Five Reasons “Terriers” Is the Greatest Single-Season Show Of All Time

If you’d told me two years ago that a show about unlicensed private investigators in California starring the guy from Grounded For Life would be not only be my favorite one season show ever made, but one of my favorite television series period, I’d have told you that you were nuts. But after watching it (thanks to two years of needling from my buddy Rob – Hi Rob!)? Hell, it’s significantly better than Firefly. 

Hey, calm down. Before you start pointing fingers at me and screaming “FIREFLY?!?” – I get it. I love it. Firefly is a phenomenal show. I respect you. I respect your opinion.

It’s just…in this case? Your opinion is wrong. Terriers is a far superior show…here’s why:

The Theme Song

Right off the bat, Terriers has one of the catchiest, best theme songs I’ve ever heard. Surf rock, pop-punk, quasi-Mexican influences…Gunfight Epiphany is a mishmash of spectacular music. It sets the mood for the series better than any other show I’ve seen, and it’s one of the rare TV themes that, once stuck in your head, you’re not angry about.

And the name is amazing. Give it a listen and tell me I’m wrong:

 

Consistently Delightful Side Characters 

It’s rare to find a show where the supporting cast is as nuanced and fleshed out as the main protagonists and antagonists. Terriers was supported by a cast of secondary actors that included Rockmond Dunbar as Hank’s former partner on the police force, a hard nosed detective, Jamie Denbo, as the lawyer the boys use to keep them out of trouble and one step ahead of both the bad guys and the cops, and Laura Allen as Britt’s streetwise and tough fiancé.

The supporting cast is fantastic – all of them have compelling character arcs and believable development, and all impact the storyline in different ways. The best supporting cast member, however, is easily Karina Logue, Donal Logue’s real life sister, who plays his mentally disturbed, genius sister Steph. Steph’s storyline is both heartbreaking and engaging, and it’s a testament to the acting skills of Ms. Logue – you feel deeply for the plight Steph finds herself in.

Oh, and Winston, the bulldog. Don’t forget about Winston.

 

Interlaced, Logical, Paced Plotlines

From the word go – literally the first scene of the series – nothing in Terriers is done accidentally, or carelessly. Plot points introduced in the opening minutes of the series are intricately woven throughout the series, and resolved neatly. A toss away line in one episode will be a sticking point two episodes later. A careless mistake by Hank or Britt will come into play down the road, causing our heroes grief. Immeasurable detail is placed throughout the series, and nearly every piece of it pays off at the end of the 13 episode saga.

More importantly, nothing feels forced or rushed. As soon as you feel like a plot is running long in the tooth, it wraps up and concludes. Something you feel needs more time? It takes that time and slowburns its way into a logical conclusion. Firefly can’t say that it does that – hell, the biggest issue I have with Firefly is that the series doesn’t truly pay off until the release of Serenity.

 

Donal Logue & Michael Raymond-James 

Straight up front, Terriers was the first time I’ve ever really seen a casting director take advantage of Michael Raymond-James’ personality and acting talents, and push him to be something more than he’s typically asked to express. Emotionally, the character of the ex-thief Britt takes the most punches and, in turn, grows the most as a character. Raymond-James delivers line with power, emotion, and believable snap that is rare in a lot of his roles, and in truth, a lot of modern television. I think a lot of that is directly thanks to the support and talents of one Donal Logue.

Logue is, without question, one of my absolute favorite actors currently in Hollywood. In general, he just seems like a guy I’d want to hang out with – he’s happy, he loves his work, and it shows in his performances. He’s a force of positivity and you can tell, through his work on Terriers, that he adored this show. He throws himself into the role of Hank Dolworth, fighting hard against the characters alcoholism to maintain his sobriety, all while still being deeply in love with his ex-wife Gretchen. Every scene he’s in is layered in nuanced delivery and emotional punch – honestly, I can’t think of another actor that could have played the role of Hank as well as Logue.

 

The Ending 

I won’t spoil it…but the ending plays directly into the third point about why this series is my favorite one season show of all time. The final 20 minutes of the show are all about wrapping plot points up, and the closing scene with Hank and Britt is as close to an Inception ending as you’re likely to get in broadcast television. It’s a rare show where the ending can mean something different to each viewer, and Terriers hits a home run with its final scene.

Give it a watch – you’ll breeze through all 13 episodes. I’m interested to find out which way you think the truck turned in the closing scene.

Terriers is available to stream on Netflix, and for digital purchase on Amazon and iTunes.

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