Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
As the year 2017 draws to an end, it is once again time for my tribute to the best in pop culture and farm animals, The Daveis. Now the winner doesn’t get anything, but I suppose if any of the celebrities want to drive up to rural northern Oregon I could give them something, it would probably consist of some form of goat cheese. (I am looking at you Aubrey Plaza)
So with no further ado, I present unto you the 2017 Davies.
Best New TV show. Legion. I recently said. “This may not just be the best show currently on TV, this may be the best show that was ever on TV” Everything about this show is amazing. The writing, the acting, the camera, work, the symbolism, the twists, the chemistry between the actors, the out of nowhere Bollywood numbers. Everything.
I was late to jumping on the Legion bandwagon and didn’t start watching it until it hit Hulu, and you know what I am better for it. Legion the TV show may be like the comic book that inspired it, better when it is binged. I don’t buy a lot of monthly comic titles anymore waiting for the graphic novel to come out. And that is the best way to view the TV show too I bogarted all 8 episodes of legion in 24 hours, and that is the best way to watch it when the last episode is still fresh in your mind.
I usually don’t like re-watching my favorite shows, but Legion is an exception. Each time I see a scene I see something that I originally missed. It is literally pregnant with symbolism. From the graffiti on the walls, the colors res and blue, the sound of a ping pong game. She different shapes on David’s shirt each week. This is both a thinking person’s show and a fun show.
They only did 8 episodes and next year they are going to up it to 10. They are fallowing the English TV trend of quality over quantity, and I think the fact that the show doesn’t have a “ship in the bottle” episode is one of its strength’s. Now I admit this show is quirky. Some people like it but want them to take it down a notch or two, next year. David’s Super Ego having a British accent, the Shadow King turning a fight scene into a silent movie, the Bollywood number in a psychiatric hospital, the Lovecraft allusions (“If the incident in Red Hook is any indicator…”), the Wham! Lines. “We didn’t have a dog.” “You mean Lenny…No I mean Bennie.” The escape scenes done like a slow motion video, the colors red and blue fighting for David’s very soul. I get you want to turn it down, but I am in the corner yelling “Turn the quirky factor up!”
Best Returning TV Show: Stranger Things. ST II didn’t miss a single step, it is just as fresh as the original season. We see ‘the party” grow but every single character in this ensemble show has real character development. In a way the show is two stories that are intertwined. It is the story of D&D geeks ‘the party” with their new member Mad Max the Zoomer, and their scout master in training Steve, and Hopper and Eleven’s secret life. You know they are going to intersect somewhere in the story, but when Eleven bust down the door and has her “big dam hero” in the penultimate eepisode I was on my feet cheering.
I mean it, when I said I don’t think Stranger Things II missed a step. The addition of Paul Riser and Sean Austin could have been stunt casting, but the choices pay off in the end. I know a lot of people didn’t like Eleven’s “sister” Eight, and sure her episode is kind of a detour but it exposes us to the bigger world than just Hawkins.
Stranger Things II also has this awesome 80’s sound track, that makes me nestalgic. I highly recommend the show but I you haven’t seen it yet start with the first one then move on to ST II, it makes more sense that way and you can see where all the excitement originated.
Best Revival: Mystery Science 3000. I love the old MYST 3000, both Joel and Mike versions, but to be honest some of the jokes are getting a bit dated. I still love them, but I also think the new MYST 3000’s are a breath of fresh air. Jonah Ray may be our new captain, Hampton Yount and Barron Vaughn may now voice the bots, but you can still see the touch of the master, Joel Hodgeon’s hand. (Que Manos Hands of fate voice “The Master will not be pleased.”) I am embarrassed to admit how many of the movies in the new season I have seen without the smart astronaut remarks.
The addition of Felecia Day and Patton Oswalt is icing on the super duper tasty cherry cake. They play the evil scientist Dr. Kinga Forrester, and Max, “TV’s son of TV’s Frank” respectively. They show has cameos like Jerry Seinfeld, Erica Grey, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill and Wil Wheaton. It is like your favorite dog, who was also you best friend and talked, and once save your life when you were attacked by a squid and told you all these super funny Jokes went away, only to come back even better because now he makes fun of Taylor Swift and hipsters. Yeah kind of like that.
Best Actor: David Harbor, as Sheriff David Hopper, in Stranger Things. In his first appearance in episode 1, season 1, as Hawkins top cop, he is drunk and dishevel, having a breakfast of cigarettes and pain pills. He is the definition of someone who is not a bad man, but not particularly good one. But every scene he evolves into one of the most interesting and complex characters on TV. He wears a blue band on his wrest, from the first shot but not until much later in the season do we discover that it was his daughters who died of cancer hair band. When Joyce challenges him to find her missing son, he overcomes his past events and proves he has some truly amazing investigative skills.
