Posts Tagged ‘ torchwood ’

2008-09 – The Glittering Awards Show

It’s been a while since I’ve had much respect for the people who have power over the likes of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The last couple of years in particular have frustrated me with the same shows and people getting nominated over and over with very worthy candidates overlooked in a way that even critics don’t seem to understand. This year is no exception. So here’s a shamelessly long list of my favourites from the year.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Hugh Laurie (House) – the show might be mediocre, but the character and acting is superb. He’s got a fourth Emmy nomination and maybe this will be the year he actually wins
  • Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) – his character is extremely private trying to keep his emotions hidden, and yet you always know exactly what he’s thinking through subtle and careful acting
  • Edward Olmos (Battlestar Galactica) – another very strong season in Battlestar Galactica, portraying a man who is tired, and old and very close to being overcome, yet still has so much pride.
  • Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) – I doubt he’d appear on anyone else’s list, but if not for the fact he’s in a show about ghosties and it’s on The CW I think he’d get a lot of attention. His character has a hell of a lot of stuff thrown at him this season (literally) and he does everything from pratt-falls to full on emotional breakdown impressively.
  • Simon Baker (The Mentalist) – I originally sniffed at his Emmy nomination, but to fill out the category he’s not a bad choice. It’s an interesting character and pulls it off with charm and grace and occasional scary darkness, but I suspect if I’d seen this season of Dexter, Michael C. Hall would have taken this place.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
It’s tough taking this down to just five people, so I cheated a bit!

  • James Callis (Baltar, Battlestar Galactica) – the character and actor steal every scene they’re in
  • Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt, Grey’s Anatomy) – a really great addition to the cast, bringing both strength and vulnerability and instantly slotting into the ensemble.
  • Zachary Quinto (Sylar, Heroes) – about the only stand out thing in Heroes at the moment, his character has developed depth this season but he’s still utterly chilling.
  • Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen), Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins) and Gaius Charles (Smash Williams) – I couldn’t just pick one of the guys from Friday Night Lights. Each had a superb season as their characters really grow up.
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men) – Despite the fact that the Emmy’s put him in the lead actor category, I think he actually belongs in here more. Lead actors should carry the show, Mad Men could easily continue without him. That said he is extremely good.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
I actually struggled to find 5 actresses I consider ‘leads’!

  • Sally Field (Nora, Brothers and Sisters) – a well deserved nomination. Whether she’s being the matriarch to the unruly siblings, or getting a storyline of her own about continuing to live your life at 60+, she is wonderful.
  • Mary McDonald (Laura Rosslyn, Battlestar Galactica) – she brought such dignity and passion to her final episodes as the ailing president it was heartbreaking. The relationship with Adama was perfectly played.
  • Connie Britton (Tammy Taylor, Friday Night Lights) – a character which could so easily be swept into the background in the testosterone driven town, Tammy stands up for both her own kids and those she represents as school principal while still maintaining her relationship with the Coach.
  • Emily Deschenal (Brennan, Bones) – the character of Brennan hovers at the edge of ridiculous, but with talented acting (and great chemistry with her partner) manages to stay just on the right side.
  • Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy) – this is partly a pity vote to be honest, I feel bad that she’s always overlooked for awards, but actually she’s doing a really superb job. I might not like the character much, but whether she’s using her excellent comic timing or wide eyed teariness, Pompeo always nails it.

Supporting Actress in a Drama

  • Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey, Grey’s Anatomy) – I want to have “What Would Bailey Do?” embroidered on cushions! I adore her character and like Pompeo she does a great job whether shouting or crying. Hopefully with her fourth Emmy nomination she’ll finally win.
  • Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens, Grey’s Anatomy) – Heigl was never going to get an Emmy nomination this year thanks to some dubious outbursts to the press, but she did excellent work with a difficult (and occasionally ridiculous) storyline.
  • Tricia Helfer (Six, Battlestar Galactica) – I’m not sure it’s fair that someone so pretty is so talented, but each of the multitude of characters she played on Battlestar was amazing.
  • Adrianne Palicki (Tyra, Friday Night Lights) – the writers didn’t do her character any favours this season with some wildly flip flopping choices, but Palicki was excellent throughout.
  • Taylor Momsen (Jenny Humphrey) and Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf), Gossip Girl – Both young actresses managed to make their characters more than just bitchy little drama queens. Ok they’re mostly still drama queens, but they were funny and passionate ones.

