This month’s question has been a very exciting one, because I know a lot of you have strong opinions about the world of television. I decided to keep it simple for a change and asked each participant to tell me what they thought was the best TV Season of 2014. The rules were that their selection had to be judged on the specific season that was aired during 2014. For example, the Walking Dead series couldn’t be picked, but the fourth season of Walking Dead could. I also needed a few specific reasons about why that season was the winner, which you all delivered on exceptionally. I am not going to lie: part of me regretted my choice of question the second I sent out the emails. Why? Surely everyone was going to pick Game of Thrones. Thankfully, the answers were varied and some unexpected shows got thrown into the mix. However, because Game of Thrones was everyone’s second choice, I guess it wins by default. I will let Melissa Sanchez of Snap Crackle Watch go into my detail about why George R. R Martin’s show deserves so much praise to kick things off …well, after me. This is my website, so I’m going first, bitches!
Oh yeah, also the side question, which always delivers some terrific jokes was: what would you do if you had Tom Hardy for the day? Once the ladies finished salivating over the several prospects at hand, I managed to get a decent answer out of everybody. Well… almost everybody.
ORACLE OF FILM – THE BLACKLIST
There are a lot of TV shows out there to choose from and 2014 was great for television. TV has really hit the golden age, where we are stuck for choice on what to sit down and watch. I spent so much time watching TV series and I didn’t even get around to House of Cards or Penny Dreadful. I decided that my winner would have to be a newcomer. Sure, I could praise the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but we could argue that Game of Thrones is so good, because it is working off the back of three seasons setting the story in firm stone. The two newcomer shows that have really blown me away were Ray Donovan (watch the second season now), and the Blacklist. My choice, mainly because it flows better and has more fun with itself, is the Blacklist. Please, everyone catch up in time for the second season, whenever that may be.
A lot of people might skip the Blacklist, because it doesn’t pitch too well. A crack team of FBI-esque agents take on a new terrorist each week, with the help of a super-criminal that either genuinely wants to stop these terrorist attacks or has found a way to profit from these criminals being taken out of action. It sounds enjoyable, but nothing unmissable. However, it is the deeper plot points that make it so amazing. The way individual storylines weave in with the bigger picture so cleverly. The way major plot developments happen sooner than you ever suspect, because what is the point of sitting on a big secret, when the joy is in seeing how certain characters react when they realise a major change to the status quo. Or maybe if you want simple pleasures, simply lean back and let James Spader blow you away with a truly phenomenal performance as the ever-enigmatic Reddington.
A Day With Tom Hardy: Well, I already have a Batman costume, so I think I would have to recreate the epic punch-up from Dark Knight Rises. That would be a dream come true, even if I am beaten black and blue.
SNAP CRACKLE WATCH – GAME OF THRONES
As you guys know I am part of the fandom that is Game of Thrones, as I know the majority of us are, so of course my choice is season 4 of Game of Thrones. OMG it was such a good season and I am already super sad that it is over and I am sitting on pins and needles waiting somewhat patiently for season 5 to come back on. This past season was phenomenal, it had me on the edge of my seat every week, not a moment felt useless or boring, instead everything was cohesive and made sense to the larger story at hand. One that will encompass even more seasons and possibly a movie which has been rumoured to be the finale of it all.
How in the world can one contain such excitement?! This past season gave us the death of SPOILER, gasp the whole scene was played out wonderfully. We were then thrown into the whirlwind which was Sansa’s escape out of King’s Landing and Tyrion being accused of a serious crime against the realm. The list goes on and on and yes, at the end, we found out that Jon Snow still knows nothing.
My main reason for loving this season though had to be the introduction of the Dornish man, Oberyn Martell. He was played, yes past tense people, by Pedro Pascal, who did a superb job, on-screen he was charismatic to say the least and in real-life through his instagram (as I have stalked him) he seems like someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
In fact, I think he is the king of taking cool selfies with cast members. There is something fun about seeing our fave GOT actors in normal clothes, right? It’s like ok they are real people, not evil f**cking Lannisters.
