DOWNTON ABBEY 405: WHO DESERVES A PUNCH IN THE FACE

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I would say that this week’s episode was again relatively non-eventful.  Unless you count Edith’s pregnancy (but, come on, that wasn’t a surprise) or Rose’s scheme to bring Jack Ross to Downton (again, we knew we would see him again).  Again, Robert Crowley has taken a backseat this week on the annoyance-scale and we have a knew “winner” for least likely to deserve a punch.  Let’s get to the list though before Edith stops sobbing in a corner again.

19.  Alfred – No punch for you this week, just a big congrats!  Best wishes in cooking school!

18.  Cora Crowley – Thank you for saving Anna and Bates from that snobby maître d’ and for giving them a ride home.  Well played.

17.  Mrs. Pattmore – Your swooning over Rudolph Valentino only made me love you more!

16.  Violet – Your apology to Peg was very very nice and earned you points this week.  But, you probably shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions about him in the first place.

15.  Jack Ross – I really like you.  But, you and Rose are going to create a lot of chaos.

14.  Rose – Oh, Rose, you silly girl.  You are going to get yourself in trouble.

13.  Mary – I feel like you should cut Rose some slack, remember when you were young and doing stupid things…I do!

12.  Robert Crowley – Who would have thought you would make it this far down the list?  Not me.  Good job comforting Edith.  I have a feeling this stuff with Uncle Harold is not going to go well though.

11.  Molesley – Ha, you still don’t get called by your first name.  I think that might be karma.

10.  Carson – While Carson is great with Alfred, he certainly isn’t very nice to Molesley (not that Molesley doesn’t deserve some of it).  Also, could the Carson and Jack Ross conversation have been any more awkward and uncomfortable?  Accept some change Mr. Carson.

9.  Ivy and Daisy – Daisy, it’s not nice for you to take out your emotions on Ivy, even if Ivy deserved it.  At least with Alfred gone, maybe Daisy can move on and this stupid love-square can be over already.

8.  Charles Blake and Evelyn Napier – Napier was pretty much sidelined this week, but Charles Blake was certainly an ass.  Don’t you know that you shouldn’t pass judgment on people until you get to know them, Mr. Blake (even if that person is Mary)?  How much do you want to bet that Mary ultimately decides to go for Blake over Napier?  What’s that saying about nice guys again?

7.  Tom – You are still very boring.

6.  Isobel – I have given you time to grieve for your son, but no more.  Stop with all of your righteousness.  I know that Violet can be pig-headed sometimes, but you are just as bad.  Gloating is not becoming on anyone.

5.  Baxter – Stop telling secrets!! Or, at least tell me what Thomas has on you, so that I can understand your motivation.

4.  Edith and Michael Gregson – So Edith is knocked-up and Gregson has gone M.I.A.  Great, just great Edith.  You were starting to become a really interesting character and now all we get is you sobbing in the corner all episode.  I am sorry you are pregnant, but I am more sorry that the writers couldn’t give you a more interesting storyline than an unplanned pregnancy.

3.  Bates and Anna – Really, you guys can’t even enjoy a dinner together?  And, Bates, stop brooding.  Why can’t someone at Downton be happy ever?

2.  Thomas – Ok, so can someone please explain to me what Thomas’s actual job is, because I really can’t tell anymore.  All he seems to do is lurk around and threaten people.  Do something productive dude!

1.  Jimmy – Jimmy definitely deserves the biggest punch in the face this week.  Seriously, Jimmy…when did you become such a royal pain the butt?  All you do is sulk around the house and say rude things to people.  And, now you are getting fresh with Ivy?  You probably deserve a good kick in the nuts too.

-LJ

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DOWNTON ABBEY 404: WHO DESERVES A PUNCH IN THE FACE

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I had a hard time with figuring out how much time had passed between last week’s episode and this week’s episode, but it is clear that there has been a time jump, even if it is just a month or so.  After all, it has been enough time for Anna to figure out that she is not pregnant with Mr. Green’s baby, for Mrs. Crowley to have a new lady’s maid, and for Violet to stopping feeling so sorry for Isobel.  It feels like not very much happened in this week’s episode, but it definitely set the stage for big things to come.  Now, let’s get down to punching people.

18.  Anna – You finally have “the talk” with Mr. Bates, even if you were forced into it.  See, he wasn’t mad at you.  I told you, he wouldn’t be.  And, I appreciate the fact that you didn’t get mad at Mrs. Hughes for telling your secret.  I see no need for a punch this week, since it seems like you still have bigger troubles ahead.

