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2015 TV Wrap-Up – Dramas Part 1

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Season 30
I’ve been watching Survivor since its debut way back in 1999 (yep, a lifetime ago). The reason I’ve been loyal for so long is simple: this isn’t just a reality show, it’s a complex psychological experiment that showcases just how manipulative human beings can be. In addition, watching the show’s cast deceive one another on a weekly basis is almost always a nail-biting rush to the finish. Sadly, a season’s success depends on its cast, and this year’s selection of contestants wasn’t the most engaging. For the first time in a while, I didn’t find myself dying to see who got voted out next, and that really derailed the show. I can’t say I was disappointed with Mike being crowned the sole survivor, but the season as a whole failed to really hook me. Hey, there’s always next season!
Nad Rating
B-

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Season 11
This was the season Grey’s Anatomy lost a lot of goodwill. I know many people gave up on the show over the years (there are only a handful I know who still watch it), but I thought this season was superb… that is until Shonda killed Derek. Character deaths can be extremely impactful and affecting if wisely executed, but this death was obviously the result of behind-the-scenes drama instead of organic storytelling. After 11 seasons, I think fans had earned a happy ending for Meredith and Derek, and it just feels needlessly ruthless to kill off a show’s CORE love-story after so long. Even more problematic was the timing; if Shonda was so hellbent on killing Derek, she should have done so in the finale (not three episodes before). Because sadly, the season went out with a whimper after that. Maybe it’s time to finally put the nail in the coffin?
Nad Rating
B

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Season 7 Part 2
I don’t think there will ever be a show quite like Mad Men. Sure it was slow-paced, but it was also elegant, flawlessly produced, and always thought-provoking. I didn’t expect to be so moved as the show came to a close, but the second half of season seven was a masterclass in how to end your show on top. The series finale was remarkable, with all of our character receiving satisfying endings. Betty’s ending was particularly heartbreaking, while Don’s final scene stood tall as the absolutely perfect finish to the series. What a show!
Nad Rating
A

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Season 6
A big percentage of The Good Wife‘s fanbase didn’t enjoy the show this year. I on the other hand thought it had a phenomenal season, but just like Grey’s Anatomy, it floundered in its last couple of episodes thanks to some unfocused storytelling and a weak season finaleNevertheless, the sheer brilliance of Alicia’s campaign for the greater part of the year was utterly fantastic, taking Juliana Margulies to new heights in the process. If season seven is indeed the show’s final season, I’m optimistic the show can realign itself and end with a bang.
Nad Rating
A

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Season 5
This is the season I lost interest in The Walking Dead. I don’t know what happened, but what was once one of the most riveting shows on televisions turned into a major chore to watch. I was bored out of my mind during the first half of the season, and ultimately had to force myself to finish the second half. Thankfully things undoubtedly got better when the team moved into the gated community, culminating with a pretty badass finale. Surely I’ll be back next year, I just hope the show regains that special something it once had.
Nad Rating
C

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Season 4
Although it can sometimes get grating to watch people bicker back and forth, I’m still not sick of Suits‘ unique brand of drama. Sure Mike and Rachel’s incessant’s troubles can get tiresome, but I’m still rooting for Donna and Harvey, and I love that Gina Torress’ Jessica got a lot to do this year. Amidst all the legal shenanigans and turmoil, it’s the characters that keep me coming back no matter what. And say what you will about Suits, but its characters have always been well-realized and vividly brought to life.
Nad Rating
B+

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Season 4
Here’s a show that should have ended at season one. But as I discussed in detail during my series finale review, Revenge was stretched way past its prime, and lost a lot of its appeal as a result. The show’s final season was pretty lackluster and pathetic, but it at least managed to turn things around with an unpredictable ending to Emily Thorne’s story. I just wish it ended a whole lot sooner because there’s no way I’ll miss this show.
Nad Rating
C+

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Season 4
Unlike Revenge, Scandal produced an exhilarating fourth season after a weak season three. Thanks to Olivia’s kidnapping, the show got a real shot in the arm and produced a series of downright astounding episodes. The momentum stalled a bit after that stretch, but picked up steam all the way through to the captivating finale. Sure Scandal isn’t prestige television (and it’s not nearly as smart as we used to think it was in season two), but it’s bold and always addictive. There’s really nothing like it, and I’m in it for the long haul. Please Shonda, don’t ever let this ship sink!
Nad Rating
A-

