My TV conked out this year and I had to buy a new one. I decided to buy a 4K telly because, well, all TVs seemed to be 4K these days. But what I didn’t know is that along with being 4K it also came with an upscaling software that ruined everything I tried to watch. Every image was too sharp, every programme was too colourful, and even the most expensive special effect looked cheap. I had fallen victim to ‘motion smoothing’ and all you need to know about it can be explained by Mr Tom Cruise himself:
So after switching off every setting these are the programmes I enjoyed this year:
Dexter: New Blood
I loved Dexter. While season 4 was clearly the best, there was still a lot to love in the later years except… for the last episode. Which I never watched. Something happens in the penultimate episode which was so dumb and out of character that I couldn’t bear to watch the final episode. I knew the creators had botched the ending the way a chef botches a pan of soup by adding concrete cement to the pan. You don’t need to taste the final bowl to know to avoid it.
So, my hope with the new series was that it would have a proper ending. And it did. Along with a griping story and a fantastic performance from Michael C Hall. This was a pleasant surprise, a warming treat like getting a bowl of soup (without cement) on a cold winter’s day.
Better Call Saul
I never liked Breaking Bad. But I loved Better Call Saul. But that might just be because I’m a lawyer and I’ve never seen a realistic episode about corporate due diligence until Better Call Saul spent an episode in a basement looking through brown boxes. It may not have been crystal meth but, for me, this was equally as addictive. Next week, will he register a disposition in the Registers of Scotland? Tune in and find out!
Is this a show about trying to feel real emotions featuring real people with real decisions and real dilemmas? Or a manipulative exploitative work of fiction filled with actors? And did it matter if what you saw was fake when the whole point of the programme was to fake real encounters? Or was it all real? If Madam Tussaud’s was a television programme, then this would be it. Except some of the waxworks would turn out to be real.
Do you like horror? Do you like people talking for hours and hours and hours and hours and hour and hours? Then this is for you. A horror where people talk for hours and hours and hours and hours – until they die. Sombre, gruesome fun.
For All Mankind – season 1
The race for space but Russia wins. Every episode then looks at the consequences of it as it jumps forward months and years. Simply, the best programme I saw all year.
Older stuff: watching 30 Rock again and finally watching early seasons of Justified and onto season 3 and the best dialogue in television.
Raylan: I got mad ninja skills buddy.
Tim: Yeah, you know karate?
Raylan: And two other Japanese words.