'The Good Wife' and nine other programs round out the year's best
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25. "Happy Valley"
BBC One and Netflix delivered 2014's second best extended homage to The Coen Brothers' "Fargo" with "Happy Valley," a taut and surprisingly funny mixture of dark kidnapping misadventures and regional bonhomie. Between this and "Last Tango in Halifax," Sally Wainwright has cemented her place as one of TV's most versatile creators, while American audiences who may not necessarily have known Sarah Lancashire before certainly do now, as the "Coronation Street" veteran gave one of TV's finest performances of the year. The first drawback of "Happy Valley" is that I refuse to watch "Grantchester," because James Norton was so slimy and awful (in a great way) on "Happy Valley" that I'm just not prepared to buy him as a crime-fighting vicar, at least for another couple years. "Happy Valley" tells a close-ended six-episode story, but this is a world I'd certainly revisit.