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 šŸ™‚

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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

TVMain

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 šŸ™‚ 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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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 šŸ™‚

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 2010

I spent months at the back end of last year and early this year moaning that there is nothing good on TV anymore.

Well that changed (thankfully) as 2010 went on and I spent the year with loads of great shows to watch.

There were a few disappointments (Ghost Whisperer didn’t get going until the last two or three episodes) but on the whole it’s been a great year for me on TV stuff.

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BEST NEW SHOW

WINNER: The Walking Dead

There were plenty of contenders for this one but the show that blew me away was The Walking Dead. A zombie show that’s not immediately about finding a cure but about finding your loved ones. Strong acting and a sense of tension throughout make this a must watch. In the wrong hands this could’ve been a flashy ‘McG-style’ affair but it’s under played and subtle – which makes it a lot more powerful.

RUNNERS UP:

Haven

The Middle

Nikita

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

WINNER: The Middle

The Middle came out of nowhere for me as I’d heard nothing about it but it’s become a real favourite over the last few months. The madcap tales of the Heck family are in the same vein as Malcolm In The Middle and the characterisation is superb. Each with their own little traits as a group there is a great chemistry. If it wasn’t for this show I wouldn’t spend so much time whispering Brick-style down to my chest. *whispers* To my chest. šŸ˜†

RUNNERS UP:

Miranda

Raising Hope

The Trip

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BEST FACTUAL SHOW

WINNER: An Idiot Abroad

How much of it was staged we’ll never know but regardless Karl Pilkington’s trips to the seven wonders of the World were priceless. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant really did send him to the lesser seen side of the wonders. Apart from the comedy genius that gave us it was really interesting to actually see that type of thing. The stuff they don’t show you usually. Like him being at the Taj Mahal and saying ‘look it’s beautiful but just over there they are burning dead bodies.’ A nice insight into the areas surrounding the seven wonders.

RUNNERS UP:

E Edible Adventure

Hairy Bikers Cook Off

The Football League Show

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: Glee

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Whether you love it or hate it, Glee has brought some innovative music uses onto our screens and has given Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ a new lease of life with a younger generation. Some of the mash ups on the show work really well and obviously the guys & girls are talented singers so Glee gets this years soundtrack award.

RUNNERS UP:

Castle

The Middle

Raising Hope

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Actor Of The Year

WINNER: Philip Glenister – ‘DCI Gene Hunt’ (Ashes To Ashes)

Philip Glenister takes Actor of The Year for a second successive year and if you want to know why watch the finale of the last series of Ashes To Ashes. The moment *that* truth is revealed his acting is second to none. Any of the runners up could’ve won this on a different year but Glenister set the bar very high indeed.

RUNNERS UP:

Andrew Lincoln – ‘Rick Grimes’ (Walking Dead)

Nathan Fillion – ‘Richard Castle’ (Castle)

Stephen Moyer – ‘Bill Compton’ (True Blood)

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Actress Of The Year

WINNER: Jane Lynch – ‘Sue Sylvester’ (Glee)

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The runners up for this award are all amazing actresses who do a great job week in week out. But Jane Lynch almost single-handedly carries Glee every episode. Her vitriolic outbursts as Sue Sylvester are television gold. Sylvester is a poisonous, horrible character but Lynch gives her the smallest of chinks in her armour and that is enough to give her some likeability.

RUNNERS UP:

Joanna Kelly – ‘Myka Bering’ (Warehouse 13)

Stana Katic – ‘Kate Beckett’ (Castle)

Maggie Q – ‘Nikita’ (Nikita)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Warehouse 13

This was a two way fight between Castle and Warehouse 13, with the latter just about taking it. Warehouse 13’s kooky kind of comedy/drama is a refreshing change to the serious dramas around and the dynamic of the characters relationship took on the look of a family which really helped develop things. A few stand out epsiodes (‘Around The Bend’ and ‘Reset’ in particular) made sure I stayed hooked and by the end of the season I was left wanted more.

RUNNERS UP:

Castle

Walking Dead

Glee

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Hopefully 2011 will be just as good. With a guilty pleasure of mine, Primeval, returning and with new seasons of Warehouse 13, Castle and The Middle guaranteed I’m pretty optimistic.

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