Sunday, March 23, 2014

Because you asked: TV viewing in a post-Breaking Bad world

Welcome to the first in a series I shall call "Because You Asked." Carolynn wondered what I'm watching on TV, now that Breaking Bad has ended. The short answer is, "a whole lot of crap." Carolynn, if you were looking for a few recommendations of great TV shows you might have missed, you won't find them in this post.

The TV is on here for several hours each day, usually in the evenings after the sun has gone down or in the middle of the night when I wake up for no apparent reason and need to be lulled back to sleep. I rarely watch TV in real time; I record programs on the DVR and play them back to fit my schedule and so that I can fast-forward through the commercials.

One program I never miss is the NBC Nightly News. My longest-ever celebrity crush is Tom Brokaw, and now I've got a thing for Brian Williams. I like his dry wit, and he always gets a little misty-eyed when he reports on a heartwarming animal story. Anyway, I still like to get my news the old-fashioned way, so eating dinner with Brian works for me.

Until the recent changing of the guard in late-night television, I had always watched Letterman, never Leno. Now I record Jimmy and Seth. They're both so darned funny and likable. And through the miracle of the DVR, I can watch the bits and pieces I prefer and skip over the guests I've never heard of.

I'm just as addicted to Downton Abbey as ever. This season seemed to go by so fast, though. I'm trying to fill the gap until next season with British period dramas I'm finding on Amazon Prime. The Forsyte Saga was very good – same era as Downton but featuring a less-aristocratic family. I've tried going back to the earliest episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, but they're not closed captioned and I can't understand the accents. Next up on my streaming watchlist is The Duchess of Duke Street. How did I ever live without DSL?

This next one might surprise you: Project Runway. It's a show about fashion. Me? Fashionable? Ha! But I enjoy watching creative designers at work. It's one of those competition shows where the loser of the week's challenge cries and goes home. I'm not a big fan of the genre, but again, that's what DVRs are for – you can skip over the drama and get right to the good parts.

One show I do watch for the competition is Survivor. Those of you who have read this blog from the beginning know that George and Alan were consolation prizes to myself for not being selected to be on Survivor. I still think I could outwit, outplay and outlast most of those knuckleheads if given the chance. Alas, they don't seem to cast old broads anymore. Their loss.

I do not watch any cooking, singing or dancing competitions, but I will admit to watching a whole lot of HGTV and the Food Network. Those channels are frequently on in the background while I'm working on the next day's blog post. I have no intention of ever moving, let alone out of the country, but I can't get enough of House Hunters International – real-estate porn at its finest. Good Eats with Alton Brown is my foodie favorite; it's part science, part history, part cooking demo. Last night I learned the importance of a roasting pan and why some fresh chicken meat is yellow, in addition to how to properly roast a whole chicken. Good stuff.

Now this is where it's going to get embarassing. In real life, I can't stand arguing and drama queens and conspicuous consumption, but I watch just about every franchise of The Real Housewives. Scary, huh? I don't know what it is about those shows that I find so fascinating.

Proofreading this post has made me realize just how much garbage I watch and how much I miss Breaking Bad. All 65 episodes are still on my DVR. I think it's time to watch them again...unless you've got some better suggestions?







64 comments:

  1. I am SO glad I am not the only one who records stuff and then watches it at my convenience, fast forwarding the commercials. You can believe how much fun folks make of me for doing that!

    Oooooh, Brian Williams ... be still my heart!

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    1. Pat! Good to hear from you. Hugs to Wally.

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  2. We love Downton Abbey and we are also huge fans of Jane Austen, so we have every version of every movie and series. Yes, we! My hubby and I both like them! I'm a lucky girl! :) Anyway you might want to give those shot. First and best would be the classic Pride and Prejudice series from the BBC. We love love love that series! Accents are generally pretty upper class English so should be ok for you. Either series version of Sense and Sensibility would also be a top fave for me. I like them both for different reasons.

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    1. I'll be on the lookout for the Austen series - I thought there were only movie versions of these and I rarely watch movies. A subject for another time...

