Lamounier's 2017 In Review

Hello, Doux readers!

2017 was another year with many great TV shows and not enough time to watch them. Will the number keep growing endlessly? It's hard to keep up with all that's new (and all that's ongoing or classic, and also great), but I'm glad with the shows I ended up watching. Let's talk a little bit about them now, shall we?

A goodbye and a premature goodbye

This year, Orphan Black came to an end and I'm sure as hell going to miss the Clone Club. Although no subsequent season matched the thriller quality of season one, the show remained as strong as ever when it came to the themes it explored and to character development. Season five rewarded the fans with episodes that crowned each woman played by Tatiana Maslany. The supporting characters also had their shining moments, and the final episode was a lovely, meaningful bow out. Not only do I look forward to rewatching the series eventually, I have this quiet hope that one day we will check in on the Sisterhood of Ledas, kind of like when you finish a good book and you can't help but imagine you will meet the characters one more time.


While Orphan Black ended accordingly to the plans its creators had in mind, another genre show wasn't so lucky. I'm talking about Sense8, whose cancellation sparkled a global outcry from the fans. Sense8 tells such a beautiful, positive story that you can't help but want it to last longer. Season two delivered amazing moments as the bond of the sensates strengthened. The show continued to effortlessly showcase emotion and connection, and as a fan, I definitely developed a connection with it myself. It's always a special experience when that happens. I'm sad it got cancelled, but happy that we will get some closure in 2018 in the form of a finale special. That's way better than being left with several unresolved cliffhangers and plot points.

Best season of a veteran series

I dropped Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the middle of season three because, well, it simply wasn't holding my attention anymore. But I decided to give it another shot when season four started because I knew the show was good at reinventing itself. I'm glad I made that decision.

Not only was season four Agents' finest, it was also the best season of any comic book TV series that I have watched thus far. Okay, maybe in a tie with Daredevil's first. The writers mastered the art of plotting multilayered, fast paced arcs that delivered strong character moments. The splitting of the season into three distinct yet connected "pods" was inspired and gave the stories a lot of energy. Think Veronica Mars' third season with more confidence, more connective tissue between the arcs and less network interference. The end result was great.

Best drama


The Handmaid's Tale is, hands down, the best thing I watched this year on TV. Gripping, dark, upsetting, nerve-wracking, brilliant and, above all, relevant. I don't think I ever watched something that engaged and disturbed me at the same time as much as Handmaid's did. What stayed with me after I finished watching its stellar first season was its wake up message: what happens on the show could happen to any society. It's a scary thought, but also an important lesson, that human rights didn't come easy and they don't stay easy as well. If you haven't watched nor read Handmaid's, I urge you to do it. It's fiction at its finest.

Favorite reality TV

I don't watch a lot of reality TV. Truth be told, I only watch one reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, so this section is just an excuse to gush about it.

Coming off the hills of a legendary second All Stars season, Drag Race season nine had a lot to live up to. And while it didn't join the ranks of the finest seasons of the series, it was filled with great twists and turns. The best came in the finale, whose format had kind of stalled in the past few seasons. The producers changed the rules of the game and, as a result, season nine delivered the best finale in years. I loved it, even though it cost my favorite competitor the crown.

If you don't watch Drag Race, all I can say is that it's a terrific show. It's filled with talented people, from RuPaul himself to the drag queens that compete, it's funny, quotable, quick witted, engaging and clever. Oh, it's also a meme machine.


Shows I discovered this year

Blessed be the age of streaming, for we get to watch TV shows from the beginning whenever we want to, even when they are not exactly new anymore.

Daredevil was a show that I was never inclined to watch, don't know why exactly, but when I decided to watch The Defenders and review one of its episodes, I knew I had to see the adventures of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen first (going into The Avengers without watching Thor taught me that). Boy, was I missing on the goods. Daredevil's first season is amazing TV. A great set of protagonists, a great villain, good twists, arc-heavy but episodic in style, there was a lot I loved about it. I can't praise it enough. I didn't dislike season two as much as other people did, but, yeah, it's not as polished as the first. I can't wait for season three, though.

Another series I started watching this year was The Expanse, a sci-fi show that hooked me in the very first episode. It's no Battlestar Gallactica, but it's very engaging, with compelling characters and a central mystery that you want to see resolved. Season one is very good, albeit a little weaker in the second half. I haven't started season two yet, time is a factor, but I plan to do it at some point next year.

Finally, this year's last surprise was The Good Place, which has become one of my favorite TV series ever. I love it to bits and I wish I had the time to review it. Juliette has already talked about it on her "best of" post and I agree with everything she said, so I don't have much more to say except for this: the show is brilliant and you should totally give it a shot if you haven't yet. You will love it and you will want to stay in the good place. Or in the medium place. Cocaine lady is hilarious.

Childhood favorites brought back to life

Context: Digimon Adventures is the first series of a Japanese anime franchise and I loved it as a kid. It follows the adventures of seven children who are sent to a digital world and partner nice digital monsters to fight against not so nice digital monsters. Adventures was followed by a second series, Digimon Adventures 02, which replaced most of the original cast, and I didn't enjoyed it so much. After that, they rebooted the franchise and I dropped it, although I hear series three was great.


At the fifteenth anniversary of Digimon, the production company announced that a series of six movies would revisit the Adventures world, and longtime fans, myself included, were psyched. Three years and five movies later, though, Adventures tri. has been mostly a disappointment. Both movies that were released this year, "Loss" and "Coexistence", failed to deliver, although "Coexistence" ended on a strong note that could lead to a good final chapter. Here is hoping.

Another childhood favorite that had its first incarnation revived was Power Rangers, although this one came in the form of a reboot, released this year. I loved it and had a blast watching it. Not only did it capture the nostalgic elements perfectly, Saban's Power Rangers was superior to the original material in pretty much every way. I planned to review it, then I forgot to do it, and if I never get to it, at least here I register my appreciation of that movie. Although there is no official word so far, there could be a sequel. That would be fun.

A little bit behind, but planning to catch up in 2018

I'm a bit behind on two shows that I'm a fan of. One of them is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the other one is The 100.

I love Kimmy Schmidt. It's one of the smartest comedies ever, but for some reason I'm going very slowly through season three. I don't think I'm falling out of love with the series, the new episodes I watched so far I enjoyed a lot, but I just don't feel the urge to watch the next one. It's a similar situation with The 100. The fact that the latest seasons of both shows were well received by fans does encourage me to keep watching them, slow rhythm or not.

Shows I intended to watch and didn't

There were three shows I intended to watch this year but it didn't happen: Rectify, Person of Interest and Breaking Bad. I wanted to watch Rectify because it has an interesting premise and is a beloved show on our blog. The same goes for Person of Interest. Plus, Amy Acker. I didn't watch one single episode of those shows, though. However, I watched the series premiere of Breaking Bad, I did enjoy it and I can see why it's such an acclaimed series. But it just wasn't the kind of story that grabbed my heart, so I put it on hold. Maybe 2018?

Final notes

Best episodes

- "Offred" (The Handmaid's Tale), this was a hard one to pick. The first season delivered several amazing episodes.
- "Gag or Throttle" (Orphan Black)
- "Self Control" (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Favorite moments (SPOILERS below)

- June curses Serena ("Night", The Handmaid's Tale)
- June drops the stone ("Night", The Handmaid's Tale)
- Moira and Luke ("Night", The Handmaid's Tale), damn it, that scene was such an emotional punch.


- Alison and Donnie sing ("Beneath Her Heart", Orphan Black)
- Rachel's emancipation ("Gar or Throttle", Orphan Black)
- Dyad is exposed ("Guillotines Decide", Orphan Black)
- The sestras at Alison's backyard ("To Right the Wrongs of Many", Orphan Black)

- May versus Coulson ("Self Control", Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
- Fitz kills Agnes ("Identity and Change", Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
- Radcliffe's final drink ("World's End, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

- Sun escapes jail ("Obligate Mutualism", Sense8)
- Kala and Wolfgang at the sunset ("If All the World Is a Stage, Identity Is Nothing But a Costume", Sense8)

And that's it, guys. I hope you enjoyed the reading and I wish you all a terrific 2018. Happy Holidays.
--
Lamounier

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Insert obligatory "Season 3 of Agents of SHIELD wasn't as bad as other people say" here. I've mentioned my feelings on this before so I won't go over it again given all the subjectivity. I'll just add that the show could really afford to get away from the heavy and bleak serialization that the end of S4 started. I mean I liked S4 quite a lot up to that point but that final arc seemed to be where a lot of the problems with the season started to pile up (not gonna go into the anticlimactic finale) and now S5 is doing a similar thing. S3's darkness seemed a bit more evenly spaced out and had more of a punch whereas now it's kind of become predictable that some bad stuff will go down. Hopefully if they do survive for a season 6 they can Angel Season 5 this thing and do something a bit more light and creative for a while. Barring that hopefully S5 can end things on a good note. I definitely want to see the show succeed if at all possible.

