2014 In Review: 20 Good Things That Lisa Saw On TV In 2014


So, I’m sitting here and I’m trying to make out my annual list of good things that I saw on TV over the previous year and I’ve just realized something.

I did not watch as much TV as usual last year.

It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part.  Up until this very moment, I was actually thinking that I watched too much TV last year.  But, honestly, 2014 was a busy year for me.  Between work and dance and family and romance and writing and seeing movies and shopping and being sick and getting well and the manic states and the depressive states, I just didn’t have as much time as usual to devote to television.

In fact, the only shows that I always made it a point to watch were two reality shows and that was mostly because I write about them over at the Big Brother Blog and the Survivor Blog.

That takes me by surprise because I love television.  I’ve never made any secret of that fact and I’ve never felt guilty about it.  When I’m writing, I find it helps to have the TV on in the background.  As well, knowing that a certain show is always going to be on at a certain time tends to help me deal with my Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.  I’ve always felt that, in a perfect world, I would have my own TV network.  It would be called the Lisa Marie Network (LMN) and I would be in charge of programming every single minute.

But, for whatever reason, in 2014, I didn’t watch as much as usual.  So, don’t consider the list below to be a comprehensive list of everything that was good on television last year.  Instead, consider it to just be 20 good things that I was lucky enough to see.

So, here’s the list!

1) Too Many Cooks on Adult Swim

You knew that I’d have to start out with this one, especially considering that I still find myself randomly singing the theme song.  “When it comes to the future, you can never have too many cooks!”

2) Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

I actually enjoyed watching most of the 2014 Winter Olympics.  (Except, of course, when Bob Costas was there with his fucked up eye.)  But what I especially loved was watching the figure skating.  How couldn’t you love the chemistry between Charlie White and Meryl Davis or the amazing grace of Yulia Lipnitskaya or Ashley Wagner’s refusal to hide her disgust with the judges?

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 1

3) Veep

Without a doubt, the funniest show on television.  Anyone who idolizes a politician should be forced to watch it.

4) Community ended its network run on a decent note

After a rough fourth season, Community made a comeback of sort during the fifth season.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep NBC from canceling the show but still, it was good to see a few more decent episodes of Community before the show moved over to Yahoo.

5) True Detective

True Detective has been praised so much that I really don’t have much more to say about it, beyond the fact that I found it to be endlessly fascinating.

6) Sharknado 2!

So, I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the first Sharknado.  (I was even less of a fan of the way the media seemed to believe that Mia Farrow was the first person to ever live tweet a movie, especially considering how lame most of Mia’s Sharknado tweets were.)  But I loved Sharknado 2!  Sharknado 2 was everything that the first Sharknado was supposed to be and more!

IZ in Sharknado 2

7) The Old People TV Networks

This is the year that I really made an effort to explore all of the channels that I have available to me.  What I discovered is that there are a lot of stations that are apparently dedicated to exclusively showing shows that were made long before I was even born!  For a history nerd like me, coming across these networks is a bit like accidentally digging up a time capsule.  Add to that, I’ve discovered that old TV shows make for perfect background noise.  I call these networks the Old People TV networks but I do so with affection.

8) Seeing my friend and fellow movie blogging Irish gal Kellee Pratt in the audience whenever TCM rebroadcasts that interview with Maureen O’Hara.

9) Opposite Worlds on SyFy

Opposite Worlds was a reality show that was broadcast on the SyFy Network.  Contestants were divided into two tribes.  One tribe lived in the luxurious future, complete with a fully automated house.  The other tribe lived in the past, which basically meant wearing furs and staying in a cave.  The two tribes competed every week.  Many contestants were seriously injured.  I was hoping that Samm would win, mostly because I share her struggle.  But I was okay with Frank eventually winning.  He turned out to be a nice guy.

