This needs to be a 2 part effort, for sanity's sake. Sorry, I just ramble a lot.
So for the most part 2010 was my return to fandom! YAY! There's two things you should know about this first:
- I worked on cruise ships for 2 years (more on this in Part 2)and was completely out of the loop regarding all things pop culture until the end of 2009. As you can see I had some serious catching up to do, not only with shows I used to watch, but also with new ones that had popped up on my radar and old ones I'd always meant to watch.
- I didn't own a TV in 2010 at all until about two weeks ago and therefore had no access to current TV shows that aired in this past year with some rare exceptions of what my parents recorded to their DVR that I can watch on a weekend visit (Big Bang Theory, HIMYM, Grey's Anatomy & Biggest Loser) and what I could view on Hulu when I felt like it (Lost, Flash Forward & Glee). Actually, I still only have access to Hulu due to not having an antenna for my TV. But I do have much better online access to current shows thanks to some tips from some friends.
First, let me preface all this by admitting, I have unreasonably high standards for series finales. You can blame that directly on HBO's Six Feet Under and the most brilliant finale of all time series finales. You don't even have to have watched the show to get the significance of the final 5 minutes of the show. It's just touching and beautiful. Makes me bawl every time. Note to head writers: THIS is how you end a character based drama series!!
So, first up I caught up on LOST just before the final season began. Honestly it's all a blur now because Lost really lost my devotion after season 3. I couldn't get obsessive over it the way I had and then I moved to chicago, then I got a job on ships and that pulled me away from it. I found myself not giving a crap about the show anymore. To me they'd so totally warped the original characters and my love for them that I didn't really recognize them or the crazy storylines anymore. I couldn't be bothered. However, early in 2010 when I caught up on the series I have to say I did re-gain some adoration for the delicious Desmond and the quirky/crazy physicist Daniel. Also I have to admit the Sawyer/Juliet relationship took me by surprise and felt contrived and forced at first, but I ended up really liking it in the end and kept waiting for a big pay off. Typical that I didn't get much of a payoff - but it wasn't as horrible as others I've seen so meh I can't complain too much. In all honesty I hated the finale at first, now it's grown on me some and I'm glad there was some closure for *most* of the characters, but they had such a big ensemble that many were sure to get left out, sadly. The finale should really have been stretched over 2 or three episodes to do it real justice IMO. Like I said though, my devotion for it died a long time ago, so eh...
Right after that I finished Season 3 & 4 of HEROES which was disappointing for the most part but planted an evil Claire/Sylar shipping seed in my head. Seriously, she hates him with a fiery passion and he's convinced they'll eventually end up together, because hey after 500 years of being the only two people in the world that can't die it's BOUND to happen. Plus he's Sylar, he's hot and he's uber hot in his nerdy Gabriel Glasses! *drools* I like that they made him vulnerable as Gabriel showing it might be possible for him to get away from his serial killer tendencies. Oh, and I'm convinced there was a little Sylar/Peter action going on when they were stuck --- wherever it was that they were stuck. :) The final seasons were completely lacking in the BroYay! though. I seriously missed the Peter/Nathan competition/tension all the time. As for the series finale? Meh... made me sad honestly. Claire's father was right, that people weren't ready for the truth and that it was putting a lot of innocent people in danger. But at the same time someone has to be the first ones to stand up for what is right against whatever form of prejudice is happening and so I admire that she had the courage to reveal herself. It didn't bother me that the series wasn't renewed except that Zachary Quinto (Sylar) wouldn't be on my tv screen. So, naturally I just follow his tweets on twitter now.
