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Best of 2016: TV Characters

Standing out is hard to do in a television land that is as wide and varied as it is today.  In most cases, it’s the lead who takes front and center and other times, it’s those side characters who just pull you in and make you love them.

From an actress and a single mother trying to balance work and home life to a brassy best friend who tells it like it is to a family keeping many secrets to an actress blurring the lines between acting and reality, check out my list of the 12 best TV Characters for 2016.

12: Doris (Ali Wong) – American Housewife [New Entry]

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Playing on her ‘non threatening Asian diversity’ within the snooty town of Westport, Doris (Ali Wong) has been able to share the dismissive views of best friend Katie (Katy Mixon) while also being able to mingle with the popular green-smoothie-drinking fit moms, who Katie literally hates.  Doris has no qualms about pushing her take-no-prisoners, hands on approach to parenting (which involves lots of yelling and eating strange meats in broth) onto Katie’s children.

11: Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) – American Crime Story [New Entry]

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Finding herself playing in the big league with the OJ Simpson trial, Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) found herself facing a giant brick wall right from the go.  From her personal dealings of a crumbling marriage and a nasty custody battle to how she dressed and did her hair for court, Clark, it seems was never going to win.  Thrust into the public eye, Paulson’s Clark offered up a deeper and thoughtful look into the most talked about woman of the time that was often overlooked for lesser, inessential topics.

10: The Morgans – Home and Away [New Entry]

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When Tori Morgan (Penny McNamee) first appeared in Summer Bay as the new doctor, none of us were prepared for the overloaded baggage she was hiding – her and her brothers (James Stewart, Jackson Heywood and Orpheus Pledger) were in witness protection.  Their parents killed by top dogs within a drug syndicate, their covers were blown, had no one they could trust and faced having to run again.  The Morgans added a major dash of drama to the bay that has been sorely missing since Charlotte’s (Erika Heynatz) murder last year.

9: Darryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) – The Walking Dead [Re-Entry from 2014]

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The confident, lone wolf we’ve all come to love has been through the wringer this season on The Walking Dead.  His lash out at Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) resulted in the death of good friend Glenn (Steven Yuen) and subsequently saw him taken into Negan’s custody, thrown into an isolation cell and tortured in an attempt to break him.  Holding onto the grief and guilt of Glenn’s death is the only thing keeping Darryl sane while being tortured.

8: Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) – Game of Thrones [New Entry]

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The pint sized warrior, the Lady of Bear Island Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) proved herself to be a formidable leader as she held the cards to back Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Sansa Starks’ (Sophie Turner) attack on Ramsey Bolton to reclaim Winterfell.  Her blistering speech to the bickering houses of Manderley, Glover and Cerwyn showed that while Jon may have finally killed Ramsey, Lyanna is the one who has become the people’s champ and a force to be reckoned with.

7: Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) – Wentworth [New Entry]

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With all focus this past season on Joan (Pamela Rabe) entering Wentworth as a prisoner, the side story arc to this season featuring the blossoming romance between Bea (Danielle Cormack) and Allie (Kate Jenkinson) showed a more open yet vulnerable side to the prison top dog.  While the relationship was used to expose Bea’s weaknesses to both Joan and Kaz (Tammy Macintosh), this relationship ultimately proved to be Bea’s strength, believing Joan had given Allie an overdose, she sacrificed herself to put Joan behind bars for a very long time.

6: Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates) – American Horror Story: Roanoke [New Entry]

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While the premise for this latest season of American Horror Story was fantastic, the second half of the season became a total mess with one shinning mark – that of Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates) AKA – The Butcher.  Agnes’ became a victim of her own sudden rise to fame after My Roanoke Nightmare became a massive television hit and earned herself a Saturn Award best actress nomination.  After delving right into the role of The Butcher, Agnes was diagnosed with  schizoaffective disorder, unable to distinguish between fact and fiction and wholly embodied the woman with a penchant for meat cleavers.

5: Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – Game of Thrones [New Entry]

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Season 6 of GoT was one full of loss for Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as he mourned the death of his daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) and was removed from his position in the Kingsguard by his own son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) who, later on, also died taking his own life after his mother Cersei (Lena Headey) set alight half of Kings Landing.  Discovering that the woman he loves was responsible for the act that pushed Tommen to take his own life looks set to push Jamie into darker personal territory as he struggles with alliance next season.

