I was going to try and come up with a clever title or gimmick for this, like Sue’s Top 12 of 2012, or something. But I didn’t want to restrict myself with a number, and the fact is, one of the reasons we started the Mind Reels was because we felt that things we loved just weren’t being talked about enough, and we decided to rectify that issue ourselves.
I love TV. I really do. I spend a lot of time actively watching television, and get caught up emotionally in the lives of the fictional characters that grace my screen. I often just turn it on for company, to have on in the background, while I go about other tasks around my apartment. And then there are all of the reality shows I enjoy watching, as well, which allow me to judge others on a regular basis – all from the comfort of my own living room. I find that I am easily distracted these days – especially when I am doing more than one thing at once – so while I love seeing movies in the theatre for the sheer lack of distraction, if a TV show captures and holds my attention while it’s in front of me week to week, for me, that speaks volumes about my level of enjoyment where that show is concerned.
It’s also no secret that there are legions of shows I watch and love that – apparently – no one else was watching while they were on, and so they have fallen from our screens forever. And, there are some new ones coming that I am looking forward to checking out once they premiere. I’m not going to talk about any of those ones right now, however. For this post, I want to talk about the current series that have my heart – the ones that I record faithfully on my PVR and usually watch more than once between airings, because I’d rather re-watch an episode of something I love than sit through something I am lukewarm on just because it happens to come on while I am in front of the TV.
In 2012, these are the main shows that routinely accomplished that feat, and which appear to all be returning in the new year.
Haven – Haven and I were pretty much destined to become BFF’s right out of the gate. First, it combines two things I love – Stephen King, and storylines worthy of the X-Files. Second, it has Eric Balfour. Hot. Anyway, I tuned in to this quiet little show, set in a quaint fictional town in (of course) Maine, and fell pretty much instantly in love. The scenery is gorgeous (shot in Nova Scotia, so naturally it’s beautiful to look at), and the characters are all people I wish I could hang out with in real life. The stunningly gorgeous Emily Rose plays FBI Agent Audrey Parker, sent to Haven in pursuit of an escaped con. When she gets there, however, she finds far more than she’d bargained for. The little town is plagued by what many refer to as The Troubles – a curse which befalls certain citizens, usually when they have suffered some trauma in their lives. The Troubles manifest themselves differently in each person they afflict, and Audrey quickly realizes that she is quite adept at figuring out what’s going on each time a Trouble rears its ugly head. As well, she is very good at helping those who are afflicted to overcome their Troubles – or at least learn to live with them. In addition, Audrey is the only person in town who is completely immune to the Troubles, often making her the only person who realizes when something “Haven-y” is actually going on. Partnered with local cop-turned-police chief, Nathan Wuornos (delightful Mind Reels guest Lucas Bryant), Audrey works to uncover Haven’s secrets, as well as the majority of her own forgotten past. The pair team up with their friends and fellow Havenites, Duke Crocker (the aforementioned Eric Balfour), Dwight Hendrickson (uber-handsome Adam Copeland aka WWE Superstar Edge), and newspaper-owning/haven-secret-keeping brothers, Vince and Dave Teagues (Richard Donat and John Dunsworth) and together (usually) they attempt to keep the citizens of Haven safe and happy, one Trouble at a time. This season also saw the introduction of two of my now-favourite characters, therapist Claire Callahan (Bree Williamson) and member of the mysterious Guard, Jordan McKee (another delightful Mind Reels guest, Kate Kelton). I love love love the friendship/working relationship between Claire and Audrey, and it has been my true delight to watch the two of them play off one another all season, but I fear we will be losing Claire before the end of the season (2 more episodes), and that feeling hit me in the gut with the same intensity I felt at the end of 24’s first season with Nina and Teri. If there is ANY way to bring back Claire for season 4, I would be all over it. But not at the risk of ruining the show’s integrity, because really, it’s not worth it for one character. Even though I love her. Jordan, on the other hand, has been kind of a double-edged sword this season. One the one hand, her Trouble is kind of horrifying, and she still manages to kick ass while retaining the softer qualities that make her so painfully human. One the other hand, though, get away from Nathan! Hahaha I actually don’t want to see Audrey in a romantic relationship with anyone, because I think that ruins the dynamics between the characters, and all of the places they could go in their many and varied non-romantic relationships. But that doesn’t mean I want to see Duke or Nathan hooking up with anyone else, either. Or Dwight. Good grief, that man is good looking! Where was I? RIGHT! Haven is easily one of my favourite shows on television right now, and likely for all time. I am thrilled to know that they are coming back for a 4th season, and I really wish that conventions in Canada would start bringing Haven guests in, because they all seem to be a crazy, goofy, beautiful bunch of fun, down-to-earth folks, and I can’t get enough of them, on TV or otherwise.
