TV Shows Viewed in 2016
Completed (To Date)
Viewed: The Husbands of River Song Christmas Special
Bringing back the now-iconic River Song was long overdue since the departure of Matt Smith, especially since Song's story arc is not quite complete (though a minisode did give some closure). This is the best Doctor Who Christmas special in years, on the same level as The Christmas Invasion. It's deliciously fun watching Peter Capaldi's Doctor trying to tell the oblivious River who he actually is, and when the penny finally drops, the resulting bantering is an absolute joy. The special eventually transitions into more touching territory, with a knockout ending that just makes me depressed I have to wait far too long for more episodes of this wonderful show.
The Return of Doctor Mysterio Christmas Special
After being without Doctor Who for a year, it was certainly pleasant to sit back and watch another adventure with the Doctor, still played extremely well by Capaldi. This isn't exactly a great special, but it is a fun play on contemporary superheroes and comic-book movies. File it under "flawed but enjoyable."
Viewed: The Abominable Bride Special
I had the utmost privilege of viewing this new Sherlock special not on my television, but rather in a cinema, where the episode's cinematic values shone through all the more. (There was even an introduction by Steven Moffat, and a fun making-of special right afterwards.) The special is twisty and intriguing, and it's all infused with trademark Sherlock wit, while the actors still fully embody their roles with ease. It does tie into the show at large to some extent, but to spoil this special's secrets would be unthinkable. I absolutely cannot wait for Series 4, and I hope this show continues for a long time to come.
Viewed: All ten episodes
I'm so happy this series exists. Don't get me wrong, what happened is infuriating and two innocent men are in prison, because I'm so glad that this series was able to be widely released for the viewing public...with its damning evidence of a conspiracy and its ability to leave us to draw our own conclusions based on the evidence presented here. This isn't a "one-sided" documentary series as many have called it, it presents evidence from both sides, and shows things how they were. It shows that the judicial system is broken. And above all, the people whose misdoings were presented? Yeah, they're going to cop so much hatred and their reputations are ruined. Good fucking riddance.
This is such a compelling, powerful, involving show. I had no idea how the series was going to extend across ten episodes, but it did in a logical manner. It hooked me very early, and I always looked forward to watching more.
Viewed: Seasons 10-13
Columbo was life-changing. It took six months to binge through all 69 telemovies, and it was genuinely worth it. It must be said that the latter episodes of the series are hit-and-miss, but I did view a few keepers. This is one of my favourite programs now, and I was sad to see it end.
I wound up http://www.listal.com/viewentry/11113485">writing a full review of the series, which I actually spent a good six months writing, continually adding to as I watched more episodes.
Viewed: Season 1
This is a great series. Despite my initial hesitance on account of the previous incarnation with Keanu Reeves, I quickly found myself digging the show, and cheered when Matt Ryan's John Constantine became a part of the Arrow-verse. What works about Constantine is that it is a horror show first and foremost, with unnerving amounts of gore and demons that may terrify the squeamish, but it's also incredibly fun, maintaining that nice tonal balance which keeps the show afloat. Ryan's interpretation of the titular role is note-perfect, while his supporting players are no slouches. Special effects remain top-notch for TV, and the proclivity for harsher content makes this more interesting than the superhero shows on The CW that I nonetheless love (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can suck a fat one, though). I really wish NBC renewed this show, as it was shaping up to be something special, but at least the finale closed the door on a satisfying note. Constantine earns a hearty recommendation.
Viewed: All six episodes
It takes a few episodes to really get into the series, as with most TV shows, but it's really worth it. The show was produced on the very cheap and looks extremely dated, but the constant wittiness of the writing and the gameness of the actors compensates for this. This first season of Black Adder is very, very funny, and worth binging through.
Viewed: All six episodes
An improvement over the first season in terms of writing and production value, Black Adder II is classic comedy, pure and simple. Rowan Atkinson remains an unparalleled comedic force, while he's joined here by the likes of Tony Robinson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. If you like British comedy, you need to check out this series. I laughed my arse off.
Viewed: Season 1
Oh man, I wish Patrick Swayze never left us, and I wish The Beast continued for more seasons. Not just another conventional cop show, this series is truly elevated by Swayze's Charles Barker, a formidable lead character. Barker is the ultimate TV cop badass, willing to bend the rules to get the job done, and Swayze plays the role so well. Swayze was undergoing chemotherapy during the shoot, and still showed up to work and got the job done, giving his performance real weight and feeling. It's possibly the best role of his career; he's dishevelled and badass, not a flawless pretty-boy like his earlier film roles. Swayze makes this show, yet he's still supported by a strong cast.
As for the show itself? It's entertaining and manly as fuck, with competent action sequences and agreeable storytelling. I'm just so thankful we will always have these thirteen amazing episodes to enjoy.
Viewed: All six episodes
I really regret taking this long to crack into this show. It's brilliant. And this third season is just as funny and satisfying as the last. Rowan Atkinson remains a comedic force to be reckoned with, and the show benefits from Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and other assorted guest stars. The writing sparkles with wit, and every episode had me laughing consistently. You can't ask for much more than that.
It would seem that every popular TV show tackles Charles Dickens' popular tale at some point, and this Black Adder retelling is better than most, and is probably about to become a new annual tradition for me (alongside Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean). It's funny all the way through, and it's side-splitting to watch the story play out in reverse, with Blackadder starting out as generous man before turning into a greedy Scrooge. Awesome.
Viewed: All six episodes
Just a disclaimer: I have watched this particular series before. It was my first taste of Black Adder. But since it had been over a year since I watched it, and I had just watched the previous three seasons for the first time, I wanted to re-watch Black Adder Goes Forth. Thank goodness I did. Consistently hilarious and witty, this is my personal favourite series of the show, and the army backdrop makes it even more fascinating. I laughed a lot.
Viewed: All eight episodes
I began this show because I always like to have a streaming project to make the most of my monthly internet. I had intended to go at the pace of one episode per day, but after being thoroughly engrossed in the first episode, I chewed through the remaining 7 eps far quicker than originally intended. This is exceptional TV, an enthralling historical fiction drama with spot-on period detail and a whole host of remarkable actors playing memorable characters. I loved this series, and it left me wanting to see more.
Viewed: Season 1, Episodes 11-16
Despite the change in show-runners and the prospect that the show might take a nose dive in quality, the latter half of Season 1 is just as good as the ten episodes preceding it. This show is still mightily hilarious, and the guest stars are always good fun. I hope we get more!
Viewed: Seasons 3-5
Okay, so here's what doesn't work about Merlin, mainly for its first three seasons:
- Morgana's villainy gets super old very quickly. It's really frustrating that she gets away with so much and gets away with it.
- Uther's blindness and stubbornness becomes seriously preposterous and frustrating.
- The serialised storytelling is only mildly effective. I get why they did it, but they run out of stories really quickly and there's tonnes of filler. I would have much preferred a Game of Thrones-esque type of long-form narrative, especially with the formula for every single episode growing tiresome and predictable.
- It's a kids show, and it does pander a fair bit which doesn't always work.
- Gwen is seriously miscast.
That covers it. I also feel that something closer to the legend of King Arthur would have yielded a stronger show, but that's more to do with expectations vs. the show's vision. Anyway, the show does improve in its fourth season. The HD upgrade also begets stronger production value (but the CGI remains mostly dreadful) and a darker tone, though Morgana still outstays her welcome. I didn't walk away loving the show, but I definitely enjoyed seasons 4&5 more than I had expected. It's also somewhat refreshing to watch a show that's so defiantly cheesy. The ending feels rushed, but at least there is an ending of some description. And I admit that I did find the conclusion somewhat affecting. Whatever.
I don't really recommend Merlin, but I don't altogether regret watching it.
Viewed: Season 2
Season 1 of Daredevil was undeniably revolutionary, and even the most optimistic of us had to wonder of Season 2 might not be able to live up to what came before it. But I sit here gobsmacked. Season 2 not only clears the high bar set by the first season; it leaps over it with unparalleled confidence. This season retains the intricate character depth and compelling drama, whilst also embracing the superhero aspect more than before, serving up a riveting selection of action set-pieces. The hallway fight from the first season has even been surpassed. The introduction of The Punisher is note-perfect - they threaten to over-do it with armchair psychology, but Frank rejects this type of thing in one of the most cheer-worthy moments of the season. Plus, Bernthal kills it.
