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#AMonthofFaves: My Backlist TV Binges


A Month of Favorites is a December-long celebration hosted by Andi (Estella’s Revenge), Tanya (Girl XOXO) and T (Traveling with T) to highlight the best bookish and non-bookish experiences throughout the year. I haven’t really been participating up until now, but the topic today — open for five favorite of anything — was too tempting to pass up.

One of the things I highlight pretty regularly in my weekly Currently posts is what I’m watching. I love to read, but I also love watching television — especially television with strong characters and engaging storytelling. Today I want to share five of my favorite “backlist” shows from the year that I caught up with via Netflix.

Merlin (BBC)

merlinMy sister and I became obsessed with Merlin, a retelling of the story of King Arthur told from the perspective of the young Merlin, a few years ago. The show wrapped up on the BBC in 2012, but we were both so sad about the idea of it ending that we waited until this summer to re-watch the series and finally get through season five. We watched the two-part finale together this summer and it was basically perfect. The show is a lot of fun, especially because of the focus on the friendship between Merlin and Arthur and the themes of sacrifice and loyalty and honor. I just adore this one.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Australian Broadcasting Company)

miss fisherMiss Fisher is my newest television obsession. Set in Melbourne in the 1920s, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is the story of Phryne Fisher, a glamorous, feminist, lady detective. This one is fun for the cast of characters, lush period costumes, and charming flirtation between Miss Fisher and the dashing Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. It’s utterly delightful, and I am so excited that there will be a third season coming, eventually. And bonus, this show is based on a series of novels by writer Kerry Greenwood — I’m curious to check them out.

The Hour (BBC)

the hourDespite being a journalist and despite being a fan of Aaron Sorkin (loved The West Wing), I just cannot bring myself to watch The Newsroom. As I was pining for something in that vein, I discovered The Hour, a short British series about a news program in the 1950s that I’ve seen compared to The Newsroom. It’s more of a thriller than a show about journalism, but it’s a ton of fun anyway. It has a rather abrupt conclusion, but I just compensated by making up endings for all the characters in my head!

The Bletchley Circle (BBC)

the bletchley circleThis is another short, period show from the BBC. The Bletchley Circle is the story of four women who worked as codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II. The series is set several years after, and focuses on how the women use their skills as codebreakers to try and solve crimes in London. There are only two seasons, with just a few episodes each, but man, did I dig this series. It’s smart and challenging and tense has a lot to say about the challenges women continue to face as working people.

The Good Wife (CBS)

the good wifeThe reason I had to put “backlist” in quotes above is because of The Good Wife — this is a show that is still on the air, but one I didn’t really get caught up with until this year. The show is about the disgraced wife of a philandering politician who pulls her life together and gets a job at a top law firm in Chicago. Julianna Margulies, starring as the “good wife” Alicia Florrick is really brilliant, as is the rest of the supporting cast. The end of the fourth season into the beginning of the fifth season is some of the best television I’ve watched in a long time.

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  • Alex (Sleepless Reader) December 11, 2014, 9:45 am

    Still tiring to figure out why I still loved The Hour, while often being clueless about exactly what was happening…

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:27 pm

      That’s the weirdest thing about it. The context (often) made no sense because I am garbage at history, but I loved watching it anyway.

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes December 11, 2014, 11:52 am

    I haven’t heard of any of these, except for The Good Wife, but now I want to watch ALL of them. Do I spy Ben Whishaw in The Hour? I adore him!

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:28 pm

      Yes! He is adorable.

  • Belle Wong December 11, 2014, 2:26 pm

    I love the Phryne Fisher novels – I’ve listened to several of them in audio. I didn’t realize there was a TV series based on the books. And The Bletchley Circle sounds interesting. I will have to check around and see if I can find both these shows.

  • Andi (@estellasrevenge) December 11, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Bletchly Circle sounds like just my kind of thing!

  • Sheila (Book Journey) December 11, 2014, 6:43 pm

    I do not watch a lot of tv series but what you posted looks good. The only one I have seen is the Good Wife.

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:28 pm

      They’re all foreign, I realized — thank you, Netflix.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End December 11, 2014, 8:05 pm

    I haven’t been keeping current with this season of The Good Wife, but you’re right — last season was one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen.

    I watched one episode of Miss Fisher and loved it! I can’t wait to watch more!

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:29 pm

      I’m mixed on this season of The Good Wife so far — some threads are great, some threads are sort of annoying — but I make a point to watch it each Sunday so that’s something.

  • Trisha December 11, 2014, 9:40 pm

    Crap. Now I have to add more tv shows to my list. I’m currently binge-watching Sherlock…

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:30 pm

      We need to watch Sherlock. It just feels like such a commitment to watch a 90 minute show… which is silly since we watched The Wolf of Wall Street last night and wasted more than three hours.

  • JaneGS December 13, 2014, 3:37 pm

    Oh, the binges! I’m a long-time Good Wife fan–such good TV, the writing, the characters, the twists and turns. Eli Gold is my favorite, I think 🙂

    Bletchley Circle is wonderful too–I’ve heard they’re doing another season. Hope so!

    I watched one episode of The Hour and loved it, but haven’t had time to watch more. Need more snow days.

    Merlin has always struck me as lots of fun. Maybe I should make time for it.

    • Kim December 15, 2014, 9:31 pm

      Eli is a hoot. What is with his hair this season?

      I didn’t really research more seasons of The Bletchley Circle — that’d be AWESOME.

      Merlin is pretty goofy, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

  • April @ The Steadfast Reader December 16, 2014, 9:04 pm

    How do I get to ‘The Hour’? It looks -perfect-. 🙂

    • Kim December 21, 2014, 9:09 am

      I watched it on Netflix streaming. I think it’s still there. I haven’t checked other streaming services, but I imagine it’s on Amazon (although you might have to pay).

  • Tanya Patrice December 17, 2014, 10:35 am

    Yay – someone else who loves Merlin and The Good Wife 🙂

  • susan December 18, 2014, 7:33 pm

    The Good Wife rocks. And I’ll be interested to see what happens in February when it starts back up again.

    • Kim December 21, 2014, 9:09 am

      Me too! I can’t believe that he’ll actually go to jail… but how will he get out of it. So much intrigue.