This post was written by Hatchet reporter Eric Robinson.
For those of us not enjoying a tropical vacation this week, spring break means catching up on TV shows your roommates have been talking about all semester. Check out these recommended shows, which are all in their first or second seasons, so you don’t fall too far behind.
The second season of this twisty spy thriller premiered only a few weeks ago, so it’s the perfect time to get hooked on this tense Cold War drama. Set during the 1980s, “The Americans” follows the exploits of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), two KGB operatives posing as an American couple in the suburbs of D.C. with their oblivious children. The show is definitely a slow burn, the early episodes basically consisting of Philip and Elizabeth tackling a mission given to them by their Soviet leaders. Thankfully, the quality writing from showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields and the fantastic performances from Russell and Rhys make this one of the better dramas on television.
A prequel to the classic horror film “Silence of the Lambs” and the series of novels by author Thomas Harris, “Hannibal” follows FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he attempts to solve gruesome murders while unknowingly recieving the aid of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Whether it be the disturbingly violent content, a haunting score that seemingly screams throughout each episode, lurid and surreal imagery that is absolutely terrifying to look at, or the powerful performances of Dancy and Mikkelsen, “Hannibal” is one of the most consistently effective horror shows on television.
One day after the end of its acclaimed first season, “True Detective” should is an absolutely must-watch. “True “Detective” is the show that everyone will be talking about at the Emmy’s this year. A mystery show that has two detectives, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) investigating the cultish murder of a prostitute, “True Detective” is less interested in its main mystery than in philosophical and social issues such as religion, the American dream and death. Top that off with the most powerful performance of recent Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey’s career, and you have the possibly the best new television show of 2014.
“A Young Doctor’s Notebook” is a fine black comedy that succeeds in being both hilarious and depressing at the same time. It takes place in 1934 as an unnamed doctor (Jon Hamm) reminisces on his time as a young doctor (Daniel Radcliffe) in 1917 while in the small Russian town of Muryevo. The series has the young doctor dealing with a host of horrific medical horrors while simultaneously interacting with his older self in his mind. The content is oppressively dark despite the deceiving presence of a post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe. Whether it be surreal hallucinations, morphine addictions or the terrifyingly gory medical procedures that include the amputation of a child’s legs with a dull saw blade and the attempted gouging of baby’s eye, “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” is not for those seeking light entertainment. Those who can withstand the horrors, however, will find a bitingly comic tale of lost optimism that features great performances from both Hamm and Radcliffe.
Following the exploits of three gay friends in San Francisco, “Looking” has turned out to be one of the more human comedies of the year. To key to its success is the stellar cast of Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett and subtle scripts that subtly mix character development and humor. It’s a rare treat to finally find a comedy that doesn’t resort to stereotyping its gay characters for the sake of a cheap laugh. “Looking” is more than just a subtly funny comedy show – it’s an achievement in comedy television.