Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 In Review - Television

That's right!  It's that time of year again.  Let's get right to the best/worst/etc of the year in television.  Keep in mind, this is just my favorites and I know everyone has different tastes.

If I learned anything from 80s TV, it's that there are Diff'rent Strokes for Diff'rent Folks. 

BEST OF THE BEST

Good Wife:  Look, I've been touting this show since it first premiered and I know some of you look down on my because I keep bringing this up, but give this a chance.  And, if you don't want to listen to me, then read Mark Harris' breakdown on Grantland.  He expresses it much better than I ever could.  Just know that as much as I've enjoyed the show, this season has surpassed everything that came before.

Breaking Bad:  Hold on, now.  I haven't even seen the final season.  I just completed season two on Netflix, and, regardless of how this ends, this may already be one of my favorite series of all time.  Don't spoil anything for me.  I'm hoping to catch up by the end of the holidays.  Did I write this last year?

Top of the Lake:  An Australian, six (or seven) episode series from Jane Campion (The Piano) about a young girl who discovers she's pregnant and attempts to kill herself.  The characters are so believable and realistic that you feel like your eavesdropping on private conversations (the one reflecting back on an incident that happened after a prom is particularly disturbing).

Brooklyn Nine Nine:  The best new show of the season, I might add (although, frankly, I haven't seen too many).  One of the few comedies I can sit through with my kids, too.  My eight year old LOVES this show and will now watch anything with Andy Samburg in it.  Um...that isn't much.

Veep:  I enjoyed season one tremendously, but this season catapulted into an entirely new stratosphere.  Awkward, intelligent, deeply cynical, and fucking hilarious.  Not one comedy have I laughed harder at than this one. 

Family Tree:  A warm hearted, funny, quick witted series about one man's quest to find out the true history behind his family.  Chris O'Dowd (who is quickly becoming one of my favorites) improvises his way through a dysfunctional group of friends and family and - possibly - finds love in the meantime.  If you enjoyed any of Christopher Guest's movies (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, etc) you'll enjoy this one.  Hell, even if you don't, give this a shot.

Game of Thrones:  Owner of the most shocking episode in television history (Red Wedding) and still the most complex, sexy and violent shows ever created.  Good times!

Modern Family:  It's here because the writing and acting are so superior to anything going on right now, but it's not nearly as funny as it used to be.  It's no longer must watch on Wednesday nights.  That's quite a drop off for a show of this quality.


GUILTY PLEASURES

The Walking Dead:  Religiously watch this show as usual, but realize - like the biters - there isn't much brain activity going on behind the scenes.  This show nearly lost me when an antibiotic miraculously cured an outbreak of a virus in the prison.  It's a fucking virus.  Antibiotics don't cure viruses.  Ask any parent who has had to suffer through a viral infection with their kids.  Glad the prison is now behind them, although I may miss the Governor despite my best intentions. 

Agents of SHIELD:  I expected it to be better, but it's still a diverting, humorous, entertaining way to spend an hour. 



WORST OF THE WORST

Dads:  This comes on just before 'Brooklyn Nine Nine' and I wind up catching a bit of it accidentally from time to time.  How does shit like this get on television?  Even if it were an experiment on what would be socially acceptable or political incorrectness (like 'Married With Children' back in the day), you need to at least be funny.  As long as you make me laugh I can forgive racism, crudeness and stupidity.  This does everything but.

Real Housewives...  Any of these stupid shows can make the list.  My wife will sit and watch episode after episode.  I can't stand 15 minutes with these people.  They are people, right?  Not parodies of themselves?  I'm still not sure.

The Million Second Quiz:  Yeah, I know this was just a standard quiz show, but the 'impromptu' visits to the houses of the next contestants strained my beliefs so much they're still rehabbing.  How did nobody see an entire camera crew on their front lawns?  Why did everyone have an entire house full of people?  Every single time?  All behind the contestant smiling like idiots?  Why did the producers feel as though forcing every day people to act surprised on national television was a good idea?  You're fired.  All of you.  NO MORE SOUP FOR YOU!!


OUT OF THE ROTATION

Boardwalk Empire:  I just don't have the time to deal with a bunch of sociopathic, homicidal maniacs on a weekly basis.  Well, I do...but they need to be way more interesting and less mopey than this crew. 

Revenge:  Proving that it's possible for a show to jump the shark after 6 episodes.

Sleepy Hollow:  It grabbed me for a few episodes, but I quickly lost interest when the humor disappeared.


I'll get to the stellar year in music after the Christmas.  Enjoy your gifts!

2 comments:

RLB said...

thanks for the top of the lake tip. blew through 6 episodes in one day and it's quality programming. reminds me of the killing, but better.

BeachBum said...

Glad you're enjoying it. Might want to check out The Fall, as well. With Gillian Anderson and Belfast dept tracking a serial killer.