TV Shows Viewed in 2018
Completed (To Date)
Viewed: Season 1: Candle Cove
I came away from this first season of Channel Zero feeling a bit...underwhelmed. It's not a bad show by any means, but it failed to pull me in like the best horror shows have managed to do - it's certainly no American Horror Story. The story is a bit all over the place, and it's not as clever as it ostensibly wants to be. Still, the show has its moments, and there's a nice sense of atmosphere which pervades the season. I just don't think that I'll be returning for Season 2.
Viewed: Episodes 1-8
A documentary series which covers a different toy line per episode, The Toys That Made Us is perfect for geeks and casual viewers alike. With each episode running an economic 45 minutes apiece, the show packs in interviews, archival footage and dramatisations, all within a high-energy construction which is rarely boring. It’s impressive to see just how many prominent figures are interviewed, making the series feel totally legitimate rather than something more amateur.
Of course, episodes do vary in quality and interest value. The Star Wars episode should have been twice as long since there is so much to cover, but the "Hello Kitty" episode was a total drag as I couldn’t find anything interesting to latch onto. But hell, the show manages to make less exciting things like Barbie interesting, as there are many amusing stories to be told in relation to the doll’s history. Of course, too, I did come away wishing there were more episodes - I would love to see eps dedicated to Marvel and DC toys, or even Jurassic Park action figures.
This is a worthwhile show that was fun to binge, and I hope to see more in the future.
Viewed: Season 12
As a loyal Trailer Park Boys fan, I was excited to fire up Netflix and check out the newest - and, presumably, final - season. The show has undeniably been on the downturn for some time, as creator Mike Clattenburg departed after the original run, and cast members have been gradually dropping off; from Trevor to Lucy, J-Roc, Cyrus, and more. Still, I found myself having a good time with this latest season, despite John Dunsworth's passing lingering on the mind. It's business as usual for the boys, who find themselves trying not to get in trouble with the law, but becoming caught up in illegal schemes and getting in too deep. The actors are still a pleasure to watch, and they have their roles down to a science. The show may be getting old, but I still laugh when Ricky swears his butt off or mucks up a phrase. The writers also manage to carve out an ostensible ending for the show...before the boys get into more trouble, as usual. I laughed and I was scarcely bored, so that counts for something.
But now it's time to pack it in. With Dunsworth - and thus, Mr. Lahey - gone, this will be my last season. If they decide to make anymore seasons, I doubt I'll watch. It's been fun.
Viewed: Season 2
I enjoyed the first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events more than I expected, and this quality is thankfully maintained into the more polished second season of the show. Constantly introducing fun new characters while retaining the perpetually brilliant Neil Patrick Harris, this Netflix original series will probably go down as the definitive adaptation of the book series, as the show has the breathing room of two nearly hourlong episodes for each novel. Dark comedy abounds and the gothic production design continues to impress, while little notes to Beatrice at the beginning of each two-part episode are a constant source of amusement. There is still some hit-and-miss green-screening, but the show looks cinematic for the most part, with ornate costumes and sets, and it all looks wonderful in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR. The wait for the third and final season reportedly won't be as long, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Viewed: Series 1
From the creators of The Inbetweeners, and featuring two cast members from that hit show, White Gold is a downright enjoyable period comedy which hooked me from the beginning. The scripts are sharp and witty, translating to six tautly-edited episodes which constitute this first season, while the period detail looks spot-on. (It cannot be easy to recreate 1980s England on a TV budget.) It helps that all of the actors are appealing and easy to watch, even though James Buckley and Joe Thomas more or less reprise their roles from The Inbetweeners - but since they're so much fun to watch and this is a comedy first and foremost, it hardly matters. A Series 2 of the show was confirmed, but filming has been cancelled after allegations were made against Ed Westwick. All I can say is, I hope it's all sorted soon so I can enjoy another season of this brilliant comedy.
Viewed: Season 11
How thankful I am to have The X-Files back one more time - it’s especially appropriate given the astonishing cliffhanger that the previous season ended on. Once the season resolves the cliffhanger (sorta), it adopts a business as usual stance, running through some exceptional monster of the week episodes as well as some solid mythology eps. So much has happened in terms of technology since this show initially ended, and it’s great to see Mulder and Scully dealing with new threats that weren’t possible 15 years ago. And goodness me, there are some fantastic episodes here - in particular, "Plus One" and "Ghouli" feel like old-school X-Files episodes, while "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" is an instant comedic classic. Even the lesser episodes have genuine merit, making this supposedly final season all the more worthwhile. It’s a terrific way to end the show proper, and though I would like more of The X-Files, Gillian Anderson has already said she wouldn’t like to return again.
This show has been a great ride, and I’m glad I took it.
Viewed: Season 5
Season 5 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is notable for a number of reasons. It not only broke the internet for its genuinely brilliant cold opening involving a line-up of criminals singing the Backstreet Boys, it also threatened to be the show's swansong after Fox pulled the plug following years of declining ratings. Luckily, however, it found a new home and will return for a sixth season. At this point, we can consider any new season of this show a gift, and season 5 is another mightily enjoyable 22-episode run. There are hit-and-miss episodes of course, but I always look forward to a new Halloween heist or the return of Doug Judy, the Pontiac Bandit. It's these touches, as well as the infinite charm of the ensemble cast, which makes this one of the most enjoyable shows currently on TV. Even at its weakest, the show is still fun, and I look forward to each new episode.
Viewed: Season 16
Family Guy is approaching its 20th birthday, and of course the long-running animated show is not as consistent as it used to be, but goddammit I still enjoy the hell out it. This is one of those TV shows that's easily watchable and funny enough, ensuring that I'll always tune in for each new episode. Season 16 is somewhat middle-of-the-road at times, and there is one genuinely awful episode (how do you squander the guest appearance of Ian McKellen so badly?!), but there are still multiple highlights, including the appearance of Vladimir Putin. I know I'll miss this show whenever it's cancelled or original cast members begin to leave, so I'm savouring everything that I can get.
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