(By the way, SyFy, I’m still waiting for a second season…)

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel got better and better during its second season.  I still think Olivia Cooke needs a spin-off where she solves crimes.

bates-motel-season-2-freddie-highmore-600x412

11) True Blood ended before it totally went the way of Dexter.

To be honest, True Blood was definitely showing signs of its age.  I wasn’t really happy with the final season but I was relieved to see that it still ended on a better note than Dexter did.

12) Flowers in the Attic

2014 got off to a great start with Flowers in the Attic, one of the best movies to ever show up on Lifetime.

13) Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

In fact, the only that kept Flowers in the Attic from being the best Lifetime movie was the fact that Lizzie Borden premiered a week later.

Lizzie

14) The Way The Saved By The Bell and Aaliyah Movies Brought Us Together As A Nation

For two nights, our often troubled country was united by the power of mass snarkiness.

15) Coverage Of The Fact That Paul Rosalie Was Not Eaten Alive

There was something greatly satisfying about how, after spending weeks promising that he would be, Paul Rosalie failed to be eaten alive by an anaconda.  I think one reason I especially enjoyed this fact that I didn’t actually watch the special.  I thought the whole thing sounded stupid and crass.  That made the subsequent ridicule all the more satisfying.

16) Key and Peele

Without a doubt, the funniest sketch comedy program on TV today.

17) Talking Dead

To be honest, the only reason I watch The Walking Dead is so I’ll be able to understand what they’re talking about on The Talking Dead.

18) Daft Punk At The Grammys

It was great to see the Robots enjoying themselves.

Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers

19) Weather On The Local News

“Folks, we’ve got a storm system approaching but don’t worry.  Channel 4 will keep your 4warned…”  Some things never change.  I’ve reached the point where I can find the humor in watching our local meteorologists panic every time that it starts to rain.  This past year, whenever I was stuck inside while a light drizzle fell outside, I knew that Pete Delkus, Larry Mowery, and David Finfrock would be there to amuse me with their dire warnings of a weather apocalypse.

"A storm's coming!"

“A storm’s coming!”

20) Degrassi!

Degrassi endures.  And we’re all the better for it.

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

On one final note: GetGlue, R.I.P.  For five years, I enjoyed checking into tvs, movies, books, and emotions on GetGlue.  Sadly, GetGlue (or TV Tag as it came to be known) went offline on January 1st.  Goodbye, GetGlue.  It was fun while it lasted and I’ll always remember that week when me and that guy from Indonesia were violently fighting over who would get to be the guru of pepper spray. (GGers will understand.)

Tomorrow, my look back at 2014 continues with my ten favorite novels of the year!

Previous Entries In The TSL’s Look Back At 2014:

  1. Things Senor Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 of Lisa’s Favorite Songs of 2014
  5. 2014 in Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014

12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2013


960

Happy Thanksgiving!

Traditionally here in the States, Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday that sits between Halloween and Christmas.  This is the time of year that those of us in the States are supposed to think about what we are thankful for.  According to the people in Washington, this year we’re also supposed to talk to all of the members of our family about politics.  They’ve even made talking points available, just in case you have a relative who isn’t crazy about your personal ideology.  To me, though, that seems kind of foolish.  Why would you ruin a perfectly good Thanksgiving with politics when you could spend your time thinking, talking, and arguing about movies and television?

After all, Presidents are only around for, at the most, eight years.  Movies are forever.

With that in mind, here are twelve random things that I am thankful for in 2013.

1) I’m thankful that there are still visionaries like Shane Carruth who can make films like Upstream Color.

2) I’m thankful for actors, like Robert Downey, Jr., who are capable of making mainstream films, like Iron Man 3, memorable.

3) I’m thankful that a show like Breaking Bad got a chance to remind us of just how good television can be.

4) I’m thankful for Blue Is The Warmest Color.

5) I’m thankful that at least some people understand that The Counselor is one of the best films of 2013.

6) I’m thankful that this October was this site’s most succesful horror month yet!

