I usually post my thank yous last, but this year I'm going to post them first. A big, huge, enormous thank you to all of the readers who stop by and read our stuff, because we wouldn't be here without you. And thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, to all of the writers past and present who have contributed to this site. It is particularly delightful that we acquired a record of five new writers in 2016: Thomas Ijon Tichy (who reviews Gotham), Morgan India (Lucifer) (although technically, Morgan is a return, not a new), Mallena in October (Farscape) Victoria Grossack in November (Rome), and Lamounier in December (3%).
All's well that ends well
I don't usually highlight a piece from another site, but I was floored by TVLine's recent rundown of all of the shows that were cancelled or ended in 2016. All 88 of them. That's two eights. Good freaking bananas. For years, it's felt like there were just too many shows out there to even attempt, but 88? And those are just the ones that ended this year.
So I went through their list, wondering how many I'd even tried. In that list of 88, I'd only seen five from beginning to end: The Good Wife, Person of Interest, Rectify, Limitless and American Gothic, and those last two barely count since they only ran for one season. There were five other shows that I'd begun or watched for awhile, but ultimately dropped: Castle, Marvel's Agent Carter, The Muppets (sigh), Bitten, and The Musketeers.
What's wrong with this picture? Is there simply too much dreck to wade through anymore in order to find the good stuff? I suppose that the best way to look at it is that's another reason for Doux Reviews to exist, right?
|Aden Young, consistently amazing in Rectify|
Ditto Person of Interest. While PoI occasionally lost its way and may have given us a few too many Case of the Week episodes, it ended pretty much perfectly with a moving finale that kept its mission statement intact. Thank you so much, Sunbunny, for reviewing PoI for us. I'll admit that I was about to drop it a couple of times, but I hung on because of Sunbunny. I'm glad I did.
Whatever did we do before Netflix?
Orange is the New Black, Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley, The OA, The Crown... no, seriously. At this point, if Netflix went under (or, more likely, if I had to drop it for some reason), I would be television-bereft.
I should probably start with the show that many of the other Agents of DOUX loved: Stranger Things. Why was it so good? Was it how accurately they brought us back to the feel of the eighties? Was it all the wonderful kid actors they managed to find? Maybe it was the Christmas tree lights that Winona Ryder tacked up all over the house, a detail that I absolutely loved. Stranger Things was a delightful surprise, I watched it twice, and I'm looking forward to the second season.
I also loved the Gilmore Girls revival, mostly because I only finished watching the original series for the first time this past summer (on Netflix, of course.) I had just completed this wonderful series, wished for more, and there it was. Talk about wish fulfillment.
Here's something about me that you may not know: I like design and cooking shows. For some reason, I had never tried one of HGTV's mainstays, Property Brothers, probably because ads for it seemed to set off duomaieusiophobia. Three seasons of Property Brothers turned up on Netflix, and I finally gave them a try. Now I love them. They're smart and cute and I've been spending a lot of time with them this fall as I catch up on reruns on HGTV.
|Jonathan and Drew Scott, Property Brothers|
One last big thing that Netflix has given me in 2016: many documentaries. I particularly like the historicals and biographicals; sometimes I listen to them while I'm painting. Just recently, I saw Lucy Worsley's Empire of the Tsars, a three-part history of the Romanov dynasty, that was so good that I stopped painting and watched it. (I recommend avoiding Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States, which seems instead to be all about Russia. I've had enough Russia this year.)
When did The CW become my favorite network?
It's not just Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, although I enjoy all four. Come on. What other network would have the chutzpah to give us twelve seasons of a show like Supernatural? I swear, any other network would have dropped it by now simply because it had been around so long.
As Juliette mentioned in her "best of" piece this year, last spring Supernatural managed to resolve their biggest unanswered question in the most satisfying of ways with an episode called "Don't Call Me Shurley." I've been reviewing Supernatural since its second season and am still impressed that they can still do things like this. I'm also hanging in until the bitter end with The Vampire Diaries, and very much looking forward to the return of The 100 and The Originals in 2017. I'm especially interested to see what The Originals will do now that it has been unleashed from its parent show.
