Allison’s Top 12 Returning TV Series of 2014

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(Huge Understatement Warning): There’s a lot of great TV on right now.  And as yesterday’s list of the Best New Shows illustrated, there are always more being added to the pack.  To keep up with every year’s newest crop is a struggle, yet the shows listed here manage to do so with aplomb.  Many of these great returning series are old timers, bucking the trend of shows waning in their later years.  Others, though, are still relatively new, but have been able to avoid a sophomore slump by even improving upon their noteworthy first seasons.  It’s rare, and it’s also a wonderful thing for loyal fans.  Hit the jump for some unrestrained gushing.

Starz’s Limited Series THE MISSING Will Get a Sequel

by     Posted 2 days ago


Today, Starz has announced that its limited series The Missing, which first aired on BBC One in the U.K, will get a sequel series.  It will again be an eight-part series, and also again written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams.  Like this first run, the story will be told over two time frames, but will focus on a new case, a new location, and new characters.  Hit the jump for why you should approach this news with cautious optimism.

Allison’s Top 12 New TV Series of 2014

by     Posted 2 days ago


Top 10 lists are tough.  The top TV shows this year, and in the last several years, have been difficult to contain in just one short list.  That was true so much so last year that I had to make three lists; this year, I’ve done that and expanded from ten to twelve.  But these are less rankings and more guides to what was the best that television had to offer in 2014, and what you should definitely catch up on if you haven’t (this being said with the full knowledge that there are still several series I haven’t caught up on, either, like The Honourable Woman, in this category).  Hit the jump to see a list of new series from this year that could one day become classics.

ASCENSION Review: Syfy’s Newest Series Goes Retro

by     Posted 3 days ago


Imagining the Syfy pitch meeting for Ascension writes itself: “Mad Menin spaaaaaaace!“  It’s an easy sell.  Ascension follows the crew of an American space ark, sent on a 100-year journey in the 1960s, to find and populate a new planet.  In this telling, President Kennedy thought the Cold War might get hot, and wanted Americans to be able to find a way out.  The program was designed for sacrifice — it would be the grandchildren, or beyond, of the original crew, who would end up on this new world, but it was all for the ultimate support of the mission.  Now, 51-years into the journey, the ship has its first murder, and the cracks in the ship’s idyllic, Truman Show-esque setting are starting to show.  Hit the jump for why, “we don’t have infinity, we have the ship.  We were born in it, and we will die in it.”

HOMELAND Recap: “Krieg Nicht Lieb”

by     Posted 3 days ago


Has any show had such a complete turnaround like Homeland has this season?  It has been unafraid to raise the stakes to the highest possible degree throughout the season, and yet, all of it has connected intimately with the overall idea of (as Dar Adal says in the promo for the finale) questions of “moral clarity.”  In “Krieg Nichy Lieb” (roughly translated to something to “War not Love”), Homeland is also seeming to consider the idea that maybe the bad guys win; and maybe that’s because the good guys let them.  Hit the jump for why,”there was a Taliban flag hanging over my head. I can’t let that go.”

THE AFFAIR Recap: “9″

by     Posted 4 days ago


The Affair is trying to break us.  That’s been it’s point all along, right?  To emotionally devastate viewers so intensely that it’s impossible to bounce back?  The show has always been heavy.  It’s has portrayed difficult themes with an unflinching honesty.  It’s not that Noah or Alison are heroes (in fact, much of how Noah especially conducts himself is repugnant), but there is still a magnetism to their relationship and the show that keeps bringing us back to the wreckage.  Hit the jump for why “your pride cost you his life.”

THE MISSING Recap: “Molly”

by     Posted 5 days ago


In its fifth episode, The Missing revealed so many things that it felt like the investigation was really getting somewhere.  And yet, by the end of the hour, there’s a cold realization that (for the most part), further knowledge of Oliver’s disappearance has not really gained any ground.  That realization is also in line, though, with how The Missing has always approached its story.  Though the search for Oliver drives it, it is really about the effects of the case on those around it over the course of 8 years.  And in “Molly,” we’re finally starting to see how some of those characters are finally letting go and moving on.  Hit the jump, because “until death us do part.”