After watching those two on Hulu l I finally caved and subscribed to Netflix. First order of business was Torchwood which had been recommended to me by several friends. I remember thinking after watching all three seasons that I wish I had watched Doctor Who first, but now I look back and I'm really glad I watched Torchwood first because I think it might have been a let down had it been reversed. That said, it wasn't reversed and I fell in LOVE with Jack Harkness! Fangirl, all-the-way! I love that in Torchwood he's not as hokey and one-dimensional/one-track-minded as he's been written in episodes of Doctor Who. The history of Jack's story combined with his sheer "51st century" sex appeal is what MAKES this show for me. I am sorry to say they could get rid of all the main characters as long as they keep him around and I'm quite certain the show would survive. That said, I was perfectly content with the awesomeness that was supposed to be "the end" of Torcwood known as Children of Earth! This was another epic ending (or so I thought) to a series. I'm honestly not sure how they're going to top it. I'm afraid they can't, but time will tell and I won't argue with anyone who wants to put Jack Harkness back on the TV screen.
After all that Epic!TV!Drama! I had to take a break. So I finished the bit of season 2 Pushing Daisies that I had left. Can I just say how sad I am that show got canceled? It was beautiful, funny, quirky and happy. I'm sure now that's WHY it got the ax, not enough drama to sustain... still. Ned the pie maker? I <3 him! After that was Season 4 of Ugly Betty but about 4 episodes in I realized I'd not seen Season 3, but I was too hooked on Season 4 to go back. I'll watch Season 3 at some point, but I have to say I was VERY pleased with the finale of Ugly Betty. I love how open ended it was and the tinge of "maybe/maybe not" between Betty and Daniel. That said though, I had a super soft spot for Betty/Gio and still don't know what happened there. I'm guessing that's a season 3 thing I missed... ?? Ah well, I loved the ending anyway!!! It was a fantastic show as a whole and I hope there's more feel good creative tv like it and Pushing Daisies in the future.
After all that I took a break from TV series. My brain can only take so many weekend veg outs watching 5+ hours of tv episodes back to back. And when I get hooked on a TV show my need-to-watch-everything-now drive kicks in. I'm sure it's not the best way to watch a TV show, but it's what I do. So for a while I just watched a lot of movies I'd missed out on the last couple years and took advantage of the HUGE library of documentaries Netflix has. I can't even count the number of Documentaries (many excellent or at least thought provoking) I've watched at this point. I'll have to go back and review my queue at some point. I fell in love with the excellent (if dated) PBS series hosted by Carl Sagan called COSMOS and the awesome Stephen Hawking series Into the Universe.
After my documentaries kick I got into full on Jane Austen/BBC mini-series mode. Two of my favorite books have been and will always be Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. It's the romantic grew up on too many disney movies girl in me. Naturally, I LOVE the BBC miniseries for P&P with Colin Firth. I'm also one of the few who mostly liked the newer film version too. And I ADORE the film version of Persuasion that stars Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. None of these were new viewings for me though, so I ventured out and finally watched the '95 Sense & Sensibility (yeah shoot me, I'd never gotten around to actually watching it!) then I started watching the 1970's/80's BBC/Masterpiece Theater versions of the classics. Some were ok and others were just laughable. The 1980's version of P&P seems like several hilarious episodes of "Days of Our Lives". I also watched newer specials like the '09 version of Wuthering Heights which was quite good and featured a surprise appearance from the guy who played Owen on Torchwood! Then, in a stroke of what I can only consider fever induced insanity I watched a little teen-diddy called Lost in Austen and I don't know if it was because I had such low expectations or my years of experience with fanfic but I found it surprisingly cute! It's no uber drama, but it has it's charms.
Next up? My parents told me about this interesting sounding series Flash Forward. Let's be perfectly honest though, they had me at Joseph Finnes. Luckily for a while Hulu had all of Season 1 during the winter olympics break so I got caught up for the second half of the series. I found the premise very interesting and the conspiracy storyline reminded me a lot of early ALIAS days, but like LOST I believe this show suffered from too many damn characters syndrome which is a pig part why I think it got canceled. It just took TOO long to tell the story. I loved the idea of the flash forwards though because they could always end the show on a Flash Forward and still give it some closure. I wish there'd been at least one more season, but I kind of understand why there wasn't.
Then I decided that it was time to jump into the EPICNESS that is Doctor Who.
- Let it be known that I am a big fan of Christopher Eccleston. As someone else once said, I'd watch him lick envelopes. "Shallow Grave" is one of the very few thriller type movies I enjoy watching because of him and Ewan McGregor. (Let's not get me started on Ewan love though... we'd be here for hours.) Anyway he's my FIRST Doctor, he's NINE the tortured soul and protector of earth. He's the Doctor who takes and ordinary shop girl and shows her all of time and space. Like Rose, I fell in love with the Doctor and what he had to offer. So at the end of season one I wanted to kick Mr. Eccleston's ass for not staying on for a second season.
- It took me a few weeks to get up the courage to start Season 2. I remembering being baffled how a show could change it's lead actors and realistically survive. I soon found out though. I will admit it took me a while to warm up to David Tenant's TEN, however his humor is what got me in the end and eventually he really grew on me. "The Impossible Planet/The Satin Pit" from S2 are among my fave of that season. I was sad but kind of relieved to see Rose go after S2 because I like idea of the Doctor having different companions. Plus we all knew this could never be a real Love Story that would last.
- Season 3 was very hit and miss for me, but I really thought Martha was awesome. The first episode where they land on the moon is so much fun! As the season wore on though I couldn't help wanting to sometimes smack Martha for constantly pining away after the Doctor. That said I felt for her in "Human Nature" which is one of my all-time favorite episodes by sheer lyrical storytelling. It throws you into the middle of the action and makes you figure out what the hell is going on. Right at the top is also the ultra famous "Blink" and fantastic "Utopia"
- Season 4 I began with major doubts. Firstly because I wasn't very impressed by S3 finale, but also because They were bringing back one-off loud-mouth Christmas companion Donna??? WHAT? WHY? But oh how I eat my words now. I'm going on record now to say that to date Donna is my absolute favorite companion. I LOVE her Catherine Tate is amazing. I'm still amazed at the reality she brought to the show. Fires of Pompeii and Planet of the OoD sealed it for me. So believe me when I tell you I was thoroughly broken-hearted at the end of Season 4. I was angry they sent this amazing woman back to her craptastic life with her horrible mother knowing if she even vaguely remembered anything amazing she did she would die. Why couldn't they just erase the part of her memory where she she merges with the doctor, or HELL at least let her keep the Christmas memory. What the hell kind of message is that the show was trying to give? I'm still bitter over it if you can't tell. I'm also convinced that even though the show reiterated a billion times no way there's no spark of romance between the Doctor and Donna that the Doctor and Donna DID, in fact love each other, way more than I have to love you because we've been through some crazy shit kind of love. They were equals in many ways. Plus, the look on the Doctors face when he sees Donna in "The End of Time" is what really convinces me. So yeah, consider me a Doctor/Donna shipper - crazy as that probably sounds. I was also super pissed that Rose ended up with this weird "Phantom Limb" version of the Doctor, but at least she got SOMETHING and she got to keep her memories. Meh. :/ Season 4 ending enrages me. But some of my very favorite episodes are in this season, including the two mentioned above and: The Doctor's Daughter, Silence in the Library, Midnight (a BIG fav of mine), Turn Left (also another big fav) and The Stolen Earth.
- Again "The Specials" that were done in place of an actual Season 5 are hit and miss for me. "The Next Doctor" was fun, but uninspiring in the end. I absolutely hated "Planet of the Dead" and even more Michelle Ryan as companion. Sorry. However, "Waters of Mars" continues to be one of my most favorite episodes to date. I LOVE the darkness of it. "The End of Time" is hit/miss for me and it felt completely disjointed. It reminded me again how much I hated S4 ending, but made me curious about what was coming with Season 5 and the new Head Writer takeover.
