Thursday, 17 December 2009

The TV or not TV Awards 2009: Part 2 - And the Winner is...

One thing I think we safely established last week is that 2009 has been one hell of a year for the medium of television.

Thus, narrowing down my nominations in each category of The TV or not TV Awards 2009 was always going to prove more difficult than trying to deduce Joe McElderry’s sexuality.

The little Geordie Umpa Lumpa may have won 'X Factor' (more on that later) and taken over every facet of the media in recent days with his inane grin, but don’t let that sour your memory of 2009, because this has truly been a vintage year for TV – further proof that we are lucky enough to be living in a golden age of television.

So without further ado, let’s see who will get to take home the invisible statues from the TV or not TV Awards 2009…

Man of the Year

Nominees:

- Charlie Hunnam
- David Duchovny
- Charlie Brooker
- Alexander Skarsgard
- Carlos Bernard

And the winner is…


Charlie Hunnam

Although every category is going to be hard to narrow down to just one winner, this one was particularly hard.

However, I eventually settled on the leading man from my favourite show of the year, mainly because he defied all my expectations and made me glad to be proved wrong.

I fell in love with ‘Sons of Anarchy’ straight away, it’s raw, gritty and packs one hell of a punch, but I initially dismissed Charlie Hunnam as a pretty boy who seemed out of place surrounded by actors who you could actually believe were in a M.C.

But by about half way through the season, around the time he shot the sadistic Agent Kohn in the head at point blank range, Hunnam had made Jax Teller into one of the most interesting, compelling and fearsome characters on TV.

Hunnam also has to score some extra points because I had no idea he was a Geordie! The guy delivers a thoroughly convincing American accent on the show and couldn’t come across less like someone born in the North East of England if he tried.

Hunnam is just about the best thing in a show that is crammed full of them, and for that reason he is the 2009 Man of the Year.

Woman of the Year

Nominees:

- Tina Fey
- Katey Sagal
- Claudia Winkleman
- Elizabeth Mitchell

And the winner is…


Tina Fey

Although all the women in this category have had a great year, no one is quite at the top of their game right now like Tina Fey.

The ‘SNL’ alumnus has rapidly become one of America’s sweethearts and her hysterical sitcom ‘30 Rock’ routinely sweeps the board at almost every award show.

Fey is not only the star of what I would say on a laughs per minute ratio is the funniest show in production, she also created, writes and exec produces it.

As ‘30 Rock’s nerdy leading lady Liz Lemon, Fey has made neuroses sexy – it is impossible not to fall in love with her socially retarded ways.

For bringing us one of the funniest sitcoms of all time that shows no signs of diminishing in quality as it marches on into its fourth season, and for remaining the undisputed funniest woman alive, Tina Fey is our woman of the year for 2009.

The Room 101 Award – TV Stars You Wish Would Just Fuck Off

Nominees:

- Kerry Katona
- Jordan
- Amanda Holden
- Cheryl Cole

And the winner is…

Cheryl Cole

There’s no picture for this category because it’s not like this woman is short of exposure is it?

As heinous as all the nominees in this category are I’ve plumped for the inexplicably popular Cheryl Cole as the winner of the award for the TV Star You Wish Would Just Fuck Off.

Although Jordan has done some deplorable things this year and is probably one of the worst human beings in existence, she is pretty much universally maligned for her antics and viewed by most people as a joke.

Cheryl Cole on the other hand is inconceivably loved and referred to as a “national treasure”, her popularity in this country baffles me almost as much as Michael McIntyre’s or ‘Gavin & Stacey’s does.

This is a woman with no discernable talent who for some unexplainable reason has been routinely forced down our throats for the past 18 months and I for one have had enough.

Cheryl Cole really needs to fuck off (and she can take her husband with her for me).

Most Shocking Death

Nominees:

- Donna Winston on Sons of Anarchy
- Derek Reese on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- FBI Agent Al Gough on FlashForward
- FBI Agent Larry Moss on 24
- Dr. Lawrence Kutner on House

And the winner is…


Derek Reese on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

This was possibly the toughest of all the categories to decide on just one winner for, up until just before putting pen to paper, or more accurately: fingers to keys, I was going to have a tie but I decided that was a cop out and so made the difficult choice and it might not be popular…

Although Tony turning on Larry on ‘24’ was by far the biggest mind-fuck of the year, it left enough questions at the time to keep fans guessing and clutching at straws and even speculating if Larry was even dead – if I’d had a ‘What the fuck’ category that scene probably would have run away with it.

In terms of shear emphatic, unrepentant death though the most shocking death of the year on TV had to be Derek Reese on ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’.

It just happened so quickly.

