GregHorrorShow: The TV Of 2017

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It’s been another huge year for TV as people’s appetite for binge watching new shows remains at an all time high. Services like Netflix and Amazon have completely changed how we consume our television and are delivering extremely high quality shows right into our living rooms and onto our phones.

12 Monkeys returned for it’s third season with a bang, several bangs in fact followed by a nice rendition of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons”. While the show has moved away from the plague threat of the initial two seasons it remains a much watch, especially if you have any interest in time travel. I thoroughly enjoyed the second season of Agents Of Shield, the way they handled the transition through the season of switching enemies was great and there were a few good twists in there as well. Keeping things Marvel, I thought Iron Fist was pretty good but still the weakest of the four ‘Defender’ arcs of the Netflix shows. Was great to see some good Kung Fu but it didn’t deliver the same character investment for me as the other shows. One Marvel show that did deliver was Legion, despite me not really knowing what the hell was going on for the first 4 or 5 episodes. It’s a complex, sometimes disturbing, show but it’s a visual spectacular and as a music fan it was great to listening out for the various end credit tracks, all linked lyrically to each episode.

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Although its run is still continuing The Gifted is a fun watch. The story of X-Men mutants from their perspective as an oppressed minority is interesting if a little heavy handed at times. Killjoys was another cheesy show that I’m on the fence about, will probably stick with it and see where it goes. DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow remains fun and an easy watch, the chemistry between the crew is keeping me on board and the show is doing interesting things with the idea of time travel catching up with you. Arrow (Season 3) is plodding along, it’s nice to see the team expanding which changes up the dynamic a bit. It’s been a poor season but any opportunity to watch Paul Blackthorne chew the scenery as Quentin Lance is one I’m happy to take. (His ‘Laurel, honey/sweetheart…’ has saved many an episode!)

I found the second season of Quantico difficult to get in to, the sense of deja vu is a bit much for me. It feels too similar to the first season with just a bunch of new recruits thrown into the mix. Orphan Black returned for a final season and what a ride that turned out to be. Another tour de force from Tatiana Maslany, this was definitely a show you should check out if you didn’t get a chance previously. Travellers, a tale of people sent from the future taking over the bodies of people who would’ve died at that moment otherwise, was a nice idea but it really ran out of steam.

The Good Place kinda came out of nowhere and stole my heart. The show has so much going on, commentary on our, sometimes, self centred desire to help others or ideas about death, it’s a truly great watch with some wonderful twists and turns along the way. Ted Danson is particularly good but the whole cast is great. On the other end of the emotional scale was The OA, which is the story of a girl who returns home after going missing and the, sort of, cult that grows around her. It was a harrowing watch but definitely enjoyable.

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Blindspot returned and while the main plot gets more ridiculous as time goes on (how many layers can Jane’s tattoos have?!) the team dynamic and individual stories are what keeps me coming back. Plus I love that Patterson created a wildly popular mobile game while the team took some time off! Another returning show was iZombie, last year’s best show winner. It was another stellar season as the story becomes more about the upcoming human/zombie war as opposed to the previous seasons which focused on trying to keep the zombie secret.

Going back to time travel, what a year it’s been for shows that shift through the timeline – maybe with everything going on in the real world people like the idea of rewinding the clock. Another time travel show was Timeless which follows the well trodden Assassin’s Creed style of time travel, where you end up taking part in massive historical events (tipping tea off the boats at the Boston Tea Party in Assassin’s Creed III anyone?). It was fun watching the characters, often accidentally, help shape huge cultural events. It had some nice twists and one particularly savage gut punch in the mix – roll on season 2! Frequency took a different tact and focused on a different type of time distortion. The main character Raimy discovers she can communicate with her deceased father in the past via a ham radio. Can she help him avoid his death? Should she reveal who she is? It was a novel set up and while it was definitely cheesy at times I think it did enough to keep me hooked.

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BEST NEW SHOW

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There have been so many great shows this year I literally had three nailed on options for these two slots, it’s a testament to the quality of TV that this is so tough. I thought Legion looked interesting but I had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. What an amazing trip, a confusing, colourful (organised) mess that delivered something new with every episode. The cast were great, Dan Stevens really bringing it as David and Aubrey Plaza was perfectly insane as Lenny Busker. My one recommendation would be not to binge watch this one, having a few days between each episode really lets you digest what is going on. I’m also giving a huge shout out to Timeless, which was the other show in the running here. It was better than it had any right to be.

