I’m not afraid to say it. Showtime is my favourite cable channel.
I suppose this comes at a bad time, especially since the series finale for Dexter just aired and reviews have been astoundingly bad. However, I had the pleasure of watching the pilot for Masters of Sex the other day, and it blew my mind away. For me, I think Showtime has just the right blend of drama, comedy, sex and violence to make it refreshing, unlike some shows out there that have sex just for the sex, and violence just for the violence. For me, anyway.
Here are a list of shows that I think you should definitely give a shot (P.S. NSFW-ish trailers):
Frank Gallagher is the proud single dad of six smart, spirited and independent kids, who without him would be…perhaps better off. William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum star in the wildly engaging and fearlessly twisted new Showtime Original Series SHAMELESS. When Frank’s not at the bar, he’s stirring up trouble — so it’s a good thing he has Fiona, his eldest daughter who keeps the family together. The Gallaghers may not have much in the way of money or rules, but they know who they are —- and they’re absolutely, wildly and unapologetically SHAMELESS.
Based on the UK series of the same name. This is undoubtedly my favourite drama/comedy of all time.
The series follows Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency operations officer who, after conducting an unauthorized operation in Iraq, is put on probation and reassigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Virginia. In Iraq, Carrie was warned by an asset that an American prisoner of war had been turned by al-Qaeda.
The series revolves around Hank Moody, a novelist plagued by personal demons. He blames his longtime writer’s block on reasons ranging from the hedonism of Los Angeles to the departure of his girlfriend Karen. Hank constantly deals with the consequences of his inability to say “no” to drugs, sex, and alcohol while trying to show his family that he can be a good, responsible, caring father to Becca and a monogamous partner to Karen.
The series centered on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for a fictional Miami Metro Police Department (based on the real life Miami-Dade Police Department) who also leads a secret life as aserial killer, hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of justice.
Okay, so I think it’s unanimous that the series finale was an absolute trainwreck, but let’s not forget the amazing first five seasons that Dexter gave us.
Every day is a matter of life and death in a hectic New York City hospital, but for Nurse Jackie that’s the easiest part. Between chronic back pain that won’t quit, and a personal life on the constant edge of collapse, it’s going to take a white lie here, a bent rule there, and a handful of secret strategies to relieve the pain, and stay one step ahead of total disaster. Three-time Emmy® winner Edie Falco stars in the critically acclaimed Showtime Original Comedy Series NURSE JACKIE.
I think Showtime shows have a tendency to go on for a little too long past its “Best by” date. Nurse Jackie went a little stale for me towards season 5, probably due to the showrunners leaving the show, but the first 4 seasons are absolutely incredible.
The show takes place in Los Angeles, California, where Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), who is originally from South Boston, is a “fixer” for the powerful law firm Goldman & Drexler that represents the rich and famous. However, he experiences his own problems when his father, Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight), is unexpectedly released from prison and FBI agents try to find him in order to bring down Ray and his associates.
Fiona Wallice is a therapist who has conceived of a new “modality” of therapy: the titular “web therapy”. In her estimation, the traditional “50 minute hour” version of therapy gives people too much leeway to talk about irrelevant things. By dramatically shortening session time, she hopes to get results more quickly. Her sessions take place via webcam over the internet using iChat. They are taped in the hope of attracting investors into promoting her new technique as a worldwide therapy option.
House of Lies
Charming, fast talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of management consultants know how to play the corporate game better than anyone, by using every dirty trick in the book to woo powerful CEOs and close huge deals. In the board rooms, barrooms and bedrooms of the power elite, corruption is business as usual and everyone’s out for themselves first. Nothing is sacred in this scathing, irreverent satire of corporate America today. Outrageous, subversive and wildly funny, HOUSE OF LIES stars Academy Award® nominee Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.
Masters of Sex
The newest show in this list! MASTERS OF SEX is a one-hour drama starring Emmy® and BAFTA Award nominee Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan, who will portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance, and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch.
Early reviews have been positive, and I’m expecting this series to only get better with time!
In other news…
A teaser trailer for the upcoming psychological horror series Penny Dreadful gives us tiny glimpses of what to expect. Sallow skin and black fur. Here’s the series description: Some of literature’s most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. PENNY DREADFUL is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.
Let’s hope this one is another gem, and we’ll have another fantastic horror series that I can scare myself senseless with. On a similar note, who’s excited for American Horror Story?
“Penny Dreadful” is created, written and executive produced by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator) and executive produced by Logan’s Desert Wolf Productions, along with Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road), both of Neal Street. Of the eight episodes, the first two will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, who helmed The Orphanage and the acclaimed film The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts in her Oscar-nominated performance. Let us know what you think!