7) I’m thankful that, in 2013, we can still watch movies like The Passion of Joan of Arc.

8) I’m thankful that I actually saw Tyler Perry’s Temptation because, otherwise, I would not believe that such an inept and deeply offensive film could have been made.

9) I am thankful for Icona Pop’s I Love It, which is currently my favorite song to play while I’m dancing around the house in my underwear.

10) I am thankful that the series finale of The Office was everything that it should have been.

11) I am thankful that Dexter finally ended because, seriously, the show was getting so bad that it was running the risk of overshadowing how good the first few seasons actually were.

12) Finally, and most importantly, I am thankful for our readers and for our subscribers.  Y’all are the ones who make all of this worthwhile.  Thank you!

Trailer: Dexter Season 7


I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous season of Dexter.  Colin Hanks made for a boring villain, the secret behind the character played by Edward James Olmos was obvious from his second appearance, and, for the first time, Michael C. Hall seemed to bored with the title role.  Yes, the sixth season of Dexter was a huge disappointment but it did end on a good note, with Deb discovering that her brother is a murderer. 

(Of course, in the Dexter novels, Deb discovered the truth about her brother a long time ago.  Plus, Rita’s still alive…)

The question is how will the show handle this change in Dexter and Deb’s relationship.  (And will the show continue to explore the idea of Deb being in love with Dexter or will that be one of those plot points that will be quickly forgotten before it can do permanent damage?)  Season 6 did not leave me with much hope for the future of Dexter but I’m still going to gife the new season of Dexter a chance and hope for the best.

This just-released trailer for the seventh season of Dexter gives us a hint of how the show’s new season might play out.

10 Random Things I Am Thankful For in 2011


Hi out there!  Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving?  I know I did.  Now, I know that some people will say that this has been a disappointing year in entertainment.  Steve Carrell left the Office, Whitney Cummings got a sitcom, and — while I’ve truly loved a handful of films this year, it’s hard to ignore the fact that 2011 has yet to produce anything close to a Black Swan, A King’s Speech, or even a Social Network.  Instead, the best films of the year have been ignored by both audiences and critics while good but definitely flawed films like J. Edgar are being touted as being the best was can hope for.  Even Pixar failed to tug at our heart-strings this year.

However, I think we’re running the danger of giving too quickly into negativity when it comes to considering 2011.  No, 2011 is no 2010.  But there’s still a lot to be thankful for and below are just 10 examples of some things that, as 2011 reaches its conclusion, I’m thankful for.

10) This.

9) The time I have left with Community.

With The Office current flailing about in its attempts to establish a consistent post-Carrell identity, I have a new favorite sitcom and its name is Community.  Now in its third season, Community has truly hit its stride and Joel McHale is, of course, to die for.  So, naturally, Community has been yanked from the mid-season schedule while NBC continues to heavily promote shows like Whitney.  This is indeed the darkest timeline but I know that I will continue to tweet things like #savecommunity, #6seasonsandamovie, and #NBCSucks for as long as it takes.

8 ) A second season of Game of Thrones

With the current season of Dexter getting bogged down in its attempt to make a villain out of Colin Hanks and the Walking Dead remaining a flawed masterpiece, the 1st season of Game of Thrones is now the unquestionable highlight of an otherwise uninspired season in television drama.  I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2.

7) Higher Ground

Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut is probably one of the best films that you’ve never seen. 

6) Black Swan is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

5) For that matter, so is the original, non-American, non-Hollywood, non-David Fincher, non-Daniel Craig, non-Rooney Mara Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy.

4) Shame is rated NC-17.

What does this mean?  It mean the Full Fassbender.

3) Hanna

This intriguing and criminally underappreciated postmodern fairy tale remains my favorite film of 2011. 

2) Oscar Isaac

Seriously.  Love him.  I still love to imagine him shouting, “And I declare him to be an OUTLAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW!” whenever I’m annoyed at being stuck in traffic.  You know what else I love?  Listening to him as he sang over the end credits of Sucker Punch.

