Friday, June 6, 2014

TV Spotlight – The 25 Best Series on TV 2014 – Part 1: 25-21

Special Miniseries Acknowledgement:

Genre: Crime Drama
Channel: FX
Plot Summary: When a drifter named Lorne Malvo arrives in a small Minnesota town, he begins to rile things up with his malice and violence. Downtrodden insurance salesman Lester Nygaard is one of the first to fall under his spell of mischievous dissonance.
Why It’s Worth Watching: The miniseries inspired by the Coen Brothers’ brilliant film Fargo is one of the best things on TV right now (and would have made the top ten if it were an ongoing series). It is a glowing example of what FX does best: dramas that focus on gruff and rough, societally fringe characters who cannot seem to get out of their own way. The cast is wonderful and the writing is sharp. The Coen Brothers serve as executive producers while Noah Hawley handles the writing duties (some might remember his short-lived but fun series The Unusuals).


Rank: 25
Genre: Action/Adventure
Channel: The CW
Current Season: Third
Season Premiere Date: October 2014
Plot Summary: Oliver Queen was once a spoiled billionaire playboy; but after a tragic yacht accident at sea claiming the life of his father and girlfriend, Queen reemerges, spending five years stranded on an island, as a changed man set on cleaning up the city he believes his father failed and let fall into the hands of bad men. He becomes the vigilante Green Arrow.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Arrow is about as close as it comes to a modern TV version of Batman (well until Gotham kicks off on Fox in the Fall – although, that does focus on James Gordon). It feels like a Batman narrative (I am completely unfamiliar with the comic book version on Green Arrow) and derives some of its initial charm due to this similarity (as we all love Batman). Arrow at first gets by as a better than average adventure of the week with big over-arching stories, but as the show develops it becomes something special, harkening back to the great shows from The CW’s (and its prior incantations The WB/UPN) past (particularly Angel). It is the best superhero-esque series on TV right now.

Rank: 24
Genre: Action/Drama
Channel: FX
Current Season: Seventh and final
Season Premiere Date: September 2014
Plot Summary: Jax Teller has the dilemma of whether or not he wants to lead his motorcycle club (gang) or not. His wife Tara keeps trying to pull him out so that they can raise his two sons and his deceased fathers wrote letters to Jax detailing how he wanted more for his son, but the politics of the club and the draw of violence constantly pull Jax back in.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Sons of Anarchy has always found a great balance between drama and action, featuring strong engaging moments of excitement but with even more compelling characters – something creator Kurt Sutter learned writing and working on The Shield. The show is able to feel dark and gritty even with the restraints of being on basic cable, which is a credit to Sutter, the writing staff, and the actors. It is among the most interesting dramas on TV and will be missed when it ends.

Rank: 23
Genre: Drama/Mystery
Channel: Sundance Channel
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: June 19
Plot Summary: Daniel Holden spent nineteen years on Georgia’s Death Row, convicted of killing his girlfriend, before he is set free as new DNA evidence has come to light calling his conviction into question. He now tries to put his life back together.
Why It’s Worth Watching: The brilliance of Ray McKinnon’s Rectify is also why some will not like it – it has a fantastic slow burn to it, ever building and mounting tension, slowly revealing bits of information and character detail. Daniel Holden is also one of TV’s most interesting characters. He is oddly charming, though he very well might be the murderer many think he is and Aden Young’s performance is second to none.

Rank: 22
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Drama
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Seventh and final
Season Premiere Date: June 22
Plot Summary: Sookie Stackhouse and her friends may face their most daunting challenge yet: how to survive in a world overrun by infected hungry vampires unleashing a plague that could end mankind?
Why It’s Worth Watching: True Blood is an absolute riot. It is great fun to watch with its eccentric characters and its ambitious storylines, not to mention all the gore. The series has not really pulled its punches in the past, but this being the final season means that really anything can happen and anyone can die (and for once, the season will not end of a horrific cliffhanger – which generally gets viewers yelling at their televisions). Personally, I am most interested to see what happened to Eric Northman as the show left in in a rather precarious situation when season six ended.

Rank: 21
Genre: Action/Period Spy Drama
Channel: FX
Current Season: Third
Season Premiere Date: February 2015
Plot Summary: The Jennings seem like the typical American family, but they have one big secret: unbeknownst to their children, Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings are really Russian spies.
Why It’s Worth Watching: The Americans has a fun 1980s nostalgic feel while also delivering a strong spy narrative wrapped in an ongoing family drama. The show succeeds to a high level thanks to its great leading performances (especially Keri Russell who is fantastic). The series also features a great soundtrack of classic 1980s tunes. It is the best spy series in TV right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment