The Year (So Far) In TV…

There has been a lot of really great TV around this year and the schedules are already looking packed all the way up until Christmas. I’ve found myself lining up more and more shows to watch, which is always a good thing in my opinion!

So here’s a recap of what’s been catching my attention.

I’m just four episodes into The Newsroom and I can already tell you it’s a contender for show of the year. Aaron Sorkin knows how to write a fantastic group of characters and he replicates the formula he had on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip to great effect. Telling the story of a group of people that work on a news programme, the content here is more political and, for want of a better word, serious. I sometimes feel like the only one in the UK who doesn’t watch trashy, ‘reality’, fame obsessed TV shows and the attitude taken by Will and the gang echoes how I feel… but sadly this hasn’t spilled over into real life yet.

While some have their trash TV in the form I mentioned above, I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi or supernatural drama. While waiting on new seasons of Warehouse 13 and Haven, I checked out Alcatraz. The premise is wonderfully goofy – Alcatraz (the prison) was never shut down, everyone who was on the island just disappeared one night. And now in present day they are reappearing. Continuing my tradition of backing the wrong (albeit excellent) horse (see Dollhouse/Tru Calling/Firefly/Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles/Bored To Death etc) Alcatraz was not renewed for a second season, so we’ll never find out what the hell was actually going on!

True Blood hit season 4 and, again, improved on the previous series. For season 5 I’m hoping they continue to toy with some of the political/social themes of the Vampires and Humans co-existing that they touched on here. Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette, is still the best thing in this show as far as I’m concerned and he looks set to have a big part in the upcoming season.

We’re only a few episodes into the latest season of Nikita but the storyline has already reached some fantastically outrageous heights. The way Nikita and Michael were saved (and by whom) in the opening episode had me chuckling away in disbelief and I almost wished I’d had a bag of popcorn on my lap. But then that’s why I love the show, all the crazy gadgets and cloak ‘n dagger ‘espionage’. I suspect this is what you’d get if you mixed a TV soap with the Splinter Cell games… which can only be a good thing :smile:

Kate Beckett and Richard Castle returned to our screens as Castle also hit season 4. The relationship between the cop and writer is strained this season which has made for a good change of dynamic. Ryan, Esposito, Lanie and Alexis getting more screen time has also made for a deeper narrative all round.

My big disappointments were Touch and Alphas. Alphas (about a secret agency of people with special powers) started well enough but went downhill so suddenly that I never made it to the end of the series, skipping out on the last few episodes. Touch didn’t even last that long – it was about halfway through when I bailed on that one. Again not a bad idea but I think they could’ve done so much more with it, rather than just producing the same story each time. I also didn’t think Kiefer Sutherland was strong enough to carry the show, perhaps with a better supporting cast (although I’ll exclude Danny Glover from that) it might have grabbed me more?

One programme that did grab me and refused to let go until it was over was Homeland. The story of a soldier returning to the US after 8 years as a prisoner of war and a government agency’s suspicion he might’ve been ‘turned’ while there was thoroughly brilliant. Well written and clever with some outstanding acting performances (Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in particular) Homeland is one of the better shows I’ve seen in the last two or three years.

US comedy has been strong in 2012 with both The Middle and Raising Hope bringing their madcap antics back to our screens. If you need to just unwind and watch something that will make you laugh these two do a great job – and if you have kids The Middle in particular will remind you why we go through the hard times for the little ones. New Girl has also made it’s way over the pond and has become one of my favourite comedies on TV at the moment. It has just the right mix of wit and slapstick with a great cast and some clever writing. While Zooey Deschanel as Jess is the star of the show, Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield) is close to stealing it – great stuff.

On the UK front I’ve found things a bit less impressive. Dirk Gently was good fun and I’d certainly watch more of it if it returns. Based on the Douglas Adams novels it’s about a detective who believes he’ll solve every crime by effectively just poking around and seeing what happens – all the while bumbling into clues that unravel the case. I gave Eternal Law a shot but the story of two angels who come to Earth as lawyers was so over sentimental and just poorly written that it didn’t stand much chance.

So there we go, looking back it’s been a great first half (or so) of 2012 and I’m hoping for some more great new shows to accomapny returning favourites such as Warehouse 13 and Haven.

What have I missed TV-wise? Have you seen any of the above shows and agree/disagree?

