These were my 10 favorite TV series of 2019, a year that saw the continued dominance of streaming services and the rise to prominence of standalone miniseries, but also a few stalwart network favorites:
Veronica Mars” Season 4 (July, Hulu) had me so deeply invested in the people more so than the mystery – and it’s still a top-shelf mystery – that I wondered “Has it always been this way?” It’s been a few years since my last rewatch of the UPN/CW seasons, and while the father-daughter relationship between Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) has always been central to the series, I had a sense that other players were chess pieces more so than characters, and that the mystery always reigns supreme.
These are the movies and TV shows I’m looking forward to in the new year:
“Veronica Mars” Season 1 (2004-05, UPN), episodes 1-9 – “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” get the magazine covers, but “Veronica Mars” (8 p.m. Tuesdays on UPN) is my favorite new show of the season. Created by Rob Thomas — soon to be more famous than the matchbox twenty frontman of the same name — the show features a teen detective so calm and collected she makes Gil Grissom look like Adrian Monk. Veronica (Kristen Bell), in addition to being a photographer at her school paper, is a private eye at her dad’s (Enrico Colantoni) firm in the San Diego suburbs.
As with the first “Veronica Mars” novel (last year’s “The Thousand Dollar Tan Line”), the follow-up, “Mr. Kiss and Tell” (January, paperback), is a wonderful continuation from the TV show and movie. With Rob Thomas writing (along with Jennifer Graham), it’s no surprise that I can easily picture Kristen Bell saying Veronica’s lines, and that the mystery plot is intelligent and twisty.
Here are 10 movies, TV series, books and comics I’m looking forward to in 2015:
“Marvel’s Agent Carter” (TV show, Jan. 6, pictured) – While I’m not a huge fan of the Marvel movie franchise, I have found some things to like about the sort-of-Joss-Whedon-produced “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” This eight-episode ABC prequel has my interest because I’m a sucker for shows set in various decades before I was born – in this case, the 1940s, when the titular agent navigates sexism and supervillains.
These were my 10 favorite movies of 2014:
1. “Dumb and Dumber To” – Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels effortlessly slip back into Lloyd and Harry’s born-of-stupidity mistreatment of animals and their fellow man, but this isn’t merely a reunion tour. The sequel has lots of great new hits, like Harry getting into Arizona State and being mistaken for an eccentric genius and Lloyd being attracted to Harry’s daughter. (It’s not like he’s going to go out with someone his own age — “Gross!”) (Full review.)
In the ongoing push to take “meta” to new and absurd levels, “Play It Again, Dick” (Tuesdays, CW Seed) joins the likes of “The Comeback,” “Episodes” and “Extras” (or James Van Der Beek playing “himself” on “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23”) as it chronicles the making of the fake “Veronica Mars” spinoff “Private Dick.”
A year ago, I announced that the lineup of new fall shows was the worst in two decades, and although I ended up liking (and now mourning, since they were canceled) “Almost Human” and “Super Fun Night,” I think my prognostication was accurate. Now I’m here to say that the fall of 2014 looks worse. The good news is that, aside from “Almost Human,” the networks’ axes fell lightly, so a decent number of favorites will return. Here are my picks for three new shows to check out, along with a few returning shows of note:
Veronica Mars returns to her roots in more ways than one in her first novel, “The Thousand Dollar Tan Line,” continuing from the events of the movie, which hit DVD earlier this month. As we saw in the movie, she’s back in Neptune and determined to make a go of it as a full-time detective at Mars Investigations, but the film left us with an uneasy relationship between daughter and father. Keith would have preferred that she stick with lawyering, where she’d be safer.