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Aug 24, 2004

It was no 2015 (RIP The Knick and Manhattan, come back soon Fargo, Master of None and Rick and Morty!), but there was still a hell of a lot of good tv, well-balanced across all categories.

Oops, used to be #10 until I watched the last three episodes of Westworld: Fleabag - Unique British dark comedy about a terrible woman doing terrible things to her friends, family, boyfriends.. basically to everyone but the guinea pig her best friend and business partner left her when she committed suicide. Breaks the fourth wall like Frank Underwood but somehow it works perfectly, because the things she's doing are more deliciously immediate, awful, and often sexual. The wider backstory slowly comes into focus over the course of the six episode season, til we get the gut punch of realization in the finale. Definitely worth a watch.

10. American Crime Story - Made me feel more emotion, and in different directions, than I was expecting from "The OJ Story". Marcia Clark and Chris Darden are played to perfection by Sarah Paulson and Sterling K Brown.. this is their show, not OJ's.

9. Better Call Saul - The quiet war between Jimmy and Chuck escalates, while Mike takes on the Salamancas. Background on Jimmy and his rube dad. Jimmy's failed try at HHM. Good cliffhanger, great season.

8. Black Mirror - Twilight Zone for the technology age. Worth rating this high because it's daring and often, if not always, succeeds. Sometimes 40 minutes is a tad too long for these episodes, but sometimes, like in San Junipero, it's just right. Yeah, you'll probably cry once or twice.

7. The Young Pope - An important story that reminds us how goddamned weird religion is, yet still life and death to so many damned people. Jude Law kills it as a spiritually adrift pope. Co-starring a bunch of cardinals from around the world, Diane Keaton, and a kangaroo.

6. Planet Earth II - Nature, filmed more beautifully than ever before. Your jaw will be on the floor half the time, and you'll probably cry a few times. The snakes. The penguins. The albatrosses. Christ. They managed to top the original Planet Earth.

5. Broad City - Abbi and Trey, Ilana and Blake Griffin. Violence at the Soulstice Games. Cheating at the Co-op. Solid season, lotsa laughs.

4. The Americans - The season of Paige--the first season of any show ever that placed significant focus on the stars' children and didn't suck. So much character growth and so many emotional moments. Phillip at the EST meeting. William pondering the implications of his espionage. Elizabeth betraying her friend. Nina. Gaad. Arkady. Oleg. Pastor Tim. Lots of great moments, and we're left with: "like them…couple of kids…American dream. You’d never suspect them. She’s pretty. He’s lucky." Here's hoping that this upcoming season is the season of Stan, because he's lined up for an amazing final arc.

3. Westworld - Robots in an amusement park for humans--can they achieve consciousness? This show was Honorable Mention material after six episodes. Episodes 2-5 are somewhat muddled and lacking direction, and I think there could have been ways to write them more interestingly, but they accomplished their goal of setting the table. After watching all ten episodes, including barnburner eps 9 and 10, this show bumped up to #3 for the year. Great slow burn, almost too slow, but set up lots of threads that paid off in the end. Best line? "Oh Felix, you really do make a terrible human being." Artistry.

2. Atlanta - Outrageously funny, occasionally heartwarming, never predictable, massively quotable. I'm not black but I get the feeling this show spits truth about African Americans' perspectives like no other. How would America view Justin Bieber if he did all his stupid poo poo as a black kid? How annoying are rich white guys who appropriate black culture, and are they worse than their bougie black wives? How many different ways can the media stereotype one black man? How does black society treat a non-arrogant educated black man? How lovely does Paperboi have to be to make it in the rap industry?

Montague. Darius. Invisible car. "Wait, why do you have your sister's panties?"

1. Rectify - Like Atlanta, this show can take scenes about meaningless poo poo and infuse them with heart so you care more about the characters. And then there are the scenes about the important poo poo. Generally knocked out of the park. This final season's plotlines surround ex-death row convict Daniel as he struggles to flourish on his own after being banished from his home state. His friends in the halfway house are incredible and so believable. His family tries to regain their own lives after living for Daniel these past twenty years. And his brother-in-law Teddy lives the struggle of being a middle class white man filled with rage because the world doesn't show him the respect he's felt entitled to, and he's slowly realizing it's his own fault. All wrapped around a slow burn murder mystery.

Praying that it can survive the loss of Greg, the heart of the show, and come out on top, because the Drinking Song and Tap That rear end deserve Tony Awards: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Honorable Mentions: High Maintenance, Galavant, Bloodline, Lethal Weapon, Full Frontal w/ Sam Bee, Person of Interest, Survivor, Veep, The Good Place, You're The Worst, Game of Thrones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ash vs. Evil Dead, Silicon Valley, Casual, The Good Place, Stranger Things

edit: Watch Black Market with Michael K. Williams. Omar from the Wire takes you around the world as he learns why crime pays, and in some cases is ethical and necessary.

also: Watch The Detectorists if you want something short and sweet and British and well done.

MrBuddyLee fucked around with this message at 07:21 on Dec 6, 2016


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