The Good Wife

30 Best TV Series of 2014

2014 has been yet another fantastic year for television, one that continued the nichification of the medium, with highly specific and underrepresented voices breaking through in every genre. There was a comedy explosion, particularly on cable, with dozens of new series presenting confident first seasons and several returning shows reaching new heights. The dramas didn’t disappoint either, with visionary creators bringing new life to familiar settings and taking greater risks with their returning series, deepening their worlds. Throughout the year, directors and cinematographers brought lush visuals, composers pushed the auditory envelope, and an astonishing number of actors gave fantastic, memorable performances. More than a few shows delivered spectacle on a weekly basis, while others went small, deriving incredible power out of stillness and self-reflection. Some series swept the audience up, week in and week out, and others built subtly, only showing their hand in their season’s final episodes. There truly was too much great television this year for any one person to see it all (95 separate series were nominated by our contributors!), so limiting the discussion to 10 or even 20 series would be ridiculous. Instead, here is Sound on Sight’s list of the 30 best series of what has been another wonderful year for television.

30 Best TV Series of 2014

2014 has been yet another fantastic year for television, one that continued the nichification of the medium, with highly specific and underrepresented voices breaking through in every genre. There was a comedy explosion, particularly on cable, with dozens of new series presenting confident first seasons and several returning shows reaching new heights. The dramas didn’t disappoint either, with visionary creators bringing new life to familiar settings and taking greater risks with their returning series, deepening their worlds. Throughout the year, directors and cinematographers brought lush visuals, composers pushed the auditory envelope, and an astonishing number of actors gave fantastic, memorable performances. More than a few shows delivered spectacle on a weekly basis, while others went small, deriving incredible power out of stillness and self-reflection. Some series swept the audience up, week in and week out, and others built subtly, only showing their hand in their season’s final episodes. There truly was too much great television this year for any one person to see it all (95 separate series were nominated by our contributors!), so limiting the discussion to 10 or even 20 series would be ridiculous. Instead, here is Sound on Sight’s list of the 30 best series of what has been another wonderful year for television.

The Good Wife, Ep. 6.10: “The Trial” deftly blends levity and high-stakes twists

The Good Wife’s latest seasonal pivot point, in which a major character apparently heads to the slammer, happens to be surrounded with a whole lot of its most broadly silly material. “The Trial” is up to a lot of things – shifting perspectives, light social commentary, romantic workplace comedy, Law & Order episode – but for the most part it manages to hold together reasonably well as an episode. If nothing else, it makes clear that the Kings have no interest in signposting just where this season is meant to be heading, except that it will continue to be defined by Alicia’s campaign and her increasingly unreliable ethical compass.

The Good Wife, Ep. 6.08: “Red Zone” finds the series unusually claustrophobic

Though I continue to be a stalwart Good Wife devotee, one aspect of its last couple of seasons has consistently stuck in my craw, and that aspect is front and center throughout “Red Zone,” an otherwise perfectly acceptable episode. That aspect is Kalinda’s sex life.

It’s certainly true that TV is lacking for meaningful representations of characters that don’t simply conform to heteronormative mores. The fact that Kalinda has never been comfortable within a standard “coupling” (nor accepting of any labels other characters attempt to place on her sexuality) is remarkable. Unfortunately, for the many, many great and fresh character beats the series has supplied to literally almost every other character, Kalinda hasn’t had anything new to do for a very long time now. I know I prattle on about this quite often, but it’s especially glaring in “Red Zone” because Kalinda’s antics take up damn near half of the screentime, made worse by the fact that Cary is the only regular she even shares a physical space with; her interactions with Florrick Agos are limited to a shot of a conference phone. Does anyone really care if she opts to sell out her Fed girlfriend or not? Or if she and Cary will ever “go steady”? (Shudder – Kalinda’s phrase, not mine.) The only aspect of the Cary/Kalinda/Bishop axis that provides any interest this week is the notion that Cary has thoughts about Beyoncé. And we don’t even get to hear what those are.

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