 

BEST SHOW

TheGoodPlace2017

The Good Place is one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages. The wonderful premise, the great acting and really strong writing make for a really cool show. Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) horror as she realises they’ve let the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop into heaven is quite something to behold. As she unravels with the fear of being exposed… well it’s just great. I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that the show pivots in really interesting ways to stay fresh. I can’t wait to watch more of this.

 

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Playing Games Like You Watch TV Or: Why It Took Me Over Two Years To Finish Dragon Age: Inquisition

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I’ve spoken about my gaming habits plenty in the past but I’ve noticed another shift in the last year or so. If I have an hour spare now in the evening I’m much more likely to play an online game, not something single player based.

While it sounds contrary to the above, I feel like I want to invest more time in single player game sessions than ever and really lose myself in that world, which conflicts with my gaming schedule – essentially the odd hour here and there in the evening. I’m finding that I don’t want to play something story based for 45 minutes or an hour. Or at least that’s how I feel about open world games, I’m certainly still happy to play an hour long session to complete a chapter of Uncharted or a main mission in Tomb Raider. More linear games still lend themselves to that style of play. I’ve always played those kind of games like TV shows anyway, a chapter or two at a time over the course of weeks rather than days. I’ve never been a gamer who will rush through a 15-20 hour game in a weekend.

Horizon

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a good example of this new play style, a game I likely would’ve rushed through before is now a title I’m planning to play over the course of months rather than weeks. Crucially, I also feel like I’m getting more enjoyment out of the game by taking the time to explore and discover smaller content along the way.

I think there is an accompanying parallel change in multiplayer games, which are doing a much better job of getting you to come back and play more often. There has been a positive change in a huge amount of games whereby new content (new levels/maps or characters) is being added free of charge for all players. This is important because, firstly, it means the player base isn’t split (some that paid have the new content but others don’t and they can’t all play together) and secondly it gives people a strong reason to come back to games they might not have ever returned to before this trend. In addition a lot of games are rewarding players for logging in and playing, which keeps people interested for longer.  I also feel like there are a ton of pick up and play online experiences that last 5-10 minutes per game, which align perfectly with the time I have available.

If I only have 30-45 mins spare why waste my time on an open world title and have to turn it off just as I’m getting into the rhythm of the game? I’d rather play a few rounds Overwatch and a game of Rocket League. It’s also occasionally quite nice to play something that has a set beginning, middle and end. I guess it’s similar to watching a really good eight episode TV show knowing it only has one season and tells a complete story within that.

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Big, sprawling open world titles are definitely still attractive to me, Horizon is one of the best games I’ve played in the last 4 or 5 years, but I just need more time to play and invest in them. Dragon Age: Inquisition took me over two years to finish. Why? I suspect the TV season-like structure helped, along with the change in my own gaming habits. What I loved about the structure of Dragon Age in particular was that your main hub in the game was your ‘War Table’, where you and your colleagues/advisors would plan your next tactical move and which mission to take on. On this table you had a selection of smaller missions, including favours for your colleagues that would reveal more about them and strengthen your relationship with them, but also one bigger mission that moved the main story on considerably. So for me, the game became like a TV show in so far as I would spend a few weeks playing side missions, levelling up and getting some character development for my team before doing the big, climatic ‘end of season’ mission and then putting the game down for a month or two.

Another huge title in terms of scale is Fallout 4, which I’m still playing 18 months after I started. Why? Well for similar reasons to Dragon Age but with the added decision from the outset not to follow the direct path for ‘character reasons’. I decided to make my character more selfish than my usual created characters, for example my elf Inquisitor from Dragon Age or Commander Shepherd from Mass Effect. In Fallout, Bella would be a character that was, for the most part, more interested in her own current affairs than any grander goal – which has been great fun and I’d recommend everyone to try playing a character like it at some stage!

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Another issue with mainlining games is burnout, doing the same thing over and over again is certainly not fun and can severely lessen your enjoyment of a game. However, I think there is a huge difference between repetitive gameplay over a longer period of time in hour sized chunks and repetitive gameplay experienced in bigger 3 or 4 hour time slots.  I genuinely believe that the reason I still enjoy long running game series like Assassin’s Creed, where you are essentially doing the same thing in every iteration of the game in a different setting, is because I’ve never really sat down and played them for 4 or 5 hours at a time.

