Thursday, February 25, 2016

More Good Shows of 2015

Subconsciously these were forgotten for a spell, hence, I feel comfortable that they missed my favorites list, but I felt the need to share some thoughts on a few more shows.

Maybe or Maybe Not For the Collection


Season 5 was easily the best since the first two.  The German setting was fresh and intriguing, particularly in the new faces.   

Sebastian Koch as Otto Düring.
Sebastian Koch as Otto Düring adds some world cinema class to the proceedings.  Sebastian is one of the most earnest and sincere actors out there, I loved him in Black Book (Zwartboek) and I like him in The Lives of Others.  His character here is like a second Saul, Carrie's Saul of the private sector.  Solid.

Atheer Adel as Numan.
Atheer Adel was the most fun addition to the story.  The director really toys with our expectations by introducing his character by showing him wordless, with a stoic expression, carrying a satchel and walking into a train station while ominous music played on the soundtrack.  I confess that I was thinking, Yeah, this guy may be up to no good, like a terrorist.  Eventually they reveal that he's a mild-mannered, well-meaning hacker.  From then on I loved his character.  

There's also a new villain here who is quite the megabitch, in real world proportions.

Returning characters had some fine moments as well.  Peter Quinn was involved in some roller coaster tension this time around, not so untouchable as usual.  Saul continued to be the mostly steadfast mentor that we love.  Carrie was on the saner side most of the season.  Solid solid solid.

Mad Men (For the Collection)

Mad Men returned for its final season stronger than it had been the prior season, maybe the prior two.  Most seasons of Mad Men are blurs long after I've watched them, save for the fourth (my favorite of the whole series).  Origins are further explored while new directions continue to emerge.  What I loved most about this season was how wholeheartedly immersed in California it was.  The season opens with some gorgeous hillside scenes featuring the home of Don's wife.  Furthermore, the California spirit has won Pete over (of all things), and everything is as polished as it has ever been.

Fast forward to the end, Don visits the Golden State once again, including the desert and the coast (of course).  The finale has already become quite iconic as it was featured in montages for awards shows and has generated much discussion.  I was quite happy with the show's ending; it's not a false, overly happy ending, nor is it some needlessly tragic one, or and ending with loads of unresolved tensions and questions.  This finale is one of levity, life goes on and work continues.  Don doesn't let the past keep him down, if anything it is his rocket fuel toward the infinite future.  

At this point I will list a few other shows that I watched and enjoyed.

C.S.I. - Here was yet another show in its final season.  The big thing here was the return of iconic Gil Grissom in the two-part finale.  

William Petersen as the Inimitable Gil Grisson
I stuck out the non-Grissom seasons because I enjoyed Nick Stokes.  I also enjoyed Gil's stand-ins as played by Laurence Fishburne and Ted Danson.  Elisabeth Shue's run didn't hurt either.  Not to mention that I was crushing on Elisabeth Harnois for awhile (I was already a fan from her minor appearance in A Single Man, and had since seen most of her movies).    

However, Gil's return and, especially, the ending sent the series off on a high note.  

Justified - And yet another show in its final season finds its way to this list.  This season resolved series-long conflicts, and provided one final quick-draw showdown with Raylan.  Like C.S.I., this was a largely sentiment-driven finale, which was fine by me.  Give me closure and happiness anytime instead of a void of unresolved questions or tragedy.  

Last Man on Earth - This is a sitcom that I caught up on this past year.  It's not like any other out there.  I'm particularly invested in the Miller out in space.     

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