Wednesday 23 December 2009

TV reviews of 2009

So, what did I enjoy on TV in 2009?

There's been some great TV. I think. My memory is so poor I can only remember what's been on in the last couple of months. So best new sitcoms would be Miranda, Gary Tank Commander, How Not To Live Your Life, and Home Time - plus something that I know must have been on in the first half of the year but that I've totally forgotten. Overall favourite sitcom of the year is Big Bang Theory which we discovered on Catch Up in the summer and have watched two whole series of since. Also excellent were The Thick Of It, Peep Show, Gavin & Stacey, Outnumbered and the IT Crowd. And Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Daily Show, but they go without saying. The comedy show that really was missing was The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, about which I shall try and do something in 2010.

Best drama was, I guess, Torchwood Children Of Earth, or Being Human. Surely there was something else that really stood out? Oh yeah, started watching The Wire nightly on BBC 2. Got through series 1 (the excellent series) and series 2 (the Why's Everyone White All of a Sudden? series) then during series 3 I was missing so many episodes things made less and less sense and it started to feel repetitive and boring. It remains the longest US TV drama series I've stuck with since the X Files, but still not something I'll ever see all of. (I've still not seen 24, Sex In The City, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, CSI, The Sopranos and many more, life is now officially too short for me to catch up).

On balance I must have avoided more TV than I watched, I guess everyone did. In our household we dipped into a few box sets. Best of the year was complete Bilko, which Hev picked up at a charity shop, is an excellent find. Every episode a classic, many I'd never seen, many laugh out loud funny, and the box set included TV interviews, the pilot and other fun rarities. A fave from my birthday was a Dr Who box set with Sea Devils and Silurians in (two highly enjoyable Pertwee classics, followed by an abysmal Peter Davison story, tolerable only for the commentary, where Peter Davison & Janet Fielding rip the piss out of it).

I'm happy not to have seen: X Factor (not a moment), Big Brother (first night only, the best bit of which was Charlie Brooker's Tweets), Strictly (none), Britain's Got Talent (first night inc Susan Boyle, then no more), I'm A Celebrity (not a second) and any lesser reality shows. Watched The Apprentice, kidding ourselves that it's not that bad, and the disappointing School Of Saatchi and Philip Starck thing. I was envisaging the Sitcom Trials following in the mould of the last two, but was left realising even I might not watch it if it did.

I must have seen more trivial filler TV than anything else. Mornings when I don't have to go into schools or get to early meetings I see The Wright Stuff, which is a well above average morning chat show. It's not quite the Today show, but it's not insulting to the intelligence. Which I can't say of BBC Breakfast, which now seems to devote its last half hour to being an advert for Strictly or a plug for bad movies or celebraity autobiographies. The One Show is actually really good fun, though I do try not to watch it, it's just there when you're too busy to turn it off, and dammit parts of it are interesting without actually being intellectually challenging. And I was on it in 2008, which still gives me a fondness for it. (That said, the Socks appeared on The Culture Show, and I find that really hard to watch. The presentation style changes so much between series that it has no continuity and always makes you nostalgic some something they used to do that they don't do any more. They should settle on a style for at least two consecutive series.)

The only must see TV in our house is University Challenge, and ,when it's on, Only Connect. The funny panel games usually entertain, with Mock The Week this year having the edge over HIGNFY and QI (which is, I think, running out of interesting facts), though We Need Answers is too shouty for me, and It's Only A Theory stutters. What The Dickens on Sky Arts is good, and Would I Lie To You has its moments.

I'm sure there was something that knocked my socks off that I have subsequently forgotten. If there is, I shall write it in these brackets here (addendum: I'd forgotten Psychoville, Harry Hill's TV Burp and Mad Men). I take that to mean I was so busy having an actual life, which I must look back over next.

Merry Christmas world.

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