And now is that special entry where I wrap up MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2014!
Which looks a lot like last year with a few new programs mixed in to keep things interesting.
THE TWELVE BEST...
#1 The Blacklist
No surprise here. James Spader continues to craft one of the most compelling characters ever to grace television, and the stakes are running higher than ever this year.
It's not that I hate this year's new character, Kitty Winter, it's that she takes time away from Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu on screen... which is the entire reason I watch the show. I have no idea what purpose she serves (other than distraction?) but I hope there's a payoff down the line. In any event, the chemistry between Holmes and Watson is flawless as always. I just wish there was more of it.
#3 Jane the Virgin
Nobody is more shocked than me that this show made my list... let alone ranking so high. But I just can't help it. This Americanized take on a Latin Telenovela is funny, smart, charming, and everything you watch television for. Shockingly entertaining episode after episode. But for how long?
#4 The Flash
Who knew? This offshoot of Arrow is so well done that it even eclipses the original from which it spawned. The one thing I could do without is the "Team Flash" idiocy... it's just so unnecessary. The Flash never needed a "team" behind him in the comics, and he really, really doesn't need them here. They're just a massive distraction that waters down the show.
#5 Orange in the New Black
I liked the show in season one. I loved it in season two. The very definition of "engaging television," everybody's favorite prison drama went for broke and succeeded wildly. Everything felt deeper and more intense at every turn, but the characters never seemed more grounded.
The fifth season of Timothy Olyphant's triumphant portrayal of Raylan Givens is stronger than ever, cementing the show as one of televisions best dramas with one of the best casts going. I honestly don't know how they manage it, but it's impressive as hell.
I was hoping and praying that the needless flashbacks would finally cease now that the island drama was over. But they're back... and this time in an even less compelling Hong Kong location. Sigh. Still, the show remains cool and entertaining... unlike Marvel's Agents of SHEILD which I can't even watch any more.
#8 How to Get Away With Murder
And here we go... it's as if Shonda Rhimes said "Oh, you think Scandal is messed up? Well get a load of this! Viola Davis and cast effortlessly glide through this legal thriller that quickly exceeded my expectations.
Color me shocked. Despite a terrific cast, I really thought a series based on the movie would be a mistake. Instead we got smart writing, compelling characters, and one of the better new shows of 2014.
#10 Orphan Black
I wasn't sure how second season was going to pan out, but the show certainly lived up to my increasingly high expectations. Easily one of the most intelligent series on TV, it just keeps getting better and better. Where it's all leading to I have no idea, but it's a journey I'm definitely going to keep taking.
#11 Hawaii Five-0
Still can't believe that this show is keeping my interest, but it just keep chugging along. One thing I wish they'd get rid of is Jorge Garcia's character of "Jerry," which is getting more annoying with each new episode. The chemistry between the rest of the characters is about as good as it gets... even if the stories are starting to feel a bit repetitive.
If Shonda Rhimes and Co. hadn't messed up the show for entirely too many episodes this season, the series could have ranked much higher. Instead we've got characters that took heinous stumbles into stupidity... primarily Mellie Grant and Olivia Pope herself... that left me flat as the season ended the year.
SIX MORE WORTH WATCHING...
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
I wouldn't have thought it was possible to eclipse The Daily Show at their own game, but here we are. John Oliver could not possibly make current events more engaging, and my only complaint about the show is that it only airs once a week.
The Walking Dead
The show has gotten a bit mired in distraction this season, but is still worth watching.
Game of Thrones
It's fantastic television. There's not much more I can say than that.
House of Cards
One of my favorite shows from last season kind of lost itself in season two... but mostly thanks to jaw-dropping performances (headed by the always-amazing Kevin Spacey), it remains a must-see affair.
I was sure that Castle and Beckett getting married would be the death-knell for the show. Instead, it oddly energized it somehow. Still think they managed to get one of the best supporting casts on network television... which elevates the show to be more than just another Murder She Wrote clone. Sadly, however, we're just not getting the energy that Castle had during it's second and third seasons, which leads me to believe the show's best days are definitely behind us.
I never read Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which this mini-series is based, but now I kind of want to. Frances McDormand is in top-form here as we explore the life of a woman in a small Maine town, and it will be a gross injustice if she's overlooked come award season.
ANIMATION WORTH YOUR TIME...
A complete repeat of last year...
Still brilliant. Still relevant. Still must-see-television for me.
The most bizarre show to ever air on television is still going strong.
Couldn't possibly love this show more than I do. They just kill it each and every episode.
Plus three more...
Rick & Morty
Dan Harmon toon series that came out of nowhere to dominate Adult Swim. Back to the Future gone sideways.
I was late to the party with this show. When I finally started watching, I became obsessed with catching up with the older episodes. A binge-worthy show to be sure.
Bee & PuppyCat
Gorgeous and utterly bizarre, this is a Kickstarter-funded online cartoon that defies description. You'll just have to watch.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN...
The Colbert Report
Entertaining, informative, and funny as hell... Stephen and the character he created will be badly missed. Here's hoping his Late Night hosting duties will be worth losing such a consistently fantastic show.
Sons of Anarchy
The final season was a major let-down to me... and the ending was pretty lame... but the show was entertaining for seven seasons, and that's worth recognizing.
There were several times in Season 6 that I thought this show had outstayed it's welcome, but all was forgotten as the series finale played out. A terrific end to a show that deserved nothing less.