1) And finally…

I am thankful that I have the greatest sister ever!  You may know her as Dazzling Erin and, if you’re on twitter, you can find her under the name TakeSumE.  However, for me, she will always simply be my best friend and my older (but only by 11 months) sister.  Yesterday was not only Thanksgiving but it was also her birthday!  Now, for those of you who don’t know, Erin is not only my sister but she’s also a talented photographer, a great cook, a wonderful roommate, and the greatest guardian angel that anyone could possibly ever hope to ask for!  And on top of all that, she’s hot too.  Happy birthday, Erin Nicole! 

It's Erin Nicole!

10 Things To Be Thankful For In 2010


It’s the Thanksgiving season, that time when bloggers everywhere come up with lists of things that they are thankful for.  Here’s just 10 of the many things that I’ve been thankful for in 2010.

1) The fifth season of Dexter

I have to be honest.  I’ve been a fan of Dexter since the show’s 1st season but I wasn’t sure if the show would be able to survive after the fourth season ended with Rita (Julie Benz) dead in a bloody bathtub.  However, season 5 has been a triumph.  Yes, a little too much time has been devoted to the domestic troubles of LaGuerta and Batista (Lauren Velez and the always intriguing David Zayas) but Michael C. Hall (as Dexter) and Jennifer Carpenter (as Deb) have done some of their best work this season.  Even better, this season has featured two brilliant performances from guest stars Peter Weller and, especially, Julia Stiles (who really deserves her own spin-off).  Still, you have to wonder if any murder has ever actually been solved in Miami…

2) Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. 

In three films — The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Rapace created one of the first truly iconic film characters of the 21st century and that’s an accomplishment that will stand regardless of any attempts by the Hollywood mainstream to steal her accomplishment through any unnecessary remakes. 

3) Lost

As more time has passed, the more I’ve come to admit just how dissatisfied I was with how the creators of Lost decided to end their show.  Still, that doesn’t change the fact that, for several years, I scheduled my life around when the next episode of Lost was going to air.  I may not be thankful for a series finale that left way too many questions unanswered (why couldn’t children be born on the island?  What was the sickness?) but even the final season featured some of the show’s best moments.

4) The Walking Dead

I’m not a huge fan of Frank Darabont (sorry, but The Shawshank Redemption sucks) but I’m happy to say that he didn’t fuck up The Walking Dead.

5) Kathryn Bigelow broke the glass ceiling.

I’m still not a huge fan of The Hurt Locker but I am definitely a fan of Kathryn Bigelow.  As bad as this year’s Oscar ceremony was, it was worth watching just to see Bigelow become the first woman to ever win an Oscar for best director.  In many ways, it almost felt like a fantasy come to life — not only did Bigelow win a historic victory but she did it by beating her ex, James Cameron (who, to judge from his films, has never met a woman to whom he wouldn’t condescend).  The fact that she then gave one of the only genuine acceptance speeches of the entire ceremony was a wonderful bonus.

6) Blue Valentine was rated NC-17.

The upcoming film Blue Valentine (which I have yet to see) was reportedly given an NC-17 rating on account of scenes featuring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams having sex.  That the film would feature characters played Gosling and Williams having sex makes sense when you consider that the movie is specifically about their marriage.  However, despite this, Blue Valentine was rated NC-17 while films like The Expendables, A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Saw films — in which thousands of people are graphically killed and tortured on-screen — are given an R rating as a matter of routine.  If Blue Valentine had been about Ryan Gosling murdering Michelle Williams (as opposed to fucking her), the film probably would have an R rating and would be considered appropriate viewing in malls across America.  I’m thankful for this rating because it serves as a reminder that it’s okay to show a woman being humiliated, tortured, or killed just as long as you don’t show her actually enjoying an orgasm.

