Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's Showtime!

BREAKING (BAD) NEWS (not to be confused with Breaking Bad news, which could be a whole 'nother blog post):

Ok, so before I start blabbing on about Showtime, I have to make a very sad TV update. Unfortunately for all of you Happy Endings fans out there, this past weekend it was officially reported that the cast's options have expired, meaning that the show is not getting picked up by another network for the fall season.
  
I know how you feel, Penny (and so does BuzzFeed). This news couldn’t be any less a-mah-zing. Later this week, I promise I’ll be putting up a nice, long tribute to my favorite friends from Chicago, but until then, feel free to join me in eating my feelings, Alex-style. I bet the two of us could do work on a Steak-Tanic or a few racks of breakfast ribs...

But enough sad stuff. Now, onto what was promised:



I'm going to make a bold proclamation here, people: I think that Showtime is the best cable network on television. Yes, I said it, and I'm sticking by it! Of course, not all of their shows are winners, but in my opinion, Showtime is consistently cranking out quality, character driven series that I can't help but get sucked into. So here's a brief breakdown of my three current favorite series on the network, two that I've always wanted to start watching, and one review of their newest offering, Ray Donovan, which premiered last Sunday night. 

**No spoilers here, friends! In the future I'll be diving deep into some of these series, but for now, there's nothing written below that you can't find on the back of a DVD box set.**

My top three picks are:

3. HOMELAND

I don't have to tell you people how fantastic this show is! If you aren't already obsessed, you have plenty of time to catch up before season three premieres on September 29th. Watch CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) manage her bi-polar disorder while she investigates American POW, and potential terrorist, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). But don't say I didn't warn you: upon watching, stress, frustration, and snapping at innocent family members: I don't care about dinner! Can't you see I'm watching HOMELAND!? will certainly occur.  

2. NURSE JACKIE

This show gets better and better with each year, but I recommend that you start from the beginning in order to fully enjoy this nearly perfect hospital dramedy which just ended its fifth season. The series follows New York nurse, Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) as she tries to balance work and family while keeping her addiction to pills a secret from everyone in the ER. This show skillfully shifts in tone from dark and hilarious to tear-jerkingly touching, thanks in large part to the excellent ensemble cast (including the very talented Merritt Wever as newbie-nurse, Zoey). You could blow through this series in a few weeks because it's so addictive, but I'd suggest taking your time - it's that good.  

1. SHAMELESS

Welcome to Chicago - we're in the same city, but a world away from the above mentioned Happy Endings. Adapted from the popular U.K. series, Shameless, in my opinion, exceeds its source material (although I'm sure British fans would disagree). Emmy Rossum is amazing as Fiona Gallagher, the older sister working hard to raise her South Side family of five while negating the effects of drunk-patriarch, Frank (played with disgusting perfection by William H. Macy) and MIA mother, Monica (Chloe Webb). The fourth season doesn't start until 2014, so go get some friends, some beers, and some scratch-offs and have yourself a shameless good time. 


The two series that I want to start watching are:


EPISODES

Why am I not watching this already? The premise: a British couple move to LA to try and adapt a hit U.K. sitcom for American audiences, hiring Matt LeBlanc (starring as an exaggerated version of himself) and screwing up their marriage in the process. With only two short seasons, this Emmy and Golden-Globe nominated series won't be a big time investment, making it the perfect fit for a busy summer schedule.
  

 DEXTER

  


Ok, so this one is going to be a little more of a time commitment, but from what I hear, it's worth it. Michael C. Hall stars as Dexter Morgan, Miami blood spatter expert/vigilante serial killer...of other serial killers. This doesn't seem like my type of show, but with all of my friends asking WHY I haven't started this one yet, I guess I'll have to get cracking on the first 84 episodes since the eighth and final season is already underway. 







And finally, my (quick) review of...

RAY DONOVAN 

Ray Donovan airs on Sundays at 10PM on Showtime.
Remember before when I said they're not all winners? Well...this is one of those series that just doesn't do it for me. You've seen this show before: misunderstood, male anti-hero does super-bad stuff for a living, and  it's affecting his personal life! Liev Schreiber isn't bad, but the writing - and some of the fake Boston-accents - need work. If it weren't for a welcome appearance from talented Brit, Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky, Sherlock Holmes), I'd say skip it. But what do I know? Apparently, the season premiere brought in 1.4 million viewers, an all-time record for the network.


Well, that's all I got for ya today. Go out and order Showtime so you can get watching! Oh, and don't forget, Web Therapy premieres Tuesday, July 23rd at 11.


Next time, I'll be bidding adieu to Happy Endings, and later in the week, come undercover with me as I recap the first four episodes of the new USA series, Graceland.


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