Gentlemen, start your Apple TVs!
Whether or not you were lucky enough to get Friday off, the holiday weekend following Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to play couch commando with some catch-up TV. But what to watch? With 2014 being a great year for television, the choice can be a bit overwhelming.
But have no fear! Scroll through the gallery for Cult of Mac’s 9 must-watch TV shows to gorge yourself on this weekend. Just remember to get up and take a walk every hour or so.
The Leftovers starts with one of the most intriguing high concept ideas for a show since Lost: What would happen if 2 percent of the world’s population — roughly 140 million people — suddenly disappeared without explanation?
Taking place three years after this so-called "Sudden Departure,” The Leftovers has just completed its first season, and been consistently watchable since the beginning. With strong characters and a compelling premise, I can’t recommend this show highly enough.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television
In a world that has experienced Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight series, and with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman on the way, it would be fair to ask why we need to see Gotham City make yet another screen appearance. The twist with Gotham, of course, is that this is a world before Batman, in which Bruce Wayne’s parents have just been shot, and the Rogues' Gallery we know and love are still becoming the characters we will know them as.
Gotham is uneven in places, but it’s also got gems of brilliance that make you realize how great this show could become. Speaking personally, I’m a huge Batman fan, but also one that’s incredibly picky about comic book adaptations. And I’m certainly watching Gotham.
Warner Bros. Television
The Walking Dead
Quite simply, The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. Now in its fifth season, the show’s premise — about a ragtag group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world filled by flesh-eating zombies — isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
And with the show’s producer claiming they still have enough ideas to fill seven more seasons? It’s not going away anytime soon.
The year’s breakout hit, True Detective should be required watching for most everyone. The show tells the story of two Louisiana State Police homicide detectives as they hunt for a serial killer across seventeen years.
While that may sound like something you’ve seen before, not only does True Detective excel as a crime drama, it also incorporates supernatural horror themes: making this the perfect blend of, say, Zodiac and H.P. Lovecraft. And did I mention the superb Matthew McConaughey performance?
Photo: Anonymous Content/HBO
The show that made Benedict Cumberbatch an A-lister, Sherlock is a terrific BBC crime show now having completed three seasons. Adapting the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, but placing them in modern day London, the show plays out in 90-minute mysteries that work both as self-contained dramas, and The Odd Couple-style comedy.
It’s both brilliant and — at only 9 episodes — not too difficult to catch up on. Start it today and you’ll be finished by Monday!
On paper, making a TV show about Hannibal the Cannibal which didn’t feature Sir Anthony Hopkins seemed the worst idea this side of inviting Dr. Lecter to cater for your dinner party. In practice, Hannibal has turned out to be a triumph: with lead actor Mads Mikkelsen delivering a portrayal of the cannibalistic doc that arguably surpasses his iconic predecessor.
As great as the movies Silence of the Lambs and Manhunter are, none of the other adaptations of Thomas Harris’ novels have been particularly great. Hannibal shows us how much life exists in this franchise.
Game of Thrones
Given the complexity of its interweaving storylines and family ties, honestly the only way to watch HBO’s superlative fantasy drama series Game of Thrones if you’ve not seen it before is starting back at episode one. From there, you’ll literally have no choice but to plough through it in a giant butt-numbing marathon.
With four seasons having aired so far, and two more already ordered, you might be hard-pressed to make it through the whole thing before work starts again on Monday, but once you start you’ll definitely give it your best shot.
Thanks to a money-hungry decision to split the final season, a la Breaking Bad, the last episodes of Mad Men won’t air until next year. On the plus side, that means this is the perfect time to play catch-up before the world goes Don Draper crazy one last time.
If for some incredible reason you’ve never seen Mad Men before (and how I envy you if that’s the case), the show follows the lives of a few Madison Avenue ad men and women during the 1950s and '60s. We’ve now reached the point of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and things are set for a grand finale.
There have been geek comedies I’ve absolutely hated (The Big Bang Theory springs to mind) but Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley hit the mark perfectly. Following the trials and tribulations of a tech startup and its oddball assortment of founders and employees, Silicon Valley skewers a scene that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has spent time in San Francisco.
Claiming that this could wind up being HBO’s best ever comedy sounds like it’s overdoing it, but in my view Silicon Valley has all the ingredients to become a genuine classic.