Laure's Best of 2013


Twenty thirteen, I hardly knew ye. It’s surreal that it’s almost over.

This is my first year end post and I hadn’t been preparing for it at all. Since I’m still a novice here at Doux Reviews, I am going to attempt to provide a quickish rundown of what I spend my time watching every week instead of the traditional “best of.” 2013 hasn’t been a bad year between television and me. I got great continuations of stories that I love plus a few new shows to sweeten the deal. Here is the good, the bad and the wastes of time.


LOVE AFFAIRS
These are the shows that I can’t wait to watch every week. The reasons I am unwilling to make plans during specific chunks of time, because even an hour delay in my viewing pleasure is unacceptable.

Witches of East End
What can I say? It will forever be the show that made me a writer for Doux Reviews, and that makes it my best show of the year!! From the over-the-top spelling to the heartfelt parenting moments, this is a show that’s appealing to a wide variety of audiences. This first season has been pretty strong, not perfect, but a lot of fun and very entertaining. Aunt Wendy seems to be the stand out favorite. She keeps the show fresh and on its toes. An episode started one minute late. One minute. And I had a small panic attack, because I thought it wasn’t going to air. If that doesn’t say something I don’t know what does. There is something to love in all four of the main characters. The actors all bring something different to the table that meshes to make a believable family unit. Can’t wait to review the rest of season one! Hopefully those reviews will hold us all over until season two.

The Originals
I can’t say enough good things about this show. I wasn’t stoked when I first heard about the spin-off and didn’t plan on even watching the pilot, but it has proven to be a highlight. Right now it even out ranks its predecessor on my list. Klaus’s petulant attitude is still grating, but Elijah, Rebecca and Haylie more than make up for it. Especially Rebecca, unlike Klaus, getting her own show has done wonders for her personality! The writers took the character from bratty nuisance to loveable sister and friend with just a few episodes. The writing gives us well defined and snappy characters that compliment the story and each other with ease, and I’m growing to love so many of them. Using New Orleans as a back drop is icing on the cake. The city is almost another character with all of its history and charm.
Rebecca gets my favorite character award.
Elijah and Haylie get my favorite almost couple award. (Did anyone see that coming? I sure didn’t. The chemistry is electric!)
Plus The Originals gets my favorite new show award!

Pretty Little Liars
This show is outrageous, suspenseful and a lot darker than I would have guessed. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure, except I don’t feel guilty about watching. Anyone that doesn’t mind a bit of soap with their mystery and intrigue should give this show a try. Seriously. It’s better than the commercials make it seem.

DRINKING BUDDIES
These are the shows that I don’t ditch people mid-sentence to watch, but still catch every week. Sometimes I have to grab a cocktail or crossword puzzle or laundry to fold to sit through the whole epsiode.

Supernatural
I’m going to paraphrase Billie here, who paraphrased Xander in one of her reviews… Me love Supernatural. Supernatural hasn’t been cancelled. Me happy.

Revenge
This show has taken some flack over the last couple of seasons, and I understand why. I definitely have to tackle this show with a glass of wine nowadays whereas season one would have sat comfortably in the “Love Affair” section, but I still want Emily to avenge her father. In my book if I’m still invested in what the characters are doing, then all is not lost. Bonus points… next season has certainly been set up to take us closer to the first season set-up.

The Americans
What a crazy concept. Let’s make a show that everyone knows the ultimate outcome of (thereby choking out much of the suspense), where all the characters are a murky shade of grey (thus giving the audience no one to root for) and let’s make it a spy drama without most of the shticks that most spy dramas rely on. On paper this show shouldn’t work and some elements do wear a smidge thin, but it works! This show has some magic. No traditional elements that make for a good spy drama like sexy disguises a la Sydney Bristow or superhumanisms a la Jason Boerne, but somehow it’s still a fun ride.

TRAIN WRECKS
Sometimes I will continue to watch a once beloved show out of… I don’t know what. Obligation? Habit? Brain damage of some kind? Maybe I’m under hypnosis? Whatever magic it is, these shows have it in spades.

Sons of Anarchy
When I was told there was one season left, my only thought was “good.” I came to the sons party late during season 3 or 4, and I could not get enough. I got caught up in a matter of weeks what took years to play out. The complicated history, the drama and the break-neck pace all wove together creating a super entertaining hour. All of the characters danced off the screen the way most shows struggle to make happen for even one character. Since then, however, the characters have all become inherently unlikeable and it’s proving hard to root for someone when I could care less if they blown up.
Gemma Teller-Morrow gets my least favorite/most hated/most despicable character award, but Jax Teller was a cloooooose second!

