Once again it seems I went off grid for a few months and left this blog sadly neglected… I missed it’s 5th anniversary at the beginning of October, I missed prime photography season in the Autumn, and I missed two entire months’ worth of planned blogposts (thankfully they’ll keep for the future) - without even doing anything really worthwhile in the meantime. Oh well, let’s soldier on and try harder next time!
After all, there’s no way that I was going to miss my annual top-5 review month - especially with a brand new category, which is what I’m starting you all off with today! The last few years (this one included) have been super disappointing in the land of cinema, and for most of this year I found myself swept away by the astounding work that’s being done in TV-land so I just couldn’t resist sharing my top five picks for tv this year. (On a side note, I’ve also done away with trying to restrict my reviews to the current year, as that leaves out way too much of the good stuff and I tend to stumble on things randomly anyways).
Do you know how rare it is that we actually get German language television programming available in Canada? Like never - up until now, with SundanceTV’s and RTL’s co-produced series, subtitles and all! This show is definitely a slow starter, and I wasn’t hooked until abut 3 episodes in, but once I was in it was an obsession. German culture circa 1983, vintage Mercedes-Benzes, Stasi spies, GDR/FRG competition, teenage emotional drama, and a wonderful ‘80s soundtrack made this show a perfect match to homemade burgers and Beck’s on Friday nights this summer. Here’s hoping that they bring it back for Deutschland 84!
I’m blaming my addiction to this show entirely on my former boss (of Analogue Hobbies fame). It’s his fault that I started watching this show, so it’s therefore his fault that I’m now [even more] obsessed with Irish accents, Cillian Murphy’s eyes, and tweed overcoats. 1920s gangsters aren’t usually my thing at all, since we usually get the American prohibition and jazz age themes (and like most truly Americanized things that’s just a few shades off of interesting for me), but the Peaky Blinders and the Shelby family sure are something else. They have the post-WWI shell-shock trauma, gritty industrial boom England scenery, a truly intriguing cast of bad-ass characters, and the English version of 1920s style - all of which is far more up my aisle.
Parks & Recreation
I caught on to the ridiculously amazing hilarity that is Parks & Recreation far, far later than the majority of its fans… So late in fact, that I had heard many of its best jokes via a few of my friends’ Tumblr accounts. I literally came in right in time to catch the finale - thankfully I was able to marathon the first 6 seasons over dreadfully boring last winter and was only 2 episodes behind when the final season started to air. I may have been seriously late to the game, but I think my obsession with the concept of “treat yo’self” (I had already secretly been doing this for years, which is why my mother thinks I have a shopping problem) and my reference to Ron Swanson as my spirit animal makes up for my tardiness.
I’ve been watching Suits since the very beginning, and thankfully it’s still going strong. It’s hard to resist a cast of beautiful men in perfectly tailored suits and even more beautiful (and powerful) women, so why bother resisting at all? What sets this show apart from all the other legal dramas for me is that it’s not at all focused on lawyers practising law - sure, they do practise, but the driving force behind the entire show are the characters and the legal aspects just fade away into the background.
Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter
aka Generation War
For a mini-series that is so exactly on topic for what I studied in University, and continue to be entranced by in reference to world history, I am shocked that it took me 2 years to actually get around to watching this show. It’s enlightening, harrowing, beautiful, and brutal all at once, and rings with a certain truth that is sure to open up the dialogue about the experiences of the general populace of Germany during the years of the Second World War. I meant to savour it over a few weeks, but once I started watching I couldn’t stop and ended up finishing all 3 episodes in less than 48 hours - which stands to prove how engaging all the aspects of it were, from the actors (who I’m now trying to catch up on the rest of their work), to the cinematography (which was excellently done). I only wonder sometimes whether the version we get distributed in North America is edited slightly differently than the original German version, since there were a few choppy editing moments that seemed to be editing choices rather than part of the flow of the narrative.
**all images/gifs from Tumblr