“Breaking Bad” is officially over (that is, unless the musical I’m writing about it takes off). If you’re like me, there’s now a gaping hole in your Sunday night schedule. Thankfully, that night of TV has a plethora of shows to tide you over until “Mad Men” comes back. Here are my recommendations:
-Beaten-down father? Check. Sweet, but sometimes Lady Macbeth-esque wife? Check. Kids who really enjoy breakfast? Check. Cooking? Check. Kleptomania? Check. Guys, “Bob’s Burgers” is practically a carbon copy of “Breaking Bad” and is therefore a natural successor to its throne. In all seriousness, “Bob’s Burgers” is one of the funniest shows on TV right now with certainly one of the best voice actors ever. Just hearing Kristen Schaal scream as Louise for a half an hour is well worth the time watching the show, not to mention the talents of H. Jon Benjamin (“Archer”), Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz, and John Roberts (who often improvises his character Linda’s songs on the spot, like her infamous “Thanksgiving Song”). It’s really funny, well written, and so much better than the last few seasons of the dried husk that’s still calling itself “the Simpsons”.
-"Homeland," "Homeland," "Homeland.” Say what you want about season two, I think it’s still one of the best shows on TV, with Claire Danes’s cry face cemented in TV history. There are so many twists and turns you barely have time to triple-gasp before you triple-gasp again. Even though Damian Lewis looks unsettlingly like a parrot (I can’t be the only one who thinks this), it’s well worth watching. Plus, Mandy freaking Patinkin and his beard of beards. I can’t wait until HBO orders a show that’s just Patinkin and Patti LuPone running around solving crimes and belting their faces off whilst doing it—“CSI: Buenos Aires.”
-“The Walking Dead” has always been perplexing to me. I watched the first season of the show and enjoyed it, but always wondered how the premise of the show—a zombie apocalypse—could sustain drama for multiple seasons. Now, four seasons later, I think the writers were probably thinking the same thing. Rick Grimes is a vacuum of charisma at the center of an unyieldingly grim show, and his son is hands down the worst child character on TV (minus the “Modern Family” children, of course). Check it out to see how the writers challenge themselves to come up with more implausible storylines.
-“Revenge”. I love this terrible, awful show so much I can’t even deal with it. I have this strange obsession with TV shows with vague, sinister titles (“Betrayal,” “Scandal,” etc.) and “Revenge” ups the ante by having each episode titled in a similarly ridiculous manner (some personal favorites include "Duress," "Penance," "Lineage," and of course "Masquerade"). The first season was actually quite strong, with Madeleine Stowe giving an icy and occasionally hilarious performance as Victoria Grayson. The second season, however, threw whatever plausibility there was out the window and just became an utter mess that I couldn’t. Stop. Watching. Mike Kelley, the creator and former showrunner, was replaced, and the result was a season three premiere that basically undid the entire previous season in 30 seconds. Hopefully they’ll soon be getting back to their old ways.
-Watch “Masters of Sex”! (It’s not what you’re thinking.) It’s my favorite new show of the season, with two incredibly strong performances from Michael Sheen (Wesley Snipes himself) and Lizzy Caplan, (Janis Ian of “Mean Girls” fame, not to mention an all-around awesome actress from the cancelled “Party Down” and brilliant, unappreciated movies like “Bachelorette”). It’s incredibly well written, and the production design is superb—look out, “Mad Men.” The only catch is that the show can only be seen on Showtime.
“Breaking Bad” may have taken a trip to Belize, but some solid TV options remain for your Sunday nights. You could use that time to do homework or for intellectual betterment of some sort—but trust me, these shows are better.