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Every time I watch Station 19 I think to myself this is the most important show on TV. (TV in a general sense, including streaming) The show is now in its 6th year, and I first started thinking that in 2021.
I find the characters compelling. Many of them are (mostly) good people trying to do the right thing, which I like, but some of you may hate! There are enough assholes and antagonists to keep it interesting, and lots of strong female characters, which I also appreciate. Characters fuck up, sometimes badly, and make bad decisions and sometimes hurt people they care about. But it’s the great writing and the story lines themselves that make me think it’s the most imprortant show on TV.
Since 2021, they have been consistent, relentless almost, about shining their light on racial issues and bad policing and the politics of all of that; they are front and center in the story lines.
We see the characters learning about George Floyd. We see more than one clueless, otherwise good guy white firefighters (show regulars that we care about) being well-intentioned, but clueless on these issues. Station 19 firefighters join a George Floyd protest, with consequences.
In one show, the firefighters come into contact with a black woman who is certain that her teenage daughter has been abducted, and she has gone to the house where she believes her daughter is being held. Police are called, the asshole white police offices take the side of the “nice white man” who lives in the house, and they dismiss the woman and threaten arrest her. Firefighters take the mothers side and don’t let the cops blow her off… and they find (manufacture) a legitimate reason that allows them to get in the house. Sure enough, the young woman and her friend have been abducted by “the nice white man”, and the cops still want to arrest the mother for fighting for her daughter. Firefighters intervene, the black firefighters are arrested by the asshole cops, the white firefighters are not.
One of the firefighters starts a pilot program called Crisis One where specially trained firefighters and trained civilians go out on calls with cops or instead of cops, for certain types of calls. In a Crisis One call on the show this week, they are called out to sedate a young black man who is hogtied, face down, and in custody, surrounded by white cops. He’s a young black kid who went out for butter and flour for his mom, ingredients she needed to bake something. He gets panic attacks and he is nearly hysterical being hogtied. Firefighters see that he doesn’t need to be sedated; he needs to be untied. Asshole police won’t back down, escalating this situation as the firefighters try to deescalate. Cops make more aggressive moves, boy who has been untied panics, starts to run, guns are drawn, tasers are out, and directed even at the firefighters.
Afterwards, white cops want to whitewash what happened, firefighters have to make choices that impact their careers. It’s a multi-faceted show that manages to address the issues without being preachy, and certainly without feeling like a Lifetime movie.
So that’s my nomination for the most important show on TV, and some of the reasons why.
What makes an important show for you?
Is it the content? Characters? Acting? Story lines? The music? Ethnicity of actors? Does the show break new ground in some way? Or for you is the key to an important show something else entirely?
Any particular show you think fits that bill? Or a few shows that are in the running? I’m not talking about excellent shows like The Wire or Hill Street Blues from decades ago. Something current. Or at least current-ish.
Some of the better dramatic output hails from foreign climes.
Bubbling to the surface of the brainpan as a justice series is Spiral. All eight seasons.
High honorable mention to both Captain Marleau and Varg Veum, also too. And cannot leave out the original Swedish Wallander as sharing a spot on top o’ the heap.
Most important current show? Probably Cunk on Earth. One can learn so much.
@Omnes Omnibus: haha that’s my speed. I liked her take on analytical philosophy
@Omnes Omnibus: When someone tells me a work of art is “important”, I’m inclined to put off listening/watching/reading/viewing forever. If you want to send me a message, just put it on a bumpersticker on your car.
Cunk on Earth is non-stop laughter.
I am currently re-watching The Wire, I’m in the middle of season 3, and it’s a much richer experience this time around. The storylines weave together so seamlessly, and yet each storyline stands on its own. McNulty is a much bigger dick than I recalled, more the No-one-wants-to-work-with-you-cuz-you’re-an-asshole rather than the hard-charging subordinate taking on the lunk-headed management.
Omar’s storyline is as fascinating as ever, and the corner boys are as tragic as ever now that Michael and Snoop have arrived with Marlo Stanfield.
Stringer thinking he’s smarter than everyone and Avon who refuses to grow up and leave the corner mentality behind certainly point to each’s doom.
Biubbles, what to say about Bubbles? One of the most interesting and tragic characters in a series with a few dozen of them, and yet his humanity, his fragility, his very real decency make him one of the most compelling characters in the series.
Cutty, willing to change his life and move on from the corner (a move that oddly enough is respected and blessed by Avon), is coming into focus, as are the politicians with Carcetti and Theresa and the mayor and Marla.
The Wire remains the single best television series on life and crime we have seen.
oh fyi – it seems mastodon has now reached 10 million accounts. (not sure how much is really active) the latest surge is because Medium now allows you to create accounts in the fediverse under their own server – https://techcrunch.com/2023/01/12/medium-embraces-twitter-alternative-mastodon-with-launch-of-its-own-community/
I’ll definitely check this show out! Hopefully on something I already have an account on.
