Honorable Mention: Family Tree
Nicely affecting little comedy. Great character work, love love the trip to California and Ed Begley Jr. seals the deal.
Runner-up: Top of the Lake
A decidedly strange, Twin
Peaks-ian mini-series, without the humor but with engrossing
cinematography (no other word for it) of a high elevation New Zealand
town and the surrounding countryside. The mystery is viscerally
disturbing, Peggy Olson is great as the miserable, not-so-smart
detective, and an astoundingly haunting Holly Hunter (say that five time
fast!) steals the show.
There were actually some good episodes scattered through, from old crew writers like Megan Ganz, and they managed to wrap it up surprisingly well. I was at peace with its conclusion, but really psyched for Harmon to be back this season. First two episodes are up on Hulu...check 'em out!
9. The Good Wife
Last season hit the doldrums with the Mr. Big Goes to Washington storyline, but with the divergent rival firms, they're firing on all cylinders again.
8. Orange is the New Black
Wildly ambitious, so naturally has some flaws to work out, but that's way better than the 'Boardwalk' way. American pie guy needs to seriously fuck off tho.
7. Arrested Development
Speaking of ambition, Hurwitz is working some crazy angles here, refusing to take any easy route for laughs. My problem with AD has always been the over-exposition, over-reliance on flashback, and this season was worse there. But the creativity and daring more than made up for it. And this
6. Parks & Recreation
Talk about an ensemble. My favorite cast, top to bottom. Perhaps not as funny as it once was, but Pawnee has an alluring geniality that makes you want to set down roots forever. With a time-share in Muncie for getaways, of course.
Matt Walsh is my spirit animal.
4. Game of Thrones
I could understand writing this show off, if every actor wasn't absolutely murdering it. Only the Jon Snow love saga brought you out of the moment.
That said, I think spelunking for Arctic sex caves, complete with requisite hot springs probably skyrocketed this year.
The season-long mystery was a masterclass on the slow burn.
2. Mad Men
I think I've finally pinpointed my reluctance to fully embrace this season: Linda Cardellini. I understand the importance of the storyline, triple-underlining what a wretched man Don Draper is, but her performance, and the writing for her, was unarguably sub-par. And the hair.
I still trust Weiner to pull the Season 7 train into the station, but consider the following:
"Who'd rape her?" "Don'd Rape'r!" "Why?" "Because he's a Dick Whit(e)man."
Meaningful? Meaningless? Idiotic non sequitur from a man who doesn't know how to stop talking about Mad Men?
1. Gravity Falls
This might seem like trolling, but I swear it isn't. Check it out.