Memery via Rob Buckley who has noted that the AFI have released their list of the top 10 films and TV shows of the year.
As the last film my wife and I saw at the cinema was Chicago, mere weeks before the birth of our first child and babysitters are scarce in the vicinity – the cinema has passed me by in recent years. So it’s telly for me. My favourites from 2006 in no particular order
The Avengers on BBC4. (Black and white. Rigg. MacNee. Clemens, Spooner. An unfailing delight.)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on BBC4. (A literate script. A fantastic cast, and from that opening scene where the characters of Roy, Bill, Percy, and Toby are determined simply from the way they enter the room and wait at the table the quality doesn’t let up)
GBH on More 4 (magnificent)
A Very British Coup on More 4 (oh for a Harry Perkins today)
Columbo (from series 1 – 3) on Channel 5 (Shatner, the Spielberg directed episode, Bocchco – these early years are fantastic)
Ah, pauses to check the rules of the meme: no repeats. No re-runs. Well…
From those made in 2006
Life on Mars BBC1 – in a way I was disappointed that it didn’t resolve within the series, but Glenister and Simm were outstanding, and the scripts generally of high quality.
Doctor Who – The Girl in the fireplace and Love and Monsters – BBC1 – for me the two highpoints in a series that slightly disappointed. Perhaps it was down to the general quality of Eccleston’s performance in season 1, and the direction or scripts leading Tennant into an OTT performance (Tachyon TV characterise it with his exaggerated “BRILLIANT!”s). Moffat’s script was beautifully constructed and the final scenes the most affecting of the series – although the Doctor and Rose on either side of the parallel universe in Doomsday came close.
That Mitchell and Webb Look BBC2 – the first sketch show I’ve actively sought out after the first episode in years.
The Daily Show More 4 – which makes me feel more positive about the future of the US.
Hustle BBC1 – a guilty pleasure, but it takes me back to childhood where at Sunday teatimes in the Border TV area they broadcast repeats of The Champions, Man in a Suitcase &c. It feels like a Lew Grade show. And it’s got Robert Vaughn. And Richard Chamberlain guested.
Deal or no deal Channel 4, repeated on More 4 – I started watching at around this time last year. I no longer tune in but for a few months at the start of the year it was compulsive. And all over opening boxes. The cult like hysteria of the contestants (they’re kept together in a hotel during filming and slowly grow paranoid, and this tips over onto the screen) and the mannered presentation of Noel Edmonds added to produce something beyond car crash television. For a wonderful analysis behind the scenes there’s a fantastic Jon Ronson article in the Guardian.
Lead Balloon BBC4 – a British Curb. While Extras became ever more self-indulgent (and rather cruel of Gervais to target Martin Freeman’s post Office sitcom) Jack Dee’s Lead Balloon was laugh track free, witty, and dark.
Curb your enthusiasm More 4 – the kidney donation plotline running through series 5 has been masterful. The plotting is superb, the performances likewise.
Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive BBC3 – while Brydon disappointed in Supernova, the Larry Sanders type look at a typical British game show was pretty good;
ETA Spiral BBC4 – I forgot Spiral – I thought it was 2005 but no it was broadcast this year. This is the best crime series on British telly for years. French. A gamine detective, and handsome prosecutor. A detective with a drug problem. A wily and political investigating magistrate. trafficking. Immigration. Political intrigue. Corruption. CHaracterised by some as a French State of Play but avoiding the pat resolution of episode 6 of State of Play. Simply brilliant. And as Keislowski’s Dekalog won at the BAFTAs one year, and Jean de Florette won the BAFTA film awards, don’t be surprised if this wins big prizes.
On the subs bench Newsnight Scotland BBC2 – the Tommy Sheridan defamation case and the aftermath. From the delight of the man from The Herald and his one-liners summing up the day in court (including “four legs good, eight legs better”) through Tommy’s it was all an MI5 plot interview to the Colin Fox and George McNeilage interviews. Much of the rest of the time Newsnight Scotland is an irrelevance, primarily down to the Executive refusing to put up ministers for interview. But here where participants were keen to be interviewed it showed that the slot could be worthwhile.
Bubbling under: Big Ron and Esther learn French; David Dickinson finds his roots and speaks loudly and slowly to foreigners; the BBC4 documentary about the lesser aspects of show business focusing on supporting artists; the Cult of … series on BBC4 (or the DVD extra show); Stuart Maconie’s Film SHow on BBC4; Tim Marlowe on art on Channel 5; Schama on art on BBC2; and Planet Earth.