in Television

Editor’s Choice: Top 10 TV Shows of 2014

Here are our choices for the top 10 TV shows of 2014. (Click for staff picks.)

the knick top 10

The Knick
Steven Soderbergh’s beautifully directed The Knick was a 10-episode cinematic achievement. With The Knick, it’s impossible not to pay attention to the directing, as Soderbergh’s direction is part of the narrative just as much as the characters, dialogue, and setting. The cinematography is absolutely stunning. Episode 7, “Get The Rope,” was probably the best episode of television all year purely from a technical and aesthetic standpoint. Additionally, this cast is full of stellar acting talent in the form of Clive Owen (nominated for a Golden Globe), Andre Holland, Eve Hewson, and more. The Knick was a beautiful, exciting, and — at times — horrifying experience. [Hera]

penny dreadful eva green

Penny Dreadful
Eva Green was magnetic, terrifying, and glorious in her role as Vanessa Ives in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. Green was the main draw for us — she’s what got us watching in the first place and what brought us back every week — but that definitely doesn’t mean anything else in the show was slacking. Penny Dreadful‘s dreary Victorian London setting, with its supernatural twist, set a haunting atmosphere in which various darkly realized literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Mina Murray roam. [Christine]

jane the virgin

Jane The Virgin
Jane The Virgin is surprisingly warm, heartfelt, and addicting. And it does a fantastic job of using its telenovela roots to create drama and suspense, while keeping the show and its characters grounded in reality. Gina Rodriguez plays Jane, an aspiring teacher who’s “saving herself” for marriage. A medical mishap leads to Jane getting accidentally artifically inseminated. What the show manages to accomplish with this ridiculous premise is wonderful, and the narrator — a play on the Latin Lover trope — adds to the tongue-in-cheek and overall comedic tone of the show. Jane The Virgin was a breath of fresh air this year, and here’s hoping to many more great episodes. [Hera]

orange is the new black vee

Orange Is the New Black
Netflix’s critically acclaimed prison series Orange Is the New Black returned for its second season this year, a season that’s introduced even more colorful characters and expanded on some of the tertiary characters from the first season. This show is great not only because of its three-dimensional representation of women, particularly women of color (representation that has sadly been lacking in mainstream television), it’s also very funny, shocking, and heartwarming. It makes for excellent television. [Christine]

the comeback

The Comeback
Nine years after the first season of The Comeback ended, Lisa Kudrow returned to play Valerie Cherish, a former sitcom actress determined to make her career “comeback”. The type of comedy in The Comeback is often cringe-inducing, but I kept coming back for more primarily because of Kudrow. Season 2 of The Comeback showed that Kudrow is truly a talented actress (give her all the awards!!) and the series itself has been an interesting exploration of Hollywood, particularly with how Hollywood treats older women. [Hera]

hannibal

Hannibal
We’ve got our issues with Hannibal, but it is undeniably one of the more visually arresting shows on right now. The cinematography in this is stunning, if you can stomach all the violence. The first season ended with protagonist Will Graham finally realizing that Hannibal’s name rhymed with cannibal, so the majority of season two was a cat and mouse game of wit, manipulation, and complicated relationships… a game that ended with disastrous results for everyone involved. [Christine]

brooklyn 99

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
From the get-go, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always felt like a very self-assured show. The writers know these characters in and out, so the jokes and running gags have always been appropriate to them: Captain Holt’s stoic-ness, Boyle’s obsession with food, Terry’s drive to be a good father, Amy’s perfectionism, Jake’s Peter Pan syndrome, Rosa’s cynicism, and Gina’s absolute craziness. And it wouldn’t be on this list if it weren’t for the fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine boasts one of the most talented ensembles on television right now, with Andre Braugher being the show’s MVP. [Hera]

from dusk till dawn

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
Here’s an unconventional choice for top shows of 2014 for you! From Dusk Till Dawn is far from perfect, but I had such a fantastic time watching it (and rewatching it, and rewatching it) that I can’t not put it on this list. It’s a fun, pulpy ride all the way through, expanding upon the original 1996 film’s world to better flesh out the bank robbin’ Gecko brothers, the Fuller family, the vampire goddess Santanico Pandemonium, and of course, the now iconic Titty Twister. [Christine]

broad city

Broad City
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer play best friends living in NYC with seemingly mundane lives. Broad City, which started out as a web series, is a slice of life comedy about these two women. Of course, everything that happens on the show is a little more exaggerated and absurd than anything you would experience in real life. Yet, despite the wacky elements and over-the-top characters, it still feels more realistic than a lot of other shows that take place in NYC. Besides Jacobson and Glazer, who also co-created the series, comedian Hannibal Buress plays Lincoln, who has some of the funniest lines on the show. [Hera]

true detective

True Detective
HBO’s True Detective captivated its audience with its gritty murder mystery, southern Gothic atmosphere, and deeply flawed characters. Much like Penny Dreadful‘s Eva Green, the true standout of True Detective — what kept us coming back for more — was Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle, an eloquent and cynical chain-smoking homicide detective. Watching his transformation from the start of his investigation in 1995 until the case’s end in 2012 was captivating. [Christine]

  • Dan Jennings

    Orange, Broad City, Hannibal and True Dick… I can get behind this list. I liked Fargo more than The Knick, but that’s ok.

    • I didn’t get a chance to watch Fargo, unfortunately. Though, I definitely plan on binge-watching it soon.