What To Watch On TV 2016

There is too much good television these days and it’s almost impossible to keep up with what is on and when it starts and if you should watch it or not.

The idea here is a list of cable and streaming series to watch, ordered chronologically by premier date. For returning series it is easy to decide what makes the list. For new series, it’s always going to be hit or miss. Shows will be added and possibly subtracted throughout the year.

The letters after the channel show if earlier seasons are available for streaming onYkiZiACkmazon Prime,Huluulu Plus or 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8etflix. HBO series are only available for steaming on HBO Go and Showtime series are available on Showtimewtime Anytime.

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So Do You Like The Show Or Not?

Do you like “prestige” TV shows? How about “quality”? What about Noel Murray‘s invention, “mid-respectable”? “Trash”?

Chances are you like some from each group and you don’t like some from each group. Despite the efforts of critics to categorize TV shows in one of those groups, or others, chances are you like what you like. Murray is interested in the divisions between those groups and how shows can move from one to another. Murray also wonders why only the prestige shows are consistently up for annual awards.

While I’m interested in Murray’s effective breakdown of the various groups, I’m not sure it matters much in the end. The only thing that matters is if you enjoy the show, and if you are able to explain why.

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The Best in Television 2014

It’s that time of year again when the TV critics choose the best shows of the year. Or maybe they choose their favorite shows. And some lists are 10 and some lists are 10* and some are longer or shorter and some aren’t really lists at all. The most comprehensive lists are on HitFix which does an annual critics poll.

I don’t make a top ten list but I do watch an awful lot of television, some of which I love, some of which I like and some of which I tolerate. This is only for cable and streaming shows, of which I watch a lot, and not broadcast network shows, of which I watch not as much.

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What Should I Be Watching?

You know that friend who always knows what shows you should be watching? Yeah, that one. He’s annoying, right? I mean, he should get a life. Well, now you don’t need him.

Here is a list of upcoming new and returning shows and the dates of their season debuts. Tell your friend it’s not you, it’s him. You have a new friend, and he doesn’t drink all your wine.

Note that this list doesn’t include broadcast network shows. You should still watch some of those shows (Hannibal, Enlisted) but that’s another list.

The letters after the channel indicate if earlier seasons are available for streaming on YkiZiACkmazon Prime or 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8etflix. HBO series are only available for steaming on HBO Go.

Downton Abbey – January 5 (PBS) – YkiZiACk
Justified – January 7 (FX) – YkiZiACk
True Detective – January 12 (HBO)
Girls– January 12 (HBO)
Looking – January 19 (HBO)
Shameless – January 19 (Showtime)
Sherlock-  January 19 (PBS) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Broad City – January 22 (Comedy Central) – YkiZiACk
The Walking Dead – February 9 (AMC) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
House of Cards – February 14 (Netflix) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
The Americans – February 26 (FX) – YkiZiACk
Review – March 6 (Comedy Central) – Hulu Plus
Call the Midwife – March 30 (PBS) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Game of Thrones – April 6 (HBO)
Veep – April 6 (HBO)
Silicon Valley – April 6 (HBO)
Mad Men – April 13 (AMC) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Fargo – April 15 (FX)
Orphan Black – April 19 (BBC America) – YkiZiACk
Louie – May 5 (FX) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Penny Dreadful – May 11 (Showtime)
Halt and Catch Fire – June 1 (AMC)
Orange is the New Black – June 6 (Netflix) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Rectify – June 19 (SundanceTV) – 3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Tyrant – June 24 (FX)
The Leftovers
– June 29 (HBO)
The Bridge – July 9 (FX)
The Strain
– July 13 (FX)
Masters of Sex – July 13 (Showtime)
Manhattan – July 27 (WGN America) – Hulu Plus
The Honorable Woman – July 31 (SundanceTV)
The Knick – August 8 (Cinemax)
– August 9 (Starz)
Happy Valley – August 20 (BBC One) –  3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Boardwalk Empire – September 7 (HBO)
Sons of Anarchy – September 9 (FX) – YkiZiACk
Transparent – September 26 (Amazon)
Peaky Blinders – September 30 (BBC Two) –  3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8
Homeland – October 5 (Showtime)
The Affair
– October 12 (Showtime)
The Walking Dead – October 12 (AMC)
Black Mirror – December 1 (Channel 4) –  3ohmlq2rqnur0ajbydi8

Movies versus TV, plus the Emmys


Today I read an article by David Haglund on Slate about how TV is not better than the movies. (Thanks for the link, Matt Yglesias.) The article is worth reading but Haglund’s main point can be summed up in the following quote:

So while the best movies come from an intimidating diversity of sources, and present a similarly wide range of aesthetic approaches and aims, the best TV shows tend to come from three or four American cable networks and frequently follow a familiar model.

Now my prior before I read the article is that TV is indeed better than movies but I’m afraid that Haglund has a point with which I can’t disagree. In fact, I felt stupid for ever thinking that TV was better than movies. However, I still prefer TV and I’ll tell you why.

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The Future of Television


Last Friday, Tim Goodman had a post called “Lost in the Supermarket: How to Survive When There’s Too Much Good TV”. Tim’s point is that there is a lot of great series that should be watched but not everyone watches because there is too much to choose from. “Freedom of choice is gumming up the works.” This is similar to what Alan Sepinwall posted in April and echoes what a lot of people feel. Naturally, I have some thoughts.

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Thoughts On Some Disappointing Shows

Sculpture by the Sea Bondi - Best of Perth Sacha Fernandez via Compfight

As you have no doubt deduced, I watch a lot of television. When I got rid of cable in October 2010 (just after the end of season four of Mad Men), the purpose was not to stop watching TV but to stop watching bad TV. My wife and I wanted to put an end to those times when there was nothing on yet we’d watch for three hours. Since giving up cable we have continued on with most of our old shows and added some new ones that have generated critical buzz. However, sometimes we get stuck watching the wrong show and that is disappointing.

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Alan Sepinwall and Ezra Klein and Too Much Information

no denial Don via Compfight

Yesterday Alan Sepinwall had a great post that posed an interesting question: How much good TV is too much good TV? Sepinwall’s point is that there is so much good TV now and he laments “about all that I’m missing because there’s realistically only so much I can do in any given day, week, month or TV season.”

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