17.  Sybbie and George – I still stand firm on the fact that you can’t punch babies, but Sybbie I am not sure that you have to worry about hurricanes in England.  I shake my head at you.

16.  Mrs. Hughes – Although you ultimately did the right thing by telling Mr. Bates what happened to Anna, it still wasn’t exactly your secret to tell.  So, while things may have worked out for you, you still get a small punch for spilling the beans.

15.  Alfred and Daisy – I am sad to see that Alfred didn’t make it into cooking school, but at least he tried.  And, I am glad to see that Daisy helped him as much as she could.  But, I was kind of hoping that Alfred would leave so that we could move on from this Alfred, Daisy, Ivy, Jimmy love-square that has been happening.

14.  Mary – Mary appears to be back to her old self again, judging from her rude comments to Edith.  And, it appears that she has changed her opinion of Evelyn Napier.  At least she is no longer moping around.

13.  Rose – Again, please get a storyline, thanks.  At this point, I don’t see why you are even on this show.  Oh right, to plan parties.  My bad.

12.  Isobel and Violet – I know most people wouldn’t agree that these two should be so far down on the list.  But, I am beginning to feel like they just bicker because there is nothing else for them to do.  Isobel, it is actually possible that the boy you recommended (who you don’t know at all) could have stolen the letter-opener.  Violet, it is actually possible for you not to fight Isobel on everything.  Remember when you were so comforting to her a few episodes ago?  Where was that compassion?

11.  Cora Crowley – You’re taste in lady’s maids is just so horrible.

10.  Mrs. Patmore – How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t be so resistant to change?  Eventually it is going to come back and bite you.  Plus, I promise you that a refrigerator is going to be awesome.

9.  Carson – You weren’t exactly kind to Mr. Mosley, but I also kind of think he deserved it (see below).  So you get somewhat of a pass this week.

8.  Mosley – Seriously, you get offered a job in the house and you have to “think about it?”  I don’t understand what is wrong with you.  While Carson was pretty mean to you when you actually came to accept the job, I also kind of think you deserve it.  When opportunity knocks, you have to answer quickly. (yes, I really did just type that).

7.  Jimmy and Ivy – Jimmy, when did you turn into such a d-bag?  Stop picking on Alfred for having goals and dreams.  And, Ivy, you bore me.  Both of you get a punch.

6.  Gregson and Edith – While Mr. Gregson only appeared in name in this episode, it is clear that he hasn’t written Edith in some time.  This is not acceptable.  And, Edith, are we to assume your doctor visit in London means you are pregnant?  I will be very disappointed in you if that is the case.

5.  Tom – I struggle with you.  I don’t hate your plan for America, actually I think it might be good for you.  But, you have turned into the most depressing character ever.  Please stop moaning about not belonging.  I am so over your internal struggle.

4.  Lord Gillingham – Engaged so quickly.  Clearly your love for Mary wasn’t eternal.

3.  Thomas – Always up to no good.  What are you plans for Baxter?  And, what do you have hanging over her head so that she will agree to do your bidding?  Tell me.

2.  Robert Crowley – I understand that a lot of people are singing Dad Crowley’s praises this week for helping out the poor farmer with the dead dad, but that doesn’t earn you points with me, Mr. Crowley.  I do appreciate your loyalty, but instead of trying to honorably persuade Mary and Tom to agree with your plans, you once again lie and deceive people to get what you want.  And, you again piss away money that isn’t exactly yours I don’t think.  While your intentions may have been good (although I am not sure that I buy that either), you methods are not.  Punch.

1.  Bates – Look, I know that Bates wasn’t completely awful this episode.  He was in fact very sweet and compassionate towards his wife when he finally figured out what happened to her.  But, the last scene with Mrs. Hughes, when Bates appears hell-bent on revenge is what did it for me.  Dude, you know your wife doesn’t want you to go all psycho on the man that did this to her, so why can’t you just respect her wishes and try to move on.  If you end up murdering Mr. Green and end up back in prison, I will not be happy.  (If you can murder him and not get caught, well then, we can talk).

-LJ

DOWNTON ABBEY 403: WHO DESERVES A PUNCH IN THE FACE

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In a surprising twist of fate, Daddy Crowley yet again skips top-billing this week on the list.  This doesn’t mean that I like him, it just means that there are just people who happen to be doing more deplorable things again this week.  This shouldn’t be so shocking considering the rape storyline is still very present.  And, while it doesn’t seem like a lot happened this week at Downton, there are still plenty of people who deserve a punch in the face, so let’s get to the list.

