The second golden age of television continues unabated, with 2014 providing us with some great new shows.
As such, the SpicyPulp team (Sam, Rachel, and myself) have taken it upon themselves to sit glued to their screens in order to bring you our favourite new shows of the year (you already know why House of Cards or Game of Thrones is great), as well as a few guilty pleasures.
Some of these have already become staples of the television landscape, while others are still searching for an audience – regardless they’re all ‘must-see’ TV.
In only eight episodes True Detective proved how solid writing, inspired casting and masterful directing landed us in this second golden age of television. Created and written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the crime series spans across a 17 year period as two Louisiana State Police detectives try to solve a very unusual and particularly disturbing case. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were perfectly cast as polar opposite personalities, and their performances were nothing short of incredible. There’s no doubt about this show’s place as 2014’s best. Watch it and you’ll see.
Mike Judge, creator of cult favourites Office Space, King of the Hill, and Bevis and Butthead, delivered yet again with 2014’s best new comedy – Silicon Valley, a stingingly funny send-up of the tech industry.
The show follows Richard, a painfully shy and easily overwhelmed Valley coder (the delightfully awkward Thomas Middleditch) as he and his nerdy friends struggle to launch their start-up. Silicon Valley triumphs because of its talented cast (which can pull of any form of comedy) and consistently funny writing – easily one of the most laugh out loud 30 minutes on television.
How To Get Away With Murder
Peter Nowalk is a name everyone in Hollywood should get used to hearing. Not only did he work as a writer, story editor and producer on Grey’s Anatomy, but he’s hit the big time more recently as creator of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. The show revolves around Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) as a revered law professor at a Philadelphia university, who becomes involved in a tragic murder plot with her top students.
This incredible show has pushed the boundaries in countless ways from its depiction of gay sex scenes to the brilliant moment when Davis’ character removes her wig and makeup before uttering those unforgettable words: “why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?”. Nowalk has a real winner on his hands and if the second half of season one delivers, then I’m praying for more years of this gripping drama.
Taking the action back to the tragic night when the parents of young Bruce Wayne were gunned down, Gotham set out to tell the story of Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, and the rogues that would come to terrorise the city of Gotham. The series’ focal point — a young, idealistic, but already world-weary Jim Gordon— had to battle corruption and a new breed of villains because of a promise he made to Bruce to find his parents’ murderer. Fantastic casting choices, including brilliant performances from Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, and Jada Pinkett Smith, dark and edgy production design and a fresh approach to its storytelling has truly reinvented the origin story of the dark knight.
Based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander sees Caitriona Balfe taking on the role of a lifetime as a powerful, sexual, intelligent and graceful WWII nurse Claire Randall, who finds herself transported to 1743 Scotland. This epic drama also stars Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall and Jonathan Randall and Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie. It’s got action, betrayal, sex and politics…those four goodies that keep audiences coming back for more.
Tyrant (Shawn’s Guilty Pleasure)
Written by the Emmy-winning producers of Homeland, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, this audacious drama set in the Middle East is the most engrossing new show of 2014. Tyrant tells the story of Barry/Basam Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner) the youngest son of a brutal dictator who becomes drawn into the family business after reluctantly returning home after twenty years.
Once in the Middle East, he finds a country teetering on civil war, threatened by terrorism and suffering under autocratic rule of his brother. Though the show has been mired by controversy and mixed reviews since its inception, Tyrant was renewed for a second season on the back of strong ratings.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (Sam’s Guilty Pleasure)
Maverick film director Robert Rodriguez is one to shake things up, and he’s done just that with his brand new television provider El Rey. With a mandate for fresh and original new content, Rodriguez took his cult crime-vampire movie From Dusk Till Dawn and re-imagined it into one kick ass series which explored more of the motivations of its characters, and the mythology of the series. Violent, daring, extremely sexy, and featuring a kick ass cast including D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Robert Patrick and the stunning Eiza Gonzalez, From Dusk Till Dawn kept audiences wanting more.
The Leftovers (Rachel’s Dirty Pleasure)
Three words: Justin Theroux’s bulge. (Ed: To each their own…)