meddow: Laura Roslin (Roslin)
[personal profile] meddow
I wanted to do a big 2009 picspam, but could not decide on a format. Then and idea struck me: since I'm forever lamenting entertainment awards' inability to make the right decision, why not do my picspam in an award sort of format, with the awards categories themselves completely made up and arbitrary so I could just picspam things I liked this year and could find photos of. Good idea, yes?

With no further ado...

Best Show (Drama): Torchwood Children of Earth

There's one thing I always meant to ask Jack. Back in the old days. I wanted to know about that Doctor of his. The man who appears out of nowhere and saves the world. Except sometimes he doesn't. All those times in history when there was no sign of him, I wanted to know why not. But I don't need to ask any more. I know the answer now. Sometimes the Doctor must look at this planet and turn away in shame. I'm recording this in case anyone ever finds it, so you can see... you can see how the world ended.

Who before July would have predicted that Torchwood was capable of Children of Earth? If you put your hand up, I think you’re either lying or being paid by the BBC. Sure, Torchwood had on occasion a few great moments, but until this year, it had never lived up to its potential. But this year, they figured out that 'adult' can be things other than sex, swear words and violence and presented a television event that took a long hard look at humanity and left the audience completely devastated by the end of it – but in a good way (if there is a good way).

Best Show (Comedy): The Thick of It

Have you been at number 10 lately? Jeez, it's like the break-up of the Beatles, right, during the fall of the Roman Empire, while fucking Jordan's getting divorced from that bloke – all happening at the same time in a tiny fucking terraced house.

While the show has been around in one format or another since 2005 (two three-episode seasons, two specials to a movie spin-off), with the third series being commissioned for a whole eight episodes, it was the first time the show really started playing around with character arcs. Malcolm Tucker rose to the fore as the show's somewhat-tragic anti-hero (more on that later), a new minister was introduced – Nicola Murray – who gave the show a shake up and Malcolm an interesting adversary (more on that too later). But best of all, with the show being a reflection of contemporary British politics, it shone a light on the death throes of a government that's past its expiry date and hated by the populace yet still trying to cling onto power, something that's as tragic as it funny (Americans, be thankful for term limits).

Oh, and being a satire mixing witty lines, insults and rants that are like modern day Shakespeare, pop culture references, a love of foul language and offensive humour and the odd bit of physical comedy, it's fucking hilarious.

Best Discovered Television Show: Battlestar Galactica

Human beings can’t turn off their pain. Human beings have to suffer. And cry. And scream. And endure.

Hah, see what I did there with the category there? I neatly managed to reward BSG for the devotion I gave it this year, while at the same time avoided having to make the argument that Season 4.5 was the best drama on telly this year. Still, problems with season 4.5 aside, Battlestar Galactica devoured my brain for the vast majority of this year.

I don't know where to start with this show, I just loved it so much. I will say this though, what really got me about this show was the beauty of it. It's a show about incredible suffering, and, like Torchwood Children of Earth, Battlestar Galactica looks at humanity and does not cover over the dark parts (if anything, it zooms in on them). It's also shot realistically with a shaky-cam style on a set that looks like the inside of a container ship and with characters that are just desperate walking bundles of character flaws. But there is a strange beauty that comes through, maybe from the achingly graceful score or those hints of a divine plan that run through the story or the fact that the characters are despite their flaws are so human and vulnerable you can't help but love them. The show poses the question of whether humanity deserves to survive and then shows us the ugliest side of humanity and there it finds beauty – that's what I love about it.

Best Movie: In The Loop

Within your purview? Where do you think you are? In some fucking regency costume drama? This is a government department, not a fucking Jane fucking Austin novel. Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up the shitter with a lubricated horse cock.

At the end of a war you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you've lost.

The Thick of It creators decided to take a look at the diplomacy in the lead up the Iraq War and the result is both funny and scarily believable (I read in the paper just the other day Tony Blair being criticised for being star-struck by Washington in the lead up to the war – which is exactly what happens to the movie's hapless Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander)).

But aside for having a historical resonance to it, In The Loop is just hilarious. It's up there with Dr Strangelove. You all need to see this movie. You all need to see this movie, and then you need to go an watch it another two times so you can catch all the gags you missed will laughing at other gags.

Oh, and it shows that there is something out there scarier in international politics than neocons – it's Malcolm Tucker working for neocons.

Best Blockbuster: Star Trek

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.

I was one of those people who did not want this movie, but now I'm completely delighted that the reboot worked – not only did it work, Star Trek reignited the fandom and pretty much took over my flist for a long while this year, it also brought back strong childhood memories, which lead to me watching a lot of Voyager, discovering the wonder of Deep Space Nine, reignited my adoration of Picard and hell, I even discovered I like Kirk just a little bit, occasionally (only in The Wrath of Kahn and The Voyage Home).

The movie was fantastic though I felt, because not only did it acknowledge the clichés that have emerged around the series, it embraced them which I think made the movie and the new cast feel like a return of the beloved familiar rather than imposters.

Best Character (Female): Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), Battlestar Galactica

I'm not suggesting anything Doctor. If I want to throw a baby out an airlock I'll do it.

It pains me to say this, but to be honest, while Laura Roslin should have owned this category from about 2004-2007 (and presented tough competition for Donna Noble in 2008), the writing failed the character badly in 2009 and so really, she shouldn't hold the spot. But screw it – I make the rules and I only discovered Battlestar Galactica this year, so she's up there now.

Laura Roslin just fascinates me. She's a woman who against massive odds is charged with responsibility for the survival of humanity on the same day she's told she's dying. With nothing to lose, she devotes herself to her mission, making the hard choices because nobody else will, and as the series goes on we watch her slowly chip away pieces of her soul for her people, losing much of her compassion and her rule descending into tyranny, only for her to finally gain some degree of happiness in her final hours. Oh, and Mary McDonnell is so completely amazing. And the bloody writing failed her in season 4.5, and I shall never forgive the show for that.

Best Character (Male): Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), The Thick of It and In The Loop

I used to be the fucking Pharaoh, Terri. I used to be the fucking Pharaoh! Now I'm fucking floundering in a fucking Nile of shit. But I am going to fashion a paddle out of that shit, yeah. I am not going down. I am not going down.

Malcolm Tucker a genius of a comic creation. For those not familiar with the show, Malcolm is basically the dark lord of the Thick of It universe, running around Whitehall destroying incompetent underlings with some of the greatest insults ever recorded in human history and playing both the press and his superiors like pianos.

The brilliance of Malcolm I think is that despite being completely over the top in terms of actions and dialogue, Malcolm is believable as a living breathing person (same can be said for all the characters in The Thick of It). He's not infallible, and actually he is painfully disposable – which makes him compellingly sympathetic. While the character has been around since 2005, it's this year that the show decided to really explore Malcolm Tucker and push him to his limits, and we saw him out of his depth in Washington in In The Loop, and desperately fighting for his political survival in the final few episodes of season three of The Thick of It.

Plus, he woos journalists with curry and eats hula-hoops off his fingers – I can't help but love him.

Best Duo: Nicola Murray and Malcolm Tucker (Rebecca Front and Peter Capaldi), The Thick of It

Nicola: What do we do? I mean, do we go after him with one of your, you know, things that you say and like a big bum dildo of vengeance, or something?
Malcolm: There you go, that's my girl. Indiana Murray and the bum dildo of vengeance. I like you. Hey, do you want his mobile number?

I hadn't read much about the new series of TTOI before I began watching, and in fact knew nothing about the new Minister, but wondered the moment she walked on how it was going to go down, particularly with Malcolm. The result was that the show seemed to gain a whole new central dynamic which made it the show even more compelling. Before Malcolm could just yell at a Minister and they'd comply, Nicola he's got to actively manipulate, yet at the same time, they seem to have developed an uneasy respect for one another. It's fascinating to watch when they're in conflict (which is most of the time) which one of them gives and how they get the other to reach that middle point.

Oh and I ship it. I ship it so bad.

Best Team: Annie, George and Mitchell (Lenora Crichlow, Russell Tovey and Aidan Turner), Being Human

Annie: Oh, this is ridiculous!
Mitchell: You're lucky. Most people don't get a chance to say goodbye.
Annie: I know but... fucking hell!
George: You might want to have different last words.

The thing I love most about Being Human is not the big dramatic moments (although they are good), it's the little scenes where they hang out and talk about normal things, such as George bitching about Annie constant making of tea – and that's because these characters and their relationship with each other is just a joy to watch. Given the show's premise - a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire flat together in Bristol – the central dynamic between the three is the very key to the premise of the show being brilliant, and the key to the show working, and it works oh so brilliantly well.

Best Ship: Laura Roslin and Bill Adama (Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos), Battlestar Galactica

Adama: What can I get you?
Roslin: A new body. One of those young, Cylon models from the Ressurection Ship.
Adama: I can't see you as a blond.
Roslin: You'd be surprised.

I have something of a love-hate relationship with this ship. If it wasn't for season 4.5 (here we go again...) it would have so easily taken this category, but I've given it to it anyway (I seem to have a policy of 'let's just forget about 4.5, shall we?')

I'm not much of a shipper. I'll be the first person to tell you that I'm a cynical person by nature and I'm particularly cynical when it comes to romance – but watching scenes with these two, I found that I can still squee like a fourteen year old. There's something about this ship though. Maybe its that its so hopeful. Here you have two people that before the fall of Caprica, were past the primes of their lives and quietly retreating. If not for a massive genocide, they would never have given each other the time of day, never mind ended up in a relationship. And gods did I cry during Daybreak Part II.

Or maybe it's because once she turned his kids against him to get her way, so he in a military coup overthrew her government and locked her up on the brig, from which she escaped and lead a faction against him, nearly starting a civil war until he sucked up and went after her (best fight ever! Oh, Kobol arc, you were awesome). Yep, I just love it because the stakes are so high between them – the entire future of humanity depends on their ability to work together, and not only do they find a way to understand each other, but they fall in love.

Or maybe it's because this gorgeous piece of music is their theme. Oh, Bear McCreary, you kill me.

Best Actress: Three way tie: Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer (Laura Roslin, Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace and Number Six, Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica had one of the strongest casts on television and I'll watch nearly anything with any of them in it, but three that were always amazing to watch were Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer.

In season 4.5, Mary McDonnell gave the most believable performance as a person dying of cancer I've ever seen and managed to give her character a dignity and grace while at the same time not ever once glamorising the Laura's physical deterioration.

Katee Sachoff always did a fantastic job of handling Kara's contradictions and tenuous relationship with sanity, and she's amazing as Kara finally accepts her place in the universe – whatever that is – and finds peace.

Finally, The Plan gave Tricia Helfer a last chance to shine at the thing she does best, giving life to the many difference faces of Number Six. Identical they often may be, but you never get confused as to which Six is which because she manages to subtly convey each ones personality.

Best Actor: Peter Capaldi (Torchwood, The Thick of It and In The Loop)

Easiest decision ever. Twelve months ago, Peter Capaldi would have been to me 'that guy from The Fires of Pompeii' This year, he's been the best thing about my favourite movie, my favourite drama and favourite comedy.

First there was Torchwood, in which he stood out as the quiet man in a situation far beyond him and pushed to breaking point (see below). Then there was In The Loop, in which he dished out Malcolm's brilliant foul-mouthed rants like Olivier does Shakespeare and crossed the moral event horizon while keeping the audience on his side, and finally in series three of The Thick of It, we had the awesome sight of the great Malcolm Tucker finally falling from grace and clawing his way back to the top.

If you really want to see how good he is, just compare and contrast John Frobisher with Malcolm Tucker who are complete opposites in terms of personality, but yet have similar story lines as they find themselves charged with very important and morally dubious missions (from covering up the British Government's previous involvement with an alien species, to bring about an illegal war in the Middle East) and find themselves expendable. And whether his character is exploding (see episode 3x07 of The Thick of It), imploding (see the Mediation Room scene in In the Loop) or crumbling (Children of Eart Day Five), he's amazing to watch.

Best Episode: Tie, 'The Oath' and 'Blood on the Scales', Battlestar Galactica

I want you all to understand this! If you do this, there will be no forgiveness! No amnesty! This boy died honoring his uniform. You, you'll die with nothing!

It stopped.

Okay, so not a true tie, because these are technically the first part and second part of a two parter, but still. Season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica gets a lot of crap, but these two episodes are as good is not better than than any of the brilliant episodes of the previous three seasons. In grand BSG style, just when you think things could not possibly get any worse (hell, characters were committing suicide in the previous two episodes), the shit well and truly hits the fan as many of the secondary and tertiary characters rise up violently against the primary characters – lead by the utterly tragic Felix Gaeta who makes the fatal mistakes of firstly trusting Zarek, and secondly, not securing Starbuck and Roslin (because, for frak's sake, don't leave those two running about if you want to successful pull off a mutiny/coup).

Some many great moments, from Starbuck and Apollo falling back into old ways, to Roslin commandeering the rebel Cylon Basestar and declaring war, to Baltar sticking by Gaeta in the end. Best thing: Gaeta isn't wrong. He's not right and gods, it's heartbreaking what he does, but he's not wrong.

Best Scene: “John Frobisher was a good man,” Torchwood Children of Earth ('Day Five')

And he was a good man. I want you to know that. John Frobisher was a good man. Because when the history of this is written, they'll talk about the ministers and the soldiers and the things with numbers for names and I think people will forget how very good he was. I want you to remember him like that. If ever you think of John Frobisher just remember that it wasn't his fault.

