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

Empire

Talk about coming out fighting! This was yet a show that I held no interest in, solely based on promos. However, I sat back and watched as it hit hard, week after week, gaining more and more viewers along the way. Everyone was talking about it. The drama. The music. Cookie Lyon (played by the incomparable Taraji P. Henson). So, since I like drama (on my TV), great music and cookies, I decided to give it a shot. I was instantly hooked and watched the first six episodes in one sitting. For the sake of honesty, I will say that had it not been for Henson and Cookie, I doubt I would have stuck with it. Even though the finale left me feeling underwhelmed, I am still eager to welcome season 2 with the hope that I will not be disappointed. Season 1 Overall Grade: A

the-good-wife-604-oppo-research-01The Good Wife

Speaking as a viewer and fan since the pilot, I have never, EVER, desired to see Alicia dip her toes in politics. Yet, there we were. I wish I could say that I hated the entire thing and everything that stemmed from it, but that would be a lie. While I completely disliked “politician Alicia” and as heartbreaking as some of the things she did, learned and experienced throughout her campaign (and after) were, it was enthralling to watch this chapter of her story unfold. Also, how could I hate everything when we got her kissing on her hot campaign manager? This season was rich with numerous memorable moments woven in with just as many unnecessary ones. Not one of my favorite seasons, by any means, but still my #1 must-see-when-it-airs show. Here’s hoping next season finds Alicia back on top and repairing all that went wrong in her life this time around. In the Kings, I trust. Season 6 Overall Grade: B

How To Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Well, that was all I needed to know to assure that I would be watching. No regrets. Not at all my favorite cast of characters, but they all have their moments. Annalise Keating is a force, albeit a chaotic one. Her involvement in the murder of her husband and its subsequent cover-up were so masterfully portrayed in accordance with her genius manipulation of everyone around her. While I do fear for the future of this show, because one has to wonder how much she can get away with and for how long, I’m in this for the long haul. Or at least for as long as Davis is. Season 1 Overall Grade: A

janeJane the Virgin

I lack the ability to fib, so I will wholeheartedly admit to seeing the promos for this show and thinking “What in the actual hell? Nope. Not watching.” Then something beautiful happened and Gina Rodriguez, a young Puerto Rican woman, was onstage at the Golden Globes accepting an award and tearfully telling her father, “I can and I did.” I fell in love with her then, finally giving in and started the show. Holy. Crap. The way this show has embraced a culture that resonates with me personally, especially any and everything involving all three Villanueva women together, makes me emotional and unable to find the words to eloquently explain my thoughts. It’s a Telenovela, it really is, and I adore it. They make me cry and laugh throughout every single episode and manage to make me love every single character. One of the few shows that I do not fear a decline in quality as it goes on. Season 1 Overall Grade: A+

Madam Secretary

Being a lover of strong, unique, flawed female characters and a fan of Tea Leoni, my viewership of this newcomer was inevitable. What a joy it was to watch this show grow stronger with each episode, from the pilot to the finale, right before our eyes. To possess the ability to write and portray realistic scenarios that stem from her role as Secretary of State to mother, wife or friend and have them weave so seamlessly together is a feat so well executed by every single person involved. Add to that the adorable realness that Leoni and Tim Daly bring to their onscreen marriage and I am unable to find one thing to dislike. Looking forward to next season, I expect greatness. Therefore, if you are not watching, I urge you to start. Season 1 Overall Grade: A

Outlander

See, what had happened was, late one night I was browsing Twitter and saw Angela’s tweets as she watched this show. I grew curious and inquired as to what the hell she was watching (I venture to guess it may have been The Wedding episode, so you can imagine her tweets) and she insisted I check it out. Out of sheer boredom one night, even though I had no clue what the show was even about seeing as I’ve never heard of the books, I hit play and my TV viewing life is now forever changed. Claire. Beauchamp. Randall. Fraser. Ma’am, where have you been all my life? Claire personifies feminism, in every way imaginable. I could go on for pages praising her and in turn, Caitriona Balfe’s portrayal of her, but that’s not what this is for. It is extremely difficult to put on this show a specific description. It’s a love story, yes. But, it is so much more than that. It possesses action, fantasy, drama, humor and anything else you can think of. It’s also wonderfully produced and acted throughout the entire cast. From Claire to Jamie (Sam Heughan) and his adorable awkwardness as he shifts to manhood, to the insanity better known as Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzes) and the most brilliant book to screen adaptation I have ever seen, this show comes out on top as my favorite new show of the season. Now, to endure Droughtlander as we await next season and I avoid reading the second book. All the awards, please. Season 1 Overall Grade: A++

-Chrissie Ortiz

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