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50 Greatest Seasons of TV Dramas

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  • Icky
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    #1201861621

    Also, you watch Rectify. You think three seasons of HoC is better than the entirety of that series? You sure love your gaudy.

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    Riley
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    #1201861625

    House of Cards (B overall) and Rectify (B- overall) are both guilty of ridiculous overwritten dialogue, but at least with the former, I get the sense that they are in on the joke to some extent. Even if they are not, it is a more entertaining watch, plus Rectify only makes half as many episodes and still manages to be boring. The same goes for Kevin Spacey and Aden Young. Spacey is super hammy, but I have found that he has been better able to harness that as the show has gone on to give a performance that is both maniacal and commanding. Young is obviously better with more delicate material—when he is up for it. But it is more jarring when he does not have control over a monologue and the most recent season had more of these unfortunate moments than either of the prior ones.

    Both House of Cards and Rectify think that they are new-golden-age prestige dramas, but neither are. With House of Cards, I can instead accept it as escapist fare. Rectify is just stuck as a not-quite-great-drama and one that does not invoke passion.

    The first three seasons of 24 are the most unputdownable television that I have seen. Episode-to-episode, I find them pretty consistent and interchangeable actually, but I had to deduct points for stupidity. It is a major issue that Teri’s misadventures in the first season were largely just the result of her being dumb and eventually getting fucking amnesia. But at least her arc was directly related to the main plot, which is much more than I can say for Kim in the second season, plus I gave the first season some leeway for, well, being first. Not only did it pioneer the format and action, but what it accomplishes in its finale is the kind of thing that inherently yields diminishing returns. Looks like I ended up slotting the third season right in the middle of those two.

    The fourth season was still 24 when it was respected and the fifth season is obviously the most acclaimed season. What I am trying to say here is that as a lover of 24, these first five seasons are something of a packaged deal, so they were guaranteed high rankings in my top fifty. And the second half of the eighth season was all that I could have hoped for from the end of 24. That the show was ending meant that they could activate the endgame and take the relevant story risks, as well as give the core characters emotional beats to play that had not been possible in years, as the original cast was largely gone. (Reviving the show years later was cheap.)

    So no regrets about ranking six seasons of 24 before the first of Homeland. That is the one about the CIA agent in love with the terrorist, right? And after they dragged that out far longer than anyone wanted, they resorted to becoming a low-rent 24?

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    Icky
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    #1201861639

    We’s not talking about Homeland post season one. We’re talking about a debut season that had a far more intent and intense arc than almost any season of 24. Its premiere and finale alone are better than most of the best that all of 24 had to offer. I understand you have a big 24 hard-on, but I’m certain most 24 fans and Homeland haters wouldn’t put six seasons over Homeland’s first. Seasons 5 and 1 are pretty easily the two best seasons of 24. Don’t see how they’re all bunched together. All the rest had stupid side plots or long stretches of obvious filler. A lot of the series hasn’t aged well, even its best seasons. Gave up midway through season six however. And the middling acclaim and buzz for the future seasons gave me no reason to return.

    Rectify is the type of show that if you don’t feel invested in the characters it’s pretty hard to stay engaged. Though I do find it frustrating sometimes I rarely find it boring. I would find the dialogue overwritten if most of its philosophy was coming from more than one oddball character. Overall, its a pretty well done character drama rather than the murder mystery some try to peg it. But I can understand you not jibbing with that. Nonetheless, House of Cards is garbage. And when it’s not garbage it’s aggressively mediocre. It’s a soulless, mindless, witless, derivative show with not even much entertainment value. Will never get a bit of that show’s appeal beyond Wright’s hair cut.

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    dj
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    #1201861694

    Impressive list, Icky. I disagree with the ordering on some of these, which is inevitable, but you really have seen a ton of shows. Did you watch a lot of these live or did you binge most of them in the past few years or so?

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    dj
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    #1201861695

    I was glad to see BB S1 ranked pretty high up there. Tremendously underrated season of TV.

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    mafro987
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    #1201861719

    Season 1 (and maybe 2) of House of Cards can be excused spots in the bottom end of a top 50 imo. It’s overrated in the grander scheme of things, but I feel like HoC’s detractors underrate it slightly- Wright and Parker give amazing performances. I would argue that all of Homeland’s seasons sans season 3 are more deserving than 24’s (with exception to seasons 1 and 5).

    I’ve watched Breaking Bad, Deadwood and The Sopranos and I honestly place The Leftovers season 2 above them all! It was that good. Only seasons 3 and 4 of The Wire beat it in my list.

    For Your Consideration:

    Best International Feature: Instinct (The Netherlands)
    Best Actress: Carice van Houten (Instinct)

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    dj
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    #1201861734

    Nah, HoC should be nowhere near the top 50.

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    Icky
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    #1201861784

    I haven’t watched a ton of older shows over the past few years. I caught up with a lot of shows in college because I had no social life and all that good stuff. I used to order DVDs from the library, season by season. So, I was a binge-watcher before there was a name for it. Being a stay at home parent/husband (god, I hate that term) affords me a bit of time to watch a decent amount of TV still. And my husband is a fan of TV as well, though our taste is different (he loves GoT. I get a kick out of his reactions to me sh*tting on it almost every week the last couple seasons). So, I watch plenty of shows with him. Most of the shows on the list that have debuted over the the last fifteen years I either watched live or caught up with a season or two into their runs.

    I almost loved the second season of The Leftovers. I didn’t adore the final few episodes as much as some, though I didn’t find them nearly as frustrating as some others did. ‘lens’ was the peak of the season for me. But that’s what kept it out of my top ten. Fargo’s second season is probably my favorite season of anything since Enlightened’s second. Though both are deserving of dominating the Emmys.

    Yes, HoC belongs no where near anyone’s top 50 unless they’ve only seen five dramas. I usually let people live no matter what they like. But it’s one of few shows that incite a genuine loathing feeling from me.

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    Riley
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    #1201862197

    I have no problem with you keeping The Leftovers outside of your top ten. It is probably so high on my list largely because I have not seen as much. If I took out the stuff on your list that I have not seen, it would jump to fifth, which is not so different from its third-place position on my list. (Battlestar Galactica‘s first season failed to chart in my fifty.) The finale had enough emotional peaks that it got a pass from me overall, but I certainly have some issues. The non-bomb was anticlimactic and the episode cheapened some earlier parts of the season by confirming magic instead of keeping things ambiguous.

    Speaking of Enlightened, I have decided to use it as a template and added Carrie Coon and Regina King to my predictions today at the expense of Eva Green and Maggie Siff.

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