Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Perfect TV Programme According to Your Reading Taste

Groucho Marx once said that he found television very educating. For “every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” Well said, Groucho Marx, well said!

However, even literature fanatics sometimes find escape in tv, and I am no exception. After all it is truth universally acknowledged that for every reality show of questionable quality, there is a great tv drama, that is going to enrich your mind as opposite to burning your brain. Furthermore, in my binge-watching experience, I have found that there are a few tv programmes that actually respond to some of my literature preferences. So, here I have come up with a list of some quality entertainment that fellow book readers could easily enjoy. With other words, for (almost) every literature taste there is a corresponding tv show.

*By the way, this is obviously not the type of list that goes “if you enjoyed reading A Song of Ice and Fire, you should watch Game of Thrones” – if you haven’t figured something that obvious out, I cannot help you. But keep reading, there might still be a recommendation for you.

If you like reading: Agatha Christie
You are into: crime novels dressed up in period clothing
You should watch: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries


Obviously I wholeheartedly belong to this category. I am famously familiar with Agatha Christie’s novels and they are my definite go-to read, no matter my mood, come snow and rain, I will be next to the fireplace and reading Christie. Which is why, when I stumbled upon Miss Fisher, I knew this was my tv-match-made-in-heaven. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is an Australian series set in the 1920s, following the many adventures of private detective Phryne Fisher. Not only do you get a new murder mystery in every episode, but also all the best of the twenties – Miss Fisher’s stylish bob, the perfection that was the jazz age’s fashion, and quite a lot of flirting, too.

Basically, it looks like what Miss Marple would have been up to in her younger days – solving crimes, sipping on cocktails, and shamelessly flirting with a man or two per episode (ok, maybe Miss Marple was never this outgoing). Honestly, I cannot recommend this programme enough – even though it is a crime series, it does not take itself too seriously and there is plenty of humour in it. If you missed some sexual appeal in Poirot’s cases, there is plenty of it in Miss Fisher. At least check it out for Detective John Robinson – he is one yummy Aussie (did I just type that?), and thank me latter for introducing you to this charming man.

P.S. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is available on Netflix US.

If you like reading: The Stranger by Albert Camus, Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O' Hara, and/or The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
You are into: existentialism, Albert Camus, stylish cocktails with a dash of philosophy
You should watch: Mad Men


Now well into its seventh and final season, Mad Men is one of the best tv programmes to grace the screens in recent years, largely responsible for the Golden Age of television. How did it achieve that? Great story-telling, brilliant directing, and original characters. To top it off, it has one of the most charismatic leading men and antiheroes – Don Draper.

Set in the 1960s, this stylish drama follows an ad agency based on Madison Avenue. Don Draper is the head of the creative department – sexy, charming, and utterly brilliant in his job, he sells his ideas with an ease to anyone – from serious businessmen to less-than-serious, flirty women. All in all, Mad Men is full of colourful characters and their endless stories never bore. Plus, you get some of the best acting on tv – led by Jon Hamm at his absolute best.

Now, apart from the amazing fashion that you get to witness (and that is definitely going to inspire your weekly wear – office inspiration to the max!), by watching Mad Men you are quite probably going to get your philosophical fix as well. Don Draper is the one character that truly believes in the existential ideas, but by watching the show as a whole, you might be able to find even more than this. This is one of those dramas that are built on a lot of layers – everything is in the details.

What does Don Draper read?  From Meditations in an Emergency to Dante’s Inferno – you might get out of Mad Men with a whole new reading list.

If you like reading: F. Scott Fitzgerald and/or Edith Wharton
You are into: a bit of American charm and a European setting, dapper men and classy women
You should watch: Mr Selfridge


So, you have already finished watching Downton Abbey and you need your 20s fix? Mr Selfridge is the perfect programme for you if you are into this time period.

Shopping, scandal, great fashion – what is not to love? If you are based in the UK, you would already know about this famous department store, but wherever you are, you possibly are not familiar with the full story behind its opening?

When rich American Harry Gordon Selfridge arrived in London at the beginning of the twentieth century he had a dream – to change the shopping world the way Europeans knew it. And naturally, in 1909 he opened Selfridges – England’s first modern department store. Starting this kind of business was not easy, but this drama is not just about the business part of life. Mr Selfridge himself had quite a few stories up his sleeve – a notorious womanizer and a passionate gambler, it is his persona that is in the heart of the programme.

If you enjoyed getting lost in the roaring jazz world of Fitzgerald, chances are, you are going to love watching Mr Selfridge, too!

If you like reading: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and/or The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
You are into: political thrillers, antiheroes, clever dialogue and struggle for power
You should watch: House of Cards

Source: Netflix

An intelligent programme with brilliant dialogue and some of the best cast around? Here, Netflix wins big as House Of Cards is the quality tv drama that you never knew you wanted, but it turns out is exactly what you needed. Of course, that is if you are into politics, the complex world of international relations and the ambition for power that moves us forward.

Frank Underwood is the star of the game, marvellously played by Kevin Spacey. An ambitious American politician who would not be stopped before he gets to the top of the system, Frank is deviously intelligent, ruthless and sharp. What makes House of Cards utterly enjoyable (apart from the great plot and acting), is the storytelling – in a now signature tool of the programme, Kevin Spacey looks directly at the camera, telling us exactly what he is thinking/what his true intentions are, while he is usually saying something diametrically opposite to the people in the room. Double-faced much? You have no idea.

If political thrillers are your forte, and you love reading about brilliant antiheroes who fascinate you with their endless ambition – House of Cards is your one true love.  

So, what do you think: do you agree with those choices? Let me know, and I am happy to keep making those kind of lists in the future! x  


  1. Interesting. I have only watched House of Cards so I can't comment on the other shows. I am not into politics, but oddly enough I really enjoyed the series. Just finished watching the third season but felt the ending was a little lack luster. Anyway, great post!

  2. Hah yeah, I keep recommending House of Cards to anyone regardless of how they feel about politics :D It's just too much of a good drama to miss it! Thank you, glad you liked it! xx