Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Sweet/Vicious" - MTV's Drama is the Best New Show of 2016

The last time I stood here, proselytizing about the unsung greatness of a show outside the typical prestige TV framework, I was singing the praises of The 100 as it neared the end of its (still pretty sensational, to be clear) second season.

OK. Not my finest hour in retrospect.

I'm not gonna promise something similar won't happen with MTV's Sweet/Vicious, which I'm about to go to bat for in much the same way. It's only five episodes old, for starters. But those five episodes—while certainly not perfect—represent one of the most exciting, confident starts I've seen from a new hour-long since the first season of Jane the Virgin. (Perhaps second only to WGN America's late, great period drama Manhattan, if we're keeping track.) If there's a major concern for me about it going forward, it's that the various sustainability hurdles inherent in any story built around characters with secret identities—in this case, two women who decide to don masks and take on rapists, vigilante-style, on and around their college campus—may prove to be too much over the long haul. But if there are undoubtedly failures out there, there are also plenty of examples of shows that have spun similarly confining premises into long-term dramatic gold—most recently, of course, twice-reigning drama of the year The Americans. Now, I'm not saying the writers of Sweet/Vicious have the chops of The Americans' writers, but the strength of these early episodes has me hoping they might just be able to pull it off.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Best TV Episodes of 2016

I didn't feel like writing a big intro of any kind to this year's list, both because I've been busy with work and just because, well . . . 2016. You get it.

Anyhow, different year, same old rules. Two episodes are allowed per show (because otherwise I'd probably just list five each from Steven Universe, BoJack, The Americans and Rectify), and in general I try to keep it to one for the majority of them, simply because that allows for more variety.