The Best TV Shows Ever

At the minute, this is a bare list. If I ever have time, I’ll flesh it out with them new-fangled hyperlinks and maybe an under construction gif.

Ladies and genitals:

BEST TV EVER LIST 2021

  1. Halt And Catch Fire
  2. Columbo
  3. Star Trek
  4. The Good Place
  5. Futurama
  6. The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin
  7. The Guardian
  8. Carnival Row
  9. The Day Today
  10. Travellers
  11. Stargate SG-1
  12. The X Files
  13. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
  14. The Order
  15. Falling Skies
  16. Da Vinci’s Demons
  17. Skins
  18. Smack The Pony
  19. Continuum
  20. The Fast Show
  21. The Expanse
  22. Farscape
  23. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  24. Popular
  25. The Mandalorian
  26. Porridge
  27. Adventure Time
  28. The Twilight Zone
  29. The Simpsons
  30. Poirot
  31. Battlestar Galactica
  32. Humans
  33. Billions
  34. The Wire
  35. MASH
  36. Firefly
  37. Westworld
  38. True Blood
  39. The Witcher
  40. Elementary
  41. Ripper Street
  42. Doctor Who
  43. Terror In Resonance
  44. The Waltons
  45. Sherlock
  46. Krypton
  47. Jekyll And Hyde
  48. Veronica Mars
  49. Black Mirror
  50. Space 1999
  51. iZombie
  52. Magnum PI
  53. Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  54. Moonlighting
  55. Quatermass
  56. Queer As Folk
  57. The Wonder Years
  58. St. Elsewhere
  59. Fringe
  60. Game Of Thrones
  61. Silicon Valley
  62. Gotham
  63. Grimm
  64. The Closer
  65. Gilbert’s Fridge
  66. Ed
  67. The Invaders
  68. Murdoch Mysteries
  69. Orphan Black
  70. The Outer Limits
  71. The Six Million Dollar Man
  72. Major Crimes
  73. Joe 90
  74. Happy Days
  75. Hawaii Five-Oh
  76. Soap
  77. Earth 2
  78. Hill Street Blues
  79. Defiance
  80. The Prisoner
  81. Sense 8
  82. House Of Cards
  83. The Muppet Show
  84. Spaced
  85. Pushing Up Daisies
  86. Rhoda
  87. Star Trek: The Animated Series
  88. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  89. Red Dwarf
  90. The Rockford Files
  91. Big Train
  92. Reaper
  93. Dark Matter
  94. Community
  95. Dead Like Me
  96. Cheers
  97. The 4400
  98. Petrocelli
  99. Siren
  100. Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

Space Racism

Yes I noticed. Yes it was meant to be a joke.

Was it funny when a human character referred to two unconscious Vulcans as “Spock and Spock” in Star Trek: Lower Decks?

It was as funny as if a white character had called two unconscious Indians “Patel and Patel.”

I wasn’t funny, it was racist. It’s a classic thing racists do to dehumanise people, it’s a micro-aggression they use so if the attacked complains, they can reply with the old, “Hey it’s a joke, can’t you take a joke?”

The fact that The Expanse doesn’t rely on lazy racist tropes, that it actually doubles-down on the importance of challenging racist behaviour even in the middle of a dogfight is a credit to the show and everyone involved.

#BlackLivesMatter #StandUpToRacism

This is the dialogue from the scene:

Holden: They’re moving into a spread formation.

Bull: Spreading out like that is good tactics. At least one of these skinnies is not an idiot.

Holden: Be grateful. It actually works for us right now. And that’s the last time you use that word on this ship.

Bull: Excuse me?

Holden: I know you’re pissed about Fred and psyching yourself up for the fight, but leave that “skinnies” shit out of it.

Bull: Duly noted.

(Source: S5E10)

Krypton, Again

I miss Krypton soo much. 

It had sharp writing, excellent world-building and some truly class acting. It was also soooo good to see so many black British actors getting proper prime-time TV exposure. 

I’m re-watching the end of S2 and… well, very few TV series meet this level of accomplishment. DaVinci’s Demons, iZombie, Travelers, Continuum, The Order, Siren, The Magicians, Misfits, Orphan Black, just off the top of my head. 

