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Juliette's 2012 Year in Review

So here we are at the end of 2012, or The Year I Somewhat Randomly Became A Sports Person, watching every F1 race with enthusiasm and actually getting to the Olympics in person. My entire country has spent so long looking forward to 2012, I'm not sure we know what to do with ourselves now that it's over. Luckily, all this peculiar sports-viewing didn't encourage me to get up off my backside and actually do any sport or anything - I still spent plenty of time watching TV.

Old Favourites


Game of Thrones has gone from strength to strength this year - I got so into it, I've even finally managed to sit down and read most of the source novels (I'm near the beginning of A Dance with Dragons, so no spoilers beyond that please!). 'Blackwater' is the episode that stands out in the mind because it's the only one to focus on a single story, but there have been plenty of good installments. Just as in the books, I've especially enjoyed Tyrion and Arya's stories - Peter Dinklage and Maisie Williams are doing brilliant work, and the added material between Williams and Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister was fantastic. Only Jaime Lannister was a bit poorly served by a series that failed to add to a source novel he was hardly in, but I suspect all that's about to change in season 3...

This year's dollup of True Blood was entertaining as ever. The show just keeps getting madder and madder, and it's left the books behind entirely, but I enjoyed this summer's roller-coaster ride through Bon Temps and the ever-vampire-ridden New Orleans (seriously, that town is badly in need of a Slayer, it has a severe vampire problem - this year alone has seen visits from vampire religious fanatics, vampires being chased by Abraham Lincoln and sexy but tormented vampires with an unhealthy interest in teenage girls). The finale was controversial, but looks promising for those of us of a certain shipper-persuasion and kept up the season's momentum right into the final moments.

I'm Still Watching...


Doctor Who hasn't been wowing me since Steven Moffat took over - the standout episodes have been one-offs written by Special Guest Writers (Richard Curtis' 2010 'Vincent and the Doctor,' Neil Gaiman's 2011 'The Doctor's Wife.' I also enjoyed 'The Girl Who Waited'). I'm also not overly keen on the 'every week is a blockbuster movie' way this year's series has been sold. I'm tired of huge, overblown but underdeveloped ideas covered in CGI - I'd much rather watch the Doctor sit in a locked room with a past or present companion or rival and argue for an hour every once in a while than be constantly bombarded by all this hyped up mania. But I'm still watching, and even if it's not bowling me over, I'm still enjoying the show.

Sitcoms


We don't cover them that much here at Billie Doux, but I have a terrible weakness for sitcoms. I love them - I love how they make me laugh, how they can spin on a dime and make me cry, I love the slowly developed love stories they often feature, I love how they fit so neatly into lunchtime. This year I've discovered a whole host of new sitcoms, from the wonderfully dry Olympic-themed British mockumentary Twenty Twelve, to light but fun Happy Endings, to catching up on all seven and a half years of How I Met Your Mother (which has taken a sad down turn in this latest, 8th, season, but the back half of season 7 was very strong, especially the wonderful 'Trilogy Time').

My favourite sitcom at the moment is New Girl, and not just because I'm in love with perpetual grump Nick Miller. The show is fast, funny, with plenty of heart and just surreal enough without going overboard (and I've always liked Zooey Deschanel). I'm also really enjoying Suburgatory, which started out a little too broad and comic-y for me but has developed into a really nice show capable of serious emotion when it wants to be - and I'm amazed how invested I've become in the relationship between Tessa and Ryan Shay, a character so thin he's not even two-dimensional, he's one-dimensional. But that one dimension is very sweet.

The Big Bang Theory is still going strong thanks to the permanent addition of Amy and Bernadette to the cast, ensuring that we actually get scenes between women sometimes. The season 5 finale, 'The Countdown Reflection,' was especially nice, and so poignant that for a moment I thought they might actually kill off Howard (thought I'm glad they didn't, as he's grown on me in an extraordinary way, going from a character I absolutely hated to a really endearing figure). And of course, nerd favourite Community is still as weird and wonderful as ever - more uneven than in its early days, but capable of greater heights. It may be increasingly troubled behind the scenes, and doomed to a short and bittersweet swansong in 2013, but at least we got to see Jeff and Britta in goth magician costumes before the end.

New to Me


I've just discovered Merlin - just in time for it to come to an end, of course. I think part of the appeal of this current series for me is that we're finally dealing with grown-ups; with Merlin and Arthur proper, not with Smallville: the Medieval Years (even if the 'family' vibe and timeslot means Arthur and Guinevere have the most sexless marriage in television history). I'm disappointed we won't see more of this more grown-up, independent Merthur (not to mention the fact Arthur still doesn't know Merlin has magic...)

I'm currently about halfway through the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, which I'm enjoying but not addicted to. It really hooked me somewhere in the second season, but lost me again a bit with the jump forward at the end of that season, which rather threw me off balance (plus, Starbuck married someone other than Apollo?!)

If that threw me, you can imagine how I felt about season 4 of Fringe when I mainlined the entire series in about three weeks. I spent half the season really enjoying it and waiting for everything to work its way back to being the show I'd just fallen in love with, then felt increasingly distant from it when it became apparent that wasn't going to happen. As a result, I've been catching up on season 5 rather more slowly and with less emotional investment - but I'm still very glad it got these last thirteen episodes to wrap everything up, and seasons 2 and 3 remain brilliantly addictive TV.

At the moment my New to Me highlight is The Vampire Diaries. I watched the pilot a while back and it did nothing for me, but then I caught the last ten minutes of 'Before Sunset' and all of 'The Departed' - what an introduction to the series! I realised what everyone else knew all along, that Damon Salvatore is irresistible, and have thoroughly enjoyed catching up on seasons 2 and 3, even though I never really have much idea what's going on through any given episode. Season 4 has been mixed but largely good so far, and 'Memorial' really cemented my fondness for the show.

To Watch in 2013


I've only seen one episode of Breaking Bad, but I keep hearing good things about it, so will be doing some catching up on that. I've also seen bits and pieces of season 2 of The Walking Dead and enjoyed them very much - if 'enjoyed' is the right word for that show! So I'm hoping to catch up on that before season 3 is completely done and dusted. And finally there's Supernatural, another show I've seen the odd episode of, usually while researching articles on seasonal television episodes. I expect I'll keep watching it in random piecemeal chunks over the next year!

The Lists


Top 10 TV Episodes of 2012:

10. The Vampire Diaries, Memorial
9. Twenty Twelve, Inclusivity Day
8. Merlin, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon
7. The Big Bang Theory, The Countdown Reflection
6. How I Met Your Mother, Trilogy Time
5. Game of Thrones, Blackwater
4. Suburgatory, Down Time
3. New Girl, Fluffer
2. Community, Basic Lupine Urology
1. The Vampire Diaries, The Departed

I know I shouldn't put the same show on there twice, but The Vampire Diaries really has been head and shoulders above everything but New Girl and Suburgatory lately.

Top 10 Films of 2012:

10. Prometheus
9. Looper
8. Argo
7. Skyfall
6. Coriolanus
5. The Woman in Black
4. The Cabin in the Woods
3. The Avengers
2. The Hunger Games
1. The Hobbit

And, because I'm British and it was our national obsession this year, Top 5 London 2012 Olympics Moments:

5. Oscar Pistorius and the South African team win the Men's 4x100m Relay, T42/46 - because I was there.
4. Mo Farah wins the Men's 5000m following Jessica Ennis winning the Women's Heptathlon and Greg Rutherford winning the Men's Long Jump on the most successful night British Athletics has seen for a long time. Tied with Andy Murray coming back to Wimbledon four weeks after crying on national television when he lost in the final, and slaughtering one of the greatest tennis players in history to take the gold.
3. Sir Steve Redgrave hugs every British competitor he sees (bonus points if they're rowers or Sir Chris Hoy).
2. The Queen becomes the new Bond Girl in the Opening Ceremony, and appears to parachute into the stadium with Bond himself.
1. Usain Bolt, having just won the Men's 200m, thanks the people of Birmingham (UK) for being welcoming and generally helpful. That's us folks! OK, not me personally, but still.

8 comments:

  1. You got to go the Olympics? So, so jealous. I can't believe you got to see Oscar Pistorius run! I really got into the Olympics this year, which is weird because I'm not exactly Little Miss Athletic. I cried so hard when Mo Farah won. My top Olympic moment: when that Chinese hurdler fell and his competitors helped him limp across the finish line.

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  2. It was awesome! :) My brother came over the Saturday Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford won, we were both cheering from the sofa!

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  3. Never being one for sport, I was surprised by how much I got into the Olympics this year. You'd think with the BBC's wall to wall coverage we as a nation would've got sick of the game rather quickly, but we didn't. Me and my entire family watched Andy Murray slaughter Roger Federer. We were supposed to be painting the living room but we all got sucked into the match. It just was awesome.

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  4. Loved reading your thoughts, Juliette! Especially your foray into sitcoms. I'm with you on Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother (I'm very close to putting that one on my 'I Wish I Knew How to Quit You' list). Happy Endings is a bit of a mixed bag for me, but when it is "on," it is sooo "on." I might have pulled something laughing at the Christmas episode this week! Who would have thought back in her cougar-bait 24 days that Elisha Cuthbert could be so damn funny?

    I also really enjoyed your perspective on the Olympics! It's nice to get some non-NBC-framed highlights from the Games. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Juliette -- this was a really fun read. I, too, liked all the discussion about the sitcoms as I tend to avoid them. May give some of them a Netflix chance.

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  6. Cool cool cool !!!

    A THIRD 2012 review ??!! You guys (gals) rock !

    Olympics wise : I only watched the 76 summer games. Oh, they were in Montreal, that's why. Had a big crush on a Romanian Gymnast who got the first 10 in the Games. There's also a weird guy on Lost who had the same crush.

    Ahhhhhh So glad you like New Girl, Suburgatory and Community ! And there's a great BB Theory flash mob :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdLvUkLW5Jk

    BSG......season 3 is MORE intense....season 4 is EVEN more intense.....fasten your seat belt please....

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  7. Thanks everyone! :)

    The Olympics thing was so weird - we were all being so British and negative and 'oh it'll be awful' for six months, then we screwed up the flags between North and South Korea (coz if you're going to screw up flags, that's the place to do it?!) - then we all watched Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony and it's like we collectively decided to stop whining and have fun for once! Weird but awesome :)

    I have such a huge love for sitcoms! Chris, it's definitely worth giving New Girl a chance - it starts slow but from season 1's 'Injury' onwards it just gets better and better :) Suburgatory is a bit like Community in a way - less nerdy, but really, really weird! In a good way. Jess, I'm totally with you on HIMYM - season 7 was really good, but this past run has been pretty bad - and yet, I can't stop watching...

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  8. Juliette

    Suburgatory and Community may have some resemblances, but they're from 2 separate and distinct Universes (NO relation to Fringe). They should be enjoyed each on their own turf...

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