Again, the various TV shows I’ve watched over the years, in alphabetical order, with brief reviews:

9021090210, both the original (Beverly Hills 90210) and the reboot, were never really going to win any awards; they were equally unrealistic depictions of the lives of rich kids growing up in Beverly Hills, and the drama was soap opera quality.

But the original series will always resonate with anyone born in the late 70’s/early 80’s, just like Friends will always resonate with people who were in their twenties during the 90’s. Bad wardrobes and cheesy storylines aside, we grew up with Brenda and Brandon, Kelly and Dylan and the rest of the gang, and even though its recent counterpart could never be as good as the original, it was definitely fun to watch.


2 broke girls2 Broke Girls is the type of sitcom I would theoretically love. It’s packed with fast dialogue, jokes and references, and hell, it features cupcakes, for god’s sake!

But the references are so infuriatingly current that a few months later that become terribly obscure, and it just looks like it tries way too hard. I get that comedy is all about exaggeration, but Kat Dennings’ grating voice just gets on my nerves, and so does Sophie’s cartoonish acting.

Also, waiting for the audience’s reaction before you can finish your line is annoying as hell.


animal-kingdomAnimal Kingdom just finished it first season, but it’s already becoming a favorite. Dark, twisted, fast paced and highly entertaining, it started out as a cross between Graceland and Point Break (surfers, heists, beach houses and all that good stuff) but soon became much more than the sum of its parts.

Ellen Barkin is brilliant in her role as matriarch ‘Smurf’ Cody, and the rest of the cast stand up to her star power with aplomb. Although the script takes certain liberties to move the plot along, it doesn’t really take away from the overall feel of the show, which is defintely interesting, and highly addictive.


arrested development

Arrested Development is probably the most brilliant comedy of the last decade. Canceled too soon, and very under-appreciated before its loyal fans elevated it to its cult status, it’s a show so different and unique, it definitely deserves a top spot on this list.

Never before has a comedy series (shot to look like a documentary) been so full of inside jokes and weird references – and never before have I had to actually watch an episode again in order to make sure I didn’t miss something the first time around. Although the much anticipated fourth season released on Netflix was sub-par, it was still delightful to have the Bluth family back with us again.


ash-vs-evil-deadAsh Vs Evil Dead is exactly what you’d expect it to be: a gem for anyone who enjoyed the original movies, updated to satisfy younger audiences.

In true Evil Dead fashion, this television iteration of the classic doesn’t take itself too seriously. It retains the B-movie feel of the original in every aspect – from the bad make up to the even worse acting, down to the music (composed by long time collaborator on Raimi projects, Joseph LoDuca), the show has the look and overall effect of exactly what it’s supposed to be: a 2015 reimagining of the 1981 movie that knows not to fix what isn’t broken.


BansBansheehee is so camp, so outrageous, violent and sexy, it’s pure adult pulp fiction at its best (or maybe its worst – but in a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of way).

There’s no episode without plenty of sex, nudity, fistfights, explosions and funny one-liners. The lead is a gorgeous specimen of a man, and there’s no unattractive female in the cast. The story is too much of everything, and I guess that’s its beauty.

It’s a guilty pleasure kind of show – not meant to be taken seriously, but at the same time, seriously entertaining.


better call saul

Better Call Saul‘s first season graced our tv screens last year as the much-awaited spin-off of Breaking Bad.

It is original and really well made – from script to direction to acting, it’s definitely top notch. We all loved Saul Goodman in BB, and often wondered about his back story. Better call Saul is here to give us the answers we were waiting for, and now we get to enjoy full hourly episodes of his struggles and shenanigans.

What’s not to like? S’all good, man.


bloodlineBloodline is one of those shows I really wanted to love.

Now, this one I wanted to love. I’ve heard only good things about it and it sounded like my kind of show on paper. Except there’s just something off about the whole thing. Granted, I’ve only managed to watch the first three episodes, but still…

I can’t really find much to fault or complain about here, just a general sense of feeling underwhelmed. I simply don’t care all that much about these characters – not the way I instantly felt compelled to follow the Daniel Holden’s story on Rectify, for instance. I will give this one another go at some point, but for the time being… yeah, not too impressed.


