The year-end list continues! I initially wanted to do a top 10 but that would mean naming my usual television haunts so I’m going with shows that premiered this year. I still have a lot of critically acclaimed shows to catch up on for the year, but so far the following shows after the cut are those that I loved for the year. The list is not ranked, but arranged alphabetically.
Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat started as a midseason replacement, but now shares a slot in the usual television season run. It’s about an Asian family who uproots from their familiar environment in Washington DC and relocates to Florida for a better life. This is also based on the memoir of Eddie Huang. While the reception for this was incredible, Huang wasn’t pleased with the portrayal of the show (I’m not sure if he still feels the same way). Still, I found the show to be funny, and loved the characters, especially Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu. The show deals with assimilation in a new environment and culture, while still keeping their culture intact.
I never really caught on the zombie-fever, but a crime show with an intellectual (instead of the usual portrayal) zombie? Sign me up! Liv Moore was a promising doctor with a fiancé she was about to marry when she gets infected by a zombie virus during one party. She immediately resigns from the hospital, breaks up with her fiancé and works at the police morgue to get the brains she needs to survive. The brains she consumes helps her see the memories of the victims, thus using her new acquired power to solve murders while she and her colleague figure out how to turn her back to a human. Rose McIver doesn’t have difficulty portraying the various personalities her role demands, and she makes a likeable lead. Her fellow cast members are very involved in the story; even the villains have backstories that add intrigue to the show.
Life in Pieces
Life in Pieces episodes consists of four short stories about Short family, with each episode focusing on a different character/family. It has continuity without relying on the narrative, allowing the writers to whip up different stories without having to consolidate the events with the other segments. I wasn’t sure how the format would work, or if it would be confusing. Rather, it allows different cast members to broadcast their stories. Screen time would be a main issue here in the long run, but so far the show is well managed and doesn’t sacrifice content.
Master of None
This is a show about a man living in New York and navigating through social constructs (life, relationships, etc). It also follows continuity, with every episode focusing on something different. I like how Aziz Anzari used his show as a social commentary. Each episode discusses a topic that is relevant to a viewer, especially for millennials. Some episodes are more powerful than the rest, but it doesn’t take long to get hooked. It’s well written, and I’m very excited to see what Anzari and Alan Yang have in store for their next season.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
When the name 'Tina Fey' is attached to a show, there are expectations for it to be hilarious and witty. This show doesn’t fail to perform. Starring Ellie Kemper of The Office fame, it portrays the life of Kimmy, a mole woman who was rejoining the world after years of captivity. In order to shed her image, she moves to New York and begins to work as a nanny for Jacqueline Voorhees kid. Besides Kemper who was really likable, the show is filled with colorful supporting characters. My favorite would have to be Tituss Burgess. It is impossible not to love him and his character. Some of the episodes were unbalanced, but the show is solid comedy.
The only drama on the list, Unreal divulges the life behind the scenes of a The Bachelor-type show. After a tumultuous season finale, Rachel Goldberg returns to the show as producer at the prodding of Quinn King. Despite the guilt that she feels about her job, she is very good at what she does, which has her conflicted throughout the season. It’s riveting, with each episode as intense as the last. I cannot wait to see where this show is headed or how they will top their premiere season.