Grading the 2014-15 Television Season: Shows We Loved, Hated and Side-Eyed

Empire

Cookie Lyon/Taraji P. Henson. That’s all you need to know if you’ve been living under a rock. This show took the TV world by storm and became an instant runaway hit for FOX (something they desperately needed by the way). There hasn’t been a show to grow its viewership every single week in decades, let alone with a cast of African American leads. This show is how you do successful modern day primetime soap. It has the glitz, glamour, and high drama with a badass original soundtrack that consistently tops the charts on iTunes. With all of my high praise, however, I will admit that the season finale was not my favorite. Way too many things happened too quickly. Let’s let all of those repercussions trickle down. Also, this is the one show I’m nervous about for next season. I don’t want Fox stepping in and making adjustments a la Sleepy Hollow (Because that worked out so well). Season 1 Overall Grade: A++

The Good Wife

I preface this by saying this was not my favorite season of The Good Wife. Last season set such a phenomenally high bar though that I’m giving it a pass for the State’s Attorney storyline. It felt very un-Alicia to have to consistently choose politics over helping Cary with his case or any case for that matter. Granted, it was a season of rebuilding for Alicia, but it’s a little tiring to see her have to reestablish herself yet again. The difference is I trust Robert and Michelle King to turn this so-so season into something fabulous next season. Season 6 Overall Grade: B+

Grey’s Anatomy

What to say here, that hasn’t already been discussed…and by discussed, I mean tweeted to Shonda Rhimes in all caps with a variety of four-letter words. Y’all were/are/forever will be MAAAAAAD. It’s ok, I get it. No judgment on my end. It’s been years and I still haven’t gotten over Mark and Lexie’s deaths (Editor’s Note from Mandy: Seconded. Forever bitter). Luckily, I was far enough removed from Grey’s the last few years that McDreamy’s death wasn’t life-altering. I was actually more upset that Christina wasn’t at his funeral for Meredith. Because, let’s be real, they were the original ship of that show. Your person ALWAYS shows up when they’re needed and Christina was nowhere to be found. Season 11 Overall Grade: B-

How to Get Away With Murder

I want to kiss Pete Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes for showcasing Viola Davis on my TV every week. I’d watch her read the phone book every day, but I’m greedy. She has brought Annalise Keating to life, and that chick is a mess. I can’t get enough of her role in the murder/cover up of Sam Keating, played by Tom Verica, who I’ve missed in front of a show since American Dreams. The Keating Five are pretty good, although not the strongest aspect of the show, honestly. Except for Matt McGorry, his Asher antics keep me laughing every episode. Season 1 Overall Grade: A

Jane the Virgin

I would venture to say this was a ‘Great’ for the 2014-15 Season. This show brought genuine heart, humor, and self-awareness that some other shows seem to be lacking. This show owns its Telenovela roots, but in such a way that you can’t help but fall in love with the Villanueva women. Also, it introduced us to the incomparable Gina Rodriguez. She is the bright star of the year and her Golden Globe was well deserved (and she absolutely should be nominated for an Emmy). The rest of the cast magnificently walks the fine line between dramatic vs. caricature-ish and heartfelt vs. saccharine. I honestly cannot wait for season two and to the see the squishiness, deliciousness that is baby Mateo. Season 1 Overall Grade: A+

Madam Secretary

Let me start off by saying I don’t care how hard this show skews toward the demographics of 40-50 year olds, I will take your judgment and bask in the cuteness of Tea Leoni and Tim Daly. That’s how much I enjoy this show. Leoni realistically plays the Secretary of State, who happens to have a strong steady marriage, which is quite simply, refreshing. And not just because I get to drool over Tim Daly (although it sure is a nice perk). They are a united front on family and work problems and it’s lovely to watch. Also, the team working for Leoni’s Bess have hit their stride and kill me with the dry wisecracking. Season 1 Overall Grade: A

Outlander

Now that I’ve had time to process that season finale, I have found my words to express what a gem of a show this turn out to be. I can honestly say that Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies all deserve nominations for some of the most graphic, brutally honest, emotionally scarring scenes ever shown on TV (The later scenes of the finale provide a phenomenal full-circle moment that leaves you feeling reborn and ready for the next chapter in Jamie and Claire’s story). I did not expect to fall in love with this show. Hell, I wasn’t even sold on the idea of the books and they’ve been around for decades. On the surface, it seems like a run of the mill bodice-ripping romantic adventure story. It’s so much more than that tired trope. Claire Frasier is the embodiment of a feminist that walks the walk every single episode. She owns her intelligence AND her sexuality, and it’s not an either/or trap into which many female protagonists seem to fall. Best decision I made (second to watching Jane the Virgin) this TV season. Season 1 Overall Grade: A+

Scandal

I could do a whole article about my feelings for this show, (and not the good kind by the way), but I won’t subject you to that here. What I will say is that the chemistry between Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington is still there. I know this because the three scenes they shared together this season were on fire. I’ve reached the point where the plot holes, frenetic pacing, and tepid love triangle don’t faze me anymore. At this point, there’s so much going on that nothing is going on. Doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic stand out scenes, they exist; they’re just a pleasant surprise in a whole lotta ‘why are they doing this?’ The highlight of the season for me was Courtney B. Vance. His performance for “The Lawn Chair” was at the very least worthy of an Emmy nomination, and in my opinion, deserving of the statue. Season 4 Overall Grade: C

-Angela Romack

Tagged:
About the Author

Used for collaborations, team features, etc. Follow the TVSource account on Twitter @TVSource