End of the Year TV Report (2014): Part 3

Fiiinally…  Apologies for the extreme delays on this last one. I was playing catch-up with a number of the American/British shows has caused a delay with this report.  Yes, I was that far behind.

The Oregon Trail* rating system:

Must Watch – Congratulations! You’ve made it onto the Oregon Trail List of Legends!
Watch – You found (blank) in an abandoned wagon.
Just OK – You have exhaustion.
If you’re bored – The wagon tipped over while floating. You lose: 3 wagon axles, 2 sets of clothing and 20 pounds of food.
Pass – You have died of dysentery.

*Now that the vintage game, Oregon Trail, is available for everyone to play online, what can I say? It’s on my brain.

COMPLETED AMERICAN/BRITISH SERIES

PSYCH

Not all the episodes have been winners especially towards the end of the series. The finale did leave something to be desired but overall I was satisfied with the ending.

Verdict: Just OK

WAREHOUSE 13

Another show that felt like one foot was out the door. Warehouse 13 has lost most of its original charm over the years but these are characters that I’ve liked and followed. I wouldn’t have missed watching the final season and the series does pay fanservice to the viewers but it felt like a rushed patch up job to wrap the story.

Verdict: If you’re bored

DEATH TAKES PEMBERLEY

It was actually a miniseries that aired in the UK in 2013 but I quite enjoyed this sequel to the Pride & Prejudice.  It injected a bit a mystery while portraying the realistic side of Elizabeth’s (Anna Maxwell Martin) marriage to Mr. Darcy (Matthew Rhys).  It was an interesting mashup of genres.  And come on, you have Doctor Who‘s Jenna Coleman playing Lydia and Matthew Goode playing George Wickham.

Verdict: Watch

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: SERIES 2

Much of the freshness seen in the first season is not seen here in the second. We’re forced to accept a new member of the group, Alice Herren (Hattie Morahan), who would have been great if it didn’t feel like Susan Gray (Anna Maxwell Martin) was being pushed out the door. I understand where Susan’s fears come from but the zeal we see in her character the first season can barely be found in the second which is a real bummer since her character is what attracted me to the series in the first place.

Verdict: Just OK

TRUE BLOOD

It was extremely disappointing in the penultimate season leading up to the finale. The finale didn’t improve on the broken story all that much. However, like myself, if you’ve been following the series for all these years, it was hard not to finish the story.

Verdict: If you’re bored

TRUE DETECTIVE: SEASON 1

It’s a slow burn but the characters are very rich. The last few episodes does leave you seriously creeped out and on the edge of your seats.

Verdict: Must Watch

SELFIE

It was cancelled before it even got a chance. I’m sure that it didn’t help that no one, including myself, was expecting the series to make it past the first season. The pilot that aired on TV was very different from the pilot that was offered up on VOD. I preferred the VOD version as you could see the chemistry between the leads. That chemistry is also brought to the foreground again towards the last few episodes of the season which were only released online.

Verdict: If you’re bored

BOARDWALK EMPIRE

This was another HBO with an underwhelming penultimate season. While I didn’t exactly fall in love with the first few episodes of the final season, I really enjoyed the last half of the season. The story really does come full circle with us exploring Nucky’s past and it is in line with where his character ends up.

Verdict: Watch

THE NEWSROOM

Season 2’s finale pretty much felt like a series finale so this entire season felt like one foot was already out the door. Having said that, I really like the characters to keep watching til the end but I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the storyline this season.

Verdict: If you’re bored

AMERICAN/BRITISH TV

FARGO

I am so glad that this show won Best Miniseries over True Detective. They were both great shows but it took a familiar atmosphere and really make a truly unique spin off. The show is built on these small town characters who are each horrific or amusing in their own way. The story builds to a satisfying ending.

Verdict: Must Watch

RAY DONOVAN

What was apparent about the first season is that the show is filled with great character actors, it’s just that the writing didn’t justify the elaborate characters that the actors created on screen. The second season has quite a different feel in the writing that meets the acting on a similar level.

Verdict: Watch

ROYAL PAINS

I wasn’t all that emotionally involved in the latest season of Royal Pains. I never really warmed to the new character, Emma, and felt that Hank’s (Mark Feuerstein) love interest was haphazardly thrown into the plot. On the upside, I do feel forward movement between Hank and his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo), so that’s something.

