Thankfully, we've had plenty to watch to keep us going. In case you missed it, I wrote this piece about my top five romantic horror films and the Christmas DVD pile has been solidly worked through. I wrote about the best of my January film binge in my last proper post, and while this one is continuing in the same vein, I'm going to be focusing firmly on the small screen. Well. I say 'small screen', but my boyfriend's TV is pretty huge. It's proven quite hit and miss with DVDs and blu-rays: some older films which haven't gotten a proper transfer look a bit shonky and cheap. However, the amount of quality televisual viewing has thankfully fared much better...
1. American Horror Story: Coven
I've been obsessed with American Horror Story since I first clapped eyes on series one. I love a classic haunted house story, and its creeping pace meant its growing roster of characters never felt messy. I initially loved the second series, 'Asylum', but unlike its predecessor it spiraled out of control: it seemed like some plots were shoehorned into an endings while some were frustratingly unresolved. I loved it while watching it though, as mental health practices are something of an interest of mine.
I was super excited for 'Coven', the third series which promised witches, voodoo, the mystical setting of N'yawleans and Stevie Nicks. Oh, and a plethora of amazing, all-black outfits. What wasn't to like? Jessica Lange was pretty much flawless as always, and the inclusion of Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates dropped in some serious star wattage and acting chops. Every time they were on screen, they killed it. I was also thrilled to see the return of the teen romance between Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters, our star-crossed lovers from series one.
So far, so good right? Hmm. The series dragged along without much in the way of development and the finale was a hollow anticlimax. The characters seemed a bit more one dimensional than in previous series. As much as I loved the style, there just wasn't enough substance to back it up. However I've now developed an obsession with shawls thanks to Misty Day: Fleetwood Mac and scarf afficionado and possibly my favourite character in the series.
2. Sleepy Hollow
The boy and I used to do a double bill and watch this alongside AHS. It really highlighted the difference between the two, although this seemed to fly under the radar a little more. If you're looking for a substitute for the AHS-shaped hole, and want to fill it with something altogether more fulfilling, check out Sleepy Hollow. This series transports Ichabod Crane to modern day Sleepy Hollow after 200 years underground and teams him up with sassy local cop Abbie Mills, who's got mysteries of her own to solve. The whole 'displaced guy out of time' might seem a little hackneyed, but bear with it. It mixes a fish out of water story with ancient mythology and real life historical events, and the result is entirely satisfying.
If you need further convincing, this is Ichabod Crane. He never actually changes out of his 18th Century garb. Ye olde swoone.
The final was a double episode and, unlike AHS, didn't drag once and left me on serious tenterhooks for series two. I found it bizarre that fewer people have seen it: every episode introduces new elements into the overarching storyline without it feeling cluttered or overly complicated. The supporting cast feature a who's who of Hollywood 'that guys': most notably John Noble as a sin eater, which leads us nicely into my next watch...
We've had this on DVD for a while and never quite got around to watching it. After devouring our other shows, we put it on 'just to see what it's like'. I'm giving it some leeway: I never find it fair to judge a series too heavily on its first outing and Fringe comes with a pretty good pedigree.
4. Supernatural Season 9
I know I'm going to sound like a total fangirl/ Tumblr user here but I LOVE SUPERNATURAL. Seriously. I made it through eight series in the space of about six months. Considering that each series is about 24 episodes long, it's no mean feat. Yet again it was something the boy put on as he'd watched it all and, after dismissing it, we'd found ourselves with nothing else to watch. I'd dismissed it as Vampire Diaries-esque cheesy teen fodder, but it's so much better than that.
The first five series follow a definite arc and it's clear to see that the show wasn't expected to go on further: series 6 and 7 were bloated and messy, but it found its feet again with Series 8 and we're currently halfway through 9. It's progressed rapidly from 'ghost/hot chick of the week' episodes to full blown apocalyptic battles, angels vs demons, time travel, heavenly prophets, ancient mythology, breaking the fourth wall and even a spot of LARPing.
If I had one major complaint about this show, it'd be its lack of fully rounded female characters: it veers towards misogyny on occasion and female characters tend to be a bit one-dimensional. However, if you can get over that, it's spooky, occasionally gory and always entertaining. Plus, they did nail one female character in the form of Charlie (Felicia Day). If it wasn't for heavenly babe Castiel she might well be my favourite.
She gets me. I could just pinch her wee cheeks.
I mentioned Serenity in my last post, and how I'd finally caught up with the rest of the world. As soon as I watched one episode of Firefly, I was hooked. However, I did have to make that most crucial of decisions: as much as I wanted to binge on it, I also didn't want it to go away. I managed to pad out my viewing by revisiting Twin Peaks but, alas, it was still over too soon.
I had initially been put off Firefly after watching Serenity in the cinema: I enjoyed it fine, but the film doesn't have anywhere near the emotional resonance of the show. The bizarrely snappy dialogue is still there, but without the understanding of the show, it all seemed a little too clever for its own good. After watching it I took back everything I had ever said about it: I loved how it added Western and road movie elements to a sci-fi series, and every episode had a classic, timeless look ti it despite being rooted in 'the future'.
It pretty much manages to nail every balance perfectly and be wholly original at the same time. I watched it initially to fill a Supernatural hole, and now there's just a gaping Firefly shaped hole in my life. Like the rest of the TV watching public, my life now can be accurately summed up by this: