Prepare to meet — and subsequently love — Ron Swanson. Photo: NBC
A lot of TV happens every day, and it’s understandable if you can’t watch all of it. Maybe you have a job or read or something. But now, the holidays have given you the gift of several days off with nothing to do but open presents, eat and watch television, so you might as well make up for lost time.
Here are five TV shows you should cram into your face like so much Christmas goose before you have to go back to work.
High five for the best GIFs of 2014. Photo: Deathdragon1987/Imgur
We’re nearly a week away from ringing in the new year and all the craziness that 2015 is going to bring with it, but before we go into holiday hibernation mode, we wanted to take a look back at the most GIF-worthy events of 2014.
From Ellen’s hilarious Oscar selfie, to ‘the greatest catch ever’, 2014 was filled with incredible moments that captured the Internet’s fascination thanks to the glory of the GIFs.
Without further adieu, these were our favorite GIFs of 2014:
Whether or not you were lucky enough to get Friday off, the holiday weekend following Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to play couch commando with some catch-up TV. But what to watch? With 2014 being a great year for television, the choice can be a bit overwhelming.
But have no fear! Scroll through the gallery for Cult of Mac’s 9 must-watch TV shows to gorge yourself on this weekend. Just remember to get up and take a walk every hour or so.
The Leftovers starts with one of the most intriguing high concept ideas for a show since Lost: What would happen if 2 percent of the world’s population — roughly 140 million people — suddenly disappeared without explanation?
Taking place three years after this so-called "Sudden Departure,” The Leftovers has just completed its first season, and been consistently watchable since the beginning. With strong characters and a compelling premise, I can’t recommend this show highly enough.
In a world that has experienced Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight series, and with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman on the way, it would be fair to ask why we need to see Gotham City make yet another screen appearance. The twist with Gotham, of course, is that this is a world before Batman, in which Bruce Wayne’s parents have just been shot, and the Rogues' Gallery we know and love are still becoming the characters we will know them as.
Gotham is uneven in places, but it’s also got gems of brilliance that make you realize how great this show could become. Speaking personally, I’m a huge Batman fan, but also one that’s incredibly picky about comic book adaptations. And I’m certainly watching Gotham.
Quite simply, The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. Now in its fifth season, the show’s premise — about a ragtag group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world filled by flesh-eating zombies — isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
And with the show’s producer claiming they still have enough ideas to fill seven more seasons? It’s not going away anytime soon.
The year’s breakout hit, True Detective should be required watching for most everyone. The show tells the story of two Louisiana State Police homicide detectives as they hunt for a serial killer across seventeen years.
While that may sound like something you’ve seen before, not only does True Detective excel as a crime drama, it also incorporates supernatural horror themes: making this the perfect blend of, say, Zodiac and H.P. Lovecraft. And did I mention the superb Matthew McConaughey performance?
The show that made Benedict Cumberbatch an A-lister, Sherlock is a terrific BBC crime show now having completed three seasons. Adapting the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, but placing them in modern day London, the show plays out in 90-minute mysteries that work both as self-contained dramas, and The Odd Couple-style comedy.
It’s both brilliant and — at only 9 episodes — not too difficult to catch up on. Start it today and you’ll be finished by Monday!
On paper, making a TV show about Hannibal the Cannibal which didn’t feature Sir Anthony Hopkins seemed the worst idea this side of inviting Dr. Lecter to cater for your dinner party. In practice, Hannibal has turned out to be a triumph: with lead actor Mads Mikkelsen delivering a portrayal of the cannibalistic doc that arguably surpasses his iconic predecessor.
As great as the movies Silence of the Lambs and Manhunter are, none of the other adaptations of Thomas Harris’ novels have been particularly great. Hannibal shows us how much life exists in this franchise.
Given the complexity of its interweaving storylines and family ties, honestly the only way to watch HBO’s superlative fantasy drama series Game of Thrones if you’ve not seen it before is starting back at episode one. From there, you’ll literally have no choice but to plough through it in a giant butt-numbing marathon.
