The 10 Best TV Shows of 2014 Thus Far

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It doesn’t take much time for the calendar to elapse for me to start putting together lists of the best television of the year in my head, and apparently I’m not the only one.  So I now feel compelled to unspool from my brain a preliminary list of the best of 2014.  There are plenty of shows not on this list because they have yet to debut or have just barely debuted, or because they were not quite as good as those that I selected.  It’s looking like, when all is said and done, this could be the most difficult year ever for putting together a definitive ranking.  It has been a strong year for new shows, with half of my selections having debuted in 2014 (or late 2013).

Here are my top 2, listed in alphabetical order:

Hannibal – Unbearable in the best way possible.
Hannibal - Season 2
Rick and Morty – More inventive than I thought was possible.
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And now here’s numbers 3-10, also in alphabetical order:

Billy on the Street – There’s a lot of hilarious New Yorkers out there.
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Broad City – Just the right amount of wild and zany.
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Community – An excitable comeback.
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Fargo – It’s got a lot of character.
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Louie – I’m not sure if I would prefer to live in the dream world of Hannibal, or the dream world of Louie, and that’s a compliment to both.
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Mad Men – Great job tying it all together.
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Review – What is this thing we call life?
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True Detective – Mystical, but also personal.
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Best Episode of the Season: Louie Season 3

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Season Analysis: Season 3 was my first taste of Louie.  It did not quite hit the individual highs that I heard Season 2 hit, but it remains true that each individual episode is its own fascinating experiment, straight from the mind of its creator at the height of his career.

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“Miami”
More and more people are hating on the word “bromance.”  I do not think that is so much because of what a bromance is as much as how it is presented.  It is a word that should not have to exist.  But as much of the comedy of Louis C.K. and this particular episode of his show demonstrate, two straight men striking up a friendship can be a painfully awkward situation.  The end scene in which Louie attempts to explain to Ramon why he stayed a few extra days is indeed painfully awkward, but also poignant.  How do you explain yourself in a situation like that?  Maybe there are some people who are gifted enough to explain themselves, but Louis C.K. is definitely not one of those people.  The scene with Louie telling his ex-wife he is staying a few more days was a nice touch.  It was sweet of her to wish him well, despite making an incorrect assumption.  This episode is also about the desire to make vacations permament, which sounds like a nice idea, but often ends up being as awkward as Louie’s attempt to do so.