Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top 10 TV Shows of 2014

The volume of TV shows I’ve watched and followed in 2014 has dramatically doubled from the previous years’ set.  Hence, with a comfortable pool size, I can now, for the first time, make a top 10 list of my picks for the best TV shows of 2014.

Before I proceed, these are, in no particular order, all the TV shows I’ve watched and followed in 2014 (I’ve mentioned some already in a past post) but didn’t get into the top 10: The Blacklist, Castle, Elementary, Sleepy Hollow, Psych (ended in 2014 after an 8-season run), Almost Human (unfortunately cancelled), Dracula (finished; I believe that it was a mini-series, but the ending was as if there’s a season 2 – there is none), Defiance, The Big Bang TheoryPinocchio (from South Korea), The Legend of Korra (I marathoned this during Christmas break), 24: Live Another Day, and Constantine; while these are the TV shows I gave up on and dropped after watching a few episodes: Gotham, Warehouse 13 and Crossbones.   

This anime taught me a lot about volleyball, and this is also my pick as the best anime series of 2014.  I already shared my thoughts on this exciting and fun anime in Haikyuu! Made Volleyball Awesome to Me” – click the link to read the full article.      


When it started in 2013, AoS had a slow start.  It was almost always deficient of any exciting, notably fun thing.  Only Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson was keeping it afloat.  It felt tedious often, as if I was watching it out of obligation of being a loyal Marvel fan.  Everything felt mediocre during its first dozen episodes or so.  Then in 2014, once it had its tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, AoS immediately became a bona fide intriguing TV series worth watching.  From then on, I was greatly looking forward for the next episode.   And now in its season 2, this show keeps getting stronger and stronger with every episode.       


When I saw the trailer for this series’ pilot – which already basically gave away its entire plot – I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it.  Then, the pilot was leaked months before its official start.  I found the time and opportunity to watch it… and I was hooked (read more about it in “It’s Official: the Upcoming Flash TV Series is a Must-Watch”).

Grant Gustin’s Peter Parker-esque Barry Allen is the best version of the character ever.  The character’s lovable geek persona just resonates with disarming appeal.  Next to the lead character, Jesse L. Martin’s Detective Joe West and Tom Cavanagh’s Dr. Harrison Wells are also fantastically engrossing characters to watch.     

This show has some problems; the two major things being: a.) lack of chemistry between Barry Allen and Iris West; and b.) suffers cheesy, uninspired writing half of the time.  Nonetheless, the potential of and the good things about this show still outweigh the negative stuff.

The peak of this show, so far, is the “Flash vs. Arrow” episode – the first of two crossover episodes with Arrow – in which the Arrow and the Flash get to fight each other.  Despite the limitations of a TV budget and production parameters, the fight scene blew me away.  It was stunningly terrific. 

Watching The Flash paved the way for me to watch Arrow for the first time.  I was excited of the prospect of an extensive DC shared TV universe, and I intended to catch up with its flagship series and trace its foundation.  I started with season one and found it entertaining but not as awesome as I was expecting.  But in its second season, however, the kick-assery and narrative improved a lot – I became an invested fan.   It’s not perfect, but I find a lot of awesome stuff about it (along with other current DC TV series, I listed the things I like about it as well as those I don’t in my article evaluating DC’s TV programming).  It’s my hands down choice for best DC TV series right now.         


This originally ran in 2013 in Korea, but it only got into Philippine TV in 2014, so I will count this as a 2014 TV show.  I am completely surprised how this Koreanovela has won me over.  I tried watching another Koreanova, Pinocchio, trying if I can replicate the experience I had with I Hear Your VoicePinocchio has the same writer and lead actor as I Hear Your Voice, but the former doesn’t have the same depth and delightfulness as the latter.   I Hear Your Voice is truly special.  Heck, I even compared it with the classic Huckleberry Finn! ––     
  For me, I Hear Your Voice is something like how a certain gentleman valued Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.  This gentleman went to Mark Twain and told the author he wished he didn’t read Mark Twain, and was willing give a hundred dollars for it to be so.  His reason?  So he could have again the pleasure of reading Huckleberry Finn for the first time.
  Really.  I found it astonishing that I found myself wishing I haven’t seen the series yet, so I can have the pleasure of watching it for the first time.  I Can Hear Your Voice is that awesome.