This is still an adult show, with plenty of visceral bloodshed and harsh language, yet it never forgets to be fun. It's enthralling from start to finish, and when it did conclude, I was left feeling melancholic that I have to wait another year for another season. But give me 13 hours of superhero awesomeness every year over a 2-3 year wait for one two-hour motion picture.
Daredevil Season 2 is the greatest live-action superhero adaptation ever.
Viewed: Season 10
Yes, this show is getting old. Yes, it's highly repetitive. Yes, it's dumb and unsophisticated. And yes, it's highly polarising and not for every taste.
But goddammit, I still laugh consistently whenever I watch a season of Trailer Park Boys. It's still the same old show (hell, the dated old SD opener from the first season is still used) and the characters are all fully-fleshed and fun to be in the company of. This particular season provides plenty of laughs, some amusing celebrity cameos (Snoop Dogg's extended appearance is sensational), and even a fun little narrative through-line. This show probably can't go on too much longer, but it hasn't yet run out of steam. Fans like me should enjoy this season.
Viewed: Season 2
Better Call Saul is infuriatingly slow. It takes forever to get anywhere, and the story seems to be going in circles, with no clear direction or indication of what's going to come next. But goddammmit, each episode of this show is incredibly compelling and engaging, with the top-flight acting and writing. If you can give this show the patience it needs, then it may work for you, but it will be polarising.
I firmly believe that this is a show that's better consumed as a binge, rather than a week-to-week show. It will probably be best consumed as a binge after the show has ended, because of the frustratingly slow storytelling. Better Call Saul is a quality show, but it's not quite a satisfying one just yet.
Viewed: Season 3
Although season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine lacks the spark of brilliance which made the first season of the show so much fun, I still enjoy this comedy series more than most sitcoms that are still running. The game cast are always a joy, and each episode is unfailingly entertaining, even if it's not always on-point or funny. I'll still be tuning in when season 4 rolls around.
Viewed: Seasons 1-6
How has it taken me so long to get into this show?! Archer is a true TV gem, an uproarious adult cartoon send-up of spy movies that you absolutely must watch at the earliest opportunity. The animation is stylised and strong, but it's the characters and the voice actors which really sell this thing, not to mention the sharp writing. One-liners and side-splitting recurring gags raise laughs, and there are even some cool action sequences. The show admittedly loses some of its new car smell as time goes on (Season 5 wasn't great), but it's still a reliably entertaining watch. As long as this show keeps airing, I will keep watching.
It's a shame that this season was cut down to a mere ten episodes, and good lord this season goes out on a helluva cliffhanger, but it's still hard to deny that Archer has its pleasures. It's not at the same standard as the few couple of seasons, but the change of scenery is interesting and there is still enough witty dialogue to make for an enjoyable watch.
Viewed: Season 1
Shadowhunters is...not very good. And that's disappointing. The theatrical adaptation of the first novel in this Young Adult series was moderately enjoyable in a world where Twilight exists (though I have not watched it since the cinema, and probably never will), and there are devoted fans of the book series who probably want to see a solid page-to-screen adaptation. What we have here, however, is a bit of a mess. First things first: Thirteen episodes to the first novel is too much, and the result feels more like the final two Hunger Games movies rather than a worthwhile instance of longform storytelling. As a result, it's not especially involving, and the convoluted nonsense at the centre of the story never becomes clear enough. The next problem is the tone-deaf rhythm of the show, which is unsurprising given that filmmaking hack McG was involved. The issue is that every scene is cut far too quickly, as if they've trimmed down an hour of show into 45 minutes by only trimming pauses, rather than excising superfluous scenes or subplots. And again, it makes the whole enterprise uninvolving.
The show looks cheap, with bargain basement CGI and very little in the way of cinematic flair. Dialogue is never especially interesting, and the actors are all vanilla. It's sometimes hard to keep track of who's who, to be honest. Even the action scenes are difficult to enjoy, as they're cut so quickly and awkwardly. Shadowhunters feels more like a cheesy, low-grade 90s teen show, which is simply not good enough when today's best television shows can easily compete with cinema releases in terms of production quality and writing.
Season 2 is coming. I'm not making any promises to myself.