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    2. In my opinion the movie versions are never as good as the series. Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey only come as movies at this point but they are still pretty good. Start with P&P and see if you get the bug. :)

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  3. I don't own a TV but Netflex is my passion. I've seen every last episode of Breaking Bad. Great stuff!
    I've mentioned it to a couple of friends and they absolutely had nothing good to say about Breaking Bad.
    I just could not relate. I was quite taken aback. Foreign movies are my go to entertainment. No commercials on Netflex.
    I am never happy watching commercials except the ones from Budweiser during the Superbowl. Love the
    horses and the dogs. I get them on Utube. BA SP

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    1. I realize that Breaking Bad isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm glad it's yours.

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  4. Hi Linda, try setting your DVR for The Blacklist, Person of Interest and Crisis. Really good Dramas. I also use the DVR and watch everything on my own schedule.

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    1. I haven't heard of any of these series, but I'll definitely check them out.

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  5. Lucy Worsley.....her BBC series on interesting English stuff and English history. She's funny and slightly irreverent. I also like those old shows like Edwardian Farm. Yikes! Makes me appreciate my vintage kitchen so much more. Anyway, I like this new commentary series you have going on your blog! All you needed was a subject. I used to have my own blog on my urban farm but after awhile, it got to be the same old, same old and I decided to point and shoot at anything in my house and talk about it. That's disturbing -- that I would have something interesting everywhere but it's a small house.

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    1. I'll be on the lookout for Lucy Worsley - irreverent works for me.

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  6. House of Cards (Netflix season 1), Call the Midwife (BBC/PBS), DCI Banks(BBC/PBS), The Good Wife (the only major network series we watch, well, unless you count Fox's American Idol -MY guilty pleasure). Mad Men (AMC) and before we axed everything but basic cable I watched an episode of the old HBO Deadwood which I found fascinating this time around if you don't mind following the 'old west' 19thc. accent and hearing the F word every fourth word from one character.

    Sense and Sensibility ( Emma Thompson), Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly),

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    1. House of Cards seems to be a big favorite for alot of folks - I'm going to have to break down and subscribe to Netflix so I can check it out.

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    2. You can do a month for free so you can try without cost :-)

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  7. Sherlock and True Detectives are pretty danged good. How about House of Cards?

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    1. Another vote for House of Cards...must try.

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  8. Big fan of British productions/actors. Check out: Foyle's War, Doc Martin, and Parade's End. Project Runway, and Under the Gunn are my favorite shoes, ever. I also love Flipping Out/Jeff Lewis. For just feel-good animal cutenesspreciousness, I love 'Too Cute'. I watch the Beverly Hills/Orange County/New York/Miami Housewives...makes me feel better about me somehow...? It's a curious obsession. I also love the talent shows. Singing and dancing are so non-life threatening. We've also started watching The Americans...not that I need that much stress in my life...but I can't stop. I've also become addicted to Face Off, a challenge based competition for special effects make up pros. It's amazing what they can do with chemicals and clay. I also love House Hunters International. What a great show...getting to see real estate options all over the world! I guess I watch a lot of TV...but only in the evening hours, when I'm exhausted and unable to do another thing involving my body or brain.

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    1. Flipping Out...I forgot about that one. I do watch it, for the same reason I watch Housewives ... whatever that reason is. I like your theory though - those crazy women do make me feel better about myself.

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  9. Have you watched "call the Midwife" of "Selfridges" ? 2 more British PBS shows that you may enjoy.

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    1. I've tried Selfridges but didn't get hooked. As for Midwife, the title scares me off. Babies? Labor? Maybe not.

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  10. My husband and I and even our two daughters love the British Doc Martin series. It is shot on location in a small English town by the ocean with beautiful countryside. We watch most of our TV on Hulu, Apple TV or Netflix.

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    1. I thought Doc Martin was a shoe. I'll see if I can find the tv version in my guide.

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    2. You'll love Doc Martin. the king of snarly, not socially correct, emotionally awkward and somehow you still like him guys. Gorgeous scenery of the coast of Scotland too.

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    3. I'm a bit late to this particular party, but I love-love-LOVE Doc Martin. Netflix used to have seasons 1-4 streaming, but I think they only have season 1 now. Such great character development, such a pretty setting and oh-so-funny...

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  11. Hit & Miss, only 6 episodes but really good. Also Lilyhammer. I watched Alpha House on your recommendation. Loved it.

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    1. Ah, Alpha House - loved, loved, loved, but I'm bummed that Trudeau is still on Doonesbury hiatus while he works on the new season. Never heard of Hit & Miss or Lilyhammer - will try to find them. Thanks!

