TV Recommendations: The Best of What You Might Not Be Watching

How often do you find yourself asking your friends for TV recommendations? Maybe you just wrapped up a nice long intimate binge-watch on Netflix, or you’re looking to kill time between new Walking Dead and Game of Thrones episodes. Perhaps you’d like to have something fun to show your friends who are in a similar predicament…

Before you jump on the next bandwagon show, I recommend giving these a try while they’re still on-air. They may not necessarily be Breaking Bad, but I wouldn’t mention them if I didn’t think they’d hook you enough to get caught up. As an old friend once described my taste in television, they’re #MichaelShows.

 

Billions (Showtime)

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 4.16.44 PM

Starring: Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Paul Giamatti (John Adams)

This show was an excellent surprise during the past winter season Sunday lineup. As Wall Street becomes more and more in the political campaign discussion and after films like The Big Short and 99 Homes were big successes, a show like this has never been more relevant. You’ll also feel better prepared after seeing either movie. Giamatti is a federal attorney with a hedge-fund boss in his crosshairs, played by Lewis The contrast and battle between the two sides is awesome. Just don’t let the opening S&M scene turn you off, unless you’re into that sort of thing (it’s very brief, but very fitting).

Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) gives a very under-appreciated performance that I think deserves Emmy consideration. Toby Leonard Moore (Daredevil) is also very good, as is the rest of the supporting cast. It’s smart, funny, suspenseful, sexy and has very cool ties to the rock music selections played each episode.

Season 1 is available in its entirety on Showtime Anytime.

 

TURN: Washington’s Spies (AMC)

TURN Season 2

Starring: Jamie Bell (Jumper), Angus McFayden (Braveheart) and Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire)

TURN is great for history buffs but even better for spy genre fans. The idea of America’s first spy ring and the means to pull that off in the 1700s is fascinating. There’s a little bit of a Q-Branch/James Bond vibe at times when period appropriate technology is introduced to the rebel spies at different points. The mythos that surrounds George Washington when he finally enters the fold, in person, as are the moments that humanize him a little.

You don’t really empathize with the British at any point but there are some characters who garner your respect, specifically “counter intelligence” officer Major John Andre (played by JJ Feild). There are also a few recognizable faces on the show that will make you go “Oh, that guy from that thing”, like Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones), Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean), and Stephen Root (Office Space). Favorite character is Caleb Brewster, played by Daniel Henshall (The Babadook).

First two seasons are available on Netflix. Season 3 premiere is April 25th. 

 

Tyrant (FX)

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.05.41 PM

Starring: Adam Rayner (Hawthorne), Ashraf Barhom (Clash of the Titans) and Jennifer Finnigan (Better With You)

It’s the closest thing you’ll find that portrays a modern realistic Game of Thrones. I think that every episode I watch. It’s unpredictable, action-packed, scary, and not necessarily for the faint of heart. One brother believes it is birthright to rule his middle eastern country, Abuddin, while the other wants to implement democracy. All the while factions like the Caliphate are brutally making life outside their kingdom all the more dangerous.

Bassam, played by Rayner, is a mix of Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon Snow. His brother Jamal, played by Barhom, is combo of Joffrey, Roose Bolton, Cersei, and the crazy parts of Stannis. You can imagine the clashes based on that description alone.

Season 1 is streaming on Hulu. Season 3 will premier this summer.

 

Peaky Blinders (Netflix)

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.42.42 PM

Starring: Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) and Sam Neil (Jurassic Park)

When friends ask me about shows to check out on Netflix, my mind goes immediately to Peaky Blinders. Cillian Murphy’s Thomas Shelby is one of TV’s biggest badasses, it’s shot beautifully, the music rocks, and Tom Hardy joins the cast in season 2. It’s also an incredibly quick watch, as each season is just 6 episodes and the storylines are fast paced. At times, you’re reminded of the old Guy Ritchie films like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrells…in part because of the organized crime themes, dialogue and HEAVY accents.

The new season begins on the BBC this May, but no date has been set for a Netflix release. Which gives you plenty of time to get caught up on the first 2 seasons. The theme song by Nick Cave is also dark and addicting.

First 2 seasons are on Netflix. Season 3 premieres on BBC Two in May.

Bosch (Amazon)

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.55.05 PM

Starring: Titus Welliver (The Town) and Jamie Hector (The Wire)

Bosch was my introduction into Amazon original programming and I’m very glad it was. Welliver is one of those “That guy” actors that seems to appear in just about everything, and now he’s in a starring detective role based on a Michael Connelly book series, similar to The Lincoln Lawyer. Apparently the two eventually meet in a crossover book…

The show is dark and fills a modern crime void that’s been left by Justified, for me at least. I wouldn’t stack the writing up with Season 1 of True Detective, but you get the noir vibe. Better yet, it’s FILLED with alums from The Wire. Bosch’s partner is Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield from The Wire) and his boss is Lance Reddick (Lt. Daniels). There are tons of faces you’ll recognize, both regulars and guest appearances, like Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Sarah Clarke (24), Matthew Lillard (Scream), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager), Brent Sexton (The Killing), Annie Wersching (24), and James Ransone (The Wire, of course).

First 2 seasons are available on Amazon Prime.

 

Have some more recommendations? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll add them to the list!

Advertisements

TV Character Madness: The Final Four

<< Previously on TV Madness

And then there were 4…

Swanson Don't Care

UPDATE: You chose who is heading to the Championship.

Matchup #61 (Comedy & Sidekicks)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

vs.

(6) Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

 

Matchup #62 (Antiheroes & Heroes)

(2) Walter White – Breaking Bad

vs.

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

 

Championship Voting begins Thursday, March 24th. 

Follow along for more on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness: The Elite 8

<< Previously on TV Madness

Things are getting tight…and heated…and a little awkward.

Office Madness

Who are you sending to the Final Four?

Matchup #57 (Comedy)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.22.27 PM

vs.

(2) Michael Scott – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.25.26 PM

 

Matchup #58 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.32.03 PM

vs.

(6) Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.36.24 PM

 

Matchup #59 (Antiheroes)

(13) Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman – Better Call Saul

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.48.24 PM

vs.

(2) Walter White – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.59.20 PM

 

Matchup #60 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.25.38 PM

vs.

(2) Dr. Gregory House – House M.D.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.27.57 PM

 

Final Four voting starts Wednesday, March 23rd. 

Follow along for more on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness – The Sweet 16

<< Previously on TV Madness

After 4 days of voting, we have some GREAT characters in the Sweet 16, and a few who have teamed up in the past…

Walter and Saul

 

Matchup #49 (Sidekicks)

(6) Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.19.04 PM

vs.

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.22.38 PM

 

Matchup #50 (Antiheroes)

(1) Tony Soprano – The Sopranos

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.35.45 PM

vs.

(13) Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman – Better Call Saul

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.38.22 PM

 

Matchup #51 (Heroes)

(6) Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.46.46 PM

vs.

(2) Gregory House – House M.D. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.50.15 PM

 

Matchup #52 (Comedy)

(9) Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

vs.

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.02.19 PM

 

Matchup #53 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.41.13 PM

vs.

(4) Marshall Eriksen – How I Met Your Mother

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.45.58 PM

 

Matchup #54 (Antiheroes)

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 6.13.42 PM

vs.

(2) Walter White – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.55.32 PM

 

Matchup #55 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 11.03.55 PM

vs.

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 11.08.35 PM

 

Matchup #56 (Comedy)

(3) Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 11.15.56 PM

vs.

(2) Michael Scott – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 11.19.52 PM

 

Elite 8 voting begins Tuesday, April 22nd. Follow along for more on Facebook and Twitter

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness: Round 2 – Part I

<< Previously on TV Madness…

Three matchups went down to the wire, and some big names were upset. Like Jack Bauer. thanks to Jessica Jones.

Jessica Jones win

Now we move to Round 2, where decisions only get tougher.

Matchup #33 (Sidekicks)

(6) Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 12.08.14 PM

vs.

(3) Jesse Pinkman – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.54.11 PM

 

Matchup #34 (Antiheroes)

(10) Jax Teller – Sons of Anarchy

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.46.08 PM

vs.

(2) Walter White – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.51.47 PM

 

Matchup #35 (Heroes)

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.02.38 PM

vs.

(13) Sterling Archer – Archer

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.18 PM

 

Matchup #36 (Comedy)

(1) Homer Simpson – The Simpsons

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.11.34 PM

vs.

(9) Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.13.54 PM

 

Matchup #37 (Sidekicks)

(5) Joey Tribbiani – Friends

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.28.22 PM

vs.

(4) Marshall Eriksen – How I Met Your Mother

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.34.12 PM

 

Matchup #38 (Antiheroes)

(1) Tony Soprano – The Sopranos

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.41.59 PM

vs.

(8) Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.43.31 PM

 

Matchup #39 (Heroes)

(6) Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.51.37 PM

vs.

(3) Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.53.06 PM

 

Matchup #40 (Heroes)

(7) Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.59.49 PM

vs.

(2) Michael Scott – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.03.27 AM

 

Voting will resume Sunday morning, April 19th, to see who will advance to the Sweet 16.

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness: Round 1 – Part II

<< Previously on TV Madness

Some close calls, upsets, and absolute dominance. 

Now for the second half of the Round 1 showdowns.

PiffBracketTV-02 (1)

Matchup #17 (Antiheroes)

(4) Omar Little – The Wire

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 8.56.30 PM

vs.

(13) Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.07.11 PM

 

Matchup #18 (Comedy)

(8) Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.24.26 PM

vs.

(9) Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.28.07 PM

 

Matchup #19 (Sidekicks)

(7) Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.39.37 PM

vs.

(10) Crazy Eyes – Orange is the New Black

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.43.20 PM

 

Matchup #20 (Heroes)

(2) Dr. Gregory House – House M.D.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.47.39 PM

vs.

