Man, 2018 was a good week for television. There really are just too many shows and you can’t always get to everything. I’m still a season behind in Lovesick (Scrotal Recall) and haven’t gotten around to trying L.A. to Vegas or Rotten.I’m very embarrassed that I haven’t watched the new Crazy Ex-Girlfriend or Inside No. 9 yet, but after being late for the 2017 article, I wanted to get this one out early. I hope you all find some new recommendations! I think 2019 may even be a better year of TV! And without further ado…
It’s here! It may be a week late but it’s here! My favorite article of the year which seems egotistical but it’s not because the reason I like it so much is because of all the words everyone but me put. (Perfect sentence.) Enjoy this year’s breakdown of the best TV episodes of 2017 from a variety of my friends, all with a unique perspective.
American Gods — “The Secret of Spoons”
(Season One, Episode 2)
By Robbie Mehling
“We’re not taking the highway. Not now. Not ever,” says Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) as they drive from Indiana to Chicago and beyond. This summer I did my own personal road trip from Minneapolis to Southern Indiana using back country roads. First you turn left, then right, then left again as you meander past cornfields and farmhouses. It certainly takes longer but the possibility exists for some truly stunning views, more so anyway than the interstate rest stop. It’s this mentality that runs through Neil Gaiman’s original novel and is certainly present in Bryan Fuller’s adaptation. This show moves at a slow pace as the whole first season only covers the first few chapters of the book. But I think it works incredibly well as it meanders through folklore, mythology, and back road America.
Six years! I’ve been doing this silly article for six years! (I take 11 month breaks in-between articles so it’s not that impressive.) It remains one of my favorite things to do because every time I get a new article in my inbox I am surprised and entertained by all the different things that my friends have picked up on. Also—as seen by the other article this week—I see a ton of TV, but every year people bring up shows that I don’t watch that now I suddenly want to. So enjoy and find something great to watch!
Once again I watched too many shows this year. You don’t need a lengthy paragraph explaining my madness. Basically it comes down to sleep less, watch more. Oh and don’t see Hamilton until the end of the year because basically since then I’ve just been watching Hamilton clips and watching my DVR overflow. But there are plenty of shows that I haven’t caught up with or I’m too behind on that aren’t on my list. They are…Banshee, Bosch, The Fall, The Get Down, Queen Sugar, One Mississippi, Quarry, Scrotal Recall/Lovesick, Steven Universe and Underground. And now let’s begin with something easy.
Every year I love to ask my friends to write about the TV episodes that really stuck with them and every year it’s an absolute delight to read what they have to say. This is the fifth year doing this and I think these just keep getting better. Below are 33 essays about different 2015 episodes. You also can read their Top 10 lists and then at the very bottom of the hysterically long article, you can see what is the collected Top 10 list based on the 31 submitted lists. Please leave a comment so you can say what you liked this year as well! But first let’s start off by getting a little weird…
Ash vs. the Evil Dead – “El Jefe”
(Season One, Episode 1)
By Ray Martindale
This is an absurdly long list so let’s make the intro really short! I saw arguably too much TV this year, but when TV is this good, it’s almost best to always keep the DVR rolling. Just because this list is so big, doesn’t mean that any of the lower entries on this list are bad shows. I ended up picking 50 out of the many more that I watched because these were all shows that made me excited to watch and talk about. I highly recommend all of them.
But of course I didn’t see everything. I’m either behind or haven’t started the following shows: Banshee, The Fall, Flesh and Bone, Getting On, The Knick, Luther, Making a Murderer, Manhattan, Mozart in the Jungle, Penny Dreadful, Red Oaks, Strike Back or Survivor’s Remorse. I hope you forgive me. Let start this!
The Carmichael Show
“So you really think protesting makes people accountable for their actions?”
“Okay, then why did I see George Zimmerman at a Dave and Busters, Maxine?”
This is the fourth year writing these silly TV articles and they are some of my favorite things to work on every year. In the previous one, it’s just me ranting about a ton of great shows. This one is easily more fascinating each and every time. Why? It’s because my friends are fascinating.
