Top 10 TV Episodes of 2014- Part 1

12 Jan

10. The Walking Dead- “No Sanctuary”

Someone from AMC Networks Scripted Programming has been looking at my Linkedin profile and I would love to work there again, so all I’ll say is that The Walking Dead is a very good show. That is all.

9. Parks and Recreation- “Moving Up”

Apparently this season was weak but I never really noticed. Ever since Adam Scott and Rob Lowe joined the cast Parks has been gold and I’ve always looked forward to new eps. But I won’t lie: going into season 6, I was worried. The jokes were still great but it was getting that Latter Day Office vibe, where you still love the characters and are still laughing from time to time but you’re realizing it’s run its course and you wish it would just end gracefully before things get awkward.

Thankfully, the upcoming Season 7 will be the show’s last, though this episode could very well have served as a series finale. Something that can grate on me with sitcoms and half-hours is how the characters are always kicked into the dirt for the sake of comedy. This can be effective, but after a while it just becomes depressing. How many times do I need to watch Ted Mosby get his heart broken? How many times do I need to see Michael Scott fuck up? The worst offender is 30 Rock. Part of what made Liz Lemon lovable was how hopeless she seemed, especially with relationships, but after a certain point I wanted her to succeed and seeing her fail wasn’t funny anymore, it was sad.

So I really liked that “Moving Up” saw everything turning up roses for the Parks department. Leslie finds a way to have her dream job and stay in her hometown, Tom proves to be a successful businessman when his restaurant opens, and Pawnee and Eagleton resolve their differences with an awesome Unity Concert, the highlight of the episode. Ginuwine dedicating a rendition of “My Pony” to Lil Sebastian was pretty hilarious, but the best moment was everyone coming on stage to sing said pony’s farewell song with Chris Pratt and MouseRat. Bonus points for the Sebastian hologram and an appearance by Duke Silver.

8. Hannibal- “Sakizuki”

As I said in my Assorted TV Musings, Hannibal didn’t quite do it for me in Season 2 like it did in Season 1, but when the first two episodes aired I was none the wiser. The premiere, “Kaiseki,” promised a lot but also made me nervous. The opening sequence, wherein Jack is stabbed in the neck by Hannibal in an epic fight we’re told will occur twelve weeks later, immediately drew me in. They’re gonna find out Hannibal is Hannibal before the season is out! Jack might die! This is exciting!

BUT…

What if they drag this out all season?

Well, that’s what they did, and the conclusion to this fight was weird and a little anticlimactic. But in the beginning, just like with The Walking Dead, this show had momentum. I also liked how the Killer of the Week carried over from episode 1 into this one, implying he would be a bigger threat than those we had previously encountered.

Well, no, Hannibal killed him by the end of the hour, but it was still awesome. In the last episode we discovered the guy was sewing his victims’ preserved bodies together in the shape of a giant eye inside a grain silo; in the opening of this ep one of those victims WAKES UP and tears their skin from the person they’ve been fused to, before trying to escape. I think that was hands down the grossest thing that’s ever happened on this show. I can’t believe this show is on network TV; it’s more disturbing and violent than anything other than Game of Thrones, even for someone with a strong stomach like me.

Best moment of the ep? When Hannibal discovers the guy in the silo and with a smile says, “I love your work.” The show can be dark, depressing and of course, disturbing, but it knows when to have fun and Bryan Fuller is a master of black comedy. I like momentum in my TV shows (in case you hadn’t figured that out already), so while Hannibal ultimately didn’t deliver, it grabbed me at the beginning in devilish ways.

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