Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Spills, Thrills & Kills?

Yes, it's a little festive themed this one as two of these shows had Christmas episodes while three of them had Christmas specials. Which at some point might lead to another musing/debate on either here or my Twitter account though.

Arrow: This show has been on an impressive streak this season and the recent two episodes were easily the show's best and brightest ones yet. The crossover with The Flash was an unbridled joy to watch, especially with having Cisco and Caitlin in the Arrow cave and helping with the mission against Captain Boomerang but the mid-season finale was something else. The actual use of a cliffhanger with the fight between Oliver and Ras Al Ghul, not to mention the reveal of Sara's killer. Bravo, this show has truly surpassed itself.

Black Mirror: Charlie Brooker's innovative anthology series has been one of the best shows that Channel 4 has come up with in years (after Utopia and very likely, Cucumber from next month onwards) and this eerie Christmas special, White Christmas might be one of his best ones just yet. Having John Hamm was a nice casting move but the shows themselves - ranging from bad Christmas dates to literally being able to block people certainly highlighted Brooker's wonderful flair for making mundane things rather macabre. It kind of makes you want another festive special from him, doesn't it?

Downton Abbey: After a fairly plodding and uninspired fifth series, this Christmas special certainly had it's moments. Everything involving Anna and Bates was pure tedium (just resolve the whole 'Who Killed Green' plot and be done with it now) and while I still don't care a great deal for Rose's inlaws or Mary's latest suitor, I did enjoy every scene with Violet and Isobel, loved the little tribute for Sybil, Robert's conversation with Edith about Marigold, Thomas's scheming being used for good and the fact that Christmas came into play in the last fifteen minutes of the episode. While Christmas 2011 will always be this show's best festive edition, this one certainly was a step up from the previous two we've had.

Mrs Brown's Boys: A couple of weeks ago, I saw D'Movie and while it provided a few chuckles, it wasn't Mrs Brown at her very best. This special (which did pretty well for both RTE1 and BBC1) on the other hand was a return to form. Whether it was another tree disaster related gag, commentary on Strictly Come Dancing or a certain whisk joke, the special certainly had it's share of funny moments. It doesn't matter that the jokes are easy to spot a mile off, it's still part of the show's charm.

The Flash: Outside of Gotham and How To Get Away With Murder, this show has been the best new thing to air in the last three months. The crossover episode with Arrow was sublime with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity blending well with Barry's team but again, the mid-season finale was the highlight. I'm not sure what to make of the connection with Wells and the Yellow Suit but it's certainly got me eager for the second half and after some ambivalence towards Cisco, I do think that character wise, he's come into his own. Plus, I'm looking forward to see more Caitlin and whether or not she'll be able to cure Ronnie. I'm guessing the answer there though will be no.

- Gina Torres has bagged a recurring role for the second half of Revenge's fourth season.
- Paul Rudd will return for the final season of Parks & Recreation.
- Michael Imperioli will appear in Hawaii Five-O.
- Sebastian Roche will be joining Once Upon A Time as King Stefan, the father of Aurora. Eion Bailey will also be returning for an episode.
- Mike Colter has been cast Luke Cage for Marvel's AKA Jessica Jones series.
- Joe Anderson will play the role of Mason Verger in the third season of Hannibal, following the exit of Michael Pitt.
- David Schwimmer will play Robert Kardashian in American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson.
- Kiefer Sutherland has revealed that he doesn't expect 24 to return anytime soon.
- Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2014.
- Julian McMahon and Daisy Betts will appear in the SyFy miniseries, Childhood's End.

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