18.  Violet – Still helping Isobel navigate the post-Matthew world.  Nothing wrong with that at all.

17.  Jack Ross – Handsome singer who saves the day.  If only your singing voice had been a littler better…

16.  Mary – For a girl who used to be super bitchy, you have certainly changed.  You are kind to Anna and Tom and you are able to keep your head on straight when it comes to Lord Gillingham’s proposal.  Also, you win the prize for best line of the week.

15.  Isobel – I am glad to see that you can put your grief aside for Mary’s sake and that you are starting to find your way in the world again.  I hope this week was a turning point for you.

14.  Carson and Mrs. Hughes – Carson had a pretty uneventful and unremarkable week, but Mrs. Hughes has become Downton’s resident therapist.  Is there a problem she can’t solve?

13. Rose – Oh Rose, I wish you could get a storyline that didn’t involve you being a love-crazed girl with poor taste in suitors.  I am looking forward to some scandals with Mr. Ross though.

12.  Mrs. Patmore – I don’t know how you can keep your head on straight with all the teenage-love happening in your kitchen.  You keep giving good advice to Daisy though, let’s hope some day she actually takes it.

11.  Cora Crowley – Please stop throwing your grief-stricken daughter at men.  It’s just pathetic.

10.  Thomas – You were your usual self this episode.  I am a bit concerned about your choice of lady’s maid though.  Who is it that you are recommending?  I can’t imagine that it will be good.

9.  Lord Gillingham – Oh, I had such high hopes for you and then you go and propose to Mary after 3 days.  You look like a crazed-stalker.  And, your “he’s dead, I’m alive” line was cringe-worthy.  Matthew’s only been dead 6 months.  Maybe don’t go proposing marriage just yet, especially when you are engaged!  I really liked you and now it appears that you are out of the Downton circle.

8.  Daisy, Ivy, Alfred, and Jimmy – Daisy, when did you turn into such a mean girl and how are you still wrapped up on this Alfred thing?  For my sanity’s sake, I need you to get over it (that goes for you too, Alfred).  This storyline is sooo boring and overplayed.

7.  Edith and Gregson – I think it is clear how I feel about this particular relationship, so I won’t rehash.  But, hello, Edith…you don’t sign papers that you don’t read!!  What have you gotten yourself into?

6.  Anna and Bates – Look, I am not about to punch a girl when she is down, so instead Anna will get a strongly-worded talking to.  Seriously?  You are going to kill yourself if you are pregnant?  That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard.  I need you to put on your big girl panties and realize that it isn’t your fault that you were raped.  And, Bates, your wife clearly looks like she was beat up.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.  This storyline makes me furious.

5.  Robert Crowley – Still doubting Mary, shame.  And, could you even pretend to be a little happy for Edith?  “I don’t dislike him” – I agree with Violet, such a glowing recommendation.  At least you tried to be helpful to Bates.

4.  Aunt Rosamund – I understand times were different back then, but racism definitely deserves a punch in the face.  And, look, I am not completely mad about you yelling at Edith for staying out all night with Gregson (doing you know what), but I feel like it could have been a little more tactful.  Plus, did you really have to throw her past suitors back in her face?

3.  Tom – I’d never thought I would say this, but what the heck is your problem?  You are not entirely to blame for the Edna situation, but you aren’t completely without fault.  If you hadn’t let yourself get so drunk last episode because you were feeling sorry for yourself, then maybe you wouldn’t have found yourself in the predicament you are in.  You are lucky to have Mrs. Hughes to bail you out because you clearly can’t be expected to act like an adult.  Punch.

2.  Mr. Green – You would be #1 again this week, but you were only in 1% of the episode.  Your 1%, however, lands you another punch in the face though due to your smug-ness and overall despicableness.  Oh yeah, and because you are a rapist…I have not forgotten.

1.  Edna – So Edna sneaks into Tom’s room, while he is clearly drunk, and has relations with him.  Then, she attempts to bully him into agreeing to marry her “if she is pregnant,” although she knows she isn’t.  And, if Tom had agreed, it appears she would have grabbed any guy to make sure the deed was actually done.  Gross Edna, just gross.  You get a punch for being a horrible human being and another punch for believing everything that Mrs. Hughes said to you, stupid girl.  It appears that this may be the last we see of Edna, so I would like to offer another punch to the writers of Downton for bringing us a stupid and pointless storyline about a girl that no one cares about or even remembered.

-LJ

DOWNTON ABBEY 402: WHO DESERVES A PUNCH IN THE FACE

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So it really isn’t any surprise who gets the biggest punch this week.  Yup, that’s right, it takes a rapist to knock Dad Crowley off the top spot.  That doesn’t really speak well for Robert now does it?  As much as it pains me to write about an episode in which something so horrible happened to Anna, it must be done.  So here we go!

