Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maureen's best of 2006

Okay, I'm going to be pretty loose with the whole 2006 thing. I’ve decided to interpret 2006 as things I discovered, explored and/or came to love in 2006.

I've also decided to avoid discussing books for the most part. Partly, because, like my fellow DW's, I don't have a hugely long list of books I absolutely loved this year. And second, because, now that I know so many writers, if I start to list books I really liked, many of which were written by writers I know, I'll inevitably forget to mention someone’s book, and don't really want to do that.... (I also think writing has ruined reading for me in many ways…)

That said, like Sinead, I feel like I'm learning the most about writing these days from TV. Yes. TV. (And, I also have enjoyed some TV shows that have taught me nothing except that I have very low standards. ANTM, CNTM, Rock Star, So You Think You Can Dance… I rest my very sad case.)

Enough boring introductions: Here are the big things I loved/learned from in 2006. (And there will be some repeats from earlier in the week, because, well, Sinead, Molly and I talk to each other, occasionally.)

#1. The first season of Grey's Anatomy.

I didn't discover this show until the second season (another medical drama? really?) and purchased the first season on DVD at some point during 2006, after seeing the entire second season.) So, I knew a lot of spoilers, like McDreamy being married, before I ever saw any of this first season. Still.... I think the first season (as short as it was) was excellent storytelling. Great character development. Slow introduction of back story. Fabulous. Rent or buy it, even it you've already seen it.

#2. The pilot episode of Nip/Tuck.

Okay, this is from 2003 or something, not 2006... But I just saw it. I'd heard this show was well reviewed, so purchased the first season DVD ages ago, but never watched it. I saw a few later episodes as they aired on TV and thought it was edgy and interesting... but didn't really get why it was such a big deal. Then.... after it sat on a bookshelf for about 3 years, I watched the pilot episode.
Wow. How can you not love a show that does characterization by sex scene? During the pilot, in less than a minute, with two alternating scenes: one with a man snorting coke off of and slapping a hot chick's ass; and one with a man barely moving and thinking about work while he fucks his wife....
We learn everything important we needed to know about the two lead characters.
And, how could you not love the pilot episode of a show where a 16-year-old boy tries to circumcise himself with cuticle scissors, and the "good doctor" disposes of a patient—killed by a drug dealer during a lipo operation where the hose got loose and sprayed everyone with fat—by wrapping him in hams and dumping him in a swamp for the gators. LOVE IT.

#3. Battlestar Galactica

First, not from 2006. Sorry. Second. Sinead has already talked about this. Sorry again. Third, you should know I’m not a sci-fi fan. Just not my thing per se. But I spent way too much of the past week watching the first season of this show. WOW. WOW. (One wow not enough.)
Amazing character development. Lots of unexpected gender reversed characterization. Tons of complexity and unanswered questions. Heaps of theological connections and references. WOW.
I’ve watched the entire first season. (May need to storm Sinead’s house to get second season DVD’s tomorrow morning. Early.)
After watching the first season, I’m not sure what’s going on, but I love it. Is it in the future? The past? Are the humans in the show our ancestors? Our descendents? Or are we the descendents of the cylons? Or their ancestors?
Have no idea, but I’m fascinated. Need more. Now.

And a link to my 'learned nothing but I have low standards" list... Tricha Helfer, who plays Number Six on BSG, is the Tyra Banks of Canada's Next Top Model. (And 80% of the cast of BSG is Canadian. I like that.)

#4. Firefly

Again, Sinead takes credit for my discovery of this show. (I really should reject my sci-fi negative bias.) I have the same kind of characterization and story development accolades as I had for BSG, but Firefly is, in addition, so much fun. It’s not as complex as BSG, but I smiled through most of Firefly. That’s worth a lot. And it was clever writing. Wish it had lasted more than one season.

#5. Dexter

Okay, this list isn’t in merit order. This series—actually from 2006—was amazing. Both Molly and Sinead have said a lot about this show, already… My only thing to add is that I love that little smile he gives when he kills the mosquito during the opening credits. Says everything we need to know about him. He loves blood. He loves to kill.
Oh! And I love his sister’s character. Perfect example of using a secondary character to contrast the protagonist. Dexter has everything buried a mile deep, while his sister, Deb, is like a puppy. Every emotion she has is exaggerated and worn like neon on her sleeve.
Wow. I said I wasn’t going to talk about Dexter. Oops.

More on TV…. I still like Lost and Prison Break, in spite of their annoying aspects…. And I also love Entourage and can’t believe Huff was cancelled…. And I’m glad Rome is starting up again….

Enough TV.


I’ve blogged about movies on my personal blog…. But here is a partial list of some of the movies I loved in 2006.

Pan’s Labyrinth
The Last King of Scotland
Little Miss Sunshine
Stranger Than Fiction
Notes on a Scandal

Other interesting ones I think were passed over by the media, the public….

Trust The Man
The Last Kiss
Haven (I saw at 2005 festival)
Harsh Times (I saw at 2005 festival)
For Your Consideration
10 Items or Less (not yet released)
Bella (not yet released)

Other films I saw at either the 2005 or 2006 festival that have yet to be released, but I thought were interesting or great:

Sorry, Haters
Breaking and Entering
Amazing Grace (see this film. Will be released in Feb/07, I think)


Maureen McGowan said...

Okay... I already forgot something.
Big Love

I loved this show. Makes you really think about what makes a family and what events bind people together.

From a writer's perspective... another great example of slowing dripping out backstory... Realising why the Jeanne Tripplehorn character puts up with the Cloe Sevigny one... Facscinating.

Christine said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed BSG and Firefly. I'm dying waiting for the second part of the season three cliff hanger on Jan 22. And I actually really enjoy the relationship between Adama and the President. Great tension there.

Jordanne Ford said...

Maureen, I'm glad someone else liked Last Kiss. I had only seen a couple of trailers for it but saw it anyway. I didn't really know who anyone was but, what an interesting movie. And that line that the girlfriend's father gives to the main character is worth renting the movie for just to write it down and keep it near at hand.
I don't remember the exact thing he said, but I do remember the gist of it.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Good list Maureen -- I've been put to shame. Another movie tonight reminded me of that I just don't get the hype -- The Queen. It was good - but really? DVD's we've been introduced to this year or the last part of the year before -- The Dave Chappelle Show -- the guy is a genius. And Arrested Development -- I think we were just getting into that at the beginning of last year so I'm counting it.

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