Episodic gaming kind of solves this play style problem, although it doesn’t always necessarily do the best job. Titles like The Walking Dead and Life Is Strange are great games, although each episode usually runs the length of a film which runs into the same problem for me time-wise. Hitman, which is perfectly suited to the episodic format, is another title with lengthy levels (a positive when I have the time to invest) although the inclusion of smaller one off assassinations does mean that is a game you can also dip into here and there.

Life Is Strange 1

Some people are quick to mainline these huge games and I just don’t get it. Why would you want to rush through these big titles? Where Uncharted is like a film, games like Skyrim, Mass Effect or Dragon Age are like having 10 seasons of a TV show in front of you. Finishing these open world games as quickly as possible by doing just main quests would be like having a cut down version of the TV show that just focuses on the main character and no-one else. Sure you’d get to experience the story at the centre of the show but without any focus on other characters. Imagine a Buffy The Vampire Slayer without any development of Willow or Xander? Or an Orphan Black with no focus on Donny or anyone except Sarah? Indeed, imagine a Mass Effect that didn’t bother to flesh out your crew but just double downed on the main story.

I’m as guilty as the next person of binge-watching TV shows but I do feel that for games it is a little different – as I mentioned above my confusion isn’t really based on people playing games quickly, it’s what you might be missing along the way. Even if I binge something like Jessica Jones I am still seeing all the story the creators put in there and want us to see. If you mainline a game you could be missing a wealth of interesting content and potentially things that might be integral to the wider plot of the game.

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Even in this age of on demand binge watching it can be nice to watch a TV show week by week – one of the biggest luxuries of the ‘old’ approach to watching TV or playing games is that you have time to think about and appreciate the content you’re consuming. I’ve found that in games but also in TV. Recently, Legion was a delight to watch week by week and I actually think I needed that time between episodes to process what I’d seen. Sure, there is a rush from getting through something you’re enjoying – it can exhilarating knowing that you are just a click away from another episode or main mission but I’d recommend giving slower paced gaming a shot. It’s definitely a different experience and one, for me personally, that means I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of open world games.

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GregHorrorShow: The TV Of 2016

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As Netflix’s dominance over TV continues, it was interesting to see traditional TV’s reaction and what type of shows they would bring to the table in response. 2016 saw some great new shows across the formats and I found myself torn between lots of different programmes.

In fact I have to admit I started a lot more shows than I managed to finish! So in this first section I’ll be looking solely at shows that I haven’t seen the whole season of…

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SHOWS TO BE CONTINUED…

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Luke Cage looks set to follow in the steps of the superb Jessica Jones and deliver a gritty, cool superhero story. I’m loving what I’ve seen so far. Glitch is an interesting series about a group of people that come back from the dead in a small Australian town. It seems to be hitting the right notes, even if the acting is a little ‘hammy’ at times. A recording issue halted my run through of Mr Robot halfway through but that has been great and is definitely something I’ll return to, likewise the second season of Wayward Pines – which took an interesting turn after the conclusion of the first season. The second season of Daredevil didn’t really grab me and the introduction of Elektra did not feel like it raised the stakes unfortunately. We are still partway through season 2 of The Librarians and I still find it to be a great ‘popcorn’ show with some cool episode ideas.

 


 

In terms of new shows the main highlights were the 80’s inspired Stranger Things and the AI driven Westworld. Stranger Things delivered a brilliant mix of strong acting and a huge dose of nostalgia. Westworld told a great story that asks some interesting questions, especially as a gamer, but ultimately felt like it just took too long to get there. Again the acting was great and the CGI was among the best I’ve seen. The Shannara Chronicles was an interesting idea, mythical creatures roaming the Earth long after current civilizations have been eradicated. It wasn’t the best show I’ve seen but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Similarly, The Magicians (based on the best selling novel series) followed a similar path and while it had a few great moments it just didn’t grab me.

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I adored iZombie, with seasons 1 and 2 arriving on UK Netflix this year. It also takes my award for Episode Of The Year with ‘Astroburger’, an episode that contains, for me, one of the most brutal TV gut punches in recent history. I won’t spoil it but man, that was some jaw dropping stuff. Both Blindspot and The Blacklist returned and they delivered as expected, though the former got off to a rough start with an underwhelming opening episode.

