There are so many amazing TV Shows this year that it’s hard to just list the top 10 and hit the publish button. Quality television has been growing in every single aspect all over the place, from digital-only platforms to Network TV (I’m looking at you, The Good Wife) and this year is no exception. Too much good TV is actually a good thing, and if you still haven’t seen these you are definitely missing out.
These are my picks for the top 10 shows of the year:
10. Play It Again, Dick
The CW’s online-only Veronica Mars spin-off is definitely one of a kind. Considered a micro show consisting of eight 10-minute episodes delivered exclusively through the CW Seed, the show played around with an established formula (the entire Veronica Mars plot-line) and completely messed it up in a good way. It was hilarious to see all the classic characters coming back and play into this meta concept of a show within a show with characters from the VM universe playing themselves and fictional selves, and it gave rare insight onto the screening process television series must go through when pitching to networks, even if it was in a whacked-out superficial way. I give props to the CW for trying out something new capitalizing on the success of the Veronica Mars movie and pushing forward with a new and exciting digital strategy.
Arrow had an amazing season 2 and start of season 3, as new villains were introduced that left a lasting mark on our heroes and we were able to take a deeper look into each and every one of them. The introduction of Sara and the League of Assasins helped boost the drama in each storyline. The action sequences stepped it up in a big way this year and helped make each episode more compelling as a stand-alone affair. This is a super hero show done correctly and opened up the possiblity of The Flash to be born on the small screen (well, that saying doesn’t apply anymore I’m sure), positioning television once more as a viable home for something that could otherwise only been produced and release as a film.
If you haven’t seen this horrific, disgusting, yet beautiful new adaptation of the books you are missing out. The art style on this series is a defining element, with each crime being completely unique and out of the ordinary. Season 2 turned tables as our protagonist Will was found behind bars and we were finally able to see the effect of Hannnibal’s full-on manipulation. The flashfoward during the first episode to the finale guaranteed a thrilling ride from the beginning, and ending with the mother of all cliff hangers during the last episode means Februrary cannot come soon enough. Watch!
7. The 100
The Hunger Games style of this series allowed The CW to produce a sci-fi show that could appeal to fans beyond that specific segment of viewers, and it delivered with a show that moves fast and challenges itself at every turn. It was the first attempt to push a 13-episode first season, and the format pays off with a concentrated storyline that takes you back and forth between space and a newly-found Earth post-nuclear wars. The second season is well on its way almost doubling the action and thrill surrounding the first and every single aspect has gotten stronger.
6. True Detective
I can let almost every single review of this show speak for itself. It’s a cop show that is not a cop show. It’s a murder mystery that is not, in fact, a murder mystery, but a web of an almost supernatural crime that attempts to pull the most sinister side of humanity. The pace, protagonists and storyline make this a must-watch show. This is the definition of Quality Television.
5. The Newsroom
The Newsroom’s final six-episode season ends tonight and the amount of episodes does not match the challenging storylines of the show. The Newsroom has made us care about, well, what goes on in The Newsroom: challenging politics, ethics, morale, integrity and journalism as a whole. The cast is the strongest part of the show, but the real-life stories are the selling point. The structure in which every season has been presented has also been unique, and this season has been no exception despite the shortened screentime. Farewell, ACN.
4. The Americans
This season of The Americans touched upon real danger when the lifes Jenkin’s kids were put as front-and-center examples of the stakes of being the Russian spy family infiltrating the United States in the 80s. This season has been outstanding in terms of acting performance, accompanied with great retro music and gadgets. The tables keep turning at every edge while imminent danger keeps rising up as missions get more dangerous. The Americans makes us root for the bad guys without us knowing and it’s thrilling all the way through.
3. The Good Wife
Going into it’s sixth season, the show has dealt with big deaths and shifted its dynamic entirely as Alicia, Cary and Diane move out of Lockhart an start their own firm. This season puts everything at risk when Cary undergoes a trial that could destroy everything while Alicia runs for States Attorney, a natural course for the series to take. The drama has never been better, as characters are forced to make ethical decisions and must smartly work through each and every case to win it. As with every season, Julianna Margulies’ powerhouse acting is what makes the show, but the real feat is keeping the over-reaching storyline interesting, alive and well at 22 episodes per season.
Based on the original Coeh Brothers’ film, Fargo managed to capitalize on the production value and storyline from the movie and forge a 10-episode television event unlike antyhing else on any screen this year. From clumsy cops to an unstoppable serial killer and unique characters whose storylines get in between it all made every episode stand out. The small town setting seemed to be covered in one more layer of snow as each episode progressed and made a unique atmosphere unmatched by other TV shows. Being on FX, it had an amazing production value and once again proved that anything can be transposed onto television with keen attention to detail. Additionally, no other show has made us hate or love one character over the other as much as Fargo, and we can only hope some make appearances over the course of the announced second season.
Rectify is the show of the year. Season 1 showed us a broken man re-inserted into a harsh reality after he is freed from a 20 year prison. Season 2 mantained its slow pace and allowed us to dive deeper into the Holden family, in which Daniel continued to seek his place in the commnuity and things heated up towards the finale as a new trial is waiting to begin. The question of whether Daniel commited the crime or not still looms all over. The show is shot beautifully, showcasing Georgia’s landscapes and capturing the warm, small town feel of where our heroes reside. The pace may be a turn off for most, but the pay off is more rewarding than anything else on television, as it is now about who did or didn’t do it, but whether Daniel, as well as ourselves, can live with it.
BONUS – Homeland
No one expected Season 4 of Homeland to work out; myself included. Season 3 was a low point and a Brody-less season could find Carrie in unrealistic and off-track situations that just woudn;t prove to be as exciting as everything else we’ve seen before. With a new story set in Pakistan, the intense scenes were back, the already established characters took their life mission to the next level and the moral ambiguity of Carrie herself was put in questions throughout the whole season in interesting and compelling levels. Homeland Season 4 is something to not be missed and I’ve regained my faith in the big show that could.
While the inclusion of some of these shows could be questionable and not found on others’ top lists, these moved me and engaged me to undescribable levels. Thankfully, you don’t have to agree with me, just turn on the TV, computer or app and find something you like because if this wasn’t the year of television then this has been the highlight of the new TV era so far.