It's time for a list of my favorite TV shows from 2014.
But first. my honorable mentions for a variety of reasons:
BLACK MIRROR (CHANNEL 4)
I only recently caught this on Netflix. It might be my favorite show of the year. It is all that TV SHOULD be. Can't wait to see the Christmas special. Go watch it on Netflix, now.
SHERLOCK (BBC ONE)
Only 3 episodes, but each feels like a feature film. The third was the strongest. I miss Moriarty. After Black Mirror, go watch this on Netflix. Then continue down this list.
It's on the DVR. I just haven't gotten back to it yet. But I've heard only great things.
Saw the pilot and thought it was very strong. Haven't logged on to Amazon to watch the rest yet. I will though. I owe it to Jeffrey Tambor.
LAST WEEK TONIGHT (HBO)
I've watched segments from the show online and thought they were brilliantly funny. I just haven't caught the entire show yet. But I will.
HOUSE OF CARDS (NETFLIX)
The second season was this year, right? The plot got a bit ridiculous, but the acting is top notch.
Loved the first season. Haven't seen the second one yet, but I heard it's as good as the first.
THE LEFTOVERS (HBO)
My favorite TV episode of the year was when Nora travelled to New York City. The show might have been a bit inconsistent, but different, and well worth watching.
THE WALKING DEAD (AMC)
Great first episode. The rest...was just not that good. I'm still watching though.
And now, my top 11 shows, because 10 just isn't enough TV.
11. JANE THE VIRGIN (CW)
One of the best pilots I saw this year, and the series holds up reasonably well. It's smart, well acted, and avoids being the cliche that it can so easily become.
10. SILICON VALLEY (HBO)
Web-geek bias fully in play here. Very funny show, which only got better as it progressed. JT Miller and Christopher Evan Welch deserve Emmy nods, but they often get it wrong anyway.
9. THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
Not its strongest year, but still one of the only series on network TV that's worth watching. Great cast top to bottom. Still the best place to see actors from The Wire (with apologies to The Affair).
8. BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
We all knew how it would it end, but there were surprises along the way and Buscemi was masterful. I liked the flashback parallel story quite a bit. And can someone sign Michael Shannon to his own cable series please? Thank you.
7. HOMELAND (SHOWTIME)
I almost gave up on Homeland last season, but I'm glad I came back. Easily the comeback player of the year. The finale was a setup for next season, but the episodes before it were fantastic. Great recovery.
6. VEEP (HBO)
No show made me laugh as much as Veep did this season. I'm concerned about Selena's new job in the Oval Office, but what a great season to get there. And Emmy gets this one right - Julia deserves it.
5. MAD MEN (AMC)
I really enjoyed this half-season of Mad Men. It feels like a novel that you never want to put down. I treasure any Don/Peggy scene that I can get (or anything involving Roger). This show will stand the test of time.
4. THE AMERICANS (FX)
If Homeland is this year's most improved show, this one is not too far behind. The 1980's scenery is always fun to take in, but the story and tension never let up all season long. Solid Russian spy stuff.
3. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
My harshest criticism is that they didn't vary the opening credits sequence enough. That's HOW GOOD this show is. The best part of a new year is that "Winter is Coming" soon.
2. TRUE DETECTIVE (HBO)
The best acting of the year. The best tracking shot of the year. The most original show of the year. The second best villain of the year, because there was...
1. FARGO (FX)
I did not have a good feeling about a TV series based on this particular Coen Brothers movie. Boy was I wrong. This show did everything right from the get go. Each episode was better than the next. Billy Bob was the best villain on television. Every actor shined in his or her own way. The direction, the story, the acting...everything clicked. I almost don't want a second season because the first one was so good.
Agree? Disagree? What did I forget? Let me know.
And in the words of Billy Ray Valentine (in disguise on an Amtrak train), Merry New Year!