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Juliette's Best of 2022

I started writing these in 2012, which makes this my 10-year anniversary for Best Of the Year reviews!

Wow.

I'm British, so the world outside has been a little crazy for us this year, as we've got through three Prime Ministers and two monarchs (and the year isn't over yet...). But luckily the world of TV has been really great. I don't think I realised until I sat down to pick out my favourites a) just how much TV I've watched this year and b) just how good most of it was!

I've had to temporarily rest my 'Film' category because I have a one-year old, so my cinema viewing has consisted of three MCU films (my favourite was Spider-Man: No Way Home, I haven't managed to see Wakanda Forever yet), one re-release (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, well worth the trip) and one mostly-original film (See How They Run). So without further ado, on to the TV!

Best Kids' TV

CBeebies continues to put out brilliant kids' shows for preschoolers, with new episodes of Hey Duggee!, Swashbuckle, the lovely JoJo and Gran Gran and the 2022 panto (it's a British thing) Dick Whittington and his Cat. Bluey is on Disney+ as well as CBeebies and is absolutely brilliant – the one-year-old is still a bit little for it but I am addicted! Its theories on play even came in handy for a work project. And my American husband has introduced us to Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues & You, the reboot of American show Blue's Clues, which is currently keeping the little one occupied as I type this. And I got unexpectedly emotional seeing the end of CBeebies' Molly and Mack, which had to end as Molly and her friends are fast approaching 16 and can't really be in the "kids' club" any more, but it was still sad to see them go.

Best You Tube Channels

I have been watching more and more You Tube channels over the past few years, because they're the perfect thing to sit down with for a lunch or coffee break when I'm working from home. I've especially been enjoying Cinema Therapy, WhoCulture, TrekCulture, Screen Crush (all on pop culture), The Take, Mina Le, ModernGurlz (on pop culture and fashion), TLDR News (to spare me from watching the news), WTF1 (on Formula One), and mrnigelmg (Uncle Roger, comedy cooking reviews).

Best Star Trek

Discovery continues to improve but remains my least favourite Star Trek overall (I still like it a lot – that's like saying it's my least favourite chocolate bar!). I'm just not into heavily arc-plotted Star Trek and the actual arc plots on Discovery always stretch my credulity for some reason. I was a bit disappointed by not-quite-Star Trek The Orville: New Horizons as well, which made some odd story-choices, though I still love it and would like to see it given another season. I'm still enjoying Picard though, and I'm absolutely loving Prodigy, Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds (ranked in that order, with Strange New Worlds at the top). I worry a bit that Prodigy has so many in-jokes and callbacks that it won't appeal so much to kids who've never watched Star Trek, who are supposedly its target audience, but since the writers are obviously massive Janeway/Chakotay shippers like myself, I personally am very happy with it!

(It's literally official Star Trek canon that Chakotay set off back to the Delta Quadrant with a hologram of Younger Janeway. There's no way that hologram was just there to give advice... ;) ).

Starship Captain of the Year

Nominees: Hologram Janeway, Dal, Christopher Pike, Michael Burnham, Chris Rios, Seven of Nine, Chakotay (definitely not the winner since he managed to lose a second ship in the Delta Quadrant), Carol Freeman

Winner: James T. Kirk, for managing to almost single-handedly prevent a Federation-Romulan war (again)

Best Disney show

The only Star Wars show we managed to watch this year was Obi-Wan, which I really enjoyed. We kept up with the MCU shows though, all of which I also really enjoyed this year. Ms Marvel was both fun and emotional, She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law was funny and pointed, and Moon Knight was just generally awesome. I know I should come up with more insightful things to say about them all – and I understand from people with professional qualifications in this area that Moon Knight is a good representation of Dissociative Identity Disorder as well – but I just really enjoyed them all! I'm still enjoying the satire of superhero tropes in Amazon's The Boys as well, though.

Best Fantasy show

You wait years for an epic, expensive prequel to a blockbuster fantasy series based on doorstopper novels to come along and then two come along at once. I'm afraid, as much as I love Tolkien and the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies, House of the Dragon absolutely trounced Rings of Power. House of the Dragon has a lot in common with I, Claudius, one of my all time favourite TV series – royal politicking and sneaky murders, all sorts of dodgy behaviour going on, with compelling characters and fantastic performances (I can't believe there was a time I was disappointed with the casting of Matt Smith as the Doctor in Doctor Who, the man is an acting genius). It's my show of the year (with Strange New Worlds a very close second). Rings of Power was decent enough, but the plot moved far too slowly and focused too much on pretty shots and endless mysteries and not enough on character.

I also really enjoyed both Wednesday and The Sandman, as well as the conclusion of A Discovery of Witches and the penultimate series of The Umbrella Academy. Three of those are on Netflix, and these three along with Cobra Kai, which is still fun, are the main thing keeping me subscribing to Netflix as the fees go up and up and up. And I absolutely love both versions of the sitcom Ghosts, the British original and the US version. Like The Office, both are different shows with different characters and different tones but both are very funny and in this case (unlike the British The Office) both have lots of heart.

And also there were two episodes of Doctor Who (which is technically science fiction) this year. I will miss Jodie Whittaker's Doctor – it's a shame the writing hasn't been quite so strong lately.

And now for some awards!