4: Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) – How to get away with Murder [#8 in 2015]

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We’ve seen Bonnie (Liza Weil) fall back into old habits this past season of How to get Away With Murder as she continuously battled with boss Annalise (Viola Davis) over the treatment of Annalise’s former right hand man Frank (Charlie Weber) now on the run after his murderous past was fully revealed.  With Laurel (Lauren Velez) and Annalise trying to find Frank, Bonnie took it upon herself to track him down and try and coax him back after discovering he had killed her abusive father leading the two to spend a very intense and revealing night together.

3: Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) – Better Things [New Entry]

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There’s no high glamour or Hollywood high life when it comes to Better Things‘ Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon).  She’s not a struggling actress but she’s also not readily recognized on the street by the everyday person.  She’s an actress and it’s her job and it’s this level of fame she attains while also a single mother to three girls, all of whom require a bulk of her attention to make it through each and every day, that makes Sam relatable.  Woman on the verge…..perhaps.  Woman trying to get a minute to have ‘dirty facetime’ with a recent hookup..seems to fit better when describing Sam Fox.

2: Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) – Stranger Things [New Entry]

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Joyce Byers (in a defining comeback role for Winona Ryder) is a single mother, relatively poor and wanting answers regarding her missing son Will (Noah Schnapp).  Her less than affluent standing within the small town of Hawkins, Indiana has the locals not believing her son has gone missing, but despite her lack of influence within the town, she challenges each and every person – right up-to the Police Chief.

When she discovers she can communicate with her missing son through lights, Joyce finds a confidence and a voice to believe in what she is doing is actually real despite the constant knock downs from those telling her, her son is dead.

1: Quinn King (Constance Zimmer) – UnReal [#2 in 2015]

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Walking into season two of UnReal (and the new season of Everlasting) shouting the motto “MONEY, DICK, POWER!!” and ready to hand over the reigns of Everlasting to Rachel (Shiri Appleby) Quinn (Constance Zimmer) found herself not ready to let go when former boss Chet (Craig Bierko) returned to the fray looking to take control back of ‘his’ show. Quinn’s battle to maintain a hold on the show all came to a head in the fourth episode when she learns her father has died and only able to internalize her pain for a short while, Quinn literally opens the biggest can of whoop-ass ever seen.  No one, not even the studio office was saved from her scathing breakdown that saw her literally throw monitors across the room.

But Quinn is a quick one to recover.  She’s a smart ballsy woman who has this inane ability to see the knife coming before it hits her back and has a counter-attack already in play by the time that knife is on it’s way down.  By the end of the season, Quinn retained control of Everlasting and her Money, Dick, Power relationship with Rachel was as strong as it started out at seasons start.

 

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Best of 2016: TV Shows

How does one pick just 12 TV shows to make a “best of” list without going insane?!  It’s a struggle I had last year and with an influx of impressive new shows, it doesn’t get any easier.  That said, I chained myself to my desk, a list was made, shows were culled and now here it is, my Best of 2016 TV Shows list.

12: American Crime Story Season 1 [New Entry]

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There was going to be no shock surprises with how this real life re-telling of the sensational OJ Simpson case ended yet somehow, we all watched with baited breath to see what was coming next.  What made this series so exciting to watch comes down to the genius casting and slick handling of how this story was told.  Sarah Paulson as lawyer Marcia Clark, Cuba Gooding Jnr as OJ Simpson and John Travolta as Robert Shapiro equaled perfect casting and played so well along the story telling that at times we flitted between feeling for Clark and her battle to win what should have been an open and shut case and Simpson who, while clearly guilty, was dealing with the possibility of losing everything his glorified sporting career had gotten him.  In the 90’s the OJ Simpson trial was must-watch TV and today, American Crime Story was also must-watch TV.

11: The Exorcist Season 1 [New Entry]

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It was a big effort for the supernatural show breathing new life into the timeless horror classic but with surprising plot twists, impressive special effects, strong story lines and the star power of Geena Davis, The Exorcist has managed to deliver a show worthy to sit among the Exorcist timeline.

10: Grace and Frankie Season 2 [#10 in 2015]

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It was a very strong and solid outing for the second season of this Netflix comedy starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin about two 60+ year old women facing life as singles after their husbands them them for each other..  Feeling much more confident in this outing, Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin) deal with the fallout of Sol (Sam Waterston) and Roberts (Martin Sheen) relationship breakdown.  The topic of mortality was often seen throughout the season, especially towards the back end of the season in which a touching story line involving a long time friend suffering from terminal cancer decides to end things on her own terms.

9: American Housewife Season 1 [New Entry]

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This light-hearted comedy about a middle class family living a fish-out-of-water life in the rich Connecticut town of Westport hit many funny notes in its first outing.  A family based comedy at heart, topics of body image, fitting in and making the most out what life has handed to you featured heavily throughout the season all while never taking itself too seriously.  Katie Otto’s (Katy Mixon) friend time spent with  Doris (Ali Wong) make up a large portion of what makes this a great show to watch.

8: Australia’s Next Top Model Cycle 10 [New Entry]

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Celebrating 10 seasons, the model search reality show competition pulled out all stops from the addition of Megan Gale to the judging panel to an impressive line-up of worthy competitors to the guest list of world famous models (Elle McPherson and Miranda Kerr to name a few) that popped up along the way to offer some sound advice.  The photo shoots were more glamorous and the resulting photos even more stunning.   While the scoring system still remains the shows biggest downfall, this recent cycle proved why our version of this show remains one of the best in the world.

7: How to Get Away With Murder Season 3 [#4 in 2015]

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Another season, another murder, another set of flashbacks bringing us to a spine tingling revelation, surrounded by weekly court cases.  It’s a solid system that works for the legal/murder drama but season three changed things up by killing off one of the series main stars in a glorious and shocking mid season finale while tying in major events that had occurred throughout the first two seasons bringing everything together in one very neat package.

6: Wentworth Season 4 [#7 in 2015]

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Bringing Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson into the walls of Wentworth prison was not this season’s shining glory.  While it played out nicely over the season and created one heck of a finale, it was the Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) and Allie Novak (Kate Jenkinson) romance that really spurred this season along.  The tender yet volatile relationship between the hard as nails ‘top dog’ and prison junkie was put to the test by both Joan and Kaz Proctor (Tammy Macintosh) that it ended up with such brutal heartache.

5: Better Things Season 1 [New Entry]

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Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) is a working actress, mother to three daughters and a woman with not enough time on her hands.  Better Things had no big fanfare around it’s premiere, instead relying on very strong story telling revolving around the circle of motherhood and powerful performances from lead Adlon and her on-screen offspring (Hannah Alligood, Olivia Edward, and Mikey Madison).  There’s also a list of brilliant cameos from David Duchovny to Constance Zimmer to Julie Bowen and Lenny Kravitz.  If one needs to know more, just watch the season one finale titled “Only Women Bleed” where Sam comes across all kinds of obstacles just getting her three daughters dressed and ready for school before dealing with a very real and confronting personal situation involving her middle daughter Frankie.  It’s pretty much a perfect half hour of television.

4: The Walking Dead Season 7 [New Entry]

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Controversial choice considering the backlash from fans with the introduction of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the very graphic deaths of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yuen).  This season of TWD has once again split our survivors into multiple groups, each of which are discovering have all had the same dealings with the bat wielding pack leader.  From Ricks’ (Andrew Lincoln) submission to Negan to Darryl (Norman Reedus) playing prisoner to Carol (Melissa McBride) unsuccessfully going it on the road alone, the tension and raw emotion has never been higher.

3: Ink Master Season 8 – Peck Vs Nunez [New Entry]

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How to change up a slightly stale reality competition series without bringing back past fan favorite contestants over and over?  Do it the Ink Master way!  Pitting judges Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez against each other with hand picked teams of tattoo artists has breathed new life into this show, boasting a massive line up of contestants that were being eliminated from day dot.  The flash challenges have been more interesting, the tattooing more intense and the girl power all female alliance – never seen before on Ink Master – has proven to be one of the greatest alliances ever on the series and put two females (Ryan Ashley Malarkey and Kelly Doty) into the live finale.  Another season like this is highly recommended!

2: Stranger Things Season 1 [New Entry]

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Most of us were instantly drawn into this Netflix series just off the awesomely authentic 80’s synthesized opening theme.  It played so well into this tale of medical experiments, a missing child, a seriously creepy ‘underworld’ and a nameless little girl trying to survive – all set in the mid 1980’s.  The flash and meme worthy series (Barb anyone?!) offered up cover-ups and government conspiracies, utter scares and touching moments given by pretty much all over the main cast.

1: UnReal Season 2 [#2 in 2015]

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Always a sketchy move coming off a bumper first series but UnReal kept doing what it does best – offering up must-watch TV that is smartly written and skillfully acted.  Rachel (Shiri Appebey) goes fully fledged into girl power territory by becoming BFF’s with her boss Quinn (Constance Zimmer) after the breakup of her romance with season one bachelor Adam (Freddie Stroma) and makes the bold move to introduce Everlasting’s first ever black suitor in NFL quarterback Darius Beck (B.J Britt).  The perusing episodes throughout the season slam into us like a steamroller on steroids as Rachel and Quinn constantly butt heads and egos, both trying to take control of the show and climb up the Hollywood glass ladder.

 

Best of 2015 – TV Characters

It’s been an impressive and varied landscape of television this year that saw the end of Mad Men, the cancellation of Hannibal, the surprise death of Grey’s Anatomy’s McDreamy and the reveal of Pretty Little Liars’ Big A.

From a small-time suburban drug dealer to a former down-trodden housewife fighting a zombie apocalypse, a Queen who has fallen from glory to a formerly pussy-whipped husband and a mother willing to do anything to get what she wants….these are just some of the defining characters that made a huge impact this year on our TV screens.

Either love them or hate them (or love to hate them), check out my list of the 12 best characters that graced our screens in 2015

12: Charlotte King (Erika Heynatz) – Home and Away

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Not since the introduction of ‘The River Boys’ to Home and Away‘s Summer Bay has a single character impacted both the residents of the bay and viewers alike.  Charlotte King’s (Erika Heynatz) main goal of reuniting with her former love Zach (Charlie Clausen) had become skewed over time resulting in this small town teacher resorting to lying, sex with a student, black mail, theft and a double murder.  This, of course, led to her murder yet Charlotte’s web was so wide and tangled with victims that there is an unlimited amount of suspects as to who killed her.

11: Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) – The Walking Dead

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The second half of season five and the first episode of season 6 were quiet ones for Carol.  The woman who’s proficient with the use of sniper rifles and small blades seemed to have found peace within the walls of Alexandria embracing the safety and familiarity of what life was before….until episode “JSS” – 6×02 when rogue survivor group The Wolves brutally attacked Alexandria and went on a murdering spree, sending Carol into a ninja mode like we’ve never seen her in before.  Her will to protect her kin outweighed the moral right Morgan was trying to enforce which resulted in a bare-knuckles slam down fight between the two.  Look out Michonne, there’s a new slayer in town!

10: Bridget Westfall (Libby Tanner)- Wentworth

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Finding the balance between professional and personal was a very wobbly tightrope for Wentworth Prison’s new psychologist.  The openly gay Bridget found herself the target of inmate Frankie Doyle’s (Nicole Da Silva) affection to which, it turned out, the feelings were mutual.  Working closely with Frankie to help her earn freedom and bring down the tyrannical Governor, Bridget flitted between the lines of right and wrong within professional misconduct which eventually saw her unemployed but happily in love with the recently released Frankie.

9: Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – Game of Thrones

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Oh how the mighty have fallen!  Cersei’s greedy need to remain in power and her dislike for the Tyrell’s ultimately saw her downfall from Queen to Queen mother to filthy peasant rotting away in a cell.  A stark contrast from the sharp tongued powerhouse, Cersei’s confronting walk of atonement through the streets of Kings Landing remains one of the most astonishing falls from grace seen this year.

8: Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil)- How to get Away With Murder

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Got murder on the mind?  Bonnie (Liza Weil) did during this season of HTGAWM when we learnt the formerly mousy legal aid to the big and brassy Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) was behind the murder (via way suffocation mind you) of bad girl Rebecca.  Throw in a relationship with student Asher (Matt McGorry) and the revelation Bonnie had been sexually abused as a child and suddenly the quiet Bonnie became a force to be reckoned with – covering up multiple murders and even going toe to toe with Annalise.

7: Donnie Hendrix (Kristian Bruun) – Orphan Black

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Of the myriad of clones, government organizations, montiors and love interests that swamp the very excellent Orphan Black, this year saw one stand out more than usual.  Soccer mom clone Alison Hendrix’s hapless husband Donnie actually shined this year, stepping out from his wife’s overbearing shadow and going head first into Alison’s brand new drugs-for-bored-moms business.  The underwear bed dance with Alison while they ‘made it rain’ was just the start of this brand new Donnie.

6: Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) – How to get Away with Murder

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Of all of Annalise Keating’s minions, Asher seemed to lean more towards that of being somewhat leveled headed.  While having no involvement with Sam’s murder and subsequent cover up, the overtly loud and confident Asher had his dark past exposed revealing his involvement in the gang rape of a student in his residence years earlier.  For Asher, this revelation sadly led to blackmail, the suicide of his father, the dissolution of his relationship with his mother and eventually the murder of D.A Emily Sinclair throwing Asher right into the mix of murder cover ups that plague his friends.

