2. Olive Kitteridge (2014)
HBO’s Olive Kitteridge portrays the character of middle-school math teacher that has some issues – she’s depressed, one might say. Played by the astonishing Frances McDormand, the show follows her life, her family and several others in a small town in New England. The story, told in four episodes, spans 25 years. The series is an adaptation of the book by Elizabeth Strout.
We all know that Frances McDormand can act. We also already knew that she is perfectly equipped to play harsh, wicked types: in Moonrise Kingdom and Almost Famous for example she brilliantly captures the cold sides of middle-aged women. In Olive Kitteridge she brings this role to perfection. The show’s theme is the dark side of the human psyche, and McDormand shows that she knows her way around this site. The contrast with her ever-optimistic husband Henry, played by Richard Jenkins, is hilarious. Beautifully written, very well casted: this show definitely is a must. To me, one of the best things 2014 had to offer. Don’t watch this if you’re suicidal, though.