My Favorite Television Shows & Movies

by mbihari | created - 08 Jun 2012 | updated - 20 Jan 2013 | Public

I'm not a big fan of network TV but I do like many of the shows and movies being created for cable. Most of these I watch on disc or streaming to fit my schedule and, in some cases, to avoid annoying ads!

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1. 24 (2001–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, races against the clock to subvert terrorist plots and save his nation from ultimate disaster.

Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Dennis Haysbert

Votes: 158,857

2. Dexter (2006–2013)

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.

Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Votes: 566,853

3. Justified (2010–2015)

TV-MA | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Old-school U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal mining towns in eastern Kentucky.

Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts

Votes: 72,656

4. Bones (2005–2017)

TV-14 | 40 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan and cocky F.B.I. Special Agent Seeley Booth build a team to investigate murders. Quite often, there isn't more to examine than rotten flesh or mere bones.

Stars: Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne

Votes: 124,512

5. Doc Martin (2004– )

TV-MA | 46 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

The trials and tribulations of Dr. Martin Ellingham, a socially challenged doctor who moves from London to the picturesque village of Port Wenn in Cornwall.

Stars: Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom

Votes: 9,032

6. Downton Abbey (2010–2015)

TV-PG | 58 min | Drama, Romance

A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century.

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Brendan Coyle

Votes: 132,271

7. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2001–2008)

TV-14 | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

British crime investigation series based around aristocratic, Oxford-educated Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his working-class assistant Sergeant Barbara Havers.

Stars: Nathaniel Parker, Sharon Small, Lesley Vickerage, Paul Hickey

Votes: 3,339

8. MI-5 (2002–2011)

60 min | Drama, Thriller

The missions of MI-5, the UK's domestic intelligence organization.

Stars: Peter Firth, Hugh Simon, Nicola Walker, Rupert Penry-Jones

Votes: 12,723

9. Oz (1997–2003)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants.

Stars: Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters

Votes: 76,723

10. Sherlock (2010– )

TV-14 | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London.

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

Votes: 641,004

11. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

A New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life, which affects his mental state and leads him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Votes: 227,923

12. Wire in the Blood (2002–2009)

69 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A psychologist gets inside of the minds of both killers and victims to aid the police in solving gruesome serial killings in Northern England.

Stars: Robson Green, Mark Letheren, Emma Handy, Mark Penfold

Votes: 6,036

13. The 39 Steps (2008 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 90 min | Adventure, Crime, Mystery

Richard Hannay, a mining engineer on holiday from the African colonies, finds London socialite life terribly dull. Yet it's more then he bargained for when secret agent, Scudder, bursts ... See full summary »

Director: James Hawes | Stars: Rupert Penry-Jones, Lydia Leonard, David Haig, Patrick Malahide

Votes: 1,742

14. Angels in America (2003)

TV-MA | 352 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Playwright Tony Kushner adapts his political epic about the AIDS crisis during the mid-1980s and centers the story around a group of separate but connected individuals.

Stars: Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 23,548

15. John Adams (2008)

TV-14 | 71 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years.

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 23,246

16. Pennies from Heaven (1978– )

75 min | Drama, Musical

Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »

Stars: Cheryl Campbell, Bob Hoskins, Gemma Craven, Kenneth Colley

Votes: 924

17. The Singing Detective (1986)

415 min | Drama, Musical, Mystery

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley, David Ryall

Votes: 3,745

18. Inspector Lewis (2006–2015)

TV-PG | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Inspector Robert Lewis and Sergeant James Hathaway solve the tough cases that the learned inhabitants of Oxford throw at them.

Stars: Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman, Rebecca Front

Votes: 8,152

19. Torchwood (2006–2011)

TV-MA | 50 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

The members of the Torchwood Institute, a secret organization founded by the British Crown, fight to protect the Earth from extraterrestrial and supernatural threats.

Stars: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Kai Owen, Gareth David-Lloyd

Votes: 35,552

20. Firefly (2002–2003)

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.

Stars: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin

Votes: 213,250

21. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,086,424

22. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 8,965

23. Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)

TV-PG | 214 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight boxing champion.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Arkin

Votes: 1,162

24. Woody Allen: A Life in Film (2002 TV Movie)

90 min | Documentary, Biography

A series of interviews with Woody Allen interlaced with clips from his films.

Director: Richard Schickel | Star: Woody Allen

Votes: 394

25. Wallander (2005–2013)

90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A Swedish cop in a small town by the Baltic coast.

Stars: Krister Henriksson, Fredrik Gunnarsson, Mats Bergman, Douglas Johansson

Votes: 4,380 | Gross: $0.01M

26. Queer as Folk (1999–2000)

TV-MA | 48 min | Drama

A groundbreaking gay adult drama which chronicles the lives of Stuart and Vince, as well as 15-year-old Nathan, who is in love with Stuart.

Stars: Aidan Gillen, Craig Kelly, Charlie Hunnam, Denise Black

Votes: 4,897

27. Wallander (2008–2016)

TV-PG | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A TV program centered on a soul-searching Swedish cop.

Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe, Jeany Spark, Sarah Smart

Votes: 9,928

28. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Anthony Bourdain, chef, writer, traveler, visits places all around the world sampling various foods.

Stars: Anthony Bourdain, Zamir Gotta, Todd Liebler, Jerry Risius

Votes: 4,974

29. Spiral (2005– )

Not Rated | 52 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Follows criminal investigations in Paris from all the different points of view of those involved.

Stars: Caroline Proust, Audrey Fleurot, Philippe Duclos, Thierry Godard

Votes: 3,842

30. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)

TV-14 | 25 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Series of unrelated short stories covering elements of crime, horror, drama, and comedy about people of different backgrounds committing murders, suicides, thefts, and other sorts of crime caused by certain motivations, perceived or not.

Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams, Patricia Hitchcock

Votes: 11,771

31. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.

Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 54,279

32. Midsomer Murders (1997– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A veteran DCI and his young sergeant investigate murders around the regional community of Midsomer County.

Stars: John Nettles, Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, Jason Hughes

Votes: 17,865

33. Prime Suspect (1991)

207 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.

Stars: Helen Mirren, John Benfield, Tom Bell, Jack Ellis

Votes: 5,314

34. Our Town (2003 TV Movie)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Family, Romance

Thornton Wilder's classic play on Grover's Corners, a fictional small town and its story taking place between 1901 and 1913, dealing with themes as life, death and the everyday routine of ... See full summary »

Director: James Naughton | Stars: Jayne Atkinson, Wendy Barrie-Wilson, Reathel Bean, John Braden

Votes: 346

35. Supernatural (2005– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Two brothers follow their father's footsteps as "hunters", fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Misha Collins

Votes: 329,291

36. The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, History

A comprehensive history of the medium and art of motion pictures.

Stars: Mark Cousins, Juan Diego Botto, Aleksandr Sokurov, Norman Lloyd

Votes: 3,415

37. Great Performances (1971– )
Episode: Company: A Musical Comedy (2007)

Not Rated | 132 min | Music

Centering on Bobby, a confirmed bachelor celebrating his 35th birthday with his 10 closest friends (who also happen to be five couples), "Company" culminates in Bobby's transformation from ... See full summary »

Director: Lonny Price | Stars: Kelly Jeanne Grant, Angel Desai, Elizabeth Stanley, Matt Castle

Votes: 383

38. Elizabeth R (1971– )

85 min | Biography, Drama

When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.

Stars: Glenda Jackson, Ronald Hines, Robert Hardy, Stephen Murray

Votes: 1,324

39. American Playhouse (1981– )
Episode: Into the Woods (1991)

Unrated | 151 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

In this Tony Award-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim, several fairy tale characters learn the hard way that the 'Happily Ever After' they sought isn't necessarily so happy after all.

Director: James Lapine | Stars: Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Joy Franz

Votes: 2,851

40. Jacoba (1989 TV Movie)

65 min | Documentary

Add a Plot

Director: Joram ten Brink

Votes: 5

41. Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005 TV Movie)

113 min | Drama, Romance

A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.

Director: Darnell Martin | Stars: Halle Berry, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Mel Winkler, Michael Ealy

Votes: 2,426

42. Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

Add a Plot

Director: Bruce Ricker | Stars: Ed Harris, Peter Bogdanovich, Larry Cohen, Andrew Sarris

Votes: 116

43. I'm King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper (2005)

57 min | Documentary, Biography

This documentary explores the incredible life of Merian C. Cooper, from his time as a soldier and pilot in three different wars, to his exploits in Hollywood, as a director, producer and cinematic innovator.

Directors: Christopher Bird, Kevin Brownlow | Stars: Alec Baldwin, Merian C. Cooper, David Strohmaier, James D'Arc

Votes: 185

44. Spielberg on Spielberg (2007 TV Movie)

86 min | Documentary, Biography

Considered to be one of the most respected film critics in the country, as evidenced by his work with Time magazine, Richard Schickel is widely known for writing, producing and directing a ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Schickel | Star: Steven Spielberg

Votes: 263

45. Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 88 min | Documentary, Biography

Combining unprecedented access to Davis' vast personal archives with original interviews, this documentary reveals a startling portrait of one of hollywood's most gifted and enigmatic stars.

Directors: Peter Jones, Mark A. Catalena | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Bette Davis, Ruthie Davis, Michael Merrill

Votes: 470

46. Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool (2005 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 87 min | Documentary

The life and times of actor Steve McQueen, on the 75th anniversary of his birth

Director: Mimi Freedman | Stars: Steve McQueen, Robert Culp, Neile Adams, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 268

47. The John Garfield Story (2003 TV Movie)

58 min | Documentary, Biography

This documentary, aired on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable network, looks at the life and career of John Garfield, whose career was cut short when he died at age 39. His difficult ... See full summary »

Director: David Heeley | Stars: Julie Garfield, Ellen Adler, Joseph Bernard, Phoebe Brand

Votes: 179