Friday, 30 January 2015

Top 5 TV Shows I saw in 2014

I spent most of 2014 trying to get through the backlog of TV programmes on my TiVo. I was fighting a losing battle as the faster I watched stuff the more I recorded so the box rarely dropped below 50% full. We went to Cornwall for a week in August and by the time we got back the box was over 80% full and I don't think it ever recovered. The box died totally a few weeks later and I lost a lot of telly, saw loads of good stuff before it failed though so we're cool for a top 5.

1. The Bridge (Series 2) - My favourite show of 2012 was back for a second series and didn't disappoint. The fallout from the first story runs through the plot this time and brought a different feel to the show but the drama remained strong and the pace of the plot was perfectly pitched. The two lead actors, Sofia Helin & Kim Bodnia, are exceptional and the show really revolves around the magic of their on-screen chemistry.

2. Parks & Recreation (Series 3) - And my favourite show of 2013 comes a close second. Hot on the heels of Series 2 BBC carried on showing this fabulous comedy. Some extended story arcs including the complete shutdown of Pawnee government departments due to budget constraints and the on/off love affair between Andy and April worked really well but the strength of the show is in it's ensemble cast who all have their moments to shine.

3. Line of Duty (Series 2) - Finally something from the UK. I'd enjoyed the first series of this though it didn't quite make my top 5 from that year. This series had me gripped from the start though. Martin Compston & Vicky McClure reprised their roles from the first series and were both excellent though powerful performances from Mark Bonnar and Keeley Hawes really raised the game. There were twists and turns a plenty and you were never quite sure who was good and who was bad. There was also a nice cameo from Jessica Raine early on which made it clear this was a drama that wasn't going to play by the rules.

4. Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle (Series 3) - The funniest series yet for Lee's Comedy Vehicle, this one had me laughing out loud more than anything else I saw this year. Particular respect for the UKIP episode in which Lee nails everything appalling about the rise of that party and shows them up for the sham of a party they really are. The Shilbottle episode was also superb, proving Lee doesn't always have top be political to get a good laugh.

5. The Walshes (Series 1) - Only three episodes but this was shown again on BBC2, after an initial run on BBC4, so I've seen them all at least twice. They crammed enough laughs into the episodes to knock most six episodes series into a crocked hat too, though it did take me a while to fully appreciate this. Created by comedy group Diet of Worms but with added writing flourish & directorial skills from Graham Linehan, I'm hoping they'll be back with a longer series next time out.


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