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Marissa Lingen

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Small screen suggestions? [Feb. 10th, 2014|04:51 pm]
Marissa Lingen

I watch a bunch of TV to get me through my workouts, and right now I don’t have a default thing of the right length that I’ve got momentum on, so I thought I would take the opportunity to ask for recommendations. I’ll list a bunch of things I’m in some sense “currently in the middle of,” and you can either suggest other stuff you think I might like or else ask what I like about the things I’ve listed. I am not current on anything: I watch DVDs or Netflix, so “current season” stuff will be spoilers for me.

Oh, and: I am a tough sell for sexual violence. It’s not a hard, fast line for me–for example, I watch Criminal Minds–but it’s pretty easy to hit my “this is no fun any more and I’m taking my marbles and going home” threshold on things like a certain popular soapy historical drama this season.

Shows I’m watching: Arrow, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, The Bletchley Circle, Elementary, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Inspector Lewis, The Killing, The Mentalist, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Ripper Street, Scandal, Sherlock, White Collar.

I am not at all limited to English language stuff, but the pacing of 22-minute episodes has to hit me right–some anime does and some doesn’t. Almost no live-action English-language stuff does. 55-minute shows can work, but they frustrate me because they’re pretty much exactly the wrong length for what I need for workouts. 40-to-44 are great, as are the 80-to-90 blocks.


Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: bummble
2014-02-10 10:04 pm (UTC)
If you're watching Lewis, I take it you have seen the series that it is a continuation of, Morse?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 10:25 pm (UTC)
I have not yet! It's on my list to try. Possibly even tomorrow. But Endeavour is a prequel, so I'm in the odd position of watching the prequel and the sequel but not the original so far.
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[User Picture]From: sillylilly_bird
2014-02-10 10:29 pm (UTC)
I LOVED Bletchley Circle! And I love Mireille Enos!
The only broadcast TV I watch is PBS, and that's only sometimes. I'll add more when I can access my Netflix [am at work].

Stuff I'm watching/have watched/am rewatching w/o commercials [YAY!!]
Murdoch Mysteries
Burn Notice
Secrets of the Dead series - actually LOTS of documentaries - mostly science, history, crime, archeology
Person of Interest
Lost Girl
X Files
Buffy/Angel now complete on Netflix
I've heard excellent things about Wallander
The IT Crowd is hilarious
Coupling is another good British one
Black Books
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[User Picture]From: bummble
2014-02-10 10:35 pm (UTC)
I really like the British Wallander series!

I did not like the original Swedish series at all - but that probably also had something to do with needing to read the subtitles when it's in Swedish, which interfered with my knitting.

The British Coupling I thought was quite funny (and we will not say a WORD about the US remake.... *shudder*).
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[User Picture]From: jenett
2014-02-10 10:46 pm (UTC)
I just finished Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries last night (well, season 1) and loved them. (Though the ways in which they are different from the books.)

I am fairly certain you've seen Foyle's War, but if you haven't, highly recommended. I also went through all the Poirot episodes on Netflix this fall, and found them very soothing. (High production values, and they have a rhythym to them.)

Midsommer Murders has the advantage of also being interesting without being at all demanding, and there are a bunch of seasons on Netflix. (Murders and other crimes in English villages. There's some degree of Look, How Quaint, but the scenery's lovely, and I have an obvious fondness for that particular genre of mystery.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 10:57 pm (UTC)
I love love love Foyle's War. Love. I have every hope that there will be another set now that they are doing Foyle's Cold War basically.
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2014-02-10 10:51 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. We seem to watch television which is orthogonal, as I mostly watch short comedies. I should note that The Muppet Show is available on DVD and is in the 40-minute episode range. My only current drama is Hannibal which is magnificent but does not in any way strike me as a you show.

It's probably the wrong episode length, I haven't checked, but Parks and Recreation is a delightful witty sweet show in which they keep setting up situations which look as though they will be comedy of embarrassment and then everyone does something sensible and funny instead. It should be started with season two, as season one was when they thought they were making a clone of The Office, and then they realized that wasn't working and basically scrapped everything and started over.

Again, I haven't checked the episode length, but have you already seen Twin Peaks? It is a classic for a reason, and the reason is that it is completely insane but also wonderful. Television from literally twenty years ahead of the time it originally aired.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 10:56 pm (UTC)
I do love The Muppet Show, but the pacing of a variety show is not at all workable for workouts, alas.

It looks like P&R is the wrong ep length, but that's useful to know about seasons; I might try it for not-workoutness.
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[User Picture]From: guppiecat
2014-02-10 10:53 pm (UTC)
I really like Gilmore Girls for this. 45min and stunningly good writing.