And if that seems like a lot, it truly isn’t when compared with the huge turnover of new TV shows that come and go in a season or two. That’s why, when I’m scanning through streamers and stumble on to a good series, a series with heart and wit, I latch on like a lamprey. I binge it. I binge it *good.*

Krypton really deserved more than two seasons. It really did. 

Carnival Row

I wasn’t expecting much of Carnival Row. I put it on just to have something to watch while eating my tea. The foundations of my prejudice were twofold. First, that many Amazon Originals are as lethargic and under-edited as their Netflix cousins, second, the casting of Cara Delevingne.

If that sounds mean, you’re misunderstanding. I think Delevingne is a good actress and, obviously, a great beauty. Had she been born earlier, she would surely have been a megastar of the old studio system, a Harlow, a Hepburn. But she seems to have a knack for picking…. not great projects. Valerian, Suicide Squad, Pan… I think the last film where she actually got to display her talent and not merely her looks was Paper Towns and that was way back in 2015.

So, it makes me truly happy to say that, finally, Delevingne has both a role and a project worthy of her. Rene Echevarria’s Carnival Row is a fantasy set in a quasi-Victorian world. The world is divided between humans and the Fae, mythical beings such as fairies, kobolds and satyrs. Not steampunk, steampuck. Delevingne plays Vignette, a fairy who was once in love with a human soldier called Philo (short for Rycroft Philostrate, played by Orlando Bloom). Thinking him dead in the war, she is greatly put out when she pitches up in the city of Burgue to discover him hale, hearty and now a police inspector:

Their romance; the fights, the kisses, the misunderstandings is sweet, believable and, unlike most fictional couples, I didn’t want to vomit every time they were being flirty (see Valerian). Bloom’s gruff ‘copper wiv ah ‘eart of gold’ is a charming foil to Delevingne’s peppery, ferociously focussed fairy.

If this was it, Carnival Row would have enough to keep me watching. But where it excels is that this is only one of several stories which it skillfully interleaves such that the viewer never tires of one particular thread.

Pictured above are Agreus Astrayon (puck) and Imogen Spurnrose (human). Their story is a delicious slow burn with plunges into quality bickering and hugely entertaining high-society cringefests.

BUT THERE’S MORE

If I had a subheading for Carnival Row, it would be FORBIDDEN PASSIONS. It delights in exploring the constructed world’s societal norms / taboos and those who dare to break them. Whether it’s incest, homosexuality or inter-species sex, Carnival Row is going to go there.

Oh yes. It’s like your browser history.

Repeatedly, characters in Carnival Row walk to the edge of what is normal, what is allowed, what is polite and then cross that line. The most poignant of these moments is between various couples and these exchanges are the most affecting of the whole show. I’m lucky enough to know the electric, transformative power that kind of an intimate relationship can have. This is the only television drama I’ve yet seen to depict that with more reverence than prurience. If you’ve ever looked into someone’s eyes and shivered because they are changing you, stretching you, freeing you in ways you could not previously countenance, you will find yourself in Carnival Row, as I did. There is an emotional realism in this fantasy show that outdoes numerous plodding, ‘realistic’ Scandi crime dramas.

Carnival Row is a better show than Game of Thrones. It has better writing, better acting, better direction and, crucially, it’s about something more than closeness to a book or fan service.

Not just something, it’s about the most important questions humans can consider. It’s about morality, it’s about law, government, immigration, xenophobia. It’s about those in power who use chaos and pain for their own gains, whatever the cost in lives lost and tears shed.

I’ve just watched the end of the last episode of series one and it had me in bits. Delevingne and Bloom were perfect in the final scene, their story was the lynchpin of all those interweaving storylines finally coming together. Carnival Row is compelling without sinking into mawkishness. It makes cogent, informed and insightful points about our contemporary world, the antithesis of clunky ‘message’ shows which ulitmately render evil banal and the viewer apathetic. In the bestest way, this is destabilising, unsettling TV.

Carnival Row is easily the best TV of 2019. It will probably become one of my favourite shows ever (as long as subsequent seasons don’t piss on this head start). So, like all the best people of the Burgue do, ignore your prejudices and give Carnival Row a go.