Juliette's 2014 Year in Review

The most I can think of to say about 2014 is that I’ve been mentally composing my review of the year at various points throughout the year itself. Which is pretty worrying, really. But more entertaining than thinking about property prices.

And here, at last, it is! I'm once again using some of Jess’s fabulous categories, even if Jess hasn’t used them herself this year (‘I wish I knew how to quit you’ is my particular favourite).


Dallas Buyers’ Club and 12 Years a Slave both came out early 2014 over here, and both were excellent, but did also feel a tiny bit like extended misery which you watched because you felt like you ought to (both featured amazing lead performances though). I prefer the Schindler’s List approach (a stronger story arc and some element of something slightly more positive – in that case, Schindler’s saving people – to keep the thing broadly categorisable as ‘entertainment’). Otherwise, it was sci-fi and fantasy all the way for me as that takes up my entire top ten – I did go and see some non-SFF movies this year as well, I promise! Chef was quite nice. But don’t go to see it if you’re hungry. Or lactose-intolerant.

Movies Top Ten:

10. Lucy
9. The Babadook
8. Paddington
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. Interstellar
5. Edge of Tomorrow
4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
3. The Hobbit
2. The Lego Movie
1. Guardians of the Galaxy


I tried Outlander and loved the music, setting and cast but found the plot and dialogue a bit cheesy. I should give it another go, if only for the glorious Classic Who fan fiction that is travelling back in time so you can shack up with a sexy be-kilted Highlander called Jamie. (I may have become a bit too attached to Jamie McCrimmon while watching through the Patrick Troughton era this year).

Also: I loved True Detective, especially its finale, but I’m unsure whether I’m interested in season two because McConaughey and Harrelson were the real draw for me.

New to Me

I feel like I may have mentioned this once or twice (…or in every conversation I’ve had since August, to the point the word has lost all meaning) but I finally got around to watching Supernatural this summer! More thoughts here. Far too many of them, in fact.

Also: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I’m really enjoying, and Peaky Blinders, featuring Cillian Murphy's hypnotic eyes. All three shows are still going, too, so plenty more to come.

Bowing Out

True Blood and How I Met Your Mother both had rather divisive final seasons, and both felt like perhaps they should have called it quits a few years ago. The main problem with both is probably that neither had a central concept that lent itself to longevity – when the entire show is built around a love story, audiences can only be strung along for so long with either an eternally drawn-out will-they-won’t-they or an on-again-off-again merry-go-round before they get fed up.

Suburgatory, on the other hand, was sadly cancelled after its third season. At least, although the final episode wasn’t specifically written as a series finale (though I’m pretty sure everyone knew it was a possibility), it did end on a rather glorious final scene which left me grinning from ear to ear. If you have to go out early, that’s the way to go.

Old Favourites

Game of Thrones had a controversial year, and it wasn’t my favourite season, but it’s still going strong and I’m looking forward to season five. I won’t say anything about Downton Abbey since, as usual, it’s on a ridiculously outdated airing schedule – I will only say that my brother has kindly agreed to let me watch the Christmas special on Christmas Day (as I write this in mid-December) as long as I forego the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, which is a trade I’m happy to make.

I came back to The Vampire Diaries this autumn, having drifted away from it last year. I kinda love the way they’ve run out of story to tell (see above on shows built on love stories), so they’ve literally reset it so they can tell the same story they told over seasons 3-4 again. The sheer chutzpah of it is genius. Plus, it’s what many TV shows try to do, one way or the other, The Vampire Diaries is just a bit more blatant about it. And there’s a strange fascination to the almost complete lack of morals of most characters on the show.

I absolutely love what Agents of SHIELD have done with Fitz’s character this season, and that’s what’s brought me back to the show after I jumped in and out a bit last year – that and the kick in the backside the whole set-up got from the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Also: I’m still enjoying New Girl, The Mindy Project and Orange is the New Black.

I’ve drifted away from The Big Bang Theory these last few months, but I’m sure I’ll come back to it at some point.

I Wish I Knew How To Quit You

I haven’t really enjoyed Doctor Who this year at all, which is a shame, because I love Peter Capaldi and I love Jenna Coleman. Unfortunately, the stories this year simply haven’t grabbed my interest (with the possible exception of ‘Dark Water’), and I’m still not a fan of the way companions hop in and out of the TARDIS at the moment (I am so ridiculously stick-in-the-mud about this, I basically want the show to go back 40 years to the status quo in Patrick Troughton’s day. I’m rather fond of that era, as you may have gathered!). But I’m a British SFF fan – it’s basically illegal not to watch Doctor Who. I’m stuck with it to the bitter end, if there ever is one…

And Community. Oh, Community. I felt like it was getting a bit too crazy for me in season three, and I miss the early seasons because they used to remind me of where I work, but season five was better than season four, and its early days were so good, I’m with it till the end. Plus, the fact that this show recently celebrated its 100th episode is a minor miracle that deserves witnesses. Once everyone figures out what Yahoo Screen is in the first place.