Before this special, I had never been aware of the existence of Black Mirror, a British science fiction anthology series that is very Twilight Zone-esque – hence, extremely fascinating, dark, intriguing, and smart.  I haven’t seen any previous episodes yet (it has, so far, two series – the last one still back in February 2013 – with three episodes each; a total of six episodes before this Christmas special), but I bet that this Christmas special has perfectly defined the overall exceptional quality of Black Mirror.

2014’s Christmas special, entitled “White Christmas”, is a tremendously absorbing three-part tale that featured two terrifying technologies.  First, the capacity of “blocking” people in real-life (just like in Facebook).  Second, “cookies”, a device where one’s thought patterns is extracted and stored, creating a digital copy of the consciousness of that person.  This digital copy is at the mercy of the person that holds the “cookie” and is forced to become a slave of its original/owner.        


I’ve always been meaning to get into Doctor Who – primarily because I know that the Doctor is one of the most unique and interesting fictional characters ever, and I want to enjoy the character – and it was only this 2014 that I finally get to do so.  When it was announced that the Doctor will undergo another regeneration with Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, I decided to finally start getting associated with Doctor Who.  Before the 8th season started, I proceeded to watch its key episodes, especially “Day of the Doctor” (its 50th anniversary special) and “Time of the Doctor” (when Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor regenerates into the Twelfth Doctor).  Just as what I had been suspecting for a long time, Doctor Who indeed turned out to be a show that is truly in accordance with my tastes; I was immediately charmed by the show’s quirky science fiction premise and rich mythology.


My take on it:
  Next to Sherlock, True Detective could turn out as my most favorite TV show for 2014.  It was extremely engaging and thrilling that it was completely hard to turn away from it; I watched all episodes of the first season (pre-downloaded) in one sitting (that has to be something around eight hours straight).
  I’ve noticed that all of the TV shows I currently like and follow have elements of humor in them.  So it was kind of an “odd-man-out” case for the grim True Detective with me.  Despite having a “serious” tone, the show still mightily appealed to me.
  It’s just that there are a lot of things to love about this show.  First of all, it was an intelligent detective-mystery story, and I’ve always loved the genre.  The opening theme was also pretty fine and catchy.  The narrative and dialogue (especially whenever Rust is involved) were completely rich, stimulating, and simply well-written.  But the show’s finest appeal was the strong and captivating performance of its leads, Woody Harrelson and Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey.  The creepy and grim sensibilities also mightily boosted the mysterious charm of the entire tale.  Heck, the mood was gothic enough to provoke many fans to expect that a Lovecraftian, supernatural twist was going to happen.

I wrote the stuff above before I got to see…


I love Orphan Black.  I adore Tatiana Maslany.  This show is awesome.  There’s nothing left to say.  Read my full ravings in “I Orphan Black


Sherlock is already a lock for one of my most favorite TV series of all time.  If it had been an already finished show, it would have qualified for my “Top 20 TV Series (That Had Already Concluded)” and it would have ranked second there.  Hence, I never had any struggle on what my number one choice would be.  What I wrote before…     
Hands down, Sherlock Series 3 is the greatest thing that came out in TV this year.  At this point, it seems unlikely for any other series to replace this as my favorite TV series this year.  Its Series 3 was just as excellent, intelligent, creative, funny, clever, and pleasurable as the previous two seasons – probably even more so.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman remain fantastic and charming as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.  If I will rate this show out of five stars, I will give it a six.  That’s how much I think highly of Sherlock.
…held true throughout the year.  

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