*Anna is excused from the list this week, for obvious reasons.  She has been through enough.

20.  Lord Gillingham – You win the prize for being the best this week.  It’s a huge honor, let me tell you.  You are charming and smart and appear to be a good friend for Mary to lean on.  I know you would like more, so we will just have to see how this relationship develops.

19.  Violet – Humorous and compassionate as usual.  Well done with Tom and Isobel.

18.  Mary – I know it’s hard to move on, but you are doing better.  Plus, good job standing up to your father.  Question for you though…are you now only going to wear purple?

17.  Mrs. Hughes – Good job taking care of Anna.

16.  Daisy and Ivy – Not much happened this week with you two.  Daisy did take over the kitchen for Mrs. Patmore, so there is that I guess.

15.  Cora Crowley – Thank you for finally putting Robert in his place for something (and for punishing him by having him sit next to Dame Nellie), although you clearly can’t see all of his faults.

14.  Isobel – I know it’s hard to live in a world without Matthew, but it’s getting really hard to watch you sob each week.

13.  Bates – So, I know you were right about Mr. Green, but if you hadn’t been so childish about Anna interacting with him, maybe she would have listened to you more.  Further, your wife shows up at the end of the night with a beat up face and a new dress and you think she just fell in the kitchen, seriously?!  Come on, man.

12.  Michael Gregson – You saved the day and won everyone’s money back.  And, I think it was very smart of you.  So, I will only give you a small punch this week.  But, you are still becoming a German and you still shouldn’t be dating Edith.  Also, you are kind of whiny when Robert doesn’t want to hang out with you.

11.  Jimmy – See that is what showing off will get you, a hurt wrist.  Stop trying to impress the girls, they already like you.

10.  Edith – Stop being so transparent.  We know your want your dad to like your boyfriend, your dad knows you want him to like your boyfriend, we all get it.  Also, please still get a new boyfriend.  Thanks.

9.  Mrs. Patmore – You are stressing yourself and everyone else out for no good reason.  But, way to put Carson in his place for being such a snob about Alfred helping out in the kitchen and the kitchen maids going upstairs to watch the concert.

8.  Rose – You are such a silly, silly girl.  Yeah, maybe bringing Matthew’s stuff out of the attic wasn’t a good idea.  Also, continuing dancing after Mary clearly gets upset by what you have done, doesn’t win you many points either.

7.  Molesley – You may not deserve a straight-out punch, but definitely a slap in the face.  No one likes a pity party.  Can’t you see that people are trying to help you?

6.  Tom – You had a bad, bad week.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get the hell away from Edna.  You are showing very bad judgment and I don’t like it.  If you weren’t so nice to Isobel, you might have been even higher on the list.

5.  Thomas – You are mean to Tom and then throw a fit when you are asked to help out.  Stop being so childish.

4.  Carson – You are such a snob.  No redeeming act to help you this week.

3.  Edna – It’s not really surprising to find you at the top of the list this week.  You are needlessly bothering Tom, making him feel worse, and you get him drunk so you can take advantage of him.  Seriously?  You are a maid!

2.  Robert Crowley – You force an amazing singer to eat in her room alone because she is “beneath” you; you won’t listen to your own daughter Mary when she says she is trying to help fix the estate problems; you won’t try and get to know your other daughter’s boyfriend; and you are a horrible gambler who loses tons of money.  You suck.

1.  Mr. Green (aka the rapist valet) – Ok, so this could not have been a more horrific scene if it tried to be.  This man is pretty much the worst person on the planet for harming Anna (and then having the nerve to say goodnight to her and Mr. Bates afterwards).  He deserves much much worse than any punch I could give him.

**In addition to Mr. Green, I am lumping the Downton writers into this #1.  Seriously, we couldn’t have Anna happy for more than a second?  Her and Bates’s relationship has been full of chaos from the beginning, we don’t need any more.  Maybe you could have tried and stretched yourself and seen if you could make a happy couple interesting, maybe.  Additionally, I am not happy that it seems like this is just going to turn into the same-old storyline of “wife gets attacked, doesn’t tell husband, begins to shy away from husband (for good reason), and then marriage problems ensue.”  This is boring to watch and it is lazy writing.  The end.  (You can tell I am a little on edge about this, can’t you?!).

-LJ

DOWNTON ABBEY 401: WHO DESERVES A PUNCH IN THE FACE

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I am going to start off by saying, I like Downton Abbey.  I really do.  Is it the greatest show ever?  No.  But, it’s full of rich, attractive British people who lead very dramatic lives.  And, I can get on board with that.  Here is my problem though, after spending 2 hours with these people on Sunday night, some of them really start to get on my nerves.  So, the best way to get out this frustration I have decided is to make a list about WHO I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE FACE.  We will start with least likely to warrant a good punch and proceed to most likely deserves a punch and maybe a swift kick in the ass (I’m looking at you Daddy Crowley).

