I watch too much TV. Who doesn’t in this new golden age of television?
As soon as one television series reaches its end, another takes its place. And I’m right there taking it in.
First and foremost, I watch for my enjoyment. There’s nothing like a heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat, dying-to-see-what-happens-next episode like The Walking Dead, for instance.
As a writer, I also watch to see what other writers are writing. I study their techniques, from how they develop their characters to the structure of the show itself. I’m fascinated to see how television creators are continuing to push the envelope.
Unlike some networks, I’m also willing to give many shows a good tryout period. I’ll watch several episodes to see how the series is developing. Sometimes I should probably follow the lead of the networks and nix shows a bit sooner. Sometimes the networks don’t give me that option and yank a series I like out from under me, like A&E did with Those Who Kill.
I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to nix watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD this season, but I stuck with it and watched the entire season. A comic book lover, I felt a loyalty of sorts to the show and wanted it desperately to succeed. It did get better as the season progressed, thanks to the infusion of the Hydra storyline from the new Captain America movie. I’m actually looking forward to the season finale tonight.
With the sheer number of new shows on the air, I usually can find something to watch. And thanks to my DirecTV DVR, I’ve got whole seasons of other shows waiting in my que to be watched when time permits.
Following is a recap of the 2013-14 TV season as I viewed it (listed by day). You’ll note that I am very action/suspense-oriented. Comedies (with a couple of exceptions) and reality TV programs don’t make my cut.
The Walking Dead – Hands down this was the best show on television this year. The Governor’s raid on the prison complex was both exciting and integral to pushing the show on its new course over the second half of the year. Some people have complained the second-half episodes were too slow-paced and they didn’t like that only a few characters were being spotlighted. But I appreciated the character-rich stories and the renewed suspense of having to deal with zombies out in the open.
Mob City – This series was interesting but too short to do much for me. Looking forward to an expanded season next year.
Turn – I’ve only watched a couple of episodes so far and have several waiting to be watched on my DVR. It’s so-so so far, but I’m a bit of a history buff so I’m anxious to see more of this story unfold. It’s also refreshing to see a period piece instead of the same-old, same-old cop drama.
Crisis – I nixed this show after five episodes. It had an enticing premise, the kidnap of the president’s son and other kids from influential families, and what the parents would do to attain their safe release. But I found I didn’t really care for any of the characters, including the FBI agents. The series just seems flat to me.
Cosmos – I watched a few episodes of this real science series, mostly due to my brother’s infatuation with science and space. But when even he decided the show was boring, it got nixed from the playlist.
WWE Raw – My one guilty pleasure. The wrestling can get a little old at times, but it was fun watching Daniel Bryan capture the title this year. The Wyatt Family was also a cool addition to the locker room lineup.
Hostages – I watched this series all the way through, perhaps because I knew it was a finite series. That is, it was only supposed to last 13 episodes. It was interesting at the outset, but became muddled in the middle and the ending wasn’t as exciting as it should have been. I don’t like the way Toni Collette constantly shifts her eyes off screen and is always opening her mouth in shock. Her acting just seems a bit exaggerated and I think that killed my ability to care for her character.
Sleepy Hollow – This was a great surprise. I initially wasn’t even going to watch it because I felt like I already knew the story of Ichabod Crane. I’m glad I tuned in, however. The TV show took a number of unexpected twists and turns. I also liked the fact that it had a limited run of episodes. With fewer episodes, the writers have to make each episode really count. So, I’m a bit dismayed that it will get 18 episodes in season two. I hope it doesn’t kill the momentum the first season started.
Dallas – An old favorite. Without JR, I was afraid the show might start to founder. But, happily, I’m enjoying every underhanded moment of it. Just like the good old days.
Bates Motel – This season was a bit better than last, but still had ups and downs. It’s easily a binge-worthy show at just 10 episodes. But I still want to see more of Norman going bonkers. I don’t think the writers have really reached their peak on this series yet. This is one series that could benefit from more episodes, I think. Or at least two half-seasons of eight episodes each.
Intelligence – I watched the entire run of this series, and I enjoyed it for the most part. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but I did like the characters. It was good to see John Billingsley (good old Dr. Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise) on TV again.
Those Who Kill – This A&E drama was undeservedly short-lived. I thought the two episodes that aired were incredibly moody and loved the character development. I was anxiously looking forward to more when it was yanked for poor ratings. I only just found out the rest of the series moved to Lifetime. I’m hoping I can find the episodes on demand or otherwise will watch them online.
The Following – I missed the first season and tried watching the second. But somehow I just couldn’t get into the characters or storyline. There was plenty of action and violence, to be sure, and it looks promising. But I think I need to watch it from the beginning to really enjoy it. I’ll either have to buy it on DVD or find it on Netflix.
The Black List – This is an intriguing show, but also has been quite frustrating at times. The action is top-notch, but I don’t like Megan Boone’s character (she seems too flaky and weak to be a lead) and, while I liked James Spader in Boston Legal, I can’t stand his tilted-bobblehead-lick-his-lips routine in this series. Does that bother anyone else?
Supernatural – Loved this show several seasons ago, but I’m woefully behind on my viewing. I’ve got more than two and a half seasons of episodes to catch up on. I’m actually surprised it’s still on the air after all this time.
The Tomorrow People – Gonged this series after one episode. I just have had enough of the whole people with strange new powers stuff.
Justified – Great dialogue in this series, but it’s so slow moving sometimes. I just want to scream at Raylan Givens sometimes and make him shoot somebody instead of talking everyone to death. I’m happy to hear that he’ll finally go after Boyd in the final season next year.
Fargo – Like the movie, this show is simply brilliant. Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) are a joy to watch. Aw geez!
American Horror Story – See my post elsewhere on this blogsite on this series.
Arrow – Like Supernatural, this one is just sitting in my DVR waiting to be watched. Guess I’ll have to catch up this summer, since The CW is going to add Flash to its lineup as well.
The Americans – For all the hype around this show, I don’t think it’s really living up to its potential. It can be extremely boring at times. But it’s intriguing at times, too. So I’m still watching.
Chicago PD – Best new cop show on TV. I was almost turned off by the violence in the pilot episode, but I’m glad I kept watching. This is a gritty, in your face cop team taking on the bad guys and I like it.
The Big Bang Theory – Who doesn’t like these geeks?
Vikings – Another series waiting in the wings on my DVR.
Hawaii Five-O – I’ve decided this is the last season of this show I will watch. I probably should have nixed it a long time ago. This season has been bland, especially with Dano and Kono taking long absences. Chi McBride was a welcome addition to the series, though.
Dracula – Horror buff that I am, I actually liked this series. It was stylish and surprising. I thought Jonathan Rhys Meyers made a great Dracula. Sadly, it won’t be returning for a second season.
Hannibal – Another series in the DVR que to be watched when time permits.
Doctor Who – Sad to see Matt Smith giving way to Peter Capaldi, but in the Doctor’s universe, change is good. The highlight of the season was the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor.
Somewhere on this list I should also note Breaking Bad. I was a late-comer to this series and I’ve only managed to watch the last eight episodes of the season so far. I’ve got ‘em all on DVD, but just haven’t gotten around to them yet.