Mama Joy's Top 10 TV Series Recommendations
Updated: May 25
10) The Slap (Hulu) - 1 Season, 8 Episodes
This American drama television mini-series which is an adaptation of the Australian series The Slap, which was based on Christos Tsiolkas' 2008 novel The Slap. It revolves around the aftermath of a birthday party for a middle-aged city employee where Harry Apostolou (played by, Zachary Quinto) slaps someone else's misbehaving child, Hugo, after he kicks him in the leg. Hugo's mother, Rosie (played by Melissa George), insists on criminal charges, claiming that Harry's slap has caused Hugo PTSD. Though Rosie's diagnosis is later undermined when Hugo mentions how much he misses seeing Harry, the case slowly makes its way to court. Each episode tells the story from the perspective of a different character.
The cast also includes: Thandie Newton, Uma Thurman, Penn Badgley, Blythe Danner and Victor Garber.
9) Seinfeld (Hulu) - 9 Seasons
This show is MY JAM. Anytime it is on tv, I stop whatever I'm doing and watch, no matter how many times I've seen the episode. No matter, what mood I am in, it instantly makes me happy. Seinfeld is an American sitcom television series created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. It aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998, over nine seasons and 180 episodes. The show stars Seinfeld as a fictionalized version of himself who is the main protagonist and focuses on his personal life with three of his friends – George Costanza (Jason Alexander), former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). Seinfeld is set mostly in an apartment building in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City. It has been described as "a show about nothing," often focusing on the minutiae of daily life.
8) Parenthood (Hulu) - 6 Seasons
Loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name,The series is set in Berkeley, California on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay. The show revolves around three generations of the Braverman family: the patriarch Ezekiel "Zeek" Braverman, the matriarch Camille Braverman, and the families of their four children Adam, Sarah, Crosby, and Julia. Adam is married to Kristina and they have two children, teenage Haddie and eight-year-old Max. Max is diagnosed with Asperger's. Sarah is divorced from Seth, and has two teen children, Amber and Drew. Crosby has a son, Jabbar, with ex-girlfriend Jasmine. Julia is married to Joel and has a daughter,
Sydney, and a son, Victor, whom they adopted
after finding themselves unable to conceive a
7) Being Mary Jane (Hulu) - 4 Seasons
BET's first hourlong scripted drama is a follow-up to the same-titled TV movie that premiered on the network in the summer of 2013. The series returns Gabrielle Union to the lead role of Mary Jane Paul, a successful cable news anchor who has a closet, packed with designer clothes and shoes, a beautiful home, a nice car, and the drive to achieve even greater heights. Yet something is missing. As Mary Jane looks to start a family of her own to share life's greatest gifts, she discovers who she really is and the people who help define her.
6) Better Things (Hulu) - 4 Seasons
`Better Things' is the story of Sam Fox (actress, Pamela Adlon who played spitfire Marcy Runkle on Californication), a single mother and working actor with no filter trying to raise her three daughters -- Max, Frankie, and Duke -- in Los Angeles. She also looks out for her mother, Phil, an English ex-patriate with questionable faculties who lives across the street. Whether she's struggling to keep her daughters close or trying to push one of them out of the nest, Sam approaches every challenge with fierce love, raw honesty, and humour. At the end of the day, Sam's just trying to earn a living, navigate her daughters' changing lives, survive her family, have fun with a friend or two, and also -- just maybe -- squeeze in some private time.
5) The Golden Girls (Hulu) - Binge watch all 7 Seasons (like we did during quarantine and it kept us laughing our asses off!)
Four mature women live together in Miami and experience the joys and angst of their golden years. Strong-willed Dorothy, spacey Rose, lusty Southern belle Blanche and matriarch Sophia, Dorothy's mom, occasionally clash but are there for one another in the end. After all, when the show's theme song is titled `Thank You for Being a Friend', the ladies have to remain friendly with one another.
4) Killing Eve (Hulu) - Binge watch all 3 Seasons! Writer + Creator: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Eve's life as a spy is not adding up to what she had hoped it would be when she started. She is a bored, very smart, MI5 security officer who is very desk-bound. Villanelle is a very talented killer, mercurial in mood, who clings to the luxuries of her job. Eve and Villanelle go head to head in a fierce game of cat and mouse, each woman equally obsessed with the other as Eve is tasked with hunting down the psychopathic assassin. Sarah Barnett, BBCA president, says,
" `Killing Eve' stands out in a sea of scripted stories as refreshingly entertaining and great fun."
3) Magic For Humans (Netflix)
Magician Justin Willman blends good-natured magic with grown-up laughs in this series that sends him out on the streets and into locations like schools to baffle unsuspecting people. He aims to wow the marks as he performs the tricks and illusions in front of them, with no camera tricks to assist him. Along the way, Willman squares off against a robot in a magic battle and delivers a surprise proposal to a woman who married herself.
2) Up To Speed with Speed Levitch (Documentaries / TV Series on Hulu) - 6 Episodes
Up to Speed is a historical six-episode travel web series starring Timothy "Speed" Levitch and directed by Richard Linklater airing on Hulu. It is hosted by the quirky New York tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch who takes viewers on a "magical history tour" in order to “hang out and empathize with the inner psyches of famous landmarks and visit with the monumentally ignored monuments.” Each episode seeks to highlight places, people, things, and monuments that are usually overlooked by the average tourist in lieu of the more known sites.
Visiting San Francisco, Kansas, Missouri, New York City, Chicago, and Monticello/University of Virginia Levitch narrates the history of each object and includes a broader history of the time so viewers can understand its importance. Besides highlighting little known monuments, the other aspect that makes Up to Speed different is that Levitch converses with each monument, asking them questions about their role in history and their feelings about current developments. Each of these items speaks back to Levitch with a unique and often equally quirky personality, some even going so far to yell profanities at him.
Each episode is written by Levitch and is infused with his unique poetic language and philosophies such as:
"Status quo only begets more status quo unless we as a species attack it by way of appreciating the beauty in the unexpected" and "Instead of asking why, ask why the fuck not?”
Levitch ends each episode performing with a band and freestyle singing about the monuments highlighted in that episode. These factors have made it a fan favorite on Hulu earning it a four star viewer rating and many positive reviews.
1) For Life (Hulu) - Binge watch Season 1 (13 episodes) and Season 2 (10 episodes).
Inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., "For Life" is a fictional serialized legal and family drama about an imprisoned man, Aaron Wallace, who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn't commit. His quest for freedom is driven by his desperate desire to get back to the family he loves and reclaim the life that was stolen from him. Aaron's complicated relationship with a progressive female prison warden helps shine a light on the flaws and challenges in the U.S. penal and legal systems.