The end of the TV season has arrived. Are you wondering how to fill the time until the next season begins again? Do you have that sense of disorientation that we experience when our connection to our characters' lives is broken by the artificial cruelty of network programming?
What to do? How to fill the empty hours while we stress about how the drama will be resolved in the next season?
Luckily, our summers are long and unpredictable enough (weather-wise) to allow us to focus our loyalties on other diversions. Such as - watching full seasons of previously screened TV series that we might have somehow missed.
Here are a few ideas to replenish that delicious absorption you crave, without the dreaded months-long wait to find out what really happens and with all the reassurance of being able to watch to the (sometimes) bitter end.
For Downton Abbey lovers, who are enthralled by the period drama and the interpersonal conflict - have you watched The Forsyte Saga and its sequel The Forsyte Saga, Series Two? Interestingly enough, this series, based on the books by John Galsworthy, was made twice. Initially in 1967, then again in 2003 with the impressive Gina McKee. Did anyone mention dysfunctional families?
Then, of course, there is The Wire for those who suffer from a tension deficit disorder. Check all seasons out at your local branch, but beware - this is a very addictive series.
On the much lighter side, sweetie dahling, if you enjoyed Absolutely Fabulous, try French and Saunders, a great comedy series. Or even Chef! in which Gareth Blackstock could probably rival Gordon Ramsay's temper tantrums.
Was Bones your favourite? Try your luck with Waking the Dead. Cold cases are taken on by a mixed bag of forensic scientists, psychologists and investigative detectives. This series looks more gritty than Bones, with plenty of interpersonal drama to liven things up...
And now for TV shows that, for me, have no comparable alternative. A very intense Michael Kitchen plays the lead in Foyles War. He's a reluctant detective, coerced to stay home and solve local crimes rather than go to fight for England in World War II. The series moves chronologically through the war years and has a marvellously authentic feel to it.
The Singing Detective stars the multi-talented Michael Gambon. Don't let the fact that this series was originally made in 1986 put you off. It is a brilliant depiction of an author, Dennis Potter, bedridden, who hallucinates his own detective stories.
And finally, an oldie but goldie - enjoy the medieval haunts of Brother Cadfael with the incredible Derek Jacobi in the starring role. Poison, back-stabbing, betrayals - who could ask for more?