The idea of TV being a downgrade from cinema has long since dissipated, and barely a week goes by without the announcement or arrival of a television project from an acclaimed talent or featuring A-list stars. The new world of small screen entertainment means that the traditional TV season is becoming less important, with some of the most popular or acclaimed shows arriving in the once-rerun-heavy summer months. The rules are simple: Take a look, and let us know what your favorites have been in the comments.
It plays out like a double-edged origin story of two brothers, with John Rayburn Kyle Chandler as the law-enforcing pillar of the community on one end, and his older brother Danny Ben Mendelsohn as the returned not-so-prodigal son who disturbs the peace on the other.
It makes indelible use of an electric ensemble cast, feeding off the chemistry that percolates between all six members of the Rayburn clan; with Mendelsohn and Chandler leading the charge in spectacular fashion, and Linda Cardellini, Sam Shepard, Sissy Spacek and Norbert Leo Butz never too far behind. The more typical turns the show takes are easily forgiven thanks to the thematic heft the creators rely on as a way of tapping into sensitive familial bonds, turning out a unique and fascinating thriller in the process.
So yes, a less flashy season, but a necessary one, that was better for it in the end. But the story of the fictional eponymous town in isolated Arctic Norway does gradually work into its own groove, allowing interpersonal dramas to unfold against the backdrop of a potentially supernatural threat. Even the variously twisted backstories start to make an uncanny kind of sense: But viewers coming to it from that angle were disappointed: If it never gets beyond a one-off a second season is yet to be picked up , it can do so with its head high.
Jane Gloriana Villanueva Gina Rodriguez is accidentally artificially inseminated when she goes for a pap smear and decides to keep the baby, whose father is a man she kissed five years ago. Rodriguez leads a strong cast who fully commits, particularly Jaime Camil as her telenovela star father, and the actors are benefited by scripts that allow their characters to grow throughout the first season.
While most heralded shows center on a male antihero, Jane is an inarguably good woman. But the deviations of those episodes only serve to bring more into focus what the rest and remember, with 22 45 minute episodes, this is by some distance the most show of any on this list does so well.
There are other minor niggles, like how they seem to be overusing the dream sequence trope without ever really having found an elegant way of incorporating them, but in the main, we cannot help but love a season where oddball Elspeth Tascioni Carrie Preston finally gets together with oddball Josh Perotti Kyle Maclachlan to give a pretty sexy show its unexpectedly sexiest moment.
Weiss take from the books. Still, the acting is stellar as always, and the technical achievement of bringing it all to life is as awe-inspiring for TV standards as ever.
But miracle is about right, in a lot of ways. They faced debuting on NBC, a network that is increasingly abandoning comedy, and had nothing to pair it with. The premise is simple: But bumped from eight episodes to ten, and having clearly listened to feedback from the first run, it came roaring back this spring, more confident, more rich and, frankly, even funnier. Aside from featuring one of the best comedic ensembles on television, with the likes of T.
In part because it airs on the Disney Channel, not traditionally a home for top-notch television at least for older viewers. And in part because despite solid ratings, Disney scheduled the series in such a haphazard, irregular way that even hardcore fans have no idea when to expect it the first half of the second season began airing last August, two years after the first, and wrapped up in March. Simmons joins when the show returns next month. The show wrapped up a macro-plot about a conflict with the Google-like Gryzzl halfway through, letting it focus the final episodes on an extended victory lap that gave virtually every figure from its Springfield-like supporting cast a proper goodbye, while still holding some surprises Jon Hamm!
And although the death of longtime writer Harris Wittels the week before the last episode aired, the finale was a masterclass in how to wrap up a show, with the love and empathy that ran through every aspect of the show shining through.
What we come to discover is that Brett and Michelle are just as fucked up, if not more, than their wayward pals. While the entire cast is on the top of their game playing flawed, but relatable, characters Lynskey is aces as the sexually frustrated housewife , the true find here is Zissis.
The new show carries over much of the same aesthetics as its parent, and trod similar thematic territory in its examination of morality and what it takes for a good man to be pushed over the edge, but did so in a much more low-key way, rejecting heads-on-turtles and explosive shoot outs, for the most part, and proving all the better for it. But Lindelof feigned left and then threw a curveball right: Instead, it was an admirably unsoapy take on a world defined and crippled by grief.
Well, himself and the absurdly effective team he brought together in order to evoke an entire era in a stupendously seamless way. After seven seasons of witnessing the most intricately detailed existential dilemma of a single character ever put on television, the inner demons of super-suave ad man Don Draper Jon Hamm are finally quietened down. But if Season 1 was Daniel emerging, blinking into the sun, Season 2 hit its stride as he does, developing subplots and supplemental characters, especially Ted Jr, and layering even more dread and wonder into the evocative mood.
The series was an instant classic when it debuted and the second season only serves to cement that. Firing on all cylinders, Soderbergh directed every episode of this brilliant and totally watchable turn of the century medical drama which is really the opposite of E. Featuring a contemporary and anachronistic synth score by Cliff Martinez, the show throbs with a cooly pulsing vitality and contemporaneous energy.
Clive Owen has never been better as the drug-addicted lead surgeon, and the show boasts many excellent newfound acting discoveries Andre Holland is outstanding and Juliet Rylance is also very good.
But the star here is still Soderbergh and his bold formalism; its proof paid to the idea of auteur-driven TV Soderbergh also acts as his own DP and edits every chapter. David Fincher once famously said there is really only two ways to shoot a scene, and one of them is wrong. But we did want to spotlight a handful of non-narrative shows from the comedy arena, if only because we appear to be in something of a golden age. As we said, a show has to finish airing its run of episodes before we consider it done for the TV year: What did we like?
The HBO series about gay life in San Francisco was cancelled after its second season though they say a movie is in the works to wrap up loose ends , but it feels like it was never given a real chance. Andrew Haigh and Michael Lannan had such a light touch, managing to balance many different tones, creating a show that was sensitive and funny and moving.
A slow burn, yes, but one hell of a burn if you stuck with it. Anything else you think deserves mention?