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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Grooviest Television of 2014

2014 was definitely a groovy year for television - and here are my Top 10 series in order of preference:

10) Veep
The sublime comedic talents of Julia Louis-Dreyfus are on full display in her Emmy-winning performance as Vice President Selina Meyer.

9) The Mindy Project
This Fox sitcom continues to make me laugh, and Mindy and Danny (played by the handsome Chris Messina) are my favorite TV couple. I also like recurring guest star Rhea Perlman as Danny's mother.

8) The Goldbergs
This is my favorite sitcom of 2014, and Wendi McLendon-Covey deserves an Emmy nomination for her hilarious performance as matriarch Beverly Goldberg.

7) How to Get Away with Murder
My second favorite new network series of 2014 kept me guessing about its main murder mystery, and Viola Davis deserves an Emmy nomination for her brilliant performance. I also enjoy watching Jack Falahee's portrayal of gay law student Connor.

6) Jane the Virgin
This amusing CW comedy-drama was my favorite new network series of the year with great performances by Gina Rodriguez as Jane, Andrea Navedo as Jane's mother, Jaime Camil as Jane's self-obsessed telenovela star father, and the hunky Justin Baldoni as Jane's love interest.

5) Nashville
This country-fried soap opera continues to be a delicious hoot, and the lovely Laura Benanti is a wonderful addition to the cast as country star Sadie Stone.

4) American Horror Story: Freak Show
This series has once again given us a wild ride with its latest tale of horror featuring memorable performances by Sarah Paulson as Siamese twins, Evan Peters as "Lobster Boy", Finn Wittrock as a psychotic killer, and Jessica Lange as a German chanteuse and freak show manager.

3) Masters of Sex
I'm just now watching the first season of this Showtime drama on DVD, and I'm totally hooked. Lead actors Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are both terrific, but Annaleigh Ashford steals the show as Betty the prostitute.

2) The Walking Dead
The Terminus cannibals and Officer Dawn kept me on the edge of my seat in 2014 - but I'm going to miss the dearly departed Beth.

1) The Good Wife
The best drama on television surprisingly killed off a beloved character (poor Will), which only made this show more compelling. And I don't mind watching the dreamy Matthew Goode as prosecutor Finn Polmar.

The Grooviest Return of 2014: Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish on HBO's The Comeback
I've not yet seen the second season of this series, which made its own comeback after nine years, but I'm looking forward to the DVD in 2015.

My Grooviest TV Guilty Pleasure of 2014: The Haves and the Have Nots
Tyler Perry's soap opera on OWN is sudsy fun, and I especially like the gay storyline - even though I am waiting for the day when Jeffrey finally stands up to his homophobic bitch of a mother.

The Grooviest Daytime Soap of 2014: General Hospital
The following talented folks kept this addictive soap on my DVR - Maura West (as Ava Jerome), Michelle Stafford (as Nina Clay), Roger Howarth (as Franco), Anthony Geary (as "Fluke"), William deVry (as Julian Jerome), Billy Miller (as Jason Morgan), Donna Mills (as Madeline Reeves) and Kathleen Gati (as Dr. Liesl Obrecht).

The Grooviest TV on DVD Release in 2014: WKRP in Cincinnati
Batman and The Wonder Years were both finally released, but my personal favorite DVD release of the year was this 1978-82 sitcom starring Gary Sandy, Loni Anderson and Howard Hesseman as Dr. Johnny Fever.

The Most Disappointing Television of 2014:

5) Peter Pan Live!
I thought Allison Williams and Christopher Walken were fine in this NBC telecast of the 1954 musical, but the show itself just isn't very good - especially its weak score.

4) Once Upon a Time
Lots of people tuned in for the Frozen storyline, but it made me stop watching the show. Having not seen the Disney film, I just didn't care about the new characters.

3) Madam Secretary
Any show that wastes the talents of the fabulous Bebe Neuwirth is not worth watching in my book. And I just found this drama to be dull.

2) Gracepoint
It was a really dumb idea for Fox to remake the excellent British drama, Broadchurch, without any original ideas.

1) The Mysteries of Laura
The real mystery is why this lame show is still on the air - and the Worst Mother of the Year Award has to go to Detective Laura Diamond, whose twin sons urinate on each other in public. Debra Messing deserves much better than this dreck.

The Most Disappointing Cancellation of 2014: Dallas
TNT cancelled the Ewings after three seasons, leaving fans with the cliffhanger death of Christopher Ewing in a car explosion. And I will especially miss Judith Light's scenery-chewing performance as brothel owner Judith Ryland.

The Most Disappointing Cancellation of 2014 Runner-Up: The Red Band Society
I wasn't expecting to like Fox's teen medical series, but it reminded me of Glee without the singing. I especially enjoyed Dave Annable as a sexy surgeon and the divine Octavia Spencer as the no-nonsense head nurse. I'm not surprised that very few tuned in - the soapy lives of sick kids is not the most welcoming premise for a show - but the series was slowly finding its groove. I will miss it.

The Most Disappointing Cancellation of 2014 Honorable Mention: Hot in Cleveland
After six seasons on TV Land, the legendary Betty White and the rest of the ladies were kicked to the curb.

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