I wrote about my two new favourite TV shows for the Telegraph. I thought it was interesting they were both American network TV shows, and wondered if this was a sign that, after years of cable programmes raising the bar, network TV might also be raising its game.
My two favourite American TV shows this year have much in common. Both are spin-offs from source material that seemed already milked dry. Both bring out the best in British actors for whom I had no special admiration – until now. And both are products not of HBO, AMC, Showtime or any of the cable channels that have helped turn this last decade into a Golden Age of Television with groundbreaking series such as The Sopranos, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. To my surprise, my two favourite shows of 2013 are both products of American network television.
To read on, please click on the picture (above) of Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal.
My other new favourite TV show is Elementary. I almost gave up on both shows in the early stages – Elementary because I thought the plots were too lightweight and Jonny Lee Miller wasn’t really doing it for me, Hannibal because there seemed to be a serial killer on every street corner and the FBI was so stupid. But I’m glad I persisted (and recommend you persist too, if you haven’t already done so), because both shows paid off handsomely, and now I can’t wait to see their second series.
Despite my early misgivings, Miller turned out to be terrific; the Elementary case-of-the-week was really only an excuse to shine light on the increasingly interesting relationship between Holmes and Watson – all the more interesting because it’s non-romantic. And I finally accepted Hannibal as a stylised and gripping fantasy-world which is entirely rigged to showcase the creepy but compelling relationship between Hannibal and Will Graham.
À propos de nothing in particular, here’s a list of my favourite TV shows of all time. I’ll probably add to it as other titles occur to me, and may even end up writing a line or two about some of the titles. To answer questions you haven’t yet asked, I quite enjoy Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, but they don’t grab me the way they’ve clearly grabbed other viewers, and I tuned out of Lost and The Walking Dead at a relatively early stage.
I watched a lot of TV in the 1960s, less after I left home in the 1970s, and relatively little in the 1980s. In the early 1990s my consumption shot up when I started subscribing to cable TV for the first time.
The Lone Ranger
Doctor Who (the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton years only)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Complete and Utter History of Britain
Do Not Adjust Your Set
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Hill Street Blues
The Young Ones
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The X-Files (early seasons only)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
The League of Gentlemen
- Creator Bryan Fuller Talks HANNIBAL Season 2 and Beyond; Plus When Does the RED DRAGON Storyline Come Into Play? (collider.com)
- These Are the Ten TV Shows That Pirates Like the Most (gizmodo.com)
- “Game of Thrones” and the New Golden Age of Television (dailyfinance.com)
- The Sopranos Named Best-Written TV Show Ever (entertainment.time.com)