Jan 262015

The best of 2014 TV

Television keeps getting better and better. Thanks in big part to more people watching off-network TV, Netflix, and Amazon, we see companies pouring more and more money to make TV just as good as the silver screen. Now I just finished watching everything I wanted to for 2014. Only being three weeks into the new year, I’d call that an accomplishment. I thought it might be fun to go through what I watched this year (or at least what I started keeping track of in early summer) with some mini reviews, and a top-5. Ready, set, go.

Orange is the New Black:
I was never really a champion of Season 1. I felt like the TNA was more interesting than some of the plot line. I found it card to care about the characters because a bit part of the show was its zany perspective. Season 2 changed nothing, and I feel like I cared even less. The battle between prison faction just seemed so silly. Old lady krew? Lol k. I know I will end up watching S3, but I still most likely will not be crazy about it.

Orphan Black:
For 2013 orphan black would have made a top 5 list. This year it gets bumped out because of a bit stronger competition, and a touch of simply not being as strong as the first season. Still a wonderful show with a badass premise and crazy good acting. Seriously when have you seen a girl play four roles on screen at the same time.

The Killing:
Thanks Netflix. The killing was more of a zombie than Walking Dead at this point. It was resurrected by AMC, resurrected by Netflix, those actors must be happy for the extra pay day. While I found season 1-3 of the killing to be insanely gripping, season 4 lost something special. Maybe it was the short timeframe. Maybe it was just a weaker script. I was happy that it happened, and I still enjoyed watching, but it just did not live up to its earlier incarnations. Also the ending was so painful. Probably an award for worst ending of the year is deserved.

I got to watch season 1 and season 2. Thanks in large part to reddit for exposing this show to me. I did not watch much BBC shows before this. It was like a uber stylized Terintino movie, but a crazy TV show. It did not take itself too seriously, but not in a goofy way. The gore was so much fun. Where really was Jessica Hyde? Utopia gets an honorable mention and just missed the top 5. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys something a little more gory.
USA network does this thing where they take a good show, especially for a network, and then keep it good long enough to keep your interest and know you’re hooked, then turn it to shit. I like to call it the “Burn Notice” effect. Looks more and more like suits is going the way of burn notice. Is Litt a heal? Is Litt a babyface? I don’t think anyone knows.

Yeah I still watch every episode. Yeah I’m still pissed that Grant Keri and Tori are not on the show anymore. Like what the fuck discovery.

America’s Got Talent:
I’m that much of a Howard Stern fan that I watch this cancerous mind numbing prime time talent show.

Ray Donovan:
I find Bridget to be so fucking annoying. If Ray had a cooler wife he could just live his life and make the money and everyone would be so much happier and so much less broken. She is more like Micky than Ray is at times. I think this season really proved that this show is not top tier, but definitely good enough to pass some time on a Sunday. Happy to see Daryl finally be a bit happy.

Somebody’s Gotta Do It:
AKA Dirty Jobs 2. I loved Dirty Jobs mostly because I loved Mike Rowe. After he did a reddit ama about his new show, I was more than excited to give it a download and dive into his new creation. Some episodes are considerably better than others. I think the Vegas one was my favorite which is unfortunate because it is also the first.

There was a time in my heart of hearts where I believed that Lillyhammer was the best original Netflix series. That time has gone and passed and I can no longer deny that House of Cards really is a stronger show. Steve Van Sandt has fallen off the game which made Season 1 so fun and enjoyable. It seems like I am watching the show for it’s cute factor now.

The Affair:
Golden globe for best drama my ass. I loved the duality of the story line being told from two perspectives. That was great. I loved the acting. I loved the set pieces. I hated the characters. Noah is a fucking idiot. Maybe I feel so strongly against cheating that this show was doomed for me from the start because of prior biases. Both of these two characters are so destructive it’s hard to get behind anyone. Cole was far and away my favorite character.

I got to watch the entire final season at Jury Duty this year. I really like the newsroom. Maybe I am just too far up Sorkin’s ass to see otherwise and my judgment is murky. From the beginning I love the premise and the social message it sends. Wills writing is so good. Olivia Munn really came into her character. I cared about the relationships. I am sad to see it go because I did enjoy it so much. Another honorable mention for missing the Top 5.

