June marks the midpoint of the year and we’ve seen a lot of great TV shows.
Here are the best TV shows of the year so far. Some minor spoilers ahead…
“Succession” (HBO/Max) — What other program could top the list?
Yes, “Success” is good, but the final season didn’t start that way. The first two episodes were terrible and I was worried that the writers might call it “Game of Thrones”. By episode three, “Connor’s Wedding,” patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) dies and the stakes increase dramatically.
The show regained its hot form as if burning viewers.
Much has been written about this program (and deserves it), but I just wanted to add a note on how well built “Success” is.
One of the main characters, Siobhan Roy (Sarah Snook), has a narcissistic motive that constantly finds confluence with the morally correct choice of action, but she still comes across as petty and mean.
The nuance of that is delicious. It’s excellent writing and acting.
Additionally, “Succession” matches “Yellowjackets” and “The Leftovers” in dealing with the long-term effects of trauma and is undoubtedly the best show on TV today.
“The Last of Us” (HBO/Max) – I have mixed feelings about this show as I’ve seen it was also produced on television but ended up lacking and empty like a video game adaptation.
The acting and chemistry between the main characters are excellent, and the setting and pacing are equally good. It still rings a bit wrong. It’s commendable that the best episode to date was written specifically for the show and not as part of the source material. It still offers attractive TV and deserves not to. 2 states.
“Lockwood & Co.” (Netflix) — The streaming giant chose not to make a second season of this “Harry Potter”-like show, and what a pity. It’s not the same crime level as cancel “Teen Bounty Hunter,” but here’s an interesting and insightful look at the ghost hunters in London. If you like the magic/ghost genre, you’ll love “Lockwood & Co.”
“Mrs. Davis” (Peacock) – This show is bonkers, deep and silly. Meta-content about how our spirituality is part of an illusion, how religion is commercial, how real faith is real and important in our lives, and how that is related. The contrast with the absurd and exaggerated action scenes is brilliant.
It’s like if Dan Harmon of “Community”, “Rick and Morty fame” made a show about the importance of faith and how life is like a TV show. Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof (“Lost,” “The Leftovers”) take to the gloves and create an entertaining and well-watched show that never preaches. It takes belief seriously and proves (which I already know) that Betty Gilpin, the nun in pursuit of the Holy Grail, is a legitimate talent.
“Perry Mason” (HBO/Max) — Honestly, I love shows set in LA, and LA Noir is probably my favorite subgenre (thanks to seeing “Blade Runner” so early). I tend to like this show, and so do I, a lot, and while season one was a huge hit, season two proved to be superior.
The second season’s legal case is gripping and offers intense courtroom drama, the characters are more fleshed out, Perry (Matthew Rhys) has a crush on Ginny Aimes (Katherine Waterston) and her partners. his Della Street (Juliet Rylance) and Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) are both great. And the history of LA (like the overseas game and the quest to find an MLB team) is so pervasive that makes this movie a must-see.
“Vox Machina” (Main) — I love D&D and played it as a teenager and teenager. This show captures the joy of role-playing in 30-minute episodes. This part is very funny, the story is intertwined with strong character development and it has nice animation.
“Diplomat” (Netflix .)) — Rhys’ partner on “The Americans,” Keri Russell, has her own show and it’s really entertaining. Think “24” meets “War of the Roses” as you get international intrigue mixed with brief martial arts tension. Plus, there’s the brilliant Russell front and center.
“Power” (Prime) — This show might be unfairly “awakened,” but you have to watch the entire episode to understand that the deeper premise is not awakened at all. “The Power” raises a question: What if women quickly evolved and developed a kind of “superpower” that made them physically stronger than men?
Well, as you can imagine things will change. Sexual assault almost disappeared overnight, but that’s just the beginning of the “X-Men” women-only story unfolding. One of my favorite books as a teenager was by SE Hinton, “That Was Then, This is Now.” The story shows what happens when victims suddenly gain power, and that’s never pretty. This program understands and unpacks that excellently.
“Law According to Lidia Poët” (Netflix) — Yes, the show featured one of the most beautiful women on the planet (Matilda De Angelis), but it’s about the first Italian female lawyer and it’s funny, well written and acted. There are interesting little mysteries/cases in each episode and enough spice to make it worthy of subtitles.
“The Poker Face” (Peacock) — I am a fan of Natasha Lyonne, and this is the perfect “Lyft” for her as each episode is an independent case with different directors and writers tackling the same premise. The protagonist can tell when someone is lying.
Thankfully, they removed the “tick” on the silly face so viewers knew she was lying; As a rule, treat your audience as smart as you want them to be and they’ll show up. But here’s a fact about this show: Lyonne makes the perfect Peter Falk, and it’s a super cool, albeit weird, reboot of “Columbo.”
“Golden Jacket” (Showtime) — I admit that I watched the first two episodes of the season and was no longer interested, but I watched it again and loved it again. It’s worth your time even if it’s uneven at times.