Just...just...Okay, this scene has some stiff competition from within the very episode it was part of, but when I think of moments of storytelling that have moved me this year, this is the one that pops to the forefront of my mind.

Bridget Spears, John Frobisher's loyal secretary, giving John Frobisher's obituary of sorts to her younger colleague while Frobisher, a man crushed by the position he's been thrust into and then betrayed, gives up and does the unthinkable. It is just an utterly devastating scene.

And, just...that pause between the third gunshot and the forth....*whimper* I'm pretty sure of all the things I've watched this year, that moment that will still be with me in fifty years time is that pause.

Best Musical Moment: Tie between 'Don't Stop Believing' from Glee ('Pilot') and 'Kara Remembers' from Battlestar Galactica ('Someone To Watch Over Me')

Listen to the music here

While my love for Glee is waning at the moment, no-one can deny that the 'Don't Stop Believing' scene created the phenomenon and I myself watched it about 25 times while waiting for the rest of the series to begin.

Listen to the music here

While Glee was feel-good, BSG's musical moment completely blew minds. Where to begin with that scene? Utterly creepy, awesome in terms of connecting both Hera and Kara to the Final Five mythos, and at the same time heart-warming. That scene sends chills down my spine listening to it, but seeing the sceencaps it's just nice seeing Kara smile.

Best Cliffhanger (Resolved): Malcolm gets fired, The Thick of It (Episode 3x07)

You will see me again! You will fucking see me again!

I love this scene. I love this scene so much. It's just perfect. The Thick of It drops a drama bomb, with Malcolm being lead away by his arch nemesis and told he's fired, and in a horrible twist, his firing gets accidentally interrupted by Julius Nicholson who relishes in the moment, and Nicola Murray, who instead of defending Malcolm like he requests, runs the hell away.

Malcolm's always best when he's backed into a corner, and he emerges fighting, until he witnesses his own obituary on the BBC (and Capaldi is heartbreaking in that moment). But that's not he best bit. No, the best bit if the final moment in which he storms out (in a billowing long coat, of course) swearing he will be back - and the audience is left wondering just what exactly Malcolm will do. Just awesome.

Best Cliffhanger (As Yet Unresolved): Nina, Being Human (Episode 1x08)

It's a credit to the show that I've been dying to know what's going to happen with Nina (and George) so many months since the first season nearly ended a year ago. Why I think this cliffhanger is brilliant is what I care about is what it will do to Nina, who has quite possibly taken on a terrible curse and what it will do to George, who lives in fear of harming the people he loves. This cliffhanger works because I still care about the characters and their fates so much after such a long hiatus.

Finally: The things I'm looking forward to most in 2010

Ashes to Ashes season three! Caprica (although I fear Caprica may suck)! The End of Time Part Two (although, I fear that may also suck)! Being Human season two! Doctor Who season five (bring on Eleven and Amy)! The Thick of It (there has been no confirmation about The Thick of It ever having another episode made, but come on, after where they left in in 3x08 and what with them making this show for peanuts, there's got to be at least an election special: Tucker vs. The Fucker)!

Date: 2009-12-31 01:35 pm (UTC)
erinpuff: (Keith OMG You Guys)
From: [personal profile] erinpuff
*flaaaaaaaaaaiiiiils* How did I manage to only become LJ friends with you in like the last month or whatever?

I was one of those people who did not want this movie, but now I'm completely delighted that the reboot worked – not only did it work, Star Trek reignited the fandom and pretty much took over my flist for a long while this year, it also brought back strong childhood memories, which lead to me watching a lot of Voyager, discovering the wonder of Deep Space Nine, reignited my adoration of Picard and hell, I even discovered I like Kirk just a little bit, occasionally (only in The Wrath of Kahn and The Voyage Home).

ME TOO ZOMG. Except I didn't watch any Voyager because I ran out of summer. But yeah, DEEP SPACE FUCKING NINE. <33333

My brother spent most of my visit trying to convince me I need to watch BSG. I'm not sure when I'll have the time, but I do intend to someday! I'll probably watch Being Human at some point too. I do have a big old crush on Aidan Turner because of Desperate Romantics. ^^

And yeah, THE THICK OF IT and IN THE LOOP and TORCHWOOD (a lot of my friends are of the "THAT WAS SHIT GODDAMMIT RTD I HATE YOU FOREVER" opinion, but I persist in thinking it was brilliant television even if it hurt like hell to watch). And ASHES TO ASHES! And Doctor Who, of course. I'm super-nervous about tomorrow's episode, both because I'm afraid it's going to suck and because I know it's going to make me cry for hours. But I'm super-excited for the new season; I think the show is so ready for a fresh start.

