I haven’t been posting on this blog much in the last 6 months due to having been involved in a couple of very time-consuming activities that take up most of my days. As a result, my TV and movie viewing has been curtailed and my reading diminished during this period. I resolve to change this in 2018 beginning in March but I did want to weigh in with a few posts about the best books I read and the movies and TV shows I thought were the greatest of 2017. This first post will cover TV.
The 5 Best TV Shows of 2015 (that I watched)
- The Leftovers
The Leftovers had the perfect final season and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to this controversial show. If you haven’t seen it, Season 1 is very dark, bleak and hard to get through but it becomes so worthwhile to have done so in order to watch Seasons 2 and 3. This show about grief, loss and craziness also delivered pure joy in Season 3 with a Tasmanian sex boat and numerous other gripping episodes. Carrie Coon was magnificent and you should watch it for just her performance.
- Halt and Catch Fire
This is another show that struggled a bit in its first season but just blossomed over the course of the next three seasons and its final one this fall, delivered perfectly. While many may question whether they want to watch a show about the history of technology and the beginnings of Silicon Valley, rest assured that at its heart, this show is about the characters and particularly two women who form one of the most compelling relationships in television. Watch this show on Netflix. Feel free to only see the first 4 episodes and the finale of Season 1 and then savor every episode after that.
- The Good Place
I’m watching fewer and fewer network TV shows but this one is great. A show that is about heaven, hell, ethics and morality delivers those messages in such a comedic way that it makes it impossible not to care deeply for a group of very flawed characters. The Season 1 finale twist and how the show runners picked it up this fall were unpredictable and executed flawlessly. The cast is terrific and it is just a fun show with lots of meat.
- The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale was excellent and it was worth having to pay for Hulu for a couple of months to watch it unfold each week. It did drag occasionally but the acting chops of Elizabeth Moss and Ann Dowd made it all worthwhile and I should note the surprisingly excellent work of Alexis Bledel – who knew? The parallels between this dystopian world and this past year, unfortunately were a little too close.
- Better Things
This smaller 30-minute dramedy is excellent and the second season was even better than the first. Unfortunately, the show is linked so closely to Louis C.K. which makes for a tough decision on whether to support it or not but I don’t think it is fair to Pamela Adlon to boycott it. Better Things is based loosely on her life and her Directing and Acting in it are very good. This show hits to the heart of what it is like to be a single mother, struggling to keep things going at home while trying to keep a career going at the same time making many mistakes with both. There is so much honesty and emotion in this dramedy that it is hard not to love it.
The Best of the Rest:
Jane the Virgin, Alias Grace, The Americans, Big Little Lies, Mary Kills People, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, Last Week with John Oliver, Stranger Things, Catastrophe, Casual, You’re the Worst, The Young Pope, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Keepers, Billions, The Vietnam War, the Middle
Shows that I didn’t get to but I really want to see:
One Mississippi (S2), One Day at a Time, Top of the Lake China Girl, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sneaky Pete, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (last 2 seasons)
Shows I’m still watching despite them not being that great:
Homeland, Fargo, the Affair, Scandal, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Magicians and few that I’m too embarrassed to mention (and no, they aren’t reality shows!
One final thought: There are some shows that are nearly perfect in their premier season and should end that way. Unfortunately, good ratings, lots of buzz and some award nominations and all of a sudden, we have Season 2 of Stranger Things, Big Little Lies and worst of all, 13 Reasons Why despite the storylines being completely wrapped up in what should have been the only season. Let them stand alone and go on to other innovative projects.