What TV Show Should You Watch Next?
If you’re a fan of spies, political double-crossing, and Maggie Gyllenhaal speaking with a British accent, this is the show for you. The miniseries, about a company providing technology to the Palestinian Territories in hopes of bringing about cooperation in the Middle East, brings both pulse-pounding surprises and lovely moments of contemplation about trust, truth, and family. If you’ve seen “The Honorable Woman”, try: “Homeland”, which also centers on intelligence agents and the political system they work within; “The Fall”, a British serial-killer drama that also asks the question of what makes a person the way they are; “The Wire”, to be reminded that shady political systems exist in the US as well as the UK.
“Broadchurch” is the British original, “Gracepoint” the (upcoming) American remake, though both star David Tennant in the lead role of a detective investigating the death of a young boy in a small seaside town. The mystery itself is certainly compelling enough to warrant viewership, but the show truly excels in depicting how small-town relationships are fraught by the death of one of their own. As families come together and fall apart, you’ll be unable to turn away. If you’ve seen “Broadchurch”, try: “Twin Peaks”, another series about a mysterious death in a small town; “Orphan Black”, which also examines how life and death affect how one understands family, albeit through a more sci-fi lens; “Fargo”, also about a detective seeking the truth in a small town, but with a more twisted sense of humor.
“Veep” finished up its third season earlier this year, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up before the fourth season premieres next year. The show’s acerbic wit makes for a biting satire of the inanities of the American political system, and a strong performance from Julia Louis-Dreyfus as VP Selina Meyer, and the entire supporting cast, keep the show from falling into campy farce. If you’ve seen “Veep”, try: “Orange is the New Black”, for a strong female-led cast; “Getting On”, for subtly hilarious workplace antics; “The Comeback”, for its sharp satire.
Starring Felicity herself (that’s Keri Russell, if you don’t know), “The Americans” is a gripping drama set during the depths of the Cold War about a husband and wife who seemingly work as travel agents but OH YEAH are actually spies for the Soviets. The show is dripping with political intrigue - especially given current real world tensions with Russia - but defies categorization as a simple political drama with its absorbing look into family, love, and how the bonds that bring people together can also threaten to tear them apart. You need to catch up on the first two seasons. If you’ve seen “The Americans”, try: “The Bridge” (or the Swedish/Danish original), which also offers up compelling intercultural tensions; “The Knick”, which goes back into a farther into American history but also examines insider/outsider dynamics.
The Sundance Channel’s dramatic look at the life of a man released from death row after almost 20 years is perhaps one of the most compelling dramas currently on TV. It’s a slow burn, delving deep into its characters rather than moving the action forward simply for the sake of plot development. “Rectify” is a tale of redemption, family, and change, and though it may be slow moving, it rewards viewers who stick with it. Season two recently finished, so you’ve got time to catch up. If you’ve seen “Rectify”, try: “Top of the Lake”, similarly character-driven and meditative; “The Returned”, which examines, in a different way, how death changes a family; “The Leftovers”, which ramps the existential questions.
A look into the sexual revolution in America, “Masters of Sex” follows Dr. Bill Masters and his partner Virginia Johnson as they strive to uncover the physiology of sex and unburden people from the shame they feel in expressing their sexuality. While the show isn’t short on provocative and titillating moments, it is most compelling in those simple scenes between characters attempting to understand one another on a level more than skin-deep. Season two is almost over, so get caught up now! If you’ve seen “Masters of Sex”, try: “Mad Men”, which also deals with the sexual politics of the mid-20th century (among other things) through the lens of an ad agency; “Deadwood”, a similarly provocative period piece, except this time, the period is the 19th century frontier.