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GregHorrorShow TV Awards 2011

We’re closing in on the final few award posts – TV now and then Games to follow shortly.

My biggest disappointment when compiling the TV Awards this year was the lack of great new shows – I only started watching two new programmes in 2011, which is down quite a bit from recent years.

So let’s get going…

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BEST NEW SHOW

WINNER: Bored To Death

Although there haven’t been many new shows ‘Bored To Death’ is one of the better ones to come along in the last few years. A fresh, natural feeling, semi-dark comedy about a struggling writer who becomes a private detective on the side, this is a show full of laughs and awkward moments. With a fantastic supporting cast, including Zach Galifianakis (of The Hangover fame) and Ted Danson, it’s well worth checking out.

RUNNER UP:

Alphas

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

WINNER: The Middle

Well The Middle takes the title of Best Comedy for the second year in a row. Telling the tales of the Heck family in middle America, this is one of those US imports that presses all the right buttons. As I mentioned last year the chemistry between the actors is great and you could easily believe they are a real family. Great stuff. A mention must also go out to Raising Hope, which continues to improve all the time.

RUNNERS UP:

Bored To Death

Raising Hope

How I Met Your Mother

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BEST FACTUAL SHOW

WINNER: Hairy Biker’s ‘Meals On Wheels’

While this programme might not mean much to folks outside of the UK, The Hairy Bikers mission to get our old people some decent, freshly cooked food was a moving and, at times, hilarious show. As they battled on different fronts to things changed for the better, you couldn’t help but wish that they succeed. Very enjoyable and gave a good insight into the issues the older generations can face.

RUNNERS UP:

The Football League Show

An Idiot Abroad 2

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: Castle

This was a tough category to choose a winner for and Glee loses it’s title from last year to Castle. Some great use of music with appropriate lyrics relevent to crimes as well as some cool background stuff sees Castle edge it this year.

RUNNERS UP:

The Middle

Raising Hope

Glee

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ACTOR OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Nathan Fillion – ‘Richard Castle’ (Castle)

This is the first year that Philip Glenister of Ashes To Ashes hasn’t been around to scoop the gong but he might’ve been hard pressed to snatch it from Nathan Fillion in 2011. Fillion’s performance as Richard Castle, whether it’s his easy charm or his vulnerable moments, shone through this season. I have to make a special mention to Bored To Death’s Ted Danson though, he really is truly outstanding as stoner magazine editor George Christopher.

RUNNERS UP:

Eric Balfour – ‘Duke Crocker’ (Haven)

Eddie McClintock – ‘Pete Latimer’ (Warehouse 13)

Ted Danson – ‘George Christopher’ (Bored To Death)

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ACTRESS OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Emily Rose – ‘Audrey Parker’ (Haven)

Unfortunately for Haven it started so late in 2010 that I only got a chance to see 3 or 4 episodes before compiling the awards for the year. If we’d seen the entire season Emily Rose (of Uncharted game fame) might have found herself nominated or winning this category then. Not to worry as her performance as Haven’s Audrey Parker is unmatched in 2011. The twist at the end of season 1 saw some brilliant acting and she’s carried it over into the second season as well. Eden Sher deserves a nod for her fantastic portrayal as Sue Heck, her comic timing and expressive mannerisms feel just right for Sue.

RUNNERS UP:

Eden Sher – ‘Sue Heck’ (The Middle)

Joanne Kelly – ‘Myka Bering’ (Warehouse 13)

Stana Katic – ‘Kate Beckett’ (Castle)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Haven

Wow. This was so difficult to call as all of the nominated shows have been fantastic this year. In the end Haven takes the plaudits but it was extremely close. The closest, in fact, it has ever been for these awards. Both Warehouse 13 and Castle were superb but Haven’s supernatural rollercoaster of a ride kept me glued to the screen and wishing I had more episodes stacked up to watch back to back. I’m very happy that new seasons of all of the nominated shows have been confirmed for next year!

RUNNERS UP:

Warehouse 13

Castle

The Middle

So there we go. There were a few shows that I also enjoyed but didn’t make the cut – True Blood and Bones (Season 2) being the most prominent. Those are definitely worth checking out.

As for 2012, well I’m looking forward to more of the same with the addition of The New Girl in January and the return of The Walking Dead as well. Hopefully some more new great shows will pop up or you guys can suggest some stuff I may have missed.

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