Blue BloodsBlue Bloods is a cop drama with a twist: almost everyone involved is related. It’s one big happy family representing law & order, except the three generations of Reagans aren’t always very happy.

It’s well written and well acted, the plotlines are interesting, and there’s just the right amount of family drama intertwined with the story to make it less like a procedural and more like a character show.

It’s worth a watch, even if only for Tom Selleck and his incredible moustache (seriously, he’s probably the only person who could pull that off), as well as Donnie Wahlberg, who seems to have found his niche as a tough-but-fair cop.


bonesBones started out promising for me. Maybe I was biased because I’ve been a Kathy Reichs fan for years, but although the show strayed significantly from the tone of the books, I still enjoyed the witty banter between Brennan, Booth and the rest of the murder-solving team at the Jeffersonian.

In recent seasons, however, it seems to have lost its magic, whether by killing off beloved characters or just by stretching it a little too thin, 11 years down the road. I’ll still watch; I’ll also heavily criticize.


boschBosch was one of 2014’s most pleasant surprises for me. I’m a fan of the Michael Connelly book series, and although the show inevitably deviates from the books, it definitely follows the tone of the novels, and it’s written and acted beautifully.

As a whodunnit, it has everything you might as for; as far as character development goes, it still has a ways to go, although it definitely looks promising. I don’t even mind that it’s borrowed elements from different books to compile the plot of the first season. As long as it keeps it up, I’m perfectly happy to watch.


boston legalBoston Legal was a courtroom drama with a twist, focusing more on the relationship between the leads than the cases themselves.

Both James Spader and the legendary William Shatner made the show. Their trademark cadence alone was reason enough to watch, and the dialogue was witty and at times hilarious.

The last couple of seasons weren’t its best, but it still remains one of the good ones.


breaking badBreaking Bad wins the drama category hands down, as far as I’m concerned.

Everything about this show was phenomenal – the writing, the acting, the cinematography. Every episode felt like a movie in its own right. Every plot twist had me at the edge of my seat. Every cliffhanger was masterfully done to keep us all guessing.

And the fact that pretty much no one could find a reason to complain about the spectacular finale simply cements BB’s place at the top of my list.


communityCommunity is a mystery to me. I know nerds seem to love it, and for some reason critics seem to love it too, but I can’t for the life of me get the attraction. Is it the meta thing?

Aside from Joel McHale, who is wonderful, and the gorgeous Gillian Jacobs, I don’t even like most of the characters. They’re either too weird, or two dimensional, or both. Chevy Chase’s character is just as horrible as Chase himself apparently is in real life (maybe that’s also part of the inside joke I just don’t get.)

The storylines are absurd, the bizarre factor is through the roof, and all the special episodes, whether it’s clay figures or a musical episode or some sort of parallel universe just leave me cold. I just don’t get it.


CSICSI in all three of its incarnations was a classic procedural, which cleverly used science and lab techs instead of weathered detectives to give the genre a new life.

While most viewers stayed loyal to the original Vegas show, I gravitated more towards CSI:NY, possibly just because of Gary Sinise. CSI Miami just looked and felt too stylized, but David Caruso’s one liners have since become memes, so who am I to judge?

All three shows started losing their appeal after the first few seasons, and the new CSI:Cyber doesn’t look like something I want to give the time of day to.


dexterDexter was one of those shows that never really sparked my interest while it was on the air. I ended up binge-watching it long after it was over, and I’m not too proud to say I had misjudged it by initially dismissing it.

For one, it was the most fun show about a serial killer you will ever see. It was interesting throughout the course of its 8 season run, and aside from the horrible finale, it was pretty much consistently good right to the end.

More about my take on Dexter here.


elementaryElementary is almost the opposite of Sherlock: while both are set in the present, the latter is perfectly respectful of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work; the former is just loosely based on the Holmes story but with no real depth.

The otherwise lovely Johnny Lee Miller gives a very unconvincing performance as the lead. As much as I love Lucy Liu, I just don’t buy her as Watson, and the storylines leave much to be desired.

Honestly, I just get bored.


fargo

Fargo was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2014.

Following in the Coen brothers’ footsteps is a tall order, but the show managed it beautifully. Maybe it’s the brilliance of Martin Freeman; maybe it’s the amazing Billy Bob Thornton.

