Orange is the New Black
Netflix has another hit with this new original series, and Taylor Schilling is excellent in the lead role as Taylor Schilling, a pretty New England blonde who finds herself going off to federal prison. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, with Jason Biggs and Laura Prepon in supporting roles. The show has some promise, but we’ll see if it’s ever good enough to crack the Power Rankings.
Opinions vary wildly on this show, but Jason Zingale’s recent review sums up our thoughts: “I had a very love-hate relationship with the first season of “Girls,” but Season Two is such a complete train wreck that it made me want to stop watching the show altogether. Dunham has created one of the most unlikable protagonists on TV (between her coke-fueled meltdown and the Patrick Wilson episode, she hits an all-time low), and Williams’ laughably insecure Marnie isn’t too far behind. In fact, the female characters have so few redeeming qualities – even Mamet’s lively Shoshanna resorts to some bad behavior this season – that it’s a wonder how the audience is supposed to keep rooting for them.”
This show began with so much promise, but everything stated to go downhill once they killed off Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) near the end of Season 2. Season 3 was a mess with new villain Gyp Rosetti, who comes across a clumsy caricature of a violent Italian mobster. Some characters, like the young Al Capone, are worth watching (can we get a spinoff?), and the show is still beautifully produced with the period costumes and music, but it no longer deserves to be on our list.
The bar has been set very high for cable TV shows, and in its first several seasons, “True Blood” easily met that standard. Yet it’s hard to keep things compelling as the years go by, and “True Blood” has slipped a bit over the years as practically every kind of creature from werewolves, to shape shifters, to fairies and more have been introduced with every kind of magic imaginable. Viewers can’t be surprised anymore as something strange and bizarre emerges with every character. Some storylines are great, while others just take up time and keep some of the characters occupied. Fortunately, many of the characters remain compelling, and the show hasn’t lost its sense of humor or sex appeal.
We jumped the gun several years ago when we put “The Killing” at the top of our Spring 2011 power rankings. By the end of Season 1, we were disappointed like everyone else when the killer wasn’t revealed as promised. Even worse, an annoying pattern had developed during that season with each episode implying that a different killer could have been responsible for Rosie Larson’s death. Still, Mireille Enos was brilliant as Detective Sarah Lindon, though the storyline about her son was a useless distraction. Season 2 played out the string on the Rosie Larson murder with mediocre results, and it looked like we’d seen the end of this show. But surprisingly, AMC brought it back with a new case for Lindon and her partner Stephen Holder. Season 3 was much better, but unfortunately, the ending wasn’t worth all the trouble.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
We’re hoping Larry David comes back for another season, and if he does, this show will easily make our list again.
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