What comes after “The Good Fight”? — Douglas
What indeed! One of the things that makes “The Good Fight” so singular is its sense of imagination and ambition, a willingness to take big swings; there just aren’t that many shows that are going for it in the same way.
I’m going to assume you started with “The Good Wife,” from which “The Good Fight” was spun off, but I encourage you to watch it again. Bingeing “Good Wife,” which I had previously watched week-to-week, highlighted how subtle and specific the show is — all these small changes and tiny shifts that I only noticed up close, like how Will and Diane prioritize or don’t prioritize the other’s approval via quick glances in a meeting.
For another lawyer show that strikes that classy-but-horny balance, try “The Split,” a British drama about a family of divorce lawyers who go through breakups and shake-ups themselves. The show is serious and meaty, with maybe less flair than “The Good Fight” but a little more intimacy. (Season 1 is streaming on Hulu.)
If you want something equally polished and simmering with rage, but less about the law and more about business, watch “Succession.” (It’s streaming on HBO.) Brian Cox stars as the patriarch of a media empire, and his adult children are smart and vicious and hungrily unloved. Characters on “The Good Fight” and “Succession” are obsessed with reputation, though that obsession leads them down different paths, and they understand their legacies in different ways — is work your family, or is your family work?
In a different vein, there’s “Goliath,” starring Billy Bob Thornton as a craggy genius lawyer. The show loves seediness and revels in the dirtbag aspects of California, but it has robust legal maneuvers and terrifically vivid characters, though I’ll warn you that it loses some potency as the seasons go on. “The Good Fight” and “Goliath” have a similar stylish confidence, the swagger of grown-up shows for grown-up people.
A friend and I (she’s in Seattle; I’m in Los Angeles) have had a weekly Netflix viewing party going for about two months now where we chat online while watching something. We tend to gravitate toward darker true crime/cult documentary material (“Wild Wild Country,” “The Staircase,” “Filthy Rich,” “Holy Hell,” “Fyre”) as the commentary flows pretty naturally with those. In a deviation from our usual genre, we just started “The Last Dance.” Any suggestions on series or documentaries that would make for a good viewing party? — Amani
If you’re part of an ESPN+ household, watch “O.J.: Made in America,” which is among the best TV documentaries of all time — fascinating and deep, true crime but not lurid. You can also find tremendous joy and options from the “30 for 30” library, which are all sports documentaries and are all at least decent; some are truly excellent. In terms of chitchat potential, start with “9.79*,” which is about the men’s 100-meter finals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Prepare to use the OMG eyes emoji a lot as you learn about steroid use and the various open secrets of the era.
For something with more of the cult-y “wow, everyone sure is tolerating a lot of bad behavior from the leader of this organization, who is also exerting tremendous control over everyone’s lives, and at some point will everyone realize the purported benefits of participating in this group are small compared to the day-in-day-out emotional and physical distress of enduring it?” vibe, watch the first two seasons of the junior college football documentary series “Last Chance U.” (The other three seasons are great, too, but have a different energy. They’re all on Netflix.)
If you want more stories of people buying into a collective delusion, watch “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” (streaming on HBO and HBO Max), about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos. Come for the juicy, terrible behavior, stay for the animation that reminds you, “Oh yeah, that invention would also leave you with a big old box of blood in your house.”
After depleting most of what appeals to me from American-produced content … I fled to Australia (virtually, of course). I absolutely loved “Offspring.” I also devoured “Rosehaven,” basically a slow show about a small hamlet populated by quirky characters. Getting to know them through the seasons was as satisfying as picking leaves off an artichoke to get to the heart. Alas, now I am adrift in an empty sea. Anything to match these? — Michelle
I also adore “Rosehaven” (on Sundance), and it reminds me a lot of “Please Like Me,” a similarly darling, small-scale series, this one about a young gay man trying to start his adult life. (It’s streaming on Hulu.)
If you like plucky Australian heroines, watch “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” (on Acorn), a detective show set in Melbourne in the 1920s. The costumes alone are reason to watch, and for light procedurals and endearing romance, this is tough to beat. But if you prefer your procedurals set in the present day, watch “My Life Is Murder,” starring Lucy Lawless. (That’s on Acorn.) It reminds me of “Psych” sort of, and has that kind of affection for its characters.
For something more grounded, try “Tangle,” a domestic suburban drama from 2009. (Season 1 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video). If you like shows where backyard barbecues go awry, and couples gripe to each other for a good long time before bed, watch this.
Series’ availability on streaming platforms is subject to change, and varies by country. Send in your questions to [email protected] Questions are edited for length and clarity.