There was no foreshadowing really, no build and there was little to no time to mourn him afterwards – it was all very in keeping with the tone of the show, that said though, it made it no less shocking when Derek took a bullet to the head in rather un-grand circumstances.

There was no blaze of glory, no heroic act, just the mis-fortune of his mission finally catching up with him. It must have contributed to the impact of Derek’s death on me that he had rapidly become my favourite character on the show, but even for those who weren’t the biggest Brian Austin Greene or Derek Reese fans, the way he went out was one hell of a shock.

Comedy of the Year

Nominees

- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- 30 Rock
– The Thick of It
- How I Met Your Mother
- Modern Family

And the winner is…


The Thick of It

Although I’ve already praised ‘30 Rock’ earlier in this feature and I’ve been waxing (practically wanking) lyrical about the current season of ‘Curb’ since it began, my comedy of the year has to be ‘The Thick of It’.

Not only have Armando Ianucci et al given us a sublime second full season of the show, they also brought us one of the comedy films of the year and possibly the decade ‘In the Loop’ with many of the same characters and actors.

‘The Thick of It’s second season was heavily Tucker-focused and it made for one hell of a watch. Peter Capaldi is nothing short of sensational as Political Enforcer Malcolm Tucker, I discussed earlier in the year in my film work for Obsessed with Film the possibility of an OSCAR nom for his role in ‘In the Loop’ and while that may be wishful thinking, if Capaldi is ignored at the TV awards over here for his work in this painfully brilliant show then it will be one of the crimes of the decade.

‘The Thick of It’ has to be the most quotable British comedy of all time, it really is that well written. Although Peter Capaldi is undoubtedly the star of the show, the supporting players all do what they do very well and are excellent verbal punching bags for the vitriolic spin doctor.

I can only hope there is another season of this under-rated and terribly under-appreciated show, or at the least another set of ‘specials’ and let’s just pray it doesn’t take as long for them to reach us this time, but hey, I suppose you can’t hurry genius.

Greatest Guest Appearance

Nominees:

- Callum Keith Rennie on Californication
- Michael J. Fox on Rescue Me
- Jon Voight on 24
- Jerry Seinfeld on Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Edward Norton on Modern Family

And the winner is…


Jerry Seinfeld on Curb Your Enthusiasm

There have been some truly memorable guest appearances on some great shows this year but none of them quite measure up to the magnitude of Jerry Seinfeld re-teaming with Larry David.

The ‘Seinfeld’ creators reunited and appeared on screen together for the first time as part of the ‘Seinfeld’ reunion arc on the excellent ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Understandably given the popularity of ‘Seinfeld’, there was a great deal of hype before this new season of ‘Curb’, but it has not disappointed in the slightest.

Seeing Larry and Jerry verbally sparring and bantering is just joyous to watch and I could honestly sit there and just watch that for hours and not get bored. Although this season of ‘Curb’ has featured some great moments, it has been these less noteworthy scenes of Larry and Jerry writing or grabbing lunch together that I have enjoyed and will remember the most.

It is as yet unclear whether there will even be a season 8 of Larry David’s great masterpiece, but if there is, I’d love to see Jerry Seinfeld return in a regular or even semi-regular role. Although for me it was never in doubt, this year, thanks to ‘Curb’, Jerry Seinfeld has proved that he hasn’t lost a single bit of the comedy genius that made him a superstar in the first place.

Biggest Disappointment

The Nominees:

– FlashForward
- Dollhouse
- Prison Break
- Heroes

And the winner (or should that be loser) is…


FlashForward

Although all the shows in this category were disappointing in their own ways this year, nothing seems to have failed quite as spectacularly as ‘FlashForward’.

Part of this has to come down to the show falling victim to its own hype machine, I can’t remember a new show that was ever hyped this much, and in reality ‘FlashForward’ was never going to live up to people’s expectations.

It started out well enough, much like the show that so many people have drawn parallels with: ‘Lost’, ‘FlashForward’s pilot was a big budget affair that made you sit up and take notice, but since then it’s all been downhill at a pretty rapid speed.

Whereas ‘Lost’ made the most of its large ensemble cast and made you care and take an interest in the characters straight out of the gate, ‘FlashForward’ failed to do that. So in the lulls between revelations and explosions we are left to be bored by the problems of a bunch of people we know very little about and care even less for.

It also hinders this programme that so many people are mis-cast, Joseph Fiennes is just about the most unsympathetic leading man you’ll see on TV and I don’t think that’s intentional. John Cho gets very little chance to bring any light relief to the show, which you would think they would have let an actor who made his name in comedy do, and Dominic Monaghan is the most laughable evil genius ever committed to film – he makes Dr. Evil look menacing.

All is not lost though, we are only half way through the show’s first season and maybe I’ve been a tad harsh, but this show has so much potential if they nip the bad habits in the bud now then there are the makings of a great show here, but if they allow things to continue to stagnate as they have been doing we could have another ‘Dollhouse’ on our hands.

Show of the Year

Nominees

– Sons of Anarchy
- Californication
- Mad Men
- Breaking Bad

And the winner is…




Sons of Anarchy

What else can I say that I haven’t already said about the fucking awesome ‘Sons of Anarchy’?

The best new show in years, the most exciting show to hit our screens since ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Shield’ ended and the rawest and grittiest show I’ve seen since ‘Oz’; ‘Sons of Anarchy’ has everything you could want in a TV show and then some.

Funny, touching, tear-jerking and violent as hell, the show can breeze effortlessly between these tones in a matter of seconds and it feels completely organic. You don’t have to be into bikes, guns and girls to appreciate ‘Sons of Anarchy’, in fact these are secondary to borderline Shakespearean storytelling, it’s all manipulative machinations, the pull of fate & destiny and great tragedy.

It would be quite easy for a show like this to come off misogynistic, but it is anything but, in fact the women of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ are perhaps the strongest, most dominant characters in the show – Katey Sagal in particular shines as Kurt Sutter’s very own leather-clad Lady Macbeth Gemma.

There is not a weak link in sight in terms of casting, and creator, writer and all round SAMCRO godfather Kurt Sutter has given us some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking TV writing of the year.

In short, anyone who is not already familiar with the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original really should be, because, putting all my usual superlatives and hyperbole aside for a second, you are missing out on the best TV show being made at the moment – and that’s not hype, it’s fact.

Other Musings:

- So, as expected, Joe won ‘X Factor’ at the weekend but now, very much not as expected, this Rage Against the Machine campaign looks as though it may actually make things interesting.

Joe will more than likely still bag the number one spot, but at least we actually have a battle on our hands for what was once somewhat of a big deal.

I've already bought three copies of ‘Killing in the Name’, so I've done my bit, and now even if they do lose out to the little Geordie cheese ball at least I tried. And although I'll have spent a little cash on an ultimately futile venture, I'm planning on making my money back by starting a spread on when Joe will come out of the closet- my money's on the week after he gets the number one.

If by some miracle the Rage campaign works it will be a victory for people who don't buy everything that the likes of Cowell, Radio 1 and ‘GMTV’ spoon feed them. Yes I'm fully aware of the fact that Rage and Joe are actually both signed to Sony and that it's kind of ironic that everyone buying Rage is trying to achieve something different by all doing the same thing; but if this comes off it may just be the first nail in the coffin of ‘X Factor's dominance over the intelligence of the people of the UK.

You never know, we might look back on December 20th 2009 as a watershed for the return of artistic integrity... but more than likely we'll just be forced to sit through another saccharine rendition of a song that was actually done better by Miley Cyrus, and when that's the case you know you've got problems.

- On the subject of Rage Against the Machine, I don’t have a ‘radio moment of the week’ but if I did it would go to the band’s appearance on the BBC Radio 5 Live morning show this morning.

After some chit chat about the campaign, the band, in a live link up from the States then performed ‘Killing in the Name’ during which front man Zack De la Rocha launched into the fuck-riddled refrain.

Nicky Campbell’s co-host on the show Shelagh Fogarty could be heard desperately yelling “Get rid of it!” in the background before the song was abruptly faded out.

Reports suggest that the band had been repeatedly asked not to swear and then did so anyway, apparently the BBC aren’t familiar with Rage’s stance on doing what they’re told…

TV Moment of the Week:

- Leon on ‘Curb’. Although there were some more laugh out loud moments with ‘Curb's most hilarious character this last episode - I'm thinking of the Michael Richards interaction specifically, my favourite moment of this penultimate episode of the season was Larry and Leon watching the ‘Seinfeld’ rehearsals.

Leon:

(RE: Wayne Knight as Newman) "Who is that fat motherfucker?"

(RE: Jerry Seinfeld & Julia Louis Dreyfus as Jerry and Elaine) "Who are these two right here?"

Amelie Gillette of The A.V. Club wrote that Leon should do the commentary track for a ‘Seinfeld’ DVD, but I say why not go one further and have him do the commentary for every DVD release- imagine how great that would be!

‘Harry Potter’ - "who's this little motherfucker with the glasses?"

‘Avatar’ - "who are these blue motherfuckers?"

‘Twilight’ - "who are these two? I'd tear that ass up, why's she kissing that pasty motherfucker?"

The possibilities are endless...


That’s it from TV or not TV for 2009. Do not despair though: we’ll be back in early 2010 to do it all over again... We couldn’t let our fan (that’s not a mis-print) down could we!?

Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas and New Year.


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