Recently I was a guest on WNPR's Colin McEnroe Show in an ongoing segment entitled "The Scramble." In defiance of public radio logic, each week they have a "super-guest" select topics versus having topics dictate the guest.
The subjects I chose were the profitability of inclusive TV and film casting, whether humorists like David Sedaris should be fact-checked with the same vigor as other memoirists and methadone for the tv-binge-watcher -- what to watch while waiting for the next hit.
As often happens in live radio, the third segment got cut short due to time constraints, so I thought I'd post my picks here.
Being a mere mortal and not a mighty algorithm, my suggestions aren't as nuanced as Netflix's 76,897 genre categories, but I did my best to match common themes and tones to these wonderful shows that may be new to many viewers.
Like Mad Men, The Bletchley Circle (PBS) explores the theme of women's changing roles. Four gifted WWII code-breakers find themselves unchallenged by the traditional roles allotted to them after the war and use their skills to investigate a string of London murders.
House of Cards:
The BBC miniseries State of Play delivers scandal, political intrigue, and hero-journalists à la All the President's Men. (Do not confuse this with the Ben Affleck/Russell Crowe film adaptation.)
If you're interested in the inner-workings of Washington but are in the mood for something lighter, Amazon Originals' Alpha House, created by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, is a clever comedy. (Full disclosure: I was so charmed by the pilot I begged my agent to get me an audition for a role -- no matter how big or small. She came through. I play Annie, the congressional nurse, in the episode entitled "The Rebuttal.")
The Walking Dead
After you're done with domestic zombies, try the French zombies in The Returned (Les Revenants). The Sundance Channel aired this French series, which is as chilling as it is beautiful.
Orange Is the New Black
HBO's Getting On revolves around another type of institution -- a hospital's geriatric extended care wing -- and also features complex female characters, stand out performances (Laurie Metcalf, Niecy Nash, Alex Borstein), and is equal parts painful and funny.
No other tv show has resonated more with my own experience moving to New York City -- complete with hip-hop soundtrack -- than HBO's How to Make It in America. The show centers around two friends on the hustle to break into the fashion industry.
AMC's Rubicon serves up its share of conspiracy theories, espionage, and government cover-ups (unfortunately, it didn't serve up a second season) in this thriller about a think tank analyst who uncovers a sinister scheme.
The BBC crime drama Luther is another show with a protagonist who is brilliant, struggling with demons, and willing to break the rules for the greater good. The scenes between DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) and genius psychopath Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) are just electric.
A quick caveat: (1) I didn't include Breaking Bad because I thought the choice of another antihero (or "antivillian") show like Dexter or The Sopranos would be obvious, and (2) if you have not seen The Wire drop this and watch immediately. I don't care if you have a meeting with your new boss in five minutes -- the only impression you need to be making right now is on your couch.
So the next time you emerge into the sunlight, bleary-eyed after an all night bender and swearing you'll never to do this to yourself again... come nightfall, your DVDr-dealer will be waiting.
Tweet me your binge-worthy recommendations @actorwriterWTVR.