December 2016 TV

Current shows: 8 out of 10 Cats, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Berlin Station, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Crazyhead, No Tomorrow, Only Connect, People of Earth, Please Like Me, Shameless, The Crown, The Graham Norton Show, Westworld, Yuri!!! On Ice

Non-current shows: Only Connect

Pilots tried: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Gary: Tank Commander

Other: Sense8: Christmas Special, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (2016), The Great Christmas Bake Off

Things of note:

Yuri!!! on Ice

I was a little late to this phenomenom, but yeah, okay, the hype was completely correct. After the second episode, I think, I knew that I was going to just watch all of it in one go.

(And of course was then left with the gaping hole that great media leaves after you marathon it, where it feels like nothing else will suffice to fill that hole, even though you have experienced this feeling enough to know that something else will soon enough. But I used to experience this more frequently than I have in the past year or so, I think.)

It shouldn’t be that compelling to watch animated figure skating routines, since there’s not quite the visceral human element to it–i.e. the “holy shit, these are real humans with real human bodies somehow accomplishing these physical feats” factor–but the show is smart about having different styles of internal monologues/story motivations for the different skaters’ programs, so it somehow works? And it’s still hard to watch them mess up their routines; if it’s losing the sort of “shit, that looks painful and/or embarrassing” cringe factor that comes with real life sports, it’s gaining the “shit, I’m really invested in [insert name here]‘s happiness” cringe factor that comes with actually knowing these characters beyond their public personas (semi-impossible, in real life).

Various other notes:

  • Love Yurio and his awful (amazing) fashion sense and constant anger and adorable grandfather. Maybe more emotionally affected by Yurio offering pork cutlet pirozhki to Yuri than any of the romantic Victor/Yuri scenes?
  • Love that Victor basically has Evgeni Plushenko’s backstory, and yeah, this maybe caused me to fall down a Evgeni Plushenko spiral. This has basically been happening to me every few years since Vancouver 2010, so I was probably due for one anyway. The Sex Bomb routine remains one of the greatest things not just in ice skating history, but, like, world history in general.
  • Also, sort of rare–for me, anyway–to watch an anime about adults rather than high schoolers, and the different spectrum of emotions and relationships that opens up? (Well, a mixed bag, since some of the skaters are still in their teens, but the titular character is 23.)
  • And I mean, omg the rings. When fans were speculating that the teaser for episode 10 with Yuri promising to get Victor “something gold and round” would be a wedding ring rather than the more expected gold medal, it was like…probably not, right? Only in a fan’s wet dream. But then it happened! (Although Yuri’s like “no, we’re not married we just exchanged expensive golden rings in a church to mark our commitment to the precious coach/skater bond” and then Victor’s like “WE’RE ENGAGED AND WE’LL GET MARRIED IF HE WINS A GOLD MEDAL”).
  • And god the reveal of Yuri’s drunken antics and how that completely reshapes the narrative from the very beginning is just…amazing.
  • It’s cool to see actual figure skaters reacting to the show on Twitter, especially give the role social media plays in the show itself, which helps it feel very modern and realistic. Relatedly, probably my absolute favorite moment from the show is the moment in the second episode where Yurio arrives in Japan and vows not to post anything on social media (lest his coach finds out where he is), only to immediately break his vow, because: AWESOME FASHION.

It’s no Victor and Chris taking sexy pictures of each other in the hotel pool, but lol:

Stretching with Zhenya. Kanazawa, 2015. #throwbackthursday @plushenkoofficial

A post shared by •JOHNNY WEIR• (@johnnygweir) on

 


 

Crazyhead

This was really solid and I hope it gets a second season, but I guess I don’t actually have anything to say about it, since the “like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Misfits” descriptor is kind of tired. But yeah, demons + quips + well-written female characters + a climactic moment in the season finale that was–in the best possible way–super reminiscent of Xander talking down Willow to prevent the end of the world in the Buffy season 6 finale. “Don’t end the world for his limp dick” = the new yellow crayon?


Berlin Station

A show that it might have been easier to get super into a few years ago, before there were just so goddamn many Stylish Prestige Dramas Starring Hot Dudes. Bonus points for scenes of Hot Dudes Walking Purposefully to Nick Cave Music, although obviously Peaky Blinders is always going to be the ultimate for that. But unfortunately, in 2016, there was not quite enough room in our hearts for all of the Stylish Prestige Dramas and this was just kind of forgettable, low-priority viewing? Like, “oh, right, I should watch this week’s Berlin Station at some point” instead of the sort of “OH SHIT IT’S SUNDAY HOW MANY HOURS UNTIL BERLIN STATION IS ON” one wants a show to provoke. (Certainly the reaction Yuri!!! On Ice provoked–Wednesdays suddenly became super exciting and I still haven’t recovered from that sense of anticipation.)

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