Best and worst of 2015: TV

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So, trying to keep up this blog whilst Strictly and The Apprentice were on was too much hard work in this post-arms era, who knew? Anyway, I may as well do the unoriginal thing everyone is doing and list my top fives of the year. I’m steering away from music because I am at that annoying stage of life where all I remember is my old favourites and I forget to buy/Spotify/note the songs I like when I hear them on the radio, so let’s just not embarass myself there. I am also leaving books out because I am not sure how many I’ve read were actually from 2015. So I’m sticking to TV, film and beauty products over in the next 3-4 posts. First – TV.

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Strictly Come Bitching is back!

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For those who don’t know, every year Steve and I write recaps of Strictly Come Dancing over at Strictly Come Bitching. Our recap of the launch show is live and we usually post up Saturday and Sunday recaps a day or two after broadcast. We’ve not yet decided whether our Apprentice blog (with Helen), The Apprent-bitch, is returning when the new series, but it may well do! I’ll keep you posted, or follow us on Twitter for news.

Now (that’s what I call) TV: Wayward Pines

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I’ve just come to the end of Wayward Pines and I’m still not entirely sure what I’ve watched! The fact that M Night Shyamalan is involved in something of such variable quality is no surprise: it’s a series that is at times brilliant, baffling and batshit. The whole series is still on Now TV for a couple of days if you haven’t managed to catch it yet and you want to marathon it. I don’t know if I would recommend it: there are some fantastic elements but also some truly dreadful ones and the finale is just completely crazy. I don’t know how much of this is because it’s based on a series of novels, as I haven’t read the novels or researched them. It certainly got some interesting ideas going on, and at 10 episodes it’s not too long an investment of your time if you do decide to watch. Beyond the cut lie spoilers!

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Now (that’s what I call) TV: The Affair

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Oh, NowTV. Sky for people who don’t want to have Sky. It sucks you in with the new season of Girls (in my case, anyway. Your poison may differ), keeps you around for Game of Thrones and then handily schedules True Detective straight afterwards so that you stick around and keep paying your subscription. The thing about this subscription service is that, like many, I suspect, you often are just getting it for the one or two shows that you really want to watch. Given that its subscription is a similar price to Netflix and more expensive overall than Amazon, that’s a lot of money for potentially not very much content. (See also: Sky)

However, with being off work for a while and not being able to use my arms to do an awful lot, nor get to the cinema easily, TV has become my new best friend. And in order to make more of my Now subscription, I have subscribed to the movie package for a free trial month on the recommendation of a friend, and bought a now box so that I can watch via my sets rather than through the laptop or tablet. I got the package with a two-month film subscription in case I wanted to keep the films, but at moments I might leave them until the films I haven’t been able to see at the cinema these last few weeks make their way onto the surface as the range of films on there right now doesn’t inspire me that much-I’ve seen most of them.

I’ve always cancelled the TV package after the string of shows I wanted to watch has finished, but have never felt that I’ve got my moneys worth out of it even then. So given the time I’ve had off, I’ve tried to make a little bit more of the service by watching a few more series and seeing what now TV has to offer beyond the headline grabbers – hence this short series of blog posts.
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A few quick things about The X Factor

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You may know that, with my friends Helen and Steve (and at various points Carrie and Joel too) we used to write an X Factor recap blog, The Bitch Factor.  But this year, with the return of Simon and Cheryl, the clash with other shows we blog – namely Strictly and The Apprentice – not to mention how the show has become a parody of a parody of itself and how we’re all actually busy people, we just couldn’t waste our lives doing it for yet another year.  I have to say, I’m glad. Everything that has happened this year is basically a rehash of everything that has ever happened.  Plus the shows are so damn long and have so many ad breaks, and being able to watch on fastforward is a blessed relief.  Still, there were a few things I wanted to note from last night’s show and here they are:

  • At least NotLouis is back.  God bless NotLouis.
  • And Blonde Electra with their weird Oompa Loompa eyebrows.
  • Those boy band names are the worst ever.  Also: good luck with them not cancelling each other out, show.
  • One of Overload Generation (OVERLOAD GENERATION!) looks like what would happen if you put Robbie Roscoe from Hollyoaks and Kevin from Grimsby in a blender.  And sings about as well as they probably would.
  • The potential of another anonibrunettewhitebloke winner is delicious.  Especially delicious if it’s Hey Now, who is basically Steve Brookstein mk 2.  *Can taste the delicious bitter headlines in 6 months’ time already*
  • LOL at Dermot saying Fleur East was on The X Factor stage for the first time.  Good she may be, and I’m glad she’s there because heaven knows most of this lot are appalling, but Addictiv Ladies Neva4Get.
  • That young girl in Cheryl’s category whose name I can’t be bothered to learn has quite a good voice but that arrangement of Happy was godawful.
  • Jake Quickenden is an abomination.
  • The judges’ BANTAH is even worse than normal.  Fortunately I can now fast-forward it.
  • Did they really have an ad break after every act as it seemed?
  • Wildcards are never a good idea, as the four they brought back proved.
  • Cheryl’s eye make-up.  Halloween is still a couple of weeks away.
  • It’s also curious how every episode of Gogglebox this series has had a special five minute section of all the households slagging off Cheryl.  No idea why, but it’s somewhat hilarious.
  • This show’s completely contradictory attitudes to returning contestants and whether or not it was ‘right’ they didn’t get through before is utterly tiresome.
  • Stevi is no Wagner.
  • Earth Song is not a song I need to hear on this, or any, show.