MASH without the laugh track is also worth a try.

If comic stories are OK, the DC universe has some great shows ... Batman Beyond, Justice League, Barman The Animated Series, they're all surprisingly good.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 10:55 pm (UTC)
M*A*S*H is sadly in the 22-minute range. More like 24-26 because commercial breaks were shorter then, but still: I have tried watching it, and I do love it, but the pacing is all wrong for my workouts, alas. We have all the DVDs, though. Classic for a reason.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2014-02-10 10:53 pm (UTC)
I love Lewis! I'm currently deciding whether I want to keep going with Person of Interest--but the first two seasons were great. When Netflix gets Sleepy Hollow, I think you should try it--it's completely ridiculous in many ways, but I find the two leads utterly adorable.

There was a BBC series with Diana Rigg as a rich mystery-solving widow in the 1920s. Mostly I liked the clothes, but the mysteries were OK too.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 10:54 pm (UTC)
Mrs. Bradley's Mysteries! Netflix has exactly one of those. I adored it. I would watch all the rest of them that I could get. For the clothes and the Diana Rigg, but yes, for the mysteries too.
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[User Picture]From: nojay
2014-02-10 11:09 pm (UTC)


Which sorts of anime do you enjoy? Romances, giant robots, screwball comedy, slow puzzle stories, scenery porn? I can recommend some recent series which you can maybe track down on Crunchyroll or Netflix if I have an idea what you like and what you've already seen.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-10 11:12 pm (UTC)

Re: Anime

Giant robots, swords, sweet stories of horrible people finding each other (okay, that's mostly just His and Her Circumstances), random magic, screwball comedy without too many panty jokes....

I have liked Twelve Kingdoms and Fruits Basket and Honey & Clover and Evangelion and Kenshin and Full Metal Alchemist and...stuff that everybody knows about mostly? I think? alecaustin will know. Oh, I love Last Exile. I need to watch LE Silver Wing.
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[User Picture]From: eeyorerin
2014-02-10 11:17 pm (UTC)
I am quite enjoying Leverage on Netflix streaming. There is violence but I have not seen sexual violence. I think each episode is around 42-44 minutes.

I am also enjoying old-school Mission Impossible; all seven seasons are on Netflix as well. Those episodes tend to be around 48 minutes, though.
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[User Picture]From: ckd
2014-02-10 11:30 pm (UTC)
I was also going to suggest Leverage; I've only watched two episodes so far, but as it's an aedifica recommendation I'm pretty confident it'll continue good. (I could watch more of it faster if I weren't trying to watch it with aedifica, but I'd rather wait and watch together.)
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[User Picture]From: shark_hat
2014-02-10 11:23 pm (UTC)
All old English mystery series because my mind has gone blank on anything else: the 1980s Miss Marple (with Joan Hickson); Campion; the Inspector Alleyn mysteries? The Holmes series with Jeremy Brett- they did all the short stories and I think there's only one that isn't good (Sussex Vampire; they did really odd things to the plot to make it more of a spooky sexual psychodrama for some reason). I think that of the two available Lord Peter Wimsey versions it's supposed to be the Ian Carmichael one that's better, but I'm not sure. They're all 45 minutes or longer per ep.

Oh, how about Spaced? I think it's 24-minute episodes- anyway, it was made for the lesser UK amount of ads. Sitcom, Jessica Stevenson [**hearts**] and Simon Pegg wrote and starred, it's geeky and sweet. (I think everything else I love is the wrong length, doesn't seem to fit with your other preferences, or isn't available in the US. Though if you *do* have a multi-region DVD player, maybe have a look at Dinnerladies, which is a mostly-female-cast ensemble sitcom- BBC, so 27 minutes.)
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[User Picture]From: laurel
2014-02-10 11:57 pm (UTC)
I was surprised (and pleased) to learn they're doing a second round of Bletchley Circle. Still bitter there won't be more Case Histories or The Hour.

I've heard many good things about Broadchurch, but haven't started watching it yet. Same with The Fall and Top of the Lake; Same could be said of The Bridge, though I'm amused that by now there's the Scandinavian version, a UK version (The Tunnel), and a US version. I've not heard much about Death in Paradise, but I downloaded it anyway to check it out.

I loved the first two seasons of Person of Interest though this (the third) season is confounding me a bit. It may be a show where one can be satisfied with two great seasons and then watch certain episodes of the third season and be done. I dunno. Maybe it'll work out yet. (I thought the 2nd season of Homeland a disappointing mess until the last episode of that season redeemed it for me.)

