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Saturday, December 30, 2006


If 2005 was a sign of what was to come, 2006 truly marked the year of the television. Thinking we saw most of the good stuff last year was, to say the least, a slight error of judgement. Strangily enough it is still hard to convince some people to watch a television series because the old adagio of television being some random entertainment still rings true in some ears. And ignorance is definitely not bliss here.

In fact, I can't stress enough how most of the geniuses are writing in television these days. Putting in these countless hours behind the telly has just been this amazing, intoxicating and inspiring ride I could recommend to all. Hopefully this list can help the uninitiated.

For this top 10, I selected ten series that are still on the air. Next to this list, there are also five cancelled or wrapped up shows which I only caught up with this year. You should relativily easy find most of these series on dvd.

The big problem with making a top 10 is the vast quality difference between different seasons. There's a huge difference between Prison Break Season 1 for example and Season 2. I'll address this problem shortly in each comment but sometimes (and this is where it gets rather irritating for the new viewer) a series only excels after like 5 seasons. So you have the choice either of sitting through 4 seasons of not-so-good-material or just start with the good-season but risking the fact you miss a certain backstory.

Shoutouts to series that didn't make it, go to Desperate Housewives S1, Big Love, Day Break, Heroes, Sleeper Cell, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, 24 S5, Lost S3 and My Name is Earl.

And now on to the happy few. Also provided is a youtube clip which contains hardly any spoilers but is more intended to get a grasp of what the series is all about. Enjoy.

The biggest surprise and find of the year. Amazing Amazing televison, all very much thanks to Dennis Leary who truly holds this show together. SEASON 2 is what you chould check out here, although all three seasons are very good in their own way, with S1 being the least maybe. But you can't do much wrong here, just watch it all!

Also in last year's list but featured here again because it's just so bloody awesome. There's not much around to beat Al Swearengen or Richardson. Unfortunetaly this magnicifent piece of drama has also been cancelled this year but the reason it's still on the list is because there will be made two more telefilms. Keep checking The beginning of SEASON 1, the end of SEASON 2 and the middle of SEASON 3 is what makes my heart tick. I had quite some problems with S3 but in the end, Deadwood is that extraordinary, it should hold a top position on every list.

SEASON 4 of The Wire is what made the difference here. I was a fan but SEASON 4 totally blew me away. Maybe the best piece of television this year. Incredible tight writing, fabulous acting. Take your time to see this, it moves rather slow sometimes but the reward is at the end. Can't wait for S5.

Forget what you heard about this show. Forget all the hype or whatever and just watch SEASON 1. It is absolutely great action writing and the fastest, most thrilling show on here. And yea unfortunetaly they pulled a Lost and S2 declines greatly.

You want a funny sitcom? Well then, go and shove this up thou buttocks, Sex and The City. Weeds is where the real fun is at. Both SEASON 1 and SEASON 2 have its equal great moments, so just go out and watch it. Hot stuff.

The only NEW series on the list. And I must say I have quite some critique about certain actors or certain B-storylines but in the end, Dexter is very clever written and it must be the first show ever with a Serial Killer protagonist. For that many props and also a big thank you to Michael C. Hall for tilting this show towards that little extra.

Oh Hugh Laurie, where have you been all my life? is the best way to describe my House experience. Yes, it is classic doctor's drama. Yes, it is classic tv without any seasonal arcs. Yes, it can be boring. Yes, there's some CSI in it. Yes it is the biggest hit on television. Yes Yes Yes to your comments but fuck it. It is Hugh Laurie in there, it is great fun, it is exciting, it is sad and it is classic tv. Do not sleep. SEASON 1 is probably the best way to begin.

The biggest problem on this list because I must admit I don't really like The Shield S1-S4 that much. I mean I can watch it and there's some good stuff there but it is not that edgy enough. Could be better produced. Is a little too much constructed, too much cops trying to be tough but the actors are not bringing that Wire or Deadwood edginess. UNTIL one man brought down the fort in SEASON 5: my most beloved Forest Whitaker does a tour de force I have seldom seen. He solely brings The Shield on a level you would have never imagined. And which is the reason The Shield should be on this list. I wish I could give out three oscars this year to Dennis Leary, Hugh Laurie and Forest Whitaker. They outshine every acting performance this year, televison or film. This is your Holy Trinity.

