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Author Topic: Best Dramas on TV
Gecko
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I'm looking into buying some DVDs to check out over the summer and am trying to find some really compelling, non-soap opera-ish tv series to watch.

Anyone have any recommendations? Any genre. Something with more than 3 seasons prefreably.

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SenojRetep
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What do you mean by "non-soap opera-ish?" My favorite dramas are House, Lost, and 24, but all have what I'd consider soap-opera elements in that the acting is occasionally overwrought, the episodes often follow parallel story lines, and the writers play around with the character's personal lives (who's sleeping with whom, etc.). But compared to something like, say, ER they're all pretty non-soap opera-ish.

House and Lost have two seasons each, 24 has five.

<edit>So I just checked out the Emmy nominations for best drama: Grey's Anatomy, House, The Sopranos, 24, and The West Wing. The West Wing has several good seasons, but the last two or three have been pretty poor, IMO. I can't speak to Grey's Anatomy or The Sopranos, having never seen either of them.</edit>

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JennaDean
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Monk.

Mysteries, but the most entertaining part of the show is the main character.

Four seasons.

(Actually, I'm not sure I'd call it a "drama"; it's got more elements of comedy. But it's an hour long, it's not a sitcom.)

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vonk
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Grey's Anatomy is an excellent show, dramatic and funny. But it doesn't have 3 seasons yet, I don't think.

I'm definitely gonna recommend Scrubs. I think they have 3 seasons out on DVD now. I was watching season 1 last night and had almost forgotten how funny it was, while still having dramatic moments with deep(ish) commentary.

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SenojRetep
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I was looking over historical best Drama winners and noticed Northern Exposure, which is one of my favorite shows ever. It probably falls into the same category as Monk; very good, very funny but not strictly a comedy or a drama. I believe the first three seasons are out on DVD, and I think the fourth is on the way.

Other interesting former winners and nominees: Picket Fences (only one or two seasons, probably not out on DVD), I'll Fly Away, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: TNG (who knew? 1994 it was nominated for best Drama Series), The X-Files (4 nominations, 0 wins), Law & Order (11 straight nominations from 1992-2002, 1 win)

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Mig
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Battlestar Galactica the new series on SciFi Channel has only two DVD's out but it's worth a peek. Also with only two set out is Veronica Mars, a mystery series that Joss Whedon creater of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly called "the best series ever."
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kwsni
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I've been getting "Six Feet Under" from netflix, and really enjoying it. It is produced for HBO, though, so it's more explicit than a alot of stuff on tv.

Ni!

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Stephan
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I like 24, Lost, Medium, and Dead Zone.
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Angiomorphism
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Alias is a good spy drama (well at least the first two seasons are) and you can watch it to completion since it ended this past year (5 seasons). I second the lost, house, battlestar galactica (which I think is by far the best drama on television), and grey's anatomy (though this one is probably the closest to a soap) recommendations. I've never watched 24 but I've heard it's good. I didn't really like Buffy but I did love Angel (that one is also finished), and scrubs is my favortie comedy on television (though it's not really a drama). You might also like Stargate SG-1 or Atlantis (though I prefer SG-1), and there are currently 9 seasons out of SG-1, so there would be plenty of material to watch, and in my opinion, it is one of the most entertaining shows to watch, because of its combination of comedy, drama, sci-fi, and really good acting/characters.

If are also looking for comedy, you should definetly get The Office (BBC version) and also check out Gervais's new show Extras if you can get it (not sure it's on DVD).

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JennaDean
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Oh, I used to love Northern Exposure! Thanks for the reminder, SenojRetep.

As for The Office ... the BBC version makes me so uncomfortable, I can't watch 3 minutes of it. That guy just makes me cringe. How did he get to be in charge of anything?

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MrSquicky
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If you like Aaron Sorkin (guy who did West Wing) I recommend Sports Night. It's only two season, but it's one of my favorite shows ever.
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Shawshank
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House, Law & Order, any of them (my favorite is Law and Order: SVU), The West Wing is rather great.

Orginally posted by Vonk:
quote:


I'm definitely gonna recommend Scrubs

I wouldn't classify Scrubs as a drama- it's pretty good for what it is- but drama it is not.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Gecko:
I'm looking into buying some DVDs to check out over the summer and am trying to find some really compelling, non-soap opera-ish tv series to watch.