Of the new dramas this season on network TV we tried we're still watching Almost Humanand The Blacklist, though in the latter the FBI agents have been particularly stupid of late which is vexing. We tried Intelligence but it was too stupid to be believed, which is a pity as some talented actors work on the show.

Older hour-long/44 minute-long shows I'm not sure you've seen which I adore: Alias, China Beach, Gilmore Girls,Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Magnum, P.I. I've been meaning to revisit Moonlighting and Remington Steele to see how well they hold up.

NCIS is uneven, but enjoyable especially the earlier seasons when characterization was consistent.

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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 03:42 am (UTC)
Case Histories? You have grouped it intriguingly. Say on.
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[User Picture]From: hawkwing_lb
2014-02-11 12:24 am (UTC)
Would Call The Midwife be your sort of thing at all? I really rather like it.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 03:40 am (UTC)
I have not figured out whether the pacing is going to be weird for workouts across the board or just in the first few.
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[User Picture]From: leaina
2014-02-11 01:08 am (UTC)
I also watch Bletchley, Lewis, and Sherlock from your list; I'd suggest House M.D. and Castle (if you don't already know them). Both are technically formulaic shows (medical drama, crime) which also contain plenty of humor and are at least as much about character interactions and development as they are about the main plot.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 03:39 am (UTC)
Dr. Chi Park is the BEST EVER.
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[User Picture]From: harvey_rrit
2014-02-11 02:19 am (UTC)

CRIMINAL MINDS seems to me like serial killers are being tracked and caught by seven James Bond villains.

I'm just sayin'.

(On reflection this does not seem like a bad idea....)
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[User Picture]From: boxofdelights
2014-02-11 02:47 am (UTC)
Scott & Bailey? 45 minute episodes. The first one's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yllFSXiolCc

What I wrote about it:
For those of you in the US who have been longing to see the British police procedural Scott & Bailey, the first two seasons are now available on Hulu:


It's a police procedural that takes police procedure seriously. I just rewatched season one of Durham County too, and if anyone grabbed a witness, shoved a photo of the prime suspect in their face, and demanded, "What about this guy? Did you see him?" on Scott & Bailey, it would have been a plot point that that cop just made that witness's evidence unusable.

One of the great pleasures of watching these police officers build good cases by following the rules is watching Janet Scott's interrogations. She doesn't use the Reid technique that we often see in American cop shows. I assume she's using the PEACE model.

No Smurfettes. Three main characters, all women. Real working relationships and real friendships, just like real life. Sometimes the friendships and working relationships affect each other badly, just like real life.

No torture porn, not even the kind that only lingers on the victim's fear, or the aftermath of the crime. We see the officers looking at terrible things, and hear them talking about them, but the camera mostly does not look directly at terrible things.

Except. Here's the bad part. In order to make it juicy enough for television, each season has a plot that makes one of the main characters a crime victim, and in each of those plots we get to watch the main character suffer and fear death.

I'd like to see them get a fourth season and figure out what to do instead. I do think the three seasons that exist are really good television.

If you would like to check out the pretty first, go here: http://nomorecasualty.livejournal.com/94979.html
Not just the collage she labelled FACES but pretty much all of them make me say yes I want to see what story led up to those faces yes!
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-02-11 09:56 pm (UTC)
I agree entirely!
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[User Picture]From: cloudscudding
2014-02-11 03:30 am (UTC)
Person of Interest
Princess Jellyfish
Lie to Me
Firefly (if you somehow haven't yet)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 03:38 am (UTC)
Joss Whedon and I do not mix. Luckily, this is irrelevant to most of your list.
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2014-02-11 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh right, Slings and Arrows, have you seen Slings and Arrows, I think it's the right length, with the Shakespeare, and theatrical minutiae, and brilliant Canadian character actors, and the day-to-day of running a theatre, and the unquiet and rather snarky dead. If you haven't you really, really ought, I think of it as very much what pameladean might produce if asked to write a comedy set backstage.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 12:15 pm (UTC)
I have! Paul Gross Paul Gross Paul Gross!

timprov and I want Paul Gross to do the Canadian version of The Avengers. Where instead of just Nick Fury there's him and Graham Greene (the actor, not the writer) and I forget who we decided on for the actress, as a committee that forms consensus. And the Iron Man equivalent is Callum Keith Rennie. Not as a billionaire, because CKR, really. Just as the mildly annoyed guy in the complicated suit.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-02-11 10:57 am (UTC)
If you like what I think of as Sunday night detective series (and I'm thinking Lewis when I say that) you might enjoy Vera.

Caveat: the first series is not the best: they were adapting the books, and a whole novel in one episode tended to be to dense. Latter series are better.

