The next segment of “2014 Year in Review” is here: Television- Returning Favorites and Mini-Series/ TV Movie.
2014 TV was not my favorite. As always, there were a slew of new shows but only a few Pilots really sparked my interested. I have a solid three episode rule: can’t keep my attention by then, you’re off my DVR— and almost no new shows are still on there. So for me, 2014 was the welcomed return of some old favorites. In addition, we also got great new anthology series and TV movies.
So take a look, sound off, and let me know what you think!
TELEVISION- RETURNING FAVORITES: “HANNIBAL,” “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK,” “THE COMEBACK”
Can we just start with the fact, and I’m not alone here, “Hannibal” is one of the best shows on Television? It gets no love and I find this very hard to understand. Gorgeous cinematography aside, this show is so well acted and while based on novels you really don’t know what is going to happen next. Yes it’s gory and sexual, but its enticing and exciting. I am never home on a Friday night but come Saturday morning it’s the first thing I devour over coffee. Gillian Anderson is also set for more episodes in the upcoming season which is fantastic— also fantastic is her British TV series “The Fall,” highly recommend.
Netflix just understands what viewers want and is putting most other Television to shame. Between them and HBO, I find most network Television less appealing. “Orange is the New Black” came back this year for another great season blending comedy and drama in a prison setting, somehow making it the must see TV we are all talking about. Everyone binged and did nothing for days until they were done with the season. Those ladies are that damn good.
Hello, hello, hello! WELCOME BACK VAL! When it was announced that HBO was brining back “The Comeback,” I will admit I didn’t shut up about it— and for good reason. “The Comeback” only got one season 10 years ago and it was probably one of the funniest things that has ever been on Television, if super awkward well acted Comedy is your thing. And trust me: it’s either your thing, or it’s not. It really is that simple.
We pick up with Val in real time and she’s exactly where you think she’d be. Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow really should collaborate more because the end result is just genius. Ms. Kudrow’s acting is superior, again, as Val. Bringing so much to the character, she somehow gives us a balanced performance of heart and desperation that is bizarrely perfect. Not to spoil it for those who have not tuned it, but there is one particular scene Ms.Kudrow has in a parking lot that is earth shatteringly good leading to the question: how in the world was she snubbed for a Golden Globe?
Some are not so keen on this season as it is significantly more serious than the first, but for me it makes sense. “The Comeback” is smart, sharp, and cringe-worthy— my favorite things.
I have missed out on some 2014 TV. I recently binged on the whole season of “Transparent” and loved it. I would have included it in my list, but Gabby Hoffman’s character honestly was so horrible and distracting I was left with a sour taste by the tenth episode. Ms.Hoffman aside, I loved the concept, acting, and rest of the cast.
“The Affair” is totally in my wheelhouse. As soon as I heard the cast and the fact it would be on a cable network, I knew I wanted to invest time. Always time in the new year!
HONORABLE MENTIONS: “THE FALL,” “HOUSE OF CARDS,” “ORPHAN BLACK”
The Mini Series is making a comeback and I’m into it. It gives A-List stars the chance to do some TV work without being committed to a series. Series that have revolving casts also give viewers something fresh each season which is a welcome change to the TV game. Much like “American Horror Story,”“True Detective” too was revealed to be a series with revolving cast.
We always knew “True Detective” was going to be great, but I’m not sure everyone was expecting how great it really was going to be. Hearing Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were playing partners on a Crime TV series, I was hoping it would be a ridiculous buddy cop comedy where they were both high the whole time. Thankfully it wasn’t and instead we were given a creepy, smart, and scary anthology series. Both actors showcased such talent during that season, it really was so much fun to watch and so incredibly different.
While the male leads really did steal the show, Michelle Monaghan totally held her own garnering a well deserved Golden Globe nomination. She brought so much to that role, and I am glad that she has been recognized for it. “True Detective” returns later this year with a new cast of Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Kelley Reilly.
As soon as I heard about “American Horror Story” back in season one, I knew it would be in my wheelhouse. When it was announced it would be a new concept each season, I was even more excited. I am partial to “Murder House” and “Coven,” but “Freak Show” brought something altogether different to the anthology. Between the setting and the Freaks, everything felt very real this season giving off the creepiest vibe yet. It’s also great to see so many strong, well respected (ahem, older), actresses given such incredible parts. They legit are putting 20-somethings to shame.
Unfortunately, for me anyway, it lost steam by the season finale. While still overall a good season, it had the potential to be great but flat lined a bit towards the end. Maybe too much was jam packed into the season, who knows. But I hope that whatever next season brings it has the consistency of it’s predecessors.
Full disclosure: I think Connie Britton needs to come back. The show would be even better. The concept really, really worked for her as her talents were seen much more than on anything else she has done since. She was never underused and her chemistry with the actors involved now would be incredible.
I can count on one hand how many films have made me cry to the point where my eyes hurt and I had a headache. “The Normal Heart” gets a place on that hand. The words heartbreaking and gut-wrenching cant even cover how you feel walking away. It really is a beautifully heartbreaking piece. The acting was so superb; particularly Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Joe Mantello, and Julia Roberts (who’s Globes snub makes me angry). Mr. Murphy did the work beyond justice, and gave everyone a very real and very harrowing account of a horrible time in History. Every accolade this piece receives is well deserved.
Images courtesy of NBC, HBO, FX, Netflix, Amazon, and Getty
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