Although I found season 2 a bit underwhelming compared to the first one – maybe because the whole “lead-gets-caught-up-in-increasingly-dire-situation” ploy becomes a bit repetitive and unoriginal after a while – it still remains a fantastic show.

It feels true to the original without being a copycat. It’s smart, it’s dark, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny at times, and Allison Tolman is truly a revelation.


 

flesh-and-boneFlesh and Bone is more akin to the thriller/horror genre than the typical dance movie, despite the plotline introduced in the first episode being similar to just about every dance flick ever made. Spectacular choreography aside, the dance component of Flesh and Bone is not about the glitz and glamour of making it as a ballerina, but about the dark underbelly of the ballet world.

Still, the heart of the show is about the darkness in the characters themselves.

Despite its various shortcomings, Flesh and Bone is a decent drama, especially if you enjoy beautifully choreographed ballet scenes and gratuitous nudity.


FriendsFriends will forever be my favorite sitcom. I still make references and quote the show, and I don’t even speak english in my every day life!

In its 10 season run, the six friends became part of our lives. We grew up with them, identified with them, and most of all, laughed (and cried) along with them.

I’ve watched it over and over again, know practically every line by heart, and I’ll still happily watch reruns when I come across them. The show is still as brilliant (although sometimes dated) as it was when it first aired.


game of thronesGame of Thrones is one big epic tv show. It’s unlike any other. Not having read the books, it’s kept me in suspense with every episode, and even with its slight missteps here and there it’s still miles above most shows on television right now (or ever).

The acting, the directing, the locations, costumes and imagery are so phenomenal, they really do transport you to Westeros. Yes, the violence is gruesome and the sex is often an unnecessary gimmick to provide voice-over exposition, but for me it’s on par with the greatness of Lord of the Rings (if LOTR decided to ditch its underage audience and go for an R rating), with unlimited doses of intrigue, manipulation, betrayal and scheming thrown in for good measure.


girlsGirls was an instant phenomenon when it first came out. Everyone was extolling the virtues of Lena Dunham and marveling at how realistically it portrayed the life of a single woman in NYC. I guess I never really jumped on the bandwagon.

Yes, it shows you a female lead who’s not conventionally pretty (or thin), a group of girls who don’t have anything figured out, but I can’t remember being anything like them in my early 20s, and I’m definitely happy I wasn’t. It can be fun, it can even be funny, but is it all it’s hyped up to be? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it.


gleeGlee was one of those shows meant to be taken with a grain of salt (or an entire saltshaker, really); its lowest points were when it tried to take itself too seriously.

Sometimes it was hilarious, others it was just awkward. Some of the renditions were brilliant, others were completely cringe-worthy. Some of the guest appearances were pure genius, others felt incredibly forced.

I guess consistency was never really one of Ryan Murphy’s best traits, but I’ll forever be grateful to Glee for making Don’t Stop Believing popular again.


gossip girlGossip Girl, or the show that nymag.com Daily Intel editors dubbed ‘the greatest show of our time‘ was an instant hit with teenagers and adults alike, and rightly so.

I spent quite some time during the first seasons of the show writing glowing reviews about its brilliance, so feel free to read my ramblings here and here.

I feel the last couple of seasons were a bit derailed, and the revelation of Gossip Girl’s identity felt somehow wrong, but as finales go, it wasn’t the worst. And Leighton Meester is amazing.


graceland-posterGraceland is one of those shows that start pretty tame – a young FBI agent joins a team of more seasoned undercover agents at their California beach house and they catch bad guys – and then all hell breaks loose and you’re left wondering what the f*ck just happened… but in a good way.

Although I’m in the minority who liked the first season best, there’s no denying how addictive the show was up until its cancellation. The plot lines get increasingly darker and more complicated, but somehow it all works nicely, and what you get is a highly addictive show that should have been renewed for a fourth season. (Netflix, can you hear me?)


greys anatomyGrey’s Anatomy boasts as many virtues as it does flaws, as far as I’m concerned, but even when it goes horribly wrong, I just can’t not watch. I’m too OCD to let go of a show I’ve invested in (time-wise but also emotionally, as sad as that makes me).

After 11 seasons and several deaths, it feels like it’s lost its mojo, but here I still am on #TGIT, waiting to see what’s going on in Seattle’s most disaster-stricken hospital since the dawn of time.


hannibalHannibal has been praised by the critics. I’m not sure how it’s doing with ratings, but I just don’t get the fascination.

