Best new show:
My Mad Fat Diary
Think early Skins, a show that balances emotional truthfulness and genuine feelings and characters with over-the-top humour, yet never loses its significance. Set in the mid-90s (Blur and Oasis, musically, which is important) It follows Rae, a teenager who finds herself in a new circle of friends after a traumatic experience, which she tries to keep secret. As she navigates her new relationships, copes with emerging feelings for a boy and the resilient conflicts of past friendships (and a complicated mother), it's impossible not to fall in love with her. Amazing show, one that I wish I had had when I was a teenager.
An incredibly ambitious science fiction show, blessed with the immense talent of its lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, pulling off playing seven distinctive different characters, sometimes more than one in a scene. Orphan Black raises questions about identity, freedom and self-determination, but most importantly, wears its heart on its sleeves.
Hours of emotionally torture that pay off, somehow, a journey into the darkness of corruption and abuse, with an absolutely stunning performance by Elisabeth Moss in the lead.
Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson chases a serial killer of women in Belfast. It's a simple concept, but perfectly executed, thriving on the fact that Stella is one of the most fascinating characters written in quite some time.
Like the British show In the Flesh, and John Ajvide Lindqvist's Handling the Undead, the French show Les Revenants (starring well-known faces like Clotilde Hesme from Christophe Honoré's Les chansons d'amour) is on the surface about people who return from the dead but more interested in the effects of grief and loss on a community - and it has plenty of mostly emotional horror to offer in its first season.
(also: Masters of Sex, Broadchurch, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Utopia, The Americans)
Best show of the year doesn't accurately capture what Bomb Girls is - it's very likely my favourite show of all times, and it's well-documented how emotionally invested I was in the characters and the storylines throughout its two seasons - and it could have gone on well into the Fifties, with the incredible wealth of storytelling provided by the creative forces behind the show, and the outstanding acting by the cast.
Parks and Recreation
Consistently and reliably a light at the end of the tunnel, a ray of sunshine when everything else is grey and grey, a welcoming family, a place to rest your weary bones. Also, so much awesome Donna this year!!
Every week, this show develops the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson, both perfectly acted by Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, further, finally making the character of the genius detective interesting again by revealing his weaknesses completely. Last season's finale brought a brilliant twist on the story of Moriarty (another stepping stone for Natalie Dormer towards pop cultural world domination), the second season has Sherlock grow even more, because he wouldn't be interesting at all if he didn't. Also, JOAN WATSON.
Technically not a best new show, since the first season started airing last year, but a new discovery for me this year - and an incredibly worthwhile one at that, exploring the relationships of two families as they are about to merge, surprisingly, when two pensioners in their Seventies rekindle a relationship that started in their youth, fall in love again, and decide to marry.
(also: Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, Parenthood, Justified, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Fresh Meat, Boardwalk Empire, Portlandia)
The Hour offered one of the best seasons of television last year, and was promptly cancelled, ending on a cliffhanger. The complicated relationship between Bel and Freddie - clearly loving each other as much as their journalistic profession - will never be further explored, and the fantastic cast - everyone from Romola Garai to Ben Whishaw, but also Anna Chancellor and Peter Capaldi (who's somehow time-travelling from clusterfuck to clusterfuck) will never again assume their roles. Terrible loss.
Being Human is a rare example of a show that completely reinvented itself, at least in terms of characters, halfway through, and still completely retained its initial charm (if not more). As hard as it was to let go of the original ghost-vampire-werewolf team, it was mainly the exceptional loveliness of Michael Socha, Damien Molony and Kate Bracken which made the last two seasons of the show so utterly enjoyable. Also arguably one of the best possible finales, deserving of the general quality of the show.
Also a journey into darkness, at its best, a detailed exploration of a villain origin story and the chaos and destruction in his wake - with an eloquent last chapter, ending the only way it possibly could, Walter White's empire of dust, revealed for what it is, setting free everyone who survived him.
"How can it be love, John, if all it does is make you lonely and corrupt". Luther was a superhero show about characters without superpowers, not so much a crime show - and Idris Elba as the moral but corrupt cop, an outstanding character, especially when teamed with Ruth Wilson's Alice, the stuff of dreams but mostly nightmares. Weirdest happy end ever.
(also: Miranda, Borgen, sigh)
(also: Miranda, Borgen, sigh)
I don't want to talk about it:
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