2016 Year in Review: TV’s Best of the Best in Moments, Quotes & More

Overall Show: Timeless
Adventure, intrigue, mystery, humor, romance, engaging characters, wonderful performances. Timeless has everything you could ask for, plus the extremely fun additive of a time traveling premise. Of all the shows of 2016, this was the one where choosing a favorite episode seemed impossible because each and every week came another amazing adventure from The Alamo, to the Moon landing, to meeting the likes of Ian Fleming or Bonnie and Clyde. The Time Team versus formidable villains Garcia Flynn and Rittenhouse are made intriguing by the seeming opposing viewpoints, and indeed the show is made heartfelt and moving by the ways Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus so quickly come to care for each other. From the embraces to the willingness to protect each other to the hilarious use of modern aliases, Timeless is as timeless a form of entertainment and fine storytelling as there ever was.

Top 10 Shows: 1. Timeless 2. Once Upon a Time 3. Stranger Things 4. This Is Us 5. Fuller House 6. Lucifer 7. Agent Carter 8. iZombie 9. Downton Abbey 10. The Goldbergs

Overall Moment:
Emma and Killian are reunited (Once Upon a Timecs kiss2

After a truly heartbreaking goodbye in the Underworld, the moment Killian returned to Emma, his life miraculously restored by Zeus himself, was as beautiful and moving a scene as Once Upon a Time has ever done. True Love prevailed, proving that the place Killian belongs is with Emma Swan. And from the way the soft rain symbolized extinguishing the fires of the Underworld and signified a renewal of life, to their incredulous expressions of pure, unencumbered joy, to the sweet cheek kisses and passionate embraces, this was not only of the most exquisite moments for Emma and Killian, but also one of the most beautiful reunions (and moments) to ever grace our screens.

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Eleven Saves Mike and Dustin (Stranger Things)stranger.gif

It was the kind of moment where so many emotions were present. Fearful for Mike, angry at the bullies terrorizing him and Dustin into the unthinkable, shock and relief by Eleven’s heroics, and compassion at her admission of causing the “door” to open. We laugh at Dustin crying out “she’s our friend and she’s crazy” and cry at the embrace of friends after such life and death traumatic moment. It does not matter the situation, true friendship and bravery is always touching to see- and seeing this from children is ever poignant.

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The Time team bond when stuck in the past (Timeless)timeless

With the lifeboat out of commission, battling the French and captured by Shoshone Indians, Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus feared they may forever be stranded in 1754. So it’s no wonder that they open up about personal memories, regrets, and hopes with compassion for what each is feeling. It’s a simple moment on the surface- just three people talking. But it reveals important things about each other and shows how strong that bond between them has grown. And when the three are back in the “repaired” life boat with nothing but faith that they will return home safely, and the three hold hands in wait, I was moved to tears.

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Blink and you miss it Moment:
David and Killian hug (Once Upon a Time)cc hug.gif

It may have been in the background of the scene, but when Killian surprises everyone with his return from the Underworld and David gives him a hug, my heart soared. These two men have come a long way and have become not only mates, but like brothers. When they first met, David probably would have never thought he’d ever consider Killian such and willingly embrace him like a brother, but that moment arrived and it was very touching, albeit much too brief. Hopefully someday a moment like this will be in the forefront.

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Rufus helps a child reach a water fountain (Timeless)

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Rufus has a true heart and is very much the moral compass of the series, so it’s no surprise to see him do such a thing. It’s a moment that is not needed. It adds nothing to the plot of the episode. But it is a great character moment that further demonstrates the kind of man Rufus is- thoughtful and willing to help anyone, able to notice things some may overlook. It’s a simple gesture but no less meaningful or endearing.

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Want to Watch Series:
The Crown: A period drama about the British royal family with a production value and a cast that is impressive and award worthy- it’s actually amazing I have not watched this series yet. This is at the top of the “To Watch” list.

When Calls the Heart: This show looks as sweet and lovely as can be. With so few wholesome shows that are of good quality (and ones that are period shows), it’s refreshing to see a G rated drama be successful. It looks a lot like a childhood favorite of mine, Road to Avonlea, so this definitely is one I would long to catch up with very soon.

Series Finale: Downton Abbey
An exremely satisfying conclusion to a sumptuous, moving drama, characters were given happy endings with still the promise of more to come someday. I could not have asked for a better conclusion for the Crawley family and the staff of the English manor. In the end they are all family, everyone finds their place in the world and with each other, and the ever wise and witty appropriately Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) get’s the finale word. And it was the best!

‘Aww’ Heartwarming moment:
Killian tries to make Ashley’s daughter smile (Once Upon a Time)killy-baby

There have been many sweet moments on this show, but the sight of Killian Jones placing whipped cream on his nose and trying to make Ashely’s little girl laugh will go down in history as one of most heart melting moments ever. One of the best things about Killian’s character is the way we have seen how gentle and sweet he can be, and when that is directed toward making a child smile, it’s as endearing as can be. It’s no wonder Emma looked on with such love and awe

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Inspiring Moment:
Lucy educates a NASA scientist about women (Timeless)

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There need not be any more explanation of this empowering speech, except that she deserves a round of applause!

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Swoon-worthy Romantic Moment:
Killian reads Emma the Storybook (Once Upon a Time)cs hand kiss.gif

With countless romantic moments between the Savior and the Pirate, what made this moment such a swoon-worth romantic one was its simplicity, deeper meaning, and admiration between the couple. A simple and assuredly unromantic setting, Emma is plagued with tremors, fear and doubt. So Killian gives her comfort and support by reminding her of who she is- the product of true love and a remarkable woman capable of overcoming even the darkest of times. That fact that he does so by reading her parent’s story to her, which is indelibly entwined with hers (and Killian’s) is undeniably sweet. And his reverence as he grasps her hand and kisses it, no longer trembling, is a beautiful representation of the power of love and the power of storytelling. They can chase away our fears and replace them with hope. This scene proved that a storybook romantic moment can happen anywhere as long as you have belief in each other and in love, and the overall beauty of Emma’s True Love reading to her about the power of True Love is unparalleled.

