Just like it was a great year for new TV, it was a great year for returning TV as well. Several shows did a fantastic job at reinventing themselves and proving their quality in a rapidly-growing TV world.
Breaking Bad I’ll admit, I haven’t seen the last two episodes of Breaking Bad (a problem that should be remedied this week) but the six episodes that preceded them were fantastic. From Walt and Hank’s confrontation in the garage to the scenes in the desert, the season was filled with tension and it brought out the best in all of the actors. While I know that not everyone was thrilled with the finale, there is no denying that the episodes leading up to it were among the best this show had to offer.
Game of Thrones This season brought 3 outstanding moments – the Dracarys scene, Jaime’s confession in the baths, and the Red Wedding. It also brought with it fantastic additions to the cast in Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell, and Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell. It was full of interesting connections between characters and some truly outstanding performances. This show continues to be one of the best.
The Good Wife I am so impressed with what this show has managed in its fifth season. The decision to split the cast into two different and competing firms has completely revitalized the show. There is a new energy and excitement to it and the quality is higher than ever. It’s hard enough to do even one episode like “Hitting the Fan” in a season but just a few weeks after that aired, we got “The Decision Tree” which was one of the best 100th episodes of a show that I’ve ever seen. For all those who think that nothing on network TV could ever compare to a cable drama, watch this show. It’ll prove you wrong.
Parks and Recreation Parks and Rec started out this year with one of its best episodes – “Two Parties”. More than almost any other, this episode summed up what this show is all about. It’s about good people doing doing things for each other. That theme carried through to “Leslie and Ben” as everyone important to Ben and Leslie pitched in to give them a perfect wedding. It’s been a year of love, friendship, and lots of laughter for this show and it never gets old.
Continue reading Best of 2013: Returning Shows
There is nothing I love to watch more on TV than the relationships that form between characters. I don’t care whether that relationship is romantic, platonic, or familial – I love them all. Our relationships make us who we are and show us things about characters that can’t be seem on their own. This was a hard group to narrow down. I watch a lot of TV and all of my shows feature strong relationships between characters. I’ve highlighted 10 of them and included several more on the honorable mentions section below.
Jaime/Brienne (Game of Thrones) David Sims said it best in this review on The A.V. Club. Jaime and Brienne are basically soulmates at this point. Throughout the course of the season, their relationship went from contempt to respect. The bath scene was a big turning point for them. Jaime is genuinely apologetic for insulting Brienne and says that he trusts her and demonstrates that trust by telling her the story of how he became the Kingslayer. Brienne holds the values of a knight so highly and so to her, Jaime breaking those vows was the worst thing he could have done. In that moment, Brienne saw that it wasn’t a matter of “good” or “evil” but of trying to make the best choice possible even when there isn’t a right answer. In that moment, Brienne saw the man Jaime used to be. In “Bear and the Maiden Fair”, she shows that she trusts him by turning over her duty of returning the Stark girls to him then calling him “Ser Jaime” – a title he never thought he’d get back. In those two moments, their bond was cemented. It is a bond built on mutual respect and trust and viewers know how rare that is in Westeros.
Will/Alicia (The Good Wife) This year and especially this season of The Good Wife was a perfect demonstration of the brilliant chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies. Their sex scenes have always been hot and while the passion they ignite in the other is no longer romantic, it is equally as compelling. This has never been more evident than in the 100th episode of the show. Will’s fantasy interrogation was some of their finest acting and the tension between them was palpable and electrifying. I always want more scenes with them together and I can’t wait to see what the new year and the new firm brings.
Abbie/Ichabod (Sleepy Hollow) These two. They are partners and there is nothing that I like seeing more on TV than that. They have each others backs and refuse to leave. Ichabod traveled into dangerous dreams with Abbie and Abbie stayed by his side as he entered Purgatory. They make each other laugh and smile. They are each other’s family. It’s remarkable that this relationship has come so far in just 10 episodes and it’s a testament to the great work that Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison are doing. Whatever the future holds for these two, they are a team and nothing can change that.
Joan/Sherlock (Elementary) I love what Elementary has done with these two. It is one of the strongest platonic partnerships on TV right now. They have changed each others lives for the better and they both recognize that. With Sherlock’s help, Joan has become a great detective and she’s happy and fulfilled by the work she is doing. With Joan’s help, Sherlock is becoming a better person. He’s formed attachments that have made him feel happy and more fulfilled. They have different yet complementary strengths and that’s why they work so well together.
Severide/Shay (Chicago Fire) This is such a cute friendship. They clearly adore each other and would do anything for the other. When something is wrong with one of them, it’s the other that is asked how to fix it. They would have made a beautiful, unconventional family together because of their love for each other. Shay has been a little segmented from the group because of her personal problems in the first half of season 2, but I’m hoping that changes and we get to see more of her and Sev being the team they should be in the seond half.
Continue reading Best of 2013: Compelling Relationships
This was an amazing year for television. There were so many great shows, both new and returning, all filled with great characters, moments, and episodes. I couldn’t narrow down my favorites into just one “Best of” post, so this will be the first of a series of posts about my favorite things in television this year.
These characters are the ones who grabbed my heart the most this year. They may not be the best characters on their show or the most talked about, but they were the ones I loved the most. So, in no particular order, I give you my Top 10 characters of 2013!
Jaime Lannister (Game of Thrones) Season 3 belonged to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and his portrayal of Jaime Lannister’s progression from the Kingslayer who pushed Bran out of a window into an incredibly complex character who is rediscovering his honor. The scene with Brienne in the bath of Harrenhal provided so much backstory and character development for him. He was placed in an incredibly difficult situation – torn between protecting his king, his father, and the people of Kings Landing – and he became despised for the choice he made. It was his first time he had explained himself and in doing so, showed the kind of man he had been. His journey to become that man again has been one of the most rewarding stories on TV for me this year.
Diane Lockhart (The Good Wife) I want to be Diane Lockhart when I grow up. She is smart, dedicated, and incredibly strong. I am still mad at Peter for passing her over for the Supreme Court nomination because she has earned it and I know she would be an incredible judge. Christine Baranski did a beautifully heartbreaking job portraying Diane’s devastation at losing that opportunity. I am so happy that she decided to marry Kurt, despite everyone’s protests over his political views. She did what made her happy and didn’t let anyone dissuade her and I find that inspiring. As a bonus, she was also responsible for one of my favorite comedic scenes of the season. Her reaction to Kalinda asking her about writing The Vampire Diaries fanfiction and to Damon and Elena’s sexual activities cracked me up and continues to make me smile to think about.
Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation) Ben Wyatt is my favorite male character on TV right now. Whether he’s reciting beautiful vows to Leslie, being concerned that Andy doesn’t know that Hogwarts isn’t real, or coming up with ridiculous board games, he consistently makes me happy. He is a loving and nerdy human being and I love him for it.
Continue reading Best of 2013: Characters