You don't have to assume the worst in me

The personal likes of a music loving, book reading, film watching obsessive geek who spends way too much time watching TV and getting emotionally attached to fictional characters.

This is not a spoiler free blog

Obsessions (Autumn 2014 edition)

• The Affair • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D • A to Z. • Boardwalk Empire • Bob's Burgers • The Bridge (US) • Brooklyn Nine-Nine • Bruce Banner • Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers • Cast & Crew of Marvel Movies/Shows • Doctor Who • The Good Wife • Guardians of the Galaxy • Marry Me • Matthew McConaughey • Mark Ruffalo • Marvel movies • The Middle • Reading • Selfie • Sleepy Hollow • The Strokes • Time-Travel • True Detective

Albums of 2013 / TV Shows of 2013 /
Comics of 2013 / Films of 2013
Who I Follow
Posts tagged "tv shows of 2012"

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

1. Breaking Bad

He was the threat, he was the danger.
I thought you were the danger.

It’s hard to imagine after S4 that Breaking Bad could actually get any better the first half of S5 it showed that it could, oh it could.

Splitting a season is never an easy thing because 8 episodes isn’t a whole lot of time for a sometimes slow burning show like Breaking Bad to build up the storyline and yet all 8 of the episodes fitted in perfectly with the plot and pacing of the season.  

From the opening moments of premiere Live Free or Die where we caught a tantalising glimpse of Walter’s future to the closing of mid season finale Gliding Over All where we saw the possible start of his downfall with Hank’s realisation of just who his brother in law was.

Everything just felt so right with these episodes, so perfectly written and wonderfully acted especially by Anna Gunn during Skyler’s meltdown or Jonathan Banks during Mike’s swansong.

There was the underlying tension of just how bad Walter had become, just have far he would go to prove he was the man no one should mess with that I feared for the life of everyone around him every damn minute of every damn episode.    There was the much needed humour and fun that the show does so well when it has the breathing space to do it - Dead Freight was a positively giddy episode for 99% of it until that shockingly brutal ending.  Let’s not forget the world’s most awkward dinner with Jesse joining the White’s, Aaron Paul possibly deserves a best comedy actor nod at the Emmy’s next year for his facial reactions alone.

This season also did something to move the timeline of the show along, its hard to believe it but in Fifty-One when they celebrated Walter’s birthday only a single year had past since the pilot episode.  All that madness, all that anger that has consumed one man all in the space of 12 months.

The finale moved time along by I think about 6 months, Walter finally realising he had achieved enough, had enough money, was indeed the best in the business.  Everything is good for Walter White and even if Skyler is still longing for his cancer to return things seems pretty stable between them.  However, we all know that S5  started with Walter turning 52 alone and looking very much a broken man, so something big must change in the next six months.  The fascinating thing is even though the obvious choice is that Hank now knowing the truth goes after his nemesis there are still so many other things that could happen to bring down Walter White.  

Jesse seems to be out of the game for now but he is still in the dark about the true nature of Brock’s near death experience.  Skyler may look like the loving wife once again but is she just binding her time?  Walter may look like his king of the castle with no other competition but is he really?  

The end is near for both Walter and the show and if it can keep up the quality of its first half then we have some fantastic TV ahead of us.

Favourite Episodes: Fifty-One / Gliding Over All

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

2. Parks and Recreation

Why do you know so much about Pawnee?

I’m in love with a woman from here. A strange, passionate goofball of a woman.

There is a reason this show is so high on my list and it is a simple one, no other show brings me as much enjoyment and happiness as Parks and Recreation. If I could spend a day with a bunch of fictional characters it would most definitely be the people of Pawnee.

Parks is quite unique in comedy right now in that it allows the lives of its characters to change gradually and realistically.  It allows them to dream and for those dreams to come true.  

It isn’t afraid to move locations and try new things.  In S4 Tom had his own arc with the Entertainment 24/7, in S5 we lost April and Ben to Washington for 5 episodes. If the show gets a 6th season we could realistically lose Andy to the police academy but this entirely works because no matter where the characters are we want to go with them.

I always think it is quite easy for TV and movies to be cynical especially at a time where the real world isn’t doing that great but it is much harder to actually be positive and have characters like Leslie Knope be full of optimism and making changes that don’t just benefit herself but her community instead.

