Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2013 Edition: 36-33

6 Jan

We start off our next chunk of four with a couple of dramas, followed by a couple of comedies part of a very close group that moves into the next four.

36. Black Mirror

Holding on to Black Mirror

Black Mirror is a British science fiction anthology series, similar thematically to The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits with hour long episodes focusing on the challenges of modern technology. Because it’s British there are just three episodes a season, and two seasons, the second which aired last year. Occasionally the episodes can be a little bit on the nose in terms of the danger technology poses, but there’s generally at least enough of a twist or unexpected plot directions to ensure the episodes remain interesting and fulfilling. Particularly, in the second episode of the most recent season, the episode appears to be going in a predictable and overdone direction between a reveal dramatically changes the point of view.

35. The Walking Dead

Rick and Friend

I consider myself, and I’m still surprised by this, a relative supporter of The Walking Dead at this point in the show’s life span. It’s been an incredibly rocky road, up and down, with some peaks, and some deep valleys. The second season was a slow, poorly-paced affair, punctuated by a couple of high spots but the show has improved, if in a three steps forward, two steps back fashion, since then. The season half of the third season had more good episodes than bad, as did the first half of the fourth season, with the biggest downside in both being the writers decisions to overplay their use of the Governor, a good villain with limitations the show didn’t choose to see. The show still has issues. It can be on the nose, and many of the characters aren’t as richly constructed as they should be, a problem a show that cycles through hcaracters as quickly as The Walking Dead does is bound to have. Still, I’m still watching which I wasn’t sure I would be at times in the second season.

34. Wilfred

Wilfred and Ryan

Elijah Wood stars in this relatively under-the-radar FX show based on an Australian show of the same name about a man who sees his neighbor’s talk as a man in a dog suit who talks. There’s a lot of different ways to go with that premise, but Wilfred mostly sticks to the lighter side, going for humorously absurdist rather than dark. One or two episodes a year attempt to examine the darker implications of the fact that Wood sees a dog as a human, and those episodes have a very mixed record. The third season was largely on the same level as the first. The episodes can get somewhat repetitive and there’s a formula, in which the dog is kind of a manic pixie dream dog who screws up Wood’s life but often ends up advising him for the better. Still, it works decently well, and the occasional super out there episodes hit at a higher percentage than the others.

33. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The Gang

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia just reached 100 episodes last fall in its ninth season, an amount of seasons still hard for me to fathom. The show has long since become a hit and then faded somewhat into the background between newer, hotter shows, but it’s still churning out its brand of comedy, setting all its characters against one another for some stupid non-consequential reason, or against innocent Philadelphians. It’s a concept that could easily run out of ideas, and it’s impressive that the writers have done as good as job as they have, although it does occasionally feel like it’s retreating the same ground. It was a very hit or miss season with the best episode possibly being “Mac Day” where Mac got to control everything the gang did for the day.

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