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  12. I love this post. Found out so many more of your likes and "skip overs". I think Downton Abbey went by in double time this season. I've settled for watching the DVD's given to us for the holidays. Shelley was reading this with me this am and when we came to the mention of housewives, she looks at me then at the screen and said "really Carson??????". Yeah for those of us who love to watch them. I've uttered the exact same phrase, I don't know why I like to watch them either....but I do.
    I'm absolutely fascinated by your wanting to have been on Survivors. I think you would have been "kick ass". I love your consolation prizes though.
    Like peeling an onion, I tell ya. Thanks for letting us know more about your layers. Oma Linda

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    1. OK...which is your favorite RH? I love/hate them all for different reasons. Looking forward to the next season of NJ. Will they film Joe in jail?

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  13. It makes me glad that I don't have a television. I guess I'm not missing much. I surf the web instead.

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    1. 'Fess up, Janet...where do you spend the most time on the web?

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    2. Here! Actually I will see something on a page that will take me to another page , that will take me to another page and so on and so on..........
      When I did have a television I used to watch Real Housewives and The Batchelor because ...I have no logical reason.

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  14. Call the Midwife is definitely my favourite show (and I usually don't like British programs - I'm probably the only person on earth who can't stand Downton Abbey). Also a fan of Murdoch Mysteries on CBC, but not sure you'd get that down there. And Big Bang Theory is my 'must see' half hour comedy every week - I've been known to watch the reruns over and over. Sometimes watch Criminal Minds or Law and Order, but I think the more recent ones are less well done that the earlier seasons.

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    1. You Big Bang Theory is my Modern Family - that's the only network comedy show I watch. Oh so funny.

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  15. I watch almost zero regular TV but when Longmire comes back around, I will make an effort to see the third season as it happens. I really like the books and the show. Otherwise it's movies. I would have streaming for Netflix or Amazon but we don't get fast enough DSL to make that happen. I think I will again order the one at a time service through the mail but haven't yet because knowing I will like something when I order it doesn't mean I will when it arrives.

    Because we live so far out in the country, I got into buying DVDs and we have a bookshelf crammed full of hundreds of them; some we enjoy watching over and over. Most recently we watched The Big Sleep (yes, that one-- part of a Humphrey Bogart pack) and My Fellow Americans which we see often enough to quote some of the lines. The Holiday, which didn't get great reviews if I recall is another we like once in awhile with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law (for the eye candy), and Jack Black who I adore in anything he does. Rewatching movies is one of our guilty pleasures. It's like visiting old friends. And yes, we have almost all the Jane Austen movies made by anybody-- love visiting a quieter time.

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    1. I forgot about Longmire - I do love that one and not only because they shoot it all in New Mexico. Seems like it may have jumped the shark in last season's finale, though, but I'll still watch it.

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  16. We live in the expensive wasteland called "Cable TV" and with hundreds of chaneels, there is very little worth watching. I tried Netflix recently (30 day free trial) and binged on two seasons of "House of Cards" finding it to be some of the very best television I've seen. We are now watching movies and other programs available on Netflix (no commercials) and will keep it for $7.99 a month.

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  17. I haven't had a TV for 15 years, but Netflix and Hulu Plus keep me entertained on my computer. Doc Martin is corny but fun. Sherlock!!! There are not only all the new programs, but also collections of really old programs, like the original Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford. I love to bingewatch. It was so exciting to find FarScape, a sci fi series from 15 years ago that quickly became my all-time favorite.

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  18. I second Maybelline -- if you liked Breaking Bad, you really should watch True Detectives. I'm not normally a big fan of Woody Harrelson or Matthew McConaughey, but the detectives they play in this one are amazing with their depth and character development. The plot has a complexity you don't see very often in television. The season just ended, so if you like binging on 8 episodes without stopping, this one is for you. And the season finale was amazing! -- Min

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  19. I can't get over that your DSL out in the middle of nowhere, is so much better than what I get here. It can take 20 minutes to watch a 30 second youtube video. I don't have a TV either and reading this post gives me a wee bit of culture shock. Other than the news, I don't recognize a single thing here. Guess I can't help you much:)

    Although, come to think of it, did you ever watch the All Creatures Great and Small shows that the BBC produced years ago. Maybe you could get them from Amazon. If they are still available anywhere, I think you would enjoy those.

