TV Series: Best Shows of 2014 (Updated) (Updated Again)

Presentation1 There was a LOT of excellent television again in 2014. Making my list and rating each of the shows against each other is challenging. And let me also state that all the shows in the top 20 below were outstanding. The other seven were ones which I actually did not like as much. I picked Sonic Highways first because I was moved by the Seattle episode and I felt the whole series was extremely strong, original and entertaining. Game of Thrones was excellent as well and I am already impatient for S05 to start. I loved John Oliver’s news show on HBO and found it of the highest integrity and always totally hilarious. The next three are really close as well: I chose Fargo because I loved the characters and how they built the story more than that of True Detective. And yet, The Walking Dead was super-strong as well. I guess I put Fargo on number 4 because of Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman and put True Detective on number 6 because I was so disappointed by the last episode (that being said, I found my single favorite episode was the Beaumont, TX one which would be neck and neck with the aforementioned Seattle episode of Sonic Highways. The Walking Dead goes in the middle at number 5 because of the massive plot holes despite the excellent character development. Next in the list is another group that was difficult to class as two of them were the last seasons and since the last two episodes of Homeland haven’t aired yet. I put The Newsroom at number 7 because of the quality of Alan Sorkin’s writing and the banter between Sloan and Dan (as well as that between Will and MacKenzie). Homeland beat out Sons of Anarchy for number 8 perhaps because the final episode was a bit flat and because the energy in the last half of this year’s Homeland was incredibly action-packed and was back to the level of season 1. [BREAKING NEWS] Based on the über-lame season finale of Homeland, I am dropping it down out of the top 10. No top 10 should be without the best animated show on TV: Archer which this season was entitled Archer Vice and featured a pregnant Lana (with the ever-amazing Aisha Taylor doing the voice) wielding an AK and a load of wacky and hilarious scenarios with our favorite super agent Archer (with the voice of H Jon Benjamin who is also Bob in Bob’s Burgers). Perhaps this one could have been even higher on the list but when you look at the quality of all these shows…I cringe at not including Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire up here in the top 10 but what would I remove? There is also the spectacular 2nd season of Rectify which was mesmerising and gripping as well as the sophomore season the The Americans which was awesome as always. Not to mention the fantastic Emmy-winning and stupefying performance of Uzo Aduba in Orange is the New Black…So much extraordinary television in 2014…. sonic-highways

