7 TV shows every guy should be watching

by 5 years ago
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Everyone loves TV. The problem is that most television shows are what Webster’s dictionary gives for the definition of a butt. They are terrible, just an endless horde of Kardashians mating with swamp people and driving trucks in Alaska while scavenging for antiques and the souls of the living which sustains them here on Earth while they are exiled from their home planet of Whoreton. But fear not, because there are a handful of television shows out there that exist as sort of an oasis in this desert of the damned, an island in this sea of crap, and if you do the right thing and watch these seven shows that all guys should be watching, you might just make it with your sanity left intact after all.

Photo credit: YouTube/AMC

What it’s About: A bad-ass biker gang fights the law, other bikers and each other as they live out what is essentially Fear and Loathing in a Motorcycle Gang.

Why You Should Be Watching It: Well, it’s a show about a bad-ass biker gang running wild. If you need more than that, I suppose you could say that it’s an interesting look at people living on the fringes of society, living the only way they can to get by, outlaws living by an outlaw code, the American spirit brought to life and all the freedom and darkness that walks hand in hand with that. But really, it’s a bunch of bad-ass bikers raising hell. What more do you need? Oh, did I mention that Ron Perlman of Hellboy fame plays the alpha biker and is such a badass that he’d probably make your beloved Chuck Norris sit down when he pees? Or that the show features Peg friggin’ Bundy as a hardened biker mama? Because those are both things that are totally true.

Photo credit: YouTube/FX

What it’s About: Former baseball shooting star and all-around degenerate Kenny Powers crashes back to Earth and tries to forge a comeback while reconnecting with his high school sweetheart, his white trash friends and family, and oh yeah, doing all the goddamn drugs and boning all the ladies he can get his hands on.

Why You Should Be Watching It: It’s funny as hell and features cameos from Will Ferrell as a Ric Flair-esque car salesman with a penchant for criminal degeneracy, Don Johnson as the ultimate sleazy deadbeat dad and a host of other cool, funny people. But really, that’s all secondary to the magnificence of Danny McBride as Kenny Powers. It’s a performance that is equal parts ridiculous and true, playing on every white trash stereotype there is while at the same time capturing perfectly the delusional madness of the high school superstar who never grew up. Did I mention that it’s also funny as hell? Because it is. Oh and there are boobs and drugs everywhere. Can’t forget that.

Photo credit: YouTube/HBO

What it’s About: A group of ragtag survivors try to survive life following a zombie apocalypse.

Why You Should Be Watching It: Come on, who doesn’t love a good zombie story? Especially one that is as raw as this one is. It’s tense, it’s violent, and its writing is top-notch. (Just thought I’d throw that last bit in there so you didn’t think we were completely about boobs and blowing shit up. We’re educated dudes and lady dudes.) Really, at its heart, The Walking Dead is a show about human nature and about the thin line that separates civilization from our baser impulses. It asks questions about people and what they’ll do when the shit hits the fan that are all too relevant in a world that always feels like it’s about to come apart at the seams. Oh, and it also features zombies running around eating people. Let’s not lose sight of that fundamental truth.

Photo credit: YouTube/AMC

What it’s About: Federal Marshal Raylan Givens returns to his, uh, let’s call it rustic hometown in the hills of Kentucky, where he dispenses some good ol’ fashioned Wild West justice.

Why You Should Be Watching It: Raylan Givens is probably the biggest badass on TV right now. But aside from that, the show is filled with a cast of compelling characters, both good and bad – well, mostly bad – whose shifting loyalties and allegiances make the show what it is. Basically, just about every character on the show has been shot or at least shot at or shot someone or all of the above. And throughout it all runs that half-crazy Appalachian backwoods badassery that is so damn fun to watch. These are people who take no shit and if that means they have to stick a shotgun in your face then so be it. It’s a 21st century Gunsmoke on meth.

Photo credit: YouTube/FX

What it’s About: Chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with lung cancer and says to hell with the rest of the world and turns to making and selling meth so that his family’s financial future can be secured before he dies.

Why You Should Be Watching It: It’s probably the most balls-out unflinching television show out there right now. It takes you into the heart and soul of a good man who decides to be evil and then dares to ask questions about what good and evil really means. No other show is as compelling when it comes to our modern day ideas about morality and about what man will do when he’s got nothing left to really live for. It will have you rooting for complete psychopaths and sociopaths and then wondering what in the hell is wrong with you. But perhaps more than any other show on television, it is a show that journeys to the dark heart of the American dream and then peels back your eyelids and makes you watch the stark, naked horror that is the truth of that dream. It’s smart, it’s crazy, it’s awesome and it will leave you both hating yourself and wanting more. It’s meth in TV form.

Photo credit: YouTube/AMC

What it’s About: Tensions mount and then explode in the realm of Westeros, where several families vie for power in a series of blood-drenched feuds and battles all while a dark and mysterious power rises in the snow-filled North which threatens to obliterate all of humanity.

Why You Should Be Watching It: Well, it’s basically a more cool, adult version of Lord of the Rings, only in this one the midgets bang whores and there are no friendly wizards or dwarves, just a collection of badasses and degenerates who kill and/or screw anything that moves. It features the epic and bloody fighting of Braveheart and combines it with the scheming of The Sopranos. Its best and most compelling character is a deformed midget whose own family hates him but is the coolest son of a bitch alive. Everywhere you look there are boobs and at one point a dude even chops the head off his own horse. It’s a show in which you end up rooting for the characters you used to hate and a show in which anything can – and does – happen. Also, did I mention that there are boobs? Because there are a lot of goddamn boobs. Also, blood. So the next time your significant other tells you that she (or he – we’re all about equality here) wants to spend the weekend at a B&B, tell them that you want to relax with your own B&B – the boobs and blood of Game of Thrones.

Photo credit: YouTube/HBO

What it’s About: America, really. But if you want a slightly less broad take: it’s a show about the trials and tribulations of an ad agency in New York in the 1960’s centered around one particular ad-man, Don Draper, an enigmatic womanizer who also happens to be a goddamn genius when it comes to advertising. It’s a show about his journey, from farm-boy to New York City alpha-male to – more recently - out of touch dinosaur.

Why You Should Be Watching It: Out of all the shows on this list, this was the one whose plot was the most difficult to describe. And that’s because its plot is not really a plot so much but a thematic powerhouse, an ambitious deconstruction of everything that we mythologize about America and the American dream. Don Draper is the most Gatsbyesque character since Gatsby. He – and the show – is by turns super-cool, utterly infuriating, unknowable and utterly mesmerizing. In 2009, in their annual list of the most influential men alive, Askmen.com named Don Draper the winner. Keep in mind, he’s a fictional character. That’s how magnetic and fascinating Mad Men can be. It perfectly captures the look and feel of one of the most interesting times in American history. But beyond that, it’s a show that seems to transcend the whole idea of a “period piece” and speaks to who we are as a people on a larger level, who we’ve been and who we can still be. It’s a show that people struggle to discuss in a meaningful way because it’s just too damn good. The themes are too big, the characters too seductive. In the end, all you can do is watch and let yourself be drawn into the world of Mad Men. And that’s why it’s number one on this list.

Photo credit: YouTube/AMC

(Originally published on June 12, 2012.)

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