Viewed: Season 9
Nine seasons down, and this show has definitely hit a wall. Fatigue is fast setting in. Season 9 is perhaps the most rote so far, and I cannot remember the last time this show has triggered a genuine belly-laugh - I'm hard pressed to giggle more than once during each episode. The pop culture references are tired and surface-level, the plotting remains unexciting, and there's very little to recommend anymore.
I will have to keep watching until the end since I've come this far. I just hope the end is soon.
Viewed: All six episodes
Wolf Creek is disappointing, plain and simple, and that's hard to state. I cannot be bothered expressing everything in the form of a review/essay, so dot points will suffice
- Mick Taylor's mythological status is ruined. He has become a gratuitous character much like Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, whereas the first film in particular never made it clear whether or not he actually existed. This mystery is gone, replaced with a horror movie cipher who has a backstory now, further destroying a great character.
- The Feminazi angle is sickening. We have a young girl who becomes a hardened warrior, tracking down Mick to kill him. The American nationality is bad enough since this is an Aussie series, but having a badass female never sits right. That's not sexist, by the way - there were female characters in the first film, and that was fine, but this is too forced/unrealistic/pandering.
- The first 10 minutes of the first episode feature a really fake crocodile attack and some woeful CGI blood, in slow motion, no less. Not a great way to start out.
- The narrative is seriously misjudged and overcomplicated, throwing in a police angle that becomes increasingly ludicrous, as well as other pointless ancillary characters that make the whole thing feel meandering and unfocused. A subplot involving bikies winds up going nowhere and comes off as a cheap distraction.
To balance out the ledger, here are the positives:
- Directing and cinematography are consistently good, with wonderful outback scenery and an evocative sense of place. Production values are strong for a TV show, especially one from a budding streaming service, so it never looks cheap or nasty - it's closer to cinema quality, in terms of technical specs.
- Jarratt remains a standout as Mick, dispersing oodles of colourful dialogue, and we get to see a bit more of Mick operating around his territory, which is good fun.
- It is compelling viewing for the most part.
Bottom line? Stick with the movies. They really fucked this one up.
Viewed: Season 2
Season 1 of The Flash was one of the greatest achievements in superhero television, especially the phenomenal finale which is one of the best hours of TV in history, period. Luckily, Season 2 does not disappoint, retaining the beautiful emotional heft, proclivity for spectacle, and, above all, the humour. Zoom is easily one of the best villains in recent memory, especially with Tony Todd's incredibly intimidating voice. Although not every episode is a home run, there are more hits than misses, and a number of episodes are better than most superhero movies - specifically, Kevin Smith's "The Runaway Dinosaur" and the nail-biting finale. Acting across the board remains outstanding, the various twists and turns make for riveting viewing, and it's always a pleasure to watch.
The Flash is my favourite current show, and I just hope that Season 3 is able to retain this quality. I have faith.
Viewed: Season 4
Arrow used to be a great show with the occasional mediocre episode (much like The Flash still is), but now it's a mediocre show with the occasional flash of greatness. Season 4 is so-so on the whole, but this show really has lost its way. Editing is extremely choppy, there's barely any sense of rhythm or pace, and the whole Team Arrow thing has gotten far too out of control. And here's the big thing: If somebody wanted to find out the Arrow's true identity, it wouldn't be hard for them to do so. I miss the lean, focused nature of the first series, wherein Oliver hit the streets alone. And now Oliver loses almost every fight he's in. Still, Neal McDonagh was a brilliant villain for this season, even if it constantly feels as if he's going easy on everybody, and the action scenes occasionally excite when done properly. There's still something exciting about seeing good old-fashioned action scenes with guns and arrows as opposed to superpowers on superpowers.
Also, that Constantine episode was brilliant!
I don't think I'll miss Arrow when it's gone, but I will keep watching until the end.
Viewed: Seasons 4-9
It's relieving to finally be able to tick this classic cult TV show off my list after years of curiosity, but boy was it a massive undertaking to watch all 201 forty-minute episodes of the original series. Luckily, The X-Files has aged well for the most part, and there are some really excellent episodes - I certainly felt some emotion during a certain Season 7 episode dealing with the fate of Mulder's sister. Furthermore, the HD restoration allows the show to look simply gorgeous, doing justice to the show's stylish photography. The program is not quite as good after Season 7 when David Duchovny departed, but the latter episodes of Season 8 with Duchovny are wholly enjoyable, and Robert Patrick makes for a sturdy lead. Season 9, however, is very hit-and-miss. On the whole, however, I do not regret finally watching The X-Files, even if it took the better part of 7 months to catch up on it.
