After a whole day of words and texts and sentences and paragraphs, the last thing I want to do after work is read a goddamn English letter (not even subtitles) on my laptop screen. While movies are a late-night activity after my partner in crime comes home from his daily slog, my evenings are occupied happily by television shows, passionately downloaded. Here, I must definitely thank one of my dear besties and fellow art-maniac, Aru the Lenswielder, for being my torrentz slave and obediently downloading every bloody thing I ask for. She grumbles often but rarely disappoints. She is a darling.
After I grew out of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and finished arguing that it was, indeed, better than HIMYM, I met a drought of television shows to watch. I don’t quite know what I was looking for. I tried 30 Rock and Big Bang Theory – even That 70s Show – but just got bored of laughing my ass off. Yes, that is possible. After that, I became a TV whore and started couch potato-ing everything from Castle to Grey’s Anatomy (Yes, yes, not something you own up online). Finally, bringing you all up to speed, here is a list of my Lazy recommendations:
If you have not watched this show, you have not lived life enough. Science fiction-meets-superior imagination in what must be one of TV’s most challenging and intelligent shows ever. Fringe is the brainchild of the amazing Mr. J.J. Abrams, and deals with genetic mutation, parallel universes, futuristic mutant invasions, and mind-boggling gizmos, all wrapped in a story centering on a genius scientist and his wayward son. What starts off simply as a show about a segregated police department that deals with extra-scientific ‘Fringe’ events, soon unravels into a story about parallel universes, alternate realities, and secrets too devastating to stomach. Every episode, other than a nerve-wracking twist, includes clues and puzzle pieces that you will need to keep in mind for future episodes. Trust me, I have spent many mornings at work, reading up on the episode I watched the previous night on Fringepedia (yeah, they actually have that. It is like Sparknotes). Complicated, twisted, and terribly unpredictable, Fringe wrapped up last year after finishing its fifth season. While the last season was not much of a bang, the first four are worth all the fireworks. A brilliant cast, excellent writing, the best production design and special effects you will ever see (let us also not forget the impeccable makeup) on TV; after Fringe, nothing will seem to interest you for a very long time.
Yes, I am an outright Broadway fan boy! After Glee became too soppy to keep watching (I abandoned it mid-season three. That is how yawn it got!), I was looking around for another musical dramedy that I could sink my teeth into. This show had big names – Spielberg, Jack Davenport, Debra Messing, Katherine McPhee and guest starring Uma Thurman and Jennifer Hudson – and the story dealt with a team trying to stage a musical based on Marilyn Monroe. That. Was. It. The first season was instantly downloaded and I spent hours after hours being thoroughly ‘Smashed’. The music was played on loop and sung along (which are original tracks, unlike Glee’s now increasingly-boring remixes and mash-ups), and favourite scenes were watched over and over again. The second and unfortunately final season, saw new characters, more music, albeit, less drama. While the first season enjoyed more razzmatazz, the second had a more backstage point of view – details of the turmoil of staging a play rather than the play itself. The second season, which felt more personal to me, understandably found fewer fans. The music and choreography was top-notch for both the seasons (songs like ‘Let me be your star’, ‘Don’t forget me’ and ‘History is made at night’ are unforgettable), the performances were so exquisitely honest (especially Messing, Davenport, and McPhee), and the writing enjoyed its own rhythm and pace – making this a short lived, yet winning entertainer. Jack Davenport, who delighted everybody earlier in Coupling (the best sitcom writing till date) as the incorrigible buffoon Steve, proves his acting mettle yet again with Smash. For me, this show will always remain a darling – just like Monroe – sparkled as long as it lived.
Heavily recommended by my partner in crime, who used to enjoy this Pakistani serial as a kid when he used to live in the Middle East back in the 80s, we finally hunted down a DVD of the show and binged on it. A lover of all things old that I am, DK was such a soothing affair. Beautiful dialogues, good music, and impressive performances made this medical drama a wonderful affair. This was a show from the pre-melodrama era and thus the natural approach of the show, the ‘normal’ behaviour of the urban Pakistani, the age-difference romance deemed to be ahead of its times (India made a remake of the show in 2011), all contributed to making this a sober and relaxing a watch. The adorable cast – especially the super stylish Marina Khan – definitely finds a special place in my heart.
Da Vinci’s Demons
Cut to 2013. Nothing beats a good conspiracy theory. So, sample this: Leonardo da Vinci – a handsome young womanizer and arrogant genius – gets entangled with a secret society, much to the anger of the Vatican, in Renaissance Florence. Throw in his exceptional early attempts with robotics and flying machines, courtroom and papal politics, murder, betrayal, and sex – this show packs in everything for an action-packed one hour. With a talented cast (Tom Riley, Laura Haddock, Elliot Cowan, Blake Ritson) and promising writing (written and directed by David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan’s story writing partner for The Dark Knight and Man of Steel) entertainment is guaranteed. A fine marriage of fiction, political drama, and suspense, the show also incorporates da Vinci’s original illustrations and experiments as a part of the narrative, bringing a piece of history back from the dead. Now that the first season just wrapped up, this British-American production is back on the floors, shooting season two. If I predict correctly, this show might just become one to look out for in the long run.
Sherlock Holmes is now American, and Lucy Liu is Watson! Definitely a far cry from the crisp-collared British versions or Guy Ritchie’s swashbuckler, ‘Elementary’ updates Arthur Conan Doyle’s plot lines in modern day Manhattan, with Holmes (the inimitable Jonny Lee Miller) as a recovering drug addict working as a consultant to the NYPD, and Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) his sober companion and therapist, who soon becomes his partner in investigation. Holmes’ idiosyncrasies, sharp wit, conniving villains, and exciting plot lines – not to mention Holmes and Watson’s entertaining ‘bromance’ – this is what I am unwinding with these days.
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