21.  Sibi (and George) – You can’t punch babies, people.  It is frowned upon.  Plus, Sibi might just be the cutest little girl I have ever seen.

20.  Tom – You have turned into a badass.  And, you have an adorable daughter.  Enough said.

19.  Anna and Bates – Sending each other Valentines and giving Molesley some money–that is a good way to get in my good graces.  You two are too cute.

18.  Violet – Once again you are the voice of reason.  You are able to get through to Mary and sufficiently tell that son of yours off.  You could have been the top of the list, but then again, you did raise Robert, so that is a burden you will always have to bear.

17.  Mrs. Patmore – You send Daisy a Valentine so she doesn’t feel left out.  Super sweet.  If you decide to ask for some help with those electric wonders, I bet she might even be willing to assist.  Get up some courage to ask, so you don’t get left behind.

16.  Isobel – After some convincing, you decide to help a homeless guy, who you don’t know.  You might not even deserve a punch this week, but then again you did let Nanny West boss you about.  So a small one, you get.

15.  Ivy and Daisy – Ivy turned out to be less annoying and Daisy is cooking badass in the kitchen.  You girls are sweet.

14.  Mary – Mary was about to land herself high on the list for all the moping about and neglect of her child in addition to her cruel words to Carson, who was only trying to help her.  But, in the end, you rose to the occasion and in doing so put your father in his place.  I will give you a pass on the other stuff since, you know, your husband just died and all.

13.  Edith – You have managed to turn into a smart, beautiful woman who wins best dressed for this episode.  The only thing holding you back is your stupid married boyfriend who is about to be a German.  Please find someone appropriate to date.  You are a catch, start acting like it.

12.  Rose – Oh, Rose.  Your character needs some more development.  Nothing you did annoyed me though (and let’s be honest, most of your story was predictable).  You certainly let that nice boy from the dancehall down easy though and for that you only get a small punch.

11.  Jimmy – You needlessly tease Ivy and in doing so give Daisy false hope that Alfred has turned his affections to her.  I appreciate that you did help Anna and Rose escape the dancehall and since it turns out you might actually like Ivy, you get a pass this week.

10.  Mrs. Hughes – I am normally a Mrs. Hughes fan.  I don’t know whether it was the stupidity of her storyline this week or what, but her unnecessary butting-in to Carson’s business was super annoying.  You would be higher, except you did help poor Isobel and the homeless man, so I guess it turned out okay.

9.  Carson – Carson appears to be a man that likes to hold a grudge.  And, we have already seen that he is not that forgiving.  He did give Mary a swift kick in the butt though (which she needed), even if it didn’t turn out the way he planned.

8.  Thomas – Yes, Thomas would normally be higher on the list for the crap he pulled with Anna, but he was the reason that Cora was watching Nanny West like a hawk, so he earns some points in getting that woman fired.

7.  Cora Crowley – You aren’t higher on the list because you did catch Nanny West being a horrible person and fire her.  But, really, you are going to start trusting Thomas, really?  I thought you were a better judge of character.  And, why haven’t you got the balls to put your husband in check when it comes to Mary?  And, how can you jump to such conclusions about Anna?  She has only been one of your family’s most loyal and trustworthy servants.  Shame.

6.  Michael Gregson – You are ruining Edith’s life.  She is a pretty girl who deserves someone other than an old married guy with a crazy wife who is soon to be a Nazi.  Start making better decisions.  There is a reason her family won’t accept you, it’s because Edith deserves so much better.

5.  Alfred – A good punch in the face might wake you up, son.  Ivy isn’t interested.  And, Daisy is way better.  You need to pick another girl or get another storyline.

4.  Edna – Now, it took us awhile to remember who Edna was and why she left Downton in the first place (first we thought she was the one who slept with the solider), but don’t worry we remembered.  Uggh, why is she back?  I don’t need her around sweet little Tom again.  And, I really don’t need her teaming up with Thomas against Anna.  Get out of here, girl.  #TeamAnna

3.  O’Brien – You leave in the middle of the night with no good-bye (granted I know it’s because the actress didn’t want to return) and you are the reason Edna is back.  If you were still on the show, I would sock you between the eyes.

