My Top 30 TV Shows (15-11)

15) Game of Thrones – Ok let’s get this out of the way right from the start, is it as good as the book, no, but that’s ok, because for the most part it is a faithful adaption, for the most part. So I won’t go harping about Daenerys in season 2 because we got ‘And Now His Watch is Ended’, nor Jon Snow because we got ‘Hardhome’, though please come on get Dorne right in season 6 I implore you, please. There are so many moments that stand Game of Thrones apart from just about any TV series currently on the air, and a lot of that comes from the source material by George RR Martin, but a lot of it also comes from the adaption and from some seriously good casting (most of the time). No other show on TV currently has the power to create the cultural ripples like Game of Thrones, from the Red Wedding, to the Purple Wedding, to the death of a key player right at the start, it continues to show that it is not your standard fantasy work. It is a fantasy world but it is also an incredibly realized one and you can thank the production side of the show, which is for a TV show, is simply phenomenal, from the costumes, to the locations (now up to six different countries), to the sets, it is amazing quality given the budget, and the fact that they are able to actually create amazing battles is a testament to their work. Also it might be that they have the representations of every theory on international relations from Realism to Liberalism to Constructivism to Feminism all displayed warts and all. Is it a perfect adaptation no, but for the most part it is a faithful one, and trust me that is quite rare in this world, yes I am looking at you  Dragonball Evolution and The Last Airbender.

14) Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Look there are a lot of things I could talk about here, the fact that it has one of the most diverse casts on TV at the moment, the fact that it has strong sympathetic characters, or the fact that it has some really interesting stories, but the key thing is that it is really funny. From Andre Braugher’s wonderful take on Raymond Holt the gay black captain that plays the straight man to Andy Samberg’s childish yet not annoying (mostly) Jake Peralta. Terry Crews is delightful to watch as Sargent Terry Jeffords, the mother hen to all the other detectives and the list goes on. Part of the charm of the show is obviously in the cast, but also, you can see the work of the creators throughout the show, and given their previous work was Parks and Recreation, they have a strong background in truly amazing comedy. There are so many great moments, from the turf wars with the fire department, to the wonderful interactions between Holt and Wuntch, to the Jimmy Jab Games, to a paintball episode that was actually fun to watch for a change.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine shows people are more than happy to watch a diverse cast, if you have a strong cast, with strong writing, people will come on board. It has been so fun to watch so far, and I look forward to seeing where it will go in the future.

13) Daria –
Literally the only good thing to ever come out of MTV, Daria was both a product of its time but also something quite timeless, well at least so far. It is the story of surviving high school, working out who you are, the pressures of parents, your identity, what it means to be black in a white world, life as an outcast, class, your future which depends on your parent’s income, love, loss and everything in-between. This is all told through the character of Daria Morgendorffer as she and her family move to the new town of Lawndale. While her sister Quinn is bubbly and immediately situates herself with the in crowd (to the point that she refers to Daria as her ‘cousin or something’), Daria is considered an outcast because she won’t play the social games like everyone else. With her best friend Jane she juggles jaded teachers, her overworked mother, the focus on the material and vapid, and everything the sick sad world of high school can through at her. She spoke for a part of society that did not really have a voice, and for that she is still relevant today. To finish let me leave you with one of the last line spoken in the show during the graduation – “However, given the unalterable fact that high school sucks, I’d like to add that if you’re lucky enough to have a good friend and a family that cares it doesn’t have to suck quite as much. Otherwise my advice is; Stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless experience proves you wrong. Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor *is* naked. The truth and a lie are not sort of the same thing. And there is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can’t be improved with pizza. Thank you.”

12) Iron Chef (料理の鉄人) – If memory serves me right, I first came across Iron Chef late one night as I was channel surfing, hidden away on the public broadcaster SBS. It was a wonder to discover and a show that I would always try to catch, and probably was the instigator for my want to visit and experience Japan. The premise of the show is that Chairman Kaga, wanted to taste the best food in the world so he created his Kitchen Stadium “to encounter new original cuisines which could be called true artistic creations”. So he has his Iron Chefs (Chinese, Japanese, French & Italian) battle challengers from across Japan and the world, they cook for one hour, the food gets judged by a new panel each week (bar the late Asako Kishi who seemed to be always there), and who gets the most points wins. There is always a debate as to whether you should watch the dubs or just watch the subtitles the show in its most ‘pure’ form. Honestly for me I can take it either way, but if you don’t watch the dubbed version you are missing out on a truly amazing collision of Japanese culture and high class camp. So sure, once you watch a lot of the show, you can see that there is a lot of framing and staging in the show, but who cares, the food is amazing, or at least interesting, the commentary is top class, and you will not regret watching this show, well maybe the 1000 year egg battle, maybe. So here’s a yellow capsicum to you Chairman Kaga, it was a great ride, and the future will always be brighter thanks to the show, now if only you would get around to releasing them on DVD/Blu-ray/Netflix at some point, please and thank-you.

11) Grand Designs – Grand Designs is a very simple premise, I’m about to build (or renovate/rebuild/restore) a house, ok let’s watch you build that house, see really simple but boy is it so much more. It is people’s dreams, their ideas, some of which they have been planning all their lives. Because of this you become invested in their stories, you follow their highs and lows, when the glazing is inevitable wrong, when the groundworks always cost more than quoted, or when someone falls through the roof live on camera. It is because you empathize with people building the houses (mostly), which given these are usually multi-million dollar builds is quite the achievement, you want to see them succeed, and you feel form them when things go wrong. Of course it helps that they have a “something has just gone wrong” music, and when that plays early in the episode you know this is going to be a roller-coaster of emotion. Grand Designs more than anything on this list is all about the presenter, and in the original UK version that would be Kevin McCloud. McCloud is in many ways a pompous ass, self-righteous in his own beliefs, and will outright state, ‘this building will not work’. At this moment you would think McCloud is a bit of a dick, but he’s not, he is someone with a lot of passion and heart, and has a clear idea about what will and will not work, and inevitably he will be wrong, and he will own it. Every house is different, every house is a masterpiece and I can wait to see what is next.


Movie Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

TL;DR – An utter mess of a film, disjointed, nonsensical, and a very poor foundation for DC to build their Justice League series on

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Image Credit: Warner Bros.


You know I wanted to be surprised by Batman v Superman, it looked rushed, it looked like they had not given enough thought before rushing ahead with their Avengers competition, it looked like they were making all the same mistakes Sony made with Spiderman, but still, I wanted to like it, but alas this is an incoherent mess of a film with only momentary glimpses of being any good. To get us started, Batman v Superman starts with us experiencing the climax of the last film from Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) perspective, we then jump forward to two years later where a bat vigilante is attacking criminals in Gotham across the bay from Metropolis, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is in Africa being the damsel in distress (a role she will be stuck in for this film) and everyone else is politely pretending that Clark Kent and Superman (Henry Cavill) are not the same person.

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Movie Review – Zootopia

TL;DR – A beautiful movie that is well acted, well animated, and has a very thought provoking story, whilst still being amazingly funny.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Zootopia. Image Credit: Disney.

For a while it seemed that the only good movies coming out of Disney were from its partnership with Pixar, but then something changed and we got Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and Big Hero 6 which have all been outstanding, and now we have Zootopia which we can add to this esteemed group.

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Movie Review – London Has Fallen

TL;DR – One of the better action films I have seen in a while, grab your popcorn and sit back, just don’t expect it to have a nuanced view on world politics.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

London Has Fallen. Image Credit: Lionsgate.


London Has Fallen is a good little action film, it’s not the greatest I have seen, but given the poor showing so far this year, bar Deadpool, it was refreshing to see something done really quite well. So it should be no surprise that London is falling is about stuff blowing up in London, and since the film knows that you know, then it is able to really push the tension.

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TV Review – Daredevil Season 2 (Ep. 1, 2, and 3)

TL;DR – A solid opening, but not quite catching my excitement yet, but that could just be because of a slow burn.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Daredevil. Image Credit: Marvel/Netflix.


Season 1 of Daredevil was an exciting surprize, after the mediocre effort that was the Ben Affleck/ Jennifer Garner 2003 movie, the writers found the perfect tone in which to reinvigorate the franchise and reintroduce it to the viewing masses. The story was fascinating, the action was some of the best ever produced for the TV (or whatever we classify Netflix as these days), and Vincent D’Onofrio was the best villain I have seen in quite a while. The series was so successful that Netflix immediately greenlighted a second season. So here we are, let’s see how the first three episodes of Daredevil’s sophomore season went.

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Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane

TL;DR – Wow, just wow, this film has just 3 actors, is basically filmed in the one set, and yet it is one of the most tense films I have ever seen.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

10 Cloverfield Lane. Image Credit. Paramount.


Tension in films is a very difficult thing to pull off, if you keep things tense for too long the audience gets exhausted, but if you try to apply the brakes you can shatter the suspension of disbelief and you can’t get that back. I bring this up because 10 Cloverfield Lane is a masterpiece in managing tension, and is a testament to what you can do with such a small budget.

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Movie Review – Grimsby (The Brothers Grimsby)

TL;DR – An abomination of film with no redeeming qualities, don’t waste your money on this drivel

Score – 0.5 out of 5 stars

Grimsby (The Brothers Grimsby). Image Credit: Sony.


Oh Mark Strong, you are a good actor, a really good actor, by why, oh why do you end up cast in these truly terrible films. Grimsby tells the story of two brothers split up in their youth, one moves to London and becomes a spy for the MI6 and the other stays in Grimsby a post-industrial decline town in the coast of England. After being apart for thirty years they crash into each other’s lives and mischief occurs, and just now you are thinking ‘hey wait that actually sounds like an interesting premise to a film, it has all the makings of a solid narrative’, and you would be right, it could have been a great film, but it’s not, to put it in perspective it is –

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