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Season 4
Freak Show was an absolute misfire on every level. Whereas Murder House was a strong opener, and Asylum and Coven were even stronger follow-ups, Freak Show was a boring mess with a directionless narrative and uninspired storytelling. Characters came and went without purpose, and nothing really happened for episodes on end. Perhaps the addition of Lady Gaga can revive the show with next year’s instalment (American Horror Story: Hotel). But without Jessica Lange, the show’s going to need to bring out the big guns. Even that finale was a disaster!
Nad Rating
D

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Season 3
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more uneven season of television. Whereas season two was gripping and emotionally resonant, season three of Arrow floundered between useless episodes and an unsatisfying arc featuring Ra’s Al Ghul that went nowhere by the time the finale came around. Sure there were some great episodes and some exciting developments (I loved watching Laurel become the Black Canary), but as a whole, Oliver Queen become a bore and the show unwisely decided to bring romance to the forefront (with the forced Olicity angle). Maybe the team behind Arrow focused way too much on The Flash this year, but this superhero drama is sorely in need of some damage control. Here’s hoping season four returns Arrow to its former glory. Its legacy sure depends on it!
Nad Rating
B-

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Season 3
Last July, I binge-watched both seasons of House of Cards and found myself pleasantly impressed by its intelligent storytelling. Not only did Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright give incredible performances, but the scripts were sharp and enormously clever. When season three debuted in its entirety this past February, I watched the entire thing over the course of two days and was pleased to see the show’s qualities mostly intact. Maybe there was less suspense with Frank now in the Oval Office, but as a whole, I was as absorbed as I’d ever been with the show. Also, the explosive ending means big things are in store for season four, and I can’t wait to see the status quo all shaken up.
Nad Rating
B+

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Season 3
Just like its fellow Netflix sibling House of Cards, the notorious prison dramedy had a somewhat weaker season compared to its two standout seasons. Nevertheless, thanks to a mesmerizing cast and reliable hijinks, season three of Orange Is The New Black still proved to be mightily amusing. I just wish the year as a whole had a more consistent throughline because parts of it felt disjointed and unfocused
Nad Rating
B+

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Season 2
While season one of Marvel’s television offering started off slow, it soon gained traction by the second half and morphed into very entertaining television. Season two took the show to whole new level thanks to the Inhumans arc and the addition of the sensational Adrianne Palicki as Bobbie/Mockingbird. Also, the show finally embraced its action roots and began producing exciting set-pieces on a weekly basis (the kind of sequences that would put Arrow to shame). It all built beautifully towards one heck of a mind-blowing season finale that was both action-packed and touching. For once, I can’t wait to see what the show does next.
Nad Rating
A-

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Season 2
Although I didn’t loathe this season as much as most viewers did, I certainly recognize how much weaker it was compared to the debut year’s brilliance. It’s a pity really that such a strong cast was wasted with a dull story arc that failed to be truly gripping. Nevertheless, True Detective‘s anthology format means the show can start anew next year, and there’s no reason to think it won’t knock our socks off once more. But this time, please Mr. Pizzolatto, how about you plot out the whole thing beforehand? The show’s once prestigious legacy depends on it.
Nad Rating
C+

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Season 2
Talk about consistency. I was all but ready for The Last Ship to flop after an excellent debut season, but the show’s sophomore year was thankfully just as thrilling and immersive.  It sure helps that Eric Dane and Rhona Mitra have the most electrifying chemistry on television, and the show’s action sequences rival that of any Hollywood blockbuster. Also, the finale ended with one hell of a cliffhanger. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to last the year as I await the show’s explosive return. Terrific!
Nad Rating
A

7 comments

  1. Yay, I love your Wrap-Ups! Obviously agree on all of these and so sad to see Grey's plummet like that after a very strong start to the season.

    I guess I'm one of those very few people out there who don't enjoy House of Cards (hides in shame..). I only tried the pilot though, and I feel like it wasn't my type, I don't know.

    This made me miss The Affair though! We need our weekly dose of mindboggling entertainment back!

  2. Yes Chris I miss The Affair so much. I actually forgot to add it to the list at first since it had been so long!

    Totally normal not to enjoy the House of Cards pilot. It takes a few episodes to get addictive and since we have similar taste, I think you will love it too 🙂 Give it another shot!

  3. Btw I suggest u take ur reviews a step or a level higher to include theatre n musicals ie “Notre Dame de Paris” for instance n the like even if abroad as a way to add in a flair of cultural intelligence to society. Highly recommend. Sorry if I might sound silly or out of scope.

  4. Thanks for the input 🙂 If I find an interested guest-blogger (as musicals and theatre aren't my thing), I will surely consider it!

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