I've never had the pay TV channels. Not because I can't afford them or don't think they're worth it. I'm just not willing to commit to spending the money.
One of my theories, recently, is that everything is on the Internet, if you just look. So I looked for the pay channel drama series. Sure enough, most of them are there. I've been watching them.
Some of them are good, some not so much. They're different from commercial TV or the movies. The production values aren't as slick as they could be with a little more money. I don't think they spend a lot on the actors. That's not a problem.
I liked Rome and Deadwood, they're epic. Weeds is a comic family soap opera that manages to go one step further than any before it. Dexter and Nurse Jackie take very dark main characters, examine their lives and make you care about them. The worst are those that mimic in most ways, things you can already see on the networks, Arliss, Sex in the City, True Blood, Hung and the Sopranos, for example and they should be ranked with the very best that is available there.
My favorite, so far, is Californication. Very artsy and hip. They use a lot of Warren Zevon music. You can hardly go wrong doing that. It makes me laugh sometimes and sometimes makes me sad. It never makes me cringe and that's good. I do enough cringing when I think about my own life. I don't need to go elsewhere for more. It's supposed to be about a guy who's a sex addict but it's not. It's about trying to make real, lasting emotional connections with other people and failing. I'm not very sure that we can make real emotional contact with others that is much more than transitory and the attempts we make often have seriously negative repercussions. It's important that we keep trying though, because that's what makes us human and being human is all we can hope for. That's what this show is about. You should watch it if you get the chance. It's on the Internet for free. Manywhere.