by Matthew Thompson
The summer is coming to an end soon. With the Fall TV Season just around the corner, I figured it’d be a good time to bring back my TV Show Power Rankings. This set will take a look at the top five shows of the summer. I am limiting this list to things that aired at least half its current season’s episodes in June, July and August or premiered during those months. Well here they are! (Note: If you’d like to see my previous TV Power Rankings, they are compiled here. And be warned: These do contain some mild spoilers for the shows in question).
1. Rectify: I had to search a bit to fill out a top five for the summer since I don’t watch a ton this time of year, but there was no doubt what my number one choice would be. Sundance TV’s underrated gem Rectify continued to explore the life of Daniel Holden after his release from prison and how it affects everyone around him. My favorite episodes were “Donald the Normal” and the finale “Unhinged.” The former saw Daniel take a break from his complicated situation and pretend to be someone new in a trip to Atlanta, but it is his visit to his former prisonmate Kerwin’s family afterwards that will stick with me the most from that episode. The finale featured Daniel’s decision on whether to take the plea deal and the debrief scene was just incredible television. It also set up for what should be an amazing Season 3. Rectify remains one of TV’s best dramas. Affecting and powerful, sitting down and watching Rectify‘s cast of characters each week was easily the highlight of my TV summer.
2. Orange is the New Black: I’m not sure I liked it as much as its first season, but Orange is the New Black continued to strike a wonderful balance between its comedic and dramatic elements in its sophomore outing. From its confounding opening episode that left me wondering what exactly was going on for about forty minutes to the pretty much perfect way it ended the Vee arc, Season 2 of Netflix’s best original show delivered again. It also gave us more flashbacks to further delve into various prisoners’ backstories. It was here that the show delivered one of the year’s most memorable moments by taking a look at Morello’s past and the fiancé she is always going on about. It is a rather surprising reveal and one I won’t soon forget. I’m already looking forward to the next season of this fantastic dramedy whenever Netflix decides to drop another batch of episodes in our laps next year.
3. The Legend of Korra: It is too bad Korra was relegated to online channels during its third season because it really found its feet again after struggling a bit in Season 2. I loved seeing Korra and company explore new areas around the world including the Earth Kingdom and Zaofu, home of the Metal Clan. This allowed for the show to develop new familial relationships for some of the characters and just add some variety to the environments we see each week. This season’s new antagonists, The Red Lotus, also worked out well. And they contributed to some amazing fight scenes towards the end of the season. I particularly loved the one where they first attacked the Northern Air Temple, but there were some great sequences in the finale too. The ending left us in an intriguing place especially for Korra and Jinora and I’m excited to see where they take the show next season.
4. You’re the Worst: I was really excited for the new FX comedy Married. The cast and ads had my hopes high and I pretty much just checked out You’re the Worst since it was airing afterwards. But after a half-dozen episodes of each, I have definitely enjoyed You’re the Worst more. Admittedly, the pilot didn’t leave the best first impression. It wasn’t so much bad as it seemed to not really be my kind of show, but it has really grown on me since. Despite being awful people, Jimmy and Gretchen make for a surprisingly endearing couple, one I have no trouble rooting for. It’s a nice twist on a romantic comedy, one whose humor has some real bite. Along with the relationship aspect, I really like seeing Gretchen at work as well as Jimmy’s interactions with his roommate and young neighbor. It certainly won’t be for everyone, but I think it is definitely worth a shot if you are looking for a new comedy to add to your line-up.
5. Penny Dreadful: I can’t say I enjoyed this show as much as most people seemed to. If I’m being honest, after a couple of episodes I was a little bored. By season’s end, it had won me over though. The flashback episode that shed some light on Vanessa and Sir Malcolm’s history really helped me to better enjoy the main storyline. Though my favorite part of Penny Dreadful was definitely seeing the show’s twists on some of the classic monster tales woven through the narrative.
So those are my choices for the best that summer television had to offer. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. I plan to bring these rankings back this Fall. Probably monthly but I will see how it goes. So be on the lookout for more of my TV Show Power Rankings as the new network season revs up. Thanks for reading!