Outstanding Drama

  • Friday Night Lights – hands down the best overall show on television at the moment, it’s consistently superb throughout the season with exceptional acting and stylish direction
  • Battlestar Galactica – I’ll be the first to admit I thought ‘reimagining’ the 70s series was a stupid idea, doomed to fail. While it occasionally faltered, what this show managed to do was extraordinary. I’m so glad it got to tell its whole story.
  • Mad Men – This isn’t a show that I get really passionate about, but it is one that impresses me a great deal with its consistent quality and polish
  • Torchwood – Maybe at just five episodes it’s not a proper series, but it was so good I couldn’t leave it out.
  • Supernatural – this show is my latest obsession, but after three seasons of enjoyable fun I was really impressed at the way everything was taken to the next level for the fourth season. Characters, writing, directing and plots all shift up a gear.

Best Ensemble
A good ensemble is not just about having a group of individually talented actors and a couple of good relationships between them. It’s about being able to put any two characters from the ensemble on screen together and having it work. For all the many faults of Grey’s Anatomy, it doesn’t matter which characters end up on screen together they always have a spark. Brothers and Sisters also manages an impressive ensemble with the siblings and their extended family wonderful in just about any combination.

Best Pairings
On screen chemistry is far from easy to come by, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes in the same show. One of the big mistakes of House this year was trying to push House and Cuddy together, a couple with no chemistry and no sensible reason to be together. But at the same time the show succeeds brilliantly with the relationship between House and Wilson! Likewise, Booth and Brennan on Bones make a wonderful platonic partnership and a truly awful romantic one. Tammy and Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights make a such a lovely and believable couple because they make sense both in a relationship and as friends.

WTF?
The most startling moment of “you what now?” came not onscreen, but over the internet with the news that Fox had renewed a Joss Whedon show. I’m not sure who was more surprised, the fans or Joss himself.

Shark Jumping for Beginners
Supernatural made me laugh a lot by having an episode breaking one of the cardinal rules of shark jumping and then calling the episode “Jumping the Shark”. That’s the way you do it.
The way you don’t do it is have a character have sex with a ghost (Grey’s Anatomy) or have your main characters sleep together and then declare it all to be a dream (House, Bones).

“I only get 3 lines an episode but I really nail them”
I missed T.R. Knight on Grey’s Anatomy this season! Jesse Spencer (Chase) on House hasn’t had much to do (including cut his hair) all season and then when he and Cameron finally had a storyline he completely blew me away. I’ve got a soft spot for Scotty on Brothers and Sisters, possibly the only character who always talks sense, even if it’s only one scene every three episodes.

Most anticipated returning show
There are a number of cliffhangers that I’m eagerly awaiting the resolve of –Criminal Minds, Supernatural, NCIS and CSI:NY all ended with a bang. I’m looking forward to seeing what Dollhouse, Lie to Me and The Mentalist do with their second seasons, if they go somewhere or just bumble along. It’s an important season for Friday Night Lights, with lots of the original cast graduating and a new team to introduce. And I’m really hoping that Supernatural manages to pull off it’s potentially final season and everything its been building to.

Least anticipated returning shows
I’m not sure I’m going to bother with Grey’s Anatomy, knowing what happens in the first episode back I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch it. I’m still struggling towards the end of Heroes and am not sure I’ll bother with that unless someone tells me it gets a lot better. Ditto for House.

Most anticipated new shows
There’s some interesting scifi heading to the air this year, I’m really hoping V will manage to follow in Battlestar Galactica’s footsteps, Flash Forward will succeed where Lost failed and that Stargate Universe manages to walk the narrow line of fitting in with the franchise while still bringing something new. Eastwick has a good cast (including Paul Gross from Due South!) and will hopefully fall in the guilty pleasure category, while NCIS:Los Angeles has a good pedigree and line up staring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J. The wildcard of everything is Glee which could be cheesy fantastic fun, or cringe inducing awfulness.

All things weird and wonderful all creatures good and bad

A mixed year for science fiction, but the fact that there’s enough shows out there to have a range is good news. Whether you call it sci-fi, SF, ‘genre’ or SyFy (although I’d really rather you didn’t) it’s now an enthusiastic part of the schedule. The slightly daft fact for me is that I’m not actually watching the two “most popular” sci-fi shows on US network television. I gave up on Lost back in season 3 when I lost faith that the writers knew what they were doing. I’ve heard that the most recent season is back on form, but I’m going to wait until the series finishes to make the call as to whether to go back and watch the whole thing again. As I mentioned a couple of days ago I watched the pilot of Fringe and didn’t get on with it. However I do plan to pick it up at some point.

