Saturday, December 6, 2014
Another great year for television:
SHOW OF THE YEAR: TIE
HOMELAND (season 4): there has never been a show that had so much riding on its return. No one expected much after Brody died but Carrie is now a station chief and this season has been one brutal shock after the other…the stuff of greatness.
DOWNTON ABBEY (season 5): the show stepped into a higher level modern thinking this season and its kinks in working out these differences were a delight to watch. The introduction of a plucky new character, Sarah Bunting is particularly a challenge for Lord Robert, and they have some explosive scenes including a shocking dinner battle. Mary though is the main protagonist this season, leading in her own feminist way, the family into modernity.
BEST OF THE REST (in no particular order):
THE GOOD WIFE: Alicia continues to remain calm amid the round shifting under her feet and we’re seeing the political animal crawling out of her now.
SHERLOCK: he’s alive, yeah but, wait, is Moriarty too?
HANNIBAL: after a lukewarm debut season, the doctor turned up the style this year and his unique methods of killing.
HOUSE OF CARDS: all hail President of the USA Frank and Claire the President of all things Quietly Ruthless---I’ve never seen a couple deserve each other so on a series.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK: one word: Vee. And it gets better, the manipulative witch is set to return for season 3---I cant wait because season 2 was all about her delicious wickedness.
GAME OF THRONES: finally we’re rid of the rotten Joffery and his grandfather but the show grew in strength with the other characters too. The nuances and allegiances are spinning on a dime—and all the white Daenerys’ army grows and waits.
VEEP: arguably the wittiest comedy on television.
SUITS: the show upped the ante for every character on season 4, especially Mike, who, for the first time, found himself in conflict with the people he loves the most, Rachel and Harvey. And if that wasn’t enough, the dark side of Louis and his threat of exposing Mike is finally manifest—we’ve all used the phrase (you’ve been Litt up!) at this point and waiting impatiently for the season to resume to find out if Jessica caves and makes him partner.
BEST NEW TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
SILICON VALLEY: it’s taken HBO a while to cater to teckies and geeks but here at last is its brilliant salvo. The show is a fresh, insightful look at high-tech anxiety and the people who suffer from it.
BEST OF THE REST (in no particular order):
TRANSPARENT: Jeffery Tambour is outstanding and award-worthy as Mort, a middle-aged man who comes out as transgender much to the surprise of his selfish, self-involved children. Director Jill Soloway has outdone herself with this gem.
HAPPY VALLEY: Sarah Lacanshire is a gritty cop with a troubled grandson who is a daily reminder of the tragedy that happened to her daughter. Her battles extend to keeping her community safe and we can’t wait for season 2.
YOU’RE THE WORST: Chris Geere and Aya Cash are both delightfully damaged goods who cynically get involved with each other and magic happens.
VICIOUS: Sir Ian McKellan…that is all.
BROAD CITY: two twenty-something friends careen through the good life the way GIRLS is supposed to.
PLAYING HOUSE: two female friends again, only they’re older and one has a baby. The other leaves her high-profile corporate job to help raise the kid and together they careen through the small-town life.
BROADCHURCH: the British whodunit fell to a pat ending but everything leading up to the revelation was tense, riveting.
PENNY DREADFUL: the type of supernatural venture doomed to fail but somehow Eva Green’s other-worldly creepiness keeps it intact.
BLACK-ISH: a divisive show, but one that has grown in strength each week, so calling it a 00s Cosby re-telling is a compliment, not a curse.
A bumper crop year so let’s dive right in…
1.The Chainsmokers Selfie: it was only a matter of time for such internet-related language to be turned into a crappy pop hit.
2. Play-N-Skillz feat. Redfoo, Lil Jon & Enertia McFly Literally, I Can’t: never knew a song could literally only be its chorus repeatedly. And the crunk as the aside only distracts temporarily.
3. Ricky Carty Gyal Tek Cocky: only in Jamaica is it hype for repeatedly violent sex seen as something accomplished.
4. Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg Wiggle: I don’t know what’s more embarrassing: Derulo singing bout a children’s game or the dry chorus.
5. Spice & Vybz Kartel Conjugal Visit: its 2014, using certain raw words to describe the animalistic nature of a good fuck just isn’t startling anymore.
6. Florida Georgia Line Sun Daze: I’m not even sure what genre this is because the tiresome reference to ska is suffused by guitars and country-fed vocals…no wonder its such a mess.
7. Swans Some Things We Do: for such a highly-regarded band, this repetitive track is one huge clunker.
8. Lil B Fuck KD: nothing wrong with doing a diss track on a pro athlete, but at least make it good.
9. Avril Lavigne Hello Kitty: remember when Avril was semi-relevant as an emo artist? Now, all I can do is laugh and not in the good way.
10. Mkto Classic: name-dropping famous soul singers does not a classic make.
11. Weezer Back to The Shack: for such a highly-touted band, Weezer should know better.
12. Magic Rude: not even a serious effort to sound stoned, just hides behind the ska smokescreen.
13. The Bug feat. Death Grips Fuck A Bitch: wearisome misogyny masquerading as a serious track.
14. Lily Allen Air Balloon: not even her staunchest fan can defend this slick pop nothingness.
15. Ay Streatz Wut Chu Tryna Do: there’s a thin line between being a sex hound and being a joke. This is laughable at best.
16. Mary Lambert Secrets: tries to be smart but ends up a ridiculous parody instead.
17. 5 Seconds Of Summer She Looks So Perfect: the sad thing is that I think these guys really think they’re hardcore. Scary.
18. Mariah Carey You’re Mine: wretched 90s throwback.
19. Pitbull feat. G.R.L. Wild Wild Love: generic to its materialistic core.
20. Fergie feat. Yg L.A.Love (la la): her return single may have thematically travelled all over the globe but its stuck in transit in reality.