Category Archives: TV Reviews

My TV Favourites of 2012

Another year has gone by and at this time of year, “Top 10” lists abound.  Well, I do not profess to be a professional television critic, and so my lists are purely reflective of the shows that I have watched and loved over the 2012 season.  In TV land, many new shows make it to air each year, but sadly many don’t survive.  But for those shows that have and continue to be regular staples in our homes, we welcome you and look forward to many more seasons of goodness.

And so, here are some of my favorites for 2012. If you are interested in reading through some of my past TV reviews, you can find all the links to them on this site under “TV Reviews“.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@valshopaholic) and leave a comment below to share with me your favorites!

Favorite New Shows

Go On

Go On

Matthew Perry was always my favorite “friend” on the sitcom that made him famous and in the years since, he has made it clear he can master drama as well as comedy (remember his appearances in The West Wing and, more recently, The Good Wife?). Now Perry is back in the comedy world (does anyone remember Mr. Sunshine? Anyone?), playing radio sportscaster, Ryan King, who joins a community therapy group after the sudden death of his wife.  The premise may be a little predictable – from Ryan’s original dismissal of group therapy as being ridiculous and full of crazy people to his growing fondness of those crazy people – but who doesn’t need a little bit of cray-cray in their lives to make them feel more “normal”?  As with any story involving a death, I have to confess, the show brings the occasional tear to my eye as Ryan moves from denial to grief. The supporting cast is funny and quirky without being annoying, which makes a whole world of difference when it comes to whether a comedy works or not.  I, for one, am glad that NBC have decided that the show will, indeed, go on.

The Newsroom

The Newsroom

As an avid fan of The West Wing, I was excited by the return of Aaron Sorkin to the small screen (after his award-winning effort on the big screen with The Social Network in 2011).  Sorkin spent a couple of years researching life behind the making of news programs. With the trademark Sorkinesque rapid-fire dialog, we are introduced to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a respected TV anchor and editor of News Night as he suffers a very public breakdown.  The Newsroom uses real-life news events of the past year as a backdrop to the stories covered on air by Will and his team, led by former flame, Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) as his producer and Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) as his boss.  Throughout the season, we have seen Will face death threats, get high and confront politicians as election time neared.  The supporting cast is well deserving of every award just for being able to keep up with Sorkin’s dialog, with a special shout-out to Olivia Munn who shows off her Japanese language skills brilliantly.  It is exactly the dose of intelligent news reporting television audiences have been waiting for.

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Why Matt Bomer Made Glee Worth Watching

When I first started watching GLEE nearly three years ago, it was totally out of curiosity.  I have always liked Jane Lynch in every role she’s played, whether it be comedy or drama, and her portrayal of Sue Sylvester was hilarious.  I liked the music and was excited that it introduced a whole new generation of viewers to old classics that I had grown up with.  Mind you, I know I don’t exactly fit into their target demographics but I was interested in it enough to keep tuning in every week.

These days, I still watch GLEE, usually while cooking or eating dinner, and mostly to see what they do with their roster of talented guest stars, and yes, they do rely heavily on bringing in the big guns to push up the ratings – and perhaps to attract audiences like me who would otherwise have no interest in most of the regular cast.

Before the seven-week hiatus, we saw David Karofsky (Max Adler) – former football hero/chief school bully/closeted homosexual in love with Kurt (Chris Colfer) – attempting to commit suicide after becoming a victim of bullying himself. I would have liked to have seen this storyline develop more but all we got was a brief discussion amongst the teachers about how they could have prevented this and the school principal effectively saying it’s not their fault or responsibility.  The kids had a little group discussion amongst themselves, too, but where was the school counselling?

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An Open Letter To Mr Jeff Eastin

Dear Mr Eastin,

Though we have never met, I feel like I have known you forever, so I’m going to dispense with the pleasantries and just call you Jeff, if I may.

Well, Jeff, I know your birthday is fast approaching (no, I am not being creepy stalkerish, it’s public information for those who already have one finger on the phone to the police), and unfortunately I am not able to give you a present as awesome as the “FBI Profile” file that a group of us gave you last year. So I hope this open letter will suffice.

FBI’s most wanted

Now, as you know, I am a big fan of yours.  There may be a small dissident group who think genuine fans are sycophants and like to diss other fans for their support – but thankfully that is just a minority. Your show, WHITE COLLAR has got me addicted to the point of unparalleled obsession.

