I’ve probably said this a million times already but will say it once more. I really miss Parenthood. I miss it not only because I loved the show. I miss it also for the fact I had a weekly show I could anticipate and discuss on Twitter with on my fellow TV fans. Parenthood was the last TV show I watched week over week. My list of shows to watch on TV has unfortunately dwindled over the years. I remember a time that I had at least 4-5 shows to watch over the week. Now, I have none.
I’ve been particularly struggling to find a new show to watch because I wait until a show has three seasons before I watch it. I established this rule because I’ve started news shows in the past, only to have these shows cancelled within a season or two. I hate getting invested in a show only to have it ripped away. Now, I wait until the show has enough content/less probability of cancellation (which I’ve deemed is at the three season mark).
As I’ve grappled with finding a new show to love, I started thinking on ways I can find a new show, and wanted to share these tips for others who have faced the same predicament.
Determine the producer for a show you really liked and watch his/her follow-up shows
A prime example of this technique working has been with Jason Katims. He produced Friday Night Lights, a show I got hooked on immediately. WhenFriday Night Lights was within a season or two from ending, Katims started working on a new show, Parenthood. I waited to watch it, but I had timed it correctly since I started it right after Friday Night Lights ended, and Parenthoodquickly filled in the void.
Although I still love Friday Night lights, I ended up loving Parenthood even more. My experience therefore shows that once you like one showrunner’s show, you are likely to enjoy his/her other shows (although Aaron Sorkin fans may disagree somewhat given his The West Wing follow-ups).
Look at past shows you have loved, and really think about what you liked in those. Then research/test shows that have the same qualities.
I’ve recently been looking for new shows by looking at some of my favorite shows in the past: Gilmore Girls, Ed, Parenthood, Scrubs, and Friday Night Lights. All shows had something in common: charming, witty dialogue, relatable characters, and not over the top drama (e.g. mostly realistic storylines). I’ve used these criteria to determine which shows I would potentially like. The two I’ve identified have been in blackish and Jane the Virgin. I’ll probably end up temporarily lifting my three season minimum to watch those shows (which I’ve done periodically).
Use Netflix Instant for recommendations on what you are most likely to enjoy
I’ve complained a lot about how Netflix has a bad movie selection but I can’t applaud it enough for having a great TV show selection. A lot of my favorite shows are on Netflix at this point. When I watch the shows, Netflix recommends shows I might like, and a lot of times they end up being my other favorite shows. I have faith in their search engine because of this (and for some movie recommendations), so would recommend that if you have a favorite TV show already on Netflix, watch it at least once so get recommendations on other shows might like.
Find fellow Twitter fans that like the same shows you do and discover new shows through conversations with them.
Twitter is a great platform for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons though is for connecting people with like-minded views/interests in TV shows, which is sometimes hard to find in the non-digital interactions. When you bond with someone on one show, your conversations will most likely lead to other shows that you each like. After trying new recommendations from different twitter friends, you will find which Twitter Friends you have the most commonality on with TV preferences. I can personally attest to this working. My friend Amy (who also writes for Really Late Reviews) and initially bonded over Friday Night Lights. She then reminded me that Katims producedParenthood and vouched for her how good it was. Amy was the main reasons I got into Parenthood
Try a British produced television show
I’m pretty biased here because I’m fascinated with British culture, but have found that the British have produced a wide variety of quality shows across different genres and not just the period pieces known for (such as Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey). Sherlock and Luther are prime examples of great non-period piece shows that are well-written. The best part is that if you don’t have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, PBS makes the British shows very accessible, as they often show British shows as a part of its Masterpiece Classics series.