The Top 5 TV Shows of 2014 So Far

Photo Credit:

Happy July! Amazingly, 2014 is already half over, which means we’ve whipped up some lists here for you guys. Since a ton of great TV has already come and gone over these past six months, we decided to narrow it down to just five shows (just in case our mid-year lists are too similar to our end-of-year lists). But between the two of us (Matt and Mike), we have two fairly diverse lists of five. As always, let us know in the comments below what your favorites have been.

Matt’s Take:

Photo Credit: Community

After a relatively harmless but Harmon-less fourth season, NBC’s little show that could came roaring back for an excellent fifth season. Pierce got the best off-screen sendoff in TV history (“and obligatory sperm”) while Troy sailed off in the best way possible. It was the return to form many fans thought Community would never get. A redemption season before NBC finally canceled the show one season and a movie shy of their goal. But what an end it was.


Photo Credit: Game of Thrones

A lot happened in the perhaps the most satisfying season yet of HBO’s epic fantasy adaptation. This season started with the shocking death of (SPOILER) Joffrey and didn’t let up, killing a number of important characters throughout the whole season. The creators have called this season the midway point in the series. It sure feels like it as just about every major character took steps toward their eventual endgame. Bring on Season 5!


Photo Credit: Orange is the New Black

Outdoing its already phenomenal first season in almost every way, Season 2 of Orange is the New Black gave us more character driven comedy and drama. A new villain in the form of Vee gave the season a grounded arc while upping the tension. Just about every major character had their moment to shine. How the show weaves these rewarding moments around each other is what makes it one of the best shows out there right now.


Photo Credit: Girls

The show’s second season disappointed some fans, but Girls came back leaner and with a lot more confidence for its third go-around. There were a number of classic episodes this season. The show tackled death, love, and careers in the eyes of a 20-something in the most authentic manner ever done on television. While it occasionally tricked us into thinking it was a more normal sitcom, it always gave us a turn or an all-too-real moment that sent it soaring above the competition.


Photo Credit: Louie

There isn’t a more inventive or artistic show on television right now. After taking 2013 off, Louis CK’s set of miniature art films returned for the best season yet. Louie achieves a level of surrealism while still creating true-life moments that feel as authentic as everyday moments in our lives. Season 4 examined Louie’s love life in a way we never have before. The show is as experimental as television gets. What’s truly stunning is that most, if not all, of Louie‘s experiments are successful.


Mike’s Take:

Photo Credit: House of Cards-

The second season of Netflix’s gripping political drama is darker, nastier, and more exciting than the first. Kevin Spacey is as compelling as ever as Frank Underwood, and watching his calculated rise to power is nothing short of thrilling. Season 2 is decidedly more Claire-focused, giving the stellar Robin Wright a chance to shine alongside her onscreen husband. With a doozy of an ending, season 3 can’t come fast enough. Sometimes, it’s better for characters to be ruthless than relatable.


Photo Credit: Silicon Valley

It’s easy to sing the praises of people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, but it’s a little more difficult to imagine their humble beginnings. Created by Office Space director Mike Judge, Silicon Valley pulls back the curtain on the harsh world of tech startups in Northern California—and the results are utterly hilarious. Following a group of geeks as they try to launch an app called Pied Piper, this show features mile-a-minute laughs and spot-on performances from Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, and Zach Woods. It’s an underdog story for the digital age.


Photo Credit: Broad City

If you prefer your female characters to be prim and proper, then Broad City probably isn’t the show for you. If you like your ladies fun and fearless, however, then I highly recommend checking out this Amy Poehler-produced gem on Comedy Central. Real life friends Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer take their web series to the small screen with no holding back. A show about 20-somethings trying to make it in the city is nothing new, but Jacobson and Glazer’s fresh and zany take is so enjoyable, you’ll wish you were friends with them too.


Photo Credit: Orange is the New Black-

Once again, the ladies of Litchfield have brought forth another fun, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring adventure. Season 2 is more focused than the first, featuring Lorraine Toussaint as the standout villain Vee. This time around, we get to explore the backstories of even more interesting inmates, all while watching the prison crumble from the inside. With poignant messages and incredible performances from its ensemble cast, Orange is a show that should never be caged.


Photo Credit: Hannibal

Hannibal gives me hope for network television. Not only is it brilliantly plotted and superbly performed by Mads Mikkelson, Hugh Dancy, and Laurence Fishburne, but it’s themes are inventive and more momentous than its cable counterparts (True DetectiveFargo). Season 2 showed no signs of strain as it continued to blur the lines between a gruesome police procedural and an intense, mind-bending drama. The content may not be the most original, but the execution is truly groundbreaking.


Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments below!


By Matt Dougherty and Mike Papirmeister

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