(15) Coach Eric Taylor – Friday Night Lights

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.49.42 PM

 

Matchup #21 (Antiheroes)

(6) Frank Underwood – House of Cards

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.53.27 PM

vs.

(11) Ray Donovan – Ray Donovan

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.00.35 PM

 

Matchup #22 (Comedy)

(3) Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.28.09 PM

vs.

(14) Selina Meyer – Veep

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.05.32 PM

 

Matchup #23 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.13.00 PM

vs.

(16) Gary Walsh – Veep

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.16.31 PM

 

Matchup #24 (Heroes)

(5) Jack Bauer – 24

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.25.48 PM

vs.

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.28.57 PM

 

Matchup #25 (Comedy)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.33.49 PM

vs.

(13) Tina Belcher – Bob’s Burgers

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.37.35 PM

 

Matchup #26 (Antiheroes)

(8) Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.44.10 PM

vs.

(9) Vic Mackey – The Shield

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.47.45 PM

 

Matchup #27 (Heroes)

(7) Jimmy McNulty – The Wire

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.55.24 PM

vs.

(10) The Doctor – Doctor Who

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.57.03 PM

 

Matchup #28 (Sidekicks)

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.01.39 AM

vs.

(15) John Watson – Sherlock

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.05.20 AM

 

Matchup #29 (Comedy)

(6) Dr. Frasier Crane

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.09.45 AM

vs.

(11) Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.14.56 AM

 

Matchup #30 (Antiheroes)

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.19.29 AM

vs.

(14) Thomas Shelby – Peaky Blinders

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.21.30 AM

 

Matchup #31 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.26.30 AM

vs.

(16) Mal Reynolds – Firefly

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.28.46 AM

 

Matchup #32 (Sidekicks)

(5) Joey Tribbiani – Friends

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.33.48 AM

vs.

(12) Saul Berenson – Homeland

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.36.15 AM

 

Round 2 begins Saturday, March 19th. Hear our breakdown of the bracket on the latest Piffcast.

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

TV Character Madness: Round 1 – Part I

It has begun!

PiffBracketTV (1) (1)

 

UPDATE: Polls are closed for now, but see the results here and be sure to check in tomorrow for Part II of Round 1.

Matchup #1 (Sidekicks Region)

(4) Marshall Eriksen – How I Met Your Mother

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 10.33.05 PM

vs.

(13) Olivia Benson – Law & Order: SVU

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 10.35.53 PM

 

Matchup #2 (Heroes Region)

(8) Rust Cohle – True Detective

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 10.47.05 PM

vs.

(9) Raylan Givens – Justified

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 10.51.37 PM

 

Matchup #3 (Comedy Region)

(7) Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.09.15 PM

vs.

(10) Eric Cartman – South Park

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.11.52 PM

 

Matchup #4 (Antiheroes Region)

(2) Walter White – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.19.29 PM

vs.

(15) Kenny Powers – Eastbound and Down

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.22.54 PM

 

Matchup #5 (Sidekicks)

(6) Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.31.56 PM

vs.

(11) Hurley – Lost

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.35.41 PM

Matchup #6 (Heroes)

(3) Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.44.50 PM

vs.

(14) Michael Scofield – Prison Break

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.47.40 PM

 

Matchup #7 (Comedy)

(1) Homer Simpson – The Simpsons

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.55.17 PM

vs.

(16) Erlich Bachman – Silicon Valley

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.58.50 PM

 

Matchup #8 (Antiheroes)

(5) Don Draper – Mad Men

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.03.27 AM

vs.

(12) Al Swearengen – Deadwood

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.07.17 AM

 

Matchup #9 (Heroes)

(4) Will McAvoy – The Newsroom

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.16.20 AM

vs.

(13) Sterling Archer – Archer

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.22.53 AM

 

Matchup #10 (Sidekicks)

(8) Ari Gold – Entourage

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.30.00 AM

vs.

(9) Marty Hart – True Detective

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.34.44 AM

 

Matchup #11 (Antiheroes)

(7) Boyd Crowder – Justified

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.40.42 AM

vs.

(10) Jax Teller – Sons of Anarchy

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.48.42 AM

 

Matchup #12 (Comedy)

(2) Michael Scott – The Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.52.24 AM

vs.

(15) Jake Peralta – Brooklyn 99

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 12.53.52 AM

 

Matchup #13 (Heroes)

(6) Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.02.25 AM

vs.

(11) John Luther – Luther

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.04.47 AM

 

Matchup #14 (Sidekicks)

(3) Jesse Pinkman – Breaking Bad

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.10.22 AM

vs.

(14) Dr. Niles Crane – Frasier

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.14.17 AM

 

Matchup #15 (Antiheroes)

(1) Tony Soprano – Sopranos

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.19.24 AM

vs.

(16) Nucky Thompson – Boardwalk Empire

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.21.47 AM

 

Matchup #16 (Comedy)

(5) Phil Dunphy – Modern Family

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.26.25 AM

vs.

(12) Gob Bluth – Arrested Development

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.32.34 AM

 

Part II of Round 1 will be up Friday morning. 

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>