If you know me at all, and you don't, you know that I love me some television. So without further ado, the Daily Irritant is proud to present THE YEAR IN TELEVISION!
Best New Trend:
Original Programming on Netflix. Two of my favorite shows of this year were Netflix originals: Orange is the New Black and Derek with Ricky Gervais.
And, although I didn't care for House of Cards, I couldn't stand Kevin Spacey talking to the camera with that ridiculous Lindsey Graham accent, the missus loved it, and I think most people did too. So I'm counting that as another win for Netflix.
Best Network Sitcom:
I know, it's damning with faint praise, since the networks insist on churning out dreck like The Big Bang Theory and 2 1/2 Men, but ABC has stumbled onto something good with Super Fun Night.
And star Rebel Wilson continues another positive trend: the funny fat woman. For years, we've had funny fat men, from Oliver Hardy to John Belushi to Chris Farley, but even in comedies, women were always expected to be traditionally pretty/hot in order to be on camera. Melissa McCarthy blazed the trail a few years ago, and now Saturday Night Live has its first "plus-sized" woman cast member, Aidy Bryant. Now Rebel Wilson has her own show and she is KILLING it!
Most Addictive Show:
This drama somehow managed to fly under my radar until this year when some of my wife's co-workers strongly recommended it To be honest, I almost gave up on this show after one episode because it was a little corny, what with the hero-worship the other characters have for lead character Olivia Pope and their ":we're not lawyers, we're gladiators in suits" schtick was bit cheesy, but both of those aspects get downplayed in later episodes, and once the plot twists started, I was hooked. we binge-watched the old episodes on Netflix and started watching it live on ABC. This show is definitely flawed, it can be slightly soap-operaish and some of the dialogue can get a bit Aaron Sorkiney, but every episode introduces a new twist and you just can't wait to see what happens next, as they strap on the water skis and head in the general direction of the shark but somehow always avoid jumping it.
Trigger warning: This show does have a problem with consent. It's not a spoiler to tell you that Olivia Pope is having an affair with a married man, but there are a few scenes in which that married man grabs her, pushes her against the wall and jams his tongue down her throat. And at least one scene where she clearly says "stop" and he doesn't. But creepily, almost every one of these scenes ends with seemingly consensual sex. It's wrong,and I don't understands why this keeps happening in a show created by and executive-produced by a woman. But even that can't break my addiction.
Best Animated Show:
I don't know how I missed this one, but I started watching it this year, and Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman just kill it on a weekly basis on this show. The rest of the cast is good, too, especially Megan Mullalley in a recurring role, but Mirman and Schall's gleefully anarchic shouts of pure id keep me laughing like no animated show since the glory years of the Simpsons.
Worst show that used to be good:
American Horror Story
God, season one was so good! Although, to be fair, it did run out of steam towards the end and the season finale was just awful, but for most of the year, they kept you guessing about what the hell was going on and what was going to happen next.
Season two was a bit of a train wreck. They couldn't decide whether it was going to be about the Nazi scientist and his human experiments, or about alien abduction, or about the serial killer with the worst serial-killer name in history, "Bloody Face." For a while, it seemed like maybe iut was going to be about devil possession, but the nun that got possessed just ended up being more fun, bringing a jukebox into the hospital and seducing men. Nothing scary at all. But Jessica Lange was so good that she made it all okay.
But, Lord. even Jessica Lange can't save Season Three. From the very beginning with the main character's "oh, well, I guess I'm a witch, *shrug*" voiceover, this season has been a disaster. The voiceover removed any hope of suspense as we already knew exactly what was going on. And it's never recovered. For one thing, they can't seem to make up their mind whether the witches are good or evil or neither or both. And they just seem to have been born witches which means they don't have to do any spooky, occultic ceremonies or rituals. And the main witch girl's power is that she can fuck guys to death? And she can't turn this power off, so she can never have sex with anyone she actually likes or anyone she wants to do it more than once with. What a stupid power!
But the worst sin this season commits is somehow coaxing really terrible performances from usually Oscar-worthy actresses Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sibide. Just depressing.
Best Drama now that Breaking Bad is gone:
Hell on Wheels
I don't know where the Hell Anson Mount has been all this time, but if there's a more charismatic lead actor in television today, I sure don't know who it would be. He's great, Common is great, Colm Meany is good, the large unknown supporting cast is terrific, and if you can suspend disbelief about a group of white trash men in the 1870's accepting Common in a position of authority, the show is damn-well written. If you're not to put off by violence and gunplay, this is a really compelling drama.
I know I'm forgetting something, there were a lot of shows I really liked this year, bu that's all I can think of right now.