Date: 2009-12-31 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You do need to watch BSG and Being Human, although I only got around to watching the former due to a few months of unemployment this year - it is really hard finding the time. BSG actually works really well as a companion to Star Trek as it's written by the same guy behind DS9 and is actually something of a response to failings of Voyager. I actually need to find a bit of time and watch the entirety of DS9 in order as I only watched a few episodes and out of order.

I don't understand people who say Children of Earth was bad. I mean, upsetting yes, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Have you seen that new Donna clip that's been released from End of Time? I nearly started crying. It's going to be tough tomorrow.

Date: 2009-12-31 03:07 pm (UTC)
ext_41681: (Malcolm and Nicola - car tantrum)
From: [identity profile]
NNgh. I haven't the time for a real comment, so might drop by again later, but I just gotta say that I need to get moving through my TToI ep discussions, because I miss series three. I miss it lots.

Date: 2009-12-31 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was watching the first ever episode the other day and found myself missing the third season. I love the earlier episodes, but season three is just magic.

Date: 2009-12-31 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Great picspam! I admit, I don't watch hardly any of the shows you've mentioned, but you've made me very curious! :D I didn't realise that Peter Capaldi had been so busy this year!

Date: 2009-12-31 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What with the new season of DW starting, there should hopefully be more crossover with our viewing again next year :) I've been recommending BSG and The Thick of It to everyone all year, so if you get a chance, you should totally check those out (plus TTOI has (so far *fingers crossed*) only ever had 16 episodes made, so it's an easy watch).

I've been rental-stalking Peter Capaldi since Torchwood aired, so also seen him in The Devil's Whore, Local Hero, Neverwhere and Prime Suspect 3, so for me it's been the year of Peter Capaldi.

Date: 2009-12-31 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was an amazing picspam, and I absolutely adore all of your picks!! Especially all of the love for The Thick of It, because everyone in the world needs to watch that show, it is too funny not to be seen.

PETER CAPALDI &hearts &hearts &hearts &hearts I have such a crush on him, ngl. And God, he blew me away in 3x07 when he realizes what's happening and he has his blackberry taken away and His face.

Also, BSG, Being Human etc &hearts You and I have really similar taste it seems, would you mind if I friended you?

Date: 2009-12-31 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Everybody does need to watch it. I can't believe how many people are not watching the show - it's just so brilliant, it should be one of the biggest things out there on telly.

I have massive crush on Peter Capaldi as well. Just his eyes in that scene, when he's watching the television, broke my heart.

And I'd love to have you as a friend!

Date: 2010-01-01 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Peter Capaldi :)
I lost his traces for a while, after watching some films with him years ago and only discovered him again after he appeared for the first time on Dr Who a while ago. I'm glad he's "back". I like how he plays his characters and his interview with Craig Ferguson made him look like a nice guy.

Date: 2010-01-02 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He does come across as a genuinely nice guy, which is so funny given he's probably going to be remembered for playing the angriest man on telly - though they say that the nicest actors make the most venomous villains.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*smile* Well, I hope he'll find other roles too.

Date: 2010-01-02 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very cool picspam!

I am right there with you with the all the love for Battlestar Galactica, Laura Roslin, Adama/Roslin, "The Oath", etc. It's such an amazing show, and I wish I discovered it much earlier than I did. I'm planning a re-watch of the full series sometime soon.

I have reservations about Caprica. The pilot was intriguing, but I don't think it can match BSG. Still, I'll give it a chance.

I'm not at all familiar with The Thick of It, but it sounds like the type of show I'd really enjoy, but would never make it onto American TV.

Date: 2010-01-02 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really wish I had discovered it a lot earlier than I did as well. I only had to press play on the next episode to see those wonderful cliffhangers resolved - it must have been fantastically nerve wreaking having to wait months to find out what would happen.

I'm not sure how long Caprica can sustain my interest. As you say, the pilot was intriguing, but I haven't fallen for any of the characters (whereas in the BSG miniseries, Starbuck and Roslin became favourites almost instantly), and I'm going to miss the space battles terribly. Plus, I'm wondering how it's going to work, the pilot came off as a mixture of Rome, the Sopranos, Gossip Girl and Frankenstein - which is not an easy mix and one that could go off the rails very quickly.

The Thick of It hasn't really been exported to it's full potential by the BBC. There was a pilot for an American version made, with Oliver Platt in Peter Capaldi's role, but there wasn't any swearing and it was done traditional sitcom style and apparently it sucked, badly. You could track down In the Loop though, that's just been released on DVD in America, I think.


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