Top TV Shows in Streaming Today

My top TV Shows of All Time in the Streaming World

Due to the pandemic and me being an extroverted introvert, I have watched a ton of TV shows from the U.S., France, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, England, Israel, Canada, Australia, Columbia, and others.  Yeah, that is a a lot of subtitles I’ve watched on my days off.  My favorite genres are time travel, spy thrillers, political thrillers, and comedies.  I typically don’t do supernatural or Science Fiction but there are some here too. Add to this, I have some of the very popular shows listed like The Crown, Ozark, and others. However, there are many unsung heroes in this list that you may not have seen.

Disclaimer:  It’s hard enough to write a TV pilot let alone to get a network to fund it and produce it.  In today’s era there are a ton of TV shows out there around the world as this list shows you.  Anybody who gets a TV show produced is an amazing human to me.

Netflix:

Peaky Blinders

Logline: A gangster family epic set in 1900s England, centering on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tommy Shelby.

This show checks all the boxes in terms of writing, casting, acting, directing, cinematography, sound design, music, directing, production design.  It is a brilliant show set in 1920s Ireland. 

Bordertown

Logline: Quirky police detective, in Finland, delves into his mind palace to solve despicable crimes all the while trying to keep his family together. If Sherlock was based in Finland this would be it.

This Finnish TV show is about a border town on the Finland/Russian border.  It is totally NSFW but focuses on an eccentric detective who is trying to keep his family together while chasing down the bad guys.

Schitt’s Creek

Logline: When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt’s Creek.

This show I was reluctant to watch as it premise was “rich people in a country town” which is a tired trope.  However, this show after 3 episodes ropes you in hook, line, and sinker.  It is absolutely brilliant in all ways from the writing to the cast, and finally the mainstream public is seeing how brilliant this show is as they are garnering awards.

The Magicians

Logline: After being recruited to a secretive academy, a group of students discover that the magic they read about as children is very real-and more dangerous than they ever imagined.

Originally on the ScyFy channel, this is about these young adults who get into this magic school.  It is one of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen and their pop-culture references in the writing are hysterical, and the oddball characters in this world of magic never fail to amaze and delight me.  I’ve watched this twice already

Money Heist

Logline: An unusual group of robbers attempt to carry out the most perfect robbery in Spanish history – stealing 2.4 billion euros from the Royal Mint of Spain.

This Spanish TV show is the slowest of slow burn thriller shows.  It’s like opening a paper cut and pouring salt on it once a day.  It moves that slow.  However, it’s brilliant in every way.  The stellar cast delivers each moment like it’s their last.

Imposters

Logline: A dark comedy that focuses on a female con artist who marries people and then disappears with their money.

Only 2 seasons, it’s now on Netflix.  A brilliant cast superbly cast with great writing and storylines.  I’ve watched it twice.  Each moment is delivered so well.  Such a great cast and amazing premise.

Longmire

Logline: Walt Longmire is the dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Widowed only a year, he is a man in psychic repair but buries his pain behind his brave face, unassuming grin and dry wit.

Sherriff Walt Longmire, is a stodgy sheriff in the modern day world in the west with a Native American Reservation nearby which always brings intrigue to the show.  The cast here is perfect with additions along the way that make it work splendidly.

Legends of Tomorrow

Logline: Time-travelling rogue Rip Hunter has to recruit a rag-tag team of heroes and villains to help prevent an apocalypse that could impact not only Earth, but all of time.

So much has been written about this show.  It has evolved, the core cast has even evolved, yet the writing is stellar with great pop-culture references, and a brilliant premise in traveling to time in history to thwart some alien invasion or the like, so it’s ripe with costume changes, meeting great leaders and the while showing how the cast is family.

Offspring

Logline: The story of the impossible loves of 30-something obstetrician Nina Proudman and her fabulously messy family.

As you can see not all loglines are created equal.  This is a brilliant premise!! This Australian show is about an obstetrician who is single, the antics of the office where she works, and her neurotic family.  It lasted 7 seasons and I’ve watched it twice.  This cast is family.

New Girl

Logline: After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her – most of the time.

I never watched this when it was on FOX.  When it appeared on Netflix, I tried it and boy was I impressed.  They have jokes that pay off in later seasons which is hard to do just for the casual drive by viewer.  However, they do it well.  Yet another that I’ve watched twice.  All 7 seasons.

Dark Matter

Logline: In the dystopian 27th century, six people wake up on a deserted spaceship with no memory of who they are or what they’re doing there. They reluctantly team up and set off to find answers with the help of a female android.

