Published on January 7th, 2015 | by Brad0
Top TV Shows of 2014
TV continued its golden age in 2014, as established favourites like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, South Park and the Walking Dead were joined by the likes of True Detective, Fargo, the DC slate and more besides. We also said goodbye to the likes of The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire and Legend of Korra. Here’s what the Need to Consume team consider the top TV shows of 2014; we hope you liked them too!
Game Of Thrones and W1A
I’d say the best thing I’ve watched on TV this year is the ‘Mountain and the Viper‘ episode of Game of Thrones. This show never ceases to shock and amaze me, and this episode in particular made me feel sick to my stomach, like I was about to give a public speech in my underwear. I just sat there in silence for a few seconds as the episode finished, just taking in what I’d just seen, and hear…those screams; but I loved every second of it and can’t wait for more.
But I’d say my favourite show of the year was W1A, which is a name many people may not recognise but it was BBC’s follow on show to ‘Twenty Twelve’ which finished in 2012, and made a mockery of the Olympic Games organisation. Whereas W1A makes fun of the BBC as a whole and does it with such finesse and ‘tongue in cheek’ humour that just works for me. I understand it has a lot of ‘in’ jokes that not everyone will get, but it is definitely one to watch, if you like Twenty Twelve, Him and Her, The Office or Extras, this is for you; I hope they allow a second series.” – Chris Chapman
2014 may well come to be known as the year of the Rise of The Miniseries, the Apex of The Anthology. American Horror Story (now in its fourth year) arguably kicked off this recent trend but two series this year have taken it to new heights, to the extent that I haven’t been able to split them.
Both series come with cinematic pedigree – Fargo is based on the Coen Brothers classic of course and True Detective is headed up by bona fide film stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Both, too, will return next year with new casts and a new premise.
Another thing they had in common is a penchant for stunning scenes. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after a confrontation in Fargo between Billy Bob Thornton’s malevolent Malvo and Keith Carradine’s Lou. In an entirely different way, I was left equal enthralled by a stunning sequence in episode four of True Detective, a tracking shot a full six minutes in length. When did TV get the audacity to try such things, never mind the skill to pull it off? These days, you don’t have to go to your local Multiplex to see something truly cinematic.” – Michael Guest
“Eschewing the traditional going-all-out of other shows, the 200th episode of Supernatural strips the show back to its very core, two brothers fighting the things that go bump in the nights. Filled with countless in-jokes (They mentioned Adam!) for the long-time fan, the 200th episode has helped to guide the show back to a course it lost a season or so back, saving people, hunting things, The Family Business. That and kickass showtunes..”. – Rob May
I thought this might be difficult because I don’t watch many T.V. shows for a full series, too often I give up or lose track fairly early on. However one returning show in particular this year got me very excited from the moment I saw the first advert for it. Dennis Kelly’s Utopia. It’s a visually gorgeous but at the same time a sensory disturbing piece of art. Vivid colours and expertly organised compositional shots tell a bleak and violent conspiracy story full of flawed characters who tear at each other in desperation, just trying to understand and survive in a world turned upside down. I reviewed it for the site and described it as ‘brutally beautiful’ and I stand by that statement. Utopia is not an easy show to watch, it will make you cringe, curl up and weep uncontrollably but at no point will you want to turn off (well, some people might, it’s not a show that everyone can get behind). Above all else though, there was nothing else quite like Utopia on television this year and that makes it more of a crime that Channel 4 have cancelled the 3rd series. But we’ll always have the DVD, they can’t take that away from us. Unless, Mr Rabbit tells them too…” – Darryll Robson
“It’s animation but it still totally deserves to be listed because The Legend of Korra is one of the best shows out this year. It is invested in its themes and characters, goes beyond with animation and its soundtrack and although there were a few problems, Korra made a conscious effort to do things differently, to break conventions of storytelling and mess with audiences’ expectations as to what constitutes a “children’s” cartoon.” – Lauren McPhee
“Yeah, I didn’t expect this show to be any good either. However, where Clone Wars had to keep things on a single track (ultimately towards Revenge Of The Sith), Rebels has a bit more breathing space between episode III and IV. We have a whole new cast of characters and many people are drawing comparisons between this and Firefly. The animation is perfectly acceptable but not exactly breathtaking. The best part of the show, like Firefly, is the interaction between the crew. To date we have certainly seem plenty of the three men on the team: Kanan, Erza and Zeb. I want to see more from the Mandalorian graffiti artist Sabine and the pilot of the Ghost, Hera. I personally would love to see this show get a bit dark but as it is on Disney XD, I won’t hold out much hope! Can’t wait for it to return shortly.” – Duke
As for me…
Arrow’s “Unthinkable” was the single best episode of anything I watched in 2014. Bringing to a head the madness of Slade Wilson and his crusade against Oliver in the past and the present, “Unthinkable” presents a spectacular dual-narrative, intercutting between the two most exhilarating fight sequences of the year as Oliver and Slade fight on the Amazo whilst Arrow and Deathstroke fight for Starling City. Manu Bennett grew Slade Wilson from an ersatz anti-hero into one of TV’s most complex, compelling villains, in a remarkable performance. Arrow has grown into one of the best things on TV, and “Unthinkable” was a thrilling conclusion to a superlative second series.
The all-around strongest show of the year, though, was True Detective. A pair of world class performances from two of the better actors out there in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, brilliant direction from Cary Fukunaga (the six minute unbroken tracking shot at the end of “Who Goes There?” is the most bravura piece of TV of 2014) and an intricately plotted philosophical marvel of a story from Nic Pizzolatto all combined to make something truly astonishing. TV doesn’t get this good very often.
So what was your favourite show of 2014? Drop us a comment and let us know!