I'm the first to admit that I probably watch too much TV. With the advent of services like Netflix, quality TV shows are easily accessible - both a good and a bad thing, if you have any interest in a social life.
I've long been saying that TV is fast becoming a much more creative and interesting medium than film, and I believe 2014 proved this rule. I'm pleased to say that 6 of my 10 series listed below were new in 2014, so it's very exciting to see how they will grow in 2015. Of course, there's some old favourites on here too - let's take a look!
10. Silicon Valley
A new show for 2014, Silicon Valley is a hilarious and relevant look at a bunch of computer programmers trying to strike it rich in Silicon Valley. This is a cruder version of The Big Bang Theory for people who are actually nerds - not to mention this show is actually funny (sorry, I'll try and keep my BBT hating to a minimum). However, Silicon Valley does not alienate anyone who doesn't 'get' the lingo, its recent Emmy nomination for best comedy series a testament to this. I'm really looking forward to see how this progresses in season 2, and I'd definitely recommend checking this out before it starts up again.
Outlander is what I turned to when I needed my Game of Thrones-esque TV need satiated. And boy, did I enjoy watching this show. Yes, it's cheesy, yes, it's over the top bodice-ripping romance, but it's set in Scotland! And the scenery is so gorgeous! And there's lots of action! The actors who portray the two main characters (Claire and Jamie) have truly incredible chemistry together, so that certainly helps too. Outlander was such a fun show to watch, which I did in about 2 days.
8. Adventure Time
You may roll your eyes, but Adventure Time has consistently remained one of the best TV shows since it began in 2010. It has continuously pushed the boundaries of animation, humour, and storytelling in traditional "children's" TV, and 2014 saw the production of some of the weirdest (and most original) episodes to date. It's so refreshing to see a show aimed at children that does not pander to the lowest common denominator, but challenges ways of thinking, and even not-so-subtlety hinting at a relationship between the two main female characters.
I know it has now become a well-oiled marketing machine, but don't let that fool you: Adventure Time really is one of the best series of 2014.
7. Orange is The New Black
I think one of the reasons I love Orange Is The New Black so much is because it's one of the only places on television that you actually see an enormously talented ensemble cast of mainly women, and women of all races and sexualities at that. Network television is usually just a huge sea of white, straight (mainly) males, with women usually there to play up to a stereotypes. Funnily enough, the main character in OITNB is perhaps the least exciting part of the show. I absolutely love seeing the backstories of all of these complex and interesting women - Crazy Eyes' past absolutely destroyed me. I binge watched both seasons, and I'm sure I'll do the same again when season 3 comes out.
6. The Knick
With direction by Steven Soderbergh, a score by Cliff Martinez, and Clive Owen starring, the lineup of The Knick appears more like a film than a television show. But oh boy, did it make for some great television. I can only praise the casting director for bringing André Holland into my life, who plays the long-suffering Dr. Algernon Edwards, striving to be accepted as a black doctor in 1900's NYC. Given the time and location, it can be quite gruesome to watch in some parts, but it has given a new breath of life into the typical medical drama.
5. Game of Thrones
Full disclosure: I am absolutely, utterly obsessed with the book series upon which Game of Thrones is based. So, as you can imagine, I tend to be hyper-judgemental about the TV adaptation (please, don't even get me started on the character that didn't reappear at the end of season 4). Nevertheless, there was plenty in season 4 that made for great television. As a diehard Sansa Stark fan (come at me naysayers!) it was great to witness her character growth, even at the expense of what really happens in the books. And oh man, the fight scene between Oberyn and The Mountain was every bit as horrifying and gruesome as I imagined it. I'm apprehensive about the upcoming season 5 as the source material is...not great, but you can bet I'll be glued to the TV when it's on.
Louie is such an underrated show, so I'm thrilled that I can wax lyrical about it on here. If you're unfamiliar, the series is a somewhat fictional look at the life of comedian Louis CK - primarily through his time living in NYC, looking after his two daughters, and falling in and out of relationships. What I really love about Louie is that it is a really honest, warts-and-all approach to viewing life. For a comedian that can occasionally get quite crude, Louie is also quite poignant and touching in parts.
3. True Detective
True Detective had to have been the most intriguing (and most talked about) series of 2014. Truthfully, it was more akin to film than television; created entirely by one man (Nic Pizzolatto) and directed by another (Cary Joji Fukunaga), with an A-list cast (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson). But the television format worked incredible well here, as each episode slowly revealed more information about the intriguing case of the dead women, Carcosa and the Yellow King. This was truly the most original an innovative series of 2014, and I can't wait for season 2 to start in a couple of months.
2. Broad City
If Girls is too cringeworthy for you to handle, Broad City is the perfect antidote: an insanely funny show following NYC twentysomethings Ilana and Abbi, the creators of the series. Their humour is off the wall, but very endearing. Highlights include smuggling weed in "natures pocket" on the train, and perhaps the most incredible use of Drake's "Started From The Bottom" known to mankind.
When I first heard that a television show based on the Coen brothers' beloved film Fargo, I was very skeptical. Fargo, after all, is one of my favourite films, and I couldn't see how it would work. But as more details were released before it came out, I slowly warmed to the idea. Martin Freeman starring? A supporting cast including Billy Bob Thorton and Bob Odenkirk? I was intrigued.
If you caught the series, you'll know it adapted the dark comedy absolutely perfectly, with stunning cinematography and a perfect cast. Allison Tolman, playing police officer Molly Solverson, was an absolute revelation. Fargo took all of the best elements of the original film, and created an intricate, coherent series that explored the idea of the anti-hero in exquisite detail. While I know True Detective topped most end of year lists, Fargo is my number one pick for best TV show of 2014.