I've been a little less thrilled with this year's new CW crop. Frequency, much like the movie it is based on, started out well but got convoluted way too quickly and I can't seem to warm to the leads, Peyton List and Riley Smith. I watched the pilot of No Tomorrow and moved on. And since I have no interest whatsoever in the Archie comics, I'm only trying Riverdale this coming January because it's supposed to be subversive.
I did find a new show to love on another network. Last month, I finally caught the amazing pilot of This is Us and was enthralled; I later caught up with the rest of the episodes On Demand. While I've always loved Justin Hartley (he helped make the last few seasons of Smallville bearable), I am mostly watching because of Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson as Randall and Beth Pearson, who are turning into my new favorite television couple.
Over on Fox, I'm also still really enjoying Tom Ellis as the vacationing devil on Lucifer. Their second season is already better than their first. I love it when that happens.
Less happy stuff
And then there's Timeless. There are three reasons why I haven't given up on it yet: time travel is one of my favorite things, they've surprised me a few times, and the show stars the wonderful Abigail Spencer from Rectify. But they'll have to find a way to grab me pretty soon, or I'm gone. I also gave up on Designated Survivor relatively early despite my fondness for Kiefer Sutherland, although that might have been due to extreme election fatigue.
After hanging in with Scandal for probably longer than I should have, they finally lost me last spring when we learned that the virtuous veep turned out to be lying and grasping like every other character on the show. I don't know why that was the last straw, but it was. Bye bye, Scandal.
While the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead had a better second season than its first, I have had mixed reactions to The Walking Dead's controversial seventh season. I am definitely a fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but like many fans I was unhappy with the premiere back in October, and they haven't helped alleviate the trauma they inflicted on us with a fragmented fall season with wall-to-wall new characters. I haven't given up on The Walking Dead yet, but the second half of this season had better be good.
|Of course, Richonne did help|
And the year ended sadly with the shocking deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. As I said in my brief memorial, Carrie Fisher was more than just Star Wars: she was a brilliant writer and a fascinating human being. And Debbie Reynolds starred in Singin' in the Rain, one of my mother's favorite musicals. If you like musicals and haven't seen it, you might want to give it a try. It's a classic for a reason.
Finally, a short section on books and movies
I didn't see a lot of movies this year and wasn't enchanted with the ones I saw. Two exceptions, that for some reason both starred Chris Pine, were Star Trek Beyond and The Finest Hours. The latter, which is now available on Netflix, is a true story about a nautical rescue that I thought was terrific.
This year, I subscribed to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, a service that lets you read as many ebooks as you like for $10 a month, but only includes books that authors choose to add to the service. That might be why I seem to have read a lot of bad books this year. I did really enjoy two different series: the Joe Dillard mystery series by Scott Pratt, who is very John Grisham-y but has a unique voice of his own, and the Rho Agenda books by Richard Phillips, a science fiction series that I occasionally found too violent but ultimately enjoyed. (I was ticked when I reached the end of Rho and discovered that the final book in the series won't be released until August 2017.)
(I should add titles: the first book in Scott Pratt's Joe Dillard series is An Innocent Client, and the first book in Richard Phillips' Rho series is The Second Ship.)
But the best book I read in 2016, and only last week, was Wild by Cheryl Strayed, after Josie recommended it in her "best of 2016" post last week. It's about a woman who works out her grief after her mother's death by hiking the entire length of California and Oregon. Honestly, I haven't spent an entire day immersed in a book for a long time, but I couldn't put this one down. It strongly reminded me of a time in my life when I was completely submerged in grief, which might not sound like a positive recommendation, but it is. Wild is a powerful book that touched an emotional center for me. Not to be missed.
That's it for me. Here's hoping for the best in 2017,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.