Favourite Episodes: Win, Lose or Draw / Halloween Surprise

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

3. Fringe

We didn’t save the world
Not even by half. She’s still trying.

My top show of 2011 has dropped a little bit this year mainly because I had a couple of issues with S4 but it is still a series that I love for all its flaws and to say I will miss it when it ends next month is an understatement.

Fringe is a show about family and love just with the crazy sci-fi elements as a delightful bonus and its impossible not to become overly invested in the lives of Walter, Peter and Olivia.

The darker things become, the more the future seems doomed the more hopeful I become that Fringe will have a happy ending.  Because really after all the pain and loss they have been through they deserve a little happiness right? 

Fringe became the show that filled the void in my heart after Lost ended and I am sad that there isn’t another show to replace it because well written, acted and character led sci-fi on TV is in an awful mess right now. After Lost was a success the networks tried to capitalise on it and they have failed every time with Flashforward, The Event, V, Terra Nova, Revolution, OUAT none of these shows really got what made Lost so good apart from Fringe.

Fringe understood its not just about the big concept but about how that is executed, it is about caring about the characters and the craziness. 

Favourite Episodes: Letters Of Transit / The Bullet That Saved The World 

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

4. Justified

I’m gonna kill you Raylan. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but some day you’ll be walking down the street and I’m gonna put a bullet right in the back of your skull and you’re gonna drop.

Out of all the dramas I watch in terms of pure enjoyment and entertainment Justified wins every time. The show has managed to create such fully formed fun and interesting characters which could so easily have fallen into Southern stereotypes.

Even in its violence there is often a dark humour, even when you have a psychopath like Quarles its kind of impossible not to laugh at Wynn Duffy’s reaction to the situation.  Even though Boyd and Raylan should have killed each other by now there is this odd sense of loyalty between them based upon their complex history.

Justified works so well at creating the world of Harlan County that it seems so real and so full of life that every time we meet another bad guy they manage to bring them to life.

In the end Justified is not about bad guys vs good, its about the deep history of a place where family loyalty rules and getting out is no easy thing.

Favourite Episodes: Watching the Detectives / Slaughterhouse

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

5. Homeland

It fucked me up…being wrong about Brody. It fucked me up.

If Homeland had kept up the pace and quality of the first five episodes of this season then it probably would have been my top show of 2012. So much crazy shit happened in these episodes, the kind of revelations that most shows would leave to finale that it made the entire first half of S2 so intense and overall brilliant.

Of course such pacing couldn’t last forever otherwise everyone would probably have been dead by episode 9.  Things slowed down after Brody was turned back to the good side and whilst I continued to love the show I do think it suffered a little bit.

Carrie and Brody as a couple is a concept that worked well in S1 when Carrie was still unsure about Brody and even as an audience we didn’t know the full story.  In S2 though I think it didn’t work as well, as unstable and impulsive as Carrie is I am not entirely convinced she would choose to get back together with Brody and attempt a real life.

I understand though why the writers went in that direction because the chemistry between the actors is undeniable and it is compulsive viewing.  I just wish they had made it a little less clear cut about Brody’s true intentions.  I think it would have been more interesting if there was a possibility that Brody hadn’t really been turned by the CIA and was still under the control of Abu Nazir.

Overall though a great season of TV and the finale has made me very intrigued by what could happen in S3.  I hope they decide to focus more on the Carrie and Saul relationship and whilst I would like to see Brody again I don’t think he needs to be central to the story for it to work.

Favourite Episodes: New Car Smell / Q & A

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

6. Boardwalk Empire

This isn’t the time for hurt feelings.

Boardwalk has been slowly climbing up my end of year lists since S1.  It has this uncanny ability to surprise me each season. The season always starts pretty slow and takes a while to get me interested then around about episode six it takes hold and everything starts going crazy and the tensions rises and once again I am addicted.

S3 really raised the stakes and worked by putting Nucky in some serious danger. Even if we knew he wouldn’t die it didn’t stop everyone else around him potentially being in danger and it was great to see him having to rely on his wits rather than his hired heavies.

Favourite Episodes: Sunday Best / Two Imposters

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

7. The Hour

She says all I care about is the story. The story and you. 