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Sweetest Moment:
Snow and Charming create a True Love Sapling (Once Upon a Time)sapling

When thinking about Once Upon a Time’s True Love couple, sweet is most definitely one of the main descriptors. Importantly the couple may be as sweet as pie, but they are never cloying or saccharine because there is always something deeper behind their moments. And after 6 seasons, it was amazing to showcase something new and poignant as discovering they met and shared a connection long before they ever knew. It takes a remarkable couple to be able to create a magical sapling- they are said to be very rare and created from the first spark of true love. After saving her life and Snow reciprocate David’s kindness telling him she no longer feels alone, it was so beautiful to see the brief touch of hands create that spark. Their love is ever so sweet, and clearly as true as it gets.

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Daily Dose of Heart: Home & Family
Every day Mark, Debbie and the rest of the family at the Hallmark Channel delights us with interviews, games, DYI projects, cooking and more, and all with incredible amount of heart. Watching this show is the perfect way to fill the beginning of our day with fun and smiles, and also moments of unexpected depth. While most talks shows dwell on the negative and have humor which can be crass, Home and Family is wholesome (and for me relatable) and gives me hope that kindness and good people exist in the world.

Smile Inducing Moment:
Kimmy and Fernando sing the I Love Lucy Theme Song (Fuller House)lucy.gif

Being a lifelong fan of I Love Lucy was enough to make me smile as Kimmy and Fernando dressed up as the iconic couple for Halloween. But the new take on the theme song, which funnily enough had lyrics that are perfect for this couple as well, had me grinning ear to hear. How could not smile at this moment?

The Agent Carter Squad walk into battle (Agent Carter)

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They may not be the Avengers, but you will be hard pressed to find a group with more courage and tenacity than Peggy’s rag tag squad. There are not many moments that I would called golden, but this group walking down the street with confidence to Bing Crosby’s “Pistol Packin’ Mama” is indeed smile inducing gold.

‘Finally’ Moment:
Lorelai and Luke get married (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)
After denied this moment in the original series, the one thing I wanted to see in the revival was for Lorelai and Luke to get their wedding- their happily ever after. And it was even more enchanting than I ever could of hoped for. With whimsy set up by Kirk (he finally did something right) and a montage set to the first song the couple danced to, this moment was joyful and lovely and exactly the kind of magic they deserve. They finally had their moment!!

Edith gets married (Downton Abbey)
After so many times where her happy ending seemed in sight only for it to be snatched from her, I was beyond happy to see the middle Crawley daughter finally find someone who truly loves her and the two joined together in marriage. She has become the perfect blend of a modern career woman who still wanted to share her life with an equal partner. It was incredibly lovely to see both dreams come true for her.

Best Teamwork:
Killian, Emma and Arthur (Once Upon a Time)
Killian teaming up with King Arthur was one of those moments I never knew I wanted but when it happened, I absolutely loved it. On a shallow level, as Cruella says, they make quite the “stubble sandwich,” but there was much more to this team up then a handsome duo. It demonstrated great forgiveness on Killian’s part to work with the man responsible for his death, and gave Arthur a new purpose and chance at redemption, wondering if the Underworld was always the kingdom he was meant to restore. This episode also featured  another sense of teamwork between Killian and Emma as the two could literally sense each other across realms. As Killian places the missing pages into the storybook in the Underworld and they magically appeared in the book – to Emma – she just smiled with a knowing look that this was from him. That’s next level true love goals if there ever was any.

The Time Team ((Timeless)
The combination of Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus may be unorthodox but that is what perhaps makes it work. Three good people who care about each mission and care about history, and importantly care about each other. There need not be any single moment to pinpoint as far as how they work as a team because even when problems arise in the end they prevail and do so together.

Heartbreaking Moment:
Emma and Killian say goodbye in the Underworld (Once Upon a Time)cs-goodbye

Even though Emma and Killian have gone through other truly heartbreaking moments, and even though Killian was able to miraculously come back to Emma, the moment these two say goodbye to each other in the underworld with heartfelt and selfless promises to each other was the kind of heart shattering moment that’s difficult to recover from. And that was because it felt so real and so final. No magical swords, simply two people, unable to hold back their tears, not wanting to let go but doing so anyway with a final kiss, holding hands until the last possible moment. Look up the term ugly crying and no doubt you’ll find the scene.

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Saddest Sacrifice:
Robin Hood (Once Upon a Time)

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Robin may have shown just how much he loves Regina and demonstrated an act of truelove showing what an amazing man he is, but that doesn’t make his sacrifice any less sad. Seeing his soul disappear before Regina was certainly a cause for many tears, and was one of the show’s saddest scenes ever. But the loving outlaw still lives in our hearts and who knows what the future holds for him.

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Eleven (Stranger Things)

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If someone was to watch the scene where Eleven sacrifices herself for her friends, or as she turns around she simply says “Goodbye Mike,” and they don’t shed a single tear or at least have a lump in their throat, then they might be made of stone. Even though it’s clear that she still live in the show’s final moments, seeing a child who had been so tormented feeling like the only thing to do is give up her own life is as sad a truth as anything.

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Tearful Moment:
Lorelai’s Phone Call to her Mother (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)lorelai

A few moments from the Gilmore Girls revival brought me to tears, but none more so that Lorelai’s conversation to her mother about her favorite memory of her father. A proper memory instead of the one she shared on the day of his funeral, it’s the kind of long speech that Graham always excels at and it was brimming with raw emotion. How could you not be brought to tears?

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The ‘Big Three’ Reveal (This is Us)

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This is Us has so far been a show where just about every week there is at least one scene (maybe more) that can bring us to tears. But there was something so special about the moment you realized exactly who the Big Three were that was inordinately touching and the kind of beautiful twist that makes you smile through your tears.