Anyone have any recommendations? Any genre. Something with more than 3 seasons prefreably.

But there are so many good ones that died before their time. Wonderfalls, Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Dead Like Me. The 4400 is a good one, even though it's only on its second full season.

Do you like science fiction? Dramedy? Lots of guns and violence?

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Angiomorphism
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Oh I love dead like me! Such good dark humour.
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katharina
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Gilmore Girls

You've tried Buffy, right?

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KarlEd
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quote:
Originally posted by Gecko:
I'm looking into buying some DVDs to check out over the summer and am trying to find some really compelling, non-soap opera-ish tv series to watch.

Anyone have any recommendations? Any genre. Something with more than 3 seasons prefreably.

I watch a lot of TV on DVD, but I rent them all from Netflix. I don't see the point in buying them (for myself anyway) because I don't think I'll be watching them over and over again anyway. Also there's no risk because if I don't like a particular series, I don't have to rent the subsequent disks. (And I'm not stuck with them.)

TV on DVD I like: Six Feet Under (probably in the 'soap-opera-ish' category), The Sopranos, Smallville, Carnival, and Dead Like Me.

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dab
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-Six Feet Under
-24
-Carnivalle-(I really liked it, but most people i know don't).
-Rescue Me
-Quantum Leap
-Rome (only 1 season so far, but it't darn good)
-House (but I bet it gets old on DVD because the scenario is so repetetive)
-Sopranos

if you want to go with some funny stuff
-Arrested Development (much better on DVD than on tv)
-Family Guy (who knew that there could be a better parody cartoon than the simpsons)
-the office
-my name is earl (only 1 season, but my favorite new comedy this year)

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Javert
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I add a second or third recommendation for both "Firefly" and "House". Phenomenal shows.

Some will complain that House is a little too formulaic and relies on deus ex machinae to a certain degree, but I still think it's worth taking a look at.

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Javert
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dab, House only gets repetetive if you watch it every day. If you have a sort of system where you see a few episodes, wait a few days, see a few more, it works.
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dab
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I agree, and I love house... but it is a better show to watch on a weekly base instead of watching 3 or 4 in a row.
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narrativium
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Wonderfalls is comedy, buy highly recommended nonetheless, as is Weeds. 24 will last you a while, as it has completed 5 seasons (4 of which are on DVD), but doesn't offer much in the way of rewatchability. Deadwood is also excellent, as long as you have no objections about offensive content. And if you haven't seen Quantum Leap, do so immediately. It remains one of the best sci-fi shows ever.
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Gecko
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wow, this is a great list. Great work everyone.

From what I read, I ordered so far 24, lost, BG, West Wing and 4400.

I watch TV like a marathon runner, maybe a season a day. I will most likley go through all the shows recommended here.

Few questions:

Monk looks really interesting, but does it get too boged down with the mechanics of the crimes they are trying to solve like CSI or L&O, or is it more character driven, like Columbo?

Anyone hear of a serise called The Pretender? A lot of my pals are saying I should get it. Is it any good?

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Jon Boy
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I saw several episodes of it when it was on TV, but I never cared for it (my dad was the one who liked it).
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solo
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Monk is definitely more character driven. And it is hilarious.

Others that I would reccomend Firefly, House, Carnivale, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Veronica Mars, Dead Like Me, and Wonderfalls. None of them have 3 seasons yet (or ever in most of the cases) but all are worth watching.

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kmbboots
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Deadwood

Only two seasons and not for children. Lots of profanity and graphic sex and violence. If those don't put you off, there are complex characters that you care about and really smart writing.

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Noemon
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You beat me to it, Kate. Deadwood is very well done, but definitely not for those who object to depictions of cursing, whoring, fighting, and filth.

Didn't I read that HBO is ending the series with the current season (and is the current season 3 or 4?)?

I've got season 2 in my Netflix queue; as soon as I've finished the 3rd season of the cheesy-but-fun (and definitely soap operaish) Lois and Clark I'll be immersing myself in late 1800s South Dakota.

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kmbboots
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Should have said only two seasons out on DVD.
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tanman1975
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some great ones out here:

I'd like to add Weeds (i season) and Huff to the list.

Band of Brothers (a mini series, but incredible, and long enough to count as a season)

British made MI-5 is actually pretty decent for the budget they had.

