Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TV Preview 2011/2012 – 25 Must See Series, Part 5: 5-1

Has television programming ever been better than it is right now? Not in terms of great individual shows, but in terms of lots of really great shows (many of which did not make this list, and I had some tough decisions) on the air right now. This is a list of the best twenty five series in the upcoming 2011/2012 season.

Rank: 5
Genre: Comedy
Network: NBC
Creator(s): Dan Harmon
Premier Date: September 22, 2011
Current Season: Third
Plot Summary: The series is about a smartass lawyer whose falsified education records are discovered and is disbarred pending his completion of college credits. Thus, he enrolls at Greendale Community College looking to coast through and quickly return to his great life as a lawyer. But, while at Greendale, he meets friends who become life his family.
Why It Made the List: (In the ‘Cast’ section I am limiting myself to listing five names so it does not get out of hand, but I need to list the other three regular cast members here because they are all wonderful: Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown and Ken Jeong). Community is the funniest show on TV. Everyone in the cast is brilliant, each doing their own thing and style of comedy (I love that each has their own moments and style, the show does not confine them to specific generic jokes like most comedies seem to do). Creator Dan Harmon also is not afraid to take the show to crazy awesome places – the paintball episodes, for example, are among the most amazingly great things on TV (creativity and fearlessness like this reminds me of another TV auteur Joss Whedon). There are a lot of great, very funny comedy sitcoms right now – Community is simply just the best.

Rank: 4
Genre: Crime Drama
Network: Showtime
Creator(s): Jeff Lindsay and James Manos Jr.
Premier Date: October 2, 2011
Current Season: Sixth
Plot Summary: The series is about Dexter Morgan, a likable Miami police forensics investigator, specializing in blood work. But Dexter has a secret – he is a serial killer. He also lives by a code, to kill only those who deserve it and escape justice.
Why It Made the List: Dexter is a wonderful mix of horror, comedy, drama, mystery, suspense, and action. At its best, there is not a show that it better. Michael C. Hall is outstanding in the title role and is really what makes this show so great – plus the excellent writing. Season six has a couple challenges facing it: first, new showrunner Scott Buck is taking over the reins (but he is a veteran of the show and has written many of the great episodes), and second can the show stay fresh, when each season arc is more or less the same. Colin Hanks has joined the cast and is rumored to be the season’s big bad. I love this show, the blood and violence may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend it for those that enjoy Showtime and HBO style dramas.

Rank: 3
Genre: Adventure Drama
Network: HBO
Creator(s): David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Premier Date: April 15, 2012
Current Season: Second
Plot Summary: The series is about the many plots of kings, queens, knights, and renegades to gain the throne.
Why It Made the List: How good is Game of Thrones? Well it is a new show and is already in the top three. Fans of adventure and fantasy genre films have been waiting for a series this good – and one of HBO at that. The cast is fabulous, and is only getting better for season two with the additions of: Stephen Dillane, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie, and Hannah Murray. The visuals and writing are equally as fantastic. The show reminds me a little of Rome, with the larger than life characters and all the scheming. Game of Thrones was the most talked about show of last season, and one you should not miss out on.

Rank: 2
Genre: Crime Drama
Network: AMC
Creator(s): Vince Gilligan
Premier Date: July 17, 2011
Current Season: Fourth
Plot Summary: The series is about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is informed he has terminal cancer. He is an underachieving chemistry genius who has nothing to leave his family once he is gone. He decides to cook meth to make some money, and just gets sucked deeper and deeper into a life of crime.
Why It Made the List: Breaking Bad is amazing. If you do not watch this show, you really need to start. Bryan Cranston is beyond brilliant as Walter White and Aaron Paul is very good as his partner. Sadly, season five (or the last 16 episodes whether it ends up just being season five or split between five and a sixth season) will be the last. Aside from how well written and acted this series is, what I love about this show is how much it has evolved. Walter White from episode one to present is almost unrecognizable – the best shows are able to do this without missing a beat. In my opinion, Breaking Bad has taken up the mantle that The Shield left for best crime drama on TV.

Rank: 1
Genre: Drama
Network: AMC
Creator(s): Matthew Weiner
Premier Date: March 2012
Current Season: Fifth
Plot Summary: The series is set in New York City during the early 1960s. It is about Donald Draper, a genius ad man with a mysterious past.
Why It Made the List: The best show on TV means it has the best writing, best characters, best narrative arcs, best performances – Mad Men has all these things. It was a great show from the start, but really came into its own in season two, and has just become better and better with each season. The cast is perfect; in addition to those listed above, these actors also do phenomenal work on the series: Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Kiernan Shipka (who will benefit greatly from the break the show has taken), Alison Brie (who is lucky enough to be on two of the best five shows), Jared Harris, and especially John Slattery. While this does not have the action, suspense or adventure of many of the other shows on this list, Mad Men has fantastically well drawn characters that continually develop over the course of the series –watching the lives of these characters, caring about them all. Season four completely changed up the show, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. With Breaking Bad, Mad Men is a show you must watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment