Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stars Die - Review of the Year (part 2)

I was going to talk about TV, but frankly I'm not going too that much. 2009 has been a bit of a let down in many respects - only saved by a serial killer.

Battlestar Galactica was actually a lot of old bollocks. Forget all the Iraq war analogies and the terrorism and the angst; it was a load of religious mumbo jumbo and actually became hard work to watch. It was the TV equivalent of a long Leonard Cohen song. It wasn't actually that good. Critically acclaimed and bigged up by almost every one that watched it, including me, it was actually just a one-trick-pony that didn't outstay its welcome.

True Blood was quite astounding in its d├ębut season; it suffered a little from some tiresome characters, but in general it was a revelation - a real shot of blood, ahem... But season 2 seemed to forget all about the 'human' aspect of this series and substituted substance for style. Did Alan Ball just decide to see how many people he could shock seeing as he had a hit on his hands? Yes, there were some interesting developments and sub plots in this season, but over all I was glad to see it finish and hope that season 3 gets back on track.

Heroes proves quite categorically that the only people who should write superhero stories are people who understand superhero stories. This programme has always had its faults, but this season they are just polarised big time. Being frank, this series is a pile of shit and its only redeeming feature has been the Cheerleader's soul searching over her own sexual preferences and her need to break away from her cloying and fucked up family. Hayden Panettierre is obviously struggling with late adolescence in real life and she seems to be piling weight on like its on sale - it might be that the writers have actually given her character some thought; shame they didn't do it with the others. You just don't give a shit about any of them any more, even Sylar is something of a joke.

Flash Forward did huge things in its first episode and has done fuck all ever since. This is another series that you just don't give a fuck about the characters and Joe Fiennes's Yank accent is a bit of a joke. Apparently the show is headed for a bit of rethink.

Lost was actually on this year, but ended way back in the spring, so we're all entitled to forget about it. This is a show that has only got better since its audience ran away. I wouldn't even like to suggest what is going to happen in the final season (starting in February), but if it ends up being as mad, fucked up and brilliant as season 5 then it will be 17 weeks of pure joy!

Being Human is a British series about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. It feels like Man About the House and is quite, quite extraordinary. We aspire to do SF, fantasy and drama as well as the US; but they would be advised to look at this series because it is quite brilliant and you care about the three main characters. Really.

Fringe is the X Files meets Frankenstein meets Charlie Jade. It has been one of the real gems in the TV crown for me this year. Not only does it have the gorgeous Anna Torv - who any hot blooded male would - but it also has the quite magnificent John Noble playing the delightfully mad Walter Bishop, who makes his mad scientist seem like a tragic figure from a lost Shakespeare play. Fringe is essentially X Files but 10 years on. The FBI knows that there is something trying to get into our world and its up to the Fringe team to try and stop it. If you excuse the occasional naff filler episode, this is bonzer TV.

Doctor Who is an institution; I just hope Steven Moffat forgets that and turns it back into a rollicking good TV show again, because Russell T Davies, for all his skill, is a bit shit. The same has to be said for Torchwood which ended with a big cop out; such a clever little idea ruined.

Stargate Universe is complete and utter rancid cow's bum juice. However the last episode before the mid season break came so far out of left field that I'm still not sure it happened.

Smallville is pants. Don't watch it.

The Vampire Diaries was the shock of the year. Its a Kevin Williamson programme, so that should have us running for the hills in stark terror. Yet, despite being a little like Smallville with teeth, it went from a really crappy idea into a very good idea almost overnight. I was ready to give up on it as derivative vampire nonsense created to cash in on Twilight and then at the end of the 3rd episode it all got a little Buffy. Subsequently the last 7 episodes have been really inventive and quite clever.

But the winner by a country mile in the stakes for best TV series of the year, possibly of all time, is a bloke that is married with 3 kids, works for his local police force and in his spare time chops perps up with a big knife and industrial tools. Dexter has already been one of the most consistently brilliant TV series since it started and every series seems to have gone one better than the previous. Season 4 of Dexter is no exception. In fact, season 4 of Dexter could become the greatest single season of a TV series EVER! This season is just a brilliant rollercoaster of a ride that even in the quiet moments fills you with the feeling that this is not going to work out the way it was planned. In the end, the series goes out with an episode that, in my humble opinion, rates as one of the most shocking and stunning episodes of a TV show EVER EVER. You had no idea where the twists and turns were going to happen next in this series and in the end they went to such dark places that my jaw was left dangling on the floor with its conclusion. TV has never been this good.

I'm sure there were other things that I watched and enjoyed; such as Eureka, Armstrong & Miller, Harry & Paul, Qi, Buzzcocks, Skins and Top Gear, but overall, my TV consumption has dropped by almost 4 hours a week since 2008 (and that includes the fact that I've watched a few box sets this year).

Next time I'm covering the rest of everything.

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