My So-Called Life was underated

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solo
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Oh, I forgot. If you can get Life On Mars it is definitely worth checking out. link
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SC Carver
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I've been watching "Joan of Arcadia" and "Dead Like Me" on the HD Net channel and loving both of them. I don't know how long they lasted, but both are worth watching. Of course they don’t have much I common other than being different than most things on TV.

House is good but it is getting old, The writers will have to be good to keep coming up with interesting plots, and not fall into the soap opera, everyone sleeping with everyone else thing.


I like "Earl", but I just can't get into "The office", Several of my friends love it and quote it all the time, but if I watch more than five minutes it makes my skin crawl and have to change the channel. Maybe it is just too close to real life for me.

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Should have said only two seasons out on DVD.

I wasn't trying to correct you on the number of seasons, by the way; I thought it was clear that you were talking about seasons available on DVD, rather than total seasons produced.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Anyone hear of a serise called The Pretender? A lot of my pals are saying I should get it. Is it any good?
I sometimes watched it when it was on every afternoon on TNT. For the most part, it was pretty meh.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Should have said only two seasons out on DVD.

I wasn't trying to correct you on the number of seasons, by the way; I thought it was clear that you were talking about seasons available on DVD, rather than total seasons produced.
I am kinda bummed that they are planning to end so soon.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by solo:
Monk is definitely more character driven. And it is hilarious.

Others that I would reccomend Firefly, House, Carnivale, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Veronica Mars, Dead Like Me, and Wonderfalls. None of them have 3 seasons yet (or ever in most of the cases) but all are worth watching.

Wow. Do you want to come over and watch with me?
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blacwolve
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-House: I'm currently watching 2 or 3 episodes a day and it hasn't gotten old yet.

-Whedon's shows: Buffy, Angel, and Firefly

-Veronica Mars: From the synopsis and the previews, it looks really cliched, actually, it's awesome.

-The West Wing: until Aaron Sorkin leaves

-The 4400

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solo
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Well if you like all of those shows and don't mind a little bit of nudity and a smattering of objectionable phrases then you should definitely check out Life On Mars. It is incredibly well written and acted. The music is perfect.

A quote from www.tv.com about the show:

quote:
A detective chief inspector from 2006 is investigating a serial killer when he is knocked over by a speeding car. Waking up, he finds himself mysteriously transported back in time to 1973. Initially struggling to come to terms with his situation, he has to come to terms with the old-fashioned technology and attitude of the day, while figuring out how he came to be trapped in the past.


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Teshi
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I recommend Firefly, Angel (and/or Buffy), the first two seasons of Alias, Battlestar Galactica (unless you want to laugh), House, The West Wing, CSI.

In shows I love but aren't so universally liked, I'd say both Stargates (SG-1 and Atlantis).

I find Grey's Anatomy too soap-opera-ish for my tastes.

I find that Carnivale and Lost both rely on "what's in the box" too much- i.e. the plots hinge on what the writers aren't telling you. That annoys me So Much.

I don't like 4400 (I think the dialogue is very poor), I haven't seen Veronica Mars or Monk. I didn't like Wonderfalls.

Quantum Leap is very good in many ways but not modern, which makes it seem worse to some people.

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blacwolve
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Teshi- We seem to have almost exactly the same taste in tv shows, so I'm sure you'd love Veronica Mars.

I even agree that the dialogue in the 4400 is poor, I just think the idea makes up for it enough that it's worth watching. It's definately not on par with the other shows I listed, though.

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dab
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Teshi, I agree with you about the 4400, the plot of the show is really cool, but the writing (from what I have seen, which is not a lot.) is terrible.
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Shawshank
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I'm not a rabid fan of Monk- but it's really good, I usually watch it if I see it on. Come on- OCD detective- that's just funny.

Although sometimes I worry about how it portrays people with serious ailments in a comical way. But then I remember it's fiction and so I just laugh.

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Earendil18
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Plugs to

Monk
House *
Lost
Veronica Mars

We already know 24 is cool.

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MyrddinFyre
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I loved The Pretender when it was on, but I was also a lot younger so I couldn't elaborate. It was mysterious and intriguing in the Quantum Leap sort of way (every episode was centered around a different place/set of people).

Personally I would get Firefly, Monk, House, ST:TNG, and Quantum Leap.

And I have a terrible fetish for Bonanza, but I think that's just me [Smile]

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