Quantico was a fun show that focused on the FBI training academy and the betrayal of it’s students during a terror attack. 12 Monkeys returned and continued to impress as one of the few shows out there that actually grasps the fundamentals of time travel. I really enjoyed how things developed in the second season and thought it was great to see Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire) used to better effect.

Orphan Black‘s fourth season delved deeper into the rabbit hole and what a season it was. It was also great to (finally) see Tatiana Maslany rewarded with an Emmy for her ridiculously amazing work on the show. The second, and as it turns out final, season of Agent Carter dropped off a bit and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I felt it didn’t quite live up to expectations after the great first season. Still sad to see it cancelled though.

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Best New Show

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This year it has to be Stranger Things. Arriving pretty much out of nowhere to be one of the most talked about TV events of 2016. A wonderful performance from all the cast was spearheaded by Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown. Dustin was also great and the story was well told and enjoyable. The only downside was the poor treatment of Barb  😦

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Best Show

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No doubt here either as iZombie fast became one of my favourite shows of recent years. The mix of pop culture references and fast wit should be expected from the creator of Veronica Mars but the show hits so many high notes that I enjoyed every episode. Great performances and a strong main concept mean I’m really looking forward to season 3 in 2017. Also props for the Millwall mention, never thought my team’s name would be uttered on a big US TV show!

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GregHorrorShow: The TV Of 2015

TV 2015 Blacklist

What a year it’s been for TV, with traditional television production companies feeling the heat from new shows made for Netflix – it’s certainly an interesting time and the only clear winner is the consumer, as we get tons of amazing new shows to watch!

Before we launch into those new (and returning) shows, let’s take a look at some older stuff I caught up on that I’d recommend.

I mentioned both of these last year and I’ve stuck with them – A Town Called Eureka (Season 3) and Arrow (Season 2). Both shows deliver a nice dose of light hearted escapism, although Arrow did tread a few darker paths in it’s 2nd season. I also delved into Continuum‘s first season, which is a wonderfully cheesy sci-fi romp involving a group of time-traveling criminals and the cop stranded in the past trying to catch them!

TV 2015 Fringe

However the award for most captivating show I’d missed first time around it goes to Fringe, of which I devoured the entire 5 seasons in the course of the year! A cross between the X-Files and Warehouse 13, it lost its way a little in Season 4 but finished strong and the White Tulip episode is one of the finest episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. I know it’s old but that takes this year’s title for Best Episode.

Wow, with new shows where do I start?!

Well, I absolutely loved Agent Carter, which is a fantastically stylised trip through an alternate 1940’s in which Peggy Carter spends her time tracking down top secret weapons and generally kicking ass. It was a short season but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the show returning in January. Sticking with Marvel, I thought Daredevil finished strong but it seemed to take an age to get there, I really had to stick with it as those first 5 or 6 episodes involved a lot of set up. It was worth it in the end and the characters came into their own in the second half of the season.

TV 2015 Agent Carter

Rounding out the Marvel trilogy is Jessica Jones which is truly amazing TV. I’m only halfway through the season as I write this but it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a while. This is a superhero show that tackles some really heavy issues and doesn’t shy away from any of them. Also it’s a private eye with superpowers – just… genius.

On a completely different superhero vibe, Supergirl is midway through it’s first season and it’s been quite enjoyable, if a little light. There’s a good dynamic between the characters but this is at the other end of the spectrum to Jessica Jones or Daredevil – Supergirl is definitely more of a Saturday afternoon kind of show! Sens8 arrived this year and The Wachowskis (of The Matrix fame) delivered an experience that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It was a fun, if at times confusing, tale of 8 individuals from around the world that are psychically linked. It certainly looked great, especially with it being shot in different locations across the globe.

TV 2015 Newsroom

I thoroughly enjoyed the final season of The Newsroom, which arrived too late for last year’s round up. The cast, as always, delivered some superb episodes and the writing was as sharp as ever. What a fantastic show and while I was disappointed it was finishing, it was the right time to go out. Defiance also wrapped up this year and while this season was stronger than the last, it also felt like the right moment to end the show. I appreciated the return to form of some of the main characters but it was hard to maintain the impact that first season had.