I have lost sleep because of you and your crazy cliffhangers.  Because of you, I discovered the world of fan-fiction and it re-ignited a passion for writing that I had not experienced since high school. Because of you, I have also discovered the world of slash-fiction…let’s not go there…I can’t write it but, boy, do I admire the talented people who do!

So now let’s move on to the season 3 finale, “Judgement Day”.  Let’s start with the spelling.  We here in the commonwealth spell it with an “e” in the middle but  what’s a letter here and there between friends, right?

I know you love leaving clues and hints for fans to find, so let’s take a look at the bread crumb trail you left for us that led to where we are now.

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Running the Long Con – “White Collar” Then and Now – Part 2

It is another day closer to the season 3 return of my favourite TV show, WHITE COLLAR.  I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1 of my look back at the things I love about the show.  If you missed Part 1, here’s what you missed:

  • The Wardrobe
  • The Truth, Half-Truths and Little White Lies
  • The Quirky Friend
  • The Women of White Collar

There was too much to talk about for one post so here is Part 2.  I’m sure I’ll think of something more after I publish but I’m sure there will be more opportunities in the future for more!  So here we go…let the recap continue! 🙂

5.  The Villains

This show has not been lacking in the villains department given our protagonists are here to solve crimes.  I particularly loved the ones with the fun nicknames like The Dutchman (season 1, “Pilot”), Ghovat (season 1 “Threads”) and The Vulture (season 3 “Taking Account”).  I wish they had more names for the villain-of-the-week – let’s hope I will get my wish in season 4.

But for now, let’s just look at some of the most interesting ones, namely, those who have had a past with Neal.

Fowler, Adler, Keller - coincidence all the baddies' names end with "ler"? Lol

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Running The Long Con – “White Collar” Then and Now – Part 1

As the USA Network starts cranking up the gears to ready its fans for the mid-season return of WHITE COLLAR, it seems appropriate to take a look back at the last two-and-a-half seasons, to see the impact our favourite criminal consultant (or CI) has had on his FBI partner, and vice versa.  If, like me, you have tried to fill the long void of a near-five month hiatus by re-watching the first two seasons on DVD and the first half of season 3 on your DVR, then you will no doubt have noticed the many changes over the last forty episodes.

Those of you who have been following me on twitter (@valshopaholic) or been reading my blog know that this is the one show that I have been so obsessed with that I feel like I know it inside and out.  There is just too much to talk about in one single post, so this is part one of some of my observations and musings on the evolution of the show and its characters.

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My TV Favourites of 2011

Normally I wouldn’t do these lists but I have collaborated with Lena Lamoray to work on one (the full list, including Lena’s favourites has been posted here).

Favourite New Series

Game of Thrones

Based on a series of medieval-fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin A Song of Fire and Ice, GAME OF THRONES is a story of incest, loyalty, love, betrayal, deceit and power.  And because this is an HBO show, you know there’s also lots of sex and blood.

Seven noble families are fighting for control of a kingdom called Westeros.  Just like the old European royal families where alliances are formed as easily as they are broken, Game of Thrones is full of unexpected twists and turns.  You find yourself falling in love with the brutish Khal Drogo and the cunning Tyrion Lannister and I know I’m not alone in this.

The cast reads like a who’s who of British acting royalty: Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, just to name a few.  Season 2 is due to air in April so there is still plenty of time for you to get hold of Season 1 and catch up on this brilliant new series.

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Ten Things I Learnt From White Collar

I’ve always been a strong believer in the idea of always learning.  Life gets pretty boring if you don’t learn something new everyday, or at least every week.   As of  time of writing, there have been 34 episodes of my favourite TV show White Collar that have aired so I suppose this post could have been “34+ things I learnt from White Collar” but I figured ten is as good a start as any just to pique your interest.

For those of you reading this who have somehow managed to miss the show, I’d like to invite you to come out from whatever nuclear bunker you had been hiding in for the past two years and check out this fun show.  It’s a show that makes me laugh, cry, swoon, laugh some more, and occasionally makes me think too much as I analyse every word uttered and every move made by the hottest cast (with their clothes on) on television.

So let’s start this list, and where better to start than the show’s pilot episode.

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