2016 Media in Review is winding down. I watched a fair amount of movies last year, but for the first year in a while, I found myself too far behind on current TV shows to keep up with all of them. I ended up waiting until the seasons were over to see all of Gotham, Supernatural, and I’m only just starting to work my way through last season of Grimm. And honestly, binge-watching these older shows is mostly why.
1. Kane’s Kitchen (web series)
You can thank the Kaniacs — fans of Christian Kane, who showed up en masse when I was talking about my 2015 Leverage experience — for my even knowing about this cooking series. It’s clearly made with a focus on men who want to impress women with their cooking, and there’s testosterone flying everywhere, but Kane has some pretty good-looking recipes and his passion for cooking is evident in each episode. It’s available on Amazon, and I think I paid about $7 for six episodes in Standard Def, because that’s really all I needed, but I imagine it’d be worth the $9.95 for HD, if that’s a degree of quality you care about in your cooking shows.
2. Criminal Minds seasons 5-9
I started season one on Netflix in 2014. Two years later, I’m edging ever closer to current. In fact, I was all set to binge watch through seasons 10 and 11 and watch season 12 live, but it turns out I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to Morgan — and now Hotch — that quickly. Criminal Minds has gone through a lot of cast changes in its years. First it was the Gideon/Rossi switch. Then it was dropping Prentiss and JJ, adding Seaver for a season, bringing JJ back in a fairly ridiculous way, adding Blake, dropping Blake and now in season 10 tossing in Jennifer Love Hewitt. And the thing is, despite not wanting the team to change, I never really felt like the show suffered for it. So I’m sure now, I’m a little more than halfway through season 10, and once I’m caught up on all my live shows and start working old ones back into the rotation, this will be one. And I won’t want Morgan to leave, but it’ll be OK. I won’t want Hotch to leave, but I’ll get over it. And Criminal Minds will probably keep going for as long as it can hold on to a couple of the characters who’ve been around since (or nearly since) the beginning.
But, I’ll tell you one thing I tweeted earlier last year: I had heard there was an episode that was largely flashbacks to Gideon and Rossi starting the BAU and that Ben Savage played young Gideon. I scoffed. I scoffed hard at that idea. But Savage did a good job, and now that I’ve seen that episode? Every time I see a picture of Ben Savage, Young Gideon is all I see.
3. Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons 5-7 (COMPLETE)
I was so sad to say goodbye to this series. Even when it was getting weird, there were always good episodes to be found. I don’t remember caring a whole lot about Data when I was a kid (because honestly, on the Wesley train 100 percent), and I always hated the Riker beard during the show’s first run, but watching it all at once for the first time as an adult, both grew on me a lot. In fact, the likelihood of the next episode being Data heavy was often a determining factor in whether I’d watch Trek or something else when I got home from work at midnight.
It was just such a good show, and really quite progressive for its time. My only regret when watching it was that I surrounded myself with people who spent so much time trying to judge it by today’s standards of social justice, and when it fell short, blasting the hell out of it and Gene Roddenberry. And that wasn’t fun.
4. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 1-2
I’ve got a show-order for all Trek, and when it came time to start inserting Deep Space Nine episodes into the rotation…I was not excited for it. But the show started to grow on me, and once again I find myself far more interested in Odo, a character that, like Data, I wasn’t interested in all that much as a kid. And the Cardassian/Bajoran politics wasn’t as overwhelmingly distracting or as boring as I remembered. But we’re just starting to get into the Dominion story line, and I know there’s some weird Sisko stuff coming up, and my enthusiasm has taken a bit of a dive. I’m sure I’ll get back to it this year, though, if for no other reason than so Netflix will stop asking if I’m ready to watch the next episode.
5. Teen Wolf season 3-4
I’ve seen seasons one and two a lot, and I knew I liked season three. So, when season six – the show’s final – was gearing up to start, I thought this would be a good time to to rewatch the seasons I’d only seen once and see if four and five were better than I remembered. I’ve had a half-done season four post sitting in my drafts folder for months, and the short version is that, yes, it was better than I remembered, but it was still deeply flawed. And I didn’t even get to season 5, but I’m a couple episodes behind on season six right now, and I just might go ahead and binge through it, rewatch the few S6 episodes I’ve seen and then get current. Because Twitter has spoiled me, and I know some season 5 people will be back.
6. The Americans season 1
I really like this show about Russian spies deep undercover in the US and their FBI neighbor, but I got behind on it while it was live during season 2 and then canceled my cable and lost all the episodes I’d saved up. But last year, I realized Amazon Prime had me covered and started over…and got not quite as far as I got while watching live before getting distracted by other things.
7. Gotham season 2
This was another quick catch-up so I could start season three. Originally, I stopped watching it after Jerome was killed off three episodes in, but ultimately I really ended up liking it. Watching Bruce grow up has been a treat, and this season took all of the characters in very interesting directions, giving special emphasis to Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin and Corey Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma.
Plus, just when things are starting to look really bad for Bruce, Alfred and Jim, Penguin and Butch get the most satisfying entrance and hero moment for a pair of villians I’ve ever seen. Check it out:
So, that’s the old TV I watched last year. I’ve got so much that I’m already behind on that’s live this year, that I don’t know how much time I’ll have for old TV until the summer, but I really think one of my goals this year is going to be getting through the stuff I’ve started before getting sucked into other things. And posting about it more. I guess look for more DS9, Criminal Minds and The Americans in the coming months.
I’m going to try and round out this week with a review of Rogue One: A Star Wars story and my 2016 Media in Review book list. I’m not sure what order those will come out, but stay tuned.
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