The greatest enjoyment I get from The Hour is not so much the stories (though they are very good and often thrilling and intense) but is is just spending time in the 1950s with the characters.

Sometimes I wish the show would scale back on the outside tension and focus in on the trials and heartbreak of Bel and co.  Whether it be the impossible loss between Randall and Lix or the simmering tension with Bel and Freddie. The little moments when Hector and Freddie mock each other or Sissy worries over her estrangement with her family for marrying Sey. Possibly my favourite development this season was Marnie getting to establishment herself and her career instead of being in the shadow of Hector.

Of course such a connection with the characters makes the finale that much harder to take especially as there seems to be no word on another season.  There seems to be no happy endings for many. The pursuit of story became Freddie’s world and possibly ended it.

I just really need that not to be the case.

Favourite Episodes: Episode 2 / Episode 6

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

8. The Thick Of It

I want to say something. I want to say something. Doesn’t matter.

I never expected to become emotionally compromised by a show like The Thick Of It. It was meant to be my fun satirical show not one that left me upset over the demise of a spin doctor named Malcolm Tucker.

Yet TV is a funny thing and the powerhouse performance of Peter Capaldi and Tucker’s slow fall from grace made it virtually impossible not to feel for the character.  Yes he was a complete bastard, a bully even but he had something a lot of the other people who roamed the corridors of Whitehall lacked - he actually did care about his party.

We got the laughs with the new coalition Government and their fuck ups, we also got one of the finest hours of TV in the form of the inquiry episode.  Now the show has ended there is a real gap in British TV for a political comedy with bite, whilst no one can truly replace Malcolm Tucker I hope someone tries because god knows we need to laugh at the current situation the country is in.

Favourite Episodes: Six / Seven

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

9. Game of Thrones

The gods have no mercy, that’s why they’re gods.

I know some people had issues with season 2 especially with the changes from the books but I personally really enjoyed the hell out of it.  Yes there is small issue of an ever expanding cast of characters and so little time to spend with them but overall I thought the changes made worked well.

Some of my favourite scenes were between Tywin and Arya as his cup-bearer, a storyline that didn’t exist in the novels.  I could happily watch the two play off each other for another season.  I also liked how they brought forward the story of Jaime and Brienne because that relationship is simply terrific to see.

If the story fell short it was at the cost of characters like Dany but sadly this is actually a huge problem with the later books which I hope the show manages to fix.

The centrepiece of the season though was the Battle of Blackwater Bay, dedicating an whole episode to it was needed and it didn’t disappoint. From the moment Bronn fired the flaming arrow into the night sky to the simmering madness of Cersei inside the castle, everything about it was beautifully shot and scripted.

Favourite Episodes: The Old Gods and the New / Blackwater

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

10. Community

We’re together, that makes this the perfect timeline.

There is an undercurrent of darkness running through S3 of Community and this has always worked well for the show. The exploration of Troy’s and Abed’s friendship was a long time coming, the way in which Abed deals with reality also needed to be addressed. Having the group kicked out of Greendale also gave the season some great moments. Yes this show is labelled as a comedy but it has never been one to stick firmly within its genre.

Abed has always been at the heart of the show, whether it be his meta dialogue that lampshades the tropes or his near meltdowns. Abed brings the study group together and more than ever this season they realised they needed each other.

The future of the show is always cause for concern, I hope we do indeed get to finally see S4 in February. I have a certain kind of faith that even without Dan Harmon the show will be okay. I have a fools hope that this isn’t the end of Community completely despite how NBC treats it.  It would be such a shame to lose this strange little show.

Favourite Episodes: The First Chang Dynasty / Introduction to Finality

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

11. Chuck

Chuck? Kiss me

Ending a show is always difficult because pleasing all of the audience is an impossible task.  

The final season could have ended rather predictably with a deliriously happy Chuck and Sarah having children, that seemed the inevitable future for them. I was delighted then when the show went for a darker route, with Sarah implanted with the intersect and on a quest to destroy the husband she could no longer remember.  That sounds pretty depressing but what the final episodes did was explore the heart of the show one final time - the Chuck and Sarah relationship.

The finale at time was heartbreaking, it was also hilarious and action packed. It gave time for all of the characters, it gave endings and new beginnings for them as well.  