@NotMax: I watched Captain Marleau a couple years ago. Very fun, will probably watch it again.
I just finished the Turkish series Sahysiyet (Persona) on Topic channel. Very different and very good.
I enjoy Truth Be Told on Apple TV+. Tackles tough subjects like trafficking of young girls, issues with policing, and race. Great acting, with Octavia Spencer as an podcaster and, this season, Gabrielle Union.
@cain: I haven’t found either Mastodon or Spoutible to be an adequate replacement for Twitter yet.
We Own This City
Station 19 is a spinoff of Gray’s Anatomy, which I’ve watched a ton of. Gray’s also does a lot of Very Important Episodes, but its heart is definitely in the right place. The back half of that abducted child episode was shown on Gray’s Anatomy.
@Omnes Omnibus: I’m sure you’ll find a home somewhere you’ll fit in. Till then I guess there is always the bird site – it’s still going like the energizer bunny
@Steeplejack: I’m afraid it is not on Netflix. I can probably watch it on Hulu or something.
I don’t watch TV much, but: I am so sad at Lance Riddick’s passing. I know you all discussed it in a few threads.
Only 60, and he was so intense, and still had years of good characters ahead of him.
Oops, I thought you meant Cunk on Earth. Station 19 is on Hulu (which WaterGirl should have mentioned).
Not watching an TV show right now. Watched RRR and All Quiet on the Western Front last week. And I am officially tired of onscreen blood and gore.
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
Big night on TCM:
Murder on the Orient Express
In the Heat of the Night
@schrodingers_cat: I’ve been hoping to catch you in a thread. You inspired me to take out my Neocolor crayons and do a self-portrait! Hope you’re enjoying yours.
@David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch: I have watched the first 3, first two in the theater, during a Hitchcock week at Regal Cinema one of the Art Deco era grand theaters in Mumbai
@FelonyGovt: Just swatched some of the crayons. Haven’t done anything with them yet.
ETA: You should share your art. I am not too good at drawing human beings or animals from life. I do okay with a photograph.
Checked out Cunk on BJ’s recommendation and liked it fine, along with Smack the Pony.
@schrodingers_cat: My self portrait is pretty grim. I like to do those so I don’t insult anyone else with my depictions. 😀
@FelonyGovt: Balloon Juice Van Gogh
ETA: I also got these, they have a nice sheen so if I want a shimmery background they work.
@David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch: Good lineup. Never seen In the Heat of the Night.
I’m not really sure what I think of Important TV. That said I think Atlanta was probably Important TV. Over 4 seasons it drew a picture about how young black people navigate the world. Absolutely absurdist humour used to illustrate what any given episode is talking about, and Donald Glover had a lot of things he wanted to talk about. The show was really good at showing just how totally weird white people can be. I really liked that they would have various strange one off episodes that wouldn’t really be related to the usual narrative of Earn and his friends. Top notch writing, casting and acting.
Roberto el oso
@HumboldtBlue: I binge-watched The Wire for the first time and in its entirety between last Thanksgiving and Xmas last year, and I anticipate watching it again in a couple of years. My favorite characters were Bodie and Snoop (and Omar, of course), and it was something of a shock to see Jamie Hector (Marlo) show up on Bosch, as Bosch’s super-by-the-book partner Jerry.
I also think it was genius to have a show located in Baltimore (pre-waterfront renewal) — felt the same about ‘Homicide’, which feels like a century ago.
@HumboldtBlue: Agree 1000%. I have watched it at least three times, from the first episode to last. I always notice something new.
@schrodingers_cat: I’ve never used oil pastels. Will be interested to know how you like them.
@FelonyGovt: I did a night sky with the various shades of blue and it came out nice. Coloring books give me a good excuse to play around with different media.
I have also bought a set of acrylics which I have to try yet.
Steve in the ATL
@Omnes Omnibus: concur!
The best thing about history is that everything has a history. I know absolutely nothing about impressionist painting (well, that’s no longer true) except for some names like Monet, Gaugain, Pissaro, but this three-part series from Waldemar Januszczak is a fantastic look at how the impressionists changed modern art.
@Roberto el oso: @eclare:
It’s so rich, so deep, so well written and acted. It’s emotional, it makes you think and feel, just extraordinary work.
eclare, where in Tennessee are you? Is it Memphis or Nashville?
K, if you’re ever in Nashville hit me up, my nephew is opening a new restaurant near Belmont U.
@HumboldtBlue: Will do! Congrats to your nephew, Nashville is hopping.
The Topic channel has been on my radar to check out when can juggle monthly commitments in a manner satisfactory enough not to pinch.
