Friday, December 5, 2014

Massive TV Round-Up

I've broken out "television" as a separate "label", aka tag (see all the different tags in the left margin). Here are all Slog posts tagged "television" in reverse chronological order.

A great new show to tell you about: "You're the Worst" just finished its first season on FX. The premise sets a couple of selfish assholes in a traditional romantic comedy, and while you'd expect it to play as broad farce, the creators have faked us all out by opting for realism. If the show wasn't beautifully written, acted and directed, it wouldn't possibly work. But it does, and it's great; e.g. it's rare to see even minor characters given such depth and dimension. The first season was a slow build, but well worth the time investment. Unfortunately, You're the Worst is not yet out on DVD, nor Netflix/Amazon. So put it on your wish list (and add it to your DVR queue to catch reruns and next season), or else see if you can find it on-demand or via the FXNOW app.

Update: it's available on iTunes

My favorite TV critic, Alan Sepinwall, recently posted his "Best of 2014" list, and it reminds me of an intrinsic difference between me and him: Sepinwall likes television, whereas I really don't. I only watch when it's something great; something elevating or inspiring, somehow that leaves me with something more than just skillful entertainment.

Sepinwall likes to be elevated, moved, and inspired, too, but that's not all he cares about. So there's stuff on his list that's made me grow as a person (Hannibal, Rectify, Fargo, The Americans) but also stuff that was extremely well-done, but ultimately thin soup (Orange is the New Black) - at least by the ridiculously deep standards of this golden age of television (OITNB would have been the unquestioned best show of the year for most of the history of television).

The following are series I've loved. Not all are particularly deep, but I got something enduring (not just skillful entertainment) from all of them. I'll arrange them in a rough order. I wrote more about many of these shows - and about my ordering of them - in an in-depth roundup last summer. Here's another, earlier effort.

Links below lead to my previous mentions, often very terse. For much more in-depth writing, read Alan Sepinwall's reviews on HitFix, or, for shows prior to 2010, his old "What's Alan Watching?" blog. For me, and for thousands of others, Sepinwall's recap/reviews (and the excellent reader comments) is my first stop after watching an episode of a great show, to gather my thoughts and to hear other views.

For catcher-uppers, here's Sepinwall's "Best of the 00s" list from 2009.

Ok. Asterisks signify programs still in progress:

The Wire
Breaking Bad
Party Down
*Rick & Morty
*The Americans
Men of a Certain Age
*Game of Thrones
The Hour
Torchwood: Children of Earth
*Doctor Who (the modern series)
*Silicon Valley
TV Funhouse
*Key and Peele
The Sandbaggers
True Detective (1st Season)
*Orphan Black
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
The Bridge
*Homeland (often stupid, but always insanely entertaining)
*Top Gear (British version only, on BBC America).
*Good Wife
*Masters of Sex
*The Leftovers
*The Knick

I still need to watch Deadwood and Mad Men...

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