‘What a year its been for the dedicated television watcher.’ And so commenced the Age’s assessment of the year on the small screen – ‘The Couch Potato Awards’. The former broadsheet’s list of the gong-worthy is put together category by category, lauding a single selection in each. Stand-outs included ‘The Devil’s Playground’ in Best Local Drama, ‘True Detective’ in the equivalent Overseas Drama just to cite a couple. It assessed the ABC’s feisty Sarah Ferguson as the person having his/her best year in the medium, with the 10 Network having its worst.
A personal consideration of the year’s best, under the Green Guide format, is not possible for this punter as I would have to pass on so many genres. I would not have the slightest inkling on the Best Pre-schoolers – although this may change as my adored granddaughter becomes more television savvy – Best Competition Reality or Dog of the Year. If you’re interested, the latter was Seven’s ‘Lazy and Driving Us Crazy’ – whatever that may have been! No, the Blue Room’s unembellished list is in countdown format, with a few HMs (Honourable Mentions) and GPs (Guilty Pleasures) to round them out.
So, Coming in at No.10 – Hello Birdy – a gem hidden away in last summer’s ABC rota. Unheralded in the silly season, it was worth watching just to see William McInnes simulate sex with an emu.
09 – Italy (and Sicily) Unpacked – part of SBS’s selection of excellent culinary themed shows, this breaks from the norm and includes cultural perspectives as well. Equal with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast – simply yum!
08 – The Agony of Modern Manners – this offshoot of the Zwar franchise is perhaps tele at its simplest – just talking heads in conversation with Andrew Z and the viewer. It charms and beguiles as we get to know intimately some delightful personalities.
07 – DCI Banks – remember how we wept back in the day when the parish priest lost his Assumpta in the magic Ballykissangel. Well that parish priest is a very different kettle of fish these days in this top notch police procedural.
06 – Kitchen Cabinet – humanises pollies – although I notice Scott Morrison has yet to achieve a guernsey. I have no doubt it would take more than the sassy Annabel – irresistible to males of certain years – to make that odious man unbend an iota.
05 – Brilliant Creatures – another time, another place – but, my, how those Aussie expats shook up the status quo.
04 – The Escape Artist – not quite to the standard of last year’s ‘Broadchurch’, but David Tennant continues to reign supreme.
03 – Fargo – off the radar weird – what on earth is going on? And nobody does this type of weird better than Billy Bob!
02 – Happy Valley – a bravura performance from Sarah Lancashire as she gritted her teeth to bring that right royal bastard down.
01 – True Detective – From the other side of the Atlantic, this was 2014’s ‘Broadchurch’. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson gave stellar performances and kept us guessing from get go to blazing finale. Roll on Season Two and ignore the naysayers who diss it.
HMs – Janet King, Silk, Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off, Utopia, Vikings, A Country Road – the Nationals, Old Dogs, The Fall, Borgen, Time of Our Lives, A Place to Call Home.
GPs – House Husbands, Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge.
The ‘Green Guide’s Couch Potato Awards = http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/the-best-and-worst-shows-of-2014-20141208-1213rr.html