I don’t generally watch any show which is “Reality” nor which depicts “real” world events such as The Wire. It’s much more enjoyable to watch Apollo and Starbuck waterboard a Cylon as I know that neither Cylons nor battlestars will ever exist.
Recommendation: The History of the World Part II by Mel Brooks who still has the midas touch. Hulu.
Also The Connors which has become less comedy and more realistic drama. It’s so much better without Roseanne.
Of course there is always Doctor Who.
Shown (in the US) on PBS, and now available on PBS Passport, is Astrid. The title character is a young woman on the autism spectrum who works in the archive records department of a Paris police station. It’s an ideal job for her as she works mostly alone, with documents. She gradually gets pulled into working more directly on cases with a detective who sees her value. Watching the two characters learn about people with autism and “normies”, respectively, is fascinating. I’ve watched the entire season twice, and really hope there will be more.
Snowfall. Still the most overlooked, underrated series on tv, imo. John Singleton’s final project tells the story of the crack epidemic in 1980’2 Los Angeles. Including the fact that our own govt (CIA) was complicit in creating the epidemic. Corrupt/racist police, CIA, DEA, Mexican cartels and lots of low-middle-income Black People caught in the crosshairs. It’s like The Wire but with a bit more fun, more openly pro-Black and much more action. In fact, you could almost view it as a prequel to The Wire because even though the geography is different (LA vs. Baltimore) it basically shows, in part, how cities like Baltimore became primed for the conditions you see its’ characters navigating.
Reservation Dogs. Really funny and fun but also incredibly moving at times, and it comes from perspectives we usually don’t get to see/hear. Probably the first real native/indigenous series told from their perspective and with their community running the show. It’s brilliant. The young actors, especially.
1619 Project. I mean, this is the one that conservatives really don’t want kids watching. That, in and of itself, makes it a winner. It is also very well done.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
This thread is probably dead and I’m not sure I’d call it “the most important show on TV” because it’s not on TV per se, but on Peacock. That said “Rutherford Falls” is a gem of a sitcom. The show runner is Michael Schur, who did Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99, and The Good Place. The cast and writing team feature a large Native American contingent. It’s frequently amusing, engaging and heartwarming. Best sitcom I’ve seen since Schitts Creek (and the first season of Rutherford Falls has Dustin Milligan from Schitts Creek in the cast).
It just got cancelled after season 2 unfortunately. I mean, Peacock is way down there on the streaming platform hierarchy so their shows don’t really draw a lot of viewers but Netflix saved Girls5eva and I think Rutherford Falls would do great on a larger streaming platform. I hope someone picks it up. Ed Helms is the Caucasian star and he’s great in the role he plays but Jana Schmieding and Michael Greyeyes are fantastic.
@Craig: I listen to a black comedy podcast called The Black Guy Who Tips and they did recaps of each episode of Atlanta. Rod Morrow and Bassey Ikpi would spend a couple hours going through every little detail of the episodes and it was fascinating. I probably have slightly more knowledge about Black Culture than most White People but there’s still a ton that I’m ignorant of. Anyways, there was so much stuff in Atlanta episodes that I didn’t see until Rod & Bassey pointed them out. A lot of the themes in Atlanta episodes were deeply personal and came directly from Glover’s own life. He’s spoken over the years about feeling like he felt out of place among White People but also among Black People too, because he was/is a bit of a nerd and also loved rock music etc. So that whole episode “Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga” was his way of expressing some of that complexity of race, even including things like the never-ending tension between black Americans and African immigrants over who’s really black and the ridiculous gate-keeping that goes along with it. It even ends with that incredible nod to the common complaint that black men are obsessively attracted to white women, an accusation that has been leveled at Glover himself. Anyways, even those stand-alone episodes have more in common with the rest of the series in ways that may not be obvious at first glance. Episodes “The Woods” and “White Jazz” both lean heavily into Paper Boi’s loss of his Mom, which paralleled Tyrie Henry’s own loss of his Mom in real life. Having Lauren, in “White Jazz” be played by a Transgender actress brought a whole other level to their interaction as there are widespread rumors that several famous rappers have had romantic dalliances with Trans women that they won’t admit too, publicly. In fact, I believe the actress who plays Lauren is in real life, one of the women that rappers are rumored to have had flings with. If you watch White Jazz again, from the very moment Paper Boi encounters Lauren you can see every aspect of their dynamic as a Mother/Son relationship. The way she’s willing to be honest with him, warns him about his friends, tells him to “just chill” when he momentarily loses her etc. The whole thing was just brilliantly done and I agree that Atlanta is really in a class of its’ own as far as writing goes. Not only does it touch on incredibly important, current social and cultural issues, but it operates at multiple-levels in a way that most shows don’t.