Coaching You Through the 7 Most Compelling New & Returning TV Shows by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Stranger Things, Bosch: Legacy, The Boys, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Love on the Spectrum, and more to Make Your Summer Better.
Through bleary eyes and with Dorito-stained fingers I type these words of, if not timeless wisdom, the pursuit of enduring entertainment. I’ve curated seven TV shows that include a variety of genres from mystery to sci-fi to docu-reality, and all are addicting and vastly enjoyable.
How do I choose? I think back on the scene in John Irving’s novel The World According to Garp in which we discover that a well-respected book publisher decides which books to publish by giving them to his cleaning lady to read. To her, a book is good when she wants to find out what happens next. That’s my criteria here. Some shows are better than others, maybe more literary, or better produced. But all kept me eager to find out what happens next.
“Troppo” is a term used by the locals of Far North Queensland, Australia to refer to someone who’s gone “tropical” and lost their minds. So, when a local man strips off his clothes and deliberately swims out among some feeding crocodiles, they dismiss him as having gone troppo. But that’s not good enough for Amanda Pharrell (Nicole Chamoun), ex-con/tattoo artist/private detective, who is loathed by the locals for a murder she was convicted of when she was a teenager. She teams up with a suicidal ex-cop (Thomas Jane), wrongfully accused of a crime, to find a missing tech genius who some say also went troppo.
One of the things I love about Australian mystery shows (like Mystery Road and The Tourist) is how much they weave setting into the story, not just for atmosphere, but as a thematic factor—the same way John Ford used the brutal American West setting to show how it shaped the people living there. The croc-infested water becomes a metaphor for the townspeople themselves and their many secrets and hidden crimes.
The real treat is the teaming of these two horribly broken characters trying to save a community that destroyed both of them—and in doing so, save themselves. Great characters and strong mystery. I couldn’t wait for each new episode. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait—they’re available now. Film noir at its best.