Monday, January 27, 2014

The Only Good Shows Left On TV

Let's face it. TV has taken serious hits. If I went down the list of every show that sucks out there, this might be a blog worthy of a dissertation but just to name a few; no one cares about Mad Men anymore because the nostalgia has worn off and no one wants to see Don Draper in high-rise bell bottoms when they enter the 70's, Breaking Bad has also lost a ton of momentum considering it's just gotten long and boring and at this point you've taken a knee and tried to run out the clock. In terms of vampires, True Blood has just gotten a bit too much; too much sex, too much blood. It's like Twilight was chopped up into serials...or if there was a third tier daytime soap opera but with vampires. You know my feelings on Girls so let's just save us both time and not go there. And let's not even get started on Reality TV, the juggernaut that is backfiring like crazy right now. At first it was kinda cool and interesting; delving into that curious kitty inside all of us, then it became gratuitous, and now a days, they just make shows about anything until the novelty wears off too, even The Soup isn't funny anymore...I stopped watching ages ago. And basically most of Bravo and the E! Network's shows are tired. They are just scraping the bottom of the barrel with shows that actually have a hashtag in their title (i.e. #Richkids Of Beverly Hills). And after Phil Robertson's incendiary comments on the ridiculously overblown show Duck Dynasty, we can all agree that the well of redneck TV has run dry also. As for situation comedy, there's only one show that is still standing and has the Golden Globe to prove it. So here we go... 

Parks and Recreation, NBC. Still going strong, on its 5th season. It came out of the box so poorly with the first season being basically a throw away and was this close to being cancelled, but with new writers and Amy Poehler's tenacity and comic genius and Ron Swanson as the resident breakout character, this show has plenty more seasons in its future. It never gets dull, repetitive, or boring. It's everything a sitcom should be. 
Hannibal, NBC. This is a really seriously interesting take on the crime thriller TV show genre. It focuses on a detective who has severe mental and emotional trauma and deals with his solving crime cases in a very dark, morose, and existantial way. Not to mention the biggest criminal and focus of the show is based on one of the most infamous characters in pop-culture; Hannibal Lecter, and you would think no one would be able to trump Anthony Hopkins nor should attempt it, but Madds Mikkelson is a blessing sent from the acting heavens and gives new brevity and life to this format, and creates a psychological drama so profound it's terrifying yet beautiful to experience. 
The Vampire Diaries, CW Network. Unlike it's biggest competition; True Blood, it's an actually character driven show with great writers and interesting arcs. They aren't preoccupied with shock value and really nuance every story they are telling no matter how seemingly superficial it seems. It's a winner. 
Downton Abbey, ITV. This show received so much flack for being boring and too 'British', but at the same time it caught America by the balls and hasn't yet let go. Whether it be the Dowager Countess' sarcastic comments or reliving big events we never actually got to live through from the Titanic sinking to the First World War, the characters again, are that which matter the most in this show. Julian Fellows has followed a very important rule of writing, which is consistency. And it has paid off in spades. Without it's success in America and American's fascination with the series, it probably wouldn't have lasted longer than a couple season, but it's on it's 4th and going strong. 
Sherlock, BBC. This is perhaps the best show on television right now, and definitely in the top ten of the decade, easily. Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat have reinvented the entire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cannon and done so brilliantly, appropriating it for modern times. You can see just how much they love the source material considering how true they stay to it. On top of that, they made two genius decision; stretching each episode to an hour and a half so they only have to put out three episodes a season, and casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. There has never been an actor more suited for the role he's playing.

Vanderpump Rules, Bravo. I know what you're thinking, but you know what? This show is exactly what it is; an unapologetic view of some of the most hideous personalities that exist on earth, and it's fascinating. No matter how little reality is actually in this reality series, it is starting to trump it's predecessor; The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, of which this is a spin off. It's low art and low blows. It's silly and addictive, fabulous and nauseating. It's not exactly a breath of fresh air, but it's sticking by the principals of Reality TV and not taking itself seriously. Perfect example: Bravo decided to link the two shows and show the same party first from the perspective of the housewives on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, then from the servers, from Vanderpump Rules, back to back I might add, and the latter was far more interesting, especially Stassi's impressions and Jax's comments. 'It was like a drunk United Nations'...priceless. 
Saturday Night Live, NBC. With the departure of Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Seth Meyers, and Kristen Wiig, you would think this show that will seemingly never die would go down the crapper and fast, but with the casting of Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Taran Killam, and most newly Beck Bennett, Saturday Night Live has pumped newer and younger life into its content and is still going strong. Just because some seriously strong and valuable players have retired and Lorne has to now send out the bench warmers, they are proving they can play in the big leagues. And with the digital short concept no longer in play, the new cast members have found new and creative ways to compensate. Also with the female cast almost as close in count with the male, it's no longer the 'boy's club' and they've taken full advantage of that. Can we say 'Girlfriends Talkin' About Guys and Stuff'? 
Clips below:

No comments: