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The new TV

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Tuning in to a wide range of compelling shows has never been more flexible. (Illustration:

It seems like the world is talking about fabulous TV shows – shows I have never seen and, until now, had no idea how to watch. These new shows – critically acclaimed and smart in a way that the sitcoms many of us grew up on never were – are born not on one of four networks, but on HBO, Showtime, FX. You don’t just sit down at 8 on a Sunday to watch them. Although if you’re enthralled enough by a series and dedicated enough to keeping up with the seasons, you certainly can.

Adam Josef, who owns Crossroads Construction, knows what’s on TV. But, he says, “None of the shows I watch are current.

“The way it all started was my needing something to do on long flights,” Adam says. So he looked into downloading TV shows to his iPad, and now he’s hooked. “On a four-hour flight to Boston you can mow through a bunch of episodes,” he says.

“I search on iTunes, and then I buy all the episodes. You can do it by the season for $24.99. You type in your [iTunes] password. It takes forever, several hours or overnight, to download all the episodes.”

Among Adam’s favorite shows is the BBC show Peaky Blinders, available through Netflix. “It’s about a gang that’s in Birmingham, England, right after World War I.” When asked what’s great about this show, Adam says, “The question is not what is great about it; it is what isn’t great about it.” A fourth season of Peaky Blinders will likely hit Netflix late this fall.

Other favorites Adam suggests: “Justified is a great show about a U.S. marshal in Kentucky and his day-to-day dealings with the local villain, who happened to be his buddy growing up. One became an outlaw criminal and the other a marshal.

Californication is another great show,” Adam says. “Ellyn [his wife] got me into that. It’s sort of NC-17.” Showtime calls it a “wild, witty and sexy ride in the California fast lane.”

While Adam admits to “binge-watching” most shows (“which leads to lack of sleep”), the one current show he tunes into at regular times is Showtime’s Ray Donovan. “Ray Donovan is a ‘fixer’ in Hollywood, so the show goes back and forth between his job of fixing the problems of athletes and high-profile stars, like someone who’s gotten caught having an affair or doing drugs, intertwined with his personal life, which is a train wreck.” Season 4 was released this summer.

Adam’s had some help finding shows he loves. Kevin Frankel, who owns Frankel Building Group, says, “I am Adam’s TV guru. I turned Adam on to Deadwood and Boardwalk Empire.

Deadwood was probably my favorite show ever. It had everything I really like. It was dark and a really slow burn.” Which is the main reason Kevin likes non-network shows. “They don’t feel the need to do what a lot of these network TV shows do, where they pack a lot into a small package. They can let characters develop over a whole season. That’s because they sign the season in advance.”

Kevin says he mostly downloads TV shows and watches them on his iPhone. “My wife will go to sleep, and I’ll watch a little before bed. I know that’s not supposed to be great for your sleep patterns.

“As much as I love these shows, I try to keep it under control. I wait until the kids go to bed, try to not excessively watch and set a good example.”

To start, Kevin suggests looking at Netflix “because it has such a huge variety of shows,” he says. “They keep adding more and more, from other networks. Like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. It’s like $9 or $10 a month. They’ll tell you, ‘If you like this, then you’ll like this.’

“For better or worse, it spirals on itself.”

Watching TV today

Streaming – accessing a show on your computer without storing it.
Downloading – saving the show to your computer to watch it later.
On Demand – using a cable TV service to watch what you want, when you want.
Digital (DVR) recording – pressing “record” on your cable remote, or scheduling in advance, to record and watch a show later.

Where to start: (check out the hilarious political satire Veep, nominated for 17 Emmy Awards in 2016, and The Night Of, a critically acclaimed, “slow-burn” legal drama) (watch Ray Donovan, Californication, and – one not to miss this fall documenting the current election – The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth)

Editor’s note: To share your favorite TV shows with other readers, leave a comment under this story email

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