by Jesus Ibarra
It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means: lists! Here is a list of my personal top ten for the best TV shows of the year. And man it was so hard to choose just ten; this was such a great, no fantastic, year for TV, probably the best in the last couple of years. So let’s get started from 10 to 1.
10. The Newsroom (HBO): Created and mostly written by Aaron Sorkin This show stars Jeff Daniels as news anchor Will McAvoy who sets out to make an actual news program that tells the news like it is. This is an idealized world where Will sets out to do news worthy material and not let the ratings dictate what kind of journalism he does. When the show succeeds, it succeeds, but when it falls a bit flat man does it fall. I love the manic energy it has though and Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue gets me every time. This is what I imagine what the Daily Show would look like if it was an actual news program.
9. New Girl (Fox): Oh New Girl, I just loved this show. Starring Zooey Deschenal as the ‘new girl’ Jess who moves in with her three guy friends to start over after breaking up with her boyfriend. Having the back end of season one and the beginning of season two this comedy just gets better and better. I have never watched an episode of New Girl and not laugh aloud. The writing is clever, and being a young adult, I can relate to the characters on the show who have experiences similar to mine. But really the breakout star of this show is Max Greenfield who plays one of Jess’s close guy friends and roommate. Each episode he has fantastic one-liners, and the delivery is close to perfect.
8. Lost Girl (SyFy, Showcase): A show about faeries with a succubus as the star, what isn’t to love. No seriously, Anna Silk is so damn gorgeous and talented as the lead star in this show that is centered around Bo, a succubus who is trying to balance between good and evil. This show definitely has awesome writing and isn’t afraid to show off exactly what being a succubus entails. Read my full review here: https://kingsriverlife.com/04/21/lost-girl-tv-review/
7. Political Animals (USA): Sigourney Weaver starred in this now mini-series (damn you USA for not ordering more episodes) as a secretary of state who failed to win the presidential nomination, and who was at one time the first lady to a popular philandering president who she has since divorced. Sounds familiar no? Well any sort of connection to the Clintons ends here, as this show takes you through the gamut of showing how hard it might be to do the right thing in the political arena, and sometimes the cost of playing. My favorite thing of this show is that it keeps you guessing and character development is at the forefront of this show. Plus the acting is top notch by all involved, seriously check it out.
6. Parenthood (NBC): This amazing sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking, show never fails to deliver on realistic great family drama that never feels forced or like a Saturday afternoon special. Starring an ensemble cast: Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Monica Potter, Dax Shepard, Craig T Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia, Sarah Ramos, Mae Whitman, Erika Christensen, and Sam Jaeger make the show a believable viable family drama. Every time I watch an episode I run the risk of crying, because the show just gets to me whether it’s a sad moment, a touching one, or a really happy one, the water works start. And I have to give kudos to everyone involved because the writing, acting, and pacing is so well done. I don’t think I have a bad thing to say about this show seriously.
5. The Vampire Diaries (CW): This is one show I could not leave off my list just because of jaw dropping finale earlier this year, and the start of the fourth season. I won’t spoil the finale, but let’s just say that I was surprised yet excited they went there. And this show always finds ways to make it about more than Damon and Stefan Salvatore’s relationship to Elena Gilbert. And the trio who lead the show are always so good! I especially love Damon, who is just the right combination of Spike and Angel from Buffy to keep us all entertained.
4. Person of Interest (CBS): This crime action drama slight procedural was an awesome addition to my must watch television. Starring Jim Caviezel as Reese and his partner Harold played by Michael Emerson; they fight crime by using numbers given to them by a machine that Harold built that may or may not be becoming self aware. The right blend of kick ass action, deadpan humor, and sci-fi, make this a fantastic show
3. The Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon): The only animated show on here and it does not disappoint. The show revolves around Korra the Avatar who can control all four elements and “bend” them in ways that others cannot. The world is filled with only one-element type benders and most of the shows conflict comes from a rise of a revolution by certain non-bending people. Although it is an animated TV show, it is definitely for anyone, as it deals with many themes and ideas. The art and voice acting is phenomenal, and dare I say the best around. The fact that it is also heavily serialized like any good sci-fi show is such a good move on the producer’s part.
2. Justified (FX): This show could have easily made number one, as it’s one of my favorite shows. Starring Timothy Olyphant as cool, tough as nails, and law enforcing US Marshal Raylan Givens, as he dispenses justice in his home state of Kentucky. The title comes from the character always being involved in justified shootings. The show is so good, but what really sells it is Timothy Olyphant’s portrayal of Raylan Givens. He plays him with such a quiet intensity, and when the writing calls for it, a perfect portrayal of a raging officer who could cross the line at any moment, although he hasn’t yet. Starting its fourth season in January, I cannot wait to see Raylan dispense some southern justice. It’s just an all around amazing show with the acting, writing, directing, and art direction.
1. Ok so four shows this year top my list. Why? Because hey it’s my list. But in all seriousness these shows were just so superb this year, and also incredibly surprising. I started calling them the suspense hours, because while I was watching I had a pit in my stomach not knowing what to expect out of each episode.
Homeland (Showtime): First off it was the darling of this year’s Emmy’s. Winning the categories in lead acting and best drama. Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, and Mandy Patinkin (holla indeed Claire Danes), lead this amazing show about a Marine POW who might or might not be a terrorist. I am not spoiling anything about this show other than it is just freaking spectacular. The acting, writing, and twists that come out of this show are just breathtaking.
The Walking Dead (AMC): After a lackluster season two, this show came roaring back for season three. A show about survivors trying to live in a zombie infested world, where often the living are just as dangerous as the dead, did not pull any punches. With some of the goriest hardcore zombie kills I have seen and one of the most surprising and vivid character deaths; this season catapulted the show to being the most watched on TV. And I have to give major kudos to Andrew Lincoln who stars as the lead Rick Grimes for his amazing performance that leaves me emotionally drained every time.
Sons of Anarchy (FX): A show about bikers and families; Sons of Anarchy quickly became one of my favorites. Being in its fifth season there is just so much to talk about but I wouldn’t want to spoil it. The basic plot is the show follows Jax Teller, portrayed by the amazingly talented Charlie Hunnam, as he tries to save his club, as they get deeper into illegal activities that put them all at bigger risks. This year returned the show to the original format of the battle inside the Jax character whether he will be the man his father wanted him to be or be a monster like his stepfather Clay Morrow, played by the also talented Ron Perlman. It was a painful, gut wrenching season with scenes that featured some of the most emotional acting and character deaths I have seen, and that are still with me to this day. The finale of this season just completely left my jaw on the floor it was so good.
Dexter (Showtime): At one point this was my favorite show on television. We all watched as Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall) moonlighted as a serial killer, killing only the most horrible people who fit a code that his father gave to him. In season seven though, the show did something I never have seen an aging series do: it completely reinvented itself with some much needed creative force. I have to spoil season six to get to the premise of season seven. So stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled and know you have to watch this show now.
Much of the season was about Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter’s cop sister, finding out what her brother does in his spare time. And with that, the show did something I have never quite seen before: it made simple conversations the most dramatic and tense thing on television. Every time Dexter and Debra were on screen, it was just TV magic. Jennifer Carpenter gave this year her best and she definitely deserves to be recognized for it. And that finale was one of the most suspenseful and satisfying I have ever seen. And I honestly don’t know where the show is going into season eight, and that is a good thing because I cannot wait to be on the wild ride.