I managed to catch both Season 2 and Season 3 of the amazing Orphan Black this year. As the story becomes more complex I just come to appreciate the characters even more and especially the performance of actress Tatiana Masley – who plays the majority of roles in the show. I can’t wait for Season 4, which should be great fun judging by how this season ended! I also got stuck into the first season of Gotham, which I think is a great idea for a show and I’m looking forward to seeing where they take it from here.

TV 2015 Blindspot

Blindspot was another highlight for me – the story of a woman with amnesia, covered in tattoos that lead the FBI to different clues and cases as they try to work out who she is and why she landed on their doorstep. The Blacklist returned for its third season and although we only got the first half of it this year it was quite something. Consistently one of the, if not the, best show on my television, it always brings great storylines and solid character development. And well, Raymond Reddington – who is one of the best anti-heroes in recent TV history. Shout out also to the music supervisor on The Blacklist, this season has been fantastic on the soundtrack front.

The Middle continues to entertain and, along with New Girl, remains my go-to light, half hour shows. Also keeping things light were Castle (Season 7) and Haven (Season 5), with the latter coming to the end of its run this season. Firstly Castle though, and as usual the cast keep that close-knit chemistry going which really helps to keep you interested in the show. There were a few lulls over the course of the season and the stuff about Castle going missing turned out to be a bit of a waste of time in my opinion. I did enjoy it though and look forward to more cop/writer adventures soon.

TV 2015 Librarians

Haven got back to form in its final season and concentrating on the main trio of characters was definitely a wise move. It was a shame to see it end but it had a good run across the five seasons it was on our screens. Another light hearted show I’ve been enjoying is The Librarians (Season 2) which is such wonderful, silly fun and a perfect replacement for formerly watched shows like Warehouse 13 or Charmed. This season has definitely been improved and the writing has come on leaps and bounds.

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BEST NEW SHOW

TV 2015 Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones just about steals it for 2015. It was a tough choice this year and became a three way fight between Jessica Jones, Agent Carter and Blindspot. All three have their plus points and I really enjoyed all of them. For me though, Jessica Jones was a real breath of fresh air. So much darker than I imagined and with an awesome twist on the gumshoe detective genre, it was my favourite new show this year.

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BEST SHOW

TV 2015 Orphan Black

It could only be Orphan Black. I love this show so much and having the benefit of two seasons in one year gave it the edge. It was this or The Blacklist. Both are unbelievable TV and both find me desperately wanting to see the next episode as soon as possible. Orphan Black tells a complex tale but it is well worth sticking with – the pay off is just too good. The characters, the situations… brilliant.

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So what have you guys been watching, let me know what else I should be checking out below or give me a shout on Twitter – @greghorrorshow

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GregHorrorShow: The TV of 2014

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It’s been a decent year for TV with plenty of new shows to get stuck into, with some great performances thrown in for good measure.

Let’s begin with some shows I missed out on before. Superheroes are very much in fashion and so it was no surprise to see TV networks bringing characters to the small screen and I genuinely wasn’t expecting to like Arrow (Season 1) as much as I did. Of course it’s cheesy at times but the cast is strong and once the team of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity came together the show motored to a strong conclusion. I do love a good SyFy production and having finally got around to checking out A Town Called Eureka (Seasons 1 and 2), I can see why people were raving about it. It’s a really fun show and a nice easy watch, which reminds me of Warehouse 13.

TV 2014 Arrow

I’m still catching up on Homeland (Season 3) which is as great as ever and Bones (Season 5) continues to deliver consistently strong episodes. But my one of my favourite new shows is the exceptional Orphan Black (Season 1) which is my perfect mix of thriller and sci-fi. Tatiana Maslany is superb and having to play so many different characters makes her performance so impressive.

As for new programmes I’m really enjoying True Detective, what inspired casting to pair up Matthew McConnaughy and Woody Harrelson. For me McConnaughy’s performance as Russ is one of the highlights of the year. Hostages also impressed, with the novel idea of a surgeon’s family being taken hostage until she murders the President during a routine operation. On a more light hearted note Forever has managed to fill the gap between seasons of Castle quite nicely. It’s seems a little bit all over the place at times but it’s generally enjoyable and an easy watch.

