2014 in Review: The Year in Episodes

True Detective

This list is exactly what it looks like: a list of one great episode in each of twenty shows that I watched this year. I could have filled the entire list with episodes of The Americans and Hannibal, but I decided to impose a limit of one episode per show. This list is different from a list of my favorite TV shows of the year, though there’s plenty of overlap between the two. And if it’s not on this list, I either didn’t like it, liked it but preferred other things, or didn’t watch it.

And now, in chronological order, twenty of my favorite TV episodes of 2014.

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2013 in Review: The Rest of Television’s Best

Arrested

Yesterday, I unveiled a list of my ten favorite shows of 2013. As I argued in my piece on Wednesday, though, this year’s television can’t be summed up in terms of just ten shows. Here, then, is a snapshot of other things I enjoyed on TV in 2013.

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2013 in Review: Kingpins, Inmates and Serial Killers in a Rich Year for Television

Orphan Black

In 2013, couch potatoes reframed the phrase “too much TV” to signify the veritable bounties of powerful dramas, gut-busting comedies and intriguing hybrids splashed across an unprecedented array of channels and platforms. No longer can concerned parents or frustrated roommates complain that you need to get out more – they’re too busy binging on House of Cards and catching up on Scandal.

Regardless of what this visual buffet means for the state of physical fitness, there’s no denying that 2013 brought riches aplenty for people who find value in the artistic medium of “television.” Whether you were letting Netflix give you the royal treatment, carrying you from one episode to the next without so much as a click of the mouse, or you were continuing to exert power over your remote control, greatness was bursting from every frame. A brilliant thriller about an alliterative meth king ended its run in a blaze of frightfully intense glory. Serial killers and murder mysteries reigned supreme in a wide range of settings, tones and character shadings. We dove headfirst into the emotional lives of inmates in a women’s prison, found surprising emotional depth in the tale of two Russian spies whose marriage oscillates between façade and fulfillment, and marveled at the dexterity of a young woman tasked with simultaneously portraying nearly a dozen versions of herself.

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The M&M Report, Episode 12: Here a Cat, There a Cat

Inside Llewyn Davis

Listen to Episode 12 here.

Welcome to the M&M Report once again! This week, Devin Mitchell and I are experimenting with a new recording format in preparation for our monthlong break from the rigors of academia. I went to one room, Devin went to the next, and we recorded a nice Skype conversation. Next week, we’ll do the same – from opposite sides of the country. (No pressure.)

We started out this week summing up our thoughts on roughly the first half of the 2013-2014 TV season. Between the two of us, we’re watching Trophy Wife, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Sleepy Hollow. Most of the other new shows failed to strike our fancy.

After that, we talked about how the broadcast networks can survive in the rapidly evolving television landscape. This season’s new shows have been largely unsuccessful in the ratings, but we don’t think networks are dead just yet.

Finally, we’re unveiling a conversation we recorded a few weeks ago: an in-depth review of the Coen Brothers’ new musical drama Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s a terrific movie and we had thoughts about Oscar Isaac, folk music and cats.

Keep an eye out for discussions of the best pop culture of 2013 in future podcasts. Until then…thanks for listening!

Keep reading for the time breakdown.

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The M&M Report, Episode 6: We’ve Got a Great Show, So Stick Around!

Mornin Miami

Here’s the link for Episode 6.

This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I dug into the first three episodes of Saturday Night Live Season 39 (THIRTY-NINE!), musing on everything from the show’s diversity issues to its spot-on Weekend Update, great and not-so-great sketches and even a defense of Miley Cyrus! Along the way, Devin directed an epic rant at TV critic Ryan McGee, I professed my undying love for Cecily Strong and neither of us could distinguish between the six new cast members.

(SNL returns next Saturday night with host Edward Norton and Janelle Monae. Make sure to tune in the following week as well – Kerry Washington will host and Eminem will perform.)

We followed up our SNL talk with a check-in on the fall season. We offered praise to lots of shows with Wife in the title, Mark offered some reservations about this season of Parenthood, and we both agreed that 24 hours per day simply isn’t enough to catch up on all of the TV we want to watch.

Comments? Questions? Show ideas? Random thoughts on life? Comment and let us know! Enjoy this week’s show.

Click through for the time breakdown.

00:00 – 19:30 — Saturday Night Live
19:30 – 44:36 — Fall TV: The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Trophy Wife, New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood

The M&M Report, Episode #3: The Adventures of Soy-Soy

Hostages

Devin Mitchell and I are back with another lively episode of The M&M Report. This week, we briefly talked about the terrible Emmy awards. After Devin was too traumatized about Jeff Daniels to continue on that subject, we dissected six new fall shows, from the pretty good Brooklyn Nine-Nine to the awful Dads. Be sure to watch out for our discussion of the CBS drama Hostages, which inspired genuine fits of uncontrollable laughter from both of us.

Best of all, we kept it efficient this week, at least in comparison to our mammoth overrun last week.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to comment or let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or criticisms.

Also, an update from last week: Devin won our Emmy Predictions contest! Granted, he did it with only six correct guesses out of fourteen categories, but it beats my paltry score of 4 out of 14. I grudgingly admit that Devin is better at predicting the Emmys than I am…until next year.

See below for a breakdown of our topics:

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Take 5: “Mad Men,” Fall TV, Pixar and More

Jon Hamm

Each week, I take a survey of the five most notable pieces of entertainment news and synthesize them for your reading pleasure for my The Eagle column Take 5. From the bifurcation of Mad Men Season 7 to the postponement of the next great Pixar adventure, it was a busy week.

AMC will air the final season of “Mad Men” in two seven-episode arcs, one in 2014 and one in 2015.

AMC will commission spinoff series tied to its established hits “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” rankling viewers who are craving new originals rather than tired retreads. Now, AMC has announced that it will split the seventh and last season of “Mad Men” into two years to capitalize on ratings, buzz and Emmy awards before the show can finally ride off into the sunset. This same strategy worked like gangbusters for “Breaking Bad,” but “Mad Men” may be approaching its expiration date faster.

Read the rest here.