Year In Review: The Best TV Shows Of 2014

December 23rd, 2014

Before we start, let me address the two elephants in the room. Basically all the TV series listed below are from the US. Some of them can be followed on SKY UK (with some delays) or using a VPN connection to view them of the websites of the respective cable channels.
Secondly, I’ll try to keep the spoilers at a minimum level, but I can’t assure a completely spoiler-free article.

Following my year in podcast I feel like today might be a good day to look back at a year of TV. If podcasts are a constant companion while commuting, TV shows became my main form of entertainment most nights of the week. Some of them are just things to have in the background, some others are keeping you sticked to your tv in a constant rush of surprise. Some are recurrent player, some are new entries. 2014 has been a good year for tv, and already 2015 will have lots to offer.

One of the notable new entries has surely been Forever (8.3/10 on IMDb). Starring a very comfortable and very British Ioan Gruffud (of Fantastic 4/Titanic/King Arthur fame) as an immortal 200-years-old Dr. Henry Morgan, it’s a classic police investigative series based, strangely enough, in New York City. Having seen death all over the years , he is now a brilliant ME for the NYPD, while trying to find a way to end his course on the side. The series left us with a massive cliffhanger for the Holidays break, so I can’t wait to see how events will unfold in the new year.

On the comic side, the next best new entry is The Flash (8.3/10 on IMDb). Having to follow the massive success of the ’80 and the not-so-great rendition of the ’90, it was a potential bomb ready to explode, but so far it’s going great. They’ve surely learned from the experience of Arrow (they are both created/broadcasted by the same network and there are frequents cross-overs and collaborations among the two heroes) and so far they’ve managed to produce an honest super-hero series. There aren’t many dramas, it’s all about him and his quest to find his mum’s killers helped by a group of friends(?) along the way.

Alongside these rookies we have a long list of recurring stars. The Big Bang Theory (8.6/10 on IMDb) is still funny, sometimes devastatingly funny, with Sheldon’s character emerging as the clear leader and protagonist of the show and surely its defining stone. Person of Interest (8.4/10 on IMDb) is undergoing a major shift, concentrating more on the ethics of the relation human-machine, leaving behind the simple easy-gun-style of the beginning. It’s still very interesting and extremely well written (the show is penned by Jonathan Nolan) and it feels more relevant to the direction the real world is taking nowadays.

Elementary (8/10 on IMDb) keeps being a weird modern Sherlock Holmes. This latest series, with the introduction of a new companion and the half departure from Watson it’s definitely something I didn’t see coming, that is making some of the show’s dynamic feeling out of place. Maybe that was the aim of the show, but still, it puts the entire show in a weird spot. The best Sherlock is of course Sherlock (9.3/10 IMDb). The CumberbatchFreeman duo is simply perfect. They have a great chemistry on screen and they both perfectly portray their respective parts. We had a great series at the beginning of the year that has set the bar for a huge comeback in 2016 (with a Christmas special coming just before in 2015). Again, this is a show that is as amazing as their writers/creators duo Mark GatissSteven Moffat. Deep, unpredictable and always evolving, taking you out of your comfort zone over and over again.

A special mention goes for the recently ended 4th season of Homeland (8.5/10 on IMDb). The re-boot without Brody’s character brought a fresh breeze on the show. Removing the romance(?) felt like a good choice, so the focus went back on the main story, the interaction between countries and the never-ending secrets. The writing became a bit darker and deeper and all the characters are now much more mature than before. It feels not just like a re-boot, but a completely new show, so kudos to the writing team.

With such a busy 2014, what will 2015 bring to us? As far as I am concerned, two of my favourite shows are back on the air. Top Gear (9/10 on IMDb) with a Christmas special next week and then a full new series 22 from late January. And finally, Netflix’s exclusive House of Cards (9.1/10 on IMDb) is back in February with a fully re-charged Francis Underwood ready to storm US politics once again.

A great year to look forward to.