Verdict: If you’re bored

MAD MEN

While I could see that AMC was trying to repeat the successful formula of splitting the final season, like what it did with Breaking Bad, I just don’t think it was a good idea for Mad Men. I wouldn’t have minded waiting a few extra months to get all the Mad Men final episodes in one dose because it don’t feel like much happens. Don (Jon Hamm) is back at SC&P and Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) doesn’t feel like she’s advancing much in her career (neither does her love life). However, we’ve had to say goodbye to Bert which is a nod to the past. The future is uncertain and so is the final episodes of Mad Men.

Verdict: Just OK

HALT AND CATCH FIRE

There was a lot of tech-talk and relationships that went nowhere. I recognize that the show’s pacing did improve in the later episodes and that I said I wouldn’t mind coming back for Season 2 but I’m feeling less likely to return now. On the one hand, I can hear the network saying that they want this to be the new Mad Men set in the tech world but by the end of the season, there are very few characters that I end up caring about. That’s major issue if I’m gonna continue watching so we shall have to see if it’s worth my time when it returns.

Verdict: If you’re bored

SUITS

Suits started off with a very interesting concept and great characters but the problem is that it recycles the same dilemma over and over again. Just how many times are we going to be in danger of finding out about Mike. It happened with Jessica Pearson and it happened with Louis. Just how many people have to know before it’s not a secret anymore?

Verdict: If you’re bored

YOUNG AND HUNGRY

At first I wasn’t sure about the chemistry between the two leads but I have to admit loving the chemistry between Emily Osment and Aimee Carrero, who play roommates. It’s an ABC Family show so the humor is corny but hopefully it will grow to become just as charming as Melissa & Joey.

Verdict: If you’re bored

MELISSA & JOEY

I feel like we’re finally getting somewhere with the leads of this show. Unfortunately, the last season wasn’t the finest in the series. It’s enough that I still like Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, though.

Verdict: Just OK

THE AMERICANS

The second season really ups the ante. We get deeper into the relationship of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, respectively), their relationship with the Russian government and their children. How do you keep all those spy balls up in the air? You don’t when the KGB wants to start recruiting your children.

Verdict: Watch

MODERN FAMILY

I can’t quite understand why this show is nominated and wins every year. I get that it’s nice to see a comedy about a family and the issues they face and some episodes are still funny but it definitely has lost its freshness. I watched until the end of last season but haven’t started the current season.

Verdict: Just OK

GREY’S ANATOMY

I said goodbye to Cristina Yang and then said goodbye to the series. It’s time to make room for new shows because Grey’s Anatomy has been on a very long time. While I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the characters and some of the stories, I’d rather try other shows out.

Verdict: Just OK

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

I had to check out this show by the end of the last season. The tiresome Stefan or Damon debate was wearing me out and somehow having Elena become a vampire made her way more annoying. Weirdly enough, I didn’t feel that way when Nina Dobrev makes an appearance on The Originals this past year.

Verdict: Pass

HANNIBAL

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the 2nd season as Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) could only keep his secret for so long, right? However, there was some interesting mindgames going on between Lecter and Will (Hugh Dancy). And my goodness, there are no words to accurately describe how awesomely creepy Michael Pitt is as Mason Verger. I’m a little sad that he won’t be reprising the role but frankly, with half his face gone, it’s not like I’m going to visually notice the difference. Oh and that after-credits scene on the plane? I definitely want to know where that setup is going to lead the series.

Verdict: Must Watch

MASTERS OF SEX

With a fabulous first season, I was underwhelmed by the second. The show itself is still pretty interesting and Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) do seem to take their relationship but the season felt less about them and more about the people and the circumstances around them. I was more interested in watching Libby Masters (Caitlin Fitzgerald) find something for herself outside of her marriage. Also, it was Betsy Brandt (from Breaking Bad) has a fascinating story that plays out across the season.

Verdict: Watch

PENNY DREADFUL

As a summer series, I really wanted to sink my teeth into a good ol’ horror series. In many ways, Penny Dreadful didn’t live up to the horror aspect and just focused on the gothic storytelling. The issue with Penny Dreadful was there are so many stories depicted but decidedly feel standalone. The Frankenstein story captured me in the earlier episodes and it does feel like the show has fully fleshed out their characters while other characters still feel like they are being developed (e.g. Dorian Gray). We do build steam with our main characters towards the second half of the season but it feels too late by that point. Still, the finale was satisfying.