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Emma Comforts Henry about her fate as Savior (Once Upon a Time)swan-beleiver

The Emma/Henry relationship has always held a special place in many of our hearts, and one could not empathize with Henry worrying about his mother’s fate and his guilt about bring her to Storybrooke in the first place. But like any good parent, instead of dwelling on an uncertain future she focuses on the good things being the Savior has brought her: love, a family, and him. And saying that the actual magic in her life is him was so incredibly moving.

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Nostalgic Moment:
Steve gives DJ a pillow person (Fuller House)

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As an avid fan of Full House, having watching the episodes many times, I just knew what Steve’s birthday present to DJ was going to be the moment he described it. I remember how much she loved that silly thing, so it was beyond sweet of him and for the show to bring this back with DJ’s traditional “Thank you, thank, thank you.” And for this moment and many others I am team “DJ & Steve For-evah.”

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Guest Star:
Sean Maguire (Timeless)

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After losing him on OUAT,  I was beyond thrilled to see Maguire back on my screen, especially playing such an iconic role. The creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, as played by Maguire is charming, debonair, and brave and worked perfectly with the Time Team. I only wish they could see him again at another time. If it they can’t visit that time again, there’s always another. Never say never.

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Loveliest Moment:
Emma asks Killian to move in with her (Once Upon a Time)cs-happy

If there was one word to describe this heartfelt moment it would be lovely- because everything about it was such: the serene setting at the sun kissed twilight of the day, the soft musical score, the gentle way Emma was caressing Killian’s hair, their sweet smiles, the tender kiss and nose brushes, and the adorable way Emma’s asks Killian to share a home with her from realizing that nothing in life is certain to teasing about how she has some space for black leather to go right alongside her red leather. It was indeed so lovely and a perfect combination of what makes them a wonderful- a couple of both fairy tale beauty and modern sensibilities.

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Smile and Cry Moment:
Snow and Charming Sleeping Curse Montage (Once Upon a Time)snowingsnowing1

One could not help but smile at the sweet montage of Snow living their daily lives with a shared sleeping curse- taking care of their baby boy, leaving each other notes- and while it was sweet, there was also a tinge of heartbreak at what they are forced to endure until the curse of broken, not know if it ever will. You can smile and cry at this witness of true love and devotion during a very difficult time.

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Plot Twist:
Chloe’s existence was divinely created (Lucifer)
There always seemed to be a hint of destiny between Lucifer and Chloe, especially since she is the only person unaffected by his ability to read people’s desire, but that fact that her entire existence was because her parents were blessed was a twist I did not see coming. Of course from Lucifer’s perspective it makes him feel betrayed by his father and as if nothing can be trusted as real, but from my perspective, it simply gives their relationship an even deeper and more divine meaning and connection.

Pleasant Surprise: Speechless
This show could have gone two ways. It could have been cringe worthy at its insensitivity and depiction of a family dealing with a child with special needs. Luckily it went the other route and Speechless is a sensitive and realistic, funny and touching look at what a family like this goes through on a daily basis, and with Minnie Driver that is just an added bonus. When I was a writing tutor in college, in one of my classes was a young man, who like Micah had cerebral palsy- and Micah reminds me so much of him- funny, smart as a whip, kind, but still capable of less than perfect behavior. It’s refreshing to see this sort of show on Network television.

 

Quotes

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Dustin Henderson (Stranger Things)

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-Lucy Preston (Timeless)

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-Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Michael (The Good Place)

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-Snow White (Once Upon a Time)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Jack Pearson (This Is Us)

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Luke Danes & Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Mike Wheeler (Stranger Things)

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-Cinderella & Snow (Once Upon a Time)

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-Lucy Preston (Timeless)

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-Howard Stark (Agent Carter)

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-Danny Tanner (Fuller House)

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2016 Year in Review: Best Televison Relationships

1. Emma Swan and Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time) cheek

Every so often a fictional couple comes along that captures our imagination, touching our hearts in immeasurable ways. For the past four years the brave and fiercely loving Savior and Pirate have grown and evolved tremendously both individually and as a couple and in 2016 they only further demonstrated how their story is one of the most beautiful depictions of true love ever. And it’s true love in its most exquisite form – the epitome of an unbreakable, unshakable, and powerful bond showing that true love in its truest form is the sum of many things that when can combined can be truly remarkable. For what is true love? It’s emotion and an entity. True Love is the most powerful thing in the world. It is never easy but must always be fought for. It’s overcoming impossible odds and finding joy in the simple quiet moments. When you find your one true love they are the person who makes your heart pound and breath catch, while also feeling safe, serene and comforted. They are the person you want to kiss with passion or tenderness, laugh with, cry with, and hold tightly in your arms and never let go. They’re the person who always knows the right thing to say, can sense when something is wrong, and can tell you so much without a single word. They are the person who inspires you to be the best version of yourself, encourages you and never lets you doubt your self-worth. They’re the one you can truly be vulnerable with, who brings down the walls that guard your heart, for they are the person you would give your whole heart to. You will walk through Hell for them, do anything to protect and sacrifice everything for to ensure their happiness or well-being no matter the cost to yourself. Your True Love is the person you choose to walk hand-in-hand with through life because when you do it feels like home. Is there not a more perfect way to describe what Emma and Killian have grown to become to each other?