2.  Nanny West – Yup, being a tyrannical a-hole who says nasty things to children gets you high on this list.  So does sending away a grandmother who has come to visit her dead son’s child.  Shame on you.  If Daddy Crowley wasn’t such a d-bag, then you would be number 1 on my list.  (Side note – did anyone else find it weird that everyone just called Nanny West “Nanny,”  everyone else gets to use their name, why doesn’t she?).

1.  Robert Crowley – It shouldn’t be shocking that a man who appears to be relishing his own son-in-law’s death (because it suddenly makes him in control of the estate again) would make the top of the list.  Not only does Robert seem to be enjoying the predicament that his daughter finds herself in, but he appears to be willing to take any measure to keep the power.  (I seriously thought he was going to throw Matthew’s will in that fireplace, nothing would surprise me anymore).  And, could he look any more upset by the news that Matthew’s will is going to stand.  Hey, a-hole, your family might not like to remind you that you pissed away your wife’s fortune and ran the estate into the ground, but rest assured I remember.  Oh and let’s not forget how you killed your youngest daughter.  I rest my case.

I may have missed some people, but punching this many people is simply exhausting.

-LJ

WHAT TO WATCH: JANUARY 2014

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After taking a couple of months off from this particular post, we are back, and with a vengeance. January is probably the highest quality month of premiering TV since the Mrs. and I started this little blog. It may not be as busy a month, by sheer number of shows premiering, as September, but boy, does it run deep with high, high quality programming. January includes 4 shows that have been discussed (or will be) in the 2013 Terriers Memorial List (look for Part III this weekend), and at least 2 other shows that have appeared on previous years lists (including a former number 1). Also included in January is a show that many people such as myself are prognosticating will be on our 2014 lists, as well as a network sitcom that critics who have seen the pilot, are actually quite enthusiastic about. This is all a very long winded way of saying I hope you enjoyed your holidays, because January does not mess around when it comes to TV watching.  It’s back to business people.

On to the list (which I couldn’t even get down to 10, I tried, I really did, but it’s just not possible this month):

11. Banshee (Cinemax–Jan. 10, 9 PM): Much like Strike Back, Banshee is a show that has no business being as good as it is. Hopefully there will come a time when people like me stop using that statement about Cinemax shows, and that time is probably now. I wouldn’t say Banshee is quite as good as Strike Back (mostly because it lacks the “fun” of Strike Back), but it’s pretty close. Cinemax did a couple new shows in 2013, Banshee and Hunted (also good, but because of a dispute with the UK co-producer, it will not be back in 2014), in an aim to keep the momentum of Strike Back going. Banshee is the story of a master thief who gets out of jail and goes looking for his former girlfriend and partner in a sleepy Pennsylvania, Amish-country town, where he actually takes the identity of the new sheriff (who conveniently, no one had met). Strong acting, sufficient story-telling, intriguing characters, solid acting and all the violence and gratuitous nudity you would expect from Cinemax.

10. Downton Abbey (PBS–Jan. 5, 8 PM): If there was one show I considered leaving off of this list, it would likely be Downton, but I found just enough room for it, and it is still a show I watch and occasionally enjoy, so here we are. Let me actually explain my reservations on Downton though. While it’s a beautifully crafted and expertly acted show, Julian Fellows too often relies on true soap opera tactics to create drama. Too much conflict on Downton is the end result of miscommunications, or eavesdropping, simply put, the right people not having the right information. Fellows hides behind the period for much of this. Think about the episode from season 3 when Lady Sybill died, and the disagreement between the doctors on the proper course of treatment. That was a miscommunication issue that led to the death of a major character. Too much of that goes on in Downton. That said, I’ll be watching come Sunday night.

9. Enlisted (FOX–Jan. 10, 830 PM): Enlisted is the only new network show on this list. As it is a brand new network show, I’ve not seen any of it and I know very little about it. What I do know is that many professional TV critics whose opinions I value have been at least fairly enthusiastic about this show since they first saw the pilot last summer. Enlisted was supposed to premiere in the fall, but FOX pushed it, and then threw it on Friday nights after Raising Hope. I may not be in the TV business, but even I know that’s not good. That doesn’t tell me the show isn’t good (or even great) though, it just tells me FOX doesn’t know how to sell it (much like Raising Hope or Ben and Kate). The general premise of the show is three very different brothers, all in the Army, are stationed at the same base, and presumably hijinks ensue! It most notably stars Piz from Veronica Mars (Chris Lowell), and I’m looking forward to seeing what FOX has here.

