Show stealers

Show stealers

Show stealers

As the curtain came down on another year of TV viewing, its reflections set in. Which shows enhanced our lives? Which shows made us throw up our hands in despair?

Did the shows that made us laugh take us through a bad day? Or, did a murder mystery transform a dull evening into hours charged with suspense? Were we enriched, enraged or enlightened by the small screen in 2014? The television channels bombarded us with all kinds of shows throughout 2014. There were plenty of them with goofball moments — the miss-and-forget type, but a few shows fired our imagination, energised our senses and lingered in our memories.

For the avid TV viewer, the best series this year was The Good Wife. The legal and political drama that received widespread critical acclaim and many awards came to our living rooms with a bang.

How we loved the smart, chic and independent Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and her acerbic courtroom persona! How we followed her romance with her boss, Will Gardner (Josh Charles), and her conflicting feelings of loyalty towards her husband, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), with bated breath! Whether it was watching the ageless Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and her impeccable clothing style or the edgy Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), who was a perfect foil for the drama, we loved every moment of each episode. The shocker at the end of the season stunned us, and it is with great anticipation that we await the next season of The Good Wife to reach India.

Family drama

A close second in popularity was Modern Family, an American sitcom that won both the Emmy and Golden Globe awards previously. The new season that Indian viewers were shown on a certain channel was not as charming as the previous ones, but the reruns played elsewhere were classic entertainment material. While Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) and her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) were splendid as always, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) seemed too strident. The series seems to be winding down due to the less-an-engaging plots churned out by its script writers. Yet it was on top of our must-watch TV series.

An utterly loveable show in 2014 was Poirot, a British television drama. With David Suchet as detective Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s fictional sleuth also had great actors playing alongside him.

We were transported to beautiful Britain and other cities in Europe, and to worlds of old-time charm — where teapots and lace doilies were used for afternoon tea served in genteel surroundings, as the most hideous crimes took place in the background. Nothing escaped the eagle eye of Poirot, and through meticulous investigation he would always nab the criminals at the end of each episode. Though excruciatingly slow at times, it was a delicious show where scenes of beauty and ugliness lay in tandem. And of course, we adored Poirot, the bald-headed detective. Poirot held us under its spell all year.

Another much-loved comedy series was Veep, which starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the vice president who dealt with the vagaries of political life. This fast-paced show had its humorous moments. Julia is always a delight to watch, especially with all the backstabbing and bureaucracy-laced dealings featured in every episode.

They’ve got news

The Newsroom was an enthralling TV show to sit down with last year. Aaron Sorkin’s drama, set at a fictional cable news channel, saw the charismatic anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) lead a group of reporters and staff to produce a hard-hitting news programme. Though this show was packaged as a drama, many comical, journalistic situations abounded. This series appeals not just to media persons, but to those who are passionate about journalism as well.

Nothing came close to the comedic benchmark The Big Bang Theory set last year. We were awed by the performances of Mensa-fied best friends and roommates, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), the physicists employed at the California Institute of Technology or Caltech, and their other friends — Howard Joel Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), Penny (Kaley Cuoco) et al. We empathised with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard who were geniuses in their professional fields but faltered when it came to regular life situations. This show combines pure comedy and intelligence to keep us glued to our screens.

The once-hit shows that slipped down surely in terms of popularity were House and Grey’s Anatomy. In the previous seasons, the two medical dramas captivated viewers to the extent that they became the must-watch shows every week, but soon key characters were dropped and the storylines went downhill. House was a hospital whodunit, where a small group of doctors led by medico genius Gregory House MD (played by Hugh Laurie) diagnosed variety of illness of their trying patients. The story became complicated as the protagonist became a drug-fuelled doctor who needed psychiatric help. Grey’s Anatomy also lost steam when some of its characters left the show.

Small screen damp squibs turned out to be Last Man Standing and Two and a Half Men. Both the series began flamboyantly — the first with the much-adored Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) in the lead, but soon he looked jaded, an effect that was passed on to the show. Two and A Half Men got tiresome with the obnoxious-but-watchable Charlie Sheen, who was later replaced by the not-so-funny Ashton Kutcher.

Other notable TV shows were Downton Abbey, How to Get Away with Murder and Castle. It was a roller-coaster ride of fabulous TV viewing. As 2015 commences, we hope for many more memorable hours spent enriching our thoughts or weeping inconsolably or rolling on the floor laughing as the shows’ characters walk in and out of our lives, providing us a sweet wave of escapism that is much needed in our stressed lives.