American Horror Story: Coven
This is the first season I’ve watched of this franchise. It was New Orleans and witches that initially attracted me and there is interesting character work and intriguing story lines, but it’s the show that is most like a train wreck. The show that inspired this section’s title is a mess of blood, gore and horror but I can’t seem to look away. There are multiple times in every episode that I cringe and change the channel.
Kathy Bates gets my outstanding acting award for her work here.

Once Upon A Time
I’m not sure where this show should go, but this season hasn’t been the joy to watch it once was, but I would be upset if I couldn’t check in on my favorite fairy tale characters anymore… so I put it here. I am positive that it can be turned around so I hope the writers are up to the task of bringing back the show I love (and Cinderella, the writers should feel free to bring her back and make her more interesting, they have my official approval).
I could never get into Wonderland, but I do like the ideas of spin-offs from this show taking us to other faraway lands!

These shows have all turned me off in big ways. I sometimes even dread sitting down to watch them, but still I do it. Here’s hoping 2014 moves them back up the list or at least wraps them up in satisfying ways.

There you have it. A little insight to me.
Happy New Year to you all!

10 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations on your first "best", Laure!

I have to agree about The Originals. I didn't think it would appeal to me, but I'm really enjoying it and liking Rebekah, Elijah and Klaus more than I thought I would. Witches of East End is just fun to watch, and I love that it's centered on *four* female characters. And I do still love Supernatural. Reviewing it is never a chore, even after eight years.

Couldn't hang in for Revenge this season; it just started to bore me. Oh, well. If it continues to improve, maybe I'll catch up sometime.

Luce said...

I keep hearing good things about The Originals--enough for me to eventually catch up with S1. Oh, and Witches of East End too! (Maybe during the 2014 summer hiatus?)

Revenge has, imho, bounced back from the mess that was S2. It might be a little same-y in some areas (see: Emily vs. Victoria, round 20), but things are meaty enough for me to keep tuning in.

I finally tuned in about 2 weeks before S3 of AHS was going to start because I'd read a review of S2 and couldn't believe all that had happened. In addition, I caught up with S1--if only to have something to compare S2's epicness against. S3 is kinda all over the place (mainly because TPTB are unable to handle deep issues like the history of racism in America and women's roles in society.) BUT, I find it watchable due to the super combo of awesome female actors such as Jessica Lange, Angela Basset, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, and Lilly Rabe. This season is turning out to be incredibly campy--which I appreciate.

ChrisB said...

Great piece, Laure. I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to revisit The Originals. I absolutely hated the pilot, but many reviewers I respect (many on this site…) recommend it. Maybe this will be my marathon this summer.

AHS is the one show that everyone at work watches and talks about. They keep telling me to watch it, but I'm not sure. Your description of "blood, gore and horror" makes me think I'm right. How bloody and horrible is it?

LaureMack said...

Chris- I can only speak for the current season, but it's pretty graphic. If you don't enjoy horror, I don't know how you would like AHS. If you decide to give it a try, let me know! No one I know watches it, and the discussions I try to have with my dog usually go nowhere.

sunbunny said...

I think Paul watches AHS. Someone closer to England than I am yell really loudly and see if you can wake him up.

I agree about OUAT. Although I like the direction they're heading now, for a while it was like I want to know what happens but I don't want to have to watch it. I've come to accept that there are characters I will never care about and characters I don't care about anymore. At this point, I'm watching for Regina and Colin O'Donoghue. And I'm sort of fine with that.

The Americans is really good but I had to stop watching because it was just stressing me out so much, worrying about everyone and wanting everyone to win when I knew perfectly well that couldn't happen.

Paul Kelly said...

American Horror Story has been my secret delight for the past three years. If this season makes you want to turn over, last season would have had you shooting the TV. It was all injections, horrible operations, and madness. This season feels positively tame by comparison.

What makes you cringe exactly, Laure? Just the blood, or is it the story itself?

And agree totally about The Originals. I was fully prepared to hate it, but am counting the days until its return.

ChrisB said...

I'm a huge scaredy cat when it comes to anything remotely approaching horror, so I think AHS will remain unwatched. Thanks for the assessment, all.

Billie Doux said...

I totally believe that AHS has merit, based on the recommendations from our writers and readers. But like ChrisB, I just can't handle horror that is so horror-ish. Even Supernatural gets to me sometimes; I often won't watch a bloody opener more than once.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the year end review Laure. The only problem with these year end reviews is that my list of shows to watch gets longer and longer. I will have to retire just to catch up! I will try AHS but will have to watch it early in the day and cover my face for the icky parts. Still it has some awesome actors. I still haven't caught the Vampire Diaries/Originals bug so I am safe for a bit.

LaureMack said...

Paul- I could give you specific examples, but I don't know exactly how spoiler friendly these year end posts are supposed to be so I will just say it's the gore/torture stuff that makes me cringe.

...and Madame LaLaurie. Girl is straight nuts.