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

Arrow

After two solid seasons, the foundation of the DC Comics television renaissance started showing some major cracks. For one, Oliver Queen became the worst thing about the show this season. Both sanctimonious and secretive, his angst was the cement shoes that dragged the show down. This was assisted by tedious flashbacks that lacked the immediacy of the island and a season long League of Assassins arc that drained all of the excitement out of the concept. The show had bright spots, but even those often could have been handled better. I enjoyed Olicity finally getting together, but somehow a show with three seasons of buildup still made one of its biggest ships feel rushed. I was thrilled to have Laurel finally become Black Canary, but I still hate that Sara had to die as Canary to get that ball rolling. I love the cast of this show, but they deserve more than this. Season 3 Overall Grade: C

The Flash

The first season of this show is quite simply how a superhero show should be done. Grant Gustin, who I loved to hate on Glee, brought Barry Allen to life for me in a way no comic book ever really has. Surrounding Gustin with an appealing ensemble of actors to play with also helped. Carlos Valdes, like Gustin, turned a character that never fully popped for me on the comic book page into something more. The show faced some pitfalls. The biggest of these was how every character treated Iris regarding Barry’s secret identity as The Flash. Candice Patton did her best, but watching every character hide things from her only made the character harder to watch. The twists and turns this season took make me so curious and excited for what season two will bring. Season 1 Overall Grade: A-

grimm-412-01Grimm

In its fourth season, Grimm proved that its writers weren’t afraid to take chances with the show’s status quo. The season began with a powerless Nick—a situation adeptly handled by having Trubel take charge as Portland’s resident Grimm for a substantial string of episodes—and culminated with a final fatal encounter between a repowered Nick and his erstwhile girlfriend Juliette. The road from point A to point B was bumpy though. While some of that should be expected in the lives of our hero and his friends, the writing itself took some questionable turns when it comes to Adalind’s second pregnancy and Juliette’s tragic descent into evil. That said, David Giuntoli continues to grow as an actor every season, while Claire Cofffee and Bitsie Tulloch did brilliant work with what their respective characters were dealt. The show provided both the best and the worst it has to offer, but ultimately made it work. Season 4 Overall Grade: A-

Jane the Virgin

Gina Rodriguez is a force of nature. The 22 episodes of Jane’s first season should provide all you need to prove this as a fact. The show itself fills two distinctive Ugly Betty and Emily Owens, M.D.-shaped voids I’ve had in my television-loving heart. Rodriguez’s Jane Villanueva is building on the kind of heroines that carried those shows, but in a manner uniquely her own. I could mention almost any of the show’s principle players and gush. They all turned out fantastic performances, due in no small part to the quality content that Jennie Snyder Urman and her fantastic creative team gave them to work with. Jaime Camil and Yael Groblas are especially worth noting though. My solitary complaint this season, you ask? It’s that Michael Rady wasn’t more of a fixture. I love that guy and it was a delight to see him play against his usual type as the devious Lachlan. Season 1 Overall Grade: A+

revengeRevenge

Revenge was never going to go out quite on top, but in its fourth and final season, the show did its damnedest to try and make it happen. In some ways, this was the best season since the show debuted; this is partially because the end was so very clearly on the horizon, even if they didn’t overtly say so until it was almost there. Emily Thorne finally revealed that she was Amanda Clarke after all, Jack finally confessed his feelings for her, and Victoria finally got what she deserved. Along the way, we lost characters to death and rehab, but gained Courtney Love in a murderous cameo role. It was frantic, giving way to some of its worst soapy tendencies while also indulging in its best ones when they were able to manage. Ultimately, I’m sad to see the show exit, but I’m happy that Emily got the revenge and the happy ending. Season 4 Overall Grade: B

-Kenny Lane

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