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.
My 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 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)
Despite 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)
This 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 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.