Tuesday, August 14, 2012

TV Preview 2012/2013 – 25 Must-See Series, Part 5: 5-1

Rank: 5
Genre: Comedy
Creator(s): Dan Harmon
Current Season: Fourth
Channel: NBC
Return Date: October 19, 2012
Plot Summary: Seven friends started out as just a study group at the lowly Greendale Community College, but over the course of the show have become so much more – hanging out, mixing it up and going on adventures.
Why It Made the List: Season three of Community is one of the most brilliant pieces of sitcom television (or television period) ever. The show’s creative head Harmon, his writers and the wonderful cast have taken the show to crazy and awesome places that fans never could have imagined. It is simply one of the best and most creative things on TV. That said, season four faces the major challenge of overcoming the loss of Harmon (who was fired as the showrunner for not working well with NBC, but Sony did not object to his firing either), and along with Harmon a number of the show’s producers and writers are leaving as well. The new showrunners are David Guarascio and Moses Port would did do a great job with Happy Endings’s second season. Likely, despite Guarascio and Port’s promise to keep it the same, things will be different for the Greendale seven – but hopefully the show will still be the weird and brilliantly funny series it is. #SixSeasonsAndAMovie

Rank: 4
Genre: Crime Drama/Mystery
Current Season: Second
Channel: Showtime
Return Date: September 30, 2012
Plot Summary: Nicholas Brody is a marine that went missing in Iraq eight years ago. Carrie Mathison is a CIA agent that suspects that he might be a sleeper agent when he is miraculously found and brought home. Carrie risks her career to prove that he is plotting an attack on America, but is he really?
Why It Made the List: Homeland is a great thriller, built on effective writing and pitch perfect performances. Claire Danes is probably doing the best work of any actress on TV right now. The series also works well as a mystery, as we try to discover the truth behind Sergeant Brody. Personally, I cannot wait to see where the writers and actors take the series in the second season.

Rank: 3
Genre: Adventure Drama
Creator(s): David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Current Season: Third
Channel: HBO
Return Date: March 31, 2013
Plot Summary: The series is about the plotting and fighting of seven noble families, as they all joust for control of Westeros.
Why It Made the List: Game of Thrones is probably the most addictive series on TV right now. All the characters and stories are wonderfully compelling, and the world in which the series takes place is aesthetically pleasing and otherwise alluring (especially for fantasy genre fans). However, even though season two was great and just as good as season one, the show has an issue with the number of characters, which is massive. There are really too many. The episodes feel, at times, choppy (and the overall narrative feels bogged down) as the story jumps around so much to give snippets of each character’s story. The series is still masterfully written, but certainly this could become a problem (and already is for some viewers). That said, there may not be a more enthralling and entertaining program on television (and I cannot wait for season three).

Rank: 2
Genre: Period Drama
Creator(s): Matthew Weiner
Current Season: Sixth
Channel: AMC
Return Date: March 2013
Plot Summary: The series follows Donald Draper, a talented yet mysterious ad executive in New York City during the 1960s, as he wrestles with balancing his responsibilities and desires.
Why It Made the List: Mad Men is maybe the best written show on TV. It has some of the best characters, dialog and individual episodes of any show. Seasons three and four made it what I would consider the best show on television, but season five was both excellent and somewhat disappointing (especially the finale). The series has such high expectations, that anything short of sheer brilliance is a letdown. The series is changing a lot as some characters start to feel out of place in their own time, while other are coming into their own – the series expertly set against the social and political upheaval of the 1960s. There is not a better straight drama than Mad Men right now. If you are not watching it, you are missing something special.

Rank: 1
Genre: Crime Drama
Creator(s): Vince Gilligan
Current Season: Fifth
Channel: AMC
Return Date: Part 1: July 15, 2012/Part 2: 2013
Plot Summary: Walter White is an underachieving genius chemist resigned to teaching high school chemistry due to failed ambitious. One day Walter is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hoping to leave his family with some security, he turns to crime producing the highest quality crystal meth on the market. However, his life of crime continually pulls him deeper and deeper in the dark life of the business.
Why It Made the List: Breaking Bad has always been a brilliant program, but as Walter White’s journey gets darker and darker the series gets better and better. Bryan Cranston’s work is probably the best on TV, as White is a fascinating flawed character. The show’s fifth season is its last – split into two eight episode chunks. Really all of the top three shows on this list could be number one, but Breaking Bad seems to just be getting stronger. If you are not watching this show, you are really missing out on one of the greatest series of all-time. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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