20 years ago I finished a film script. It was a fantasy film with a quest, a battle, a king, a tyrant and a comedy dwarf. It was, I thought, quite good. It had a cracking start but I gave to confess to you now that it was one that I’d ‘borrowed’ from my favourite fantasy novel. But that was okay. Because no one else knew about this book. No one had taken it out from the library. No one knew it’s name whenever I mentioned it. It was ripe for stealing. So, I did. And, earlier this year, I found the script again, I read it and I realise that I have to say I’m sorry to… George R R Martin and that I didn’t mean to steal the opening of Game of Thrones from you! Please don’t sue me!
Anyway, 20 years later, my favourite book when I was at university became the biggest TV show in the world. And this year it came to an end. A story that started when I was 20, finished when I was 42 and it was… alright.
It wasn’t the worst ending in the world, it wasn’t the best (That would be Leftovers). It was… alright.
But what could cap 22 years of living with a story? It would be like ending Coronation Street or trying to tie together The Simpsons in one episode. Some things become too big to ever end. Instead, I celebrate the small achievements. The one liners. Every scene at The Wall. The dead rising for the first time. The fate of the Ice King. Tyrion’s trial. And drinking in Winterfell the night before the final battle.
(And the less said about Jon Wood – because that’s what his acting was made from – the better!)
So, while it doesn’t make my TV list of the year, it’s only because I’m judging this series and not every series. While this series was good. A couple of episodes were great but it’s not made the best of the year because the best programme on TV was ‘Documentary Now’ a programme presented by Helen Mirren that featured a 1970s documentary about a flop Broadway musical that didn’t exist either as a documentary or a musical. But once you watch it you will believe that somewhere there is a musical called ‘Co-Op’ that closed after one night. And you’ll fall in love with Documentary Now.
“Good evening, I’m Helen Mirren and you’re watching Documentary Now.“
Three series, all on Amazon Prime, and all introduced by Helen Mirren as she presents a different classic documentary every episode. Except they’re all made up. From the Hollywood rise to power bio-pic to fictional band’s reminiscing over classic albums or investigative journalist’s repeatedly dying while tracking drug lords in Mexico. Each episode is perfectly made and completely untrue – except for the story of ‘Co-op’ the musical, which definitely did happen, even though it didn’t. That’s how good Documentary Now is – it’ll make you think you watched something that actually happened, even though you know it didn’t.
BEST FILM ABOUT A NORSEMAN NOT IN THE AVENGERS
Arctic has Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen try to escape a plane crash in the Arctic. Despite very few words, despite most of the few words being in Norwegian, you always know exactly what he’s thinking and what he’s doing and what a good man would do when in an impossible situation. A cracking film about a Norwegian hero not called Thor.
BEST FILM ABOUT A DAD NOT CALLED TONY STARK
Hearts Beat Loud is a small film with big songs about a man who tries to form a band with his daughter before she leaves to go to college.
BEST TEAM UP NOT INVOLVING SUPERHEROS
The return of The Lonely Island with The Bash Brothers Experience.
BEST FILM ABOUT A MAN MADE OF IRON WHO’S NOT IRON MAN
Upgrade is just fun. One man, paralysed, gets a new body – and eventually starts fighting… himself. A high concept sci-fi cross between Evil Dead 2, Robocop and Her.
BEST COMEDY THAT’S NOT THAT FUNNY (EXCEPT JASON) BUT JUST REALLY NICE
The Good Place.
The Americans – final season – finale got it exactly right
Leave No Trace
Real Kashmir FC
Watchmen – which could have been number one, particular for the Hooded Justice episode, but I’ve not seen it all yet.