This spring is set to maintain this decade’s status as the golden age of television. It is an exciting time to be a consumer of media, since the popular consensus tends to be that the best periods in music in film history have already passed. The best television of all time is on the air right now.
Fringe is not a very popular show, but it deserves to be included among the all-time greats because of the way it overcame its pedigree. It was created by the same people who launched Lost, and in many ways it was a response to that show. Fringe followed the interesting trend of examining masculinity that was set forth by Lost, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. It proved that a show with a dense inner narrative could find an audience and earn critical acclaim.
Shameless began its third season on January 13. Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, wakes up in Mexico quite a few months after the events of the second season finale. Every the alcoholic, he has no idea how he got there from Chicago. His daughter Fiona, played by the criminally underrated Emmy Rossum, is still holding her family together the best she can. Jimmy’s involvement with the South American drug cartel is not over. Lip is fighting his brilliance by deliberately sabotaging himself, and Ian is still seeing none other than Jimmy’s father. Despite its exaggerated lunacy, Shameless depicts a version of poverty and trouble-making that is distinctly American.
Girls also returned on January 13. The usually perfect Marnie suddenly finds herself without a job. For the first time, Hannah has two young men vying for her attention. Shoshanna is still sweetly analytical and endearingly out of touch with the realities of human interactions. Newlywed Jessa is largely absent, but since this episode was about the confusion of being single, her absence did not affect the plot. Girls is going to continue to showcase the universal truths of modern girlhood.
Game of Thrones’ third season premiere is perhaps the most anticipated television event of the season. This complicated series, which somehow manages to blend fantasy dragon-fighting and political intrigue, returns on March 31. The characters are scattered, and no one seems safe. More importantly, no one has yet managed to hold onto the power that he or she wants. Like all great fantasy and science fiction sagas, Game of Thrones connects with people because underneath all of the special effects and made-up names, it is a fascinating examination of real-life human nature.
Quirky comedies Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 are going for broke in their final bids for renewal. Apartment 23 is a peculiar gem. It stars the incomparable Krysten Ritter as the titular B—-, a gorgeous addict with a heart of gold. James Van Der Beek stars as a has-been former television star named, yes, James Van Der Beek, proving the value of a sense of humor.
These shows are all odd in their own ways. None of them aim to be mainstream hits, but some of them are popular nonetheless. They give audiences fun ways to pass the time between fall’s flashy pilots and this summer’s final season of Breaking Bad.