With four seasons having aired so far, and two more already ordered, you might be hard-pressed to make it through the whole thing before work starts again on Monday, but once you start you’ll definitely give it your best shot.
Thanks to a money-hungry decision to split the final season, a la Breaking Bad, the last episodes of Mad Men won’t air until next year. On the plus side, that means this is the perfect time to play catch-up before the world goes Don Draper crazy one last time.
If for some incredible reason you’ve never seen Mad Men before (and how I envy you if that’s the case), the show follows the lives of a few Madison Avenue ad men and women during the 1950s and '60s. We’ve now reached the point of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and things are set for a grand finale.
There have been geek comedies I’ve absolutely hated (The Big Bang Theory springs to mind) but Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley hit the mark perfectly. Following the trials and tribulations of a tech startup and its oddball assortment of founders and employees, Silicon Valley skewers a scene that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has spent time in San Francisco.
Claiming that this could wind up being HBO’s best ever comedy sounds like it’s overdoing it, but in my view Silicon Valley has all the ingredients to become a genuine classic.
Designs from California bag outfitter Booq tend toward the highly unorthodox and original; the last time I wrote about one of their bags I even made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the company’s gear was designed by folks from outer space.
But with its square-jawed, establishment lines and pockets that open conventionally, Booq’s new $150 Boa brief laptop bag seems like it would look much more at home on the set of Mad Men than it would on the set of Battlestar Galactica.
Apple’s clever iPad mini ads that have been featured on the back covers of Time, Wired, the New Yorker, and Surfer, were just awarded one of the most prestigious advertising award in the world today.
The Apple iPad mini campaign by TBWA Media Arts Lab won the Grand Prix in press even though the iPad mini has been viewed by many as the device that will eventually kill newspapers and magazine. To get the top prize, Apple beat out strong competition from Dove and Beijing Sports.
Marcello Serpa, chief creative officer at Almap BBDO presided over the judging and had the following explanation for why Apple won:
One of the saddest things about tech is that unlike other fashionable things, the aesthetic trend that might dictate what gadgets look like for a few years never gets a chance to come back into style. The most we ever get is the chance to be nostalgic about the look of an old gadget, not to fall in love with the aesthetic behind its design all over again, as if new.
For example, debatably thanks to AMC’s period drama Mad Men, Danish mid-century design has really come back into style. A whole new generation of people have come to discover and love a design trend that a mere two years ago, all but a few people would have, at best, only known by a couple musty old relics collecting dust and mouldering in their grandparents’ garage. Watching Don Draper slip into an Eames lounge chair, or pour himself a drink from a gorgeous teak sideboard, or turn on a tulip lamp designed by Eero Sarinen, though, rejuvenates these items by allowing us to see them as they were meant to be used and experienced. It removes real, living objects from the obscurity of textbooks and turns them into fresh ideas, ready to be used again.
It’s for this reason that I love seeing wood in a gadget. It takes a trend that was ubiquitous in the 70s and 80s, when home electronics were big and bulky enough to be mostly considered a kind of furniture, and presents it as a refreshing anecdote to a modern trend in tech design that puts the emphasis on more impersonal and space-age materials like plastic and metal, silicon and glass.
For me, wood can imply an intimacy — a device is yours, it was made for you — that makes it a perfect material for a smartphone: a device that is, by definition, the gadget with which most of us have our most personal relationship. And while Apple understandably doesn’t make iPhones out of wood, I’m delighted that a company like Monolithdoes, by offering a stunning line of natural wood backs for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S that are as practical as they are beautiful.
Which phone would fictional advertising genius Don Draper from AMC’s Mad Men use? No surprises here: as this picture of Jon Hamm from the set of the hit television proves, only the phone with the best and most convincing advertising campaign on Earth, an iPhone, would do for Draper.