There are a few minor spoilers in this clip but if you really want to see why Forest Whitaker is that good, go and click that play button now.

Another great and funny sitcom thanks to Johnny Drama, Ari Gold and Turtle. Not everything is that good and SEASON 2 would be your main choice. But heck, while you're at it, watch S3 too, it is still great entertainment.

I wasn't that much into Battlestar Galactica at first. I still think the production value could be a whole lotta beter, that the CGI stinks and that several actors are sort of B-rated. But the writing is excellent at times. Very clever dialogue for a scifi series and a very political plot which I love. SEASON 3 is truly the best so far. The first episodes were outstanding good and terrifying close as far as theme goes. A must see for Scifi fans.

Your Older TV-Gods.

Only a few words: Most Genuine and Heartwarming TV-Show ever, see it for yourselves before you die.

Alias is like James Bond at its worst in a way. It is silly and meaningless spy action, which doesn't make for very interesting tv. The big BUT however here is that Season 1 weaves in absolutely great family drama and this is so tightly written it makes my jaw drop. Forget all the other Alias Seasons for it is utter crap but go and see the first one. The original family premise is brilliant.

I made the bad call of watching Serenity before seeing Firefly. And it was only after I saw the series that I could get a real grasp of the world. Firefly is sometimes kind of trashy and over-the-top but don't be mistaken by some of its minor flaws (the actors, the cgi, the silly humour, etc). Whedon deconstructs the western and scifi genre in a very clever way and makes one heck of an interesting new hybrid. The Whore becomes the Courtesane, The Refugee becomes The Hero, The Preacher becomes The Enigma, and so forth. Well done.

Great entertainment for the whole family. This is not tv at its best but just one for a great lazy sunday afternoon. There's good stuff in there, boring and bad stuff but mainly the whole afterlife concept and the Ellen Muth irony is wonderful.

The Prisoner is a hard case to review. It doesn't really make the transition well between the sixties and the here-and-now. From a modern point of view the pace is totally out, the acting too comical and the suspense totally ridiculous. But it is a great show nonetheless as far as concepts go and a show a young writer should study. This is one for the incrowd. Find out where Lost got its mustard.

Monday, December 25, 2006

2006 and Best Movies

So here it is. The top 10 of most appreciated movies in 2006. Again due to different releases in Europe, sometimes even only on dvd, the list contains a few 'technically 2005' films but anyone nitpicking about that can mail me and get a date.

The number 10 spot is quite populated because a) these movies excel in their craft, but b) they are all majorly flawed one way or the other, which I could try and summarize a little something like this:
- Most Awesome Visual Achievement with a dull story: Children of Men
- Most Thrilling Reckoning with the worst ending : Munich
- Most Fun in The Age of Irony: Snakes on A Plane
- Most Mutilated Masterpiece by Producers and Studio: Syriana
All in all, I must say 2006 was a far better year than 2005. Quite some movies totally disappointed though (The New World, Miami Vice, Mission Impossible III, A Scanner Darkly, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Where The Truth Lies, Brokeback Mountain, Superman Returns), others exceeded expectations but not good enough to make it (Brick, The Break-Up, Walk The Line, V for Vendetta, Pan's Labyrinth) and others haven't been seen yet (Casino Royale, Babel, The Queen, The Departed, The Prestige, The Proposition, Hills Have Eyes,...).

Final observations are a) that I haven't really seen very good horror movies this year and b) that there's not one single foreign movie in my list. I'm either consequently focusing myself too much on the American market or 2006 wasn't that good of a year for foreign films. It's probably a combination of the both, so if anyone has any good recommendations to check out, let me know. And no, Almodovar ain't my god. The upcoming best tv list is.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Alright so the lab presents its first end-of-the-year list and unlike last time, we start with the songs. Disclaimer here should be that I haven't included any songs from my top albums. The true intention of this list is to recognize the artists who didn't make it in the top albums list but did produce great material. So these are not necessarily the best songs but they do reflect my 2006 favorites.

1. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
2. Isis & Aerogramme – Low Tide
3. Helios – Bless This Morning Year
4. Cat Power - The Greatest
5. Akron & Family - Before and Again
6. Spankrock – Bump
7. Devendra Banhart - Inaniel
8. Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice - Dread Effigy
9. Royskopp – What Else Is There
10. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push II

11. Joanna Newsom - Emily
12. DJ Shadow feat. David Banner – Seein Thangs
13. Beirut - Mount Wroclai
14. Cat Power - Hate
15. Wixel - Your Home is My Last Resort
16. Nelly Furtado – Promiscuous Girl
17. aMute - Hit My Country
18. Our Brother The Native - Apodiformes
19. Immune – Headfirst
20. Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

21. Esmerine - Why She Swallows Bullets And Stones
22. Bonnie Prince Billy - Strange Form of Life
23. Cat Power - Lived in bars
24. Xiu Xiu - Boy Soprano
25. Rihanna – SOS
26. Erik De Vahl - Friendly Fire
27. Tim Hecker - Chimeras
28. Sparklehorse - Shade and Honey
29. Chamillionaire – Ridin’ Dirty
30. Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks

31. Lilly Allen – Smile
32. Uffie – Ready To Uff
33. Gregor Samsa – Young and Old
34. Tsukimono - Gloomy Sunday
35. Black Ox Orkestar - Bukharian
36. Jason Molina - It's Easier Now
37. Wir Sind Helden – Wenn es Passiert
38. Three 6 Mafia – It is Hard Out There For A Pimp
39. Mogwai - Auto Rock
40. Justin Timberlake – My Love

K-Fed with 'Popozao'
Coup De Boule with 'Zidane il a frappé'
Basshunter with 'Boten Anna'

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Five Virgins on an Island.

First-time movie director Joe Wright summarizes his brilliant adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice best when he comments on the final almost-kiss scene. Truly a director to remember and surprisingly, a must see movie.

I battle with this scene. I battle with myself over this scene because it's probably a bit over the top and over-romantic and slushy, but if we haven't earned it by now, then we never will have.

One of the make-up artists stood beside me while we were shooting this. And she whispered very quietly: "I wish that was my life." And I think wish fulfilment is... wish fulfilment serves a purpose. A lot of people consider it a cop out or a... or a cynical act, but I think wish fulfilment is really important in drama. And it's important for the people who watch it and the people who make it. We need to have something to reach for. Not to settle for less.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Silent Shout.

If anyone is making 2006 lists, music- movie or underwearwise, feel free to send them in or drop a link, it will be posted later on. I'm still compiling mine.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The New Animation Ensemble.

And since we're still on the Swedish tip, it's really wonderful to see a familiar name pop up on all the blogs and become the new YouTube hype: Kristofer Ström, who records his solo music under the Ljudbilden & Piloten moniker and who is also a member of Kalligrammofon's hottest quintet Alina, made a great animation music video this summer for Minilogue and well let's just say the number of views would even outrank a bloody U2 concert. Also check Kristofer's other work on YouTube, it's all truly cheery & great.

That pop-i-ness

Is it still the ABBA effect that's shaking up the world of blogging or is it that good old pop quality which yields the number of blogs specialising in Swedish music only: I already knew It's A Trap, Swedesplease or Catchy Tunes of Sweden but I also just received a nice letter from a new contender: the Absolut Noise blog covers our friends up north in both french and english, so go and check it out.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tsukimono - Née

Unfortunetaly, true to my procrastinating self, I have only been checking properly Tsukimono's first full length album "Née" these past few days. And what shame I brought again upon myself. As the second release of the mighty Kalligrammofon label, Née strikes such a beautifully sad and melancholic note that I mostly desperately seek in laptop-based music. Such a perfect and amazing companion for these winter writing hours and a true candidate for the top material of the year (which will be filled with too much swedish music this year btw, I wonder why :).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sarcasm is the refuge of losers.

Such a corny litte cute sweet and sour movie, made for kids and grandpas to enjoy but so nicely done. What Before Sunset did for the romcom genre, Little Miss Sunshine does for the family movie genre. Go out and See.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanx So Much For All The Goodies Again!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Missing The Life Fest.

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