While they may not have been the year’s most critically acclaimed or the country’s most popular, each the following shows made this TV Addict’s Top 10 of 2014 for the simple reason that they left us jonesing another fix. You know those people who say “less is more?” Yeah, they’re totally wrong. As the following programs prove, too much is never enough.
MANHATTAN (WGNAmerica, CraveTV in Canada – Binge-watched)
WGN America’s second foray into scripted fare may have been about the development of a bomb, but the series itself was anything but [Thank you, thank you, we’ll be here all night! Remember to tip your waiters!] Flawlessly crafted and beautifully acted, the show’s story, set against America’s race to beat Germany to the development of the world’s first atomic bomb was an absolute joy to watch. So much so that knowing the end thanks to, umm… well, history books, didn’t detract in the least from this immensely compelling series.
THE AMERICANS (FX & FX Canada – Binge-watched via DVD and iTunes)
Much in the same way MANHATTAN is somewhat spoiled by the history books, so to must THE AMERICANS contend with the little bits of non-television related knowledge we’ve gleaned over the years during commercial breaks! Which is why it’s also such a credit to this spytastic series that chronicles the Cold War spy game between the Soviets and the Americans that we watch it on the edge of our seat. What’s more, Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys are oh so good as a husband and wife due that we actually find ourselves rooting for the losing team. #TeamMotherRussia
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS, Global in Canada – Watched live)
Like a fine wine, THE GOOD WIFE only gets better with age. Six seasons in, this veteran series continues to up the ante by showing a complete and utter fearlessness when it comes to mixing and matching their all-star ensemble and revolving door of remarkable guests. New lawyers! New law firms! New friends! New foes! Absolutely nothing is sacred when it comes to these whip-smart writers executing their story. What’s more, unlike their “lazy” cable brethren, THE GOOD WIFE delivers at the unforgiving pace that a Network twenty-two episode per season demands!
THE MINDY PROJECT (FOX, CityTV in Canada – Watched live)
Dear Hollywood Showrunners: The next time you want to painfully drag out your two lead character’s will-they-or-won’t-they for fear that the end of a courtship is the death of your cash cow (cough*BONES*cough*CASTLE*cough), please consider the following. Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano are two of our favorite people on the planet! Cooler still, they’re proof positive that a relationship can be even funnier, sexier and dramatic within the confines of a committed relationship.
THE GOLDBERGS (ABC, CTV in Canada – Watched live)
With apologies to their equally under-appreciated time slot companion THE MIDDLE, not to mention awards-magnate MODERN FAMILY and funny freshman offering BLACK-ISH, this year’s award for top ABC comedy goes to the family from the nineteen-eighty-somethings. True, they may not know much about hairstyles or wardrobe, but what those darn GOLDBERGS lack in style, they more than make up for the two things that count: Hilarity and heart. In short: The more time we spend with this family, the more we are falling head over heels in love with them.
GAME OF THRONES (HBO, HBO Canada – Watched live)
When every studio in Hollywood is desperate to find the next “Game of Thrones” you know you’re doing something right!
THE 100 (The CW, Netflix in Canada – Binge-watched season 1, watch season 2 live)
Think THE 100 is another typical CW show starring vapid twenty-somethings playing teenagers in a lord of the rings meets battlestar galacitca-esuqe mash up? Think again. Complete with competent young adults making decision that have serious life and death (emphasis on “death”) consequences, and fully fleshed out adult characters to boot, THE 100 doesn’t just rank as one of our Top 10 of 2014, it ranks as one of the most unexpected surprises of the year.
MOM (CBS, CityTV in Canada – Watched live)
Since our colleague Ryan Schwartz pretty much took the words right out of our mouth with his own Top 10 list we thought we’d sum up our thoughts on MOM by saying ditto! “CBS’ “Mom” is arguably the greatest family sitcom since “Roseanne.” Like the classic ’90s sitcom, the show manages to tackle serious issues without ever breaking a sweat. Alison Janney (“The West Wing”) and Anna Faris (“Scary Movie” franchise) portray a formerly estranged mother-daughter duo who are both overcoming years of drug and alcohol addiction and rely on their newfound co-dependency to remain above the influence. Meanwhile, Faris’ daughter is a high school senior who’s in danger of following in her grandmother and mother’s footsteps following an unplanned teenage pregnancy.” You can read Ryan’s complete list here.
THE FLASH (The CW, CTV in Canada – Watched live)
After a decade worth or dark and brooding anti-heroes who inexplicably enough can’t seem to see the upside of superpowers (“Really?!”), nothing says breath of fresh air like THE FLASH. As our titular hero, Grant Gustin brings such a euphoric energy — not to mention adorkable smile — to the role that that it’s no wonder why the show is The Cw’s biggest hit in years.
SHAMELESS (SHowtime, TMN in Canada – Watched live)
Heading into its fifth season, SHAMELESS continues to put the fun into dysfunctional family. Not only does Emmy Rossum absolutely steal the show as Fiona, the eldest daughter charged with keeping the family together despite father Frank’s (WIlliam H. Macey) not-so-best efforts, we continue to marvel at those Gallagher siblings. No really. Unlike the once-cute-kids on that aging ABC comedy that shall not be named, Cameron Monaghan (Ian), Ethan Cutkosky (Carl), Jeremy Allen White (Lip) and Emma Kenney (Debbie) do a remarkable job of holding their own alongside a phenomenal cast of veteran actors dealing with issues an story lines that are anything but child’s play.
THE HONOURABLE MENTIONS
BOB’s BURGERS (FOX, Global in Canada)
After twenty plus years of THE SIMPSONS this TV addict finally graduated to something a little more “adult” this year!
LATE NIGHT WITH JON OLIVER (HBO, HBO Canada)
What could have so easily been written off as a less santiized version of THE DAILY SHOW made the most of its cable format and hilarious host Jon Oliver to become one of the most talked about shows of the year.
LAST MAN STANDING (ABC, CityTV in Canada)
Mock if you must, but this throwback 90’s sitcom not only is smartly written around relevant issues, it has an immensley likeable cast punctuated by the oaccasionsl guest appearance by the one and only Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
EPISODES (Showtime, TMN in Canada)
Brillaintly biting critique of Hollywood that doesn’t get nearly enough credit.
VEEP (HBO, HBO Canada)
Unlike PARKS AND REC, which portrays govenerment officials as we wish they were, VEEP shows us how they really are. To hilarious and often times scary results.
JANE THE VIRGIN (The CW, CityTV in Canada)
Not since UGLY BETTY have we fallen in love with a titular character played by the luminous Gina Rodriguez
MASTERS OF SEX (Showtime, TMN in Canada)
Strange but true: This show would have made our top 10 had the Allison Janney/Beau Bridges storyline not been put on the backburner this year.
INSIDE AMY SCHUMER (Comedy Central, Comedy in Canada)
Schumer’s unique and funny point of view never ceases to amaze. Case in point, her take on gamer and military culture still has us thinking.
PARENTHOOD (NBC, Global in Canada)
Rather than bemoan the fact that only four episodes remain of this under appreciated gem we’ll simply thank NBC for allowing it to stay on the air as long as it did. Bravermans you will be missed.