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From the moment Emma marched into the Underworld to save Killian, declaring the steadfast motto “I will always find you” it was clear that both emotionally and narratively that this was undeniably true love. The Savior who always helps others find their happy endings was fighting for her own. But both Emma and Killian have become a pristine example of a quote from Lao Tzu, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” What they felt in their hearts was officially confirmed for the Gods themselves not by a kiss but by a choice – and one that was about sparing the other from great pain. And when it seemed as if this was goodbye forever they solidified that love with tearful and selfless promises and literally feeling and sensing each other across not just realms but also death. And when Killian miraculously returned to where Zeus himself deemed “where he belongs ” it was back into Emma’s loving arms. After going through such insurmountable odds in an truly epic part of their story, they also showcased true love in their more joyful moments as Emma happily expressed her love in a moment of normalcy, let go of her fears of an uncertain future asking him to move in with her, and overcame secrets with understanding and compassion as they’re based out of protection and the desire for the happiness of each other. And importantly they reminded each other just how remarkable they are not only to each other but as people, as Emma reminded Killian that he is a hero, worthy of being saved and needs to forgive himself on his own, while Killian reminded her that she is the product of true love but also a person who is just as wonderful and strong as her parents who can truly overcome anything in a deeply romantic moment where Killian reads Emma the story of her and her parents, able to steady her trembling hand, kissing it with reverence. Just like the love that Emma and Killian embody that is the sum of many attributes, so too is the nature of their story, beautiful not just because of one single thing but because of everything which holds an integral piece to their relationship – the writing, the narrative, and the performances by Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue who this past year were deeply profound in both grand moments and ones of lovely subtlety  and remarkably gorgeous in their authenticity. In each scene you can feel every heartbeat from the hearts they are willing to share, sacrifice that are indelibly entwined in the deepest way possible. There’s sure to be so many more milestones, moments of epicness and battles, and ones of tender intimacy in 2017, with a relationship that is truly special. It is a beautiful blend of fairy tale familiarity and modern-day sensibilities. Emma and Killian enchant our hearts, move our souls, and create a tale that is one of the most glorious to ever grace our lives in a story book that will remain exquisitely beautiful and profound long after we’ve reached the final page.

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2. Lucy Preston, Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin (Timeless)timeless2timeless

The time team as they’ve come to be known could not be more different. Lucy is a historian and professor, Wyatt is a soldier, while Rufus is a scientist and pilot to the time travel machine. Lucy is kind and fiercely intelligent, used to a world of academia, Wyatt is stoic, determined and often single-minded, while Rufus is likewise vastly intelligent and ingenious. Despite their differences they also share some significant commonalities. In truth they are all intelligent and resourceful,each offering something important to the team. And all our brave, heroic and loyal. Within the group there are some wonderful dynamics – Lucy and Wyatt’s burgeoning romance, Lucy and Rufus’ is growing friendship and Wyatt and Rufus’ strong understanding of each other. But it’s the three of them together that are truly a joy to watch, often funny and heartfelt as they go from time to time encountering history with awe and reverence and learning to work together for a common goal even when they disagree. It’s touching to see how quickly they’ve all grown to deeply care for one another, and relate to each other with compassion which is a testament to the narrative, and the wonderful performances by Abigail Spencer, Malcom Barrett, and Matt Lanter. The embraces, the laughter, the willingness to face death for each other and the ways they hold hands while the future they are returning to might be vastly different demonstrates that theme that people from all walks of life can come together and form even the most unlikeliest of friendships and come out the other side stronger and better from having known each other. I eagerly anticipate many more adventures from this fantastic trio as they continue on a journey of themes that are truly timeless.

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3. Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas (Stranger Things)strangerstranger1

Growing up one of my favorite films was The Goonies. I love the adventures and relationships between the group of best friends. One of the things I love about Stranger Things is the similarities between this group of kids to that of The Goonies: Both taking on truly scary and bad people and relying on each other above all else, while are all smart and quick thinking, all deeply caring (but show it in different ways) and often have penchant for recklessness and profanity. But make no mistake my love of the similarities doesn’t mean these kids are mere carbon copies. On the contrary each has their own personality and strength, while the way the boys help and embrace Eleven is something unique, poignant and touching. They make me laugh with the way they relate to each other, cheer at their courage against frightening government agents and a terrifying monster, and cry with their demonstrations of true devotion and friendship that always is believable and moving. Sometimes I cry and laugh at the same time – something only the best of stories can evoke. And the moment when bullies are beaten, Mike is saved by Eleven and Dustin yells “She’s our friend and she’s crazy” is a perfect example of this. In the end, what this group shows is that children should never be underestimated, ignored, or used. They can sometimes be the bravest, smartest and most loving people imaginable. 2017 will surely bring more dangers and I look forward to more humor and heart from the kids who have learned to play a real life strange and dangerous game of Dungeons & Dragons.

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4. Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)lorelai-lukelorelai-luke1

In terms of true love and romance Lorelai and Luke were always the cornerstone couple of the Gilmore Girls. From best friends to lovers, two committed partners, these two had many ups and downs but came back together in series finale. But the divisive the final season only left so much time to arrive at said reconciliation so there were many things that fans never got to see. Despite its imperfections, when it comes to the Luke and Lorelai relationship in A Year in the Life it was beautiful, emotionally satisfying, consistent in the characterizations, and everything we could’ve hoped for. What makes this couple so wonderful is their humor and heart, and the way they hilariously banter back and forth like a couple from classic cinema, understand and support each other, work through arguments, and most importantly demonstrate that love and relationships can be difficult but in the end are worth it. Feelings of complacency and identity were what their story entailed in 2016 and it was believable, sweet and touching because in the end we see a couple truly devoted to loving each other and making each other happy. Wonderful moments abound, the two that will surely remain in our hearts forever are the whimsical wedding montage, a dream of a scene complete with the tear inducing inclusion of the song “Reflecting Light “which was played when Luke and Lorelai shared their first dance, and Luke’s speech about his commitment and willingness to do whatever it takes to save the relationship not knowing it needed no saving. Lorelai wanted to get married. These two prove that struggles can be overcome, that day-to-day life whether it’s grand or simple can be fulfilling, and that the strongest relationships are about devotion, trust, honesty and a great sense of humor.

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5. The Pearson Family (This Is Us)us.gifus1

It seems so rare nowadays to see families portrayed as genuinely close, caring, protective, and good, where family dinners and get-togethers are important, wanted and looked forward to, with just their day-to-day lives which include phone calls, lunches and support, are natural and unforced. The Pearson family may not be perfect – they fight and argue and disagree sometimes on big issues- but at the end of the day we see that in both the past and the present, there is nothing more important than family. From parent/child relationships, to the close-knit sibling bond of the affectionately titled “Big Three,” the Pearsons bring us the kind of warmth, poignancy, affectionate dynamics that many audiences have been yearning for, breathing beautiful life into the stories that bring us to tears on a weekly basis, and warm our hearts in ways that are deeply affecting.

