It’s almost Halloween and you may find yourself in need of a frighteningly splendid television series to watch. You will want something that will fit with the season—where otherworldy creatures loom, where black and white mixes to gray and where you love the characters so much, it’s scary. In your countdown to Halloween, today is your lucky day, because I have some treats for you!
1. Angel (1999-2004)
A Joss Whedon show that doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves, Angel (starring David Boreanaz) is a spinoff of the cult-classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer—but in all honesty, is a better fashioned drama than its predecessor. In many aspects, Angel is the story of redemption. A centuries-old ruthless vampire cursed with a soul now chooses to fight for humanity because, really, he just wants to be human himself; a woman who has only ever thought of herself struggles to act more selfless; a man who thought he could never amount to much seeks a chance at heroism. This series portrays a crew of flawed and tragic characters all trying to find their place in the world, and all doing their best to right their wrongs. Witty dialogue and fantastical yet heartfelt storylines are what make Angel an outstanding show worthy of watching.
(Angel: The Complete Series can be viewed on Streaming Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video)
2. Dead Like Me (2003-2004)
Created by Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies), Dead Like Me is a quirky drama revolving around Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth). As George walks outside for a break during work hours, she is suddenly struck and killed by a toilet seat that had fallen from a space station. In the afterlife, George is thrust into a surreal existence as a grim reaper. Her handler Rube (Mandy Patinkin), and a small misfit group of other reapers meet every morning at a local diner and divvy out their reaping assignments. To humanity, George and her new friends look like people—though not how they appeared before their untimely deaths. Though this dark comedy focuses on a classic icon you might see trick-or-treating on Halloween, it is refreshingly human, molded together with sincere questions on life, death and everything that might come in between.
(Dead Like Me can be viewed on Amazon Prime Instant Video)
3. Being Human U.K. (2008-2013)
A vampire, a ghost and a werewolf all wish to be human. So, what do they do? They rent a flat together and do their best to blend into the neighborhood. No, this is not the beginning of a bad joke. This is the premise of Toby Whithouse’s Being Human—and I promise, it works! Starring Aidan Turner (Mitchell the vampire), Lenora Crichlow (Annie the ghost) and Russell Tovey (George the werewolf), this is a dark, well-scripted British drama that can be humorous, violent, disheartening, brutally honest and beautiful. Being Human is the type of show where as a viewer, you become so invested in and connected to the characters that even in their most desperate hours, it’s hard not to root for them. The characters grow and they make mistakes, but you’ll love them all the same.
(Being Human U.K.’s first four (out of five) seasons can be viewed on Streaming Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video)
Three great choices, Max, especially “Being Human” (U.K.). My wife and I really enjoyed that one. We sort of felt like it ended at the end of year 3, though… We haven’t yet seen the last season or so. Those first three seasons told such a good story, and it seemed to end pretty definitively; the idea of a partially new (and then, I gather, totally new) cast just hasn’t appealed to us.
I enjoyed Angel, too, and made it as far as their trip to the demon dimension, when Cordelia was kidnapped… but, midway through one episode in that arc, my wife (pregnant with our first at the time) and I had to make an emergency trip to the hospital (all was ultimately well), and I lost track of the series and never picked it back up. So strong memories of seeing Cordelia in her “sexy demon queen” get-up on that throne (what a hoot), but no knowledge of what comes after! I really should go back some day.
Thanks for a great Trick or Treat article!
Thanks, Michael! I’m so glad you and your wife like Being Human. Sarah and I are always trying to get people to check it out. I know exactly what you mean about the fourth season, and while we haven’t seen the fifth and final season yet, from the reviews I’ve read it seems like it might be one of the best of the series.
You definitely should catch up on Angel. It’s worth it. Sarah was saying she’s almost jealous that you still have three seasons to watch from a fresh perspective. So true.