I watch so much TV that I frequently run out of episodes. The Good Wife is only one hour of my week, and even though Girls, Togetherness, Looking, Parenthood, and Downton Abbey are all back, altogether that is only like three hours of TV. Fortunately there are a few shows that even I have not gotten around to, and recently this backlog has been a source of total delight. Also in honor of the ridiculous charade we are all about to embark on in which we pretend movies are great, I think it is a good idea to remember why TV kicks movies’ butts. Also all of these shows were snubbed by the Golden Globes, which exists in some parallel planet where The Affair is appointment television.
1. Penny Dreadful
I dragged my heels on this one. It seemed a bit gimmicky and I don’t like scary things. But I finally came to this via the Slate end of year TV Club, which is a total treasure trove of TV recommendations.
Things that are great about this show: Eva Green truly embraces her big ears and gives an incredible performance as a lady in touch with spirits. If awards were actually about quality she should have won the Golden Globe for best female lead in a dramatic show.
Josh Hartnett, remember him? My thirteen year old self would be stoked to find out that he has finally found a venue for his beautiful and rugged visage. But most importantly, this show actually understands what is interesting about the nineteenth century Gothic = it is the queerest cultural moment ever.
2. The Missing
It is like True Detective, the Killing, and Serial but with the added bonus of showing you how not appealing France really is.
4. Happy Valley
It is like True Detective if you replace Mathew McConaughey with a middle-aged, charming, normal weight, and FEMALE detective.
Bonus, all of these shows have short first seasons (ten episodes or less).