Usually when it comes to each year of TV there are a bunch of new shows battling it out to be at the top of my list, but that wasn’t the case this past year. Only one new show really stood out in my book, so thank goodness some returning shows continue to do what they do best.
Favorite New Show: Penny Dreadful
Now that my parents upgraded their cable package to include Showtime, I can finally take advantage and watch Penny Dreadful! It has everything I love, supernatural/paranormal happenings, a mash-up of classic horror genre staples, and a whole lot more. The first season does not disappoint as the cast works towards finding the missing daughter of the head of the band of supernatural investigators, though I will say I was a little bummed much more was not made of the Jack the Ripper storyline as it fades from the episodes as the season advances (unless we are supposed to make a large assumption about one of the recurring characters). I don’t see why this won’t continue into season 2, along with the repercussions of Frankenstein creating yet another monster.
Sophomore Bump: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2
Though I didn’t have as many problems as most seem to when it comes to the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I can understand some disappointment when considering the films it is following. With that said, season 2 has a noticeable bump when it comes to my levels of anticipation for the next episode, thanks in large part to the introduction of Adrianne Palicki as a new member of the core group of Shield agents. Another through line that cannot go without mentioning behind the scenes is Fitz dealing with the loss of a lot of his cognitive strengths following Ward’s betrayal at the end of last season, as well as his means of compensating for the loss of Simmons.
Long story short, if you didn’t make it through all of season 1, I say consider giving it a second look so that you won’t miss out on the current season.
Community Season 5 “Introduction to Teaching” – The study group takes a class focusing on whether or not Nicolas Cage is a good actor, exploring what we all would really like to know. Abed doesn’t handle the exploration of this subject too well.
Teen Wolf Season 3B “Anchors” and “Riddled” – As much as I hate what happens at the end of the season (which I mention a little lower in this post), that does not change that the season was pretty great on the whole. It pulls a little more strongly from the horror genre as Stiles loses himself to a dark force, and Dylan O’Brien really brings it. God I miss watching this show…
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 1 “Tactical Village” – Hearing Andre Braugher saying “Cwazy Cupcakes” should be enough to make this episode memorable as it goes without mention that Braugher’s performance as the captain is always drumming up laughs for his deadpan seriousness within all the crazy, or cwazy, but my favorite part of this episode is actually Gina’s storyline. As a character who doesn’t always show emotions past frustration and anger, she lashes out in her own way when she is hurt by not being invited to Boyle’s upcoming wedding.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 2 “Halloween II” – As a callback to the first season, Peralta and Holt make another bet as to who can outsmart the other in the battle for Peralta to steal the captains watch. Let’s just say Holt does his best not to go through the same defeat he did the year before, and we get to experience the same story through the eyes of two different people, learning that everything might not be exactly as it seems.
New Girl Season 4 “Background Check” – The pilot episode has been my favorite episode of New Girl for three whole seasons, but season 4 challenges that place on high with an episode in which Jess realizes she has meth in her possession and the group does all they can, and fails horribly, at hiding this during a background check at the apartment that will largely determine if Winston becomes a cop or not.
The Flash Season 1 “Flash vs. Arrow” – The fact that two showrunning superheroes come together in the first of two crossover episodes should be good enough to put this episode on the list, but what I most enjoyed about it was that we finally get to see the side of The Flash that I love the most. Next to the serious nature of The Arrow, The Flash finally gets to be the enthusiastic and excitable ball of humor that I have come to love and expect, and I really hope this continues in episodes to come.
Penny Dreadful Season 1 “Possession” – At first I was going to pick the second episode of the season, “Seance,” because of the performance Eva Green gives at the table when she is possessed by a being/mind/whatnot ready to stick it to Sir Malcolm and his poor job at being a father, but then we get a whole episode in which Green gets to battle with the dark forces inside her. Who doesn’t love a malicious force messing with people, picking at their insecurities and secrets?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Finale “Beginning of the End” – [Spoiler ahead] When it comes to comic book villains, it’s important to assume that they’re never really gone. The season finale makes fun of this by having the apparently dead Bill Paxton reanimate and rebuild himself with a new suit, but before you have a chance to finish your groan Coulson walks into the scene and blows him to bits.
Orange is the New Black Season 2 Finale “We Have Manners. We’re Polite” – [Spoiler ahead] Speaking of great ends to characters, another great moment of a villain getting what they deserve, and unexpectedly so, is when V gets hit by a van driven by an escaping inmate.
Biggest Disappointment: Game of Thrones – [Spoiler ahead, sort of] Remember when Lady Stark got super upset at the Red Wedding? Well that photo shows my reaction to this: During the entirety of season 4 I kept telling my boyfriend, who has not read the book series, that he is not going to believe what is going to happen to end the season. But then the final episode is over, and it didn’t happen. There was no Lady Stoneheart. I haven’t read enough of the series to know how this will effect what has yet to happen, but I can’t see how it couldn’t considering who she is. Please, please, correct this mistake.
Jumped the Shark: Teen Wolf Season 3B “Insatiable” – [Spoilers ahead] As much as I love these supernatural monster shows, the main draw to these guilty pleasures tends to be the romances that are at the center. In the case of Teen Wolf, Scott and Allison are Romeo and Juliet. Except after Juliet dies, Romeo continues on, and we are expected to get over this and be excited for the possibility of a new romantic interest right away. I just couldn’t bring myself to care anymore following this huge mistake (not that it could be avoided since the actress chose to leave the show), and I don’t know if I will ever return to the series to see what happens in the seasons that followed.
Cancelled too Soon: Almost Human – Following the end of Fringe I was looking for another sci-fi crime fighting show to fill the void. Almost Human seemed like it could be just that, though they are still pretty different, and I grew to really love the partnership of a human detective and his android partner. Michael Early was turning in a great performance when it came to the “flawed” android who maybe felt a little too much, and the partnership he was forming with Karl Urban on the screen was really what was making the show all it was. It was no surprise the show was cancelled because of its higher price-tag for the necessary CGI to fill in this future, but that didn’t make the cancellation any less painful. Just because it didn’t get the viewership doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth watching…
Wrap Up: There you have it, my thoughts on the television of the past year. I’m sure I missed plenty of great stuff (I haven’t watched any of the newest season of American Horror Story, and I am way behind on The Walking Dead, just to name a few areas where I’ve come up short), so feel free to fill in the gaps in the comment section below! Just please mark things as spoilers if you do choose to include them.