Lost Girl – I was at Fan Expo the summer before Lost Girl premiered, and I remember being intrigued by the commercials for this mysterious new show. I’d wanted to go over and talk to the two cast members who were there (some stupidly hot girl named Anna Silk and equally hot dude named Kris Holden-Reid…you know…whoever they are), but anyone who’s been to Fan Expo knows that it can be a chaotic circus of nerdy delights, so the closest I came to checking out their table that year was a quick glimpse of Anna passing by me on her way back from a break. I made sure to watch the show’s premiere, though, and from the moment I fell down that rabbit hole, I was happily ensconced in a whole new world. One that looked a lot like Toronto, but which had a lot more cool factor in its supernaturally seedy underbelly (I’m looking at you, Vex). I think one of the things that first drew me into this show was the fact that it wasn’t dumbed down to audiences, but it allowed us to get to know this new world through the eyes of the succubus lead, Bo (Anna Silk) and her new sister-pal, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). They didn’t know any more about the Fae than I did, so I got to learn with them. The main thing about the show that has kept me coming back for more has been the characters themselves, and the relationships that form between them. You’ve got Bo, who not only learns that she is a succubus, but that she may be one of the most powerful Fae ever – even as she still struggles to find her own place in a world that is completely new to her. You’ve got Kenzi, the human with a heart of freaking solid gold – she may be tiny, but I defy anyone to cross her or her bestie, ever. Then you have the love triangle formed between Bo and her love interests, Light Fae shifter/detective, Dyson (Kris Holden-Reid) and the sexy human doctor on the Ash’s payroll, Lauren (Zoie Palmer). Bo goes from lost to found, in large part due to her friendship with Kenzi, but also because of her ability to trust and love these two very different people. And where she grew up feeling like she only wrought horrible deadly things on those who were naïve enough to love her, I think Bo draws an emotional strength from the fact that both of these people can not only love her back without being destroyed by her, but also in that they are made all the stronger from her love of them. Rounding out the group is Dyson’s partner, Hale (KC Collins), a siren who is just beginning to embrace his royal background and step into the role of leader that he’s been running from for most of his life. And then there is Trick (Rick Howland). If the Ash is the official leader of the Light Fae, then the unequivocal head of this ragtag bunch – and Blood King – is Trick. He’s the unassuming bartender who actually does have (most of) the answers, and it’s to him that everyone turns when they need advice, or even just companionship. Trick is that guy. The end of the second season saw the unaligned Bo leading her Light Fae friends into battle with the Garuda, and managing to bring along some Dark Fae power to help them out, in the form of Vex (Paul Amos). Will this temporary alliance hold once the threat that brought them together has been eradicated? Or will the lines between Light and Dark be re-drawn, leaving Bo lost in the middle once again? Wait to find out, I can not.
Bomb Girls – What can I say about this little gem of a show that hasn’t already been said? Probably nothing, but at the same time, one really can’t say enough about Bomb Girls, so it bears repeating, over and over. I remember saying to Tim that we should check it out, because it was a little miniseries devoted to telling the stories of what some Canadian women were doing during World War II – which had certainly not been overdone in anyone’s past, ever – and because Brittany Allen had a role in it, and we want to support her for being amongst our beloved Dead Before Dawn 3D peeps. So, I sat down on premiere night to watch the first episode by myself, and by the time the end credits rolled, I was texting Tim like a madwoman, insisting that he watch it ASAP so that we could talk about it. At first, it was just cool to see this bygone era come to life in my livingroom. I started making mental notes of who all of the characters were, and how they related to one another in the show, etc. You know, normal first episode stuff. Meg Tilly was an instantly profound presence, and I found I couldn’t take my eyes off of her whenever she was on-screen. I still can’t. The woman takes my breath away, every single moment. Then, as we approached the end of that first episode and I was feeling happily safe and complacent in my new TV world, something unthinkable and horrifying happened to the lovely Vera (Anastasia Phillips), and that was it for me. The show had taken hold of my soul, and it wasn’tgoing to let go. I fell in love with those girls – Lorna (Meg Tilly), Vera (Anastasia Phillips), Gladys (Jodi Balfour), Kate (Charlotte Hegele), and my new personal hero/symbol of beauty, strength and bravery, Betty McRae (Ali Liebert). I laughed with them, loved with them, cried with them, and spent more time than I care to admit re-watching each episode a few times, just so I could be with them again. Now, don’t get me wrong – the Bomb Boys are also amazing. Bob (Peter Outerbridge), Marco (Antonio Cupo), James (Sebastian Pigott), Harold (Richard Fitzpatrick) and Leon (Jim Codrington) bring a lot of head, heart and brawn to the show. But the girls are the soul. It’s about them, about who they are, and for once the guys are there more because of who they are to the ladies, rather than being the other way around. It’s the Bomb Girls’ stories that drive this series, and I can’t remember the last time I’d been so completely captivated by something that I was actually nauseous when we were growing closer to the end of the season and I didn’t know yet if it would be allowed to come back. Finding out that there would be a season two before I watched the finale maybe have been the greatest news ever, because it allowed me to enjoy the whole thing without having that lump of fear in my stomach. And now that we are mere days away from the premiere of season two, that lump has been replaced by a ball of excitement and anticipation. I’ll finally get to step back into that world again, and spend more time with the ladies of Victory Munitions – telling us the stories that make up our collective history, and doing it in such a way that our collective present feels all the more fulfilled.