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6. Killian Jones and Henry Mills (Once Upon a Time)cap cobra.gif

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Once Upon a Time is the way family dynamics are varied and purposefully are breaking the mold of traditional family dynamics of fairy tales with Henry’s ever-growing family. Like the traditional fairy tales, in the show we have seen deceased biological parents and evil stepparents. But what Once Upon a Time does so well is that it takes these traditional premises and expands and alters them in great ways. Natural parents are alive, the evil stepparent changes and does good, and we see adoption and friends included showing that families need not be defined merely by blood. The relationship between Killian and Henry has been a growing favorite of mine the past three years with fun and heartwarming moments between Emma’s two true love’s – from sailing trips and nautical lessons, rogue and daring rescue missions, to the special Operation Light Swan, a house and promise for a happy future for Emma. But 2016 delved into a new territory that was not only significant and poignant but natural and realistic. Yes there were moments like we’ve seen before – special Operations to help find happy endings, help save others, help save Emma, and there were moments of heartache where leaving Killian behind in The Underworld caused a look of heartbreak on Henry’s face. But what was lovely and meaningful way that this year also truly developed the future step father and stepson bond, with an entire episode revolving around the conflict and resolution that faces many blended families today. Henry had always gotten along well with Killian, but it’s very different when your mother is now living with her romantic partner. It’s a big change and they handled this in a way that felt authentic to what a boy Henry’s age would feel – uncertain, wanting to lash out, even saying hurtful things they don’t mean. But in the end Henry realizes how much Killian loves his mother and how he cares more for Henry’s well-being and safety than his own. Henry will always miss his father and no one can replace him, and while he already has a large extended family with mothers and grandparents, it was lovely to see that family tree grow a branch in the young boy’s eyes to include a man whose heart is filled with such genuine affection for his true love and her son, as well as an evolving and positive depiction of a future step parent and child relationship, something television definitely needs to see more of and Once Upon a Time shows so beautifully.

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7. Lucifer Morningstar and Chloe Decker (Lucifer)deckerstardeckerstar1

This pair has so many classic characteristics from the get-go: witty and sharp banter, often flirty or filled with tension, humor or exasperation with each other that masks deeper underlying feelings, two people who are guarded learning to become vulnerable because of each other, and a kind of instinctual, deep connection. In many ways they remind me of our number 1 Pick, Emma and Killian, and that should be considered the highest praise. But Chloe and Lucifer are also very unique most of all because, well, he’s the Devil. How many shows have a Devil who’s in the body of a dashingly  handsome man, helping solve crimes with a courageous and caring detective who was the one person he cannot read like he does others, and consequently the one person who changes his entire world. No one else would have him promise to return to Hell just to keep her safe. With a palpable chemistry between Tom Ellis and Lauren German, their relationship is still growing and it could go down some dark paths, but the fantastic combination of a classic, romantic couple who solve crimes with a fantastical element and touch of destiny and love of Biblical proportions is absolutely fantastic.

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7. Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa (Agent Carter)peggy daniel1.gif

In the first season of this period adventure series, there was definitely a connection between these two agents, but Peggy was still grieving over Steve, wanting to protect what was left of him, that love was not something she was ready for. But in 2016 in the show’s second and final season, romance was certainly in the air. And while their affections were torn between each other and scientist JasonWilkes and nurse Violet, it was clear that Daniel was always the one who was Peggy’s true match. The relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, and a real chemistry and spark with charming and magnetic performances by Atwell and Gjokaj. Seeing these two crazy kids realize just how much they care for each other was equally sweet and touching – the kind of great relationship tension where you were just yelling at your TV screen to “just kiss already!”And after Peggy and Daniel showed that they would risk their lives for each other, the audience got their wish when they finally came together with a passionate kiss. This was pure happiness and while we don’t know for sure, in my mind Daniel is the man Peggy married and continued to inspire others and help combat evil, fighting alongside him and forming the SHIELD agency. These two are as perfect a duo as there ever was.

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8. Snow White and Prince Charming (Once Upon a Time)snowing

In 2016, the original true love couple, and still one of the main reasons the show remain so magical and a pillar of a beautiful sense of hope and fairy tale sweetness, were able to demonstrate once again what true love really means in ways like we’ve always seen for the couple as well as new and poignant twist on their story. While on a journey to the Underworld it was touching not only to see that steadfast devotion to each other and belief of “always find each other” but to also see them provide their daughter with a sense of hope. They also gave Killian a great gift in their willingness to find and save him, accepting him into their family. Their love gives their daughter hope and inspiration and now their epic fairy tale intertwines with the product of their true love. The reading of their story was such a touching reminder of how special the Snow White and Prince Charming fairy tale is in a time when they once again proved the strength of their bond in new and meaningful ways. With the sharing of hearts came the sharing of a sleeping curse which is yet to be broken. And while their faith may be wavering their love for each other remains as strong as ever – taking care of their son, leaving each other notes, keeping watch over their beloved as they sleep. I believe they will soon break this curse. True love will never falter in the end. Because any couple who discovers they had a connection long before they realized, in a moment based on respect, belief in each other, and feeling as if they were not alone in the world, that can create a first spark of true love, and a sapling, is as magical as it gets.

