Peak TV needs to happen soon. Because as scripted shows continue to multiply, I'm losing hope of ever catching up.
And yet there's never been a better time to love great television, because missing a show when it's still in production no longer means missing it forever. (Although it can, I've discovered, occasionally mean paying à la carte for streaming access or DVDs as Netflix and other streaming services change their lineups.)
Some shows demand to be watched in the moment, or at least in the era when they're on. If you save Scandal or This Is Us for a few years from now, you'll miss the conversations happening now. There are shows, though, that you can wait to see but that it would be a shame to miss forever.
No one needs me to urge watching The Wire, which, anecdotally, at least, has had a larger audience since it ended than it did when HBO first showed it. If you haven't already seen Breaking Bad, which became a ratings force only in its final year on AMC, you can see it when (or if) you're ready to find out what all the fuss was about.
And no one needs another list of the Best Shows on Television You're Not Watching. Because, although I may feel guilty about not keeping up with everything good on TV — it is, after all, my job — you shouldn't have to. So I won't bug you to watch anything on this list immediately; if you'll accept that, I'll get to the Netflix-distributed Peaky Blinders (recommended repeatedly by readers) when I get the time.
I may have a week free in mid-2019.
This is a list, instead, of shows for a rainy weekend, or a midweek sick day, or that time, a few months or years from now, when, by some miracle, there's nothing on. One series is wrapping up its run this month, but most have ended, or have had the opportunity to tell their stories completely enough so you won't be left hanging: