Susan and I Need a New TV Show – Give Us Your Recommendations

by James Wallace Harris, 12/30/22

About six weeks ago Susan and I developed a new nightly routine. At ten o’clock she would feed the cats, and then we’d sit down to watch an episode of Downton Abbey with a piece of cake. This has turned out to be an extremely delightful routine and we want to keep it up. However, we’re about to run out of Downton Abbey and need a new show.

When we first got married we always watched TV together, but in recent years, our tastes have diverged greatly and we have a hard time finding shows we like watching together. I’m no longer interested in half-hour comedies which Susan loves. And Susan hates shows like Breaking Bad and Stranger Things. However, we both liked The Sopranos. And that might be a possibility, although Susan might not like it anymore.

It’s strange how our tastes have changed over the last four and a half decades. She used to sit and watch Star Trek with me, and I’d watch The Gilmore Girls with her, but those days of watching something we didn’t like just to be sociable are over. We need something we’ll both love.

So, if there is a series you liked as much as Downton Abbey please let us know. We both liked Downton Abbey in the past, so it was an easy pick. If you’re a couple, recommendations you both like might be more valid.

We are currently considering The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which we’ve both watched and liked, and Call of the Midwife which Susan has seen some. We want an hour show that has continuity. Downton Abbey was really a soap opera, and that might be a key to why we looked forward to ten o’clock every night (and well, the cake.)

It helps if the show is streaming somewhere, but I’m not against buying a DVD set.

I just remembered a show we both loved – Northern Exposure. So that’s three possibilities. But if we’re to keep this routine up we’ll need a whole lot of shows.


26 thoughts on “Susan and I Need a New TV Show – Give Us Your Recommendations”

  1. Did you ever watch Six Feet Under? Way back I loved that show. It sags a little in the middle, but it has arguably the best series finale ever. Five seasons.

    It’s a pity you didn’t both like Breaking Bad, because its prequel, Better Call Saul, is wonderful (I’ve managed to see only two seasons, though).

    Another show I’ve seen only a few episodes of is The Orville. It obviously owes quite a lot to Star Trek TOS, but it looked better! There, I said it.

    If your ban on half hour comedies isn’t absolute, I love two Brit shows: Qi and Would I Lie to You. They’re not sitcoms, but panel shows. The latter, especially, is hilarious, but must be seen from S2 onwards, when Rob Brydon became the “quizmaster”. These two can be sampled on Youtube.

    That’s all I can think of immediately. I don’t watch much nowadays.

  2. Let’s see –

    The Good Place?

    Chances are you’ve already watched The Crown. The fifth season is horrible – all Diana, all the time – but the first four, three-and-a-half maybe, are pretty interesting.

    Inventing Anna was perplexing. Limited run.

    Atypical – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. I’m not really a “family” show watcher, but it had some interesting twists. Almost a half-hour comedy, but more like The Wonder Years than most.

    I just finished watching This is Us – the first few episodes were amazing from a narrative point of view; I got kind of bored by the final season.

    I just noticed Picket Fences is on Hulu, I used to love that. Very much like Northern Exposure.

    In fact I’ve been mining Hulu for old stuff, not sure how far back you want to go, most of it you would’ve seen originally if you were interested.

    1. I might break my rule on half-hour comedies for The Good Place. I’ve seen part of it, and Susan has watched it all. Susan will watch her favorite series over and over.

      I crashed on The Crown when Princess Diana showed up. I thought the first few seasons to be excellent. I’ll ask Susan about it, but she never seemed interested. I had to watch it with a friend. (I tend to watch TV with people. I have a hard time watching TV alone.)

      Susan loved This Is Us and always wanted me to watch it. I might consider it. I did see the first episode and liked it.

      I went and read about Picket Fences. That sounds like a good option. Thanks.

      1. Picket Fences was fantastic to start with, until the plots became laughably outlandish. But it’s worth giving it a start.

    1. Andrew, you and I have a strong overlap in TV shows we like to watch. We both liked Friday Night Lights, and that might be a good show for us to watch together again. I watched The Americans with a friend, but Susan would never join us. I loved For All Mainkind. But we haven’t tried The Leftovers I’ll put that one on the list too. Thanks.