TV 2014 Hostages

I had high hopes for The Spoils Of Babylon, Will Ferrell’s ‘Darkplace-esque’ spoof of 1970’s US TV. With an all star cast including Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Alba and Val Kilmer (among others) it started strong but outstayed it’s welcome by 2 or 3 episodes if I’m being honest. The Tomorrow People had an interesting premise with a few nice twists along the way but in the end collapsed under the weight of taking itself too seriously.

While it’s only just started I’ve enjoyed a few episodes of The Librarians, the spin off show from the movie trilogy of the same name. I mean it basically *is* Warehouse 13 but hopefully it can tread it’s own path while keeping a similar, easy going tone. I also thoroughly enjoyed Awake, which only lasted a season but wrapped with a good conclusion and is well worth checking out if you get the chance. Jason Isaacs delivers a really strong performance as a man who wakes each day in alternate realities, one where he and his son survived a car accident and another where he and his wife survived.

TV 2014 Blacklist

2014 saw a host of my favourite shows return – Castle, Defiance and Haven all shone as per usual. Defiance was a little darker than last season which made it a bit of a harder watch at times but Tony Curran was superb as the wonderfully unhinged Datak Tarr. Emily Rose in Haven deserves some serious credit for managing to play two roles and keep them different enough to be convincing in both. The Blacklist came back and picked up exactly where it left off, even throwing a few more side character issues into the mix for good measure. I love this show, James Spader is just so good in his role as Raymond Reddington – another good example of a film actor transitioning to the small screen.

The Middle moved to a new home on Comedy Central and I felt the show managed to transition seamlessly. There were some stand out episodes and with Axel away at college we got to explore Sue and Brick a little more deeply. New Girl managed to handle the age old sitcom issue of two characters getting together very well without disrupting the overall group chemistry. This was the show’s best season since the original run back in 2011.

TV 2014 WH 13

True Blood and Nikita both came to an end this year and I really felt that neither came to a satisfactory ending. In both cases the final seasons felt a little rushed and all over the place, although I did appreciate the finality of the True Blood ending at least. And we finally had to say goodbye to Warehouse 13 after 5 great seasons, what a great show, possibly one of my favourite ever TV shows, and they went out with a bang as expected.

I genuinely couldn’t pick between these two for favourite episode this year, both were great but with very different tones. In Warehouse 13’s “Savage Seduction”, Pete and Myka “fall in” to the TV and become characters of a Latino Soap Opera which was great fun and continued the Warehouse 13 tradition of putting the characters well outside their comfort zones! For Castle’s “Disciple” it was a gripping episode where murder victims who look exactly like Lanie and Esposito freak the gang out.

And just to confirm the winners 🙂

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Best New Show: True Detective

TV 2014 True Detective

 

Best Show: Castle

TV 2014 Castle

There are still shows sitting on my planner that I need to get to – The Newsroom (Season 3), Fargo, and The Intruders to name a few and that’s without a new season (4) of Homeland and House Of Cards (Season 2) to get stuck into!

What have you guys been watching? Any recommendations?

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GregHorrorShow: TV Awards 2013

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I found myself with not that many new shows to watch this year, my TV calendar taken up by new series of my favourite shows – never a bad thing but it would’ve been nice to catch some newer stuff as well.

I’ve added in a new category this year as well for best episode, which will hopefully highlight some of my favourite TV moments from the year.

There are still a few series I want to watch but just haven’t got around to yet (Justified/Breaking Bad/Arrow etc.) but here are my picks from what I watched in 2013

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BEST NEW SHOW

TVDefiance

Winner: Defiance

Defiance is a sci-fi show set on a future Earth where aliens and humans live together in an uneasy alliance. This is a great show for some complete escapism and the characters are funny and well fleshed out. With an interesting array of alien races and the culture clashes that invariably flare up, Defiance is well written and nicely shot. Very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to season 2 hitting the UK next Summer. Netflix have made a play for the TV market this year, bringing exclusive shows and content to the service, the best of which was political thriller House Of Cards. Kevin Spacey shines as the corrupt Francis Underwood and while the breaking of the fourth wall is a little cheesy at times, it totally fits with the character. Revolution began well but fell away and The Blacklist started with a bang and doesn’t look like letting up.

