Thursday, June 12, 2014

TV Spotlight – The 25 Best Series on TV 2014 – Part 4: 10-6

Rank: 10
Genre: Comedy/Political
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Fourth
Season Premiere Date: April 2015
Plot Summary: Selina Meyer is an ambitious politician who is stuck as Vice President of the United States of America. It is a completely unfulfilling role, as Selina has no real power and has to constantly play nice, but it also puts her in a good position to run for President in the future, as she is one of her party’s most recognizable figures. So, she has to bide her time as the Veep, putting up with all the nonsense hurled at her door until it is her time to shine – a time she so dearly wants.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Veep is hilarious. Creator Armando Iannucci is a master of political satire that also poignantly touches on real issues as well (like the scary incompetence of many people in our government and the overall corruption of the whole system). His feature In the Loop is also a very worthwhile viewing for fans of this series. The cast is also wonderful, led by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, doing what is probably her best work. There is not a better political show on television.

Rank: 9
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Fourth
Season Premiere Date: January 2015
Plot Summary: Hannah Horvath makes her way in New York as a young writer, trying to find her place and voice, while also struggling with everything else life throws at her (including things that she seems to bring upon herself). But, Hannah has an odd yet supportive boyfriend and three good girlfriends (although, they do seem to be drifting apart).
Why It’s Worth Watching: I have said this before – Girls feels like a time capsule for today’s urban culture; and, Lena Dunham is a prominent voice of/for that culture. I think Dunham’s writing is superb and her characters are very compelling and complex. Girls is in some ways a sitcom, but Dunham defies just as many genre clichés and troupes as she embraces. The show feels more vital and alive than almost anything else on television speaking to a young audience (15-40, something like that is what I mean by young). Also, I am very excited to see Gillian Jacobs join the cast for season four (how big of a role and how many episodes – I do not know).

Rank: 8
Genre: Period Drama/Gangster
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Fifth and final
Season Premiere Date: September 2014
Plot Summary: Nucky Thompson is the ruler of Atlantic City during America’s Prohibition Era (1920s to early 1930s). He makes his money selling alcohol and turns to a life as a gangster to protect his interests; however, he has many rivals who constantly try to knock him from his throne.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Boardwalk Empire is one of HBO’s best dramas, and yet it just never seems to quite attain the status of event television like Game of Thrones , True Blood or True Detective. It is probably because the series is much more of a character drama than a series built around big and shocking moments. It has one of television’s best dramatic casts and a wonderful style and look. Season five promises to be very good and dramatically ambitious as the series comes to an end.

Rank: 7
Genre: Drama/Political
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Third and final
Season Premiere Date: Fall 2014
Plot Summary: Will McAvoy was happy to just coast by doing a commercialized version of the news as cable’s number one anchor. That is until his former girlfriend and producer MacKenzie McHale comes back into his life and challenges him to really do the news. The question is – can Will forgive her for cheating on him, which ended their relationship initially, and let himself become the man he always hoped he would be?
Why It’s Worth Watching: The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin’s way of showcasing what is wrong with the way stations do the news in today’s world. They are subservient to outside interests and thus do not deliver programs that inform, rather they are designed to entertain (and some are quite bias as well; when the news should have no bias). Sorkin also wants to highlight some of potentially terrifying political trends that are happening in America (like the rise of the Tea Party in American politics), which causes many to label the show as having a liberal agenda (but I would say, having Tea Party candidates in office is bad for everyone, regardless of political affiliation, in the long run). The series is incredibly funny and has television’s best back-and-forth dialog, thanks to Sorkin’s sharp and witty writing. It also features a stellar cast. Season three will be its last, and I highly recommend watching and catching up if you have not seen the first two seasons. It is informative and entertaining.

Rank: 6
Genre: Western/Action/Drama
Channel: FX
Current Season: Sixth and final
Season Premiere Date: January 2015
Plot Summary: U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is old-school, carrying himself a bit like a gunfighter in the Old West. As much as he would like to distance himself from his rural coal-mining hometown in Eastern Kentucky, he keeps getting dragged back.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Justified is not really a western, but it is similar in many ways and is about as good as it gets for fans of westerns on TV right now. Star Timothy Olyphant is brilliant as Raylan Givens, a performance that is almost completely overlooked every year, as is the series as a whole, which continues to be one of the best action/crime dramas. Walton Goggins is also excellent. Season six will be its last, which means that the action and drama should come to a very satisfying and compelling crescendo.

No comments:

Post a Comment