In this age where there are more TV shows than ever before, there are many–even high profile ones–that I have yet to watch. In the next few weeks, I plan to work through You’re the Worst, Outlander and others. But I can still have an opinion! Here’s my best and worst TV superlatives for 2014.
After building towards a Nick and Jess coupling and then tearing the whole thing down, New Girl has been genuinely, consistently hilarious. A few instant-classics from this season: the episodes “Landline” and “Background Check”, seeing Winston get really into being a cop, the return of cranky Nick (not to mention my favorite character, Tran), Coach at the teaching conference, Nadia’s baby shower and Schmidt trying to explain fake TV Tinder to Jess.
Runner up: Hemlock Grove (I know, I can’t believe it myself)
Best new drama
It is an anthology series that will be different every season, but I am still shocked at how wonderful Fargo was. I am actually looking forward to watching it again for the performances and the Canadian landscape.
Runner up: Since liveblogging the first episode, I have been obsessed with Jane the Virgin (as are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because the show got some Golden Globe nominations, wooo!).
Best new comedy
I really liked Broad City until the “Destination Wedding” episode, and then I LOVED IT. Stripped of its hipster-esque qualities that make it current, and we’re left with a fabulous show about female friendship in that weird in-between period of adulthood with some uncomfortable Larry David humor thrown in.
Runner up: A to Z. OH WAIT NBC CANCELLED IT. I really enjoyed Bojack Horseman, so I’ll say that.
I counted Fargo as a drama series so I could lay some praise on Olive Kitteridge, which was a timeless and extraordinary portrait of mental illness and relationships, filled with performances I loved. Frances McDormand was predictably great as the complicated titular character, but I thought Zoe Kazan and John Gallagher, Jr. also did award-worthy work.
Best guest star
Billy Eichner on EVERYTHING.
He was the funniest part of his recent New Girl episode, and every time he is on Parks & Rec, he lights up the screen with his one-liners. Right now, I do not care that he is playing the same character everywhere, since that character is so fucking funny.
Runner up: Sarah Baker, telling Louis CK what it’s like to be fat, on Louie.
I am ready to move to Montauk now into a big old house near the beach that is kind of falling apart that can serve as the setting for sex with Joshua Jackson, listening to old country music while doing laundry, and hanging out with my passive aggressive family.
Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) from Broad City, a dentist with the dryest sense of humor ever, who obviously adores Ilana, or he would not put up with all her shit.
Perhaps inspired by Leslie and Ann on Parks and Rec, 2014 was the year of female friendship, thanks to Ilana and Abbi (Broad City). There was also Rayna and Sadie on Nashville (until the writers decide that they should be rivals, grrr), Cat and Tess on BATB, and Maggie and Emma on Playing House. I am hoping TV writers continue to explore these relationships in 2015.
It appears that Dominic Cooper and I are both really into Ruth Wilson right now. I’ve almost finished The Affair and I am also loving her on Luther (I had never seen it).
Best all-around show
The second season of The Americans was so twisty and smart and compelling. Martha continues to be intriguingly weird, and the two principles (Russian spies played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) consistently put in the best and most-overlooked work on TV.
Everyone on Sons of Anarchy. This is the second year I have bestowed this honor on SOA and thankfully the last.
Runner up: Foxy Oberyn on Game of Thrones (see below).
Unlikeable men are anti-heroes, unlikeable women are bitches. Roxane Gay’s amazing post on Buzzfeed (reprinted in her excellent collection of essays Bad Feminist) was from January, but it seems people are still discussing and debating this, thanks to series like How to Get Away with Murder, Orange is the New Black, and Olive Kitteridge (man, website commenters did not like her) as well as True Detective. The truth is, more complicated characters with fuzzy intentions just make for better viewing (and reading), no matter what gender they are.
Worst season-long B storyline
WTF Justified. We already have Orange is the New Black, we don’t need Ava Goes to Jail. The payoff of her season 5 stint in jail didn’t come until the last episode.
“You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children.” Oberyn’s insistence on repeating this to the Mountain on Game of Thrones and getting him to admit he killed Elia eventually caused his own (very brutal) death.
Luke on Nashville has been two-faced the whole time he’s been on the show–likely due to terrible writing. He doesn’t think Rayna should run her own label, but he offers to give her financial support. He hates Deacon but takes him on tour. Rayna finally dumped his ass before the wedding, but not before taking readers on a very confusing emotional ride.
Runner up: Noah on The Affair. He has a lot of self-esteem problems stemming from his inadequacies as a writer and husband. Also he is MARRIED.
I have finally deleted Mulaney from my DVR. John Mulaney is a terrible actor; Nasim Pedrad’s character is a mess; Elliott Gould plays Oscar, the old queen across the hall who is every bit as stereotypical as you think he’d be; and worst of all, if I hear the words “Lou Cannon” spoken from Mulaney’s lips ever again I will stick needles in my ears.
Show I always forget to create a superlative for, because, like everyone else, I take for granted how good it is and soon it will air its final episode and I will feel great loss