For one thing, Mads Mikkelsen might be a great actor in his own right, but a convincing Dr. Lecter he’s not, and his accent is too distracting.

The premise isn’t very intriguing, either – it feels like it takes away from the criminal mastermind that is Hannibal Lecter, who is more like a caricature of the Lecter we’re used to, honestly.


happy endingsHappy Endings was so underappreciated, in my opinion, and sadly it never reached cult status like other shows that were unfortunately canceled early on.

Although it was quirkier than Friends or HIMYM and lacked the trademark canned laughter, it didn’t lack in humor – and the performances weren’t bad, either.

Between you and me, I think the title of the show alone is what did it in – I’m willing to bet most people didn’t know if they should be expecting a love story or an erotic massage!


houseHouse MD was another show with a disappointing ending that could have done without the last couple of seasons.

Its slow decline, however, doesn’t take anything away from the pure brilliance of Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of dr. House.

Not only were the cases he solved intriguing, not only was the dialogue witty and rapid-fire, but his excellent performance and effortless chemistry with just about every one of the main characters was phenomenal.


house of cardsHouse of Cards is pure brilliance, disguised into Machiavellian machinations and schemes.

Kevin Spacy and Robin Wright are simply exquisite in the lead roles, and everything about the show – from the cinematography to the dialogue – makes it outstanding.

I wasn’t won over right away; I have a thing about identifying with the characters, and everyone is just so unlikable at first glance, it makes it incredibly hard to relate to any of them. But you simply can’t ignore greatness when you see it, and HoC is indeed one of the great ones.


how i met your motherHow I Met Your Mother was a show I had dismissed as a Friends copycat show early on. The parallels between the two are evident in just about every episode, although the format is different.

Eventually though, the genius that is Neil Patrick Harris won me over. Let’s not kid ourselves, it was the Barney show, and it was great. Just like Friends, it was replete with inside jokes and gags that have become part of the vernacular, and if that’s not the hallmark of a successful show, I don’t know what is.

The end was disappointing, and I did feel that it dragged too long – 8 years to finally get to the actual story of how he met the mother was way too long, even by chatterbox Ted’s standards, but I’ll still binge-watch it, and it still makes me laugh.

 

how to get away with murderHow to Get Away with Murder is the latest offering from ShondaLand, and it’s not bad at all.

Although following a completely different format than Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, it does bear Shonda’s signature in several aspects. Is it an instant classic? Probably not, but it’s a decent whodunnit and Viola Davis is amazing, which really is no surprise.

The first season was far superior than the second one (so far), and the repetitive flashbacks and flash-forwards can be tedious, but overall I’m enjoying it, despite my somewhat harsh criticism. 


Jessica JonesJessica Jones is one of the most compelling shows I watched this year. The characters are masterfully developed, the cinematography is striking and the pacing is non-stop, sitting on the edge of your seat, thanking your lucky stars this is a Netflix show that you can binge on over a weekend.

We don’t get much exposition right from the get-go, which is a pure delight. What’s refreshing about the show is that the characters that complete the ensemble aren’t treated as sidekicks or incidental, two-dimensional characters only there to help push the plot forward. It’s dark and funny and utterly entertaining, and features one of the best villains in TV history. What’s not to love?


lostLost came out of the gate swinging and kept us captivated for several seasons. Ultimately though (and in retrospect), it was ruined for me not just because of the convoluted plot that kept raising more questions than it actually answered, but especially because of its disappointing ending.

The character-centric episodes were masterfully done; the intertwining stories beautifully written. It was smart, and different, and brilliant. And then it ended basically the same way everyone had guessed it would right from the get-go (only for the theory to be repeatedly dismissed by the show’s creators).


new girlNew Girl is one of those sitcoms I think I would enjoy more if I were younger, or a hipster, or generally into goofy comedies.

Or if I thought Zooey Deschanel’s cutesy persona was endearing, rather than annoying.

It has its funny moments, and I’m quite partial to Nick, but for some reason I always get irritated about halfway through each episode, and if that happens when a show is supposed to make you laugh, then it’s really not a winner, is it?


nip tuckNip/Tuck made a huge impact when it first aired. Sadly, it quickly went from interesting and provocative to outrageous to downright crazy.