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  20. On Netflix - Check out the series Foyle's War - set during WWII in England about an older police detective dealing w/crime and criminals all seen thru the lens of the war. If you love period pieces, the sets, costuming, props and scenery alone will fascinate. It has a great over-all story arc and a satisfying, bittersweet ending. Another very different and also intelligent bit of writing is Annika Bengtzon:Crime Reporter, set in modern day Sweden. If you can deal w/sub-titles, it is wonderful to see another culture and country combined w/great, often gripping, dramatic writing/acting/directing with a smart, strong female protagonist. Oh, and BLUE MURDER. Enuff said :^)

    - denver

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  21. I am currently watching Abbey, since buying all seasons... I started from the beginning. Haven't seen all of Season 4. Couldn't get into midwife even having had 3 kids, just so over all of that. I try to watch all of the BBC on Netflix. Loved the Forsyth Saga! Jane Austen I never tire of... Over and over. House of Cards was wonderful! As was Orange and Black, hilarious. The Holiday I have seen 3x. I have a Sony Blue-Ray and there are hundreds of movies for free, many foreign. So much to pick from! I do not miss my cable!

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  22. Oh Oh OH!!! And The #1 Ladies Detective Agency, also on Netflix. I think you can only get it on DVD but, really,SO worth checking it out. It will grow on you. Directed by the amazing director and screen writer, Anthony Mingella, (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, etc. etc.) who died just as they were about to start another season, so there is no end to the over-arching story. It stars the fabulous Jill Scott (wearing strategic padding). My SO and I both fell in love with Botswana, where it is set. Beautiful, heart-breaking, humorous, it portrays the reality of life in a third world country thru the eyes of a strong, independent woman as she struggles against custom, convention and her own history. It is wonderful on so many levels and sort of an unfinished symphony. It was a horrible shock to the cast and crew when Anthony Mingella died suddenly and much too young.
    - denver

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    1. GAH! Loved the #1 Ladies Detective Agency---but you definitely need closed captioning to catch every word.
      Carson---you need to add this to your list!!

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    2. yes, I also loved the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. I keep hoping they will shoot more of those shows. So far I have not heard that they will.

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  23. My family records The Colbert Report and The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart and watches them at the end of the week. So basically, I find out what happened on Tuesday on Friday. An we always have one elected person (usually me) has control of the remote and fast forwards through the commercials. As for reality tv, my mom and I watch Say Yes to the Dress, despite not caring one iota about fashion or wedding dresses.

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  24. Michelle from BC3/23/14, 10:51 AM

    We watch Longmire....love it. Justified with Timothy Olyphant, Nurse Jackie....is very good, makes you forget she was ever Carmelia Saprano! Sons of Anarchy ...... Interesting to see inside the lives of a motorcycle gang, Katie Segal is amazing. For some reason we got hooked on True Blood? It's not my thing usually but it's enjoyable. On YouTube , I found The Actors Roundtable series...there's an interview with part of the cast of Downton which was entertaining.

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  25. I hope you all realize that if I get hooked on your great recommendations, I won't have time to take pictures or write blog posts.

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    1. You aren't the only one who got great recommendations! never heard of Longmire, forgot about All Creatures Great and Small which I've watched beginning to end and would do it all over again, and who the heck is Lucy Worsley - can't wait to find out!

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  26. please dont get hooked, we want to continue to enjoy reading your blog. I dont have television, I prefer to look at trees, sunsets, flowers, skies and my cat and read interesting blogs

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  27. just don't miss Foyle's War!

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  28. USA is running Modern Family several times a week and I really love that. I think the first runs are on ABC on Wednesday nights. I found some old Law and Orders on WGN (my cable out of Chicago). But mostly I love Netflix, I really enjoy weekly installments of things like The Wire, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Nurse Jackie (Edie Falco), The Forsyte Saga on PBS ,that great Western series (was it Deadwood?) I get splendid service from Netflix, I send 2 movies back to them.they get them the next day and send new ones to arrive the day after they send. I love old movies, foreign movies, documentaries, so the choice is limitless. I bet you might like it too.

    Cheers,
    Jo in MN

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  29. DVR spoils me to death. I love giving a show a twenty minute or so head start and then watching while whizzing past the commercials. A Brit show we saw (first season only broadcast on local PBS station) and enjoyed was Silk. Lawyers and context, completely different system than here.Fascinating.

