO mini series from several years ago but still one of the top favorites.

    The Walking Dead is top of the list right now.

    The Killing kept me up one night trying to catch up on the first season. Now my husband is on the wagon too, so I have a feeling we’re going to be getting into that soon.

    We tried to get into Sons of Anarchy but it couldn’t hold either if our interests. We figured we just weren’t bad-ass bikers enough! LOL.

    Now because my husband is a military man he loves anything on the Military Channel and the History Channel. He loves shows like Locked Up Abroad and Gangland. I on the other hand am an ID Channel addict!! Any documentary style shows having to do with solving crimes, CSI sciences, profiling, and murderers I’m so there, shows like Cold Case Files, Unusual Suspects, and Forensic Files.

    Having said that I followed Law and Order, the original and SVU for years. (I never did like Vincent D’nafrio’ s character). And I’m a CSI groupie.

    I’ve been hearing a lot about The Game of Thrones so I was going to look into that one.

    This is a fun topic. Thank God it wasn’t about movies or you’d really never get me to stop! LOL.

    • I never liked the D’nafrio guy either. Yuck. I’m a CSI Vegas lover too.

      The first time I saw True Blood while I was traveling and staying at a hotel, it shocked me. Very graphic & sexy. Thanks, Jeanette.

  8. I don’t know where folks get time to watch TV on a regular basis. Between day job, writing, narrating, and sitting around thinking up funny stuff to say in every conceivable potential scenario, there aren’t enough hours in the day for TV too.

    The only time I tried to watch the whole series, Journeyman back in 2007, was cancelled half way through the first season. Since then I only occasionally watch an episode of Phineas & Ferb with my kids, and if I’m alone and muses are napping I’ll watch History or Military channel.

    ..oh…and rugby plays in the background with the volume off whenever it is on.

    • You are a busy, dude, Basil. I like to record shows and once I get my daily word quota in, I watch what I can. I can see you getting hooked on the History & Military channels, for sure.

  9. Oh and how could I forget!!!! American Horror Story!!!!! Brilliant storyline, superb acting, and the plot keeps you on your toes screaming for more!!!! Love that show. Of course it certainly doesn’t hurt that Dylan McDermott is a cast member.

  10. Justified is probably my favorite show on tv. I also love Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead,American Horror Story, and Homeland. I’ve enjoyed Dexter, but I’m not sad that the upcoming season is its last. I don’t feel guilty about any of those.

    • JUSTIFIED has been so incredible. It ranks as my fav too, but Hannibal is a close second. Both shows have really influenced my writing.

    • Poor Will is physically ill and jis therapist is only making things worse. Fuller has a story arc for SEVEN seasons, based on this Red Dragon premise. Hope he gets the chance to develop things. I love Hugh Dancy. Stunning show.

  11. Yeah, I’m with Basil. With writing, reading and my DW, I don’t have all that much time. Together, Cindy and I enjoy the Brits–Downtown Abbey, Mr. Selfridge. And the great oldies: Morse, Frost, and Lewis (really enjoy Laurence Fox in this one). I’ve just started watching The Guards, based on Ken Bruen’s character.

    The one longstanding series I’ve stuck with is Mad Men. I have written about that here. I can’t quit now. I have to find out what’s going to happen, even though it’s been a challenge at times finding any sympathy for Don Draper. What a train wreck. Which is the point of the series, I suppose. It is superbly written and acted. I would say it’s just a tad too dark, as not one of the men is a normal, good, working stiff. In this the show is really not reflective of the reality of the time. A much more realistic portrayal of the times would be something like The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.

    Still, i have to hand it to Jon Hamm. He’s a terrific actor, and is not afraid to go to those horrible placed Don goes.

    • I too marvel at those who find the time. But like you, JSB, I do make time for the Brits, and for Mad Men. Aside from Peggy (aka Zoe Bartlett), there’s not really anyone to root for. But some of it is hard to beat, most recently (for me) Betty’s seduction of her ex when they’ve met up to take a kid to camp. Completely convincing.
      Barry Knister

  12. I’m with you 100% on Game of Thrones, but I am a huge fan of the books first. Love “Major Crimes” on TNT; great crime drama with unexpected twists, just enough humor and lots of heart; and Boardwalk Empire, just because I love the time period, the acting, the moral ambiguity it explores.

  13. I don’t have cable, but have some addictions on Netflix.

    1. All iterations of Law & Order
    2. The Walking Dead
    3. Sons of Anarchy. I love that it will be tripping along like a standard soap opera and then be interrupted by a shocking graphic act of sex or violence and then get right back on the soapy rails.
    4. Rome, Carnivale, and Deadwood. The hat trick of dark smart moody stylish shows that ended far too soon. Shows that can teach you about mood, characterization, and the fine art of using obscenity in a sentence. Throw The Tudors on that pile as well.
    5. Gangland. Talk about a wellspring of ideas for villains and anti-heroes. I have a motorcycle club in my WIP, The Gato Negros, and much of their flavor comes from devouring this trashy docu-drama series.
    6. Star Trek, all flavors. Because, duh . . .

    The others on your lists I will catch up on as I exhaust my list and they come onto streaming.

    • I cut my cable 4 years ago (although I may go back when I get all the way moved into the new house. I wanna watch Game of Thrones dammit).

      I love it. I use a Roku box for access via my TV, but there are many others or you can stream to your computer. More than I could watch in a forever.

      Tons of really obscure documentaries (eugenics in the 1920s, Hitler on meth, AIDs is a lie, you name it someone has filmed it) and lots and lots of my fav shows (although they are really behind on Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy.

      Even if I go back to cable, I will keep my streaming for my workshop.

      Terri

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Terri. With the cost of cable, having options is nice. Maybe you could buy GAME OF THRONES in box sets or digital downloads. Not sure if that is available.

  14. I’m a fan of Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge. Otherwise I watch a lot of SciFi shows: Falling Skies, Warehouse 13, Continuum, Revolution, Once Upon A Time, Arrow, & more. I also like Covert Affairs and Royal Pains.

  15. JSB–
    Downtown Abbey = a gift from the land of the Freudian slip. If you don’t make this into a character, I will!
    BWKnister

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