GRACEPOINT Finale: “Episode Ten”

by     Posted One week ago


At last, the killer was revealed.  Was it a shock to you?  Now, Gracepoint can come to an end as well.  It was a ratings disaster, and an unnecessary remake (particularly since so much was so similar to Broadchurch, except far less affecting), but it had its moments.  It introduced a lot of us to Virginia Kull, who was amazing; and in its last few episodes, it found a sense of urgency that it lacked in its first few hours (which might have turned a lot of viewers off).  Hit the jump for a breakdown of that twisty finale, and some Broadchurch comparisons.

SONS OF ANARCHY Series Finale Recap: “Papa’s Goods”

by     Posted 9 days ago


After seven seasons, Sons of Anarchy has come to a close.  “Papa’s Goods” gave Jax, and creator Kurt Sutter, the space to give the club and the show the ending they wanted (thanks also to FX’s generosity when it came to episode length).  It was a long goodbye where Jax was able to get all of his affairs in order, and set SAMCRO on the path it needed to be; one free of the corruption of the past, and free to choose its own future.  It’s something he had wanted to achieve these past few years, but his connection to Gemma and Clay prevented it from ever being able to happen.  Hit the jump.  “I got this.”

THE AFFAIR Recap: “8″

by     Posted 11 days ago


After its holiday break, The Affair returned with yet another difficult and deeply emotional episode.  But, it also showed how much more there is to explore within The Affair’s world, even outside of the murder (which has always felt tangential, and maybe even nonessential to show).  The nuances of Noah and Alison’s affair don’t follow a typical trajectory, and where the show really shines is its portrayal of mundane things.  Hit the jump why “it’s an honor to be in the presence of such a powerful female lineage.”

HOMELAND Recap: “13 Hours in Islamabad”

by     Posted 11 days ago


Wow.  Homeland continues to find ways to top itself this season.  “13 Hours in Islamabad” was an unflinching and often harrowing coda to last week’s shocking ending.  What happened to the convoy wasn’t just a one-off attack, he was part of Haqqani’s ISI-backed larger scheme to get a top secret list of assets so he could kill them.  It also mean that “13 Hours in Islamabad” was part of a long nightmare that never seemed to end.  When it finally did, nothing was resolved.  But there’s still so much promise.  Hit the jump for why “I’m trying to kill the motherfucker trying to kill us!  What do you think I’m doing??”

THE LIBRARIANS Review: A Fun But Goofy New Series, Based On TNT’s Movie Franchise

by     Posted 11 days ago


When looking for a new series idea, TNT went back into its old archives, much like the title protagonist The Librarian might do.  In 2004, TNT created a trilogy movie series starring Noah Wyle as Librarian Flynn Carsen, who in charge of a secret store of artifacts (many of them — most, actually — being magical).  Wyle has returned for this new installment of the Librarian franchise, which could easily be titled The Librarians: The Next Generation.  Hit the jump for why the title is now plural.

THE MISSING Recap: “Gone Fishing”

by     Posted 12 days ago


One aspect of The Missing that I haven’t yet mentioned is that it is yet another entry to the “one director” trend on TV that has yielded exceptional results.  Others have included True Detective (Cary Fukunaga) and The Knick (Stephen Soderbergh); like True DetectiveThe Missing also features the same writer (or pair of writers: Harry and Jack Williams), which adds a really beautiful cohesion to the material, both visually and narratively (which is so important given its dueling timelines).  Hit the jump for why guilt is a cancer.

GRACEPOINT Recap: “Episode Nine”

by     Posted 13 days ago


In Gracepoint‘s penultimate episode, the show answered a few season-long questions (though not, in all likelihood, its central one).  Time is running out for the series, in parallel to that of Emmett Carver, whose health issues have put a very short clock on his involvement in finding Danny’s killer — one day, to be exact.  As such, things have escalated on all fronts.  Hit the jump for fewer vagaries.

SONS OF ANARCHY Recap: “Red Rose”

by     Posted 16 days ago


It was a good thing that Sons of Anarchy took a breath last week, and paused before its final two episodes, because Lord, they were (and are going to be) incredibly intense.  The carnage continued in “Red Rose,” but the deaths were all from choices that those characters specifically made. Yet, among all of the emotional moments, there was still business to take care of.  The chaos of the streets doesn’t ever take a break, not even for family trauma (which, in this case, also happened to cause it).  Hit the jump for why “I’m ready.”

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