Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2013 Edition: 40-37

1 Jan

Okay, we’re full on into shows I actually like. There’s a lot of good tv out there these days, eh? Being in the 30s doesn’t mean a show is bad, it simply means I watch too much television.

40. The Bridge

Not about Chris Christie

The Bridge is the last show on this list that I have genuinely mixed feelings about; everything above it is pretty safely in the like camp for now. A new 2013 entrant with an up and down, up and down first season, I liked a lot and I didn’t like a lot about The Bridge. The show was strangely paced, sometimes greatly to its benefit, sometimes to its detriment. There are loads of good ideas but the writers sometimes didn’t know which plots to focus on and which characters were the most interesting. Matthew Lillard was one of the better returning characters and I hope he’ll be sticking around. The primary two actors are very good and they’re at their best when they transcend the standard police murder mystery stuff and dig deeper which they do, well, sometimes. I left the season not having any idea how confident to be about the second season but I’ll at least watch.

39. House of Cards

Ace of Spaces

This is not a great show, but it is a good pot boiler that keeps you watching through the end – the all-at-once netflix format serves it well. The show is a bit nutty and goes a little off the rails, but while the plot doesn’t totally make sense, it makes enough sense that you can follows the convoluted steps in your head if you don’t think too hard about. Not every angle truly works and a tad more restraint may have pushed it a little higher. It’s an absolutely credit that the plot, which could have fallen apart easily and is pretty pivotal to the show, actually worked enough to make it a success, and credit the Netflix system and the guarantee of 13 episodes for giving it any chance at all to pace itself the way the writers wanted it. Does it all make sense? Well, enough, and that’s exactly enough. Kevin Spacey’s southern accent is equal parts grating and delightful and while I’m not on the edge of my seat awaiting the second season, I’m going to watch it. Corey Stoll’s role as a troubled Pennsylvania congressman was one of the season’s highlights.

38. Siberia

Siberia

As I mentioned above, I genuinely enjoyed Siberia and the fact it’s #38 simply says more about the amount of good tv out there than about Siberia itself. I’m fairly sure I know the only three people who watched this show. It’s based on a strange, brilliant, high-concept idea of making a scripted reality competition show, and the creators actually kind of delivered on the idea. It was trippy, weird, campy, and it didn’t always work but it was surprisingly fun. I honestly think this is the type of show that really deserved a little cult that simply never developed around it. It did a much better job of mimicking reality show types and the bad acting that accompanies them than any comedy I’ve seen. One day, I’ll make a shirt with the revealer on it and walk around with it and absolutely no one in New York City will ever recognize it. If you have a day when you’re snowed in and doing nothing, marathon this guy. It’s not an all time series by any measure and there are no brilliant deeper layers but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As long as you don’t take it too seriously, it’s an awful lot of fun.

37. Family Tree

Family Tree

Light and delightful and fun. I’m not the biggest cult fan of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries but I do generally enjoy them and I felt the same way about this show. If you like those movies you’ll love it, if you hate those movies, you’ll hate it, and if you’re somewhere in the middle I think you’ll be like me. Chris O’Dowd is an eminently liekable star and it’s just a cute and generally feel good piece of media about a man trying to discover his ancestry to learn more about himself after a break up. It’s awkward and weird but unlike British Ricky Gervais awkward it’s the kind of awkward that more often than not (albeit not always) works out all right in the end. It’s generally innocent and weird and well-meaning rather than vicious. There aren’t a ton of laugh out loud moments, but there are a few, and there’s more moments that just make you smile.

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