It is only 2 seasons and leaves you hanging as it wasn’t renewed.  However, that doesn’t negate how much of a family this cast is.  Whoever came up with this premise was tripping on something.   6 people wake up from stasis with no memories of who they are.  They are on a time traveling spaceship. It such a wonderful premise.  The android steals the series for me.

Secret City

Logline: Beneath the placid facade of Canberra, amidst rising tension between China and America, senior political journalist Harriet Dunkley uncovers a secret city of interlocked conspiracies, putting innocent lives in danger including her own.

Australian politics at its best and you learn so much how it works. 

Outlander

Logline: An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.

I cannot say enough about this show.  Great 1-2 punch for leads Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan their inescapable romance that spans decades.  This intricately woven show gives us the viewer a history lesson as to what happened to the Scots and the Brits during this time.  It is beautifully crafted each step of the way and it does the best in hiding her secret, which I love.

Frontier

Logline: Follows Declan Harp, a half-Irish/half Cree Native-Canadian outlaw who is campaigning to breach the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly on the fur trade in Canada.

Set in the 1600s on the North American continent, this is where I saw Jason Mamoa for the 1st time.  This is a brilliant show that showcases his acting skills in my humble opinion.

Arrested Development

Logline: Level-headed son Michael Bluth takes over family affairs after his father is imprisoned. But the rest of his spoiled, dysfunctional family are making his job unbearable.

One of the best all-time comedies.  This show delivers the most stupid plot points and yet we laugh along at every one of them.

Queen of the South

Logline: Teresa flees Mexico after her drug-runner boyfriend is murdered. Settling in Dallas she looks to become the country’s reigning drug smuggler and to avenge her lover’s murder.

The logline doesn’t do the show justice.  It pits Teresa against an overly powerful Mexican drug lord, yet you are rooting for her so much during this journey.  She’s played so damn well by Alice Braga, a Brazilian actress.

Halt and Catch Fire

Logline: Follows some players in the 80s technological revolution that lead to information society.

Another logline on IMDB that is lame.  This show is more about family, the struggles of being caught up in the information society in the early 1980s and how to stay ahead of the curve with a team that has a bullheaded coder who is a genius, but she’s so stubborn.  That is what is in the crosshairs of this show.

Startup

Logline: A desperate banker, a Haitian-American gang lord and a Cuban-American hacker are forced to work together to unwittingly create their version of the American dream – organized crime 2.0.

This is an alternative to Halt and Catch Fire.  Equally gripping with the Haitian criminal element built into it.  I love how the characters are written; the acting is perfect for each!

Wanted

Logline: Two strangers are prime suspects in a murder.

Yet another logline that falls way short.  Two strangers at a bus stop go on the run when the cops suspect them of a murder.  It involved political intrigue, police coverups and two women who never knew each other, being on the run in Australia.

The Crown

Logline: Follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century.

If you’ve never heard of this show.  I’m sorry.  It chronicles in narrative fiction Queen Elizabeth’s reign that continues to this day.  Claire Foy was brilliant in the 1st 2 seasons and as the queen ages, they change actresses. 

The Queens Gambit

Logline: Orphaned at the tender age of nine, prodigious introvert Beth Harmon discovers and masters the game of chess in 1960s USA. But child stardom comes at a price.

The Queens Gambit is a chess move.  Yet this centers around this prodigy.  What a brilliant mini-series that swept the nation and the world by fire.

Dead to Me

Logline: A series about a powerful friendship that blossoms between a tightly wound widow and a free spirit with a shocking secret.

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini (of Bloodline fame) are brilliant in this show.  This show has a weird twist to it and I like it.  It was a pandemic sensation!

Lupin

Logline: Inspired by the adventures of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief Assane Diop sets out to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a wealthy family.

I cannot say enough about this show.  The lead, Omar Sy is so damn good playing a gentleman thief.  It’s perfect in so many ways.  Yes, subtitles, but so worth it!

The Gift

Logline: A painter in Istanbul embarks on a personal journey as she unearths universal secrets about an Anatolian archaeological site and its link to her past.

I truly loved this show.  The painter, played expertly by Beren Saat, is bullheaded but also just follows her instincts which leads to dicey consequences.

Fauda

Logline: The human stories on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This show does not pick sides in this but just humanizes this conflict for those of us not there.  Created by the lead actor, Lior Raz, he does so well in creating a character that we root for and yell at simultaneously.  I truly loved the 2 seasons that are on Netflix.  It is brilliant.

The Sinner:

Logline: Anthology series that examines how and why ordinary people commit brutal crimes.

The logline does not do it justice.  At all.  Bill Pullman is a detective with his own past and issues yet can see things in crime scenes other cops do not, it’s so well done, and each season is about 1 murder and the character reveal in that.  Pullman deserves so many awards for this show.

Katla

Logline: One year after the violent eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla, the peace and tranquility in the small town of Vik is dramatically disturbed.

Another Iceland TV show about a mysterious volcano.  Only 1 season but well worth it.

Ozark

Logline: A financial advisor drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder money to appease a drug boss.

Perfect logline.  Jason Batemen Laura Linney are brilliant, but Juilia Garner steals the show and has won a ton of awards for her work.

Hache

Logline: Inspired by real events, Hache is the story of Helena, a woman catapulted to the heroin trafficking business in the Barcelona of the 60s.

I absolutely loved this show.  It is kind of like Queen of the South for Barcelona, but different.  Adriana Ugarte is very well up to the task as Hache is a wonderful show, that takes you along the lines of what Barcelona in the 1960s was like.

The Valhalla Murders

Logline: Police profiler Arnar is sent back home from Oslo to his native Iceland to investigate the country’s first serial killer case. He teams up with the local senior cop Kata.

This is a thriller that takes us to dark places in Iceland’s past.  This is not based on true events though.  It still had me on the edge of my seat watching it!

Working Moms

Logline: Four very different thirtysomething working-mother friends try to balance their jobs, family lives, and love lives in modern-day Toronto, Canada.

That’s a great logline!  It truly does give insight to what working moms go through and the opening scenes will shock you!  Catherine Reitman is so good as the lead in the show and she’s the show creator.

Apple+

Ted Lasso

Logline: American college football coach Ted Lasso heads to London to manage AFC Richmond, a struggling English Premier League soccer team.

This is so much for than that.  He’s a fish out of water, but his relentless optimism and Kansas euphemisms just make this show wonderful.  the minute you think you got a plot line figured out they do a left turn.  And you are knee slapping laughing.  It truly is a knee slapping laughing show.  It won 7 emmys in its inaugural season which is ridiculous.  Add to this, the 2nd season is even better and offers more depth to the characters.

Amazon Prime

The Bureau

After six years of undercover work in Syria, French intelligence officer Malotru returns home, where he struggles to forget his undercover identity, train a young recruit, and investigate when a colleague disappears in Algeria.

There is no better spy/thriller TV series out there than this.  There is NOTHING that is this damn good.  It expertly cast, has all the spy intrigue, with really true spy tricks of the trade.  It is brilliant in all ways.
It is also available on Sundance Now.

Informer

Logline: A young East London man is coerced by an officer to work undercover for him.  This gives us a glimpse into Muslim culture in London, police work, and character nuance.  I truly love shows like this that tell a story but also, like Outlander, educate us.

Fleabag

Logline: A comedy series adapted from the award-winning play about a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy.

All I need to say is that it won an emmy for the pilot.  The pilot episode won an emmy.  That’s how good this is.  The lead breaks the 4th wall and it’s brilliant.  NSFW but truly a great show and only 2 seasons.

Hannah

Logline: In equal parts high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama, HANNA follows the journey of an extraordinary young girl raised in the forest, as she evades the relentless pursuit of an off-book CIA agent and tries to unearth the truth behind who she is.

Downton Abbey

Logline: A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.

LOVED every minute of this show and it has a subsequent feature length film associated with it.  Maggie Smith was ridiculous in this show!!!

In Plain Sight

Logline: U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon must hunt down witnesses for federal cases in the witness protection program while also managing a rather dysfunctional family and her own personal life.

Mary is much like Walt Longmire.  Same type of character, uphold the law, but my life is a mess but I don’t want to deal with it.  This show I’ve seen twice already!

Fearless

Logline: Emma Banville (the late Helen McCrory), a human rights lawyer known for defending lost causes, sets out to prove the innocence of Kevin Russell (Sam Swainsbury), who was convicted for the murder of a school girl fourteen years earlier.

Bosch

Logline: An L.A.P.D. homicide detective works to solve the murder of a thirteen-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court for the murder of a serial killer.

This is a lame logline.  Detective Harry Bosch navigates his personal life, his daughter’s mother, his daughter, all while pursuing homicide cases in Hollywood.  Titus Welliver delivers Harry Bosch so well.  Show is based on a character Harry Bosch in the Michael Connelly novels.

Goliath

Logline: A disgraced lawyer, now an ambulance chaser, gets a case that could bring him redemption or at least revenge on the firm which expelled him.

This is so much more than that.  Billy Bob Thornton delivers so expertly his dry performances of a character that is hiding a lot while literally going up against Goliath.  Loved this show!

        

Author

kellyr.actor@gmail.com

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