Best TV of 2014

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Jul 12, 2002
We were going to do a year-end list a year or two ago and kind of just made a thread talking about great television that trailed off. I guess we can do the same again.

Drama Series:

The Affair (Season 1) - Understated and emotionally moving, the two leads should probably earn Emmy trophies next summer.

Boardwalk Empire (Final Season) - Fitting swan-song to the most underrated Drama of its era

The Fall (Season 2) - One of the best cat-and-mouse detective stories we'll ever see.

Fargo (Season 1) - I've only seen the ending of the film thanks to cable television and this has nothing truly in common with it other than tone/location, but talk about keeping the stakes high throughout a run of episodes!

Game of Thrones (Season 4) - Source material is consistently strong enough that this will always be one of the greats

Hannibal (Season 2) - Deliciously warped and enthralling, it's the only series on network television that can compete with cable's big boys

House of Cards (Season 2) - I dunno, I think it got even better this time around. Perhaps the most addictive show in terms of binge-watching, even if there's still very little below the surface.

The Knick (Season 1) - Steven Soderbergh presents a master class in directing while presenting the greatest amount of skill I've ever seen in a television product. Also, little Ms. Bono.

Mad Men (Season 7, Part I) - Still the best thing on television, particularly if writing is what you consider to be the most important element

Manhattan (Season 1) - Probably overshadowed by a lot of other great dramatic television, but this one never really faltered in the telling of its story. Also, features that ridiculous attractive actress from House of Cards.

Orange Is The New Black (Season 2) - A small step down from the first season due to focusing too much on a non-interesting turf war that had a lot of predictable beats and an obvious ending...this show excels more when it focuses on each of the cast members in smaller doses and doesn't feel constrained to one major plot.

Outlander (Season 1) - I love the atmosphere and the look of the show although I get the feeling that it's the most faithful book adaptation in history...I feel we're going to watch the lead bake bread for an hour real soon.

Rectify (Season 2) - Everything about this show feels so lived-in (and heartbreaking) that I don't think I'm watching fiction

Sherlock (Season 3) - A step below the others, but I really loved the episodes fleshing out the bond between Sherlock and Holmes even if they weren't spending most of that time solving actual mysteries.

The Strain (Season 1) - Successfully translated Del Toro's pulpy vision to the small screen. Great popcorn fare.

True Detective (Season 1) - One for the ages and I loved how they didn't feel the need to end with some mind-blower as the journey is always more fun than any end revelations

Comedy/Dramedy Series:

Adventure Time - Perhaps the best children's animated series ever made, it's a smorgasbord of endless creativity.

Broad City (Season 1) - The laziest good comedy ever made? Probably. I don't know if it's inspiring to young women that this show's leads wrote half these episodes or if they should be mortified. I don't think it represents a breakthrough in comedy for women as they can be driftless stoners too.

Clarence (Season 1) - A hilarious kid's program that any animator should get a kick of thanks to its crudely drawn characters, unappealing voices and hilarious circumstances

Community (Season 5) - A big step up from the unwatchable season prior, Harmon righted the ship a bit and returned the show to a "very good" level even if it's no longer something you need to rush out and see

Derek (Season 2) - Ricky Gervais manages to challenge a lot of notions about the value of a good-person in this world while producing something that was more consistently funny than anything he or Merchant have written since Extras

Doll & Em (Season 1) - A wonderful exploration of friendship, jealousy and self-esteem

Garfunkel and Oates (Season 1) - These YouTube singer/songwriters perfectly moved their act to our television screens with the same sort of humor intact

Gravity Falls (Season 2) - Twin Peaks meets DuckTales in this frequently creative/funny animated series that features a surprising amount of great guest stars

Inside Amy Schumer (Season 2) - She may very well be the best stand-up in the business at the moment and this show never fails to deliver at least one insanely funny bit per episode.

Key & Peele (Season 4) - The skits have run a bit longer this season and aren't as funny, probably due to the high episode count and the lead's big workloads, but nobody else out there is churning out a sketch comedy series that's as consistently funny and that touches upon literally every element of today's comedy world. One minute there's an insightful sketch about race relations and the next minute there's a weird one that leads to two doctors and a cadaver jerking each other off. :up:

Kroll Show (Season 2) - Nobody does it quite like Nick Kroll. This show rewards long-time viewers with its ever connecting on-going sketches (almost all of which are some weird bizarro reality television knock-offs) and brilliantly played recurring characters.

Louie (Season 4) - Louie gets less funny each season and these really lengthy on-going storylines weren't a total positive (probably done so he wouldn't have to come up with as many distinctive concepts like in earlier seasons), but at the same time he continues to challenge conventions and improve as a director/writer

Moone Boy (Season 2) - This was hands down the funniest show of the year, improving from delightful to laugh-out-loud hilarious. While the coming of age element is always fun, where this show really excelled was its knack for character driven comedy.

Nathan For You (Season 2) - This "Undercover Boss"-like reality program deconstructs comedy to an insane degree with Nathan's schemes becoming even more and more hilariously ludicrous. I loved this season's "storyline" of him wanting to be accepted by other people, particularly women...very cringe-worthy.

Parks and Recreation (Season 6) - Still network television's only true-laugher, this one shows very little signs of aging

Please Like Me (Season 2) - Accomplishes what Girls sets out to do and defeats it in every category. There's no more honest (or hilarious) look at the lives of the modern young-adult than this program.

Rick and Morty (Season 1) - The second Dan Harmon program on the list, this one's probably a little closer to the sense of humor of co-creator Justin Roiland. I particularly liked the episode where the main characters watch a lot of outer space television which functions as a cheap way to throw everything at the fan and see what sticks.

Silicon Valley (Season 1) - A bit overrated (I could smell the Emmy nomination from a mile away due to HBO's cred), but it perfectly captures the vibe of similar Mike Judge projects, including Office Space, even if this often felt particularly lazy. That said, middle out. :lol:

A Touch of Cloth (Season 3) - What Airplane! is to feature films, this is to television

Transparent (Season 1) - Easily the best series in this category and a good example of indie filmaking now finding its way to television

Wilfred (Final Season) - Wrapped up the show's central mysteries and still held on to its humor and warmth

Drama Series My Girlfriend And I Love But Didn't Watch The Most Recent Season Of Yet:

The Americans (Season 2) - Found the first season to be a wee bit overrated, especially due to some of the more implausible elements but I've heard it's blossomed into one of television's best.

In The Flesh (Season 2) - Does zombies so much better than The Walking Dead. It's kind of the inverse of that show, character driven and highly emotional.

The Killing (Season 3/4) - We decided to hold out for Season 4 ("The Netflix season") to be released as we'd heard Season 3 ends on a cliffhanger.

Masters of Sex (Season 2) - Saw the first few episodes of Season 2 and it's still just as brilliant. You'd think a show like this would be real-one-note, but it's never not intriguing.

Orphan Black (Season 2) - Out of all the clones, the soccer mom is clearly the most attractive. I will brawl with anyone who declares otherwise.


Big Brother (Canada/US) & Survivor - A genre I now have almost no use for, but these mind-games will never get old.

Completely Unwatchable At This Point:

Downton Abbey
Modern Family
The second season of The Fall came out?!? Must download.

You covered pretty much everything on my list and then some. If also add:

Review - US remake of an Aussie original, had the single funniest section of the year for me.

Last Week Tonight - brilliant, hilarious and illuminating appointment television.

Veep - keeps getting funnier each year.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - has taken Parks' title as best workplace hangout sitcom.

Enlisted - goofy and taken from us too soon.

I could make a top ten of drama or comedy, it's been such a good year. An equal split would be (in no particular order):

True Detective
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

Rick & Morty
Nathan For You
Last Week Tonight
The Fall is currently screening now, I think they're up to the 4th ep this week. The first season was so good, haven't started on season 2 yet, they're sitting on the DVR.
True Detective was the best new thing I saw on TV this year, by far.

And I still love me some Mad Men and GOT. Both of their seasons were great. The Mad Men season finale, in particular, was a mini-masterpiece. And the Oberyn/Mountain sequence in GOT was about as gutwrenching and affecting as anything I've ever seen in fiction.

Holy fuck, BigMacphisto, you watch a shit-ton of TV. Wow.
American Horror Story
Walking Dead

Dracula was good, but those fuckers cancelled it. I think that was around in 2014. :wink:
Holy fuck, BigMacphisto, you watch a shit-ton of TV. Wow.

I weirdly actually don't. Nearly all on my above list was accomplished by my girlfriend and I watching about about an hour to ninety minutes a night of these shows. Over the course of a year, you can obviously rack up a lot of viewing, however.

A few I forgot...

Cosmos - Even if you know most of these scientific ideas, they're told in an awe-inspiring manner with fantastic special effects and enlightening scientific histories and biographies. Easily the top-non fiction event of the year.

Call The Midwife (Season 3) - Continues to balance humor and drama effectively while exploring both of the extremes of the human experience, with the characters often finding resolve in the grimmest of conditions

Doctor Who (Season 8) - A comeback for the Doctor, this season wasn't as focused on hyper-dense storylines with weak-endings and Peter Capaldi stepped into the role with aplomb and is probably the funniest incarnation yet
Reading this thread makes me realize how little TV I actually watch. Most of what I watch is on PBS Masterpiece. Sherlock is always great, Downton Abbey is still pretty good, The Escape Artist was fantastic and didn't get the attention or promotion it deserved. I also enjoyed Endeavor, which ended on a major cliffhanger. I never got into Mr. Selfridge, and Call the Midwife is just too gross; I can only watch so much screaming while giving birth. I watched season one of The Paradise on Netflix, but haven't kept up with season two on TV, since it'll be on Netflix eventually.

I would really like to catch up with Parks and Recreation. I worked at night for over a year and got out of the habit of watching network primetime TV. I also lost track of Modern Family, but that show seems to be running out of steam. Otherwise, network TV is total crap across the board. This might make me sound like an old lady, but I can't believe the graphic violence and disturbing things they get by with. I don't need to see that.

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I think I need to check out Rectify. I've seen a lot of people recommending it lately.
I watched season three of Sherlock and liked it well enough. Waiting til Mad Men is entirely done to watch season 7, though. The only other tv I watched all year was old on Netflix (and unless I'm forgetting something, was just the west wing and fawlty towers). Maybe I forgot something, but whatever it was probably wasn't from this year, either.
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