It’s that time of year again–the weather is a touch cooler, cookies seems slightly harder to avoid, and for some reason I can’t quite keep that wine rack of mine full. These are the problems we face as we get ready for Christmas and the holidays.
The holidays are also the perfect time to look back and reflect. For me, it’s a chance to think about the countless hours of television I’ve consumed these past 12 months, and also to reevaluate my viewing options (more on that in next week’s Ask Amber, the Resolutions column). I get asked tons of TV questions pretty much everywhere I go–everyone watches some sort of show, right? And I guess I have a bit of a reputation as a junky, though I can’t imagine why. The No. 1 question I’m asked over and over again though, is what–but like really what–is your favourite show?
The honest truth is that I can’t pick just one–but after this fantastic year of television, I can definitely rattle off a few.
If you live in the States I feel for you, because this Canadian show is so damned good. If you live in Canada and you haven’t checked it out, do so. Immediately. The series is based on the French-Canadian show and stars Jared Keeso, Adrian Holmes and a whack of other talented actors. It follows two beat cops as they work the streets in Montreal, and explores how their daily grinds affect their personal lives. The show is filmed with documentary style camera angles that give an authentic feel, and the result is a gritty, heart-wrenching and intense beyond-belief drama that deserves to be talked about. There were many times I covered my eyes, bawled, laughed and felt my heart drop.
The second season returns to Bravo on Monday, Jan. 19 at 10 p.m. ET with a premiere episode that will make you have all the feels, as they say. The episode tackles a school shooting and features a rolling shot that is not only twice as long as the one from True Detective, but is really, really well done. If you haven’t watched the first season yet, be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. ET, when Bravo marathons the first season (you can also access it on CraveTV or purchase it on iTunes).
In the meantime, check out this preview for Season 2:
2. The Mindy Project
There’s a person named Mindy Kaling and I wish she was my best friend. I know, I’m creepy. I apologize. But every week I feel like this show just GETS women. I am that girl who has eaten an entire loaf of bread in preparation for a night out at the bar, or who can maintain a conversation with anyone by finding a TV show in common. I have in-depth talks with my girlfriends about how great watching this show makes us feel, because it’s like our stories are finally being told in a funny, intelligent and insightful way. We have Mindy Kaling to thank for that. The fact that she writes the show and produces it as well … she’s kind of my hero. The entire series is actually available on YouTube, but to give you an idea of why I love it so much, you need to check out this fan-made “love letter.”
3. The Good Wife
I’ve never been much into classical music, but The Good Wife makes me feel like I could get into it. Each episode is carefully crafted and expertly delivered–from the music and camera work to the acting and writing. This year the show strutted some of its best stuff yet thanks to a top-secret death that NO ONE saw coming, a premiere episode that had me holding my breath and a slew of guest stars that could all very well be nominated for an Emmy. The show’s only downfall is in its title–I feel like many people never gave the first season a shot based on the title alone. But convince someone to watch any random episode, and I can almost guarantee you that by the end of it you’ll hear it: “Huh. This show is actually pretty good!”
Take this clip from a recent episode, in which Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is forced to do a joint interview with her husband after finding out he is having yet another affair. Not that their marriage has actually been a marriage for a while now. But watch anyhow.
If you haven’t done the Braverman dance at this point, don’t get your groove on just yet–there are only four episodes of the entire series left and I’d hate for you to be spoiled. But you should definitely go back, way back, to the first season and start watching it from the beginning. The premise is so simple: each week we follow a family–two grandparents, four siblings, their spouses and children–as they go through everyday life. So why watch? Because it’s good television. It’s also extremely heart warming. Seriously, try to get through an episode without tearing up. Sometimes it will be sad tears, sure. But there are plenty of happy feels too. Trust me.
The best way to explain this show is that it’s like a female-driven Game of Thrones, but with a more historical (as opposed to fantastical) twist. Shot in Scotland, Outlander is as beautiful to watch as it is entertaining. Caitriona Balfe is pretty damn stunning as the heroine Claire, and Sam Heughan is … shall we say easy on the eyes? Having read the first book I was a little concerned how it would translate on screen, but so far the pacing has been perfect and my only complaint is that eight episodes aren’t enough–I need more! The second half of Season 1 (or Season 2, depending on who you ask) returns in April to Starz and Showcase. In my opinion, it can’t come soon enough. For now I’ll just have to be content to have the slightly corny theme song stuck in my head.
So there you have it–my five biggest TV obsessions. Have a fave show of your own? Tell me in the comments below and be sure to come back next week for my five TV confessions/resolutions for the new year. Don’t worry–the traditional Ask Amber returns in the New Year. Send me your questions now to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amber Dowling is a bonafide TV Junkie, critic and freelance writer who watches countless shows and lives for dramatic (fictional!) twists. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.