Season 10: The Event Series
Season 10 is not all that it could have been, but I'm still glad that it happened. First, the bad: The digital cinematography makes the series look inherently cheaper compared to the rich celluloid look of the original seasons, the episode "Babylon" is weak on the whole, the faux brands (for the smartphones and the YouTube substitute) get really distracting, and it still feels like more should have been done (the fate of The Lone Gunmen is not addressed despite Chris Carter having talked about it, and the alien invasion angle is forgotten). Nevertheless, the episodes "Founder's Mutation" and "Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster" are genuinely excellent, and it's still nice to see the two protagonists back in action. Oh, and the original X-Files title sequence is used, which is a superlative touch. We need more X-Files, and now I wait patiently for a Season 11 announcement...
Viewed: Seasons 1-3
I wanted to like The Mighty Boosh more than I wound up doing so, since it's such a cult item. But compared to other British shows like The IT Crowd and Red Dwarf, it's not as funny or as entertaining as I was expecting, and I found it difficult to get into. Nevertheless, this is a unique show which certainly has its charms and standout moments, and although I am in no rush to watch the show again, I don't regret checking it out.
Viewed: Season 1
Legends of Tomorrow is a good fun show with a fair bit going for it, but it also falls short of snowballing into something overly memorable.
First, the good stuff from Season 1. The actors are all on-point, especially former Doctor Who thespian Arthur Darvill who's enormously charismatic as Rip Hunter. Also, I love seeing Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell in anything, and it's nice to see Brandon Routh getting a much-deserved second chance as a superhero, continuing his stint from Arrow. Not to mention, that Jonah Hex appearance was great. Production values are top-flight, too - this show was reportedly very expensive, carrying the budget for a 23-episode season despite only having 16 episodes. Special effects consistently impress, especially for a TV show, and there are some terrific, highly creative action scenes during the series. Furthermore, the period recreations are always fun, including 70s-era America and the Old West. Legends of Tomorrow is fun to boot, and with the series only running for 16 episodes, there isn't a great deal of filler.
Now, for the other side of the coin. Some aspects of the show are undeniably cheesy, and though it does make for enjoyable viewing, it also means that the heroes don't feel in danger very often (this is rectified for the final two episodes, which are more brutal than expected). Some aspects don't really work or don't gain full traction, including some love tangents. The actors give it their all, but such things feel contrived. Additionally, try as it might, Legends lacks the emotional heft of The Flash, which most likely comes down to its sizeable ensemble cast. I never felt as attached or invested in this season as I have for The Flash since that show began, though it is superior to Arrow.
In final analysis? I'll keep watching this show for sure, especially if the roster of heroes keeping changing (c'mon Constantine!). There's room for improvement. But I still enjoyed this first season, corny as it sometimes is.
Season 2 Covered in my http://www.listal.com/list/tv-shows-viewed-in-2017">2017 list
Viewed: Season 6
Game of Thrones has now progressed beyond the books that George R.R. Martin has written to date, yet Season 6 shows no sign of fatigue, and it always feels totally confident in itself. This is a spectacular season of this remarkable show, retaining the utterly cinematic production values whilst expanding the various narrative threads in engaging and satisfying ways. There are underwhelming arcs or episodes, of course, and it's a bit odd that episodes this season were comparatively short, but the final two episodes were simply perfection. Seriously, "The Battle of the Bastards" is the most amazing hour of television in history.
It's a hard life being a Game of Thrones fan. Gotta wait till next year to see more.
Viewed: Seasons 1-4
Game of Thrones ended, so I was left seeking a substitute to fill the void. Vikings fits the bill with absolute confidence. It took just one week to catch up on four seasons (39 episodes), as it's super easy to get hooked on this riveting period drama. Especially in the earlier seasons, it does feel slightly budget and at times feels like it's holding back on violence, but as the show progresses, it gets better and better. The battle scenes are some of the most spectacular in the history of film and television, particularly the various sieges on Paris. The show has a terrifically lived-in feel, making it easy to become invested, and the acting is consistently top-notch. This is one of my new favourite shows, and it's a good time to become a fan as we'll now get 20 new episodes a year.
