Monsters Present…Monster Lists! Best of 2014: Television!

[Disclamer: The list of shows below may contain some mature themes and language. Not all television shows are for all ages and we here at Monsters of Geek understand this. Even though we like to publish pieces with clean language, not everything we cover follows that same rule. We like to warn potential readers when we cover content that may have mature themes and language. Also, in the case of this list, their may be some minor-spoilers about each show. We promise that these spoilers are minor and will not ruin the show for you. Thank you and Enjoy!]

Jenna selfie

For someone who doesn’t watch a lot of television, it takes a really powerful show to drag my face out from between pages of books and settle upon the screen in the corner of my bedroom. However, there are just some awesome shows that have really caused me to put down my books and watch two, three, sometimes 9 seasons in a very short time-span.

2014 brought me a lot of new shows that I may have missed out on while my nose was buried in those books I love so much. Some are still running and have been for years, some have been cancelled for a long time, and some have just started getting their feet wet in the big world of ratings and network cancellations.

However, to pick three of the best shows that 2014 had to offer, I knew I was in for some hard choices.

hr_Game_of_Thrones-_Season_Four_20Game of Thrones (HBO)

2014 gave us some electric, eye opening, and plot thickening episodes of Game of Thrones – the HBO series based of George RR Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Of course there was death, bloodshed, and sex – it is HBO after all – but there were many scenes that really set the watcher up for subsequent seasons.

Those who have read the books aren’t as shocked by the current events of the show as they’ve already read about them in the novels, but many things that happened in Season 4 of this hit show came as a surprise to several: the Purple Wedding being the most prominent and most sought after event to date.

This season has also allowed many characters to assume some really kick-butt attitudes. (Yes, they follow the books pretty well.) Without giving too much away with spoilers, I cannot wait for season 5 to air because these attitudes are only going to grow, major family drama will continue, and many secrets will be revealed. I can’t wait.

outlander_starzOutlander (Starz)

In September I wrote a piece about a newly airing show on Starz called Outlander. Since September, however, the show has gone into a mid-season hiatus much to the dismay of watchers worldwide.

I truly believe this show has taken the world by storm in great ways, and has easily become one of the most memorable, and one of the best shows of 2014 simply because of the adaptation from the book to the small screen. There isn’t any one particular thing that makes this show one of the best of 2014 because everything just adds up so nicely: the acting, the scripts, the directing, production, etc.

Like with Game of Thrones, those of us who have read the series aren’t too shocked about the events that take place within the shows, however, it is always wonderful to see our imaginations come alive on the screens before us.

I really don’t want to give anything away because a lot of people don’t have Starz and have not been able to see the television adaptation, however, this Monster is very happy with the way the writers and directors portray Jamie Fraser and Claire (Beauchamp) Randall, and I simply cannot wait until the return of season one in April.

Agents_of_S.H.I.E.L.D._Season_1_PosterAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

I wish I had an adequate reaction .gif image to loop here that could really capture the faces I made during seasons one and two of Marvel’s cable show on ABC. It would be so appropriate to be able to express the many reactions that I had during the episodes that aired in 2014: horror, shock, awe, dismay, panic, hurt. The list goes on and on. (In fact, I’m still processing last week’s mid-season finale. I don’t think I can discuss that one for a while even though it’s left me with a lot of questions.)

Of course, if you’ve seen Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you know exactly what I am talking about.

There are so many elements that make this show great: the acting, the plot lines, the fantasy. But nothing more so than the fact that this show ties in to all the movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since Iron Man came out in May of 2008. Honestly, it takes a lot of time and dedication to be able to arc all the Avenger movies (9 to date), the one-shot mini movies (5), and all the aired episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (32).

Quite possibly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a little more ahead of its time than other shows of today, and I think that’s why it both attracts watchers and makes people veer away from watching the show. Although it is perfect stand-alone, it does fit in very well with the most recent movies that Marvel has released into the MCU (Thor: The Dark World being one, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier being the second). Actually, it fits so well, that there’s even inserts in the Marvel timeline as to where the episodes fall between movies airing – something I spent the last 72 of the last 120 hours doing (but that’s another post entirely).

This show really is worth a watch, especially if you’re a Marvel comic or movie lover. Mild spoilers aside, there have been some major things going on right now that’s got this book nerd in me reading graphic novels for the first real time in her life just to see what can possibly happen next. I can’t wait until the series comes back in March, and I certainly cannot wait for its Winter replacement – Agent Carter – to air on January 6.

(PS Did I happen to mention that Agent Coulson is back? That should be enough right there to get you to watch this show.)

Jarred Collinsblogpic

There have been several solid TV shows this year, but if you are a comic fan then you are having the best year yet. DC and Marvel are starting to make their way to the small screen, and great things are happening. Where Marvel is winning on the silver screen, DC is dominating on the small screen. Out of all the shows I watch, I look forward most to these three.

MV5BMTg3OTc0NzkyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMwMTM3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Arrow (CW Network)

If you enjoy a comic show with a dark tone mixed with some light comedy and tragedy, then this is your show. I have always been a fan of the Green Arrow, and watching this show brings a smile to my face. It is now in its third season, and they are incorporating so many characters and little aspects from the comic. Up to this point we have got to see Deathstroke, Black Canary, the Suicide Squad, Merlyn, Deadshot, Huntress, Ray Palmer (The Atom), and even Arrow’s famous boxing glove arrow. The show keeps you guessing on who and what they are going to bring in next.

FlashCWdeadlineThe Flash (CW Network)

The Flash is a spinoff of Arrow, but it brings a very different approach. Where the arrow is dark, the Flash is its counterpart. It carries more of a lighter tone, even while dealing with darker subjects. The Flash has taken many of its queues from Arrow by developing a deeper universe and building characters and villains the fans love to see from the comics. They have found a way to take some of the ridiculous costumes from the comics and making them practical for the show. From the beginning of the series, when you see the yellow streak attacking Barry’s mom, to the end of the episode when you see that the Flash disappears in Crisis, it has been moving in a solid direction.

