My Favorite things in 2014 - Day 9

Smart, long form TV, used to be something that network television avoided with a fear bordering on the obsessive, and HBO and the other cable networks often get lauded as being the home of the best TV being made at the moment. 

Despite all that, my favorite show at the moment is not only on Network TV, but it's some of the smartest speculative fiction that you're likely to see. Persons of Interest, manages to maintain both the standard network 'story of the week' format, while weaving a complex, deep, and inventive story that makes the most of a wonderful cast.

The show explores the impact of all powerful artificial intelligence's that are built to protect the public, but inevitably end up entwined in some very human politics and moral quandaries. In many ways it is pure science fiction, and great science fiction at that. It has also managed to be uniquely relevant given the current real world revelations and discussions about Government surveillance programs. 

Now in it's fourth season it has managed to keep the concept fresh, and raise the stakes on the heroes by forcing them further and further underground with each season. 

At it's core however it works because it's characters are excellently written, and even those that started out as stereotypes have developed into interesting and compelling characters. The ensemble cast spread the load, and no one arc has to anchor the show.

It's also capable of moments of pure TV genius like the below. *spoiler warning - if you aim to watch from the start, this clip from season three contains major spoilers*

The cast is also uniformly excellent. While the two leads are perfectly cast, its the whole ensemble that makes the show tick. Each character, whether they be enemies or allies, plays pitch perfectly. There are gems throughout the cast of characters. Crime lord Elias is superbly played by Enrico Colantoni. Nemesis, come occasional ally, Root sees Amy Acker at her absolute best. Sarah Shahi has been a revelation as reformed assassin Shaw, and Winston Duke has played seasons fours new villain Dominic superbly. 

If you aren't watching this show you're missing out!