    I watch a lot of tv. Prefer scripted shows.

    Also a fan of House Hunters International. Mini vacations.

    My fall back , Friday Night Lights. Have the complete series. Best birthday present ever. Chased it throughout its run to be able to see the shows when new. Now can view whenever.

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  30. Psych...very funny show. Alas it is going away after 8 hilarious seasons. Hopefully, it will be around on reruns or whatever repeats are called.

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  31. Always watch NCIS. The Coast Guard series on the Weather Channel. On PBS Michigan Out of Doors, Red Green, This Old House Hour and Hometime. On Animal Planet Wild West Alaska. On Discover Deadliest Catch, Airplane Repo. On Food Network Diners, DriveIns and Dives. We also watch NBC Nightly News.

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  32. We love our PVR too. Can't imagine having to wait through all of the commercials! I LOVE LOVE LOVE disaster movies. Some of the old ones are so corny ... but I love the special effects! Being able to fast forward through the fluff of the movies make them almost the same time length as a tv show! ;) We love: Blue Bloods, Grey's Anatomy, Rizzoli and Isles, Longmire, Modern Family and a new wacky one called Brooklyn Nine Nine. I also love almost anything I can find on HGTV. Do NOT get carried away down there with your tv! We love to visit with your blog each day!

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  33. You're so funny! :D
    If I could only watch one TV show, ever, for the rest of my life---The Big Bang Theory.
    Guilty pleasure is currently Bones. I'm watching old episodes on Netflix and watch the real time series On Demand. I'm too busy on Monday at 7pm to watch it when it's really on.
    Others are Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Call the Midwife (all hail BBC) and Elementary (all hail CBS).

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  34. LOL...thanks for the glimpse inside your TV Guide. We still don't watch tv, but we have become quite attached to Netflix, although, the Canadian line-up is limited compared to the US version. I devoured Downton Abbey pretty quickly and am now patiently awaiting new episodes to become available. We watch a lot of movies - always have. I'm going to have to take notes from all the other commenters here and check out some of the recommendations.

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  35. I'm in with Maybelline and Anonymous - if you liked Breaking Bad, you really should check out True Detectives - Anonymous perfectly describes why. Matthew McConaughey will blow you right out of the water. And if you like cartoons, Phineas and Ferb are awesome (on Netflix).

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  36. "The Good Wife," "Blacklist," new comedy on TBS "Men At Work," "The Daily Show." Of course, "Downton Abbey." I like "Project Runway," too!

    Sam in Texas

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  37. No cable TV at home, so it's over-the-air with the little Radio Shack antenna perched on the double-hung window. No NBC with the little inside antenna, but ABC,CBS, FOX, PBS (Yeah!) and some two(?) maybe other channels that were over the air networks that were added on after the FCC opened up the competition. Don't ask me their call signs ... I don't pay attention ;) .

    PBS does carry a lot of interesting shows that you can watch online (This Old House for instance). Also, your NM public broadcasting may have its own video streaming capability.

    I do like the British shows - Masterpiece Mystery !! Foyle's war has already been mentioned .... but I do like the old POIROT series with David Suchet. Nothing like some Agatha Christie to get the Who-Dunnit brain cells engaged. They have some Miss Marple series too. There are plenty of others too. Some of the series are shorter. I do hope they make another season of SHERLOCK! It's definitely quirky (and it is sub-titled which is handy for all the quick dialog).

    I don't have a DVR or do Netflix. However the county library does try to keep up to date with movies and TV series. I guess I need to request Doc Martin. I have missed a few of those broadcasts.

    M in NC (who doesn't live life around the TV schedule either).

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  38. An American in Tokyo3/24/14, 11:49 PM

    Thanks to your lovely friends/fans and their comments, I am now hooked on Doc Martin! =)

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  39. One of my all-time favorites is McCloud's Daughters - I watched all 8 seasons on Netflix streaming. It should be right up your alley, Carson - women running a cattle ranch in Australia! I loved the characters (especially the Aussie hunks), the drama, well, just everything!

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  40. I can't believe you actually admitted to watching Real Housewives. I'll never admit to it (or the long conversations we've had discussing the Hollywood version). :-)

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  41. Ha, they've got Breaking Bad reruns on Sundays

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