Even without Doctor Who British sci-fi had a pretty strong year in terms of quantity, if not necessarily quality. I’ve already mentioned the really excellent Being Human, on the flip side we have the spectacularly disappointing final season of Primeval – a show which I started watching because of the fun idea of dinosaurs tromping through modern shopping centres. Then they introduced a complex and interesting timetravel-esque storyline which made me think there was more to it than just the cgi dinosaurs. But in season 3 the cleverness disappeared, several of the original actors disappeared and my will to care disappeared along with. The resolution of the big threat was absolutely ridiculous and made the previous two seasons seem a bit of a waste.

Then there’s Torchwood. I’m always faintly nervous watching Torchwood as for some reason I really like it, despite the fact that season 1 was pretty rubbish. However season two had really picked up in quality and I was intrigued by the new formula of 5 episodes in 5 nights although vaguely of the opinion that there was no way it could possibly pull it off. By the end of the first episode I was watching with my mouth open, astounded at the quality of writing, acting and story. It reminded me a lot of Battlestar in the way that I thought it was absolutely superb, but I’m not sure I want to watch it anymore. If it comes back it’s a completely different show and that makes me a bit sad. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the ‘resolution’ of the main plot was pretty bloody stupid, but that didn’t seem to matter as much to me as it maybe should of, so I’m shoving the point in brackets.)

Two big SF shows came to an end this year. I can’t say much more about Stargate Atlantis than it was a fun way to spend 45 minutes. That’s not a bad thing, a little bit of froth was definitely needed to balance out the weight of Battlestar Galactica. It seemed to take them an extraordinarily long time to get through just 70 odd episodes of Battlestar, although any faster and my brain might have exploded. The final season continued to excel and managed a mostly satisfying resolution to all the stories and mysteries (the final cylon was absolutely inspired – I never saw it coming), although I found the character resolutions less than satisfying. There were (as always) a few decisions and directions that didn’t really seem consistent to me, but I’m willing to put up with those for the otherwise superbness of the show and the fact that it did at least End.

Speaking of things that should maybe just end… Heroes continues to struggle along. I adored this show in its first season but it’s been going downhill ever since. I didn’t hate season 2 as much as some, more disappointed at the decrease in quality than actively thinking it bad, but the first volume of season 3 may have edged into that category. The writing was sloppy and all over the place with holes you could drive a truck through. Almost everything about the show now just irritates me, from wildly flip-flopping character choices to the over use of lip gloss! I’m a couple of episodes into the next volume and I’m hating it. I watched episode 15 with a housemate last night and we spent nearly twice as long bitching about it afterwards as we had watching it. I’ll stick it out until the end of the season for the sake of completeness, but unless there’s a dramatic turnaround, I don’t think I’ll be watching the next season.

My favourite new discovery of the year is Supernatural, I picked up season 1 for just eight quid on dvd and in less than two weeks I’d burnt my way through the whole four seasons. It starts off as a fun series with cool ideas and great characters, but the fourth season takes it to a whole new level which the writers pull off with style, skill and humour. I’m really looking forward to the fifth season, the show was apparently always planned to be five years and the pacing has been perfect for it, although I’d be sorry to say goodbye to the characters at the end of the year.

Torchwood: Season 2

Season 2 of Torchwood actually lived up to what it should be! Everything seems to have settled down – characters are more comfortable and relaxed, the stories darker and more intense and the writing (generally) more fluid. There were still some real clunking moments, cheesy acting and awful dialogue but no worse really than most other shows on television. The season end was pretty depressing and I’m not sure how the show will continue next season, but I actually find myself looking forward to finding out.

Torchwood: Season 1

Oh my word, how can something with so many right ingredients go so badly wrong. I love Dr Who, it’s a brilliantly written show, with a talented cast of regulars and guest stars and superb production values. When they announced that there was going to be a more grown up spin-off lead by Captain Jack it seemed like a safe bet. What turned up was a messy, cheesy, hole-ridden, painful show that was unsuitable for kids, unappealing to adults and just completely wrong.

The aim appeared to be to make a darker Dr Who, but it ended up seeming like a show written by 14 year olds about what they thought being grown up was. Lots of swearing and sex with very little justification or weight behind any of it. The characters were either incompetent, self-important, underused, irritating or all of the above, even Captain Jack was a lot less fun after being dead and John Barrowman just didn’t seem to be able to manage to pull off the more dramatic elements without hamming it up.

This show is just plain bad. I only kept watching because I couldn’t see how the people that made Dr Who so great could make something so bad.