The Period Piece: Deadwood
Approximate running time: 32 hours

Yes, this gritty late 19th-century drama includes gamblin' and gunfightin'. But its sweet spot is fiercely drawn feminist characters (two words: Calamity Jane) who always speak their mind.

The Southern Comfort: Friday Night Lights
Approximate running time: 57 hours

Come for the graceful ode to small-town Texas life; stay for the nonpatronizing portrayal of teenage drama and the enviable love between Coach and Mrs. Coach.

The Family Favorite: Parenthood
Approximate running time: 77 hours

This bighearted family saga stars the Bravermans, a Californian clan who aren't afraid to feel their feelings and tackle prickly subjects (Asperger's, infidelity, abortion) with searing emotional honesty. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to call your mom.


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