2014 TV Highlights

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I thought it might be fun to take a little break from movies and Scrooge for a second to talk about my favorite moments in the world of television this year.

I’m a huge TV fan, which is really strange because my family is not.  My parents do not watch a single program on a regular basis, so it is not something I grew up with.  For long periods we didn’t even have TV and then the Olympics would come around and I would beg the parents.  Please let us get TV!  (I love the Olympics!).

As an adult I have embraced it even more and especially with DVR I find it immensely entertaining to get into a show and spend some time with the characters.  Unlike a movie where you get 2 hours into a story, a television show you can really get to know people.

I also must add that I try to keep my viewing on a PG-13 level so that cuts out some of the very popular HBO shows such as Game of Thrones (same with Orange is the New Black).  I know all of you love it and I respect that but too much violence and nudity for me.

How I Met Your Mother-

The biggest disappointment for the year was without a doubt the finale of my favorite show How I Met Your Mother.  I hated it. It undermined the narrative they had been building for 9 years of the great love story between Ted and Tracy and I will never forgive the show for that.  Shame on them!

I know it sounds dramatic but it was one of the biggest disappointments in media of my life.  I still want to throw something at Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for their lack of respect for all they had created.  Urgh….

Mixology-

Mixology was another major low point.  What was ABC thinking?  It was one of the most disgraceful pieces of media I’ve ever seen.  Read my rant on the misogynist junk. (Rape was a punchline in a joke if that tells you anything).

http://smilingldsgirl.com/2014/02/27/tv-modern-women/

Ok. Calming down.

Let’s focus on what I did like.

24: Live Another Day-

24 was back and they managed to craft a very entertaining season with all of the things we love about 24- layers of villains, Jack Bauer outrunning a helicopter, a mole in Jack’s team (maybe 2?), great performances, stunts, action, twists, turns and just a ton of fun.

To me it wasn’t as good as season 5 but I’d put it up there with 2,3 and 4.

Girl Meets World-

I LOVE Boy Meets World.  It was a show on TGIF from 1993-2002.  The characters were the same age as me and yes it was incredibly corny but it always had its heart in the right place.  William Daniels took the acting up a notch from typical teen fair and the relationships between Shawn, Cory, Topanga, Eric and others had real heart to them.

So naturally I was hesitant when I heard a spinoff was in the works called Girl Meets World.  Fortunately they got Michael Jacobs producing and most of the same writers back and Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage are back as Cory and Topanga only this time they are the parents of 2 kids Riley (the Girl who meets the world) and adorable Augie.

This first season has been incredibly strong.  It has all the cornball elements with all the heart.  Now Cory is the Mr Feeny character and Riley’s best friend Maya is the new Shawn Hunter.

We also have Farkle the son of Boy Meets World Minkus and he is great and a more than just for good looks kid named Lucas.  It teaches good messages with an engaging cast and humor that works.  I love it!

Much like Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie it is a show about an entire family, not just a snarky little girl.  They all get plotlines and have character development.  It’s so refreshing to have something everyone can watch together and enjoy.

Survivor-

Yes, I love me some reality competition.  Survivor is about to go into season 30 and while season 29 has been a bit of a let down season 28 was fantastic.  One of the best they’ve ever had.

Almost every person was in it to win it and winner Tony was spastic and crazy, building spy shacks, running around the island entertaining us all and being completely brilliant.  Never has a more bold player won the game and it was fascinating to watch.

Say what you want about the show the interactions of the contestants and the choices they make are fascinating to me.  Why they vote a certain person off?  Why they keep another?  It’s a very interesting social experiment and game. In the current season the game play is some of the most random I’ve seen which has it’s own level of fascination.  It’s amazing with nearly 30 seasons the game never plays out in exactly the same way because you are dealing with people not scriptwriters.  It makes it unpredictable and exciting.  I’ve always said you could do an interesting class on game theory and use Survivor as your test case.  I’d take that class.

What makes Survivor especially fun is I am a patron for RHAP- Rob Has a Podcast which is a community of fellow fans and we talk about the moves and for a girl who works from home it has become my watercooler conversation that I look forward to each day.

Former contestant Rob Cesternino is the R of RHAP and he is engaging and funny, my favorite podcaster (although Rotoscopers Animation Addicts is a close second!).  It’s fascinating to me to see the different takes people have on moves and who people bond with and for what reasons, especially in a great season like Cagayan.