Viewed: Seasons 1-4
I had no interest in Orphan Black until it was emphatically recommended to me, and now it's one of my favourite shows that's still running. (Though perhaps it's best I'm getting into it now, with the final season airing next year, so the mystery doesn't drive me nuts for too much longer.) Tatiana Maslany deserves all the awards in the world for this gripping thriller yarn about clones - she plays so many different roles, yet it's easy to see each role as a separate character due to the strength of her performances. And Jordan Gavaris is hugely charismatic as the flamboyant Felix. Orphan Black is well-made and well-written, and it left me wanting to binge through it as quickly as possible. Not every story development sits right (Maslany's "male" clone character is a dud), but the strengths of this show outweigh its shortcomings. This is a terrific series.
Viewed: Season 3
BoJack Horseman is still one of the best shows that you aren't watching. Netflix originals like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are always such a huge deal, but me? I'm a BoJack Horseman guy. And Season 3 is another winner for this extremely adult-oriented cartoon series, which continues to be highly amusing (the sight gags are continually on-point) and extremely sad, as the show has a lot on its mind. Furthermore, Season 3 contains some decidedly experimental episodes - one almost wordless episode takes place under the ocean and relies on visual storytelling, while another sees BoJack communicating recent happenings to a newspaper executive whilst trying to cancel his subscription. It's this material which keeps the show feeling fresh, and it almost defiantly refuses to give the characters a happy ending. Hell, BoJack even watches an old episode of his show wistfully, and ponders how great life would be if it were like his sitcom, where big problems can be solved in 22 minutes.
I'm down for Season 4.
Viewed: Seasons 1&2
I haven't read the source novel, nor have I watched the original movie (clearly I should), but I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed this Puberty Blues TV show. The meticulous recreation of 1970s-era Australia is superlative and highly convincing, while the depiction of teen life rings utterly true for the most part, and the show does a great job of showing what it was like during this bygone era. Performances right down the line are strong, especially the two leading ladies, and it's hard to complain about the proficient technical presentation. I found many episodes quite moving, as well. Not every story development gels, but I still recommend checking out this show.
Viewed: Season 1
I had no interest in this show based on the mixed reviews, the leaked pilot which was badly received, and the previews which made it look incredibly corny and way too girly. So imagine my surprise to report that Supergirl is surprisingly tolerable and even pretty good, though it does take a while to get there. Indeed, early episodes are pretty terrible on the whole, but it eventually picks up, and there is enjoyment to be had in the action scenes and the bantering. Plus, the episode with Barry Allen is absolutely ace from top to bottom. Oh, and did I mention that Callista Flockhart absolutely kills it? She's a treat.
Viewed: Season 1
Yeah, believe the hype on this one, folks. Here we have yet another Netflix Original that came out of nowhere to immense praise which deserves all the accolades that it receives. I love me some retro 1980s-style stuff, so Stranger Things is a godsend in my eyes - it's set in the 80s, and is clearly inspired by the films of John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg, with elements of Stephen King stories to boot. The score is beautiful synth, and it's extremely atmospheric and effective. The horror elements do work, but the story is grounded in terrific character drama which elevates the material, and it helps that it's possible to become so firmly invested in these goings-on and care about the characters. Stranger Things is quality television, and I'm most definitely interested in another season!
Viewed: Seasons 1-3 + Xmas Special
I've watched plenty of drama-oriented TV shows of late, so it was nice to watch Father Ted, a simple, clever, hilariously funny Britcom which only ran for twenty-five quality episodes. I laughed out loud during every episode, particularly during season 3 which was arguably the most satisfying season of the show. The actors are all on-point and commit to their amusing characters, and the stream of witty dialogue never lets up. Of course it's a bit rough around the edges in its earlier seasons, but it remains eminently charming.
Highly recommended. This was a DVD box-set worth buying.