In season two, he comes to terms with becoming a surrogate father to Elven, while balancing the uneasy peace with the government, who doesn’t want to admit that dimensional hi-jinks are back in the Hawkins Zip Code. It is a perfect blend of writing and acting. When Eleven searches his basement she finds a box that is marked Vietnam. With that one scene, we understand how episodes later he handles an M-16 so perkily. .
Best actress in a TV series: Melissa O’Neil as Portia Lin Aka Two in Dark Matter. Dark Matter is an awesome show and it is unfortunate that it is only going to get three seasons. Through it all has been Melissa O’Neil as the crew of the Raza’s reluctant den mother. Portia’s nanites could make her character a show breaker, but she seamlessly molds in with the rest of the ensemble cast. She plays a woman who memory is whipped and gets a second chance at being a good human being when her body is more than human. She isn’t perfect but again that is what makes her human and worth watching.
Best Supporting Actor: Ebon Moss-Bachrach as David Lieberman AKA Micro in The Punisher. It isn’t easy to upstage Jon Bernthal in his own TV show but Ebon Moss Bachrach does it with wit and nerd style as hunted spy Micro. He is forced to fake his own death, allowing his family to think he is dead to elude corrupt US agents. His desire to reunite with his family makes him almost as dangerous as Frank, except in a completely different way. He is a spy, not a solider, he knows he needs The Punishers combat skills as much Frank needs his tactical and technical support.
I have only read a few of the 80’s run Punishers that had Micros comic book doppelganger Microchip. but Ebon’s version seems more nuanced and layered, in a way I don’t remember form the books. I enjoyed watching his and Frank relationship going from enigma, to conflict to torture, to grudging alliance, to respect t to true friendship. It only makes it hurt even more that I suspect sometime down the road these two allies will have to face off against each other.
Best Supporting actress: Aubrey Plaza as Lenny Cornflakes Busker in Legion. The role of Lenny was written for a middle-aged man, but in a flash of brilliance creator and writer Noah Hawly offered the part to Aubrey Plaza, and what could have been a pretty good show became a masterpiece. The thing is he didn’t change the dialog, when he changed Cornflakes gender, and it is so good that way. Plaza who was known mainly for her comedic roles before this, brings a comedian timing and a dancers grace to the role. If it had been played by a man I could not see lines like when David asks her who she is “I am you… I am me…I am everything you want to be.” Said in a cheerleaders sing song chant as disturbing as it was out of Aubrey’s lips.
Lenny gets killed in the first forty minutes of the show, but she keeps coming back in every episode, how she dose this is one of the core mysteries of Legion. Is she a ghost? Is she part of David’s Insanity? Or is she something worse. If you look at Aubrey’s subtle acting in a very the over the top character you can see glimpses of what she really is.
Best late night host: Seth Myer. There is a lot of fodder out there for late night hosts now a days. There are a lot funny , but partisan humor out there. But Seth in Late Night with Seth Myers, is witty, funny and sometimes profane but almost always spot on. I get the feeling that he is somehow when he is doing his monologue that this is his penance. It is rumored his joke about Trump in the 2011 White House Correspondence Diner “trump is running as a republican, which surprises me I just assume he was running as a joke.” Is what made Don take the presidency seriously? Mia Copa or not Seth’s humor helps me get though 2017.
Best bad girl: Bee from The Baby Sitter. Here at DCotU we love our bad girls, and there was a lot of good (bad) ones out there this year. But the one who stole our heart is Bee from Netflix’s The Baby Sitter. Played by Hugo Weaving’s niece Samara Weaving. Bee is hot, she is up on her nerd culture, watches Billy jack movies, flirty, and protects the ones she loves. The only drawback is if she dates you she’d probably sacrifice you to the devil.
But deep I n the layers of this horror comedy, we see the things in her life that turned her to the dark side. We learn that she really does care about her charge Cole. How she will go to any length to prevent her from becoming a victim again, even if requires the blood of innocents.
Best good girl; Barbara Gordon Lego Batman. Lego Batman did a great job of capturing the essences of Batman, it did an equally good job of capturing the zeitgeist of Batgirl. She is just as smart and dedicated as Bruce, but looks great while doing it. The voice talents of Rosario Dawson were right on too. She is actually a great role model for viewers of all genders and ages.