Big Brother/Amazing Race-

Survivor is my first love but I also love Amazing Race and watch some Big Brother.

After a lame All Star season, this current season of the Race has  been fabulous.  The move to Friday has been a good thing and Bethany and Adam are my favorites.  What she can do with one arm is truly remarkable to watch and they are just so down to earth.  I love them and want them to win so bad!

Really great challenges and likable contestants have made it fun.  The Race is fun to watch but not as much of a strategic game as Survivor so not quite as interesting.

Big Brother was an interesting season because it was so dominated by one player.  Like Tony, Derrick was bold and incredibly smart at the game.  He was never put on the block ever and Big Brother lasts 90 days!  That’s pretty amazing.  There was one moment where a lie he had told a character had come out and within a 45 minute conversation he had her apologizing to him.  That was unbelievable to watch.  What a game player! I would get eaten alive by players like that!  (Since I was laid up with my knee I watched too much of the live feeds this season. The darn things are addicting and why does everything happen after 2 am in that house!).

Both Tony and Derrick were able to convince their partners to take them to the end when there were clear goats they could have taken.  Basically they both convinced 2 people to give them the prize.  Fascinating.

What makes me happy is both Tony and Derrick seemed like really good guys and always nice when the good guys win the game.

(Again with the Race and Big Brother my RHAP community make both shows extremely fun).

Downton Abbey-

The only drama I’m really into right now.  I know a lot of people have gotten of the Downton train but I’m still on.  It was an intense season with Anna’s rape and the effect that has on all the characters.

The acting is so good, sets, costumes top notch and the melodramatic stories work for the kind of stories being told.  It was a bummer so many quit the show but they handled as best they could and I am sooo excited for the new season coming in January!

I hope they get back to the lighter feel the show originally had.  Yes there was always drama but oddly enough Season 2 with WW1 was not the saddest season. They need a bit more of a balance.  I’d also like for them to dive into Thomas’ character more and not just have him be the gay bad guy.

I’ve always found Mary to be a fascinating character because we should hate her but then she does something very likable and so we don’t.  It’s great and Mosely, Carson, Daisy and of course the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith are all great characters.

So on to season 5!

Sherlock Season 3-

This shows how much I loved the long awaited Sherlock return.  It aired February 2014 and I still have it on my DVR 10 months later.

Especially episode 1 and 3 of the season I thought were just about perfect in every way.  The ending may be one fake death to many we will see and it is a bit frustrating they never told us what happened to Sherlock but it was brilliant as well.  The way we kept getting possibilities of how he might have survived.

The acting is amazing, cinematography perfect and a new villain Charles Magnussen who was chilling and even creepier than Moriarty.

I also loved the plotline with Mary and trying to figure out what kind of mole she was.  They give you a huge hint there is something afoot when Holmes first meets her and it was a puzzle the whole series.  Brilliant.

As I watched the series I was literally yelling at the scream at times I was so engrossed.  I’d put the writing, acting, cinematography up against any Hollywood film.  It’s just great.

A to Z-

Well I suppose there is going to be one show I loved which barring a miracle appears to be cancelled.  Darn it all American viewers this show is so good!

Featuring Cristin Millioti from HIMYM and Ben Feldman from Drop Dead Diva it’s like a combination of 500 Days of Summer and How I Met Your Mother.

Some of the side characters were a little much but I’m convinced if NBC could just stick with it a little longer it would be a big hit for them.

As a girl who is starving for good romantic comedies, this was one.  The leads have terrific chemistry.  The story was charming.  I hope it can be saved but for now not looking great. 😦

Goldbergs-

My favorite comedy by a long shot.  Especially as a movie lover and a kid from the 80s the humor hits all the nostalgic points but it’s more than that.  It’s extremely well written with an appealing cast and great kid actors.

When I first saw it I thought it was a That’s 70’s Show retread in the 80s but it’s not.  Wendi McLendon Covey is hilarious as the mother.  Jeff Garlin and George Segal steals every scene he is in as the Grandpa who thinks he is Burt Reynolds.