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(Tie) 10. “DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy “The She-Wolf Pack” (Fuller House) she-wolf

Positive friendships and sibling relationships are special and when I see them in film and TV I am happy. What makes the relationship between DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy (2 sisters and 1 best friend) but in truth all one part of a larger family and affectionately self dubbed “She-Wolf pack,” so wonderful is that it’s about three women who all genuinely love, support and respect each other. Much like the original series where Jesse and Joey moved in to help Danny with his kids, Stephanie and Kimmy are doing the same for DJ. But she reciprocates that support to her sister and best friend, and the three together are not only a joy to watch but represent something rare in TV these days – a heartwarming, funny, touching relationship between women who always have each other’s backs and will do so with compassion, honesty, and a great sense of humor. I know I personally relate to this relationship more so than other harsher and snarkier friendships we see. This family is undeniably wholesome but no less realistic and relatable.

(Tie) 10. Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis (Agent Carter)peggy jarvis.gif

Such a wonderful friendship indeed, just like the first season, when these two are together there is fun to be seen, sometimes tears to be shed, and smiles to be shown. No two represent the witty and nostalgia Agent Carter embodies more so than Peggy and Jarvis. But once again this year showed the beauty of the platonic love that can exist between a man and a woman. There was never a sense of romance between them, but their chemistry was amazing because it represents something different but no less special and important. They will hold each other’s hand in comfort when they need it, encourage each other, and fight alongside each other, always with a wittiness and realness that will be deeply missed each week.

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Honorable Mentions
11. Liv Moore, Clive Babineaux , Ravi Chakrabarti, Major Lilywhite, Peyton Charles (iZombie)
Admittedly I adore every relationship within this dark and funny drama, but when all of the characters work together and interact with each other something really amazing happens. They may all be quite different but they truly show that these differences mean nothing in the grand scheme of things especially when a zombie attack may be on the horizon and two of their own are zombies themselves. As we saw in the Season 2 finale, when everyone finally knew the truth and they all work together, we see that they are stronger together than apart. If a zombie apocalypse was here this are the team I would want on the job.

12. The Crawley Family (Downton Abbey)
In 2016 we bid a reluctant farewell to the residents of Downton Abbey both upstairs and downstairs. While they may be a differences in stations, when it comes to the Crawley clan, especially in this last season, everyone feels like one big family filled with everything you expect – love, support, disagreements and resolutions. From the health scare of Lord Crawley, to the weddings of Lady Edith, Lady Mary and Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, to the return of Tom, to Anna and Bates finally having a baby, to Thomas finding place, and Lady Grantham’s ever wit and wisdom, I came to think of every character as a member of the Crawley family and found it hard to say goodbye. But perhaps it is merely “till we meet again” because their lives will go on and we’re lucky to have witnessed so much. Tears and smiles were abundant in 2016 and hopefully there’s more to come in the future for this wonderful family.

 

2016 Year in Review: Best Television Characters/Performances

Top 5 Female Characters/Performances

1. “Eleven” portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)eleven

From the moment Eleven stepped onto the screen barefoot and wide-eyed, I knew this was going to be quite the character. A resonant, captivating character indeed, and a remarkable performance, Brown was 11 years old herself when she filmed the first season of this nostalgic show, as the sufferer abuse and control, but strong and fierce child “Eleven.” As the girl with powers of telepathy and telekinesis, Brown exhibits a talent and depth well beyond her years and beautifully showcases Eleven’s signs of trauma, her bravery, and her vulnerabilities with such stunning believability proving that you can be moving with very few words. From the moments skittishness, fear and sadness as she escapes from her captors, to learning what a friend is and wondering if she needs a wig to be “still pretty,” to the intensity of her saving her friends from the “bad men,” bullies, and ultimately a terrifying monster, Brown is an absolute revelation, and Eleven a character of great heart and strength despite her circumstances. And she deserves all the Eggos her brave soul desires.

2. “Emma Swan” portrayed by Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time)emma

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2016 was in an intense year for Emma Swan filled with heartache, love, and the truth about the fate of all Saviors which manifested itself with tremors and disturbing visions of her impending death, making her hope for her own a happy ending seem like an elusive dream. And yet through it all she remains courageous and noble, finding that fight within herself and a desire to embrace the happiness and beauty of the present without the fear of the future. She embraced love with all of her heart, ready to share it with the man she now knows is her true love, said a heartbreaking goodbye to him and then was miraculously reunited, and in the end was finally able to tell him she loved him in a moment of normalcy – a huge step for her character. We may not have seen the duality the Dark Swan arc gave us, but Morrison was no less brilliant, exquisite, and touching especially in moments that demonstrated very raw and vulnerable emotions of love and courage with her two true loves. As Emma said goodbye to Killian for what she believed to be the last time, Morrison brought such a powerful sense of heartbreak and selflessness wanting him to move on and be at peace. And when she tries to comfort her son Henry who was fearing his mother’s impending death and blaming himself for her fate, she showcased the bravery of a mother shouldering the sadness and fear for the sake of their child. One could not help but be moved and astounded at the unencumbered joy of seeing her true love Killian come back to life, the sweetness and softness of the way she finally asked him to move in with her, and the way she works through her trembling hand tremors and grabs the sword then fated to kill her, ready to fight for her future. And I eagerly anticipate watching Emma’s continued journey of what it means to be a Savior and her finding her way towards her own happy ending in 2017. Through her tears, smiles, and fierceness we see that Emma, and Morrison’s performance, remains one of the most beautiful, brilliant and remarkably moving of all time.

3. “Lorelai Gilmore” portrayed by Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)lorelai

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As someone who watched and adored Gilmore Girls during its initial run and has watched the reruns frequently, I was anticipating the revival of the series with fervor and excitement; and when it came to Lorelai’s character and Graham’s performance, A Year in the Life did not disappoint. I may have had some issues with the revival, but not with our beloved Lorelai. Just like the original series, she was relatable, likable, funny and touching. Lorelai is a type of woman who is far from perfect but we still admire tremendously. She is strong, but not too proud, and a woman who makes mistakes but learns from them and overcomes them with authenticity and warmth. Dealing with the loss for father, tensions with her mother and daughter, and a feeling of complacency and uncertainty in her romantic life, her journey was beautiful and touching and Graham seamlessly slips back into the role as if it was yesterday that she was in Lorelai’s fast talking, coffee guzzling shoes. Many wonderful moments abound, it was her phone call to her mother about her best memory of her father that was the most poignantly performed and one that I will not long forget.

4. “Lucy Preston” portrayed by Abigail Spencer (Timeless)lucy

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Stepping into different time periods each week must be great fun for an actress, from adapting a different persona and manners to the vastly different costumes. These are just one small part of why I love Timeless and its characters, most especially our lead heroine. What makes Lucy such a wonderful character is her intelligence, her reverence and awe of history, her caring heart, her tenacity, and her courage. Each person in the Timeless team serves a purpose and Lucy is arguably the most crucial as they rely on her vast knowledge and ability to adapt and think on her feet as they enter worlds so different than the one they live in. Suffering a great loss, Lucy remains steadfast in her determination amidst the uncertainty of the future they will return to. She is strong, smart and inspiring and the kind of real woman to look up. Showcasing that knowledge is indeed power, Spencer portrays Lucy with a grace and passion that is beautiful to witness.

5. “Liv Moore” portrayed by Rose McIver (iZombie)liv

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Getting to be essentially a different character each week is not only a wonderful opportunity for an actor to showcase their range, but also endlessly entertaining to watch. It takes an actor of high-caliber to showcase a new persona with each episode while keeping the essentials of their true character intact. McIver does this brilliantly,  making Liv’s suffering and strengths something we can all relate to despite the wildness of the situation. She may be a zombie but she is no less real in her relationship and personal struggles, and no less warm despite her less than alive state. And as far as each different brain she consumes, McIver continues to shine with varied material to sink her teeth into – pun intended – as Liv takes on the personalities this year of a the writer of erotic fiction, a pathological liar, a social media obsessed woman, and my favorite, the eternally positive owner of a coffee shop. Liv’s character and McIver’s performance is often funny and heartbreaking, brave and sweet, making her character feel as real and alive as any on television.

Honorable Mentions:
“Peggy Carter” portrayed by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)sunglasses

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In 2016 we bid a sad farewell  to one of my favorite shows and a character I find tremendously inspiring in so many ways. Peggy had mourned her great love, ready for romance once again, as an assignment to LA entangles her in a series of adventures and a very dangerous threat, and did so with the same intelligence, ingenuity and strength that makes her so unbelievably fantastic. The show may be over, but Atwell’s tenacious performance of the remarkable Agent Carter will live forever.

“Emily Gilmore” portrayed by Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)emily

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Like Graham, Kelly  Bishop stepped back into the role of Gilmore matriarch Emily as if no time had passed. She went through quite the transformation as she grieves the loss of her beloved husband Richard and found a new lease on life with raw believability. Seeing her find a new “family “to look after it with the one maid she finally kept, to her finding a new understanding with her daughter and a new purpose and sense of self was such a joy to watch and something that could only be accomplished by someone aof Bishop’s talent. And her the moment she finally lets loose at the DAR will go down as one of Emily Gilmore’s crowning moments!

Top 5 Male Characters/Performances

1. “Jack Pearson” portrayed by Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)jack.gif

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Every single character on this moving family drama feels real, relatable and can illicit tears each and every episode; but if I were to choose my favorite it would be that of Jack,  the endlessly loving, stalwart, strong father and husband who always tried to do what was best for his family. Although he wasn’t perfect – dealing with the drinking problem early on, through him we see that personal demons can be overcome as he showed his family that with harsh realities and the simple every day conundrums, life can still be fun, beautiful and good. Ventimiglia has always always been so talented, but he has matured into such a performer of vitality, nuance and great warmth and portrays so beautifully who Jack is in his simplest form – a truly good man. With scenes with each of his three children he showcases the depths of his love for them, and the wisdom and comfort that we all long for in a father. He passionately loves his wife and endlessly loves his children and teaches us that the sourest lemon can inspire a strength we never knew we had. It makes the fact that his character is not alive the present-day hurt so much more, but ultimately appreciate witnessing the well lived life he had.

2. “Killian Jones” portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time)killian.gif

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2016 began in a dark place for Killian Jones. After overcoming his demons and sacrificing himself to save Emma and his friends, believing he was helping destroy the darkness forever, Killian began the year trapped in the Underworld, being mercilessly tortured by the God of Death Hades. His suffering was acute, and his heroic status position was undeniably solidified, from helping another prisoner escape, to making sure Emma and her family could leave the Underworld even if he could not, to working with the man responsible for his death to help Emma and everyone defeat Hades. He proved to be a true hero once again and miraculously and was sent back to where he belonged- with his True Love Emma Swan. And given a second chance at life, he may not believe he is the hero he is, but further proves to be as he continues to atone for his past wrongs helping Belle, his long-lost brother, and working to become someone worthy of being a part of a family with Emma and Henry. It’s been truly amazing journey in 2016 for our dear Captain and O’Donoghue continues to breathe vigorous life into the dashing pirate hero with sincerity, brevity and great depth. All one has to do is watch the moment he says goodbye to Emma in the Underworld to understand his great talent. But in each and every scene we see that he can break our hearts one moment and make them soar the next, sometimes with a single look and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for his character. There will never be another Captain Hook quite like O’Donoghue’s Killian Jones.

3. “Lucifer Morningstar” portrayed by Tom Ellis (Lucifer)lucifer.gif

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There’s an old saying “the Devil made me do it” and when it comes to the title character of the Biblical procedural drama that phrase certainly applies. This Lucifer is a fascinating character. He is strikingly handsome, debonair and charismatic and has the ability to make people admit their deepest desires – all except one, and that is what fascinates him. The straight-laced, fiercely caring and brave detective Chloe Decker becomes his friend and partner, giving the character a perfect sparring partner. But on his own, Lucifer is layered and flawed as he becomes more and more like the humans he’s found a home with. And although his behavior is far from saintly and very much the devil may care attitude, he’s not evil. Rather, he wants to punish those who are, and while not admitting it, protect others as well. Quite the interesting take on the character, it’s very refreshing especially made that way by the magnetic and enthralling performance of Tom Ellis, who has a brilliant ability to let us see into his soul, sometimes with a single change in his expression. His eyes can go from manic and scary, to soft and suffering in the blink of an eye. This Lucifer can be funny, chilling, sympathetic and bring us to tears and that is an accomplishment of epic proportions.

