It was a helluva year for geek television, from superheroes to science fiction to federal marshals. About the only thing missing from this list: The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. I’m not watching either of those this year, the first because not big on zombies and the second because I bailed last year, but hopefully one of our other Same Geek Channel writers will include those in their lists.
Best Geek Show on Television: Person of Interest (CBS)
Where else can an artificial intelligence have both a character arc and an arch enemy? This is a show where tropes go to die. Yes, keeping secrets from those you love actually does keep them out of trouble. Yes, sometimes a sociopath and a psychopath can save the world one life at a time.
Noelle Stevenson of Lumberjanes once described this show as “that show where the two gay couples take care of their baby, the AI.” Just add “with Fusco as the cranky uncle.”
Why #hobobatman? Remember that computer Bruce used in The Dark Knight Rises but destroyed because it has too much intelligence/information on everyone? That computer is the Machine. Batman is divided into two people: Reese, aka the Man in the Suit, and Finch, the super-smart hacker.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Wynonna Earp
Syfy has a mixed record with geek television, but I had high hopes for this series based on one of my favorite indie comics, Wynonna Earp, created and written by Beau Smith. “Some people inherit money. Me? I got a demon killing gun.” That’s Wynonna, descendant of Wyatt Earp and inheritor of a curse that requires her to use that demon-killing gun, Peacemaker, to take down the Revenants, who are people Wyatt killed during his lifetime. It’s sorta like if the main character of Buffy The Vampire Slayer was Faith, and Wynonna has her own Scooby gang, consisting of her smart, adorkable sister, Waverly, and Black Badge Agent Dolls.
Oh, and there’s Doc Holiday, back for another go-round on Earth. This show is fun, creepy, and touching all at once.
The Cruelest Cut: Marvel’s Agent Carter, currently in limbo ::sobs::
What more is there to say? I loved the first season, I enjoyed the heck out of season 2, and now it might be gone. #icanteven
The Under the Radar Award: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This show quietly put together an outstanding season that concentrated on making the show work with the characters it had, rather than trying to wrap it around some Marvel cinematic event. Now that Hydra’s gone, who’s the enemy? I guess that depends on the whole super-powered registration act.
The Play It Again, Sam Award: The Flash
The second season ended with Barry facing the exact same decision as the first season, whether or not to save his Mom. This time, Barry made a different choice. But the award is also because this second season often felt like it was running in place and re-using plotlines from the first one. Next season: Crisis on Infinite Earths with Supergirl to join the Flash’s universe?
The Dumbest Show I Can’t Stop Watching: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Yes, it’s dumb. Its ideas about time travel require more hand-waving than Doctor Who‘s “fixed point in time” stuff. They keep losing to the same guy and, for a show that built its season around the Hawks, the writers sure didn’t give Kendra enough to do. But… yet… I watched and enjoyed. Why? Mostly for the cast tossing dialogue back and forth. Mick is the most valuable player here, but there’s Snart and Sara and Martin, all having a good time with whatever material they’re given. Plus, Ray is adorable and noble.
Most Hypnotic Show: Vikings
These are people who do awful things, sometimes to each other, and the show will not spoon feed viewers any motives. They’re not like you or me and not motivated by the same things we are. That leaves you to guess why and wonder what might happen next. What other show had a main character killing a bear with his bare hands, taking a celebratory ice bath, naked, and then killing an assassin sent after him?
The epic battles on this show can’t be given enough credit. You liked the Battle of the Blackwater on Game of Thrones? Watch this season’s Viking assault on Paris via longboat.
Most Improved: Lucifer
After I watched the pilot, I was not on board with yet another smug dude telling women and everyone else what they should be doing. But the show grew on me, as the more vulnerable Lucifer became, the more interesting he became, leading to his crisis of faith in the series finale.
The Good Riddance Award: Castle
I was so glad to have one of my comfort shows renewed last year. I quickly grew to regret it as stupid plots and the decision to split up Castle and Beckett made this season interminable. Rumor has it Beckett was supposed to die in the finale to give Nathan Fillion a single starring role in the show. Thankfully, it was canceled before that. I like Fillion but get him a new show, don’t try to mess up the entire premise of this one.
Biggest Slide in Quality: Empire
The first season was Shakespearean. The second season was more like Dynasty, complete with the cat fight over the balcony cliffhanger at the end. I’m disappointed.
I’m Hypnotized By the Mustache Award: Blue Bloods
Why do I watch? I don’t know. I like police procedurals but this one can often be preachy, and tell people that fighting for social justice isn’t needed because, hey, there really isn’t a problem with the police. I’m just going with Tom Selleck and the mustache as the reason.
Guilty Pleasure: Air Disasters, Smithsonian Channel
Yeah, I know. Disaster porn. Why do I watch? One, the show does a good job of setting up the “story” of what happened. In devastating crashes, they focus on the investigation into what happened. In crashes where there were survivors? They focus on how the plane landed/didn’t land and how the people lived.
Things I’ve learned: losing hydraulics is bad; a simple rudder issue can make a plan head straight to the ground; proper maintenance is important; don’t fly into volcano ash; overworked flight crews and air traffic controllers are never a good thing.