Things to Watch

I watched Supernatural! Can finally tick that off the list (and replace it with Gilmore Girls and Smallville). Still haven’t finished Battlestar Galactica though.

I’m also still working my way through Classic Who with friends (we’re up to Jon Pertwee now) and I really feel like I should try to watch more of The Walking Dead as well.

TV Top Ten

10. Orange is the New Black: We Have Manners. We’re Polite.
9. Doctor Who: Dark Water
8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Tactical Village
7. Downton Abbey: Season Four, Episode Two (US schedule) or Season Five, Episode Six (UK schedule)
6. Agents of SHIELD: Making Friends and Influencing People
5. Suburgatory: Les Lucioles
4. Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose
3. True Detective: Form and Void.
2. How I Met Your Mother: How Your Mother Met Me
1. Supernatural: Fan Fiction

The top 2 are both the 200th episodes of their respective series. I guess after 200 episodes you’re bound to be getting something right?!

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a better 2015. If you had a fabulous 2014, I hope 2015 is even more fabulous!

The page image is from here. I actually made something similar myself, but mine looks less like Castiel and more like a toilet roll with a creepy faceless head on top of it.

Juliette Harrisson is a freelance writer, classicist and ancient historian who blogs about Greek and Roman Things in Stuff at Pop Classics.


ChrisB said...

Great list, Juliette. I, too, have drifted away from The Big Bang Theory, but assume I will get back to it at some point.

Love the idea of Castiel on top of a Christmas tree!

Juliette said...

I'm embarrassed to admit I only worked out why Meg called him a 'tree-topper' when sitting in front of a Christmas tree! I didn't have an angel at the time so decided this was the way to go. Except mine looks rather less realistic!

Billie Doux said...

Juliette, love your tree-topper and I have gotten such a charge out of your reaction to Supernatural. :) Great fun for me. May I add that I once loved Smallville and it had several excellent seasons, but it got tiresome and I had to force myself to hang in those last few seasons, so I don't think it will be a viewing experience like Supernatural. Just fyi.

How interesting that you're not feeling Doctor Who this year. I thought I was in the minority and have felt bad about dropping it, but it's just not working for me any more.

Jess Lynde said...

Feel free to keep using the category titles, Juliette! I'm particularly fond of 'I Wish I Knew How to Quit You' as well. I don't actually think I had anything in that category this year, though. All those shows shifted to 'Going Out on a Low Note,' 'Playing Out the String,' and 'Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out.' :)

I'm with you on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We love that show! Just watching Andre Braugher's credits shot makes us laugh every single week, and his "Hot damn!" several episodes ago was a thing of beauty. The whole ensemble is pretty darn funny, and I really love the way they click in any arrangement.

We're on different pages when it comes to Suburgatory though. I found that one increasingly tedious this past year, and was actually relieved when they cancelled it, because it spared me having to kick it to the curb. :) It did have a decent finale episode though.

Love the tree topper!

Gavrielle said...

It's been a rough year for Doctor WHo despite Peter Capaldi knocking it out of the park as the Doctor, but Dark Water was definitely the highlight. As a lifelong viewer (one of my childhood memories is standing in the hall watching the scary stuff through a crack in the door), watching it is compulsory for me, but if I'd come to it recently? Not sure.

I have similar feelings to you about True Detective, but I reason that if it gave McConaughey and Harrelson the opportunity to be unexpectedly, astonishingly awesome, it might work out just the same for another two actors. And wow, the writing.

Heather said...

I love your lists -- movies and TV. And I like how you singled our your favorite individual episodes. I share your True Detective S2 sentiments. I suspect many fans are waiting to see how it'll shake out.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the review Juliette! You have watched some things I haven't tried but hope I will get to but I was very happy to see that you like the Mindy project! It makes me laugh out loud at least once every episode. And the tree topper rocks - I have an angel that is the same as the one we had on our tree when I was a child. I found another one in the 70's and it is still kicking. You just have to watch out for the fiberglass halo. I also liked your comments about 12 years a Slave. I did enjoy it but only watched it because a friend made me - I try to avoid educational movies and television - it feels too much like work.