Fuck year no more Brody! The show gets back to Clare which is what it has needed for a long time. I thought Season 4 saved the series for me. It was kinda unfortunate to see so many things go wrong with the US government in Iran. Makes the viewer feel useless and as if “can we just get anything right.” I hate the odd final episode with the focus on Mom and step back from the high tension. The time spent in Islamabad tho was stellar. Thank for bringing it back Homeland!

Black Mirror:
Much like Utopia I got to watch the entirety of Black, and White, Mirror this year. Shout out to the HelloInternet podcast for the recommendation. I never liked the twilight zone. This is like a very modern take on that concept. It’s great! Short stories. 7 episodes in all, completely disconnected. My personal favorite might have been white Christmas, or the dystopian future talent show.

Honorable Woman:
The reason why this is going up late is because I decided to add Honorable Woman to the list of shows to watch. From BBC by way of Sundance, I thought that it was a strong show. Had a Homeland feel to it with a bit more of a single-season enclosed story arc which I can appreciated. Why can’t the Jews and Iran just get along anyways? One of the better shows that someone can quickly go through if they are looking for something new and are a fan of political action drama. Only 8 episodes, all good.

Now that that’s done, let’s get to our top 5! Our? I mean my.

5. Olive Kittenridge:
I wasn’t sure if I should let a miniseries count, but fuck it. Probably the one article on this top five that people might question or be surprised about. I really enjoyed the story arc of Olive. I did not know if I wanted to love her, or hate her. One thing that is not up for debate tho was how shitty her life was. Everything around her got so distraught in old age that it makes me happy to still be young, because I never want to be Olive. Regardless I think it was a beautiful story with great acting and pretty scenes. Watching it made me happy and it really took me out of the world.

4. Transparent:
I hate that I liked Tranparent before it was cool. Tambor played such an interesting character. While I felt as if it drug on a little too long and there were times I was disengaged, the story and my love for amazon kept me sucked in. Now this is a show that I don’t even think HBO would want to touch because even today it seems a little racy. Thanks Amazon. Oh it also took me entirely too long to realize the title’s meaning. GG wordplay.

3. Rectify:
I fucking love Amantha. While the whole cast of characters in Rectify’s second season of this drama do a great job unfolding themselves and really revealing so much inter turmoil and masterful storytelling, I just can’t get over how much I have the hots for Amantha. I root for her to win so hard in this series that it drives me nuts to see Daniel be so broken as a result of his incarcerated upbringing. Rectify is a show that I will keep pointing people to for something offbeat that is remarkably done. There is so much complexity. If only the season didn’t end with a weird cliffhanger.

2. The Legend of Korra:
Korra would have made this list even if the season 4 broadcast was pushed to 2015 like anticipated when season 3 ended. But with Nick wanting to push the series to an online format they just shot the last season out of the cannon months after three wrapped. I was both excited, but fearing the end of one of my favorite franchises. I don’t know to call it a cartoon or an anime because I guess I piss someone off on either side. It’s just a damn good piece of work in a universe that I have grown to love since I was 12. It was one of the first shows that I remember being involved with story arcs and caring about what happened week to week. A story unfolded, and in the Korra universe I love that the characters grew up with the audience. I will have this huge avatar gap in my life now. The racy way to end the series just caps it all off as so beautiful.

1. Fargo:
This shouldn’t come to a shock to any of you who I have talked to about TV in 2014. I loved Fargo. I loved the action and the brutality. I loved the snow. I loved Lorne Malvo so much that I had a dream about having tea with him. Quite possibly my favorite villain ever, right up there with Trinity. Everything here was on point. I don’t even want to care to spoil anything for those poor souls who still yet to watch it. It seems like most critics agree that this was the best thing on TV in 2014, which makes me sad (not because I agree) but because there is only going to be a single season like this year’s Fargo. At least we got something glorious that did not have enough time to go sour.

Whew, that is a lot of TV. I would recommend any of these shows to almost everyone who has not seem them. Priority to Fargo as the one who I think the most people will like. I am excited to start writing more about TV in 2015. Thanks for reading!

Oh what the hell, how about a little bonus. This is what I am watching in the Winter 2015 season: Modern Family, Archer, Banshee, Bobs Burgers, Episodes, Shameless, Girls, Togetherness, Suits, Better call Saul, and House of Cards. Shout out to banshee for being fucking great through the first three episode. Currently starting its third season, I recommend you check it out, especially if you like action!