It’s kind of like The Simpsons brought to life with older kids.  It’s that smart and fun and warm.  Plus, the fact that Adam Goldberg shot all these hours of tapes of his family and a the end of every episode you see clips pertaining to that episode is so cool.

It makes the show feel lived in and real despite it’s craziness.  The videos say ‘this is over-the-top but my family was pretty darn close to it’ and that is funny.  Plus, you can tell the whole show is a labor of love from writing, directing, acting and everything else.  I love it and think it is hilarious.

My favorite episode is Karate from season 1 but season 2 has been great too.

Mindy Project-

A lot of people are down on this show too but I still really like it.  It has an engaging cast with pretty good writing and I love the chemistry between Danny and Mindy.  The kiss on the plane…holy cow that was a great kiss

and then the ending to last season I am not kidding I might have watched it 45 times.  It was perfect.  I almost wished the show was over so it could just end there but you know they have actually done a good job with Mindy and Danny as a couple this season.  It wasn’t until I saw that finale that I realized how much I miss romantic comedies.  I need my sugary romances you guys or I get very gloomy!  I need my romantic movies so at least I get it from TV from time to time.

I wish we could hang on to A to Z like they’ve hung on to Mindy Project.  Morgan cracks me up every scene he is in.  Definitely my favorite character.

Other Shows I Still Love- The Middle, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory (yes I still like it), Duck Dynasty, Wahlburgers,  and Shark Tank.  Oh and Dancing with the Stars has had 2 excellent seasons in 2014.

What shows did you like this year? Any I mentioned you a fan of?  Any way that’s what I like.  Thanks for reading!

10 thoughts on “2014 TV Highlights

  1. I’m not a big TV watcher, but there are a few particular series I do watch faithfully when they’re on. Doctor Who is my big one, but I also like Agents of Shield and Sherlock. There’s also been some good documentaries this year, like David Attenborough’s Life Story. Are you familiar with David Attenborough in the States?

    Downton Abbey Series 5 is generally lighter and there is a bit more exploration of Thomas. Lady Rose develops some more from just being a replacement for Sybil – it’ll be cool to see her play Cinderella. I did lose some patience with Mary though, such as how she barely acknowledges her own son.

    One thing that bothered me last series was that Branson was technically raped as well, by the maid, and that side of it wasn’t really acknowledged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great comment! Nice to get some of the dish on season 5 of Downton. I’m surprised Mary is still estranged from her son. I thought she had gotten over that in season 4. Poor kid. I guess it was kind of a strange era in regards to child rearing.

      I heard Agents of Shields picked up at the end of season 1 and has been really good season 2. Need to catch up.

      I know Richard Attenborough but haven’t heard of David. Will have to check those documentaries out. They sound great. Are you a fan of the Up series? So fascinating.

      It’s a good point about Branson. I suppose it is easier to think of female characters in terms of rape but you are right he is definitely pursued in a predatory way by the maid.

      I love Branson. He’s kind of like Mary in the sense you want to pigeon hole them into a role but then they surprise you and behave in another way. I also like Lady Crowley even though Lord Grantham makes me nuts with his poor decision making. Sometimes it seems he should just let Mary and Branson make all the decisions!

      Anyway, there used to be a big difference between teh quality of TV and Movies and I think that has basically vanished. Shows like all we mentioned are as good if not better in production values, acting, directing, cinematography as anything Hollywood puts out. (As we saw in the Patrick Stewart Christmas Carol).

      Thanks again for the comment.

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  2. Sometimes I think Gothel was a better mother than Mary – at least she was hands-on. I’ve been told the treatment of the children has some historical accuracy, but the show itself doesn’t seem to care about them too much. They tend to get wheeled out for a scene per episode so we remember they exist.

    Agents of SHIELD has had a strong start to Series 2 – various plot elements seem to be moving forward very quickly.

    David was Richard’s brother. He’s a very experienced wildlife presenter – 88 years old and still going strong! He’s considered one of our national treasures and has the most soothing voice this side of Morgan Freeman. You should find plenty of clips of him on Youtube. I have heard of the Up series, but never properly watched it.

    I feel very strongly about the fact that abuse of men by women isn’t usually taken as seriously by the media as the other way round. One of the worst examples I saw was a series called Switch about a group of urban witches. One of them casts a love spell on a guy she fancies and sleeps with him – basically what Merope Gaunt did to Tom Riddle Sr, except being played for laughs more than anything else. Sadly, something similar once happened in Agents of SHIELD too.

