Is it too late to be doing, "it's a new year, let's talk about things that we're going to do/see/be in this new year and then not do that for any other months, you know, those months when we just live our lives" type-blog-posts? Well, I certainly appear to think so, although that's mainly because I'm still writing "2013" by accident a lot. Remember at school when you had to write the date for the first time in your first lesson back? I always enjoyed that moment. I'm pretty sure I used to do a doodle around it of champagne and fireworks. (I've never, ever, experienced champagne or fireworks on New Years).
So this post is all about looking forward to some excellent 2014 TV. And there is going to be some - in my opinion we're in a golden age of the small screen, and it's only going to get better.
Orange Is The New BlackI'd never really thought about what it would like to go to prison before - I live a pretty normal life, and my misdemeanours are very vanilla. But then I saw Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series which premiered in July. Instead of emerging episode by episode, the whole season premiered at once, encouraging an obsessive binge guilt watch from their audience. (I have no problem with that.)
Now, this TV show is incredible. My friends had been urging me to watch it for months and I thought, "urgh depressing prison story gross" but that is because I am a fool. It's fantastic. The cast is chock full of amazing actresses, including Natascha Lyonne (AKA the cool one from American Pie) and Kate Mulgrew (AKA Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager) - as the prison's terrifying Russian cook.
The most compelling feature of the show is the insight it gives you into American womens' prisons. It's fascinating to see it from Piper's perspective, and also to see how she changes in that environment. There were so many questions it raised for me - important issues like racial divides in institutions and the problems of post-incarceration rehabilitation - but sadly the main thing I was curious about was what can women take into prison. How much makeup? Is there internet? Can they go on Facebook? Can they tweet? Anyway, Orange is the New Black is a brilliant show and I highly recommend it. It should be returning to our computer screens this year.
I don't know much about this show as it's brand new and won't be on US TV until next week (January 19th) to be exact, and then it won't be on the UK for even longer - and even then only if you have Sky - boo. But I can still get excited about it, right? It's a show about gay men in San Francisco, and I imagine it will be marketed as the male, non-hetero answer to 'Girls', especially since it's also an HBO series about 20-somethings in a city. It's been co-created by Andrew Haigh, who directed the excellent 'Weekend', which is one of those rare things, an excellent romance film. The trailer of 'Looking' tells us that the show will be beautifully shot, funny, and full of great moments. But then I won't know for sure till I've seen it. Fingers crossed though. Oh and Russell Tovey is in it - he's such a brilliant actor!
I remember when Jeremy first told me about this reboot of Sherlock set in New York with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson. We were both a bit surprised at the change of John to Joan, but we watched it and decided it worked. SO NOW WE ALL MUST AGREE THAT IT WORKS. Obviously the dynamic between Holmes and Watson has always had an intensity that ran deeper than a lot of platonic friendships, so it makes sense to try that out with a man and woman. (Next we need to have two women playing the lead roles). I also like how their relationship has still (spoiler alert) remained a friendship, but grown into one of deep respect and love, but I would argue with even less sexual tension than we're used to seeing in a Holmes and Watson. Plus it's great to get so much more time with these characters - while I love the Gatiss/Moffat version, I do sometimes wish it was more than three episodes every two years. The show is currently not yet renewed for a third season, but it seems pretty likely that it will be. If not, maybe this post will convince the people who make that decision at CBS. Because obviously that's what they do - trawl the internet for mentions of their shows on inconsequential blogs. You're welcome, Jonny and Lucy.
The US military is a tricky subject matter for a sitcom, but according to AV Club, these guys have handled it well. I'm a big fan of 'Suburgatory', and especially the uber-jock with a heart of gold Ryan Shay, played by Parker Young. He stars as the youngest brother of three in 'Enlisted'. The premise of the show seems to be that the eldest brother is solid, an excellent army man, but for some (no doubt hilarious) reason he has to return to the barracks where his two younger brothers are training. They're not solid or excellent, and he has the tricky task of putting them through their paces. There will no doubt be some unusual and funny characters in the form of the other recruits, and I'm sure we'll all grow and change together into better people, with a greater understanding of this beautiful world in which we live.
They're baaaaaack! And with Dan Harmon once more at the helm, this is a ship that is not going to sink. If you've not watched 'Community' then please, for the love of all that is Dean-lightful, do. (See, that's an in-joke that you would have got if you'd watched the show. You could have nodded smugly, don't you want to nod smugly?) This has to be one of the most creative and inspired TV shows around at the moment. To further support my argument I point you towards both paintball episodes, the Halloween episode, and the Dungeons and Dragons episode. An excellent ensemble cast, flawed but funny characters, and the Dean to end all Deans make this show a must-see. Oh the episode with Abed's film is also excellent.
This just goes without saying. But I'm saying it anyway.
Is there any other TV I should be watching? I just realised this post is seriously lacking in UK TV. Let me know what you're into because I can watch A LOT of it. I've only been sick from over-TVing once, and I think that was actually the pizza.