Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TV Spotlight – The 25 Best Series on TV 2014 – Part 3: 15-11

Rank: 15
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Action
Channel: The CW
Current Season: Tenth
Season Premiere Date: October 2014
Plot Summary: Demon-hunters Sam and Dean Winchester travel North America exterminating all manner of ghosts, ghouls, beasts, and terrors. They also avert an apocalypse or two along the way.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Supernatural was initially envisioned as a five-season narrative by creator Eric Kripke, and yet here it still is going into its tenth season. The show’s writers continue to tell very good episodic and continuing stories, and Jared Padalecki and especially Jensen Ackles are great in their roles. I have been saying this for a few years now: if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Supernatural is made in the same mold – from the strong characters, stories, and mix of drama and offbeat comedy to the weird and ambitious episodes.

Rank: 14
Genre: Period Drama
Channel: PBS Masterpiece Theatre
Current Season: Fifth
Season Premiere Date: September 2014
Plot Summary: This drama tells the story of the continuing lives of those who inhabit the English countryside estate Downton Abbey, from the high-born Crawley family to their servants.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Downton Abbey and its creator Julian Fellowes were faced with the difficult task of weathering a few exits by key cast members, and these exits forced Fellowes’s hand narratively speaking creating some shocking and heartbreaking (and even infuriating) moments. And yet, the series continues on just as good as ever, propelled forwards by its great characters and strong writing. It is everyone’s favorite period soap opera.

Rank: 13
Genre: Horror/Action
Channel: AMC
Current Season: Fifth
Season Premiere Date: October 12
Plot Summary: Former police officer Rick Grimes does his very best to lead a small group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies and desperate people.
Why It’s Worth Watching: The Walking Dead is an interesting series that walks a fine line. Personally, I think it continues to get better and does a fantastic job building tension and creating suspense, especially as the show has been unafraid to kill off its characters. That said, the series does feel very repetitive and even tedious sometimes, as there are really only so many ways that its writers and directors can stage a zombie attack. I am interested to see where the series is headed (having not read any of the comics for which it is based). How much bleaker can things get? Will the show ultimately end with Rick all alone, driven completely insane (like many of the characters we have met along the way)? It is definitely not for everyone, but in its best moments it sure is compelling.

Rank: 12
Genre: Mystery/Action/Drama
Channel: BBC America
Current Season: Third
Season Premiere Date: April 2015
Plot Summary: Sarah Manning is a streetwise hustler, who is pulled into a grand conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her. She soon discovers that she has many lookalikes, and she begins working with them to find out the truth – but can she trust them?
Why It’s Worth Watching: Orphan Black instantly became one of television’s most exciting new shows when it debuted on BBC America thanks to its very cool concept. The Canadian production perfectly blends action, mystery, drama, comedy, and sci-fi elements. Plus, Tatiana Maslany is absolutely brilliant, playing each of her many roles splendidly.

Rank: 11
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Channel: Netflix
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: June 6
Plot Summary: Piper Chapman is your typical middleclass woman in her thirties – a nice life and about to be married to a man who loves her. There is just one hitch in her seemingly perfect life: an innocent mistake in her past has come back to haunt her. She has been sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime (transporting money for her then drug-dealing girlfriend). Now Piper must find a way to survive and maybe even thrive in prison.
Why It’s Worth Watching: House of Cards was such a big hit for Netflix, Orange Is the New Black suddenly had all this additional expectation put on it when it debuted last summer. Not only has the show met that expectation, it has surpassed it, and I think it is a better overall series than House of Cards. It handles its drama and comedy with equal skill and weight, and it has created some of television’s most interesting and compelling female characters. One aspect that I am curious about is whether creator Jenji Kohan can keep the storytelling and writing at a high level as the show progresses. I say this because her last series Weeds was phenomenal at first but became kind of awful in its later seasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment