With 2012 coming to a close and the world not ending as predicted, it’s a good time to look back at the television moments that riveted us and made us come back for more. What do you think were this year’s highlights?
The box office gave us some good movies but more so than none recycled the same formulaic movies. It seems television; especially cable was still the place to tune in for great writing and thought-provoking shows. This is just one writer’s opinion of what stood out this year.
Hands down, the best show this year was season two of Homeland. I am still reeling from the season finale. Every episode kept us glued to the TV wondering what turn they could possibly come up with next. The premise of the show could have easily turn into a Twin Peaks or The Killing situation where the show could only sustain one season because the writers wrote themselves into a corner. Claire Danes as Carrie Matthison, the smartest bipolar CIA agent on TV was both kick-ass and heart-breaking. Her partner in crime, Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody’s POW turned terrorist, turned double agent was so good at keeping us wondering if he was actually cooperating with the CIA or just stringing them along as a cover for some Al Qaeda plot. Even Carrie who fell in love with him still didn’t completely trust him. Yet against Saul Berenson’s (played by the brilliant Mandy Patinkin) doubts and words of wisdom, Carrie went full steam ahead to help Brody out of his predicament and get the CIA to work with him. Time and time again she was there to save his ass even going so far as to get him out of the country after the attack on CIA headquarters left him as the prime suspect. Lets hope he doesn’t pay back Carrie’s devotion to him by still being involved with the terrorist. I doubt that is the case since Brody killed Vice-President Walden (Jamie Sheridan) to save Carrie, but the beauty of this show is you never know for sure. The quick pace of the show feels like a thrilling roller coaster ride. Plot points are not drawn out at length. Shows with a single premise should take note of how Homeland is changing the game.
With all the cable provider’s threatening to drop AMC, it makes you wonder if the cable channel is worth all their demands. The answer is yes. AMC is getting high ratings for quality story-telling. The Walking Dead is another show that is getting better with age. The show keeps us on our toes and you never know who is going to be killed off next. Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) was a divisive character, fans seemed to hate her more times than like her but her death was still traumatic. Like Rick (Andrew Lincoln), you were angry at her more times than not but her death left a hole in the show. The fact that she died giving birth to her daughter had to make up for some of the harsher things she’s done. Not so little Carl (Chandler Riggs) is coming into his own and killing his mother shows how far he has come in understanding the world he lives in now. The introduction of The Governor (David Morrissey) this season kicks the show up a notch by giving us a character that is so unlikeable. He’s another villain with a vague agenda and questionable intentions but his nice guy act just makes him creepier.
With the addition of Michone (Danai Guira) this season, we finally get a female character that isn’t whiney or bitchy and is actually smart and strong. She holds her own against the men and could probably take a few them out single-handedly.
Downton Abbey is an addictive past-time. The lives of the aristocrats and the staff that care for them may not seem the most likely choice for a hit show but the actors and the writing for the show make it must-watch TV on both sides of he pond. Now that Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) have ended the will-they-or-won’t-they story-line, the anticipation is ratcheting up for their upcoming nuptials and to find out if they get their happily-every-after. The talented Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley lends her smart tongue and wit to a part that could be stuffy and condescending in less capable hands. She’s easily everyone’s favorite character and the addition of Shirley MacLaine as Lady Grantham ‘s (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, Martha Levinson will be a nice contrast to the outspoken matriarch. Season 3 is already airing in England with American fans having to wait until January 6 to catch up with our favorite Crawley clan and staff.