Best Ghost

Nominees: All the British ghosts, Ghosts (UK), All the American ghosts, Ghosts (US), Goody Addams, Wednesday

Winner: Judy Farnsby, annoying neighbour Henry Farnsby's disappointed mother in Ghosts (US) who, having died decades ago, is impeccably dressed as a 1950s housewife.

Best Fight Scene

Nominees: Aemond and Vhagar vs Lucerys and Arrax, 'The Black Queen', House of the Dragon; Steven, Mark, Jake, and Layla vs Harrow, 'Gods and Monsters', Moon Knight; Soldier Boy vs Homelander, 'The Instant White-Hot Wild', The Boys; Daredevil vs Bad Guys in a corridor again, 'Ribbit and Rip It', She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law

Winner: Obi-Wan vs Darth Vader, Episode 6, Obi-Wan

Best Body-swap

Nominees: Spock and T'Pring, 'Spock Amok', Strange New Worlds; The Master in the Doctor's body, 'The Power of the Doctor', Doctor Who; Sam possessed by Thor in 'The Christmas Spirit Part 2', Ghosts (US)

Winner: Admiral Janeway and Dal, 'Mindwalk', Prodigy

Best Dance Sequence

Nominees: The wedding dance, 'We Light the Way', House of the Dragon; 'Christmas in London', 'Dick Whittington and his Cat', CBeebies Presents

Winner: Wednesday at the Rave'N, 'Woe What a Night', Wednesday

Best Couple

Nominees: Jamie and Claire, Outlander; Jen and Matt, She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law; Rhaenyra and Daemon, House of the Dragon*; Isaac and Nigel, Ghosts (US); Seven and Raffi, Picard

Winners: Janeway and Chakotay, Prodigy

*This relationship will likely turn horrible next season – I don't know, I haven't read the book – but note this refers to season one of the show only!

Least Horrifying While Still Wince-Inducing Childbirth Scene

Nominees: 'Allegiance', Outlander; 'Murder on the Ridge', Outlander (utterly horrifying), 'The Heirs of the Dragon', House of the Dragon; 'The Princess and the Queen #2, House of the Dragon; 'The Black Queen', House of the Dragon; Season 3 Episode 4, A Discovery of Witches (too cheesy and saccharine and not wince-inducing enough to be realistic).

Winner: 'The Princess and the Queen' #1, House of the Dragon (Rhaenyra giving birth to Joffrey) – wince-inducing enough to be realistic without being utterly traumatising.

Induced the most uncontrollable weeping

Nominees: Most Cinema Therapy videos, especially any Disney or Pixar movies; 'Gone Gone', Ghosts (UK)

Winner: A gift from long-gone Grandpa, 'Who's at the Door?', Nick Cope's Popcast – a children's show which doesn't talk about death because it's for pre-schoolers, but when an adult is watching it, the one-year-old is probably wondering why mummy is crying.

Best Call-back a.k.a. Star Trek in-joke or reference of the year

Nominees: Janeway remembers being a salamander ('Mindwalk', Prodigy); redshirts ('All the World's a Stage', Prodigy); so much stuff from Deep Space Nine ('Hear All, Trust Nothing', Lower Decks); Kirk Thatcher as Bus Punk ('Watcher', Picard).

Winner: The entire plot of 'A Quality of Mercy', Strange New Worlds

Top Ten Episodes of the Year

10. The second half of 'The Sound of Her Wings', The Sandman*
9. 'Wedding at the End of the World', The Umbrella Academy
8. 'Merrily, Merrily', Inside No. 9
7. 'Mindwalk', Prodigy
6. 'Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty's Past', Ghosts (US)
5. 'Asylum', Moon Knight
4. 'Time and Again', Ms Marvel
3. 'Gone Gone', Ghosts (UK)
2. 'Spock Amok', Strange New Worlds
1. 'The Lord of the Tides', House of the Dragon

*I like the first half a lot as well but it sets off my anxiety and I can't watch it all!

7 comments:

  1. Juliette, wow. Ten years. Time freaking flies, doesn't it? I really enjoyed reading this one.

    I'm so with you as far as both Ghosts are concerned, and I'm so looking forward to seeing the current season of Ghosts UK, which we haven't gotten yet.

    And I'm not doing a "best of" myself this year, but if I did, it would be Star Trek: Strange New Worlds for the win. I love it so, so much.

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    1. Thank you Billie :) It was so, so close between House of the Dragon and Strange New Worlds, I felt guilty and like a traitor to Strange New Worlds for letting HotD just pip it to the post!

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  2. Everyone keeps recommending Ghosts to me. I think I may have to break down and finally watch it.

    I wrote my first Best Of in 2012 as well. Times flies when you're having fun.

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    1. Ghosts is great - either version! Since the ghosts are historical characters, it makes so much sense to have UK and US versions - they have different histories, so of course, different ghosts!

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  3. The Sandman was probably my favorite new show of the year. And kudos for mentioning the Wednesday dance scene. I wonder whether that was carefully choreographed or if it came out fairly spontaneously. It's certainly one of the most memorable high school dance scenes where it was actually the dancing that was memorable.

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  4. Strange New Worlds was definitely my favorite show of the year. New or old. And I'm so glad I'm not the only one who watches CinemaTherapy.

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  5. "Least Horrifying While Still Wince-Inducing Childbirth Scene"

    I love that this is an entire category.

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