GregHorrorShow: The TV of 2014

TV 2014 Main
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

TVCastle

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)

TVClaireDanes

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

TVNewsroomTVShow

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

CastleMain

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

HomelandNew

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

NewGirlComedy

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

HavenMusic

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)

HomelandDanes

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

NewsroonMain

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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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 🙂

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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