A few months ago, I posted my Top 50 favorite shows of all-time, with one caveat: the show had to be done (in as much as any show can be “done” anymore – more on that later).
As I said then, it seems to me that you can’t fully evaluate a television show until it’s done. It’d be like trying to grade a film on a scene-by-scene basis. Many shows have great first and second seasons, only to completely lose their way and become parodies of themselves well before the credits roll on the series finale.
With that in mind, I present my companion piece to the original post – What’s in my DVR? …even though DVRs, a relatively new technology, are already starting to find their way to the land of the passé. I’m sure that many of these will eventually migrate from one list to the other, as there’s no question that this is the greatest age of television of all time.
Now, these two lists represents shows that are on or off the air, as they were at press-time. Now that Roseanne has made its return to the airwaves more than 21 years after it wrapped – and Dan isn’t dead, apparently – as well as Aaron Sorkin’s standing offer to reboot The West Wing whenever he wishes, Will and Grace, Arrested Development and so many more…it seems like anything can change.
In no particular order…
House of Cards
The show’s been off the rails for a while now. With only eight eps left, I’ll see it through.
Takes HoC’s crown for best show on Netflix.
Season 4 wasn’t nearly as good.
Season 2 was a bit of a let-down from season one, as the show didn’t up the ante any, but it’s still quality.
Gets better every time out. The Jackie Kennedy episode was just fantastic.
Only watched Season 1 thus far, then lost track. Need to get back to it.
Mozart in the Jungle
Season 1 is better than the rest of the episodes combined.
Man in High Castle
Like a lot of sci-fi shows, it’s developing too slowly. I’m not sure what the story is at this point.
Season 3 was definetely the show’s best. Love how they have no problem changing things up each year.
The Looming Tower
Only one episode thus far, but it’s damned interesting. Feel like Jeff Daniels is doing his Will McCoy impression.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Season 1 was brilliant, some of the best TV in history.
The much-more-fun twin brother of the unnecessarily slow and dour All the Money in the World.
Starting to lose its edge in Season 5, but still funny.
The Wonder List with Bill Weir
A “real” reality show – Bill Weir is a great storyteller.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry still has it 18 years after the pilot.
Funny, sweet and charming.
Season 3, particularly the ending, was a huge letdown. I feel like this was more of a setup for future seasons than a compelling story.
David Simon (The Wire) being David Simon – except kicked into a higher gear and set in NYC during the porn boom of the 70s.
Game of Thrones
Like the rest of the world, I can’t wait for the last six episodes. Probably will be the most expensive episodes in television history.
I have a hard time seeing where the show is going, but I’m loving the ride so far.
She hasn’t been Veep for a while now, but it hasn’t lost its edge yet.
Good news: There will be a Season 4. Bad news: Likely not until 2020.
Season 6 may turn out to be the best yet.
A fun comedy about comedians.
Really hit its stride in Season 3.
Big Little Lies*
The mini-series is somehow coming back for another round. Everyone (living) has been resigned.
I don’t know how they did it, but Season 7 was been a creative revelation for the series.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Will Dennis be back? Glenn Howerton knows – and refuses to say.
It’s been a good ride, but it’s time to say goodbye.
The Middle is the steadier, less flashy version of Modern Family.
This is Us
An amazingly complex and ambitious show.
Season 3 didn’t measure up to the first two, which were written much more like a mini-series. Too much Noah, too little Allison.
Already cancelled once, how much longer can this plucky show last?
To the untrained eye, this might look like the same show it was when it started eight seasons ago. However, the characters continue to each evolve in their own time, bringing the show into more interesting and broader themes as it does.
At this point, I’d read the phone book if a Nolan brother wrote it.
Last Week Tonight
John Oliver has found a way to be the most interesting newscaster out there.
I read somewhere that “Atlanta isn’t a show – it’s a state of mind”. I agree.
I have no idea what this show looks like without Mike Ross. I guess we’ll see.
*See what I mean about the resurgence of shows? Big Little Lies rates #29 on my Top 50 list from before, but they’ve since announced a second season.