Something You Said’s best TV shows of 2014


Once again, it has been a magnificent year for television. Such high-quality, incredibly gripping programmes have entered our living rooms that sometimes we wonder why we actually bother going out at all. Here are’s Top 20 TV Shows of 2014, as voted for by our team of contributors: 

The most talked-about television drama of 2014, the first season of True Detective was not only highlighted by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s astonishing performances, but also by the well-written, film-quality script and beautiful cinematography which separates it from the many police and detective shows that saturate mainstream television. Heather Vousden

Brilliant, funny, shocking, gripping. While True Detective was certainly the best show of 2014, Billy Bob Thornton undoubtedly put in the performance of the year with his wicked portrayal of Lorne Malvo, who goes about his psychopathic business with pedestrian nonchalance. Martin Freeman is also superb as the jittery Lester Nygaard, who gets himself into all kinds of trouble in this TV adaptation of the celebrated Coen Brothers film. Bobby Townsend

I mean, c’mon – it speaks for itself, no? Rose Ashton

Last Week Tonight does something very special – it pulls in people that usually don’t watch political shows. It assumes one can keep up instead of dumbing down. It proves that people are capable of rising to a better discourse with actual depth and nuance. As Oscar Wilde once wrote,”If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” John Oliver has mastered political comedy better than anyone in the game at this point. All while breaking free of our incestuous news cycle and bringing international flavor. Or should I say flavour? Tenley Nordstrom

Orange is the New Black came back this year and was even more binge-watchable than the season before. The cast of female inmates we all fell in love with last year upped their game with more tenderness, even more drama (who knew that was possible?) and one of the most beautiful last episodes ever, leaving everybody wanting more. Looks like this one will be on next year’s favourites list as well! Julia Boyle

parks and rec6. PARKS AND RECREATION 
One of the best things on TV continued to delight and deliver glee as it has done in the five seasons past. Showing as much heart and thought as usual, Amy Poehler and ensemble showed us why Parks and Rec still manages to ensnare anyone who starts watching. It also marked the beginning of the end as next year’s season will be the show’s last. But if Season Six gave us any indication, it won’t be a disappointment. Felix Englund Örn

Much like Parks and Rec, Mad Men is also wrapping up next year. The sojourn of Don Draper will come to a close and we will sadly have to say goodbye to this show that now been on the air for seven years (and will end after eight). But before that happens, we got to see where the end will begin and Mad Men continued to deliver the smart, thoughtfully constructed drama we’ve gotten used to. Felix Englund Örn

One of those series where no elements of the set up really change. Still, thanks to this ironclad cast that works together in such a fantastic way, this season is at least as entertaining as the ones before. Also, challenge yourself to pick one favourite character! It is A LOT harder than it sounds. Julia Boyle

It’s the only thing I watch. Jack Colwell

When Jess and Nick split up, a lot of questions where raised. Some were thankful, others couldn’t imagine the series without the suspense of the impending romance between the two. Needless to say, since it still landed on a lot of our favourites lists, they managed to keep both the lovers and the haters of Jess&Nick hooked. Also, is it just me or are they just getting funnier and funnier? Julia Boyle

The stylised, highly violent alternate reality series returned for a second series this year. It commenced by going back to the 60’s to show how and why the Janus vaccine was created. This helped to fill the back stories of all the characters and how they interlinked. Fantastic acting, great twists, fast-paced editing and an excellent ending sets it all up for a third series. Unmissable. 25ThC

The gang returned and are as funny as ever in this refreshingly silly and well-crafted police comedy. The characters are just so likeable that it is a giddy pleasure to spend 25 minutes in their company. Bobby Townsend

BoJack-Horseman.png13. BOJACK HORSEMAN 
Bojack Horseman is a herald to what we’ve all been thinking: a mixture of “Peacock Dreams in The Mighty Boosh needs to be at least partially realised or met in tone” and “animals are much funnier than humans” (it only took how many years of YouTube videos to work that one out). Bojack’s twisted appropriation of typical washed up celebrities is basically all you’ve been waiting for. Ruth Hodge

The latest series started strongly and simply refused to let up until the absolutely astonishing and shocking mid-season climax. It has left fans desperate for February to come around so we can reconvene. Bobby Townsend