Disclosure: Ann Cleeves, who wrote the books, is a friend. I will also be watching Shetland, based on her other crime series, when that is broadcast. It'll be worth it, if only for the scenery (though I hope not only for the scenery).

Edited at 2014-02-11 10:58 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-11 12:10 pm (UTC)
This is useful to know: bunches of it (possibly all?) on Netflix, so I can just start in the middle and see if I like it there. Which with something with arc plot would make me clutch my head and scream, but really, TV detective series, it's really mostly fine. It's how I've watched Inspector Lewis because I didn't notice that Netflix only had Series 4 and 5 until I had already watched two episodes.
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[User Picture]From: therck
2014-02-11 12:29 pm (UTC)
You might try Rosemary and Thyme. It's a BBC mystery series about two middle aged women starting over with a landscaping/gardening business.

I also liked The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The acting is excellent, and they actually filmed it in Botswana.
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[User Picture]From: seajules
2014-02-12 11:50 am (UTC)
Black Books and The Vicar of Dibley are two of the funniest shows I've ever seen in my life. If I remember right, both are in the 22-minute range. Midsomer Murders is a charmer of about 80 minutes, and is coming up on its one hundredth episode. On the U.S. side of things, both Eureka and Warehouse 13 do some interesting genre things in the 44-minute range (they're vaguely connected with a few crossover episodes), though the way a secondary autistic character is treated in Eureka might be rage-inducing. Then there's The Middleman, my favorite show of all time, which is also about 44 minutes. I also quite like Rizzoli & Isles, which is largely a formulaic buddy cop show, but interests me because the buddies in question are women. Then there's Psych, which I find to be interesting paired watching with The Mentalist, but which I can only watch in intervals before I need to watch something else for a month or two. I do love the way the opening often gets changed up depending on the theme of the episode (the openings for their Christmas episodes make me very jolly).

Two of my favorite anime series are Yami no Matsuei aka Descendants of Darkness, best in the subbed version, and Get Backers, in which I prefer the dubbed version. Both are somewhere in the 22 minutes area; the first is about dead souls who become Shinigami and help other dead souls pass on, and it's mostly suitably moody. The second is about a pair of superpowered young men who act as a retrieval service, and is primarily comedic right up until it aims for your heart. I also found Tactics quite beautiful and interesting. It's also about 22 minutes an episode. As a side note, my brand of vertigo means that some animation can nauseate me very fast, and none of these three has that effect, though YMMV. Batman Beyond is not anime, and may only be of interest to Batman fans, but I like its take on the Batverse in a near-future Gotham with some interesting tech developments.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is fantastic, but I think it's the wrong length for workouts.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-13 04:05 am (UTC)
The thing about the autistic character in Eureka is that it started out so promising. He was a major partner in the solution to the problem in the first episode, and the young actor had clearly studied the body language of autistic people, and...yes? Maybe? Yes? And then SO MUCH NO. I loved several things about Joe Morton. I mean about that show. Actually I do mostly mean about Joe Morton, because: JOE MORTON. But the handling of Kevin made me hate the character of Alison Blake with SO MUCH RAGE.

Thanks for the anime recs in particular; very useful.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2014-02-12 03:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I took my marbles and went home immediately after that happened, too. Was very disappointed.

Um. I don't know what I have in the 45 minute or 90 minute range. But my usual recs that you aren't already in the middle of include Justified, Suits, Call the Midwife, Hannibal (which has lots of dream-like artsy gruesome murder but no sexual violence, yay), Shameless, Orphan Black, Orange Is the New Black, Longmire, Lost Girl, and Weeds. You may well bounce off Weeds pretty hard; I am undecided on whether I think it might work for you. I'm afraid that these are all in the 50 minute category, though, because that's almost exclusively what I watch. Hopefully someone will have better ideas for half-hour shows. :(
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[User Picture]From: carbonel
2014-02-13 08:20 pm (UTC)
If you haven't tried The Closer, you might like that. The main character a detective who is somewhat disorganized in her personal life, but is a kickass interrogator. There's 7 seasons' worth, I think, with a decent ensemble cast. There's also a spinoff that someone recommended, but I can't remember the title.

Also, have you tried Bramwell? The main character is a Victorian-era female doctor, and it shows her struggles to set up a clinic and practice. It definitely has a dark side (well, it was a dark time), and while I keep meaning to get back to it, I haven't seen it all. It's available on Netflix via streaming. IIRC, there are two longish (for British TV) seasons.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-02-13 08:22 pm (UTC)
The spinoff is Major Crimes, of which S1 is on my pile to try this very second.
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