December 19, 2014

TV: Best & Worst 2014...

With most TV shows having had their 'mid season finales" and now taking the holidays off, here is a purely objective look at the best and worst shows of the year...

Best Returning Shows:

The sexy prime time soap about Washington fixer Olivia Pope went even crazier with secret spies and a murder in first family, and the constant twists and great acting by Kerry Washington and company make this series even better in season 4 than it was at the start. More happens in one episode here than in a month on other shows.

The Good Wife
A smart intriguing suspenseful drama that gets better with age... last spring's killing of (spoiler alert) leading man Will Gardner was the biggest TV shock of the year, and took the show in new directions. Newsy weekly cases and ongoing dramatic storylines make this a must-watch; Julianna Marguiles won yet another well-deserved Best Actress Emmy this year. If you aren't watching this one, start with season one. Now.

House Of Cards
Season two started with a twist (killing off a main character) and ended with a bang (Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood becoming president) and everything in between was the Netflix binge watch of the year.

Also loving... The Big Bang Theory, The Mindy ProjectRepublic of Doyle, and Downton Abbey.

Best New Shows:

How To Get Away With Murder
The crazy sexy suspenseful law school thriller from Scandal producer Shonda Rhimes is TV crack --- hooked instantly, now jonesing for my next fix. Leading lady Viola Davis is brave and amazing, and her young supporting cast is fantastic. Escapist entertainment for grown-up's.

Our new favourite binge weekend TV, this cable series based on the first volume of Diana Gabaldon's bestselling novels tells the story of a nurse from 1945 mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland where she finds danger and suspense and romance in the middle of war. This one is unusual as she is no damsel in distress, and it is all totally believable. Way more fun than it sounds.

In this fast and bitchy BBC comedy, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi are an elderly gay couple who after 48 years together maintain a love/hate relationship; they are bitter and petty and mean and yes vicious to each other. They are 'vicious old queens' and the show is awesome. Read more here.

Also loving... Looking, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the new HBO Canada Kim Cattrall series Sensitive Skin.

Best TV Event/Movie:

HBO's heartbreaking brilliant drama The Normal Heart, about the early days of AIDS, starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts. Touching and inspiring and anger-inducing. See it. And read more here.

And the worst crap on TV...

Full disclaimer... am skipping all things Kardashian here cuz I don't watch them; I have TV standards, sure they're low but I got 'em...

The Queen Latifah Show
Likable celebrity hosts boring star-kissing suck up fest; annoying to watch, and not surprisingly the current second season will be its last.

How I Met Your Mother
After 8 smart funny touching years, number nine was painful with the whole season taking place at a claustrophobic weekend wedding, and then the overblown series finale was a total let down (spoiler alert - the mother is dead). Nine years of buildup to a lousy ending.

... and runners-up to the losers: season 3 of the formerly great Dallas reboot, a new crew on The View, the lousy Katherine Heigl comeback State of Affairs, and the equally lousy Debra Messing comeback The Mysteries Of Laura.

That's my list... what are your faves?