As Sophie Turner, the gal who plays Sansa, just posted on her IG about Pedro, she called him a sex bomb. Yes that is what I dub him now King of the Selfies and Holder of the Sex Bomb Crown.
A Day With Tom Hardy: If I could spend a day with Tom Hardy, hmm I would go all 50 Shades of Gray on him and never let him leave my house. Yup that’s all you guys have to know, the rest is between me and my man, Tom.
CINEMA PARROT DISCO – THE GOOD WIFE
Oh man! I don’t want to miss out on answering one of Luke’s great “Question Of The Month” things but I REALLY don’t watch much TV. Too many shows have been cancelled after one season in recent years so now I only watch a show once it’s been on for a few years & looks like it’ll last (you all probably know by now that I’m finally working my way through Game Of Thrones. (Only halfway through Season 2 so SHUSH on the spoilers!!!!) 😉
Alright, then! Get ready for an answer you won’t get from anyone else here. I watched FOUR current seasons of shows this year: One I won’t admit to, One I HATED with a passion (True Detective), One I still like a lot even though no one else does anymore and the last couple seasons sure as shit can’t be considered “the best” (The Walking Dead), and The One That I Will Choose As My Answer (The Good Wife). Yes! The Good Wife! I feel like I’m the only person in the world (or at least on WordPress) who watches this. Come on, people! There are some GREAT characters! I especially love some of the lesser ones (played by people such as Alan Cumming & Archie Panjabi). Buttloads of famous people have guest starred as one offs and some with recurring roles (including Michael J Fox playing a brilliant asshole and featuring heavily in the most current season. also… Melissa George. Hear that, Eric??). And why this season was the best? Well, MASSIVE SPOILER for anyone who may watch this someday…… They killed off a VERY major character completely unexpectedly. I did NOT see that one coming. Plus there’s been a big storyline going on involving rival firms and stealing each other’s clients this season. It’s been a hell of an exciting season! I’ll be honest, though – I’m afraid it may all be downhill from here with so many changes occurring this season. We shall see…
A Day With Tom Hardy: What would I do if I had to spend the day with Tom Hardy? Well, as I’m a huge movie fan and he’s a big movie star, I’d want to spend the day discussing film with him, of course. In bed.
THE IPC – TRUE DETECTIVE
What kind of fucking question is this? TRUE DETECTIVE or death. Not only was this one of the best shows of the season, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. From the opening music to the way they set up the past and present format, to the creepy ass sets and the evil mother fuckers they’re hunting down and the overall character development put into these episodes, my mind was really blown. I watch these things ALL the time. Plus, this didn’t hurt shit:
A Day With Tom Hardy: Tom Hardy, eh? Well – if I wasn’t married hopefully we’d go around town picking up chicks and getting la- er – ice cream. Since I am married, hopefully my wife wouldn’t want to get lai – er – ice cream with him.
TIM THE FILM GUY – CONTINUUM
Well I would pick Game of Thrones or Arrow as my favourites of the year. However as these shows are so colossally popular I will instead try and get more of you to see Continuum. Continuum is one of the best Science Fiction TV shows, both today and of all time. The show is clever, really well made, incredibly relevant stories, the cast is brilliant and it features a genuine kick ass female lead. Which is sadly rare in any medium. As for most bad-ass scene… well, there are a few. The Escape from the timeline cult’s glass prison was great. The future stuff is always great. And here the best scene I could find on YouTube, Wish I could find more.
A Day With Tom Hardy: Ermmmmm… maybe get a coffee, have a chat. It would be a good opportunity to interview him.
MOVIE ROB – THE BIG BANG THEORY
This is actually an easy one. Since (like many of you outside of the USA in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia) I can’t watch US shows as they air, I need to wait until they are available first thing in the morning. Most shows, I can wait a few hours or days to watch, but there is one show that I HAVE to watch as early as I can every Friday morning by me after it airs on Thursday Night.