  3. I’d venture to suggest “The Detectorists” – an amazingly gentle comedy, some English eccentricity and lingering landscape shots

  4. Line of Duty is a great procedural drama. Unforgotten, Guilt and Annika..PBS. A Place Called Home..soap opera type…Acorn, I think, The Detectorists on Acorn, Doc Martin, Shetland….basically anything.

  5. I don’t like cooking shows but we both loved Great British Baking Show. It’s got drama, suspense, human interest, some dumb humor. No other baking or cooking show we’ve tried has made it past first 10 minutes. Also Fargo is great.

    1. Our friends Mike & Betsy love the Great British Baking Show too. We’ll check it out. I also loved Fargo but I don’t think Susan will. She thinks I have a disturbed mind for liking shows like Breaking Bad and Fargo.

  6. Let me overwhelm you! 🙂

    Foyle’s War – top of my list; if you check out none of the others, I hope you have a look at that one!

    All these have continuity:
    Monarch of the Glen
    Doc Martin
    Schitt’s Creek
    Modern Family
    Glee (took years to break down & watch; got hooked)
    My So-Called Life
    Lark Rise to Candleford
    When Calls the Heart (a little saccharine, nevertheless got hooked)

    Mysteries; fairly tame, engaging:
    Death in Paradise
    The Doctor Blake Mysteries
    Midsomer Murders
    Rosemary & Thyme

    And finally, a crazy surprise selection
    The Love Boat
    Schmaltzy old junk, I agree. But a year or so ago, just for fun I picked up the first season at the library (where I keep my own collection of dvds) and found myself fascinated with seeing all the old actors I’d forgotten about. We kept having to pause to double check what their claim to fame was, which might not sound like fun for the two of you, but in my house it turned into kind of a game we played on & off until we’d seen all 10 seasons.

    1. Okay, I’ll check out Foyle’s War – looks like I’ll have to get Acorn again.

      We do have some overlap. I liked Doc Martin, Glee, My So-Called Life, Cranford, and Lark Rise to Candleford. Susan likes Parenthood and Modern Family.

      Thanks for your suggestions.

  7. Waking the Dead is a cold case Britbox show that ran for 10 seasons. I think 01-09. We’re up to year 8. Each show is two episodes 60/45 minutes each. Lots of CSI stuff. The best thing about it, other than the great crime stories, is that none of the characters have lives outside the office. No kid, wife, family, friend problems. Just 5 people solving crimes. Also, no annoying politics from management.

    Natale DiDonato

  8. I loved Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. This Is Us was okay but I felt a bit beaten up by it emotionally. For continuity, I recommend The Good Wife and it’s sequel The Good Fight even more. This year a wonderful new comedy is Abbott Elementary; I bought the DVD for my aunt and her daughter, a retired teacher. It’s a shame about the Americans – whopper of a story, great sets and costumes. I second Line of Duty and there are a bunch of them. Scott & Bailey is a British series with 2 female detectives; my husband and I were sorry to reach the end. We are considering a re-watch of The Closer and Monk, both lighthearted detective series.

  9. i haven’t owned a television reciever in over thirty years. my reference points are probably somewhat dated , if not ancient. most recent television series that i dug such as boardwalk empire, deadwood, oz, breaking bad, and rome i expect you’re familiar with already. reaching further back, check out crime story, which did a pretty fair job of recreating the look of chicago (pronounced chicaga) circa 1961, but sort of lost its way in its second and final season. as far as sitcoms, see if you can still find barney miller, the odd couple,wkrp in cincinnati, green acres (my man eb dawson), not to forget the monumentally obscure he and she which ran one season on cbs 1967-1968. does anybody else recall the prisoner? i reckon my personal holy grail would be a videotape of the live broadcast(9/14/1961) of a dramatization of the wendigo by algernon blackwood on great ghost tales, which was the summer replacement for tennessee ernie ford on nbc. i remember watching it when we were living in washington; gave me nightmares for several weeks afterwards. recall flashing on it when i was hiking in northern quebec circa autumn 1985. happy hunting,harris!

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