Verdict: Watch

CALL THE MIDWIFE: SERIES 3

The show is supposed to follow Nurse Jenny (Jessica Raine) and I don’t really know what the point of watching now that Jessica Raine has left the show. Even during the Christmas special, you can feel her absence even though Vanessa Redgrave makes an appearance as the Older Jenny. Series 3 did a decent job in developing the stories of the other characters but I wasn’t satisfied with Jenny’s as it felt like she already had one foot out the door.

Verdict: Just OK

MR. SELFRIDGE: SERIES 2

It’s like seeing an entirely new storefront this season. We got to see a different side of many of the characters this year. Rose (Frances O’Connor) comes across as a much more confident woman and Harry (Jeremy Piven) perhaps doesn’t spend the entire time thinking only of himself. We see a different side to many of the women this season including Lady Mae (Katherine Kelly) and Ms. Mardle (Amanda Abbington) and I far more enjoying this series compared to the other British department store series.

Verdict: Watch

GOTHAM

I have to confess that I’ve only seen one episode. I thought it would be a breakout hit and completely engrossing but it’s like the good-looking guy in high school who is nothing more than a pretty face. I did hear that the stories improve especially considering that the writers have figured out that they don’t have to include every single Batman series character in every episode but I frankly just don’t have the time or care enough to continue.

Verdict: If you’re bored

DOCTOR WHO

I always say that it takes me awhile to warm up to a new Doctor but I have to admit that I have just not fallen in love with Peter Capaldi. I just don’t feel the chemistry between the new Doctor and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). However, there were really edge-of-your-seat episodes this season such as Listen.

Verdict: Just OK

MADAM SECRETARY

Although a number of people dislike Téa Leoni in the title role, I find her very likeable playing a down-to-earth wife and mother in an extraordinary job. The stories depicted in the show plays out like West Wing-like moral wrap up without the beautiful prose of Aaron Sorkin. In all, it’s an unremarkable show with its storytelling and the type of characters depicted in it but it’s definitely an easy show to digest on a Sunday evening before starting another long week at work.

Verdict: Just OK

THE GOOD WIFE

Things always seems to be in flux and constantly changing for the characters of The Good Wife. I am still engrossed in the stories and I love Finn Polmar (because hellooo, Matthew Goode) but I have to admit that I will miss Kalinda and am disappointed that she’s leaving the show. I felt that the show could have explored more storylines with her character and I don’t think the show exploited her character as much as they possibly could.

Verdict: Watch

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW

This season is far better than the previous season, Coven. There’s a lot of color and unique stories about differences and being embraced by society that I don’t think we got with Coven. Even though that season was all about oppression under the themes of prejudice. Finn Wittrock is a new addition to the series but certainly like his charismatic but brief role in Masters of Sex, he brings a lot of the AHS crew as the psychotic Dandy Mott.

Verdict: Watch

ELEMENTARY

I very much enjoyed watching an independent Watson this year but not sure where it will lead. On the other hand, the cases haven’t been all that interesting.

Verdict: Just OK

SCANDAL

My interest in this series has been waning because it seems like the same thing keeps playing out over and over again. The vicious circle of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) wanting to be with President Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and then running to Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) when she can’t be with him. However, I did quite enjoy watching the series dig into Abby’s (Darby Stanchfield) backstory. I’m hoping we dig more into that story.

Verdict: Just OK

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

The story has definitely piqued my interest and Viola Davis is simply magnetic. However, I have to admit that I’m holding back from going all in because I can’t quite figure out how the flashback/flashforward sequences will work for future seasons. It’s an interesting device but I can see it getting old pretty quickly.

Verdict: Just OK

DOWNTON ABBEY: SERIES 5

Even though times are changing, it never really feels like there’s much changing in the Downton household. At least for the last 2 seasons. I mean, why the eff does Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) always get the short end of the stick? It makes me so mad!! Although, Joanne Froggatt recently won a Golden Globe so maybe her suffering was worthwhile? Aaah. At least, I’m touched by another downstairs romance of sorts that made it into this year’s Christmas Special. I’m not telling until the episode airs in the U.S. Eeeee…

Verdict: Watch

THE PARADISE: SERIES 2

Definitely I’ve enjoyed this season far better than the first season but I still don’t like Moray (Emun Elliott) which makes the show really hard to enjoy. Denise (Joanna Vanderham) has definitely stepped up to the plate a bit more this season. I was definitely cheering for her when she told Moray that she wasn’t a thing to be owned. Woo, woo.