That show is The Big Bang Theory. It is one of the best comedies on TV these days and I love the sophisticated geek/fan boy/science fiction/ science humour. I personally fit into all 4 categories and understand most of the jokes (some science ones are waay above my intelligence, but I still get the gist). The characters are all unique and funny in their own ways and I am constantly reminded about other people I know who are similar to the 4 “nerds/geeks” and their 3 girlfriends. I love how Chuck Lorre was able to combine so many elements to create such a hilarious show that doesn’t need to stoop to toilet humour all the time to be funny. He also knows how to add touching and romantic moments that make us love the characters even more. There are lots of scenes this season that I really enjoyed, but I think the best one is the one below. Check it out!
A Day With Tom Hardy: We’d go to a shooting range and shoot at day (he offered to foot the bill for as many bullets as we need to have a fun day).
SILVER SCREEN SERENADE – TRUE DETECTIVE
This very well may be Luke’s hardest question yet because there’s soooo much good TV out there right now! It’s a fantastic problem to have. But after much deliberating, I have come to the conclusion that for me (and at least one or two other people on this list, I’m sure), HBO’s True Detective was the show of the year–mostly because of the phenomenal performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, but also because of what a surprise it was. I feel like this show came out of nowhere and completely blew everyone away with a compelling story, strong characters, and an awesome style that I’ve never seen from anything else before. I mean, have you seen the amazing six-minute tracking shot from the end of episode four? Have you heard some of the crazy awesome stuff McConaughey’s Detective Rustin Cohle spouted throughout the season? And, most importantly, have you tested out “L’chaim, fatass,” Cohle’s special way of saying goodbye to someone he loathes? Basically, guys, if you haven’t already, you really need to go watch this show. Check out The IPC’s True Detective post for further proof.
Oh, and here are some honorable mentions for my favorite TV show: Games of Thrones (a very, very close second place), Hannibal, Arrow, Sherlock, American Horror Story: Coven.
A Day With Tom Hardy: As for this Tom Hardy business…I guess I’d take him to lunch somewhere with tasty Mexican food and offer to pay but secretly hope he would pay because he’s a freaking Hollywood A-lister who could probably fill a swimming pool with his money and I…well, I’m not. I would pester him for insider info about The Dark Knight Rises and Inception because I geek over Batman and Inception is one of my favorite films. I’d ask him which actors are nice and which ones are jerks because I’m nosy. I would sneak in a bicep squeeze because look at the freaking MUSCLES on that man. But that would be all I’d try because he’s taken and I’m a good girl! Unless he happened to find and snuggle a puppy at some point, and then all bets are off. I’ve seen pictures of him snuggling puppies, and it melts my heart.
SIDEKICK REVIEWS – GAME OF THRONES
In the fourth season of HBO’s highly popular fantasy series, Game Of Thrones showed no signs of slowing down and arguably put forth its finest effort. Executive Producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff hit the sweet spot between setting up story lines and paying them off with game-changing events not only in the finale but throughout the season. Kick-starting Season Four, there was the death of a major character, resulting in a chain reaction of twist and turns; ultimately putting in peril the lives of two fan favourite characters, Tyrion Lannister and Oberyn Martell.
Though one story among many, the trial by combat between the Mountain versus the Red Viper is the pinnacle moment of the season. Gory but intensely dramatic, exhilarating yet despairing, it was the culmination of a brilliantly executed portrayal of a newly introduced character, not to mention award worthy performance by actor Pedro Pascal. Since I’m aware of how events unfold in the books, I enjoy vicariously experiencing these water-cooler moments on the television show through fan-made reaction videos. The best of these videos is at a neighbourhood bar, the crowd going from an anxious silence to ecstatic cheers and finally heart-broken gasps of shock as blood literally exploded out of a combatant’s crushed skull.
With a narrative that spans across continents and the largest cast on television, Game Of Thrones may not achieve the airtight writing of Breaking Bad, but Season 4 is a prime example of the show’s immense scale and ambition. On a sizeable television budget, the epic Battle At The Wall was memorably adapted from the book, complete with giants riding woolly mammoths and a massive dismembering scythe. By adding some scenarios not in the books it made for some great surprises for faithful readers, the best of them by far is Brienne’s brutal cliff top fight against the Hound. After the deadly season finale, the political landscape shifts once again and more than ever the Iron Throne is ripe for conquest. Bring on Season 5!