Despite some of the most memorable scenes of earlier seasons, all the main characters underwent serious (and completely unbelievable) transformations and ultimately became cartoonish versions of themselves.

Having said that, Julian McMahon’s Christian Troy will forever hold a place in my heart.


parks and recreationParks & Recreation was hilarious. Boss man Ron as the epitome of a man’s man, Leslie as the initially ditzy and eventually crafty employee, and their team of quirky public servants were a joy to watch, especially in the first few seasons.

It deviated from the classic sitcom format and offered laughs aplenty, in almost the same way as Arrested Development reimagined the genre. Maybe it offered even more entertainment for me from a professional standpoint, as it was easily relatable (and made me feel infinitely better about the idiots I had to contend with in my every day life).


penn-and-teller-fool-usPenn and Teller Fool Us is delightfully fun, if you have even the remotest interest in magic. I didn’t, until I started watching the show. Season 1, set in England, still remains my absolute favorite, in large part because of the brilliance of its host, Jonathan Ross.

The premise is simple: magicians perform their tricks for Penn and Teller and a live audience. If they can fool them, they get a chance to perform on their Vegas show. What you get is top-notch magic acts and the always witty Penn and Teller, plus a bonus performance by the magic duo, which usually overshadows every other act on the show (until things started going downhill in Season 3, that is…)


preacherPreacher was one of those shows I had really high hopes for. From the previews, it looked liked it shared the same aesthetic as Banshee, and I’ve always liked a good vampire story.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it went south for me. One thing’s for sure, it didn’t take long: the acting wasn’t anything to write home about, nor was the direction, but I guess it all comes down to the writing. It simply didn’t win me over. There was a lot of filler, the plot was either too simplistic or too convoluted, and if it’s a case of a slow burn and late payoff, I’m afraid I didn’t stick around for it. Five episodes in, I reached my limit.

Maybe I would have exercised more patience had the male lead been more interesting, or the female lead less annoying.


pll-posterPretty Little Liars is one of the most ridiculous shows on television. Its plot is convoluted just for the sake of providing ample confusion, it’s cheesy enough to make you gag, the inconsistencies will make you want to scream and it’s so removed from reality that it makes the Gossip Girl cast look like boring teenagers. It’s on ABC FAMILY, for f*ck’s sake.

And yet I just can’t stop watching. It’s a classic case of “it’s so bad it’s good“, and one of the things that make watching PLL such an enjoyable experience is the fact that, as much as I’m almost hate-watching it, I’m having too much fun to actually hate on it. Which means it’s entertaining. Ergo, not boring. Which is basically my only criterion coming into this thing in the first place.


prison break

Prison Break was yet another show that started out brilliant and then somehow fell by the wayside . It was original and fast and clever, the premise completely unusual and unlike anything we had seen before on TV.

Unfortunately, once season 1 ended, it was a matter of time before it started circling the drain: Michael Scoffield’s mission apparently accomplished, coming up with a convincing follow-up story was next to impossible, and left a bitter taste in our mouths as the show progressed (not to mention that awful movie that followed).

If only showrunners would learn to pull the plug early and not ruin their show’s greatness…


private practicePrivate Practice start out as a spin-off to Grey’s Anatomy (they even did a couple of cross-over episodes along the way), but eventually it evolved into a more mature version of the original medical drama, focusing more on the characters and their relationships than the actual medicine.

Although I can’t say I loved Montgomery when she first showed up as Derek’s wife in Seattle, her move to Los Angeles and subsequent storyline endeared her to me almost immediately. Shonda knows how to write touching scenes, and this show featured them aplenty.


rectifyRectify is like no other show I’ve watched before. It’s esoteric, but manages to convey a multitude of emotions on a single look, phrase or even camera shot. The characters hardly ever say what you’d expect them to. For the longest time, the show cleverly keeps you wondering whether Daniel was in fact guilty of the crime he was convicted for. Everything about him is slightly off kilter, and you end up loving him for it even as it alienates the townsfolk and his own family. And all of it happens slowly, sometimes excruciatingly so, without ever leaving the viewer with a sense of boredom or the urgency to hurry things along.

