Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2013 Edition: 32-29

13 Jan

Four more, 32-29 ahead. We continue our comedy streak with the next three, and continue the trend that all of these shows would have ranked higher on last year’s list. I don’t really understand why everything is lower; I think there was just a glut of really good new shows from last spring that is pushing shows down that didn’t really deserve to fall.

32: Workaholics

Gotta Be Fresh

Workaholics I’ve praised in the past, and I’m proud that this was a show I was on board with long before it reached the level of cult popularity it currently inhabits. The modernized pop-culture friendly absurd bro-iness corporate meaningless twenty-something world this show lives in is delightful. The show is largely episodic and episode qualities varies; some high concept premises – see “Real Time” from the first half of season 3 featuring the tagline “Stay Drunk” – hit the exact spot, while some don’t have as much going for them. Workaholics is a little lower this year partly because this glut of new shows and partly because I think the overall quality was a little down in the second half of the third season compared to the first half and season 2 before it, Workaholics is a show that could easily run out of ideas, and I think is the type of show whose episode count should be well-managed; it could maybe use a year off like Louie took in 2013 just to refresh the creative juices and come back with 10 knock out episodes the next year. Still, I’m overall high on Workaholics in general, even if every episode isn’t equally good and I believe in the faith of Anders, Adam, and Blake to keep the laughs coming.

31. NTSF: SD: SUV

NTSF

A stylistic spinoff to Childrens Hospital, NTSF is a general spoof on police procedural action adventure sci-fi well, anything, and if not quite as good as often as the original, still offers some wonderful silly 11 minute television. Last year’s season 3 features some series classics, including an episode where a series of Comic Con criminals are loose on a plane (Comic Con Air is the obvious but still great episode title), an episode where Lance Reddick plays the villainous head of a casual restaurant chain, and a double episode which finds the team out to prevent an assassination in San Diego’s English district (think Arrested Development’s Little Britain). It’s very silly, if slightly less whimsical than Childrens Hospital can be, and some episodes work better than others but the hit ratio is higher than when the show started. The cast generally sells borderline jokes well, upping the level of quality.

30. The Mindy Project

Mindy and friends

The Mindy Project is midway through it’s second season and though it’s still experiencing some first season issues, it’s also gotten much stronger as a show and has produced a pretty solid bunch of early second season episodes. The show is grounded in two really strong characters, Mindy herself, and also Chris Messina’s foil Danny, whose character has become an important second banana to Mindy. The show’s biggest issue has been its struggle to develop the next level of in depth characters right behind these two. Ike Barinholtz’s Morgan feels fully formed as a silly tertiary character who heads B and C plots, but the show is still trying to figure out how to use Ed Weeks, Adam Pally, and the next level of side characters. Still, episodes can be very funny and Mindy does a good job with second level jokes, with a smart mix of 30 Rock-like wordplay and humor that evades the obvious choices. Guest starts have been very solid around, and I feel better about this show than I did last year at the same time; although it’s still tinkering it’s moving in the right direction.

29. Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy

I really did want to reward Sons of Anarchy for putting together it’s best season in years. The show decided next season would be its last, and that freed the show, letting it finally get to it, dealing with shit that actually matters instead of getting distracted with plots that never seemed as germane and feel like stalling. Big shit went down, and most of it worked. The seasonal antagonist was the best in ages, mostly because SAMCRO was actually challenged by a force that Jax couldn’t reasonably claim to be ethically superior to, even with his twisted logic. Anyone watching the show has had more and more trouble buying any notion of SAMCRO being even nominal good guys over the years, but Jax for once was forced to actually almost confront this. Sons of Anarchy isn’t a perfect show, and there are some inherent flaws, both in the show overall, and in some of this season’s arcs, but the show went back to its strengths this year and was willing to shake up the status quo, which I praise it for. I think a lot of people who had drifted away from the show sometime in the last couple of seasons would be pleasantly surprised if they came back and wanted this season.

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