5: Emma (Jessica St.Clair) and Maggie (Lenard Parham) – Playing House

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There’s no splitting these two best friends up which is why it was an easy decision to keep them together for this list.  Emma and Maggie showed this year that no man, no baby, no sex-with-an-ex and no Kenny Loggins could ever screw with their friendship.  They continuously present us with a humorously authentic look at the relationship between two best friends who like to cross dress, make bird houses and smash the dance floor with body rolls.

4: Ce Ce Drake/Charlotte DiLaurentis/Charlies DiLaurentis (Vanessa Ray) – Pretty Little Liars

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Pretty Little Liars offered up the mind fuck of the season by not only revealing that Ce Ce Drake (Vanessa Ray) was Big A, but that Ce Ce was also a DiLaurentis – Charles DiLaurentis in fact, now known as Charlotte. It was her parents – Jessica and Kenneth’s issues with her gender identity crisis that set off the whole Big A scandal when they shipped him off to Radley Institution.  Throw in the murder of Toby’s mother along with sisterly jealousy vibes  and Ce Ce became one of the biggest players in the series.

3: Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) – Scream Queens

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The sassy, fashion obsessed and utterly evil Kappa Kappa Tau sorority president Chanel Oberlin could be considered to be quite despicable with her treatment of fellow Chanel’s and those less fortunate than her, but every now and then, a small glimmer of human slithers through Chanel’s frosty well dressed exterior.  Her zippy one liners and god-awful on-again-off-again relationship with equally transparent Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) made for great viewing.

2: Quinn King (Constance Zimmer) – UnREAL

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Heartless, greedy, bitch, thoughtful, loving, woman.  Just some of the words one could easily use to describe the woman behind the Bachelor inspired love at first sight TV series Everlasting.  Quinn had the ability to carelessly destroy (emotionally and physically) her fellow woman and it was all for ratings and professional growth.  She was after all the puppet master who controlled the romantic life of numerous women.   While her circle of those who meant most to her was quite small, Quinn showed she would do anything to protect them even if it ended in heartache and utter hatred.  Yet when you tear down the brutal hardness and moral corruptness of Quinn’s exterior, underneath there was a woman who oddly enough was looking for stability and romance……but would only accept it if she was also winning at everything else.

1: Allison Carr (Miranda Otto) – Homeland

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A new member to the Homeland family, Berlin Station Chief Allison Carr has the ability to talk herself into and way out of everything from putting Carrie’s (Claire Danes) name on an assassins hit list to roaming the halls of the CIA moments after being arrested for treason and cover up a double homicide while allowing a terrorist attack to take place – all while divulging USA secrets to the Russians.  It’s all for a good cause though as Allison has literally millions of dollars waiting for her once her task with the Russians are complete.  Unlike many ‘bad guys’ there’s no redeemable qualities to Allison and she’s riding front and centre on the karma train.

So there you have it!  My 12 best TV characters for 2015.  Who made you list or do you agree with mine?  Sound off in the coments below!

AMC Orders Two Series of The Walking Dead’s Companion Show

Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/AMC
Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/AMC

AMC’s ‘yet-to-be-titled’ companion series of it’s number one show The Walking Dead is off to a solid start with the network ordering straight up – two series right off the bat.

Set in Los Angeles, the unnamed show will focus on a new set of characters, looking at the onset of epidemic that wiped out millions of people and turned them into zombies with the shows first season set to consist of six hour long episodes premiering on AMC in late Winter (probably August).

“We take incredibly seriously the notion of building a satisfying companion series to the number one show on television. From the beginning of ‘The Walking Dead’ on AMC, we’ve been asked questions about what was going on in other parts of the zombie apocalypse, and what it looked like as the world really did ‘turn.’ Through this new series, we’re going to find out,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson and their writing team, along with an incomparable set of producers, cast and crew have created something remarkable and clearly distinct. We respectfully follow the request of Monty Python as we bring out (the latest of) our Dead.”

“We feel empowered by this two-season commitment, a serious show of faith from our network partner AMC,” Kirkman said. “I personally take it as a sign that they believe, like we do, that we’ve accomplished our goal of developing something original that can pay tribute to the original show and expand the world I created while at the same time having something new to say with this story. I’m very grateful that we now have the opportunity to tell this amazing story and show the fans that we really haven’t scratched the surface yet when it comes to ‘The Walking Dead.’”

The series will star Cliff Curtis (“Missing,” “Gang Related”), Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, “Sons of Anarchy”), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Alycia Debnam Carey (Into the Storm).

Whats Back When? The 2015 TV Premiere Dates

AHS Freak Show Returns early Jan
AHS Freak Show Returns early Jan

It’s that weird time of year when there is literally nothing on the box, re-runs of Big Bang Theory are everywhere and you’re beginning to run out of things to binge-watch (I’ve just done two seasons of The Following in two weeks) but thankfully, new and returning shows are not that far away!  Check out the list of new-to-air and returning shows below.

Tuesday Jan 6th:  Pretty Little Liars: 5×14 – ABC Family / Agent Carter: Pilot – ABC / Cougar Town: Final Season – TBS

Wednesday Jan 7th: Empire: Pilot – FOX / AHS Freak Show: 4×11 – FX

Thursday Jan 8th: Archer: Season 6 premiere – FX /  Parenthood: 6×10 – NBC

Friday Jan 9th: Glee: Final Season – FOX / Heart of Dixie 4×02 – CW

Sunday Jan 11th: Looking: Season Two premiere – HBO / Girls: Season Four premiere – HBO / Shameless: Season Five premiere – Showtime / House of Lies: Season Four premiere – Showtime / Episodes: Season Four Premiere – Showtime

Tuesday Jan 13th: Parks and Recreation: Final Season – NBC

Wednesday Jan 14th: Web Therapy: 4×10 – Showtime

Wednesday Jan 28th: The Americans: Season Three premiere – FX / Suits: Season Four premiere – USA

Thursday Jan 29th: Greys Anatomy: 11×09 – ABC / Scandal: 4×10 – ABC / How to get Away With Murder: 1×10 – ABC

Thursday Feb 5th: The Blacklist: 2×09 – NBC

Sunday Feb 8th: The Walking Dead 5×09 – AMC / Better Call Saul: Pilot Episode – AMC

Tuesday Feb 10th: Fresh Off the Boat: Pilot Episode – ABC

Thursday Feb 19th: Thee Odd Couple: Pilot Episode – CBS

New and returning shows coming March include The Following Season three, Secrets and Lies pilot, the return of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, CSI: Cyber pilot and the return of Orphan Black in April!

What are you most excited about returning or starting?  Sound off in the comments below!

Best TV Characters of 2014

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Zombie killers, jaded actresses, prison wardens, freaks, loud mouth-know-it-all’s, CIA agents, lawyers, mothers, detectives, therapists…whatever the ‘profession’, the range and scale of characters scattered throughout the television year has been wide and varied.

To celebrate the year that was, here’s my list of the 23 best television characters of 2014

23: Beth Davis – “Stalker”

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A stalking victim turned head of the stalker unit with the L.A.P.D turned stalking victim.  It’s no wonder Beth Davis (Maggie Q) keeps her cards close to her chest.  There’s something mysterious about Beth, but that’s probably because we’re only just starting to unravel the trauma she suffered many many years ago.

22: Ellie Torres – “Cougar Town”

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Ellie (Krista Miller) is the best friend you want to have but probably couldn’t deal with her in-your-face bluntness.  And while she’s begun to warm up-to others around her, you just know Ellie always does what’s best for Ellie.

21: Will – “Friends With Better Lives”

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Will was the externally confident but internally, was incredibly insecure.  The single guy in his group of loved-up friends, no romantic challenge was off limits, even if it included an almost three-way with one of his friends.

20: Gina Spinks – “Web Therapy”

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Gina, Gina, Gina.  The only woman in the world to take horrible advice from her therapist and turn it into a positive…with that positive being becoming a sex toy party host.  The great thing about Gina is, she literally does not see the mean coming from those around her.

19: Dr. Betty Rogers – “Motive”

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Handling dead bodies never looked so sexy!  Betty’s (Lauren Holly) take-no-prisoners attitude towards her job isn’t even covering some deep seeded need to be taken seriously, it’s just Betty.  Plus the fact she’ll rock up-to a crime scene in full nightclub attire without any explanation as to why or where she’s been just shows Betty is deadly serious about her work.

18: Haley Duphy – “Modern Family”

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Being one of three Dunphy children makes it hard for one to stand out, but this year saw Haley (Sarah Hyland) bump herself up with some incredibly funny scenes involving her finally taking a leap forward with her career post community college drop out.  Gone is the self obsessed, younger sister dissing ditz, replaced with the self obsessed, younger sister dissing career woman.

17: Bedelia Du Maurier – “Hannibal”

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Has Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) fooled us all along?  Her almost whispered tones confessing her beliefs of Hannibal’s guilt this year made us all believe not only does she believe Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper, but she’s also quite fearful of her life…that was until that final scene of season two.

16: Connor Walsh – “How To Get Away With Murder”

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Connor (Jack Falahee) proves it’s not always the girls who can use sex as a way to get what they want as he bed-hopped his way around obtaining key pieces of evidence and information to ensure he stays in favor with his mentor.  His bitchy, snarky and manipulative demeanor is a perfect throwback to the days of Melrose Place and Amanda Woodward.

15: Peter Quinn – “Homeland”

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Quinn (Rupert Friend) sure is a damaged and broken man.  He’s hell bent on trying to make right (still living with the demons he pick-up after accidentally killing a young boy) while also dealing with emerging romantic feelings for his boss.  Copious amounts of booze and random acts of sex with his landlord didn’t seem to help, nor his attempt to express his feelings for said boss.

14: Laura Diamond – “The Mysteries of Laura”

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Sure Laura (Debra Messing) really displaced me on our first meeting but over time, Detective Diamond has proven herself to be a head-strong and smart woman who happens to not give two hoots about she presents herself to the world.  She’s a mother first and a career woman first too who also happens to carry around a bag akin to that of Mary Poppins.

13: Nicky Nichols – “Orange is the New Black”

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It was rather interesting getting to see a second side to Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) this year that didn’t involve sex with other inmates.  While it was there and is part of the Nicky we love, her battle with overcoming her heroin addiction and also dealing with the fall from grace of her mother-figure Red (Kate Mulgrew) showed that there is a mature and responsible woman underneath all that red hair.

12: Shoshanna Shapiro – “Girls”

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Part of the reason why Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is on this list is purely down to her awesome “go fuck yourself” speech she spewed out to Hannah (Lena Dunham) while in the ‘fake Hamptons’.  It’s a fantastic piece of dialogue that is what all Girls viewers have been wanting to say to Hannah since day one.  “I’m talking about the fact that you’re a fucking narcissist.  Seriously, I’ve never met anyone else who thinks their own life is so fucking fascinating.  I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people.”

11: Beverly Goldberg – “The Goldbergs”

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There’s no smother (smothering mother) like her!  Whether Beverly (Wendy McLendon-Covey) is trying to stay hip and relevant with her daughter or ego stroke her wannabe rapper-come-kickboxer-come-basketball superstar son, Beverly is there.  Actually, she’s there watching them sleep, eat, at school…she’s everywhere.

10: Annalise Keating – “How to get Away With Murder”

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You get confronted with this ballsy and upfront woman right from the go.  Annalise (Viola Davis) is all business and for the most part – keeps up a good front but this woman also struggling with a cheating husband, a dead cheerleader and a whole bunch of lies and betrayal so it’s no wonder that underneath the wig, the makeup and the power suits, there’s a very uncertain and sad woman trying to decipher what’s personal and what’s business.

9: Bette and Dot Tattler – “American Horror Story Freak Show”

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Looking at Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) it’s hard to tell the two apart but when you get up close and personal, the conjoined twins could not be more identifiable.  We love that Bette takes what’s in front of her as black and white.  She dreams of stardom and seeing the world for what it has to offer while Dot, the complete opposite.  She knows the world has an extending shade of grey area not to be trusted and yearns for a life that doesn’t involve her sister attached to her 24-7.

8: Alison Hendrix – “Orphan Black”

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She’s a mom who drinks, kills, has numerous clone sisters and enjoys time performing in local stage productions.  Clearly Alison (Tatiana Maslany) has her priorities right, but has trouble keeping them all in check.  One of the more colorful clones, we’ve seen Alison grow from a suburban stepford wife to an ass-kicking alcoholic while still managing to have dinner on the table for her kids (you know, while she’s not in forced rehab).

7: Ashley Marin – “Pretty Little Liars”

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The Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton) that is so accustomed to ensuring people perceive her and her daughter to have a perfect life had no choice but to show things are not a peachy keen as they appeared. Accused of murder and shipped off to prison, Ashley had no choice but to let the walls down and ask for help from those she’s been trying to dupe for all these years.  Mix that with Leighton’s compelling performance as a completely distraught mother uncertain of her daughter’s safety and well-being while not having the ability to control what’s happening outside those prison walls makes Ashley Marin a standout.

6: Dr. Fiona Wallice – “Web Therapy”

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What’s best for Fiona (Lisa Kudrow) clearly isn’t what’s best for everyone else and in true Web Therapy form, Fiona never really learns from her mistakes or errors in judgement.  She continuously looks for the monetary advantage and boost in social standing in those she’s entrusted to help yet is shocked when she’s either double crossed or left holding together what shred of professional credibility she actually has.  Of course, thanks to Kudrow’s impeccable performance, we still root for Fiona to come out on top.