Viewed: Series XI
The first in a block of two seasons that will likely signify the end of this classic Britcom, Red Dwarf XI actually betters 2012's Series X, and is the strongest run of the show since the 1990s. It's clear that money was actually put into the show this time, with visuals and lighting that exceed that of a usual sitcom, and the stories are usually on-point. The four lead actors continue to give it their all, and though the series is not consistently hilarious, it is fun. And it does have some quality laughs.
Viewed: Seasons 1-11
Phew, what a journey. I started watching Frasier on a rather miserable day in February, and now here I sit in November, having just finished watching the final episode of the show. In terms of American sitcoms, Frasier is simply the king - smarter and more cultured than Friends, and funnier than most of the sitcom trash that has polluted television screens before and since (the "worst" episodes of Frasier are better than the "best" episodes of Big Bang Theory). Consistently witty, the writers of this show are simply the best at what they do, with amusing character quirks and running jokes that never get old (Niles' wife Maris is never seen but consistently discussed). It's also delightfully performed by a superbly game cast.
Naturally, not all episodes are a home run, but there are far more hits than misses, and you can always rely upon the show to remain enjoyable. It's a pleasure to see each episode being set up, and it's a riot to see Frasier get with women time and time again...only to stuff it up in a new and inventive way. (Though it is annoying when a woman disappears in the next episode without any explanation.)
Eleven seasons and over 250 episodes seemed daunting last year. Now it seems too short. I could sit through another eleven seasons of Frasier brilliance. And now I'm unsure of what I'm going to do whenever I feel like a short, brisk, fun sitcom episode.
Viewed: Season 1
Not great but by no means as bad as I had feared, Gotham is one of the more intriguing DC shows on the airways, especially with its graphic adult content and lack of connections to the CW Arrowverse. What sticks out the most about this show is its outstanding visual design, as each episode looks like a big-budget motion picture. I also admire what they're doing here, chronicling the big picture of crime in Gotham before Batman rolled into town. It's anchored by some fine performances, though not everybody hits their marks effectively (Jerome is an annoying little shit). I will be getting to Season 2 when I can, and will more than likely go beyond.
Viewed: Season 2
Praise the Gods - Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead is terrific, showing yet again that this is one of the most purely fun shows currently airing. I'm still annoyed that we only get ten half-hour episodes per year, as that's extremely scant, but it does mean that the show is consistently fast-paced and low on filler. Campbell continues to show that he was born to play this role, and each episode of the show delivers in terms of humour and gore. Oh, so much gore. It does threaten to lose its way, narrative-wise, towards the end of the season, but it manages to stay afloat.
Viewed: Seasons 1-4
Out of the four seasons of American Horror Story that I've viewed so far (5&6 are on the docket for 2017), I personally found the first season to be the most enjoyable and engaging. I've found the subsequent seasons to be a bit less involving, and harder to get invested in, though I still appreciate the stories and the characters, and certain scenes have stuck with me. I like that this is an anthology show, as it changes scenery every season whilst retaining many of the same actors in different roles. I intend to keep watching this show, though I'd hardly count myself among the rabid fan-base.
Viewed: Season 1
Another classic television program that I felt I should check out, Quantum Leap may have dated to some degree, but it still has enough charm for me to understand why it was such a popular show back in the day. There's great classic music, and the time periods and settings differ from episode to episode, making it constantly feel fresh. I only watched Season 1 as that is all that's available to me on Blu-ray at the present, but with a complete Blu-ray set coming soon, I feel I should check out the rest of the series.
Viewed: Seasons 1-3
Yes, this has featured on an annual television-watching list before, but I only watched 3 or 4 episodes and then never got to the rest. Well, this time I stuck with it and watched all three seasons of this classic cartoon series, and I'm incredibly satisfied with my decision. This is definitive Batman, with Kevin Conroy emerging as the best Batman while Mark Hamill is the definitive Joker. (Any time I read a comic book, I read lines in my head in Conroy and Hamill's voices.) The serialised nature of the show is one of the reasons why it works so well, because it plays with format, and brings in recurring characters like Robin and Barbara Gordon. The stories are compressed into enjoyable bite-sized episodes at 20 minutes apiece (aside from the two-parters), making the show an easy watch. The animation may have dated in terms of detail and fluidity, but a sense of style is readily apparent throughout, with creative framing and use of shadows and colours. This really is an exceptional series, and its legacy speaks for itself. You have got to watch it.
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