We’re half way into the year and we’ve already had a sixth season of Game Of Thrones which is firmly looking towards its end, as well as a half season of The Walking Dead which introduced its new long term villain by smashing one of our heroes to small pieces in one of the most frustrating cliffhanger endings of anything ever.
If you are a bit despondent at Game of Thrones being over for another year, or just feeling a bit lost on what to watch, I got you covered. Here’s my favourite fifteen shows that I’ve watched this year that should definitely get your couch potato-ing on for.
Netflix’s Valentine’s Day release this year came in the form of light comedy Love which stars Community’s Gillian Jacobs (she’s way less annoying than Britta) and Paul Rust (who is so cringe you’ll want to end yourself). Both getting nowhere in their love lives, the pair come together to form an unlikely relationship in the gorgeous Los Angeles sunshine. The show has it’s fair share of mutual self-destruction and there are plenty of times where it’s easy to hate both characters but in the end you always want to root for love, and the pair do have it. Mickey and Gus forever <3.
The words “I’m not against the BBC but…” will come up a lot in this blog post. With that being said, I’m not against the BBC, but I do prefer to mostly watch American television shows. It takes a lot to get me interested in a show from the UK but when the BBC do late night Slasher Comedy in the Scottish Highlands I’m pretty much sold. Jim Howick of Horrible Histories fame is the bumbling awkward lead who accidentally winds up involved in his brother in law’s Stag do which goes super wrong. As friends are picked off one by one in the foggy, silent forests of the Highlands by booby traps and khaki snipers, the laughs pour in almost at equal measure to the violence and scares.
A naked, fully tattooed lady turns up in a bag in central square with no memory of who she is or what she’s doing there. She does however have the name of an FBI agent tattooed onto her back, which places her in an elite squadron tasked with solving Jane Doe’s cryptic tats and solving huge crimes using the clues. It’s a case by case weekly episodic much like your CIS and Criminal Minds but there’s a bit more at stake which keeps things interesting.
A few years in the making, Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger’s project about the record industry in the 70s was to be truthful, a huge failure. It’s been cancelled after one season, and whilst far from perfect, there was a lot to enjoy about Vinyl. When the show was being busy at American Century Records, with people stressing and incredible lead Bobby Cannanvale’s Richie Finestra being a maestro at juggling all the problems in his life, it was great. When there was focus on the issues with his wife, when there was focus on issues with his drug habits, when there was a murder afoot, the show lost its charm. For the scenes that are pure passion about the music, this show is worth your time.
11. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Season two of Tina Fey’s show about the loveable Kimmy Schmidt, a girl getting her life back on track after being kept hostage in a bunker by a lunatic, was majestic in its humour and life lessons. Pop culture references are around every other sentence, the guest places are funny and Kimmy grows a lot in the season through attempting therapy. I had a grin on my face for the whole season, as I’m sure you will too.
The new show from Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) centres around Kyle Barnes, a fantastically hollow and shattered performance from Patrick Fugit, who is a hermit in a small town after horrific occurences put his mother in prison. Whilst the town think he is a lunatic, in truth possession is spreading in his town, and Kyle is the only one who can stop the demons. His ally is town priest Robert Glennister who is a softer man that he was in Life on Mars. The show is stupendously dark and evil feels like it watches Kyle from every angle. It’s creepy, its bloody and its genuinely terrifying, but I think we have a classic in the making here.
9. The Man In The High Castle
There aren’t many shows on this list with cooler premises than Amazon Prime’s newest hit. Based on a best-selling novel, The Man In The High Castle pictures the world as we know it if Axis had won the Second World War. We follow some heroes in San Francisco, ruled by the Japanese Empire, and also the East, ruled by the Nazis. Whilst our heroes are a young American couple whose lives are torn apart through the finding of forbidden films showing the Allies winning WW2, the really interesting parts of the show come from the top of the governments. Rufus Sewell’s American Nazi leader and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa’s Japanese Trade Minister are the highlights as the shows politics and imagined “what if’s” make for really great espionage, war drama.
