It’s been one of those years where TV has been a bane or a balm, and around here, we go for the latter. We said goodbye to a few series this year, and made some new TV friends. In no particular order, here are some of the series and their Moments of Goodness that lingered well after we watched. Spoiler warnings apply for each of the series below. Read on only if you’re caught up. Happy New Year!
I wrote an extended piece about the emotional fallout of the series finale that pitted brother against brother and finally brought some peace to Dylan, but not without bloodshed, and it’s an episode that I still think about (and miss, because my DVR took it with it when it went). Bates Motel wasn’t a perfect series by any stretch, but when it did its particular brand of noir, suspense, and familial psychological warfare, it was almost unmatched.
The final episode found Norman completely unhinged and a devastated Dylan running down the clock on available choices to help his brother and live a life with Emma and their daughter until he was finally backed into a corner where the choice was made for him.
Freddie Highmore and Max Thieriot were just decimating in their final scenes together. I missed the hell of out of Vera Farmiga playing a living Norma for the series’ final arc, but I was pacified that we finally found closure. And I’m equally glad for Highmore and Thieriot to have gone right into other shows. Highmore is vaulting into next-level fame with The Good Doctor, but we can say we knew him when.
This was a series, that like Bates Motel, knew going into their final season that they were wrapping up and they did it on their own, sometimes devastating, terms. That all of the core sestras came out alive was amazing, and perfect, and that they’d seemingly laid the groundwork to find the others and get them well was a fitting conclusion.
It was hard-won, and often brutal–particularly that Siobhan didn’t make it to the finish line with them, but the fact that Sarah, Felix, Kira, and all the sestras would live free in no small part because of her sacrifice was a bittersweet victory.
They also threw the fans a bone with Tatiana Maslany’s real-life love, Tom Cullen, playing a smarmy cosmetics exec who gets his ass handed to him by Krystal in an amazing scene of physical comedy as Krystal is listening to Sarah and Art on an ear piece while they’re witnessing the blow by blow.
It was a bit of a different animal in 2017 as the third season of one of our favorite series was dropped onto the Memorial Day weekend schedule in a three-night binge that was a whirlwind to watch (and live Tweet). The 10 episodes had A LOT going on as the series grew into a true ensemble.
Cole and Cassie hopscotched through time, trailed by the rest of the crew, as they tried to find their son and stop the Witness, unsure until the very end of the season that the two goals weren’t the same. With no break between the episodes, the season didn’t allow for as much reflection as the first two seasons.
There was still time for really eloquent storytelling with moments of exquisite grace, like in “Nurture,” when Cassie had the chance to right a wrong and rewrite a memory with her Mother. The self-contained “Thief,” which outlined Athan’s history, played out like an episode of The Outer Limits with seamless callbacks to Athan’s encounters with Cassie and Cole.
The upside is that we already know we’re getting a fourth season, which was filmed last summer and fall. I hope we get those aired over 10 weeks. I’d love to be able to savor the series’ swan song.
With so many series out there coming in well under the old-school, 22-episode count, it’s really significant when series hit 100 episodes, much less 200, and this fall, The Middle hit that landmark in its 9th and final season. I’m generally not a sitcom gal, but The Middle is a show I’ve stuck with for most of its run, and I’m so glad they, too, are getting to wind down on their own terms.
I do wish we’d gotten two more years to see Brick finish high school and Sue finish college, but I’ll take these final episodes as the gift they are. The magic of The Middle is that they make what they’re doing look so easy, and it’s just not. It takes talent, timing, and chemistry to create a TV family that’s believable, funny, and heartfelt, and the crew behind the Hecks are the real deal.
I’ll miss them when they go, but we’ll have 200+ episodes that live on in syndication. This season, Frankie’s been tested with her Mom’s illness, and Mike learned to verbalize the things he’s grateful for. With Sue and Sean finally on the same page, Brick back in Cindy’s good graces, and Axl getting a job, we’re heading into the back half with some good progress toward leaving everyone in a good place. And even this far into their run, they’re still turning out DVR keepers like the accidental tailgate potluck Thanksgiving in this year’s “Thanksgiving IX.”
This was a series I came to for its strong Canadian contingent and I wasn’t quite sure what it actually was. Initially promoted as a shock and gore series, and it does have some of those elements, it was instead a series focused on the emotional and cerebral fallout after the unsuspecting inhabitants of a small Alaskan town are descended upon by ghosts.
It added science into the mix of the supernatural with the old chestnut of ley lines and a hellmouth combining with a really ill-timed quantum experiment to wreak all sorts of havoc. Once unleashed, those ghosts drive people to distraction and destruction, with death thrown in for good measure. Even worse? Nobody can leave.
The lead protagonist, Roman, is a young man who’s the town pariah because he can see dead people, but he soon becomes the town’s salvation, and last week’s episode saw that play out as they all worked together alongside Roman to save Marilyn and Val’s daughter.
That said, the show hasn’t been afraid to bump off its regulars, sometimes more than once, so it pulls no punches on showing the effects on the town. We head into the season finale Thursday night without a second season renewal in place. I’m not sure who will be left after the first season ends, but I’m game to come back. I hope Syfy is, too. Here’s a sneak of the finale.
We’re bringing the fight to the ghosts TONIGHT.
Watch the season finale of #GhostWars at 10/9c on @SYFY. pic.twitter.com/4I9igl9zT5
Ghost Wars (@ghostwarstv) January 4, 2018
Killjoys flipped the script this year with Hannah John-Kamen playing two characters–the dark-ish Dutch and the most definitely deadly Aneela. We were kept guessing for a goodly stretch on who and what Aneela was and I defy anyone to have called it ahead of time. If you did, cookie!
Rather than take another page out of the clone or lost twin story, Killjoys instead posited that Dutch was actually Aneela, just an Aneela with different opportunities and a separate path, and all of her wits about her. Genius. And we left off the season with the two joined in a common fight against the mysterious Lady in the Green, and reunited with their presumed-dead father, Khlyen.
We also expanded the show’s universe with the Hackmods, who I hope come back, extended arcs with Fancy Lee, Pree (who married Gared!), Delle Sayah (who found herself pregnant), and the fabulously crusty Turin, and the introduction of new nerd Zeph and facilitator Pippin. In true Killjoys fashion, we also said goodbye to Alvis.
And our core trio of Dutch and her boys, the brother Jaqobis, remained intact. Johnny had a grief-driven walkabout and came home centered and stronger. D’av figured out how to harness the Green and found his way back to Dutch on equal footing, with both of them battle-worn, wiser for it, and ready for and accepting of this version of each other. That is, once she’s back in this realm and he’s off the wayward ship with his brother and hijacked baby mama, Delle Sayah. What?
Season 4 begins production next month, with Season 5 to follow later in the year. The final two seasons will air in summer 2018 and summer 2019. Really happy this crew gets to write their own ending, and has two more seasons to tell their story.
This was another one that I sort of fell into. Still grieiving Penny Dreadful, I was an easy mark for a Gothic tale of betrayal and love and death and curses and whatnot. I had not yet drunk the Tom Hardy Kool-Aid but Taboo brought me in line.
It’s certainly not a series for everyone. It’s dark and ugly and often brutal but it was always interesting. I wasn’t alone in that, apparently, because there are plans, TBD, do deliver another set of episodes. That should be a neat trick since they literally blasted the crap out everything the first series was about.
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