Critic polls always are a great way to look at a year of art but they are limited by the fact they all are critics. That is what their perspective is. TV is a medium that everybody watches and has an opinion on. Since there are so many installments of a show and so much time is devoted towards the story and characters, everyone is a little bit of a critic as they decide whether they should keep going or not.
Every year I’ve increased the number of people I have writing in this because I’m greedy. I want to read more and more thoughts about what is exciting my friends. So this year I do have some excellent film critics, but I also have lawyers and news producers and video editors and actors and directors and students and marketing experts. I have people who work at a film festival. I have people who work in Spain. I have people who work in sports, in advertising, in publishing and for colleges and nursing homes. I have writers who write about cowboys and skeletons and fools. What connects them all—besides their regret about having me as a friend—is their love for art.
So without further ado, here are everyone’s Top Episodes of 2014!
The Americans – “Echo”
(Season Two, Episode 13)
By Nick Rogers
Every year I talk about how good TV is on this site. It’s almost like I don’t know how to originally think of a way to start these articles. But the level of quality is getting ridiculous. Instead of a Top 20 this year, I have a Top 35 and there are still a dozen awesome shows that I’m not able to write about. In 2014, I watched over 100 shows while only dropping a handful of them. (Fun unrelated fact, I was unemployed for a few months this year! I’m better now!) Next year marks the end of plenty of beloved shows but as you can see from the influx of new shows on my list, the quality just keeps coming.
Yet remarkably I did sleep a couple of times this year so I wasn’t able to see everything. I’m either very behind on or haven’t seen Babylon, Derek, Father Brown, Getting On, Happy Valley, High Maintenance, The Honorable Woman, The Knick, Line of Duty, Over the Garden Wall, Parenthood, Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Shameless, Silk and A Young Doctor’s Notebook. I really liked the pilot for Mozart in the Jungle but that season isn’t dropping on Amazon until December 23rd so…
This is going to be impossibly long so I should quit stalling and get right to…
Key and Peele Season Four (Comedy Central)
“Do we throw something other than rice?”
“What would you throw?”
“I don’t know. Cous cous. Skittles.”
There were a ton of great films last year. SO MANY GREAT FILMS. I saw 135 films that came out in 2014 and I liked, in one degree or another, 97 of them. There are still a ton of them I would like to see that I’ve missed including The Blue Room, Calvary, Coherence, The French Minister, Get On Up, Happy Valley, The Inbetweeners 2, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Life of Crime, Love is Strange, A Master Builder, Miss Meadows, The Missing Picture, A Most Violent Year, The Mule, Norte the End of History, Omar, Particle Fever, Showrunners, The Skeleton Twins, Space Station 76, The Strange Little Cat, The Unknown Known, Vic and Flo Saw a Bear, Wetlands, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Willow Creek.
Since I’m writing about so many films, I’m going to try to keep it brief until I get later in the list. I say that now…
Destruction seems like something that will be inherently cinematic, but not every film is able to pull off the emotional weight of it. By the end of this film, you’re really able to feel the impact of all the consequences that these characters had control of and the ones they didn’t.
No matter what we watch, my friends always want to discuss TV shows more in depth than movies. That doesn’t mean that they like these shows more than the movies we watch, but there’s something subject to debate when you break up a story into installments. There’s the theorizing about what happened next and arguing what episode was better. To view a show in segments tricks you to analyze parts of the whole and to watch the show over a course of weeks makes you more invested.
So I love talking with my friends about their thoughts on these excellent shows. Every year I like to ask them to write for my blog and show everyone their perspective. Here are 23 of my friends and myself writing about some of their favorite episodes of the year equipped with their Top 10 list. Due to when I’m posting this, there are few episodes in 2013 that sadly won’t be up for consideration like the Treme series finale, Matt Smith’s final episode of Doctor Who and the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
At the very end you can read about what episodes were the collected Top 10 with other bits of trivia. But first let’s head over to the CW…
“Three Ghosts” (Season Two, Episode 9)
By Aaron Wittwer