5: Joan ‘The freak’ Ferguson – “Wentworth”

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Governor Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) is one demented woman haunted by personal tragedy.  She set out her plan for revenge many many years ago that was finally coming to see the light of day and no prisoner or guard within the walls of Wentworth were going to spoil her scheme, even if it meant there would be blood on her hands.  To me, Pamela Rabe was the most genius and perfect casting of any character for 2014.

4: Daryl Dixon – “The Walking Dead”

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Daryl (Norman Reedus) has always been at the forefront of The Walking Dead but throughout the show, he has (mostly) managed to keep his heart and emotions well and truly hidden.  But it was this year that brought forth a softer side to Daryl – reunited with trusted companion Carol and faced with the death of Beth, the hardened and dirtied exteriors began to fall showing a multi-layered character we all kind of knew was there all along.

3: Carrie Mathison – “Homeland”

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It’s a reinvigorated Homeland that proved killing off a main character can be beneficial to bringing back a show to it’s best and with Brody now dead, we got back a Carrie (Claire Danes) that was no longer split between work and love (well…there’s now a baby…but you get where I’m coming from) now with her eyes firmly on homeland security.

2: Selina Meyers – “VEEP”

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You’d have to imagine just what America would be like if Selina Meyer were actually the president.  She’s completely out-of-touch with modern society, curses like a drunken sailor, is blatantly disrespectful to pretty much everyone and yet, we all cheered when she suddenly became the President of the United States.  Put it down to that hilarious scene between Selina and right hand man Gary in the bathroom when she finds out the big news.

1: Valerie Cherish – “The Comeback”

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All this woman really wants is to stay afloat in an industry where hot one day is cold the next and while Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) knows this first hand, she can’t keep herself away, even if it means playing a fictionalized version of herself in a HBO show written by a man who literally hates her.  And while Valerie and all her irksome habits have a way of pushing you aside, the vulnerability she lets seep out from time to time ultimately pull you back in.

No Fast-Tracked TV Shows Coming Our Way?

Debra Messing and Josh Lucas star in the new Mysteries of Laura
Debra Messing and Josh Lucas star in the new dramedy The Mysteries of Laura.  Source: Provided

This time last year, you might recall being inundated with ads for new shows like The Blacklist and Marvels Agents of Shield and previews featuring the words “Fast-Tracked from the USA” or “Airing the same day as America” but for some reason, these ads pushing for new shows are quite visibly absent from our screens especially seeing that the new batch of shows are due to start airing from Wednesday the 17th right through to mid October.

FX are fast tracking the new season of The Walking Dead on October 13th – which of course is to be expected, but to-date, with the slew of new shows due to hit US screens within the next two weeks, only Channel 10 have made any announcement as to any new US programming including drama Scorpion starring Robert Patrick and Katherine McPhee and new political drama Madam Secretary starring Tea’ Leoni and Tim Daly and is being touted as a mix between Homeland and Scandal.

Among the myriad of new shows that are making news include Debra Messing’s The Mysteries of Laura, Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes new How to Get Away with Murder, Kate Walsh’s Bad Judge, Batman prequel series Gotham and comedy Fresh Off the Boat about an Asian families foray into American society.

So why the vacancy of fast tracked programming to our screens?

While only speculation, one could possibly put it down toe due to the high levels of reality programming currently assaulting our screens right now.  Between The Block Glasshouse, Big Brother, X-Factor, The Bachelor and Amazing Race Australia, there’s not much screen time left on free to air prime time network television.

Watch this space for news on what’s coming out way!

Update 22/9 : Channel 9 are bringing us Gotham

Madam Secretary premieres Thursday Oct 2nd, 9pm on Channel 10

The Walking Dead Season 5 FULL TRAILER

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. (c) Gene Page/AMC Source: Provided

It’s here!!!!!!  The official full length trailer for The Walking Dead’s fifth season has just been released and it looks like we’re in for a mega season ahead!

Talk about wow right?!

So as we can see from the trailer, it looks like Carol, Tyreece and Judith eventually make their way inside terminus (remember the short clip released a few weeks ago?) and that Rick and the gang seem to unite with the Terminus members to find a cure in Washington but the biggest reveal was that Beth is in fact alive but not with the folks in Terminus as we all first thought!

The Walking Dead returns October for season 5.