Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mike Teevee

My buddy, Gentleman Jim, asked me what I thought were the best TV shows on right now.

Here's a partial list:

Breaking Bad (AMC) - Shakespearean in its scope and character development.  Walter White's journey from hapless victim to calculating villain is believable, harrowing and oddly sympathetic.

Game of Thrones (HBO)- It's billed as a fantasy series, but really it's about politics - namely the gaining and exercise of power.  Like a lot of great shows, it has shown a real lack of sentimentality about killing off popular characters.

The Walking Dead (AMC)- Yes, there are zombies, but zombies are not central to the show.  Rather, the show is about what happens when the world breaks down and the old rules and conventions disappear.  How do you form a new society?

Justified (F/X)- Before the last season, I might have left it off, but this season was excellent.  The central appeal is the relationship and conflict between Boyd Crowder, the criminal, and Raylan Givens, the lawman.  But what gives the show its tension is that Crowder has his own strict laws and Givens is something of an outlaw.

Vikings (History Channel) - It's good, I don't think it's great.  But I like saying "Ragnar Lothbruk".

Last summer I immersed myself in Breaking Bad, and I have plans to do something similar this summer with either Mad Men, House of Games or The Wire.

But there are a few more HBO series worth watching (and re-watching).

Generation Kill - So far, this is one of the best works of art to come out of our endless wars in the Middle East.  By simply focusing on the company and platoon level action during the invasion of Iraq, it shows why we failed without being dogmatic or strident.  And the writing is fantastic.

Deadwood - I need to watch this again.  What forms does evil take at the rough border between civilization and anarchy?

Kind of some common themes there, I know.  But that's my list.  You could add to it in the comments, but the comments never work.

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