It’s hump day on the Bitch Awards. We’ve got ballerinas, monsters and depression to get you through the half way mark. Let’s bitch it out…
#5 – Broadchurch S2
#3 – Flesh and Bone
- Why is it so bad? Like ballet? Well this isn’t the series for you. STARZ’s big budget, gorgeous looking miniseries (cut back from ongoing series, presumably after the budget exploded and the higher-ups saw the final product) is about pretty much everything except ballet. Here’s a litany of topics covered in its short eight episode run: Rape. Incest. Human trafficking. Fraud. Strippers. Russian gangsters. Eating disorders (though not as much as you might expect). Self-harm. Drug use. MS. Prostitution. PTSD. Murder. Children’s literature. Seemingly every topic on earth is explored (poorly) by characters you hate (but unfortunately not “love to hate” because then it might have been tolerable). As for the ballet, there’s an extended sequence in the finale that’s kinda dull and poorly shot. Yay!
- Worst episode? 1×07 ‘Full Dress’ dedicates most of its runtime to a technical snafu during dress rehearsal (yawn) and Jessica, a character we barely know. Why should we care about this woman we don’t know? It’s completely representative of Flesh and Bone‘s misguided narrative focus.
- Number of episodes watched: 8
- Returns: STARZ wisely pulled the plug on this overambitious and undercooked product
#10 – iZombie S1/2
#9 – Transparent S2
#8 – Looking S2
#7 – Please Like Me S3
#6 – Penny Dreadful S2
- Why is it so good? Like so many series on this year’s list, Showtime’s Victorian monster mash significantly upped its game in S2. Jettisoning the first season’s generic vampire villain in exchange for the deliciously diabolical Evelyn Poole (Helen McCrory) was a shrewd move because it allowed the writers to integrate the threat directly into the group. And this year it was a group: although Eva Green remained the series MVP for her enthralling performance as Vanessa Ives, series creator John Logan did a much better job of spreading the wealth to the other cast members, notably S1 weak links Reeve Carney (Dorian) and Billie Piper. The latter’s character, “Lily”, underwent the most ambitious change: revived at the start of the season as a naive wallflower, the would-be-Frankenstein’s bride eventually blossomed into the terrifying embodiment of female emancipation. In the process, Piper delivered a stunning performance that, like another female from much higher up the list, I didn’t know she had in her. Next year I’ll know better than to underestimate her.
- Best episode? 2×09 ‘And Hell Itself My Only Foe’ rained hell on nearly every cast member and ended in a series of cliffhangers that left me catching my breath.
- Number of episodes watched: 10
- Change in position from last year: +3
- Returns: Likely Spring 2016
#5 – You’re The Worst S2
- Why is it so good? S1 of You’re The Worst was a delightfully profane comedy about two terrible people falling in love against their better judgment. No one expected anything other than a repeat when the show returned for its new season, except that lead Gretchen (Aya Cash, who needs to win all of the awards) seemed…off. As the season progressed, it became clear that You’re The Worst wasn’t content simply to replicate the formula that had made S1 such an enjoyable romp. Instead creator Stephen Falk took his narrative deeper and darker, exploring the destructive properties of depression on both Gretchen and those closest to her. Naysayers argued that the final product was less funny, but that’s a misguided point of view. By bravely attacking a serious issue intelligently and, yes, humourously, You’re The Worst proved that it is so much more than a simple comedy. S2 was a shocking success in the best sense of the word because Falk, his writers and his exceptional cast dared to take a creative risk. For that reason, the show is an easy choice for the ‘Best Of’ list.
- Best episode? If Cash doesn’t end up nominated for all of the awards for her performance in 2×07 ‘There Is Not Currently A Problem’, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong in the world. Also, for folks who complain the show’s comedy disappeared when Gretchen disclosed her depression, 2×08 ‘Spooky Sunday Funday’ is a gut-busting hilarious example of the show balancing both serious fare and laughs.
- Number of episodes watched: 13
- Change in position from last year: -2 (much like Transparent, this has more to do with the quality of this year’s shows than a drop in quality)
- Returns: Fall 2016 (maybe?)
That’s it for humpday! Check back tomorrow as we narrow the list down to runner-up spots. In the interim, what do you think of our choices for the middle of each list? Sound off below.