- After this I was glad I had to wait for Season 5 since it was still airing on BBC America. As mentioned previously I didn't own a TV at this time and I needed a break anyway after all the craziness. In the mean time I got sucked into Legend of the Seeker and when I was done with that I came back to Doctor Who. Luckily I have some awesome friends from back in my vidding days and particularly zeromuchjenn has helped me a ton in the downloads/episodes department. Jenn I've said it before and I will again, but you rock my socks with your awesomeness! :)
- Season 5 I had no idea what to expect from Matt Smith other than he was possibly the most awkward looking man I've ever seen with his unusually large head (sorry it's true) and bow tie in the promo pics. I have to say he pleasantly surprised me throughout the entire season. Right from the beginning with his fish fingers and custard I was giggling and then when he stood up to Atraxi at the end with a take no b.s. attitude I knew he was the right combination of fun and dark. There were only a few times where I found he was a little over the top with his awkwardness, but all around I LOVE him to bits and pieces. Amy pond however... I can't get a feel for her. Some days I really like her other days I want her to sit down and STFU. Rory I like, but only when he's got an actual backbone. Should be interesting to have them as a couple on the ship now that they're actually married. We shall see. I also don't know what to make of River Song. Some days she feels like a plot device, other times I'm insanely curious about her history with the doctor. I suppose that's the point though.
- The recent Christmas episode has got me really excited for this spring though! I can not even describe how much I adored Matt Smith here! I sincerely hope he will stay around for a few years time! The storytelling and acting were both phenomenal in the episode. If they keep it up I'm sure he can and probably will easily steal the "MY Doctor" title from Christopher Eccleston this season. :)
During my Doctor Who Hiatus I started watching Legend of the Seeker at the recommendation of two friends. It took me about 4 episodes to really get into it, but after ep 5 Listener and ep 6 Elixr I was HOOKED! Talk about some fantastic story telling, good acting, kick ass chicks, laugh out loud but never cheesy humor.(Ok... maybe S2 Princess was cheesy, but it was DAMN funny!) and buckets full of chemistry and UST between the two gorgeous leads!
I will never forget watching the first Mord Sith episode Denna was so horrendous and yet deliciously HOT at the same time I couldn't believe this was a show being aired on ABC Family instead of HBO! And for being an ABC family show the special effects were fantastic. It doesn't hurt that it was filmed in gorgeous New Zealand either. Shame it was canceled after 2 seasons, but I imagine the cost to produce the show was quite expensive. I plan on reading the series of books by Terry Goodkind this year.
A few month ago I was browsing through Netflix when I randomly came across BBC's North and South a 4 part mini-series I'd never heard of before. The premise intrigued me of a woman and her parents who have moved to the industrial town of Milton and face the hardships of a dirty new industrial city. From Margaret Hale's POV we see both sides of the impoverished workers and the barely getting by mill owners. What I found is possibly a story I love EVEN MORE than Pride and Prejudice. In it's skeleton it has a very similar romantic story to P&P but what makes this story is the subplot of the cotton mill workers and industrial plants that spin the cotton. It amps up the tension between the two leads and provides a heart wrenching real story of poverty and hard labor. I'm planning a picspam shortly. I LOVED this mini-series to bits and pieces. The two leads were great, but it was well acted by all, beautifully photographed/filmed and I highly recommend it!
Last, but most certainly not even close to least - in fact I'd say BEST - was Battlestar Galactica. I'm saving it for my next post though. I have to say the one thing that's a pain about renting DVD's is you have to rent each individual disc of a series at a time, so when Netflix announced that BSG was going to be available on instant streaming video starting in October I did the biggest happy dance ever. I'd been waiting YEARS to finally watch this show and now I could watch as much as I wanted via instant streaming! I had to rent the mini-series first though because for some odd reason THAT wasn't available instantly. Thus began THE show that sparked my jump back to fandom and my desire to start vidding again!