A Day With Tom Hardy: If I’d spend a day with Tom Hardy I’d watch an advance copy of Mad Max: Fury Road, learn how to do a killer Bane impression from Bane himself and ride shotgun as we sight-see his home town of London.
WHAT ABOUT THE TWINKIE – THE MUSKETEERS
As some of you may know, I don’t tend to have much time to watch television, and this makes answering Luke’s question of the month a little difficult. In between work, watching films, writing about films and making a poor attempt at a social life I tend to put TV shows on the back-burner. I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, I’ve seen one episode of Breaking Bad and about four episodes of Sons of Anarchy. I’ve also seen the first season of The Walking Dead, but I’ve not seen anything else to do with it yet. The problem I have with TV is commitment. I can watch a film and in two hours, love it or hate it, I’m done with it. But with a TV show, after two hours I’m barely scratching the surface. I think the thought of having to commit to something for anything from 12-24 episodes is somewhat off-putting for me.
Despite this, there are numerous shows that I am either a huge fan of, or really want to get into. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favourite shows of all time, as is Firefly. The rebooted Battlestar Galactica was some of the best television I have ever seen, while Southland was one of the best cop dramas going, and that didn’t get enough credit in my opinion. I also love Hannibal, but that is another show I have failed to keep up with. I would say that thanks to Netflix, I am now getting the chance to catch up on some shows that I previously hadn’t been able to, and right now I am working my way through season 2 of American Horror Story. The anthology horror series has a great premise and a fine cast too. Jessica Lange has been particularly great in both seasons so far, and I really am looking forward to seeing the other seasons of this brilliant show.
Keeping with the actual question this month, I have to pick a season from a show that aired in 2014. As such, my answer would be BBC’s The Musketeers. There is a great sense of swashbuckling adventure that you don’t see a lot of these days, and it made for fun, pulpy television. The Musketeers may be far from perfect, and few shows are in their first season, but the mix of action and interesting characters let the viewer forgive the show some of its more generic plot elements. Also, having Peter Capaldi chew the scenery and steal each scene as the villainous Cardinal is worth tuning in for alone. I grew fond of the characters as the show moved through its first season, and the actors clearly grew into their roles. The ten episode run of the first season felt right to me, and prevented the show from falling into the trap of having too many filler episodes. The Musketeers grew with each episode and shows great promise for season two.
A Day With Tom Hardy: Well I really don’t know what we would do, but whatever happened would be beautiful.
SPORADIC CHRONICLES OF A BEGINNER BLOGGER – HANNIBAL
Best TV show of the year? Undoubtedly Hannibal. There are no two ways about it. I mean True Detective was great and all, but I am seriously obsessed with Hannibal. It thrills me endlessly. In season two, Will Graham is locked in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, while the serial killer/psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter is free after having framed Will. The FBI has turned its back on Will, and Alana Bloom, his love interest, turns to Hannibal and gets in pretty deep with him. Will, on the other hand, starts playing Hannibal’s game with him, and the entire season is an intricate chess game that unfolds gloriously before you. Everything had a purpose. Some new characters were introduced (such as the Vergers), and many plot points came to be. Hannibal is just perfectly constructed. It is shot so well and is stunning to look at. The dialogue is deliberate, and the cast is perfect. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy play off of each phenomenally, just watching them together is worth it.
A few scenes that seriously had me squirming in my seat from absolute excitement? Will being wheeled off the truck in Hannibal’s push cart, straitjacket and plastic mask (I cannot tell you how much I fucking love this). Also, Hannibal discovering Beverly Katz in his basement? WOW. All that scene shows you is the predator being awoken. His movements are so unnatural. I had to laugh at Price and Zeller talking about Freddie Lounds’ corpse making a reappearance after her burial. The gem used? “Just one night in the ground. That beats Jesus by 48 hours.” You know what? I am going to stop there, I can go on and on about it.
A Day With Tom Hardy: Spend the day with Tom Hardy? Dammit I would love to chat movies, but I will find a theme park, so that I can do my duty as best friend and send him off to Natasha and still be entertained for the day.