I wasn’t going to do one of these myself, but having read and enjoyed Simon’s awards pieces, I felt the jealousy rising in me like a 9 year-old with siblings on Christmas Day. How dare he take all the glory!?
With this in mind I will give my own awards for the categories Simon used, starting with Television. I will admit that I have watched far less TV this year than I usually do, and I’m yet to watch an episode of Breaking Bad (I know, shocking) but I suspect my awards might have turned out pretty similarly to Simon’s if I had. Anyway, let’s do this!
Best TV Actor
Jon Bernthal – Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead
I literally only just started reading The Walking Dead after receiving the Compendium for Christmas (I just finished the chapter where Michonne —- off The Governer’s —- and — with – —– and scoops — — — — – spoon). And much as I am enjoying it, I think every single change the TV show has made has been for the better. Prime among those is Shane living on, and I’ve found that although I was coming for the zombies, I was staying for the Jon Bernthal. I’d never heard of him before, but have since discovered he’s an actor of astounding versatility, though he’s at his best playing wound up, intense and dangerous.
Most Shocking TV moment
Prime Minister Pig F*cker – Black Mirror
Once upon a time when I was a videogames journalist, I especially looked up to a particular peer of mine (though we never met). He wrote for PC Zone magazine, and had such a twisted sense of humour that he once caused the mag to be removed from the shelves of most of the UK’s newsagents.
That was Charlier Brooker, who has gone on to be involved with all sorts of brilliant stuff from Dead Set (Big Brother contestants unaware of a zombie apocalypse raging outside) to his collaboration with Chris Morris on the vastly underrated comedy Nathan Barley.
Anthology show Black Mirror’s first episode “National Anthem” was pure Brooker, and was the weirdest, funniest (yet simultaneously most upsetting) hour of TV I saw in 2011. I almost didn’t include it as a “shock”, because you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that it’s going to happen at least ten minutes before it does, but it doesn’t take away from the impact at all.
There was quite a lot of criticism that the scenario in this episode was unrealistic. I don’t see how this is justified - as unlikely as it may be, there’s nothing in the episode that is unfeasible.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead came in for a LOT of criticism this year, and I suspect a lot of that has more to do with the behind the scenes kerfuffle than what actually happened on the show. Hell, we’re certainly not innocent, we laid into AMC execs in our Halloween Special for the same reasons. I think I said they were “twats”…
But where others saw “too slow” I saw almost unbearable tension building and where others saw “too much talking and not enough shooting zombies” I saw fascinating character development and relationship dynamics between interesting characters played by brilliant actors.
The last five minutes of the season retroactively improved everything that had come before it, as everything the writers had set up dropped into place for a gut-wrenching finale in which Rick stepped forward and proved that despite Shane’s protests, he’s definitely THE man in this group. Amazing stuff.