I thought I’d be more prolific, but it’s very easy to get distracted in today’s world. There’s a post in the making, which is part of a story that seems massive to me right now. I just hope I have the patience to see it through, even just to prove it to myself it can be done. Also, because I think it’s a cool story, and if even a couple of people get a kick out of it I’ll be happy.

So, while that’s simmering in my brain pot, let’s talk a bit about distractions. Namely, TV shows. Namely namely, really good TV shows. A well told, serialised story can bring people together, whether it’s in enjoyment of the tale told, sex scenes, interesting characters, boob scenes, debate over the moral choices characters and writers make, sneaky bush scenes, or a class soundtrack. I haven’t watched scheduled television in years, this lovely internet thing making it easier to choose what, when, and how many episodes I want to watch, including shows and shorts that never make it onto normal television. I love good TV shows, whether it’s a fantastical story, a solemn study of people and their choices, a comedy or a handsome mix of all these things. Imagination made flesh, so to speak. Someone thought up a story, and managed to gather a large group of people to work on making that story seem real, so it could be broadcast to your eyes and ears and kickstart your imagination. And the subsequent late nights spent watching them, whispering to yourself, “Ah, just one more…”

Here are some of my favourites that I could get lost in.

Game of Thrones


Photo credit: ‘J’ / Foter / CC BY-NC

A bit obvious, but as I just watched the last episode it’s a fresh title in my mind. I haven’t read a single word of the books, so the story I know is the one told to me through the screen. And it’s awesome. Three years we’ve been following the massive cast, through their trials and tribulations and sister-rattling antics, and it just seems to be getting better. A show that’s not afraid to kill off important and loveable characters in style, and reward horrible bastards, while telling a highly engaging story? A show that moves away from focus on 3 or 4 main characters and opens up a whole pantheon of interesting people for us to watch? Dragons and swearing and more boobies than you can shake your stick at? What more do you want?!

Things to do while waiting for the intro credits to be over:

  • Learn one of the fake languages invented for the show
  • Make a flag depicting the animal of your own house
  • Write your own Game of Thrones book

George R.R. Martin doesn’t use Twitter
He’s already killed all 140 characters



Photo credit: zoe toseland / Foter / CC BY-NC

Long before The Avengers, and shortly after the ultra successful and long running Buffy and its undead bastard child Angel, there was a great but ultimately doomed show about space cowboys. The words “space cowboys” should be enough to make anyone watch, but it was so much more than that. Beautifully fleshed out characters, touching and heartfelt scenes, cool action, attention paid to tiny details (no sound in the space scenes because sound doesn’t travel in space, that is as sound as it gets) and continuity, and the beginnings of what could have been a great story arc with River and the government agents chasing her. And let’s not forget the inherent coolness and snappy dialog that Whedon characters always seem to have. Such a shame it was cancelled, which was down to short sightedness on the network’s part. If he had only made it now, he could have had a six season deal AND the movie to wrap everything up and leave us with a warm fuzzy feeling in our bellies. Instead you have an avid fan base and an expanded universe told through comics, which are good, but I would have preferred more screen time.

Things to do while waiting for a new season of Firefly:

  • Watch Serenity in slow motion
  • Watch Dollhouse and try not to well up with tears at the end (Did I fall asleep? For a little while…)
  • Live a long and full life, it’s not happening



Photo credit: wstryder / Foter / CC BY

Say what you like about the ambiguous ending, but Lost was one of the top shows to come out this decade. It’s a perfect storytelling canvas: A plane crash, a large group of people who have no connection to each other (well, that’s how it starts anyway), and a beautiful island where strange and impossible things happen. Told through real time, flashbacks and parallel timelines, it was unprecedented. It also made great use of twists and turns and last minute revelations. And the questions it raised! I can’t remember the last time a TV show inspired so much debate and speculation. What was in the hatch? What was the black smoke? How is John Locke such a cool motherfucker? Who thought no-one would notice that Jack’s dad was named CHRISTIAN fucking SHEPERD?

Things to do instead of bitching about the ending:

  • Shave your head and become John Locke (seriously, he’s a legend)
  • Go through the series and count how many story-lines are left unresolved

The Wire


Photo credit: autopoiet / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

It was a toss up between this and The Sopranos for me, but The Wire always wins out. It’s been described as drama on a Shakespearean scale, with deep treatment and evolution of characters, story, the drug trade and the city of Baltimore itself, all based on the real accounts of an ex-cop. Some of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a series, from “Irish” alcoholic fuckup Jimmy McNulty, junkie with a heart of gold Bubbs, arch criminals with style Avon and Stringer, and one of the best antiheroes to come out in years, Omar Little. “Oh, indeed” indeed. I wish I could go back in time, or take something to make me forget I ever watched this show, just to watch it for the first time all over again. Absolute brilliance, and bang for your buck as well at an hour an episode. If you’ve never seen it, treat yourself. Just make sure to take a couple of days off to cram it in, because you can’t stop watching it after just 3 or 4 measly episodes.

Things to do while watching The Wire for the fifteenth time:

  • Impersonate Clay Davis’ voice for a day
  • Play drink along with McNulty and the rest of the Baltimore PD (you will die)
  • Try not to laugh at the scene where McNulty crashes his car twice

Have I missed any?

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About Neil

Neil Rochford is a writer from Ireland and has lived in various places around the world. He loves fiction where bad things happen, is trying to feed himself with his words and he is available for freelance writing gigs and wakes. His book, The Blue Ridge Project, is available NOW on Amazon.