Gotham_TV_Series-748836090-largeGotham (FOX)

The best show and new show of the year. Gotham is gritty and dark. From the opening episode you see how the city that Batman loves begins to fall apart with the death of the Wayne’s. Like the two other shows, this really builds upon the Batman universe, bringing in villains and other characters. It is a real joy getting to see the early beginnings of how these characters rise to their power. Even though the show is not all about Bruce Wayne, you get to see the start of his hunger for justice and his drive toward his future. Gordon and Bullock are a real joy to watch. Gordon is willing to do whatever it takes to show that good will prevail. Bullock who starts out as being corrupt, starts to lean more on Gordon’s side. There is a real enjoyment watching Gordon start to rise through the police ranks and start try to take back the city.

Andrew Fultz

MV5BMTQ5MDczMjQxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIzOTY0MTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_24: Live Another Day (FOX) 

24 is the most ridiculous, unbelievable, wonderful, and unbelievably ridiculous fictional show television has to offer. Kidnapped Cabinet members, assassinated former presidents, traitorous other presidents, nuclear explosions, and one man to save the day from further disaster. And all before bedtime. 24 requires a very high suspension of disbelief, but if you can get there and just accept it for what it is – an awesome show microscopically rooted in reality – it rewards you with one suspenseful moment after another.

When Season 8 ended with Jack going on a personal revenge tirade against the U.S. government, it stood to reason we were done seeing Bauer terrorize terrorists. But duty always calls, and desperate governments always forgive rogue agents by having a heart to heart discussion and seeing their side of the coin. Or, you know, Jack Bauer says, “I give you my word,” and everyone changes their mind and forgets that he killed pretty much everybody he could get at gunpoint just years earlier. One or the other.

Such is the situation we get for 24: Live Another Day. New terrorist threat. New city (London). Same old mercenary turned government agent Jack Bauer. Interestingly though, the best part of this new season was that, for once, Jack wasn’t the only person capable of “catching the terrorists and ending this threat.” Jack wasn’t the only one shouting, “Set up a perimeter!” and giving his word and doing the opposite of what his commanding officer says because he/she is wrong. Nay, this season we got Kate Morgan.

Enter, girl Jack Bauer.

Played by Yvonne Strahovski (previously of Chuck fame? Do you gather fame from Chuck?), Kate is almost literally a pallet swap of Keifer’s Bauer. Really, we’re talking Mario/Luigi in the original Mario Bros. level of diverse characterization. She follows all the same tropes. She goes against all the same grains. And she also does it all before bedtime. Most surprising about her character was that for once – after nine seasons – they finally delivered an emotionally stable, capable, and likeable female character. In the eight seasons prior, they’d had one other woman play a role that wasn’t a complete hack (Nina), and they killed her off in season three. So, bravo, 24 writers, you’re 2 for 30. That’s better than Manziel on Sunday.

The second-best part of the entire 12-episode mini-season – the first being Jack literally kicking a terrorist leader out of a window – was absolutely when Jack and girl Jack teamed up to take down the real threat behind it all (any seasoned 24 viewer knows the first threat is never the real threat). If terrorists thought one Jack was hard enough to deal with, imagine their disdain when a second shows up. How does a terrorist even penetrate that many perimeters?

If any of that sounds like fun to you, you owe it to yourself to watch seasons 1-4 and 7-8 of 24, and Live Another Day. I may have spoiled a few things with all that unfiltered love, but the show started in 2002, so blame yourself. You had 12 years. And still, 24 is highly recommended for the ridiculous bundle of wonderful that it is.

o6draw5u7zrvbtxoe5ikBreaking Bad (AMC)

Without a doubt, the worst thing about watching Breaking Bad is noticing how every other show is not Breaking Bad. No, that doesn’t mean you’ll wonder why the cast of New Girl hasn’t suddenly become drug dealers, but you will notice how cheesy – if not occasionally awful – Scandal can be. Or even how a good show like the aforementioned 24 can be off at some points. Simply stated, Breaking Bad is so great that it ruins other perfectly good shows for you. Much like Mass Effect ruins other games for you.

I marathoned the entire series in approximately two weekends earlier this year, so I was a little late to the party, but thank heavens for Netflix. Watching the entirety of Walter White’s character arc in such a short amount of time is hard to put into words. The introverted high school chemistry teacher lecturing students that usually struggle with electron configurations on chirality of hydrocarbons is humorous to about four people in the country, but it speaks to the man’s desire to be doing something far beyond teaching high school chemistry. Alas, his brilliance is stuck teaching and washing cars part-time due to a love triangle involving his former graduate school partner and a son with cerebral palsy.

But soft-spokenness gives way to brash determination when desperation meets a seedy business opportunity. Watching the evolution, or perhaps devolution, of Brian Cranston’s Mr. White captivates from start to finish. Ditto for Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman, who Walt’s simultaneous care for and use of breaks your heart.

Walt’s twisted version of the American Dream hits so many highs (no pun intended) I’m not sure we could discuss them all. And it all culminates in the series third-to-last episode, “Ozymandias.” I dare you to find a more perfectly written and executed piece of television. You will fail. To illustrate, Breaking Bad won every Emmy it was nominated for except for the series finale’s loss in Best Episode, which lost to “Ozymandias.” It’s that perfect.

There is more I could say, but you just need to watch it. Or watch it again. One of the two. Maybe both. Be warned though, it ruins all other TV for you.

One thought on “Monsters Present…Monster Lists! Best of 2014: Television!

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