What a year for TV drama! Trigger-happy cops, CIA torture, outbreaks — and that was just on CNN!
Sorry, got carried away. But face it, we all got to watch 24 starring Dick Cheney and Michael Hayden — Mad Men starring Kim Jong-un — and The Walking Dead starring Donald Sterling.
(You cannot tell me the Donald is not a zombie. He sucked the life out of everyone he came in contact with. And come on, did he die in that monochromatic suit? It’s like watching Who Wants to Be a Billionaire.)
But I digress. It’s the end of the year, which means endless end-of-the-year lists, especially for TV shows. And I didn’t watch TV this year. Seriously. I cut the cable cord in 2008. Yes, I am superior to you, thanks for asking.
But I still have the Internet for now (thanks Kim). And the BuzzFeed logo is tattooed on my pecs. So please indulge me as I give you my Top Ten “Top Ten Critics List” Critic’s List.
10. Matt Roush, TV Guide
Is TV Guide still a thing? Apparently it is. Matt’s “10 Best TV Shows of the Year” is a true artifact. His puns are period pieces, older and more threadbare than Tom Shales’ red sweater vest:
“This show always gets my vote” (The Good Wife).
A “surprise pregnancy…has given birth to an instant favorite” (Jane the Virgin).
Folks, he’ll be here all week. Try the veal.
9. Jeff Jensen and Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly
EW‘s “10 Best TV Shows of 2014″ is the only list that also qualifies as a Women’s Studies curriculum:
“…Skewered our preoccupation with body image” (Louie).
“…Allowed the uncensored use of a slang term for ‘vagina’” (Inside Amy Schumer).
“…Inspired more thoughtful debates about consent than you’ll find on most college campuses” (Game of Thrones).
“…Explored themes of transcendence and transgression in intimacy, religion, art, and dining” (Hannibal).
Transgression in dining? I thought that was Guy Fieri’s job. Bazinga!
Jensen also wins the Herb Tarlek Award for Awkward Use of Spanish for this bon mot: “Jane the Virgin is muy bien.” Okay fine, Jenny-poo.
8. Willa Paskin, Slate.com
Willa’s entry for Slate’s “TV Club 2014″ is titled “Why I’m sad that the network sitcom is nearly dead.” That’s right, girlfriend, save those tears you might otherwise squander on Ebola victims for the passing of Must-See TV!
“…Seinfeld and Frasier were both very specific and broadly appealing.”
“Friends and Seinfeld in endless rerun are still so great and comforting to stumble upon.”
“I really love coming upon reruns of Friends.”
What, no love for The Cosby Show?
7. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter
Goodman’s list, “The Best Television of 2014,” name-checks 31 shows. Thirty-one. Good Lord. Ah, but he considerately explains why his list is so long:
“But first, a quick story about death and embarrassment…. Anyway, a spirited discussion about why I was to be killed followed, with me telling this person that the first few episodes made by the person who wanted me dead were, indeed, not very good and that one of the tenets in my critical philosophy is that second chances are not a given, and only on very rare occasions are third chances…”
Folks, Goodman’s disclaimer runs 1,408 words. “Quick story” my ass. Editor, stat!
(By the way, out of his 31 best shows, only one was an NBC comedy, and it’s been cancelled. Maybe Willa Paskin had a point.)
6. Jarett Wieselman, BuzzFeed
You thought 31 was a bit much? Try “35 Best Episodes of Television in 2014.”
All you need to know about Jarett’s list is this:
“There was a lot of wonderful reality television this year.”
Uh-oh. His proof? Episode three of the eight-part documentary series about Lindsay Lohan on Oprah’s OWN Network.
Honestly. Did you know LiLo’s life would take eight episodes to unwind? That’s one more episode than The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Ken Burns. I wish I were joking.
5. Scott Meslow, The Week
“43 TV Shows to Watch in 2014.” No! It’s too long! I refuse to read this! Cry U.N.C.L.E.!
Meslow’s list came out on September 8, 2014. That means he gave readers exactly 114 days to view 35 drama series and eight comedy series. And one of them is on something called the Ovation network.
Did I tell you I got rid of my TV?
4. Brian Lowry, Variety
Lowry gave us his “10 Best TV Dramas of 2014.” That’s more like it! Short, sweet, and unpretentious. Let’s check in:
“…A list of favorite series — like one of favorite songs — is a snapshot of a moment, not a rigid document carved in stone…”
3. James Poniewozik, Time Magazine
Poniewozik’s list is “The 10 Worst Shows of 2014 (That I Watched).” Finally, something negative! Enough with the treacle and mush.
It includes I Wanna Marry Harry, Marco Polo, The Newsroom, and The Brittany Murphy Story. All of which I am shocked did not make Jarett Wieselman’s Top 35 list.
2. Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture.com
Again with the cannibal? Listen to how Vulture describes its number one show, Hannibal:
“And yet for all of its ugliness and horror, it is an intensely pleasurable experience, appallingly sensual, laying out food, furniture, clothes, windows, doors, and landscapes with painterly exactness.”
“Appallingly sensual”? I knew we’d get around to Cosby!
1. Maureen Ryan, The Huffington Post
Her “Top 10 TV Shows of 2014″ list is truly great. Hey, I know where my bread is buttered.