Genre: Historical Drama n Creator: Michael Hirst
Why we recommend it: For the high budget action, well-developed characters and intrigue that is inspired by real events. Vikings gives you an insight into actual history.
Now in its second season, Vikings has impressed critics since its debut in March 2013. The series depicts the raids of Norse legend Ragnar Lothbrok from the Viking Age, who set out on a series of raids in England and France. Ragnar, the ambitious young Viking, sets on an unprecedented voyage of the lands west to Scandinavia, mainly England, in a quest to discover treasures as well as new lands. His successful expedition is not well received by the Earl Haraldson, who fears the young warrior’s ascension is a direct challenge to his status. What follows is a series of bloody feuds and a struggle for power whilst Ragnar’s ferocious warrior brother Rollo desires to leave his brother’s shadow to create his own.
What makes Vikings such a successful show is mainly Michael Hirst’s lifelike depiction of the barbarians. The protagonists, the Vikings, always come short of mercy and redemption. As per the Viking history, they are portrayed as vicious beastly hordes pillaging lands and capturing slaves. The women stand shoulder to shoulder with their men in defending their keep and capturing the other’s. With graphic battle scenes and power struggles between the rulers, this is the Game of Thrones, unplugged.
HOUSE OF CARDS
Genre: Political Drama
Creator: Beau Willimon
Why we recommend it: Kevin Spacey’s stellar acting breathes life and intrigue into a political show series. The twists and turns of the show are bound to thrill you to no end!
Frank Underwood is a power hungry, ambitious Democratic Congressman who enabled President Garret Walker to become the President of the United States. The President does not however, honour his commitment of appointing Frank Underwood as Secretary of State, which leaves the Congressman devastated and vengeful. Frank then promotes himself deviously as a loyal lieutenant of President Walker who sets about gaining influence through conniving means. In the process, he meets with clever journalist Zoe Barnes who, on Frank’s behalf, leaks damaging inside news about his enemies. Frank’s rise to power is meteoric, cunning and bloody as his enemies become victims of his lust for power.
The most impressive aspect of House of Cards is its insight into the White House machinery and the American political structure. The power that the higher ups wield and employ with conniving tactics is there for all to marvel at and despise at the same time. The show is currently in its second season.
The Big Bang Theory
Genre: Sitcom n Creators: Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Why we recommend it: For the bouts of comedy and fits of laughter that you will encounter whilst watching it.
Currently midway its seventh season, The Big Bang Theory involves four nerds namely Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali. The lives of the group change when a sultry blonde named Penny moves in next door to the two flat mates, Sheldon and Leonard. The show heavily depends on its breakout star Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons who shoulders the responsibility brilliantly. His portrayal of the robotic, socially awkward and allergic-to-touch Sheldon has been lauded by fans and critics alike. Sheldon’s inability to comprehend sarcasm, failure to empathize with those around him and a boastful view of himself will surely get you tickling with laughter. Raj’s inability to converse with women except when drunk and Howard Wolowitz’s cheesy pickup lines are hilarious. Leonard seems to be the most socially evolved of the four but has his moments as well! With recurring themes of friendship, public embarrassment and Leonard’s relationship with Penny, the show does echo a big bang of success!
Game of Thrones
Genre: Fantasy Drama
Creators: David Benioff and D.B.Weiss
Why we recommend it: For the carefully executed plots, complex character portrayals and intense conflicts raging throughout the series. Game of Thrones is a must watch.
This adaptation of George R.R.Martin’s books is now in its fourth season and has a cult following that is hard to match. The series details the obsession of man with the seat of power and the limits he goes to keep it. The content is graphic, violent and sexually explicit but then that is what Medieval Age was like and the historical drama has been loosely timed around that era.
What makes Game of Thrones such a huge success is the complexity of plots that run parallel to each other. Then there is reality that blends into fantasy: while there are battles and clashes of swords, blood, gore, incest and infidelity there is also the existence of dragons, Shapeshifters and Whitewalkers (the Undead) beyond the ice wall that protects the kingdom from the darkness that lies beyond it. The element of surprise is also what places Game of Thrones in a league of its own because nothing is predictable, not a single character is indispensable and you cannot guess the next scene unless you’ve read the books, of course.
Genre: Legal Drama n Creator: Aaron Korsh
Why we recommend it: A one-of-its-kind legal drama/comedy series, Suits certainly has the ability to enthrall the audience as well as entertain them with spot-on humor.
Mike Ross is a college dropout, whose ambition to pursue law as a profession is marred by his lack of the required degree from Harvard Law School. Eluding the cops from a drug chase, Mike impresses ace lawyer and self proclaimed best ‘closer’ Harvey Specter into hiring him at law firm Pearson Darby. Only Harvey and his confidante secretary Donna know Mike’s big secret about not attending Harvard at all. Specter assumes the mantle of Mike’s mentor and both develop a close working relationship.
Suits is a blend of the perfect ingredients required for a successful show. Mike and Harvey’s verbal jabs provide one with much needed comic relief when watching an entire episode regarding legal matters. Mike’s office fling with paralegal Rachel Zane also sparks an on-screen chemistry that connects with the viewers at the same time. Harvey Specter’s rivalry with the technical Louis is also fun to witness. Currently airing its fourth season, Suits is a polished version of White Collar and goes right wherever the latter goes wrong! The third season of Suits has just ended but the wait for the fourth isn’t too long as producers have already announced a comeback in summer. That said, there are some major changes on the horizon!
– Shahjahan Khurram