Year in review: TV's triumphs and tribulations

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TimeOut's TV reviewer Michele Hewitson looks backs at what left a lasting impression from the year that was on the small screen.

Downton Abbey has the telly non-wedding of the year. Photo / Supplied
Downton Abbey has the telly non-wedding of the year. Photo / Supplied

Telly wedding of the year

Or, the wedding of the year that wasn't to be: in which poor plain, snivelling, conniving and - to be brutally honest, beak-nosed - Lady Edith of Downton Abbey was left at the altar. By a man with one arm. It sounds like a bad joke; it was a bad joke. Poor old Edith. Both of her sisters beautiful and happily married and there she was, left on the shelf. At least she didn't have to dust the shelf. And never mind, Lady Sybil was married to a member of the hoi polloi and was about to cark it in childbirth proving, perhaps, that it is better to play a plain spinster in a soap - your chances of surviving to snivel, connive and poke your beak into other people's business are much increased.

Which means the real wedding of the year was - hooray! - Corrie Street's Hayley and Roy's. The plot was mad, involving a broken down train and a triumphant Hayley, like a great prow of a ship being pumped on a wagon, her train flying in the breeze, to make it to the church almost on time.

The happy couple had wanted to marry eleven years before and, because of the little matter of the bride having been a man, were not allowed. In his vows, Roy said: Since then, "we have been standing still and the world has turned to meet us. The world can change its rules, its laws ... as frequently as it chooses, but I will remain standing beside you. That will not change." And if that didn't cause you to reach for the tissues, you've a harder heart than Hilda Ogden.


Best show featuring an animal

The Ridges. How much was the mouse paid? Who was the mouse wrangler? Will the mouse get its own show? Should it get its own show? Please let it get its own show - instead of its co-stars getting a sequel show. We'll pay the mouse's wages. We'd pay to see the mouse go to Colin Mathura-Jeffree's fancy dress party dressed as Sally.

Campbell Live's Amazing Driving Dogs. We want one of those dogs. It can be the designated driving dog because dogs don't drink, do they? Oh yeah? What's a booze-hound then? What next, a dog in space? Can we see the Amazing Housework-doing Dogs next year?

Target's Knicker-Pervert. Say no more. Really. Please. Say no more.


Silliest and most annoying telly character of the year

Downton Abbey's Mr Misery, Mr Bates. He should have been locked up for crimes against acting devices intended to express misery. He should have to shuffle round and round in that prison yard for all eternity. Instead it is we who had to endure it for what felt like all eternity. Of course he was going to be let out. Did he do it? (Actually, that was the question of the year - although it wasn't being asked of Bates.) To rephrase: Did Bates do it? Of course he did. The man's a brute. Shuffle him off, immediately.

Homeland's bi-polar CIA agent as played by Claire Danes. Her performance - you could have been forgiven for thinking it was Tourette's, or fleas, she was suffering from - was enough to send anyone mad. And Homeland had a plot so thin a dog terrorist could have driven a car through it without a ding; and more holes than Downton Abbey. Actually, it made Downton Abbey's storylines appear to almost make sense. Almost.


The Paddy Gower award for not being afraid to make a dick of yourself on television

Bates. Claire Danes. Paddy Gower. And the winner is the stand-up comedian, newly promoted to comedic editor, Paddy Gower. Perhaps every government gets the political editor they deserve. Just a thought.


Rudest show of the year

Californification. Amazingly, it still works. Amazingly because it consists of a very bad man with a very rude mouth doing very bad things and using bad language to describe those bad things. Yes, yes, the nod to family values is a bit barfy (and feels as though it's been chucked in to mitigate in some small way the badness - it fails). But David Duchovny as Hank is a real and loveable fictional bad boy (really, don't; you don't know where he's been - or you do, rather). And his agent Runkle gets up to stuff that the Target knicker-pervert could only dream of, but we agreed not to speak of that. And Californification is funny. Still.

The Thick of It. When Americans use really filthy language it just sounds like a cartoon. When the Brits do it the way The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker does, it's the real thing. You felt like washing your own mouth out with soap after a particularly sweary Malcolm-heavy episode. It's funny too; and very, very clever.

This is the show that gave the Oxford dictionary its word of the year: Omnishambles: "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations." Next year can we look forward to a Kim Dotcom doco called, perhaps: Omnishambles?

- NZ Herald

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