No delay today! TV shows are just a lot easier to write about (possibly because you've heard of some of them) which makes my reviewing so much easier! I just finished the fourth season of Glee which explains the super-angst in the introduction, by the way. Now working my way through Teen Wolf. So addictive!
1. American Horror Story: Murder House
My favourite series of the year was also one of the last I viewed, completing it in November. I’d heard of this series before because it was by the creator of Glee and tumblr is obsessed with it. In fact, it was tumblr that finally pushed me over the edge into viewing this series. And by god, I’m thankful that they did, even though it’s completely terrifying. There’s murders and freakouts and mysteries and disgusting moments and disturbing characters that you grow to love anyway. It’s the characters that make this show so addictive. You have to know what’s going to happen next, because you can never guess what these people are going to do or what’s going to happen to them. The end of the series is nothing like how I imagined it would be which is a testament to the level of skilful writing. Another thing that really worked in this series’ favour is that it borrows elements from other horror films and manipulates them to fit the story they’re trying to tell. This makes it something of a film buff’s dream as you realise that that’s a bit like Rosemary’s Baby. And that bit’s Halloween and that’s the music from Vertigo! And yet despite all this borrowing, it still comes across as completely fresh and original with genuinely horrifying and clever twists. This was my television addiction of the year and one of the scariest shows I’ve ever seen (that title sequence!).
2. Game Of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2 I think you’d have to be living under a rock if you hadn’t heard of this show before. I only started watching it this year, though. One of my friends tried to get me to watch it last year, but I couldn’t see how it could be so great, so I passed on it. Then I got to Uni and it was all that my friends were talking about. I realised that if I wanted to avoid big spoilers I was going to have to watch it sooner rather than later. The first season was excellent, with me immediately growing attached to key characters such as Daenyrs and Arya Stark. The depth of character, the scope of the story and the intricacy of it was like nothing I’d ever seen before and it was immensely gripping. I was soon desperate for the second season which came in to the library shortly after. I wasn’t as big a fan of this (probably because of the lack of Daenyrs) but it was still head and shoulders above most television series. The episode Blackwater is probably the best single episode I watched this year but I soon came to a problem. The series was over before I realised. Now, I’m desperate for the third season, although I am wary. The phrase Red Wedding was all over my Facebook and I don’t think I’m fully prepared for that hell.
3. The Singing Detective
One of the most literate and engrossing programs I’ve ever seen, The Singing Detective soon became my thinking hour. From the 70s and written by Dennis Potter, it’s just one of those shows where you really have to pay attention. Floating between numerous time zones and featuring a murder mystery and insane musical numbers, the series requires you to solve the mystery of the main character. Who is he? Why do we keep seeing the train? Over the half a dozen episodes, you’re slowly given clues until you finally learn the truth in one of the most satisfying and thought-provoking series endings I’ve seen in a very long time. There’s just so many themes and layers to this series that it almost requires re-watching to fully uncover all of the mysteries. However, even on a single view this series has stood out to me as one of the most intelligent and challenging series’ I’ve seen.
4. House Of Cards: Season 1
It’s strange what leads you to discover really great things. House Of Cards, for example, I discovered through Dylan O’Brien (Stiles of Teen Wolf) tweeting about it. I looked it up and was intrigued by the premise. Ever since then, I’ve been waiting for it to come to DVD. And a few weeks ago it did and I watched it in about four days. It’s just so addictive. Congressman Underwood’s scheming and struggle to get into power make him one of the most watchable characters of the year, even when he’s doing some really horrible things. He says the wisest things which really make you think but then he turns to the camera and says he doesn’t believe any of the crap he’s just said. He does it all the time. We don’t really know who he is, so we’re just trying to find something, which is exactly what the characters do. He offers them greatness which just allows them to be manipulated. It’s genius. Twisted, but genius. And it’s the supporting characters that again do great work. His wife, Clare, is a stunning character while the drug, sex and alcohol addicted Peter Russo is compulsively watchable. You know that these people are stuffed as soon as they get close enough to Francis, but still you want them to so you can watch the world burn. And then when Francis world gets untangled, he’s clever enough to come up with a solution. And evil enough. Something happens towards the end of the series which is truly shocking and unexpected which left me breathless. I can’t enthuse about this series enough. A definite must watch.
5. The Fairly OddParents: Season 6I’m always amazed when I watch things that I used to love as a child because I realise just how impressionable I am. My obsession with Britain and my general insanity and oddness comes from watching Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins every other day. Much of my deep thinking and philosophical ponderings comes from viewing Sophie’s World when I was in grade six (watching that again was really shocking because everything from the music to the actors has shaped the way I am. So strange). And then there’s The Fairly OddParents. One of my absolute favourite shows from childhood (along with CatDog, The Secret Show and Silversun), my overriding memory of it is actually very specific. It was the episode where Timmy and his Fairy Godparents are trapped in the television which was wonderfully meta (no, I had no idea what that word meant at the time. I just thought it was cool that they were crossing over with some of my favourite shows. I remember in one they were puppets like Sesame Street. Possibly my first ever fangasm. Yep, even when I was young I was a supernerd. Some things never change) and it was incredibly intense. I needed to know if they ever got out of there. Unfortunately, parents seem to be psychic about these sort of things. This was the one day where we were having a family barbecue. We never had them, but I was called outside, forced away from my beloved show to have some sausages and chops. I was so stressed about it, I couldn’t really focus on the food. After the meal, I ran inside to see that it was finished. I never knew if they ever escaped. I attribute this to my obsession with cliffhangers and open endings. Over the years, I’ve often tried to find the episode but never could. Even the library didn’t have any of the DVDs. Periodically, I do a such and this time I was overjoyed to find that they now had one season, the fifth. Watching it again was terribly exciting (even though it wasn’t the TV one) and I finished the whole season in about two days before I came to the concluding three-part epic where each episode went for 45 minutes. Now, no-one does epic and weird better than this show so it was awesome. Until I got to the end of the second episode. Where there was a really bad scratch and it refused to play any further. Henceforth, this shall be now as the Fairly OddCurse. Life is always repeating, even when we don’t want it to (don’t worry, I did eventually watch it on television much to my mother’s chagrin. She thinks it’s too silly. Lighten up!).