Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Five Favorite New Shows of 2014

Happy almost New Year, everyone! Have you made your resolutions yet? Have you already broken them? Fabulous. That's what the holidays are for! You have a whole year to get back on track, so for now, no stress allowed.

It feels incredible to take a break from stress, I must say. 2014 has been an incredible and jam-packed year for me, full of change, fun, and joy for so many reasons. But now that I finally have some time off to reflect on the year that's passed, I realized I was so busy, I only got to write a fraction of what I would have liked for this blog, and I barely made a dent in my list of new shows to watch. As I started to work on this post, at first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to create a best-of list with my glaring lack of exposure to what most critics would consider the best shows of the year. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the five new shows that made my 2014 special (with a few honorable mentions of course). So get in your new comfy robe and grab the last cup of egg nog - let's review the best newbies of the year!

Broad City (my personal favorite!)

If I could give you one gift this holiday season, it's the gift of watching this perfect, hilarious, gem of a show (my Christmas gift to myself this year was the DVD of Season 1 which was released earlier this month). Broad City follows the oh-so-relatable and laugh-out-loud adventures of real life friends, Abbi and Ilana as they work, play, and smoke their way through their twenties in New York City. All year, I practically forced Broad City on people, and wouldn't rest until folks who I knew would love it were as invested as I was - I even saw them live, twice, and laughed like a straight up crazy person. Trust me, watching these two women simply interact will bring you more joy than most of what's on television at the moment. And after you blow through all ten episodes, you won't have long to wait for Season 2! It premieres on Wednesday, January 14th at 10:30 on Comedy Central. DUDE. It can't come quickly enough.

You're The Worst

My wonderful boyfriend (who knows my sense of humor to a T) turned me onto this new FX comedy which I happily gobbled up - as he happily re-watched - in less than a week. Centered around Jimmy and Gretchen - a couple who would normally be the screwed-up sidekicks to the main character on another show - You're The Worst is a romantic comedy full of dark humor, earned emotion, and dialogue so sharp and outrageous, you can feel the sting through the screen. As our two anti-heroes traverse the tricky road that leads to a real relationship, we join them as they grow, mess-up, self-destruct, and put the pieces back together on the way to adulthood. The best news is, Jimmy and Gretchen will return to our TVs for a much deserved second season that I'm already beyond pumped to watch, and write about, come summer 2015.


What a shame that such an optimistic, funny, smart, and beautifully acted show had to be canceled after only one season. With only 13 delightful episodes - and one of the best sitcom series finales in recent history - Enlisted brought us to a Rear-D unit in Florida, building a world around three Army brothers and their fellow soldiers that felt fully formed after just a few short installments. Tackling tough subjects gracefully with both humor and heart, Enlisted and its truly talented ensemble will be missed. Here's hoping for a DVD or Netflix release some time in the future, but for now, you can share this one with your family over Hulu or iTunes this holiday. You won't regret it.

Rick and Morty

A weird, wacky cartoon adventure like I've never seen before, Rick and Morty was just plain, effed-up Adult Swim fun. From the comedy genius brains of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, this show took well known film tropes and bent them around a crazy, drunk inventor and his anxious grandson as they travel through space and time together. In the grand tradition of cartoons meant for adults, Rick and Morty pushed the boundaries in the best ways this year with episodes like "Meeseeks and Destroy" and "Rixty Minutes" that explored some dark themes in clever, and riotous ways. Will some of the through-lines from last year (alternate-reality Ricks!) come back in Season 2? We'll have to wait until mid-2015 to find out.

Playing House

I wasn't completely sold on Playing House when it first aired, but since it starred two of my favorite improv comedians, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, I stuck with the USA series, and I'm so thankful I did. Each week, it grew into a heartfelt, laugh riot of a show, filled with great little moments between the two leads that felt so relatable, it was a pleasure to tune in. This unique show about two best friends preparing to raise a baby together (created by two best friends who both have children of their own), was on the fence to be picked up for so many months, I had just about lost hope that we would get to see a second season. Luckily, USA picked it up earlier this month, so we'll get a whole new crop of episodes some time in 2015! Until then, enjoy the first ten installments of this sweet series online with some good friends!

Honorable Mention: Marry Me 

This show is on the right track to becoming one of the funnier network comedies out there. From the creator of my all-time-favorite, Happy Endings, and with casting that was tailor-made for me (Ken Marino, Casey Wilson, John Gemberling, Tim Meadows, I mean, come on!), I'll be willing to forgive its slightly rocky start as it develops into a consistently funny half-hour. Look out for my review of this wedding-centered hang-out sitcom as it continues it's first season in 2015.

Honorable Mention, "Not Really New" Category: The Comeback

It was great to have Valerie Cherish (played by the always perfect Lisa Kudrow) back on television ten years after the Comeback's first season was thought to be it's last. While the first few episodes were a little rough, the season as a whole was great television, full of cringe-worthy moments, returning characters, and sharp commentary on Hollywood and the celebrity machine. I'm not sure as of this writing if it's ever coming back, but I'd be perfectly satisfied if the excellent, emotional ending we got this year was the conclusion to Valerie's story. 

Hmm…seems like all my favorites of 2014 were comedies. Peculiar how those things work out! I guess next year I'll have to get to my long list of dramas that I've been putting off. Hey! Now there's a resolution I just might be able to keep.

Happy New Year, everyone, and thanks for reading! See you in 2015 for more TV fun!