As for Orphan Black I'd probably have S5 as my second favourite season after S3. I know that's a bit untraditional for viewers of Orphan Black but honestly I was never really that big a fan of the show despite having seen the whole more or less as it was coming out (definitely by mid S1 I was watching it concurrently, thanks Doctor Who). It definitely had a lot of strengths but the writing kind of held it back. As for S5 specifically there were definitely some standout episodes in there (ep3 was my fav) but there was definitely a lot of wasted time on that island which is indicative of the writers not thinking things through as well as they could. Hopefully sun bunny will still be able to complete her reviews of the show at some point though as I'd hate to see it be incomplete or get dragged out like Community (btw congrats on finally getting that done this year guys though I felt the finale was slightly under appreciated).

2017 has definitely been a weird year for television for me. Agents of SHIELD and Supernatural were pretty much the main bedrocks of the year while most other things (except Doctor Who I guess) kind of weaved in an out. Though on Supernatural briefly while Season 12 wasn't as good as 11 on the whole the finale was pretty great for me (you can decide whether or not to include Episode 22 as part of it, twas good too) and definitely kicked the SHIELD one's ass. Like that one actually made the season as a whole stronger whereas SHIELD's pretty much did the opposite (like it wasn't Agent Carter S2 weak but hella disappointing).

Will probably have to get to Sense8 sometime. Not a huge rush though given Netflix probably won't get rid of it.

Oh by the way the Fitz scene you are talking about was actually in Identity and Change. Fitz also did something in No Regrets but that was a different character.

Lamounier said...

televisionandotherrantings, thanks. It was "Identity and Change", indeed. And you can defend Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s third season as much as you want, it's not a bad season at all. After I resumed watching the show I went back and watched the season three episodes I had missed, and I liked many of them. I just never got into Hive and Malick as villains.

Lisianpeia said...

I'm not sure how well that was planned, but I think Orphan Black's last season gave a satisfying closure to all of its many (and sometimes confused and messy) plotlines. I loved it.

I'm sad to hear Adventures tri isn't living up to the expectations. I also loved Digimon Adventures when I was a kid (apparently it was more popular in Brazil than in some places) and I did watch the first episode of Adventures tri (I didn't know they were being turned into movies) and I was a bit disappointed.

I started watching The Good Place after reading Josie's pilot review and I'm completely in love with it. I've been recommending it to everyone I know. It's simply incredible what the series does and how it manages to discuss philosophical and relevant topics and still be a somewhat light TV experience.

PS: Person of Interest FTW \o/

Mallena said...

Person of Interest was a show that I skipped, but went back to after hearing all the good things about it, here. Amy Acker's very good, but Sarah Shahi steals the show, for me. POI is a lot more fun, than it seems from the first few episodes.
I love The Good Place, season one, but the start of season two threw me. It just seemed for too long, they just kept repeating the same story and resetting back to the beginning. Once they stopped doing that, it's much better. Janet's the funniest part.
I watched Digimon with my kids, a bit when they were little, but now our family's Pokemon, all the way.

Billie Doux said...

Yay for The Good Place. And of course, The Handmaid's Tale, which I finally had time for. And I'm so glad you started reviewing Sense8, Lamounier, because you're the reason I finally got into it -- thank you.

Lamounier said...

Lisianpeia, Adventures tri consists of six movies. Each movie is broken into episodes, which is probably why you didn't like the first "episode": it's just the first twenty plus minutes of a movie, it wasn't conceived as an episode.

Mallena, when I was a kid, everyone in school watched Pokemon, and I was always so lost whenever my classmates were talking about it, which was all the time. So when Digimon started, I was all "okay, this mon I'll watch", and I ended up loving it.

Billie, I'm glad to hear it. :) You are welcome.

And it looks like I really should watch Person of Interest.