Now for that ending, I don’t think it was a disservice to the fans at all. I thought it was beautiful. It ended the show how it started with Chuck and Sarah on the beach.  Whether the kiss did bring Sarah’s memories back or not I don’t think matters because even if it didn’t it was clear she would fall back in love with him. It was clear they would be together and perhaps stronger than ever.

Favourite Episodes: Chuck Versus Sarah / Chuck Versus The Goodbye

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

12.  Being Human

You saved us all

Losing a main character is hard for any show but Being Human ending up losing its entire original cast by the end of S4 and yet somehow continued being it’s usual brilliant self.  

After Mitchell died at the end of S3 we expected to spend S4 with George and Nina raising their child with Annie helping out. Yet what we got was Nina brutally killed by vampires (off screen no less) and George dead by the end of the first episode.

Big changes happened to the show this season but it worked. The introduction of werewolf Tom in S3 certainly eased the transition, as did his instant chemistry with new Vampire Hal. Having a vampire that was very much not like Mitchell also signalled a new era for the show.

The real star of the season was Annie though, she made promises both to George to keep Eve safe and to Pearl and Leo to look after Hal. Annie has always been a motherly figure and her fierce protective nature made her struggle over whether to kill baby Eve all that harder to watch.  Her final act of taking out the Old Ones whilst sacrificing herself and Eve was heartbreaking but death is not the end in Being Human and hopefully she was reunited with George, Mitchell, Nina and Eve in the afterlife. God knows she needs some happiness and peace.

By the time the season concluded the original housemates were gone but whilst I had serious reservations at the start of S4 for the future of the show I now know its it is safe hands with Tom, Hal and Alex.  As long as the writing continues with its delicious blend of humour, heartbreak and horror then perhaps as long as we have a vampire, ghost and werewolf everything is alright. 

Favourite Episodes: Puppy Love / The War Child

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

13. Happy Endings

Oh my Kaiser Soze!

Winner of most improved comedy last season the show continues to impress.

Things happen in the world of Happy Endings like Alex and Dave reuniting or Brad losing his job but this is pretty much inconsequential because the show is all about the jokes and bringing the laughter and 9 out of 10 times it works really well.

It helps that in S2 the writers figured out what to do with Alex (make her crazy and thus hilarious) and Dave (make him think his so cool but laugh at how far from the truth this is) whilst focussing on the relationship with Brad and Jane and the BFF duo of Penny and Max.

There are hints of potential angst and a love triangle with Alex/Dave/Penny but the show doesn’t take this all that seriously and is better for it.

Some shows require an emotional connection, others just need laughs.

Favourite Episodes: The Butterfly Effect Effect / No-Ho-Ho

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

14. Spartacus: Vengeance

Let Rome send their legions. We will face them and see all follow Glaber in death! Now we will become an army.

Spartacus is a brutal show and sometimes the violence can come across as almost comical with just how over the top it is. Yet when you get past the screams of “Jupiter’s Cock” and heads rolling on a weekly basis then at the heart of a show is a really great intense well acted and well written drama.

Full characters you really shouldn’t get attached to because death is inevitable for all on this show and yet whether they are the Rebels or Romans its hard not to love them. And the ones you don’t love and wish horrible death upon are just so magnificent in their own ways that saying goodbye to them is equally as hard.

The season ended more bloodier than usual and with Spartacus: War of The Damned concluding the series next year many more characters will die, many more relationships broken and I am going to miss this crazy bloody show.

Favourite Episodes: Libertus / Wrath of the Gods

Top 30 TV Shows of 2012

15. Sherlock

Every fairy tale needs a good old-fashioned villain. You need me or you’re nothing. Because we’re just alike, you and I, except you’re boring. You’re on the side of the angels.

The breaks between seasons may be long but the wait is always worth it with Sherlock.

So much has been said about this show already it’s kind of hard to write anything new but I do want to say something about John Watson. Martin Freeman brings a humanity and likeability to the role which we don’t get with Sherlock because Mr Holmes can be an arrogant asshole at times (brilliant but hardly person of the year).

With John we get to roll our eyes at his friend’s antics, get to be confused at what the hell just happened and I think that is why the finale was so effective. It wasn’t because Sherlock ‘died’ it was because of John’s reaction and heartbreak to it.  

Favourite Episodes: A Scandal in Belgravia / The Reichenbach Fall