I freely admit that I don't have the most distinguishing palette when it comes to entertainment, including TV, but here are the currently airing TV shows that I've been watching over the past year. If you haven't been keeping up with some of these shows, there might be minor spoilers.
New Girl - Finding a new voice, but still ridiculously charming. I want to hang out with these people all the time. I was pretty heartbroken last season when Nick and Jess broke up, but I think the show is doing a good job showing their sense of shared history and affection, while also setting them up for something new in their lives. The supporting cast is still really strong, and while I wish they'd give us a little more of the Schmidt magic that happened in season one, I love the way they've developed Winston.
I may love this show at least in part because the main character is named Jessica, and I have a weakness for things that have the same name as me. It might also be why I love Jessicas Alba, Simpson, Biel, and Lange.
Vampire Diaries - Got off to a really slow start this season, and although it's picked up a little bit of steam, it's still mired in some really annoying subplots. The show has never utilized Bonnie very well; either kill her or give her something to do. And will someone please kill Enzo already? His charming psycho routine is shades of season 1 Damon, and we do not need the retread.
Fire water and underbutt. Oh my.
How To Get Away With Murder - Soapy, crazy, silly, maybe even a little stupid, but very entertaining. Viola Davis is both the star of the show and the reason that it holds together at all. She attacks each scene with an incredible level of ferocity, which is good because sometimes it feels like the rest of the cast is just kind of meandering through their scenes. Also, there's some really hot dude on dude action.
This photo is kind of weird.
Black-ish - I enjoy this show so thoroughly. While I can't say much about its portrayal of the black, upper middle-class experience (or even of the middle-class experience, full stop), it's always laugh out loud funny and topical without coming across as strident. Tracy Ellis-Ross is always fantastic, and the two younger kids are ridiculously cute. It's like a new Cosby Show, except no one involved is a rapist. That we know of.
Sleepy Hollow - This show is fucking bonkers. There is no other word for it. They churn through plot a mile a minute, and the first season was basically out to show just how good a show could be while being utterly, completely stupid. The WTF-ery is strong in this one. Season two, unfortunately, has not managed to tie things together quite so well - lots of dangling threads and weird character non-development have created a hole that I'm not sure the show can dig itself out of. I'm still going to watch, though, because the chemistry between Ichabod and Abby will always be worth it.
I've kind of made the theme song my own unofficial theme song. Like, when I walk into a room, I pretend the spooky violins and horns are blasting behind me. It's pretty badass.
Game of Thrones - I am a massive fan of the books, and it stands to reason that I'm a massive fan of the show. I'm consistently amazed at how well they translate something so sweeping and fantastical from the page to the screen. They've managed to streamline a lot of things that needed it without losing the depth and sense of history that made the books so special. All the little tweaks and changes have taken the show in a slightly different direction, and I'm interested in seeing where things continue to head. Some things that I don't like - Theon. Just fucking kill him already, his storyline is not interesting or important. Some things I love - pretty much everything else.
A throne that will cut your balls off if you sit down to fast doesn't sound like much of a prize.
Orange is the New Black - I'm going to sound like a bit of a crazy person, but while I enjoy this show as I'm watching it, this season, I felt no pull to keep going with it. I watched it half-heartedly for the first six or seven episodes, and then just stopped. I can't even really tell you why. It wasn't that the characters weren't interesting anymore, but rather that things seemed weirdly easy, even tame, after all the shit that went down in the real world this year. I know it's stupid that I'm saying that about this show and not, like, Sleepy Hollow or The Vampire Diaries, but I feel like I want my TV to either be totally escapist or incisively, bitingly topical. For some reason, OitNB didn't feel like either.
I just don't care what happens to you anymore, pretty white lady in prison. Sorry.
Black Mirror - Holy shit, this show is awesome. It's a big like The Twilight Zone, in that each episode stands alone and has a different cast, and it deals with issues of technology - what it means, how it affects us, how we interact with it. It's a fascinating show, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something both though provoking and entertaining.
I no longer have any interest in going on American Idol. Not that I did before, but really not now.
Space Dandy - I'm a big fan of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, so I had to give Space Dandy a try. I'm on a couple of episodes in, but so far it's pretty good. I don't know if I like it as much as the others that I mentioned, which were tied to and defined by a particular music style and culture (although maybe Dandy is a subculture that I'm just not familiar with, now that I think about it), but there's something pleasingly trippy and frenetic about the style of animation, and the sly humor and attitude are there in spades.
This show features a lot of unnaturally bouncy and buoyant breasts. It's actually a signficant plot point.
True Detective - In like a lion, out like a lamb. There was no way the ending was ever going to live up to all the metaphysical craziness and drama, but when it was good, it was soooo gooood. And it made me feel smart, so that's cool. I'm very interested to see where they go with it in season two.
Just imagine William Shatner doing the whole "time is a flat circle" thing.
Forever - This show does not make me feel smart. It's really silly, but that's kind of the fun of it. It's about a medical examiner in New York City - pretty standard, right? But, shocking twist, he's immortal. If he's killed, his body disappears and he wakes up in the nearest body of water. It's because of an Indian curse/blessing/whatever, and he's lived for over 200 years because of it. It's like a low key Sleepy Hollow, but it's weirdly entertaining.
"Hello, I'm attractively British and very clever."
I don't actually have cable, just internet and Roku and whatever, so there are some shows that I haven't been able to keep up with that I would really like to. I've heard amazing things about The Americans, about Soviet spies in the 80s, but I haven't been able to catch it at all yet. Hopefully it'll be up on Netflix sometime soon. I was absolutely crazy about the first season of Orphan Black, but *cough* I can't seem to get my hands on it anymore. Again, I'm counting the days until it's up on Netflix or something.
What did you guys really enjoy this year? Do you watch any of the shows that I talked about? Agree or disagree with my assessments?