    Oh, I don’t think any of us will ever forgive Lord Grantham for letting that rich doctor take care of Sybil, will we?

    You’re exactly right – there has been some serious effort put into TV lately, more than a lot of Hollywood movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely watch the Up Series . It is enthralling. I will check David Attenborough out. Thanks!

      You make a very good point about how male sexuality is treated in media. I think there is the idea that a man like Branson has more control over the situation than a woman like Anna who isn’t as physically strong as her predator.

      However, we all know that emotional manipulation can be as controlling and destructive as physical if not more so.

      There also remains some obnoxious cliches about the male libido that remain remarkably unchallenged. Honestly it’s not a good thing for young boys and you’d think we would have grown out of it. Even children’s programming you see a boy look at a pretty girl and completely lose all his mental faculties. Such a cliche.

      Very good points. Lord Grantham….urgh. What he did with Sybil and squandering the fortune again and again makes me nuts. I wish he just let Cora do everything or the Dowager.

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    2. Oh and it is such a Hollywood cliche to roll the baby in and out just enough to know they are still alive. Everything from Full House to the Cosby Show to Downton Abbey has done that. Reason being kids, particularly babies are really hard to work with and they are very limited with the time they have with a baby.

      One thing I liked about the brief but underrated show Up All Night is the baby is present a lot. You get away with that often by casting triplets or twins in the role.

      I’m not sure what the rules are in Britain for child and baby actors but I’d assume they are similar. But I do agree Mary didn’t really need more coldness. Her character in that department was already tipping the scales in that direction. If anything a warmth and bond towards her baby would have been unexpected and more interesting.

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  3. This post had way more hits than I would have expected. I’d be curious if any readers would give me some feedback on television posts they’d like to see? Any shows you’d like me watch or elaborate on? Themes in television, trends, whatever. I’m always open to suggestions as long as the content is something I am comfortable with.

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  4. I LOVE Sherlock! It’s up there as probably my favorite show of the year for the third year in a row, haha. I also really dug the new season of 24. I think it’s one of the best seasons, although I hated what they did to one of the characters.

    And believe it or not, I’m actually a huge fan of the HIMYM finale. I do have some issues with it, but overall, I always wanted Ted and Robin together. So I’m happy about that😉.

    Great list! Seeing those Mindy Project videos made me want to watch the show now . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool. I’m glad someone liked the HIMYM finale. I’m afraid they did too good a job convincing me that Ted and Robin weren’t a good match. I don’t see them happy together and I had grown to love Tracy so much and why spend an entire season on a wedding to have it undone in a finale. Barney and Robin had been off and on since season 3 so I was very invested in them. If it was going to end that way they should have given more time. Ok…I cant go down this path. It still makes me fired up just thinking about it. Sigh…

      But yeah I agree with 24 and Sherlock. I wonder if they will do more 24? I don’t know how the ratings went but I loved it especially when Chang came back. That was classic 24.
      The only thing that annoys me about Shelock is having to wait 2 years for more. The Brits are so stingy with their tv offerings!
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. It’s always interesting even if we disagree. Great year for tv!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I think the HIMYM writers invested too much time in making Barney a changed man, only to have him revert back to his old ways all of a sudden. That was poor writing. I also disliked that they broke up the last season into a wedding weekend, only to dismantle that relationship immediately after. I did love the Tracy character, but for me, I always thought Ted and Robin were the end goal. You make a lot of good points and share a lot of the complaints most people had with the finale. I share a lot of those with you too. I just happened to be rooting for Ted and Robin! Haha.🙂

        Ya know, they certainly left in open-ended, so I sure hope so. With Jack getting taken to China, and Chloe still alive (alas, someone is still alive who is friends with the man!), I think there’s certainly potential for a new story. Even the producers talked about making another season. I think more than anything, it’s up to the actors. Keifer Sutherland could probably play Jack Bauer the rest of his life if he wanted, haha.

        Yeah, it’s annoying to wait so long for Sherlock. The great news is that I heard they’re working on a special within the next month or so. So we might have to wait until late next year, but hey, at least that’s less than 2 years since last season!🙂

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