Verdict: Watch

THE ORIGINALS

I can’t help but be attracted to the character of Klaus (Joseph Morgan). He’s definitely an ass but he’s conflicted with being an ass and I keep hoping one day Camille (Leah Pipes) will change him. I think that’s where the show is leading to but I sincerely hope that the show doesn’t dangle their potential relationship over our heads for years to come. Because that would just piss me off. At least, I got some satisfaction with the Elijah (Daniel Gillies)/Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) hookup.

Verdict: Watch

REIGN

The series got really dark before the winter break. I’m not sure where the series is going with that emotional development but I hope it’s used to show what a strong female figure Mary (Adelaide Kane) becomes. Now that Greer’s (Celina Sinden) husband is out of the picture, does that mean Leith (Jonathan Keltz) is back in the picture? As much as Greer’s husband seems to truly love her, I can’t help missing the chemistry between Greer and Leith more. Don’t judge me. 😉

Verdict: Watch

GRIMM

I’m beginning to lose interest with Grimm as I don’t know where this show intends to go with its plotline. You bring a young Grimm (Jacqueline Toboni)  into the picture only to have her leave the show. The conflict between the royals hasn’t escalated much and I’m growing tired of the back and forth. There are so many open-ended plotlines that I’d like to see something come to some sort of resolution because honestly we’re just going in circles.

Verdict: If you’re bored

HAVEN

We got a super-sized Season 5 but the writers have got to start figuring out how to wrap up the series. Actually with the appearance of Mara (Emily Rose), it does feel like the show is working its way to wrapping up the series but it’s not totally apparent. It just doesn’t seem like the show has enough material for several more seasons.

Verdict: If you’re bored

NEW GIRL

Not my favorite season of New Girl but there have been some really priceless episodes. “The Last Wedding” and “Girl Fight” were greatly crafted episodes that come full circle by the end. “Goldmine” builds up to a really hilarious moment between Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield). I know that Cece and Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) needed to be added to the opening sequence but I have to admit missing the song and dance. Can we bring that back and add Cece and Coach?

Verdict: Watch

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Who knew that the series would get vastly better in its 2nd season over the 1st season? If you gave up on this show in the first season, it worth giving another try. The situation with Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) gave the show a much needed boost.

Verdict: Watch

STALKER

With Kevin Williamson as the showrunner, you know that he knows how to elicit screams. Hur hur hur. He certainly knows how to creep the viewer out with ugly and twisted storylines but that’s the whole point of Stalker. To make you feel uncomfortable, within your comfort zone and perhaps you can understand an inkling of what victims go through. I do love that each episode ends with a popular song redone in an entirely creepy way.

Verdict: Watch

SLEEPY HOLLOW

I sincerely hope that this show has jumped the shark yet. The first season seemed fun, witty and spooky but with the demise of Moloch, I hope that the series hasn’t run out of storylines. I’m not digging this new villain, Orion.

Verdict: Just OK

THE AFFAIR

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. However, boy and girl are already married to other people. The thing that makes this story truly unique is that we get to see this affair from two different perspectives. Things change as to what information you’re privy to, how flirtatious a character comes across and even what outfits they remember that character wearing. You’d think these little details won’t change the overall story but it does. It’s a slow burn but watching how it all pans out is very interesting.

Verdict: Watch

_____________________________________________________

BEST AMERICAN/BRITISH SHOW OF THE YEAR

FARGO – I think I’m going to have to award it to Fargo. The acting was fantastic. The storyline was well-paced. And the cinematography was another character in its own right. It took a familiar setting and characters but really crafted a story all their own. The timing just seemed right as it had been so many years since the original movie came to theaters but it was able to take that a familiar setting and homespun characters and make a unique tale all their own. I’m not sure how things will work out for the 2nd season as I don’t want the story and the characters to become stale but as for this season it was unexpectedly absorbing.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s