8. Psych (USA–Jan. 8, 8 PM): I don’t think Psych will ever be confused as an all time classic TV show, but not every show has to be. Some shows just need to be fun and funny, and Psych has that down cold. With an incredible cast with maybe the best chemistry on all of TV (including the greats), Psych just continues to make me laugh and provide so much joy.  In fact, Psych: The Musical, which aired in December, was simply one of the most fun experiences I had watching TV all year. That’s what Psych is here for. To give us fun, quirky comedy with hilarious nicknames and pop culture references, and I welcome it back to my TV. I suppose my only hope is, with her ABC sitcom failing, Maggie Lawson will come back on board if there are any more episodes.

7. Cougar Town (TBS–Jan. 7, 9 PM): The good people at Turner broadcasting know good network TV when they see it. After saving Southland many years ago, last year the 4th season of Cougar Town premiered on TBS after 3 seasons on ABC. The most telling thing about the first season on TBS was that nothing seemed to change. Cougar Town still felt like Cougar Town. That’s doubly impressive, because not only was there a network change, but creator/show runner Bill Lawernce also left prior to that 4th season. Smartly, TBS is bring the cul-de-sac crew for a season 5, and letting us spend more time with our favorite winos who refuse to work!

6. Girls (HBO–Jan. 12, 9 PM): The second season of Girls had some very impressive highs (One Man’s Trash), but also was a small let down in other areas. It felt sometimes that Lena Dunham was trying to do her very best Louis CK impression, having episodes ands story lines that didn’t fit with the over all narrative. But the reason that works for Louis CK is that he goes all in on it. There is no over all narrative. Ms. Dunham sometimes tried to have it both ways in season 2, which sometimes resulted in great success, but other times not. But whatever the show was, it was always interesting, thoughtful, beautifully written and well acted (and funny when it was trying to be, which was not all the time), so I’ll always be looking forward to more episodes of Girls. After all, Hannah Horvath is the voice of my generation.

5. Sherlock (PBS–Jan. 19, 9 PM): Welcome back to the Batch and Martin Freeman. After taking 2013 off, Sherlock is back on PBS with 3 new episodes. Without a doubt my favorite incarnation of the Sherlock Holmes story, and for my money, the best Sherlock and Watson ever. Everything is right about it. Cumberbatch nails the prickly demeanor of Sherlock Holmes, making him just the right amount of jerk, while giving us enough to understand the connection that Watson feels towards him. And, along those lines, this incarnation of Sherlock perfectly captures the homoeroticism of the friendship between Holmes and Watson. The chemistry between the actors is top notch. Any episodes we get of Sherlock (much like Luther) are a gift we should be thankful for!

4. Shameless (Showtime–Jan. 12, 8 PM): Sunday nights in January are going to be really tricky to manage! I spent a lot of words in the Terriers Memorial List explaining why you should be watching Shameless, so I won’t go on for too long here. What I will say is that I’m so happy to have Emmy Rossum back on my TV, and can’t wait to see what sort of hilarious and heartbreaking disasters the Gallagher family gets into this season. Please watch this show!

3. True Detective (HBO–Jan. 12, 8 PM): See what I mean about Sunday nights? I guess I should tell you what True Detective is first…Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey (along with Michelle Monoghan), True Detective is a cop story set in New Orleans, and follows a 17 year murder investigation. From what I have heard from those who have seen episodes, it is about as good as it gets, and with that cast, is anyone surprised? I think this show also presents an interesting glimpse into what the future of TV may be. If this show goes on after this season, it will be with a whole new cast, and a whole new story, providing an opportunity for actors as impressive as the ones here to come in and do a season of TV. That’s something worth being excited about.

2. Justified (FX–Jan. 7, 9 PM): Simply one of the best things on TV, period. Olyphant, Goggins and crew have captured an environment and a world that is second to none. There are many that would argue the show has never hit the heights it did in the Margo Martindale centric season 2, but I am not including among those. While Mags Bennett was definitely the best “big bad” of a season Justified has done, the show has continued to impress with the work of Olyphant and Goggins. And, I can’t think of a single reason why that wouldn’t continue going into season 5. For a show that is as serious as Justified, it’s amazing just how much fun it so often is, and that is a tribute to Mr. Elmore Leonard, who created the character of Raylan Givens, and Graham Yost, creator and show runner. Performances that astound, dialogue that crackles and tension you can often cut with a knife, Justified is the most underrated show in the Golden Age of TV.

1. Community (NBC–Jan. 2, 8 PM): Welcome back Dan Harmon. After an interesting and strange 4th season, the show gets to return to its roots, with its creator and central voice, Mr Harmon, back in as show runner. Community has often been so great not because it was funny (which it often is), but because of everything else it does. Community is thoughtful, it’s often sad, and always contemplative. Harmon has something to say, and he uses these characters (specifically Danny Pudi’s, Abed) to show us his weird, little world. I cut season 4 and it’s substitute show runners more slack than most, because I recognized how difficult of a job they had. But that said, it’s so good to have Harmon back. I’m hearing that the early episodes return us to Harmon’s weird, little world in amazing fashion.