8. Mr Robot
Elliot Anderson is a shy cybersecurity engineer by day, but a ruthless Matrix style super hacker Vigilante by night who hacks and ruins the lives of bad people, assisting the police in the arrests of criminals and the such. Through the appearance of anarchist Mr Robot played by Christian Slater, Elliot gets caught up in an international cyberhack planning to bring down the world’s top 1%. Stylish and always sounding good, Mr Robot is a dark technological thriller which is utterly captivating.
Netflix seems to have an obsession over Pablo Escobar at the moment, but the pick of the bunch, and the best show to go for this year if you’re after historical drama is for sure, Narcos. Whilst the show does follow the taskforce tasked with taking down Escobar (led by the excellent Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal), the show is empathetic to the crime lord himself, following his life story. Colombia may be portrayed as having its problems but at the same time the scenery and colour in the show is stunning, and some of the stories that happened through this man were incredible. Don’t miss this one.
6. Orange Is The New Black
Season three of the prison drama passed by pretty whimsically, but the first five minutes of Season four fixes all of those issues by giving us some really great storylines. What follows is a full season of life changing turns for many of our favourites as we also gain new favourites through previous fringe characters being fleshed out with backstories. What is apparent is that OITNB is going to be around for years to come, it continues to reinvent itself despite being stuck in cells, bunks and fences. And all power to it when it is this good.
5. The Walking Dead
If by chance you have never seen The Walking Dead, who even are you?! Seriously though, AMC’s golden boy post-apocalyptic drama is un-cancelable at this point. The show racks in so much money and seems to continue to throw new obstacles at its cast. Performances this season have been strong with lead Rick taking a back seat to let Maggie, Glenn and Morgan steal much of the thunder. And, Welcome Negan, is all I’ll say on that matter. If it’s not for you then that’s all fine and well, but The Walking Dead is making the best shows of its run so far. Bring on October for the new season.
4. Game of Thrones
If by chance you have never seen Game of Thrones, who even are you?! Sorry to repeat, but the granddaddy of them all with regards to current television has just wrapped up its sixth season and it was absolutely perfect. With the show now being ahead of the books it revels in its twists, turns and reveals of which there have been plenty of recently. As the show looks to reduce the following two final seasons to lesser episodes, HBO really have let the full length seasons go out with a massive firey bang!
We’re almost half way into the first season of AMC’s new graphic novel adaptation and I’m not quite sure how to describe what the show is about, such is its manic weirdness. Basically Dominic Cooper’s preacher finds a supernatural occurrence at his church giving him the ability to preach control over people, controlling what they feel and do with his words. He is joined in the action and, quite honestly, fun by his adrenaline junkie ex Tulip and his new friend, Cassidy, an Irish alcoholic Vampire. It’s all a bloody hoot.
Marvel finally get it right with TV thanks to Season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil. Last year’s debut season was impressive and they’ve expanded their ambitions bringing in characters from the source material such as Elektra and most excitingly Frank Castle, otherwise known as The Punisher. The show is split into arcs of sorts with Punisher and Elektra both getting time for our hero to play ball with, with everything coming full circle towards the end. It’s really great, the fighting sequences are top notch once again and for all who worried that they couldn’t replace Kingpin, don’t worry at all!
My favourite show of the year thus far is one that is still fairly cult, iZombie. The weekly episodic crime show is the most fun on TV, but also continues a central plot line throughout the season. Liv is a zombie, who maintains her control and humanisms by getting her fix of brains. Luckily she works in a morgue with the Police, so her supply to brains is easy. Here’s the cool catch, once she eats brains she inherits traits and memories of the deceased, making it easy for her to find out who killed them. The larger plot-line at play is the energy drink company, Max Rager, who caused her turn, who are plotting to make everybody zombies. It’s full of pop culture, it’s confidently funny when it needs to be and the cast are easy to care for. If you like the action of Buffy with the humour of Community, this will be a show you will adore, do check it out.