Saturday, December 31

Favourite Things 2011


(Are you getting tired of the Julie Andrews pictures accompanying these posts yet?)

So, another year is almost over and I've spent it hating a lot of things, but I've also spent it loving a lot more. These are the things I've loved; my favourite things.

Television

It's been quite a good year for me and TV, thanks to IPlayer and 4OD I have managed to watch a lot more than I normally would and catch-up with everything. I've watched quite a lot of TV, granted a lot of it was old episodes of Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Spaced and Absolutely Fabulous (praise be the DVD box set), but I've watched a few other things too.


Parks and Recreation is an American comedy focused on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), an extremely enthusiastic employee of the Pawnee government, working for the Parks and Recreation department. A lot of really good comedies have been coming out of the US recently, so much that sometimes you don't know which to watch. I know everyone has been raving about Modern Family, and don't get me wrong Modern Family is good, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say Parks and Rec is ten times better. Written by The Office (US) writers, Parks and Rec has the same 'Mockumentary' style of filming.

My favourite part of the show (other than the fact it makes me crave waffles and ice cream on a weekly basis) is the friendship between Leslie and nurse Ann (played by Rashida Jones). There are very few female friendships portrayed on TV (and film), or at least there are very few  portrayed in this way, if modern film/TV were to be believed all we talk about is shoes, handbags, men and Brangelina, which believe it or not , we don't. With Leslie and Ann, there's no bitchiness, no superficiality and they both love each other despite their oddities. Oddities which each member of the Parks and Rec. department have in abundance.


(more favourites after the jump)


A group of kids doing community service get struck by lightning during a storm, and begin to develop superpowers.

This one comes with a dedication the Tumblr community, I've never seen a TV show more broadly represented across Tumblr than Misfits, other than possibly Skins (which, honestly, golf claps to Channel 4). So, well played The Internets, you wore me down and I started watching Misfits, from the beginning about three weeks ago. I finished watching series 1-2 and half of series 3 a couple of days later. Yes, I was hooked. If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen me tweet about it (there really is no 'might' when it comes to Misfits, you've seen me tweet it) quite a bit and you may have picked up on the fact that I am obsessed with all the bizarre, and sometimes rubbish, powers that people have. My only problem with it is that I wish I'd staggered my viewing a little so I wasn't so upset about series 3 finishing.


Music



A few nights ago I dreamt that I did a solo ballet to an acoustic guitarist playing Will Young's greatest hits. Now, I'm really into the belief that dreams mean something, so what I'm taking from that dream is that either I'm destined to be a great ballerina or that I've listened to a lot of Will Young recently. Yeah, I'm going with the latter. 

I love Will Young, he seems like a truly lovely, funny and talented person (and no, he's not paying me to write this). I didn't watch Pop Idol when he was on it, but seeing him on TV and hearing how his music has developed since that point, it's awesome to see. His most recent album, Echoes, came out in September and I have been playing it on repeat ever since; an interesting mix of stunning (and at times haunting vocals), dancey beats and piano melodies - it probably shouldn't work but it seriously does.





I couldn't not really, could I? Adele's had a pretty awesome year (despite throat surgery) with one of the best selling albums of the year; winning awards whilst chilling in her chair, making the world cry on cue with a few simple bars and allegedly making Anna Wintour realise that sizes exist other than the Vogue sample sizes. It's hard to believe that '21' came out way back in January (my original review still stands), because you still hear it absolutely everywhere and I don't know about you, but I'm nowhere near sick of hearing it.





Honourable mentions go to Nicki Minaj and Nicola Roberts. 

Nicki mostly gets a mention for the sheer volume of times I have listened/rapped along to Super Bass. I was pretty late on the Nicki bandwagon, but I'm glad that I hitched a ride, because Pink Friday has definitely been one of my most played albums of this year. 

Nicola gets a mention, because of how genuinely surprised I was when I enjoyed her debut solo album. I've mentioned before how much I disliked Girls Aloud, and although I really quite liked Nicola, based on Cheryl and Nadine's solo efforts I wasn't expecting much. So, yes I was pleasantly surprised how much I like Cinderella's Eyes, although not a perfect album (there are some seriously dubious lyrics and cheesy melodies) I really did like it.

Film

I've thought for quite a while about the films that I've seen and although I've not seen an incredible amount, very few come to mind as immediately or as often as one in particular, so I decided to just do one. Although, I couldn't forget to mention X-Men:First Class, Tintin and the general silver screen domination of Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, Ides of March, Drive and Crazy, Stupid Love) this year.




But, yeah. This film. I know most sites are going to talk about this film, at least most female-driven sites are, I imagine. Nevertheless, you can't fault a bit of girl power really can you? Aside from Morning Glory (which came out in 2010, otherwise it would get a massive honourable mention from me), I don't think I've watched any film this year more than I have Bridesmaids - not only that, but it's very few films that still make me laugh, and cringe. after that many repeat viewings. I love that Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo wrote it, I love that it's a predominantly female cast, I love that it's funny (because we're funny too) and I love that the men who do star happen to be crazy awesome men like Jon Hamm and Chris O'Dowd. And, really, how refreshing was it to see a film in which women are portrayed in a more realistic way and not well, like the rom-com cliche? I hope that Hollywood realise that not only do female audiences care and want to see more diverse portrayals of themselves, but so do the viewing public as whole!


In 2012, I'm looking forward to the final instalment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, The new Muppets Movie {insert Kermit the Frog-esque happy dance here}. On TV, I'm hoping that series 3 of Glee gets about 10 times better (this can easily happen if they get Mercedes and Sam back together). I'm also excited for the much awaited next series of Mad Men (fingers crossed Don got another divorce during this super long break) and the equally awaited (by me at least) new series of BBC's Sherlock. 

Is there anything you think I should be watching/listening to next year? What have been your favourites and what are you looking forward to?

I hope you've been thoroughly entertained this year and continue to be in 2012. 


(main image - weheartit; TV images - NBC and E4; Music Images - Last.fm; Film Image - Tumblr)

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