7) Exit Through The Gift Shop

The rest of you mainstreamers can talk about how much you love the Social Network for the rest of eternity, if you want.  Exit Through The Gift Shop is still the best movie of 2010.

8 ) Lisa Marie finally figured out how to work her DVR.

Yes, yes, I know.  DVR has been around like forever and it’s all old news and I’m sure there’s something even better than DVR that everyone but me is raving about and using right now but — look, shut up, okay?  Yes, I’ve had DVR forever but I just figured out how to actually make it work a few months ago.  And I love it!  Now, if I want to sit down in the living room at 3 in the morning and watch old episodes of Project Runway, there’s no way anyone can stop me.

9) Joseph Gordon-Levitt floating through a dream hallway in Inception

Inception was a film full of excellent set pieces and memorable images but whenever I think about the movie, I will always see Joseph Gordon-Levitt floating through that hallway in a suit and looking rather adorable as he does it.

10) Cthulhu on South Park

Well, of course.

That’s just ten things I’m thankful for and I didn’t even start to talk about Scott Caan on Hawaii 5-0, James Franco in 127 Hours, or movies like Fish Tank, Winter’s Bone, and Never Let Me Go.  What are you thankful for?  Leave a comment, let the world know.  The best comment wins a renewed sense of peace and a happy new year.  (Please note that this is not a legally binding document.)

20 Favorite TV Shows of the Past Decade


The beginning of the new millenium brought to tv something which was relegated to MTV for most of the 1990’s. I speak of the so-called “reality tv” shows like The Real World and Road Rules. They were a nice enough diversion from the usualy network and cable fare. They drew great ratings for a cable show and with each successive season for both series becoming more and more like car-wrecks with their beautiful and quite fake cast members the other networks began to take notice. In comes from nowhere Mark Burnett and his pitch to the CBS network of a survival show where ordinary citizens picked to play were to try and survive the season until only one is left to win the million dollar cash prize. Thus was born the reality-tv show, Survivor.

Soon other networks began to greenlight their own reality-tv shows (which were as real as some of the boobs on the cast of later Real World cast members). Fox gave us American Idol. NBC would introduce The Biggest Loser and Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. ABC got into the act with Who Wants to be A Millionaire then with The Bachelor (and to show they were not sexist, The Bachelorette). Even cable channels like The Food Network, Bravo and AMC got into the reality-tv show. Hell, even The Discovery Channel started their own which actually delivered on the label of “reality-tv” with their very popular series, Deadliest Catch.

While the decade from 2000-thru-2009 seemed to be dominated by these cheap to produce “reality shows” the decade had their bonafide hits of every kind. Every type of show were ably represented from comedies, dramas, police procedurals to pop-level shows. The Writer’s Strike of 2007-2008 ended some very good shows just when they were about to breakout. While of some these shows were able to get a second-chance either with a follow-up full season (many series had seasons cut short due to the strike) others got picked up by cable networks like USA or TNT.

Below is the list of the 20 of my favorite tv shows of the past decade. I decided against doing a “Best of…” list since some shows that many would say should be on the list won’t be since I never really watched them or got into them. So, as a list of favorites I’m able to decide on picking shows I’ve actually spent time watching at least halfway into the first season, if not all of the episodes shown.

  1. The Wire (HBO)
  2. Rome (HBO)
  3. Deadwood (HBO)
  4. Dexter (Showtime)
  5. The Shield (FX)
  6. Sons of Anarchy (FX)
  7. Battlestar Galactica (SciFi)
  8. Supernatural (CW)
  9. South Park (Comedy Central)
  10. The Chappelle Show (Comedy Central)
  11. 24 (Fox)
  12. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (fuck you Fox!)
  13. Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)
  14. MadMen (AMC)
  15. Burn Notice (USA)
  16. Jericho (CBS)
  17. Chuck (NBC)
  18. NCIS (CBS)
  19. The Universe (The History Channel)
  20. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (The Food Network)