The best TV shows you're not watching
At a time when TV viewers seem to be drowning in content and even highly touted shows are dropping like flies –- NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle fell last week, Heroes, ABC’s Private Practice and Pushing Daisies are all on the bubble –- it’s easy to miss the good stuff.
Good thing you’ve got a professional couch potato to help out. Here’s a quick look at the three Best TV Series You’re Not Watching Now.
Sons of Anarchy, 10 p.m. Wednesdays, FX
Short take: Think The Sopranos meets The Wild Bunch.
Why it works: This story of a family-run motorcycle gang in a sleepy California town may be set-up like Hamlet in gang colors, but it’s a lot more. Brit actor Charlie Humman is magnetic as Jackson “Jax” Teller, the 20-something vice president of the gang run by his ruthless stepdad Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and a Black Widow of a mom, Gemma Morrow (Katey Sagal). Sure, Clay and Gemma are played by refugees from the Hellboy movies and Married . . . With Children, but the pair are an unstoppable force in tiny Charming, Calif. -- running guns for the IRA and taking hot pokers to members who betray them. And when Jax starts rooting around in old papers written by his dead dad, you know Clay and Gemma are going to have something to answer for soon.
Hidden gems: The Shield alum Jay Karnes as a federal agent-turned stalker and Sopranos alum Drea De Matteo as Jax’s meth-addicted sorta ex-wife.
Brotherhood, 8 p.m. Sundays, Showtime
Short take: The Sopranos with New England accents in Rhode Island.
Why it works: Creator Blake Masters based this tale of two Irish brothers in Providence, R.I. on the notorious Bulger Brothers from Massachussetts -– and just like the Bulgers, the fictional Tommy Caffee is a powerful state politician while his older brother Michael is a ruthless crime boss. Another import from Britain, Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy the Harry Potter films), is compelling as the explosive Michael, whose extra-legal exploits constantly threaten Tommy’s career. This season, Michael vents his hair-trigger tempter on an assistant district attorney, bringing a whole new world of hurt down on his town.
Hidden gem: X-Files alum Annabeth Gish as Tommy’s pot-smoking wife, Eileen, pulling herself together after her affair with an old flame was exposed.
The Life and Times of Tim, 11 p.m. Sundays, HBO
Short take: An animated, slacker-style Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Why it works: From the guy who created the Budweiser lizards (really!), this animated series follows a 20-something guy with a talent for hanging out with marginal characters who always get him into awkward situations. In the opening episode, he’s busted by his girlfriend, who comes home early from a cruise with her parents to find him sitting on the couch with a hooker. By the segment’s end, they’ve made the hooker some meat loaf and Tim has convinced her pimp to change his look by donning his black shirt and chinos in lieu of $300. And that’s just the first 15 minutes.
Hidden gem: Saturday Night Live alum Cheri Oteri as Chuk, an Asian bartender.