Streaming Series Worth Every Minute

By Rob Shaul

In no particular order …. and avoiding the obvious Sopranos and Game of Thrones, below are streaming series I found worth the streaming time. Suggest your favorites in the comments, below ….

Friday Night Lights
Taylor Kitsch plays Riggins on FNL.

A 5-season (2006-2011), NBC television series centered on high school football in a small Texan town, FNL did the impossible and added to the quality book and great movie of the same name. Touching and heartfelt, the series gave rise to the future acting careers of Connie Britton, Taylor Kisch, Kyle Chandler and Jesse Plemmons. Yes, it’s a dramatic series about teenagers and high school football, but great acting, writing and memorable characters make it special. I may have shed a tear or two while watching.

Battlestar Galactica
Katee Sackoff plays moody fighter pilot, Starbuck, in BG.

I’m old enough to remember the original, clunky Battlestar Galactica Television program with the chrome robots and red eyes. It was nothing special … but the series reboot which ran from 2005 to 2009 is special. A small fleet of the remaining humans race from pursuing robotic Cylons in ragtag spaceships protected by one warship – “Galactica.” The series is surprisingly deep and engaging. I was doubtful, but loved every minute.

 

Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy plays gang leader, Tommy Shelby.

Netflix, period series which begins in 1919 and follows a gang family in Birmingham, England, Peaky Blinders centers on gang leader, Tommy Shelby, and his goal to both improve his families fortune and move up the social class ladder. Raw, violent and impossible to watch without subtitles, you’ll blow through the 5 seasons (2013-2019) and wait, with me, anxiously for the sixth!

The Expanse
Actress Shohreh Aghdashloo dominates her screen time in The Expanse.

Amazon Prime, Science Fiction series with a believable space-based future. Earth is in predictable ecological decline, run by the UN. Most are unemployed and unhappy receiving universal basic income. Mars has been colonized and become independent, and risen as a military rival to Earth. Between are the “Belters” – an oppressed population who live and work mining raw materials for both Mars and Earth on the asteroids in the belt around Saturn, and yearn for respect and independence. The Expanse features solid acting, believable plots and great special effects.  Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo stands out as a ruthless politician bent on protecting earth as does Wes Chatham as a violent, good guy, sociopath.

 

The Bureau
Mathieu Kassovitz plays a French intelligence officer in The Bureau.

Approachable, 5-season, series centered on a French spy bureau. Best is it’s characters look like real people, the plot is unpredictable, and acting is solid. No trite James Bond characters, plots or wiz-bangery. Find it on the Sundance Channel.

 

Patriot
Patriot’s main character, Intelligence Officer John, also sings folk music – and it works!

Recently cancelled after only 2 seasons, Patriot manages to be incredibly funny and brutally tragic at the same time as it traces the ongoing struggles of an American intelligence officer trying to influence an Iranian Presidential election. Delightful in it’s originality, creativity and artistry. Ambitious and unpredictable – I’ve never seen anything like it.

Honorable Mentions
The Tunnel
The Tunnel stars Clémence Poésey as Elise Wassermann and Stephen Dillane as Karl Roebuck.

Crime series which highlights the partnership between a British detective and his female French colleague, what makes this series is the slightly autistic French character, Elise, and the intellectual plots.

 

Bordertown
Chief investigator Kari Sorjonen from Bordertown.

Finish cop drama made unique by the main character, Kari. Unlike the tough-guy stereotype American cops, there’s nothing macho about skinny-jean wearing, Karl. He’s tall, quiet, intellectual, and doesn’t like blood or guns. Karl and his unique approach to solving crimes, plus a noir filmmaking approach and solid supporting cast, make the series unique.

4 thoughts on “Streaming Series Worth Every Minute

  1. I’d recommend “Babylon Berlin”! It’s a Netflix show set in Berlin in the roaring 20s, kind of film noir feel with amazing architecture and sets, and detective plots, set in the scary politics of the time.

  2. Coach Rob,

    I can’t recommend the British crime series, “Happy Valley” starring Amy Lancashire enough. Just two seasons and a third is in on the way but the hold up is for reasons that would spoil the series. Honestly, for me, one of the best crime series I’ve ever seen. You’ll recognize one of the leads, James Norton, from Peaky Blinders.

    Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” was also another recent one that was worth binging.

    Honorable mentions: Bodyguard (just one season so far) with Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes and BBC’s Sherlock Series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

  3. Derek –
    Vikings … Watched season 1 but am giving it another chance. It’s a high bar!

    Gabe – Babylon Berlin – the young female character dominates the screen every time she’s there, but I couldn’t get through season 2 … not sure why!

    Zach … Happy Valley – watched it and enjoyed it .. .and Amy’s character is unique, but crime series are so trite!

    The “Boys” was awesome though!!! Forgot about that one!! Haven’t tried Bodyguard!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.