Thursday, December 25, 2014
2014 TOOBITS AWARDS
It's that time of year again, when we all make lists and think back over the past year, in whatever field of interest concerns us, and chronicle the high points and the lows. For the past few years I've been presenting this compilation as an awards show, the Toobits, which of course celebrates my two bits about Toobworld.
As it is with any such list you'll find in TV columns across the country these last few weeks, these are my opinions. You're welcome to your own and I hope you'll share them, but I'm sticking to my weapons of choice. (It could be you won't see something that was a favorite of yours because I just never got around to seeing it. There's only so much time in the world - even for a do-nothing-else-anyway sort like me! - and I've only got the two eyes, even if they do operate independantly of each other at times.)
Unlike the Emmy Awards which will just keep handing out trophies to some shows forever, only shows, characters and what-not that debuted in 2013 can be considered. (And by "debuted", I mean that which I first came in contact with in 2013. It could be a few years old, but if it's my first time seeing it, it's new.)
This one-time-only rule includes characters who have been recast; those are still the same characters who already exist in Toobworld. (But there were a few notable appearances that deserved honorable mention, and they get it.)
So without further ado, let's have at it:
BEST NEW TV SHOWIMPORT
'Nicolas Le Floch'
A police detective in pre-Revolutionary France - nothing I like more than a good "History Mystery" and this show delivers. As far as I can tell it has the period details down and in such a way that only the French could have done.
This is a brilliant spin on flashback reminiscense stories which we've had since at least 'The Wonder Years'. The show is narrated from the present day, looking back at the life of young Martin Moone growing up in 1990 Ireland - told from the perspective of his imaginary friend. The concept has been optioned to be remade as an American TV show and I think Earth Prime-Time can handle both of them being in the same dimension. In fact, I think it's a show that could be adapted in plenty of countries, much like 'The Office' and 'Betty de la Fea'.
Trippy and gritty, treating a ritualistic murder in bayou country as though it was black magic in some fantastical landscape. I doubt this could have worked with lesser talents than Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in the lead roles. And best of all, even though many of the characters live on in Toobworld, our memories of them won't be diminished by dilution through multiple seasons (as was the case with 'The Sopranos'.) This is an anthology series - one season and done - and already work has begun on a new case, new location, new mood, and new characters.
I really didn't want to choose one over the others with these three:
'You're The Worst'
I'm not one who enjoys shows about characters I'm not supposed to like but at least this is full-out cringe comedy as could be found in 'The Comeback' as an example. I actually like Jimmy and Gretchen and their poisonous relationship, but I don't think I'd last a day as one of their "friends".
It's not often a TV show I watch all by my lonesome can make me laugh out loud, but it happened all the time with this sitcom. Especially during that disasterous wedding ceremony!
'Garfunkle & Oates'
Sweet televersion display of "life" for this Internet sensation duo. Songs are catchy and only slightly cringe-worthy at times.
WORST NEW TV SHOW
It was an intriguing premise, a great cast, but that first episode was dull as dishwater and I had no interest in going any further than that......
BEST TV MOVIE"Murder On The Homefront"
Gripping murder mystery during the War Years. Thankfully no historical personages to bleep things up with conflicting recastaway issues.
WORST TV MOVIE
"Sharknado 2: The Second One"
And yet I watched.... My face still hurts from all the face/palm action. This takes place in Disaster Toobworld.
WORST TV SPECIAL
'The Maya Rudolph Show'
A terrible train wreck for a talented woman. She deserved better. And didn't the 'Columbo' episode "Make Me A Perfect Murder" teach the people in the industry anything? The ship has sailed on live variety specials in today's world.
There was a suggestion at the end of the sixth and final episode that we might see further adventures among these office drones in the MI-5 of the early 1970s. I hope not. This was just so perfect in feeding my love for the dreary life a spy, Le Carre style.
BEST ONLINE TV
The full song rendtions by the comedy-singing duo of Garfunkle & Oates.
A slice of life as a grandmother takes her granddaughter to see the spot where she met the grandfather - under a tree on the Woodstock property where the epic music festival was held. Or was it that tree.....? Man that made me feel old!
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
"Bang Your Drum"
('The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' - Final Show Opening
It started out with Craig lip-synching to the song by Dead Man Fall, filled with images from the past decade of his show. Plus there were shots of nearly fifty celebrities - including the Thing from the Fantastic Four! - banging on drums or drum like objects (like Julia Louis-Dreyfuss banging on Tony Hale's head) or Kristen Bell banging on her own pregnant belly). And then it went "live" in the studio with Craig taking over the vocals and Bone Patrol providing fantastic musical backup. Love the drums!
BEST EPISODE, ANY GENRE
'Sherlock' - "The Sign Of Three"I could watch this over and over.....
BEST SERIES RETURN
Even though I wasn't a fan of the travails in Valerie Cherish's life, and a little Lisa Kudrow goes a long way, I like the fact that this is a show that wouldn't say "Die". It came back for a second season nine years after it went off the air, proving that Life goes on in Toobworld even though we no longer get to see it.
BEST SEASON FINALE
Nothing jumped out at me this year.
BEST SERIES FINALE
This is because of a theoretical crossover with 'Monk'. It was so trivial, we never even got to see Adrian Monk! But we know that in the final scene, he was just off-screen - alphabetizing the pantry.....
A grimm without his powers in a frenzied crowd of Wesen - and the series returned in the Fall without a quick resolution to Nick Burkhardt's troubles.
WORST SERIES CONCLUSION
'Franklin & Bash'
It wasn't meant to be the series finale and so it ended on an unresolved cliff-hanger. I think we have to accept that Stanton Infeld has shuffled off this mortal coil.
This is all due to the gritty portrayal of the main character, Sgt. Voight, played by Jason Beghe.
"Veronica Mars" - The Movie
I'm really enjoying this look at how the legend of the Batman began, along with all of the supporting players in his world. However, it has to be remembered that this is yet another TV dimension and not the main Toobworld. It's far too gritty and too modern (cell phones, for example) to have any connection to the "true" Batman and Gotham City from 1966.
This is located in the Land O' Remakes because the Father Brown played by Kenneth More in the early seventies has dibs on Earth Prime-Time. But there are nice touches of the period without beating you over the head with it, and Mark Williams is perfect in the role.
Edge of your seat excitement which isn't always matched in the following episodes (as one would expect - production costs would have been too prohibitive.) But they are a genial team, sort of an action-adventure version of the 'Big Bang Theory' characters. And how could I resist a TV series that not only has an O'Brien as the main character but also a Toby as part of his team?
BEST HISTORICAL RECREATION
'Nicolas Le Floche'
I mentioned this earlier - they take great pains to display historical details in the ways of Life without calling attention to themselves: "Look how clever we are in showing you how they used to cook food in those days!" And the locations chosen to evoke the time period could only be found in France. These weren't studio sets......
BEST SENSE OF ONE'S OWN HISTORY
'Endeavour' - Season Two
The series would introduce characters and places that would come into play a few episodes later and also re-introduce us to places and items that we knew from the original series of 'Inspector Morse'. (Two examples - the prison and the Wolvercote belt buckle.)
BEST BLEND OF TOOBWORLD AND REAL WORLD CELEBRITY
'Welcome To Sweden'
It's hard to believe, considering the show took place in Stockholm, but the main character must have been a really good tax accountant for all of his celebrity clients to make the trip over there - Will Ferrell, Gene Simmons, Aubrey Plaza (for Amy Poehler)......
BEST REVIVED SERIES
'Agents Of SHIELD'
It began with the crossover by Sif from the "Thor" movies and Lorelei from the comics. Then the tie-in to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and it picked up speed with the attacks by HYDRA.
BEST CLASSIC TV EXPERIENCE
'The Adventures Of Robin Hood'