“True Detective”: Be Legit Better For the Ladies
While some of the character descriptions for Season 2 of HBO’s powerhouse not-exactly-a-miniseries-anymore crime drama aren’t super-encouraging (Lolita Davidovich as “a former showgirl continually sucking on cigarettes and margaritas as she mourns the loss of male sexual attention”?), there’s no denying that this next iteration of the show, set to launch in summer 2015, is more than a two-man acting showcase — especially with Rachel McAdams in a role that sounds equal to that of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. If she, as well as the other supporting female cast, are given real opportunities to stretch beyond wife/mistress/stripper/victim roles, it’ll prove the show’s ability to evolve and grow, and guarantee a real chance at keeping a good thing going.
(Also, while I’m at it — please let Season 2 be the showcase for Taylor Kitsch that he deserves. Ben Travers will be heartbroken otherwise.)
“Sleepy Hollow”: Shorten the Season, or Amp Up the Crazy
Season 2 of “Sleepy Hollow” has been, to be honest, disappointing in comparison to Season 1, a fact that’s easy to blame on a stretched-out episode order — 18 episodes as opposed to 13. But the show also got awfully mired in one ongoing narrative, mostly revolving around baddie John Noble flinging problems at the protagonists. The winter finale had some promise, but for those who loved the bonkers-ness of Season 1, Season 2 was sadly lacking. Is the solution condensing down a future Season 3? I don’t want to think so. But more plot, and more specifically more twists, are really going to be key in keeping the show sustainable beyond its first burst of crazy.
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Network Television: Don’t Give Up On Comedy (Or Romance)
This fall, the first official series cancelation was ABC’s “Manhattan Love Story,” and the other new comedies launched tended to flounder, especially those with a romantic bent. (“Selfie” did find its feet after a few episodes, but that proved to be a few too many for ABC, which iced it as well.) The industry instinct with these sorts of things tends to be that if they fail, avoid them entirely for a few years, but that attitude could prove detrimental, going forward, to good shows that might deserve the chance. Must See TV is officially over on NBC, and all of the networks have already scaled back on comedies — but if 2015 is anything like 2014, we’ll need some laughs.
“Better Call Saul”: Be Good
Seriously. Please be good. Just, please. If only because Indiewire’s Rob T. Jenkins (totally not a fictional character I created in a fit of rage after yet another overly tease-y teaser for the series, definitely not) will be so bummed if “Better Call Saul” is a disappointment. I mean, “Saul” doesn’t have to be the same as “Breaking Bad.” I genuinely hope it’s not the same. But “Breaking Bad” had a special kind of magic to it, a balance of tone and structure that few other series have been able to pull off. “Saul” shouldn’t have to mirror that tone, but Vince Gilligan’s legacy as a TV god will be confirmed by the show finding its own unique voice, as soon as humanly possible. Think of Rob, Vince. Please, think of Rob.
NBC: Don’t You DARE Cancel “Hannibal”
In this increasingly homogenized world, the strange and weird sometimes has a hard time finding a place. One show where that hasn’t been the case is “Hannibal,” the beautiful but grotesque serial killer drama that has been a showcase for fantastic acting and insane plotting for two seasons now. In 2015, Season 3 promises to continue on in this tradition, but like every year, we’re nervous that it might be the last. Please don’t take “Hannibal” from us, NBC. Keep the crazy going for years more.
HBO: Give “The Comeback” Another Season
Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow’s nesting doll of a series is one of television’s odder shows, and understandably an acquired taste as a result. But beneath the surface layer of comedy (which jumps so fast from subtle to scatological you’ll get whiplash) is not just one of the sharpest showbiz skewerings in recent memory, but a show that has a lot of important issues stewing under the surface. Gender and work/life balance and aging as an actor in this business — all of these layers reflect a show that deserves more time. The Season 2 finale could serve well as a final chapter to the series, but personally I’d love to see what might happen next to Valerie Cherish and her odd clan.
“Mad Men”: Do Not Go Gentle
After 6.5 seasons with the fine folks of Sterling Cooper, my attachment to these characters is intense, and technically I want life in 1969 and beyond to be gentle on them. But as a fan of this show, it deserves an earth-scorcher of a series finale in 2015 — one that will confirm “Mad Men’s” place in the pantheon of greats.
“Game of Thrones”: Tyrion and Arya Become Best Friends and Take Over Westeros Together
That’s pretty unrealistic, I know, especially given the way things ended last season. But hey, one of my personal New Year’s resolutions is to cut back on cheese. Sometimes we set goals that are completely impossible.