TV

The Best Of…

Science-Fiction

Matthew Stothard

There is a simple reason that ‘Doctor Who’ is the best science-fiction programme: the core concept is genius. By introducing space and time travel and only having a few core characters, it becomes a show of infinite possibility, which can reach into all genres of television. You want emotional drama? ‘Doctor Who’ can do that. You want comedy? ‘Doctor Who’ can do that too (and is all the better for it when it does). It grants a writer huge freedom, often allowing them to create their best work.

What really makes it stand out against other sci-fi shows though, is that whilst they are often dark and dystopian, ‘Doctor Who’ is hopeful. It prides itself on teaching compassion, empathy, and basic human kindness. In its world, nobody, not even the Doctor, is perfect, but anyone has the capacity to be nice, a message which will surely never lose its value.

Horror

Mariam Jallow

“I thought for so long that time was like a line, that our moments were laid out like dominoes, and that they… fell, one into another…But I was wrong. It’s not like that at all. Our moments fall around us like rain. Or… snow. Or confetti.”

One of the main character’s final lines, summarises Michael Flanagan’s vision for the first season of the horror anthology series, ‘The Haunting of Hill House’. With a Rotten Tomatoes ranking of 93%, this show explores the lives—past and present—of the Crains, a family haunted by a tragic past (in more ways than one). I consider it to be a technical masterpiece, as the show carries us back and forth through time in smooth transitions and disturbingly good sequences. A perfect balance of jump scares, eerie scenes and in-depth characterisation makes ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ one of my favourite series of all time.

Animation

Fin Little

Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Not so long ago, the greatest thing I thought could be on TV was Nickelodeon’s ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’. For children, it’s an animation filled with bright colour, fantastic voice acting and goofy music about secret tunnels. When you grow up, however, it’s a homage to East Asian history, complex philosophies and characters who develop into a masterful set of beloved favourites you care for.

Very few animated shows (especially those created for younger ages) can boast half of the complexities and enjoyment Avatar is able to create in its three volumes. In popular formats it keeps fragments of favourite scenes acted out on sites like TikTok, a sequel series that ended just a few years ago, and a new Netflix adaptation in the works. Nostalgia has shown how important ‘the Last Airbender’ was to many kids of the 2000s. Perhaps Nickelodeon studios’ greatest show. Period. 

Comedy

Laurence Scott

‘I’m Alan Partridge’ has a really funny central character in my opinion, which is its strength. I like to think there’s an Alan Partridge in us all somewhere! One of the many things that made ‘Only Fools and Horses’ legendary is the way it captured the zeitgeist, the feeling of the time: a young and upwardly mobile era.

‘The Vicar of Dibley’ has some really funny lines, a character who didn’t fit in (by being a woman vicar) and running jokes. I think the entertainment value of ‘Would I Lie to You?’ is that it has an element of jeopardy: this means that the contestants keep you watching it to find out if their stories are true or false. I think the strength of ‘Gavin and Stacey’ was the warmth of the show and the likability of the characters.

13/10/2020

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