I’ve been a longtime fan of Homeland since the beginning but I felt, like most fans, that Series Three, although reaching a natural and appropriate climax, lacked some of the tension and white knuckle ride of the first series. Series Four sees Carrie and co in Islamabad with a brand new enemy to counter and twists at every corner. Two episodes to go and I have no idea where they are going to take it. I have been on the edge of my seat every Sunday for the last few months. Highly recommended. 25ThC

Hannibal doesn’t get anywhere near the credit it deserves, for some reason it hasn’t caught the eye of the cool critics or the TV hipsters. It is however, the best thing to hit our screens in the last two years with Series Two catapulting it into the stratosphere. A grisly, melodramatic grand guignol of a show, Hannibal is a masterclass in production values and tension with a truly monstrous central performance from Mads Mikkelsen. Neil Martin

An absolutely captivating documentary series made by Dave Grohl whilst he was recording the new Foo Fighters record in eight different cities in USA. It’s a measure of the man that his band takes a back seat throughout and he shines a fascinating light on each of the city’s musical heritage. Gary Page

Charlie Brooker returned the week before Christmas with a trilogy of stories all intertwined. These dramas depicted the possible near future are expertly written and very very dark. I am not going to say too much as I don’t want to spoil the surprises but this stands out as one of his best. 25ThC

I am not sure if it is the historical accuracy blended with a terrific drama script, or the eyes of Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel) that has me so obsessed with the Vikings series by the History Channel. It is the ultimate history geek’s wet dream (may also have something to do with Travis Fimmel). Filmed in Ireland (most likely due to the high costs of filming in Scandinavia), Vikings follows the tale of a great Norse warrior Ragnar Lothbrok, whom like most revered leaders of ancient times, spends their time raping, pillaging, plundering and obsessing over conceiving sons to be his successors. The casting and acting is brilliant and it definitely is GoT‘s biggest contender. Plus Vikings has less lame dialogue, better acting and little irrelevant breast exposure. Melissa Barrass

20. VEEP
So cynical, so witty, so funny. Veep stepped up a gear with Season Three, particularly when Selina headed to London. Essential viewing for anyone who likes their comedy political, topical and acerbic. Bobby Townsend

Here are some shows that didn’t quite get enough votes to make the Top 20, but that our contributors think are worthy of your attention:

So after nine years, the shaggy dog story of how Ted Mosby met Penny and Luke’s mother was finally over. It’s been a guilty pleasure of mine over the last couple of years when I finally decided to give it a chance after seeing an episode where Barney Stinson (a brilliant Neil Patrick Harris) go out for his daily 8 o’clock fart, I was intrigued and hooked. The final episodes were at times heartbreaking and manic in equal measure with many easter eggs for those who paid attention to nearly every past episode (i.e. the stripper who Ted jokingly referred to as the kids’ mother was also called Tracy). I’m not too sure what will fill the void, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine will keep me occupied for now. Peter Watts

Who watches Survivor anymore?? Well, me. 28 seasons in (29 now) and Survivor has definitely lost some of its initial novelty and fun. But s28 was ridiculous and incredible. It featured the craziest, most epic characters (Tony, J’Tia, Kaoss Kass, Woo), freaking hilarious moments throughout the season, and the #hashtag game was strong. #NinjaStealthMode is the greatest TV moment hashtag, ever. I know no one really cares about Survivor anymore, but somehow I still do and after so many lacklustre seasons this season made the game memorable once more. Desmond Chan

Josh Thomas is a pretty annoying person in reality (those Optus ads…). But as a character, he shines. His endearing, comical approach to mental illness is a breath of fresh air and did much to de-stigmatise something most of us go through. If only Australians actually bothered to watch it. Joel Anderson

I love this because of the stunning visual effects used in each episode and the complex story writing of which interlocks each character’s relationship in the town of Storybrooke. I’ve learnt a lot about fairytale character origins, been made to reconsider the stories I read growing up, in particular the idea that people aren’t born distinctively good or bad. This TV show feels like a story, a movie and yet despite the escapism it provides, it feels like a lesson in humanity. Addy Fong

A documentary style series hosted by the disgustingly charming Richard E Grant, it delves into the deepest, darkest histories and personalities of the world’s most notorious hotels. From mobster murders to sordid love affairs between infamous personalities, this really is pure televison heaven. The episode featured in New Orleans was probably my favourite, the scene where legendary soul singer (and one of my favourite vocalists of all time) Irma Thomas, sings an impromptu ditty to Richard, breaks your heart, and evidently, his too. Beautiful stuff! Golden Lady

Did we miss any of your best shows of 2014? Tell us in the comments section.

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