Runners Up:

  • House Of Cards
  • The Blacklist
  • Revolution

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

TVNewGirl

Winner: New Girl

New Girl takes it again this year, following another great season. This is, for me, a perfect popcorn half hour show that I can enjoy, laugh and relax while watching. There’s a great chemistry between the cast and the show certainly has a natural flow, which is appealing. The Middle continues it’s good run with another strong season and I really enjoyed Cuckoo – more for Greg Davies than anything else but it was good fun. I’m also late to the party with this last one but I finally got around to starting Archer which is fairly juvenile for the most part but a nice take on the Bond superspy mythos.

Runners Up:

  • The Middle
  • Cuckoo
  • Archer

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

TVNewsroomOST

Winner: The Newsroom

Last year I found the soundtrack to The Newsroom a little too ‘on-the-nose’ lyrically a lot of the time. This season they avoided that for the most part and the use of The Who’s ‘You Better Bet’ had me digging out my greatest hits and playing it over and over again. Haven came strong with it’s score as did Nikita but this year it’s the licensed music that stood out.

Runners Up:

  • Haven
  • Homeland
  • Nikita

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BEST EPISODE

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Winner: Castle – ‘The Lives Of Others

What a way to mark 100 episodes! A ‘Rear Window’ special that saw Richard Castle incapacitated just like James Stewart in Hitchcock’s classic 1954 film. Handled in just the right way this was one of my favourite episodes of a TV show period. Keeping that Noir vibe Warehouse 13‘s ‘The Big Snag’ episode was great fun and saw Pete and Myka transported into a 1940’s crime novel 🙂 On a more serious note The Newsroom‘s ‘Unintended Consequences’ episode where Maggie recounts her harrowing Uganda experience was excellent but heavy stuff. Homeland came in hard with ‘I’ll Fly Away’ which saw Brody hit breaking point and recover only to be whisked away mysteriously (and against his will). A thrilling episode.

Runners Up:

  • Warehouse 13 – ‘The Big Snag’
  • Homeland – ‘I’ll Fly Away’
  • Newsroom – ‘Unintended Consequences’

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ACTOR OF THE YEAR (TV)

TVNewsroomJeffDaniels

Winner: Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)

Sometimes it still surprises me that this is the same Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber, such is the contrast between his role there and here. As Will McAvoy he plays it cool but with a subtle hint of simmering anger just beneath the surface. He had some juicy storylines this season and he is totally believable in the role. Nathan Fillion‘s Richard Castle is a highlight as always and while Damian Lewis shone for some of the 2nd season of Homeland I thought he had less impact this time out. Nod to Eric Balfour as Duke Croker in Haven who I felt really came into his own during the latest season.

Runners Up:

  • Eric Balfour (Haven)
  • Nathan Fillion (Castle)
  • Damian Lewis (Homeland)

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ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (TV)

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Winner: Claire Danes (Homeland)

Claire Danes brings such a ferocity to her role as Carrie that it’s hard to look too far past her when picking Actress Of The Year. She continued where she left off last year and took the viewer with her on the emotional rollercoaster of season 2. She has the ability to make you feel for her character, regardless of whether you agree with what she’s doing – which is always a powerful tool for an actor. Alison Pill probably came the closest to Danes, her harrowing storyline was told via her behaviour long before the details emerged – as well as an extreme haircut she was struggling to contain everything emotionally in a fantastic performance. Emily Rose, as usual, delivered in Haven and Joanne Kelly handled a serious plotline in a perfect way for her character in Warehouse 13.

Runners Up:

  • Joanne Kelly (Warehouse 13)
  • Emily Rose (Haven)
  • Alison Pill (The Newsroom)

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TV Show Of The Year

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Winner: The Newsroom

It’s always difficult to pick a winner for Show Of The Year when there are so many great shows on TV at the moment. I love a lot of the sci-fi stuff like Haven and Warehouse 13 but also lighter stuff like Castle or Nikita. And that’s not to mention more tense programmes like Homeland or The Blacklist. But the one show that has excelled, again, with it’s writing, directing and acting has been The Newsroom. Aaron Sorkin’s writing is superb and with the season being only 10 episodes long it has left me craving more. I can’t wait to see more of this next year.

Runners Up:

  • Warehouse 13
  • Castle
  • Homeland

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There were other shows I enjoyed this year, such as True Blood and Marvel: Agents Of Shield (which I only saw a few episodes of) but they just didn’t come close to any of the winners above.

What have you guys been watching? Any recommendations?

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GregHorrorShow: TV Awards 2012

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A lot of my favourite shows returned in 2012 and a few new upstarts arrived on the block.

So let’s get going – here are the GregHorrorShow TV Awards for 2012 🙂

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BEST NEW SHOW

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Winner: Homeland

Homeland exploded onto our screens early in the year, following lots of press and column inches from the US. For once the hype was justified and its tale of a returning P.O.W from the Middle East had us all gripped through the entire series. Big nod to The Newsroom, which is now one of my favourite shows of recent years and also to great new comedy New Girl, which has been fantastic. Unfortunately my curse of supporting shows that don’t make it to a second season continued as the excellent Alcatraz was canned at the end of it’s run.

Runners Up:

  • The Newsroom
  • Alcatraz
  • New Girl

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

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Winner: New Girl

Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl was another show that lived up to the excitement surrounding it, no mean feat when it comes to comedy. Sometimes things get lost in translation between US and UK comedy so it was refreshing that this one was so good. And it’s not just Deschanel, all of the main characters are really well written. Raising Hope goes from strength to strength and The Middle continues to impress. The Big Bang Theory has become the new Friends, every time I switch to E4 it’s on… which isn’t a bad thing.

Runners Up:

  • Raising Hope
  • The Middle
  • The Big Bang Theory

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

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Winner: Haven – Shawn Pierce

Traditionally this award has gone to a licensed soundtrack of existing tracks but Shawn Pierce’s wonderful, creepy score for Haven compliments the show so well it deserves some recognition. As Haven builds towards the close of the second season (here in the UK at least) the score stands out more and more. You check out some clips here.

Runners Up:

  • The Middle
  • New Girl
  • The Newsroom

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ACTOR OF THE YEAR (TV)

HomelandLewis

Winner: Damian Lewis – ‘Nicholas Brody’ (Homeland)

It’s hard to look beyond Lewis this year because his performance as Brody is just so believable. A truly fantastic piece of acting. However he was run close by Jeff Daniels as grumpy, troubled Will McAvoy in The Newsroom. Another commanding performance and I sometimes have to remind myself that this is the same guy from Dumb and Dumber! As Artie started to crumble in Warehouse 13, Saul Rubinek really delivered and Lafayette in True Blood, played by Nelsan Ellis, is still one of my favourite characters on TV.

Runners Up:

  • Jeff Daniels – Will McAvoy (The Newsroom)
  • Saul Rubinek – ‘Artie Nielsen’ (Warehouse 13)
  • Nelsan Ellis – ‘Lafayette’ (True Blood)

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ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (TV)

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Winner: Claire Danes – Carrie Mathison (Homeland)

Again it’s Homeland that takes the award as Claire Danes really gave us a performance to remember. As Carrie disappeared down the rabbit hole Danes’ acting was absolutely stunning – I think some of the besting acting I’ve seen. Allison Scagliotti, as Claudia Donovan, had a much larger role to play in Warehouse 13 this year and Stana Katic delivered once again as Kate Beckett struggled to readjust to life on the force in Castle. Audrey has been dealing with revelation after revelation in Haven and Emily Rose gives a brilliant, emotionally driven performance.

Runners Up:

  • Allison Scagliotti – ‘Claudia Donovan’ (Warehouse 13)
  • Stana Katic – ‘Kate Beckett’ (Castle)
  • Emily Rose – ‘Audrey Parker’ (Haven)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

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Winner: The Newsroom

As much as Homeland dominated in terms of performances and storytelling, the one show I starting looking forward to more than any other was The Newsroom. Setting it just a year prior to current events meant that things felt fresh but the audience also knew how things would eventually pan out. As mentioned above Jeff Daniels is great but Alison Pill as Maggie and Sam Waterston as Charlie were brilliant. Also a big shout out to Olivia Munn who I only knew as a presenter of G4’s ‘Attack Of The Show’ for proving she’s a strong actress as well. It’s not afraid to pull any punches, which is why I think The Newsroom has proved so popular.

Runners Up:

  • Warehouse 13
  • Haven
  • Homeland

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So there we go, another year of TV over. What have you guys been watching?

Just one more set of awards to go now – the GregHorrorShow Game Awards for 2012 should be live on Monday so keep an eye out!

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