So there you have it. Happy New Year! I hope you got a shiny, new TV for Christmas, because you’re gonna need it!

-CJ

THE YBTV EMMYS: IF WE WERE IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD

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The 65th Annual Primetime Television Emmy Awards are set to air this Sunday, September 22 on CBS.  Thus, like everyone else in the TV blogging world, we will be doing our own list of winners.  These are not predictions.  It is who we think should win based on the list of nominees for each category.  Do we agree with the nominations in each category…definitely not.  But, we have decided to work within these shackles and come up with our favorites.  One thing should become clear, we (CJ and LJ), unsurprisingly, watch a lot of the same shows.  Apologies for any repetitiveness.

BIGGEST NOMINATION OVERSIGHT:

CJ’s pick:  Walton Goggins, Justified

LJ’s pick:  Emmy Rossum, Shameless (*not only should she be nominated, but she should win)

WIN THAT WILL HURT THE MOST:

CJ’s pick: Damian Lewis, Homeland

LJ’s pick: Anything from Homeland.  Also, anyone from Downton Abbey (*I actually like Downton, but this year, it just can’t win)

DRAMA SERIES:

Breaking Bad, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
Homeland, Showtime
Game of Thrones, HBO
House of Cards, Netflix
Mad Men, AMC

CJ’s pick: Mad Men

LJ’s pick: Breaking Bad

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey, PBS
Bryan Cranston, Breaking  Bad, AMC
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO
Jon Hamm,  Mad Men, AMC
Damian Lewis, Homeland, Showtime
Kevin  Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix

CJ’s pick: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

LJ’s pick:  Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC
Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, PBS
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel, A&E
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC
Kerry Washington, Scandal, ABC
Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix

CJ’s pick: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

LJ’s pick:  Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (*This close to picking Kerry Washington)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire, HBO
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad, AMC
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad, AMC
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey, PBS
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland, Showtime

CJ’s pick: Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad

LJ’s pick:  I am emotionally torn between Aaron Paul and Jonathan Banks.  Ok, Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, AMC
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey, PBS
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, HBO
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, CBS
Morena Baccarin, Homeland, Showtime
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, AMC

CJ’s pick: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

LJ’s pick: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

COMEDY SERIES:

The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Girls, HBO
Louie, FX
Modern Family, ABC
30 Rock, NBC
Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Veep

LJ’s pick:  Veep

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Netflix
Louis C.K., Louie, FX
Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory, CBS
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC

CJ’s pick: Louis C.K., Louie

LJ’s pick:  Full disclosure.  I watch none of these shows.  So, I abstain.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO
Laura Dern, Enlightened, HBO
Tiny Fey, 30 Rock, NBC
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime

CJ’s pick: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

LJ’s pick:  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Adam Driver, Girls, HBO
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family, ABC
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family, ABC
Ty Burrell, Modern Family, ABC
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live, NBC
Tony Hale, Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Adam Driver, Girls

LJ’s pick: Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Jane Lynch, Glee, Fox
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family, ABC
Julie Bowen, Modern Family, ABC
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie, Showtime
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock, NBC
Anna Chlumsky, Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Anna Chlumsky, Veep

LJ’s pick: Anna Chlumsky, Veep

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES:

George Mastras, Breaking Bad, “Dead Freight”
Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad, “Say My Name”
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “The Rains of Castamere”
Henry Bromell, Homeland, “Q&A”

CJ’s pick: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “The Rains of Castamere”

LJ’s pick: George Mastras, Breaking Bad, “Dead Freight”

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES:

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “Margate Sands”
Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”
Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, “Q&A”
David Fincher, House Of Cards, “Chapter 1”

CJ’s pick: Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”

LJ’s pick: Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All” (*The one and only time I considered something from Homeland)

WRITING FOR COMEDY SERIES:

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes, “Episode 209”
Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie, “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)”
Greg Daniels, The Office, “Finale”
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock, “Hogcock!”
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock, “Last Lunch”

CJ’s pick: Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie, “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)”

LJ’s pick: Once again, I abstain.  Womp, womp.

DIRECTING FOR COMEDY SERIES:

Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”
Paris Barclay, Glee, “Diva”
Louis C.K., Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family, “Arrested”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock, “Hogcock! / Last Lunch”

CJ’s pick: Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”

LJ’s pick: Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”

**All selections were made independently and at separate locations.  We take this stuff seriously (probably too seriously).