Another year is coming to a close which means it is time for the best and worst of the year lists. To start, a look at my picks for the best in T.V. for 2011.
Game of Thrones – Season 1 – HBO – Based on the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series written by George R.R. Martin. “Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.” (from IMDB). This is the best show on T.V. for the writing, acting, directing, pretty much for the whole shabang. The characters are interesting, their stories are engaging and even the most reprehensible ones are watchable despite the bad things they do. To try to break down the season in brief would be difficult given the complexity and rich story telling of the series. Watch it and love it. DVD/Blu-ray release March 6, 2012.
American Horror Story – Season 1- FX – “A family of three move from Boston to Los Angeles as a means of reconciling their past anguish. They move to a restored mansion, unaware that the home is haunted.” (from IMDB). Another amazing new series that debuted in October 2011. This was the most unusual and unnerving show I have seen on T.V. and not because it deals with ghosts but because of the way the ghosts interact with the family and the terrible and surprising things that happen. The acting, writing, production are all top-notch and the way they plan to continue the series is different from anything on T.V. today. I highly recommend watching it when comes out on DVD and Blu-ray (no release date yet) and then reading how the series will continue.
Supernatural – Season 7 – CW – Two brothers travel the country hunting and killing monsters and demons. This remains my favourite show even though this season has been somewhat underwhelming thus far. With the death or whatever of Castiel and Misha Collins no longer on the show (rumored to be returning for a few episodes) I wonder where the series will go as far as the underlying story line that has been apart of it since Season 1. I am partial to the pretty boy angel but his departure is not the only reason I think the show is near the end. Supernatural peaked in the second half of Season 3 and held steady through Season 4, 5 and 6 however no matter how much I love it for its cast and writing, all goods things must come to an end. I think it has hit the Buffy stage of how many times can they save the world. If you haven’t seen any of this show, watch it! Now! The first couple of seasons have their pit falls but once the main story line gets going, it’s funny, dramatic and full of awesomeness.
Sons of Anarchy – Season 4 – FX – The trials and tribulations of a motorcycle club in the small California town of Charming. Season 4 was fantastic, definitely an improvement over Season 2 and 3 which I felt stretched the story lines too thin. For those who haven’t seen this one, the show centres around Jax Teller and his struggle to deal with the criminal activities that his club is engaged in while trying to create a safe and happy life for his family. Jax is the club VP and his step father Clay, played wonderfully by Ron Pearlman, is the president. Clay played usurper to the throne with the help of Gemma (Jax’s Mother) taking the president’s seat from Jax’s Dad. Solid writing and acting again and well-developed characters. This season barreled along and pushed Jax to where he was meant to be.
The Walking Dead – Season 2 – AMC – The show everyone loves to hate but watches anyway. “Police officer Rick Grimes leads a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies.” (from IMDB) I stand by this one as a best regardless of the flaws that have somewhat carried over from Season 1. The story line seems to get stuck and drags on in the middle of the season; true it is on a mid-season break until February but so far the first half seems to have fallen into that trap again. The best episode of the season so far was the last one before the winter break. Rick finally got some balls and showed them what a leader truly is. There seems to be a lot of criticism over the lack of zombies in this show and granted the zombie count does seem way down but to my understanding of the show and the graphic novels, the story is about humanity after the apocalypse with the zombies as more of a background feature. Maybe I’m wrong and if you want debate it, let’s debate it. Now if they would just get rid of Lori and Andrea, it would be even better. Note: The new 30 minute feature after the episodes, The Talking Dead hosted by Chris Hardwick, is a great follow-up to each episode.
The League – Season 3 -FX- Comedy about a group of friends and their fantasy football league. This show surprised me. I don’t like football and I don’t know anything about it and it doesn’t matter when it comes to The League. This is the most consistently funny show on T.V. The episodes are about 20 minutes and the seasons are relatively short, I think 13 episodes per season, but it is hilarious. The characters are just so biting and funny. Canadian Jon Lajoie plays Taco and he is the best character on the show.
Divine: The Series – Season 1 web series – “A young priest must come to terms with his crisis of faith or risk damnation to the soul of a living miracle. With man’s freewill held in the balance, the bloody conflict surrounding the immortal being known as Divine will take him further into his religion than ever he dreamed possible.” (taken from Divine: The Series web site) I recently watched and reviewed this one but I want to reiterate that it is a good series and should be supported. Great production, writing, acting and the visual effects are impressive. Watch Divine: http://www.divinetheseries.com/ – it’s free and it’s great.
Shameless – Season 1 -Showtime – “An alcoholic man lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children cope as best they can.” (IMDB) Sad and funny, this show is another well done drama about the sad realities of how alcoholism impacts a family and drastically alters the lives of the neglected children who must rely on one another to try stay together and keep a roof over their heads. William H. Macy is brilliant as the alcoholic and absolutely horrible father Frank. DVD/Blu-ray release December 27, 2011.
Honorable Mention – Death Valley – Season 1 – MTV/Much Music – Cops battle vampires, werewolves and zombies in California. Another entertaining comedy with a supernatural twist. The UTF – Undead Task Force – face these creatures day and night and work on keeping the streets safe by shooting, beating and killing them in all sorts of ways while being filmed by a documentary film crew. Funny and entertaining.