Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Top Tweleve TV Shows of 2014-15

So at the end of the year I do a best of list for books and movies. I wanted to do the same with TV shows because I believe TV is becoming the most exciting media being produced. However Janurary is not the time for TV. Since the emmys are this weekend and the new shows are launching I am going with the Jewish calendar.

Some of the shows I watched but didn't rank. The final season of Falling Skies, The Brink, Constantine and The Last Ship.

12. True Detective season 2

OK, I know I will mostly be alone on this opinion. Yes the first season felt ground breaking, yes it had amazing performances by two actors really unmatched last year. As someone who read the Thomas Ligotti books that were “homaged” in the first it really took me out of the story.

I personally enjoyed the California setting of the second season. I thought Colin Farrel was great. Yes Vince Vaughn was kinda weak. I actually found the story more interesting however I know many hated it.

11. Intruders Season 1

Intruders on BBC America was a very under the radar show from X-files Vet Glen Morgan. That is all I knew going in. The less you know the better before watching this the better. The first four episodes is some of the best supernatural mystery I have ever seen on TV. The villains are super scary including the single best child actor performance of all time no doubt. Once the mystery unravels a bit, so does the story/ show a bit. I enjoyed all the way but the first four episodes were great.

10.Defiance Season 3

I watched the first two seasons of this show and enjoyed them as corny fun. I feel this show improved in major ways in this third season. They seemed to have stripped down the budget but it helped take the show back to story telling basics. The story arcs of the characters are really well done, more than once creating situations for the characters that seemed helpless. The alien cultures are really well done on this show and slowly inching into quality sci-fi fiction rather than dumb fun.

9. Bates Motel season 3

The third and best season so far of Bates Motel is really powerful suspense. The tension is built on the audience's knowledge of Noman Bates outcome. The writing and direction is top notch but the thing that makes this show amazing is the performances of Vera Farmiga and Freddy Highmore. In my opinion Vera Farmiga is award worthy in this show. She creates a Norma Bates that balances being alluring and scary at the same time.

The first two seasons focused a bit too much on side stories that I found to be besides the point. Thankfully they cut those down this year.

8. The Affair Season 1

The Affair is a showtime drama that uses the story telling structure of Kurasawa's Roshomon to excellent effect. In this show we see two wildly different versions of a extra-marital affair. Very straight forward story that hints a deeper mystery than we actually never see. Much of the drama and tension is is created by knowing the other person's point of View. OK Ruth Wilson (Luther) and Dominic West (The Wire) carry the show with amazing performances. Also liked seeing Fringe vet Joshua Jackson.

7.The Leftovers Season 1

This show was sneaking good. From Lost writer Damon Lindeloff based on a novel by Election author Tom Perrotta . The story starts with a rapture like event but from that point on it is mostly a straight drama. A Slow burn with excellent characters I found this show to be very good. It got to the number 7 spot for two reasons. The third episode is amazing featuring an unbelievably good performance by former Doctor Who star Chris Eccleston, that episode stands alone and is worth seeing. One episode has a teaser that is some of the best horror I have seen on screen. I had a hard time watching.

6. Orphan Black Season 3

BCC America is a better sci-fi channel than syfy for sure. This show is developing a pattern the last two season both got stronger each week toward the end of the 10 episode run. Of course the show is worth watching for Tatiana Maslany's performance as 4 sometimes 5 different clones. It was seriously justice that she got an emmy nod. No performance on TV is as nuanced. Great story, execution and a show you can't miss.

5. Humans Season 1

This British remake of a Swedish Sci-fi show recently had a run on AMC. Another sneaky good show. Covering many of the same topics of the film Ex-machina, but in long form. Set in a near future England when everyone has their personal robots. It feels like a episode of Black Mirror. Great characters, excellently directed and written. The show is often gut wrenching, heart breaking and never dull. Must see for serious Sci-fi viewers.

4. Doctor Who Season 8

I am a huge fan of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. I prefer Stephen Moffet as a show runner for Who. I never liked Clara as a companion. This season blanced everything I love about Doctor Who. Great storytelling, weirdness, smart humor and Capaldi made the doctor feel alien again.

3. The Strain Season 2

I know a lot of you gave up after the really bad acting in the pilot. I kept watching because I am a fan of the novels, and I'm glad I did. The Strain is excellent horror, a slow burn vampire apocalypse that actually tells the story slower and more patiently than the Del Toro/ Chuck Hogan novel. My favorite aspects of the show is the deep mythology, and suspense built by the atmosphere. The make-up of the vampire master was really bad, but they seem to have fixed that as well. It is far from perfect but I love it. Fantastic Vampire horror that makes vampires that ultra predator they should be.

2. Better Call Saul Season 1:

The best written series of the year. I think everyone wanted this show to be as good as Breaking Bad but I don't think anyone expected it to be as good as it was. Dare I say that it might be better? Like Breaking Bad it blends Character driven stories through equal parts comedy and drama. It was perfectly tied into the prequel nature of the show yet managed to introduce plenty of characters worth investing in. Damn it was good.

1. Sense8 Season 1

I loved almost every minute of this show. The Wachowskis are hit or miss for sure. When they are on (Bound, the Matrix or Cloud Atlas) they make daring and original stuff. Sense8 was a fantastic on every level it was excellently plotted, character based sci-fi action, drama and times hit every button. The word epic has been abused but this is epic storytelling/TV. Has anyone ever attempted a show with this kinda scope 8 cities, 8 leads told over international canvas, not concerned about being different with diversity in race, sexuality and culture. Like the first Matrix Sense8 felt like a comic book origin story. Will they do a better job delivering on that promise? We need a second season netflix!!!!!

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