Rounding off the pop culture trilogy, the best new TV I saw last year.
I mentioned this tv program in my recent 5 Sci Fi series that aren’t ‘Franchises’ so won’t talk as much about it here.
Same for this one if I am honest.
And this one too.
This was one of shows that was cut short in it’s prime. Obstensibly an adaptation of DC/Vertigo title Hellblazer, it is the story of part time exorcist, part time mage and full time arsehole John Constantine. John is from Liverpool (Woo Hoo) but lives in America a lot of the time and gets caught up in mystical and demonic activities. Realising that something is coming, he takes a more active hand in dealing with it. We have unkillable men, demons, voodoo priests, clairvoyants, ghosts, angels and tons more besides and takes place in the darker corners of the CW DC TV universe. Matt Ryan nails Constantine as a good, if unscrupulous man, racked with guilt and haunted by his actions, he is a relatable, if not always likeable lead. We have references to First of the Fallen, Doctor Fate, Felix Faust and the Spectre, but this is in no way inaccessible to non-Vertigo fans and even though cut off halfway through season 1, is worth watching on Amazon Prime or getting on DVD/Blu-Ray, a sequel animated series is on the way, but this is where the series shines.
6: Legends of Tomorrow
From the same stable as Arrow and The Flash, DC Legends of Tomorrow is an ensemble show using characters that have shown up in the two shows before (including Sarah Lance, Ray ‘the Atom’ Palmer, Dr Martin ‘half of Firestorm’ Stein, Jefferson ‘the other half’ Jackson, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Captain Cold and Heatwave) as well as Rip Hunter the Time Master. Rip is played by Arthur Darvil (the dopey guy from season 5 of Doctor Who) and gathers this team of potential legends to battle the evil Vandal Savage across history in his time ship WaveRider. An uneven show, it took time to find it’s feet. But at all points it was a lot of fun.
Another one from my 5 sci fi shows post.
4: Jessica Jones
The second of Marvel/Netflix’s collaboration shows, this was by far the biggest risk as it was the most obscure. Jessica Jones was the protagonist of the mature readers Marvel series Alias by Brian Michael Bendis. This is the story of a fallen/failed hero, suffering PTSD from her time under the control of a man she knows only as Killgrave. This series was bold, unflinching in places and at times disturbing. Kristen Ritter played Jones as a mess, but very much an understandable one, while David Tennant was gleefully evil as Killian, yet still had moments of sympathetic depth sprinkled around. Full of action, suspense and choice language, it was proof that Marvel could do really good TV when not tied to network needs.
Speaking of Jessica Jones
3: Luke Cage
I reviewed this on another post, so here’s that http://wp.me/p4oX4g-eH
This wasn’t particularly new to 2016, but it only got to Netflix at that point. This is a glorious find with an interesting and distinct take on the walking undead. Here final year medical student Liv is scratched by a zombie at a party she attended at her fiance’s request. She passes out, waking inside a body bag with a streak of hair turned white (soon joined by the rest of her hair) and a hunger for human brains. This version of zombieism is different in that the zombie retains their human personality and faculties, they’re just pale and hunger for brains. The brains often cause flashes of the brain donor’s life in the zombie’s head. This leads to the zombie temporarily acquiring new personality traits. Liv ends up working in a morgue with no real interest in doing anything other than eating brains, but falls backwards into helping a rookie detective solve cases using what he thinks are psychic vision, but are actually brain related side-effects. The series then follows her rebuilding her life, searching for a cure and allowing the search for justice to help her sleep at night.
It’s well acted, funny, bonkers in places and incredibly accessible. The cast is varied and very good with stand-out work from David Anders as sort of bad-guy zombie Blaine. If you have Netflix, watch it, if you don’t first month is free, just saying.
And finally, though it isn’t Sci-Fi or anything, it has been the most surprising and fun show I have watched this year.
1: Lethal Weapon
Two things before I start
1: I have never really enjoyed the majority of re-makes and re-boots of functioning properties.
2: I have a great fondness for the Lethal Weapon franchise, the first film being a favourite amongst christmas movies for both myself and the Mighty Rosie.
So you can imagine that I wasn’t inclined to give a TV remake/Damon Wayans Snr vehicle much of a chance. I’m glad I did. Given a weekly format, this series allows more depth to several characters from Clayne Crawford’s tortured Martin Riggs, to the police appointed psychiatrist trying to help him as well as Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh, a veteran cop trying to get back into the swing of things after a heart attack, but far from the ‘too old for this shit’ version of the movies. The lead’s chemistry is entertaining and immediate, with Rog’s exasperation with Riggs’ reckless actions as he acts with little thought and less care. This isn’t some cheap knock-off, but a distillation, being true to the spirit of the action comedy elements of the film, but very much it’s own animal. Definitely worth a try.
So there you have it.
2016 was something of a geek’s dream and there was plenty to take your mind of the stresses of the world, so you can put them into perspective. The TV and movies on these lists were things I shared with friends and loved ones and that’s just the new stuff, not counting new series of TV I was watching last year.
With new films and TV coming, new challenges in my personal life and new battles to be fought, 2017 looks like an interesting year. I think it’s going to be fun and will do all I can to make sure.
Ta Ta for Now internet people.