FX’s The Americans
FX’s quiet series about the Cold War decided to focus in on a story about marriage, and thankfully so. The Americans is brilliantly acted, superbly written, and will definitely make an upset this year.
AMC’s Breaking Bad
The first half of Breaking Bad‘s final season has yet to disappoint. After five years, it continues to shock us and packs compelling performances from the entire ensemble. Besides, there’s no way it’s NOT getting nominated.
The second season of Homeland was perhaps a bit rocky, but there’s no denying that the series was unafraid, pushing the envelope and the plot farther and farther forward. There’s something quite commendable in that. Besides, the acting is out of the park.
AMC’s Mad Men
An annual favorite, Mad Men maintained its tradition of excellent dialogue and magnetic characters with its fifth season. The writers also amped the ante with storylines that ended tragically for Lane Pryce and Joan Harris with the acquisiton of the Jaguar account. Meanwhile, the season saw Peggy finally find the courage to strike out on her own, leaving toxic mentor Don Draper behind. And of course who could forget the leading man’s most revealing line during an ad pitch: “But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness!”
Scandal is the one show that never ceases to leave you on the edge of your seat. Each week you go into the episode thinking, “There is now way they can top last week.” But by the end, Shonda Rhimes has done it again and you are clutching your head in shock and disbelief, desperate for it to be next Thursday already.
Over and over again, Shameless has been snubbed at the Emmys, aside from an acknowledgment to Joan Cusack who plays agoraphobic, sexual deviant Sheila. Despite being the US version of a UK series, a fact that is instantly off-putting and eyebrow-raising for serious TV viewers, the writers of the US series were able to take the premise of a poor family of six kids being raised by their eldest sister with no help from their alcoholic father and make it entirely its own American gem. The show hits all the notes over the course of an episode, going from uproariously funny to serious to downright heartbreaking seamlessly.
Honorable Mentions: Game of Thrones, House of Cards