  1. Sonic Highways S01 – Dave was incredible here – great music – great storytelling – I will remember this for a long time
  2. Game of Thrones S04 – incredible followup to an amazing 3rd season…season 5 will be amazing
  3. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver S01 – I think this is the best journalism I have seen in years. and hilarious.
  4. Fargo S01 – my favorite new drama – I liked this more than True Detective because I felt it was more consistent and beautifully filmed
  5. The Walking Dead S04/S05 – great first half of this season (and great ending to S04
  6. True Detective S01 – hard to bet against these two guys but the ending was so disappointing
  7. Hannibal S02 – Gripping, terrifying and ultimately extremely satisfying, Mats’ Hannibal is believable and incredibly portrayed. Best last episode of the season bar none. A must see and now dying (pun intended) to see S03!
  8. The Newsroom S03 – loved the ending to this one. have to write a standalone article here
  9. Sons of Anarchy S07 – amazing ending – I loved this show and this ending. in the all time tip 10 at least
  10. Archer S05 – Archer Vice was so incredibly funny. I love Lana and Archer and the rest. Incredibly amazing comedy. can’t wait to see where they go on S06.
  11. Jane the Virgin S01-part1 – I loved Jane the Virgin as did the critics – Gina Rodriguez was fantastic! and the 2015 episodes were, well, epic!
  12. Orange in the New Black S02 – great second season and totally deserving performance from Uzo Aduba but hard to move this above 11 given the quality of the top 10…
  13. Rectify S02 – this was really excellent – surprising given how I did not fully appreciate the first season
  14. Fresh off the Boat S01 – I laughed long and hard at this family from Orlando (from being overly familiar with living in Florida perhaps) and found this comedy to be refreshing and fun.
  15. Transparent S01 – It took me a while to fully appreciate this show but actually it was extraordinarily even-handed and honest about the effects of evolving sexuality and issues around transgender. I felt the writing and acting was superb and Jeffrey Tambour was incredible. No wonder they got a Golden Globe or two.
  16. Homeland S04 – slow burner but the last episodes were as good as the first season – but the finale blew chunks which lost the top 10 ranking for me on this one.
  17. The Americans S02 – great second season but once again too much incredible TV this year
  18. You’re the Worst S01 – I really liked this as a quirky romantic comedy. I laughed out loud several times…but can they improve on this idea in S02?
  19. Sherlock S03 – god do I love Sherlock but I was a little disappointed with the followup to the Sherlock death in S02 but anyway one more season left
  20. Gotham S01 – great spin on the Batman myth – good bad guys – surprisingly good show for network TV which I usually boycott on principle
  21. Boardwalk Empire S05 – wrote this already but too short and not a good enough ending
  22. Mad Men S07 – gotta wait for the second half and fully judge by the ending next year
  23. Californication S07 – sad to see Hank go but S07 was still not as good as my favorite which was the second season
  24. Gomorrah S01 – I loved this one and wonder where they will go in season 2
  25. Treme S05 – So incredibly sad to see this one go and with only 5 episodes in the last season. As I wrote about in my blog, I will miss Treme.
  26. Ray Donovan S02 – great second season albeit incredibly dark
  27. Bob’s Burgers S05 – hilarious – I love Bob. great moments here but again so much incredible television…
  28. Marvel’s Agent Carter S01 – despite the squeaky clean feel of network TV on this show, the backstory of Iron Man’s dad and the intrepid feminist Agent Carter made for good TV – hopefully S02 will improve on the seeds planted in S01
  29. The Blacklist S02-part 1 – still rather interesting primarily because of James Spader. The second half got me really fed up with Lizzy
  30. Broad City S02 – amusing, brash and hilarious, Broad City is a kind of trash version of Girls but with FAR less whining. Definitely worth a shot or two.
  31. The Leftovers S01 – as I stated in my blog, this one was a slow burner but with a good payoff
  32. House of Lies S03 – maybe it was just too long ago and I can’t remember anything about it anymore
  33. The Bridge S02 – not a bad reboot after the first season but not all
  34. Review with Forrest McNeil S01 – this one – while interesting – was also incredibly depressing as Forrest just degenerates episode after episode. I kept trying to find a moral underpinning but was unsuccessful…
  35. Episodes S03 – funny but not as funny as Archer, Bob’s Burgers or Calif0rnication.  Hopefully the next season will be funnier
  36. House of Cards S02 (implausible rise despite spectacular acting from Kevin Spacey)
  37. Justified S05 – again, seems so long ago and I love Raymond but I can’t even remember a single plot twist (the last season S06 was incredible though)
  38. Comic Book Men S04 – same old same old but some hilarious moments such as the scary Bronie conference
  39. Gracepoint S01 – this would have been better if the ending wasn’t such a complete downer. This is why I don’t watch network TV
  40. Black Sails S01 – this was pretty decent – for some reason the production reminded me of Magic City (-sniff-sniff-). I guess if you are hankering for a pirate story but this is still 2nd or 3rd tier TV (season 2 picked up the ante…A LOT!)
  41. Chozen S01 – pretty funny but at the same time annoying and overly offensive – or stated differently, overstatedly offensive
  42. Girls S03 – more of the same snivelling sort of snobby white chick in NYC thing. Marginally funny at times but not in the top 30
  43. Penny Dreadful S01 – the gothic atmosphere was was pretty heavy and there was Eva Green but it never really built into something compelling
  44. Silicon Valley S01 – interesting but a bit too much and a bit implausible and predictable (Season 2 is incredible so far!)
  45. The Michael J Fox Show S01 (couldn’t finish) – this was really not a great show. Depressingly not funny. Did not finish.
  46. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01 (couldn’t finish) – definitely the worst show of the lot

Some acclaimed shows that I didn’t watch: American Horror Story, Hell on Wheels, Scandal, Parks & Recreation, The Good Wife, 24, Big Bang Theory, Peaky Blinders, Under the Dome, Outlander, Downton Abbey… There is only so much time…who watched these? Does one of them stand out in particular? American Horror Story perhaps? Do you agree with my list? I didn’t think so but please write something in the comments and start the debate 🙂


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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One Response to TV Series: Best Shows of 2014 (Updated) (Updated Again)

  1. Pingback: Radar Recommends: Sons of Anarchy | Raye's Radar

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