Even more impressive is how each character is handled. I couldn’t praise this show enough; if a slow burn is not your thing – it usually isn’t mine – I’d still urge you to give it a shot.


revengeRevenge would have been the perfect revenge story had it ended in its first season.

Although it was successful in coming up with new plot twists, just when you thought they couldn’t possibly complicate things more than they were, it became too unbelievable and unrealistic.

Right from the start I felt that the female lead was miss-cast, but pretty soon my biggest concern wasn’t Amanda, but Victoria. Stowe is a talented actress, but this character was so two-dimensional, such a caricature of a villain, it just never really clicked for me.


sex and the citySex & The City will always be a favorite, if only because it was so iconic back in my 20’s. Unrealistic and often trite, it made it almost impossible to relate to any of the main characters, but that didn’t stop you from enjoying the stories.

I was never really fond of Carrie, nor did I buy most of the premises, but it was fun, it was original at the time, and it was one of the rare shows that focused on the female perspective.

[The movies were an abomination though, especially the second one.]


shamelessShameless is an excellent example of how a crazy premise, a depressing plot and a bunch of characters that have very few redeeming qualities can make a show that is not only interesting – fascinating, even – but also enjoying, despite the dark subject.

William H. Macy’s is sensational as the worst father figure ever, and the writers have somehow managed to continue to come up with insane plotlines that still entertain, even five seasons in.


sherlockSherlock is a masterpiece. I wouldn’t even characterize it as a show, as the long episodes could easily qualify as stand alone movies.

Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing, as is Martin Freeman. It’s wonderfully written and directed; the plotlines feel true to the original material but without giving us a sense of bad deja-vu.

I only wish we didn’t have to wait so long for each new series, although I’ll take delayed satisfation over instant gratification if it means no compromise in quality.


silicon valleySilicon Valley is among the new sitcoms I actually enjoy.

Although initially I didn’t think I’d find a show about the tech industry particularly funny, the story actually resonates. The cast delivers the lines beautifully and with excellent timing, and the jokes are actually good.

Now please, dear writers, give Kumail Nanjiani more lines, or – better yet – allow him to improvise!


stranger-thingsStranger Things was, hands down, the best thing I saw this summer.

It’s an 80’s kid’s dream, full of easter eggs and references that evoke the most wonderful sense of nostalgia, coupled with a fascinating plot, excellent performances, brilliant direction and cinematography that completely immerse you into the overall feel of the era.

I can’t gush about the show enough, except to tell you to go binge-watch it asap. You can thank me later.


suits posterSuits is not your run of the mill court drama: the cases are very interesting, yes, but its originality comes from the fact that one of the lead characters isn’t actually a lawyer.

The workplace drama, competition, the conflict between Harvey and Jessica, not to mention the unlikely lovable character (and Harvey’s frenemy) Louis Litt, along with the struggle to keep Mike’s secret and the side plots are what make the show absolutely fun to watch. In addition, the storylines about characters’ love lives are weaved through the main plot beautifully.

And of course, there’s Donna.


The Affair is a show with a very unoriginal plot: a married man and a married woman start an affair, because they’re both unhappy in their marriages. Over the course of the summer affair they fall for each other, and then a murder becomes the essential cliffhanger to carry us into the next season.

The beauty of the show isn’t the plot itself, but the fact that the narrative changes to show the same events from both the man and the woman’s perspective. Sometimes the story is told the same way, sometimes the two versions are diametrically different, and we’re left trying to figure out what really happened there.


the blacklistThe Blacklist seemed to have great potential, but something went awry along the way.

Although the premise is unique and a clever twist in the anti-hero sub-genre, the story just seems forced.

As much as I adore James Spader, not even he can save the show from obscurity, if the convoluted plotlines continue to confuse us instead of peaking our interest.

More on this here.


the followingThe Following started out with a very interesting premise. And it had Kevin Bacon!

An incarcerated serial killer inspires a murderous cult from behind bars, and all kinds of chaos ensues. Somehow the interesting parts got lost along the way for me. It’s so over-acted and the premise has become so ridiculous that it just turns me off.

I think it would have fared a lot better had it been shot as a mini series, as it all went downhill after Season 1.


the leftoversThe Leftovers started out as this really bizarre drama that felt a bit disjointed, but it soon found its rhythm.

Although dark and often depressing, its various mysteries and nuances keep it from being a downer of a show.

And if the major shift between the first and second seasons are any indication, it’s a show that can reinvent itself, which is pretty damn good to know.

Read more here, and recaps here, here, ….


the newsroomThe Newsroom was a testament to Aaron Sorkin’s brilliance (and Jeff Daniels’. I still can’t believe this is the same actor as the goofball in Dumb and Dumber), but apparently not everyone agreed.

It’s a show about the news we should be watching, only no one is willing to produce. This led to a lot of heat and negative reviews, but I’ve yet to come across another show with such smart, fast-paced dialogue, and that alone makes it rank incredibly high on my list of favorites.

My ode to the show is located here, for anyone interested in a very biased opinion.


the-night-of-posterThe Night Of is, along with Stranger Things, the show everyone talked about last summer. And yet I still don’t feel like it’s gotten the attention it deserves.

From the story and characters to the acting and direction, everything about the show is spectacular yet subtle. It feels authentic and realistic without turning into a documentary; it’s dark and slow-paced without becoming tedious and depressing.

It’s a crime drama without dwelling on the investigation; it’s a court drama without becoming a procedural. Above all, it’s a character drama, and features the most well-written character development in recent years.


the-strainThe Strain is one of those shows I expected to love, until I watched the pilot. And then I decided to give it another shot and watch the whole thing. It’s not great, but it’s not so-bad-it’s-good, either.

It’s camp and over the top, but doesn’t become cartoonish (which, in this case, would have been a good thing). It takes itself too seriously, when it could have benefited from a more pulpy direction. It’s uneven, the effects are bad, some of the acting is terrible… and yet for some reason I keep on watching.

 


the walking deadThe Walking Dead is the kind of show you either love, or haven’t really given a fair chance to. Sure, there are people who hate-watch or like it but still relish in pointing out its flaws, but ratings don’t lie, and neither does its ever-growing fan base.

It’s not easy to take horror to the small screen and make it popular, but Kirkman & co have done an amazing job of it. As I keep telling my non-TWD-fan friends, it’s not even really about the zombies. It’s about a group of people coming to terms with the post apocalyptic world they now reside in, and the changes this brings in their reality, their character, their ethos and their relationships.

The writing, acting, directing and visual effects are all spectacular, but it’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s the one show I eagerly await Sundays for, and there’s not a whole lot of programming I can say that about.


true bloodTrue Blood started out great, and then followed a long decline towards a horrible ending. Sure, it was not meant to be taken seriously, it was jam-packed with sex and violence (much like Banshee), but in the end it felt more as if Alan Ball was given a huge budget to produce a bad b-movie.

And yes, I tend to blame Alan Ball, as the first couple of seasons were pretty loyal to the books, and then took on a life of their own and deviated as much as possible from Charlaine Harris’ vision. I’m not sure if the author was happy with the result – my own take on this can be found here.


veronica marsVeronica Mars is in the same boat as Arrested Development: two great shows that didn’t get the love they deserved while they were on the air, and later got a reboot that didn’t live up to expectations.

The plot and dialogues were excellent, and the general noir mood gave it a different, refreshing vibe.

Plus, Kristen Bell is awesome, I think that’s pretty much a given. Sadly, not even Kristen was able to save the much awaited Mars movie, which resurrected the cult show a decade too late.


wayward pinesWayward Pines was the kind of show that gets you hooked right from the start. The Stephen King endorsement didn’t hurt, either.

Unfortunately, it only took a couple of episodes for the show to quickly devolve from the mystery genre to sci-fi territory.

In the end, Matt Dillon’s exaggerated performance and the shift in tone were incredibly disappointing. The promising mystery ultimately just became camp and, honestly, ludicrous.

 


White Collar
White Collar

White Collar is all about – you guessed it – white collar crime. FBI Agent Peter Burke arrests Neal Caffrey for the second time. Instead of sending him back to prison, he retains him as a ‘consultant’ to help him solve cases with his expertise (i.e. his experience as a con artist/thief).

It’s what The Blacklist could have been if it was fun. It’s certainly nice to see Willie Garson again, not to mention 90210 alum Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. The show keeps a light atmosphere throughout and Matt Bomer as the charming criminal mastermind is a joy to watch in every way.

Advertisements