4. “Randall Pearson” portrayed by Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)randall.gif

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Much like the other This Is Us character and performance on this list, Randall, portrayed by Sterling K. Brown, is above all a very good man and his performance is deeply real and moving. He always had to deal with things his siblings and not have to – not always feeling like he truly belonged with his family, wondering who his birth parents were, and not wanting to be different when he realized how smart he was. But just like his father Jack, this made him try even harder – to endeavor to be the best man he could be, and pour all of his love from his unbelievably strong and giving heart into his family. He works hard to be a good husband and father, demonstrates forgiveness towards the father who gave them up, and in a very heart-wrenching scene helped a coworker realize that ending his life will only hurt those he loves. Yet Randall is not perfect. When he learns about a lifelong secret from his mother he demonstrates that sometimes we can’t always forgive instantly, and when he and his brother Kevin fight, he recalls how he often felt like he wasn’t accepted. It’s all very touching and viscerally relatable with so much heart poured into the performance by Brown. There is not one false moment, and not one instant where you can’t empathize or completely understand what Randall’s going through with his family or himself. Brown is a gifted actor who exudes sincerity with every single breath.

5. “Rufus Carlin” portrayed by Malcolm Barrett (Timeless)rufus.gif

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I adore every character on this time traveling adventure series, but if I had to pick one favorite it would be the caring, vastly intelligent, often funny scientist and pilot Rufus. As mentioned early on, there is not a single point in American history that they could be traveling to that is going to be particularly kind to a black man. But that doesn’t deter him from risking his life for their missions and his new friends. He displays a great sense of morality not wanting to spy on Lucy and Wyatt, ingenuity and courage when each mission proves to be more difficult than last, and retains a sense of goodness despite everything. Rufus makes me laugh, cry and frankly sometimes I just want to hug him for his sense of true courage and friendship. It’s often his ideas that help bring them home, and from learning black-smithing in mere hours, to figuring out how to repair the damaged lifeboat, to saving his friends from being killed, to the simple gesture of helping a little girl reach a water fountain, and finally to him questioning his own character after shooting someone that was threatening them, Rufus is a character to love, admire and root for thanks in no small part to the genuineness from Barrett’s performance. He is simply fantastic and showcases a real sense of humor, authenticity and steadfast bravery into his character. I eagerly anticipate where Rufus travels to next.

Honorable Mentions:
“Ravi Chakrabarti” portrayed by Rahul Kohli (iZombie)ravi

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Ravi- the charming, funny, brilliant and brave Doctor is so much more than Liv’s trusted ally and closest friend. He’s even more than what could possibly be the zombie’s saving grace as he tirelessly is trying to find a cure for their condition. Ravi is a truly wonderful person. He is loyal and a good friend and someone who will fight even the darkest of villains even when he’s frightened or outgunned- the mark of true courage. My heart broke for him as the girl he pines for embraced another man, and when another said she’d never seen Star Wars – for shame! Rahul is completely charismatic, funny and sincere in his performance making Ravi’s one of this year’s brightest spots.

“Luke Danes” portrayed by Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)luke

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Like Graham and Bishop, Patterson stepped back into the role of Luke Danes with the greatest of ease as if time had not passed at all. Luke was always the character we rooted for as he was undeniably good, and steadfast, patiently waiting and willing to go above and beyond for the woman he loved. In A Year in the Life, not much has changed. He still has a bit of a curmudgeon in him, but still loves Lorelai deeply  and Rory as if she’s his own daughter, and still demonstrates a stalwart heart and determination. Like Lorelai, he makes mistakes, but there’s no better man in Stars Hollow than this man. And much like his speech when Roy was leaving college, his impassioned promise to Lorelai about willing to do anything to make their relationship the best it can be forever, will forever move me to tears while also bringing a smile to my face. And only Patterson can make a line like “the only way out is in a body bag” sound completely romantic.

What we love about “Agent Carter”

As is often the case, sometimes life gets in the way and plans fall by the waste side. This was the case with me recently. I had planned on writing about Agent Carter since season 2 premiered but alas I was not able to do yet. But I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do my first entry for the “Sisterly Support Network” and highlight my fellow writers that have been reviewing and analyzing Agent Cater each week, and beautifully so.

My fellow Nerdy Girl Katie at NerdyGirlNotes has been doing unique and wonderful posts for each episode about the “Life Lesson for The Week” and they are absolutely fantastic. I love Katie’s writing and this is a wonderful way of discussing the show as we see so many great lessons come out of the episodes. Go check out all of her Agent Carter articles right here!!

My friends at MGCirclesMedia, whom I have discussed before with their exquisite Once Upon a Time posts, bring their equally in depth and eloquent review writing gloriousness to their posts each week for Agent Carter. They share my love for Peggy and Daniel and much like their Once reviews (and like Katie) explore all the beautiful lessons of the show so beautifully. They also wrote this amazing piece that I agree with whole heatedly:  10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Agent Carter Read the rest of the reviews right here!

I also highly recommend reading the reviews my fellow Nerd Machine Writer Katie and Maii for Word of the Nerd. Both bring a unique perspective and voice and are great fun to read. This show deserves all the praise in the world and as many wonderful voices as possible discussing it. Check out Maii’s reviews here and here. Katie’s for The Nerd Machine can be found right here!

Lastly, even though I was not able to do anything in depth review wise for Agent Carter this season, I wanted to share a few things that I have loved about Season 2 of this stellar show.

Continued teamwork, friendship and romance:

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What I loved about Season 2 so far is how much teamwork has played a part in the story. Season 1 saw Peggy and Jarvis develop such a great bond and friendship and I’ve loved seeing that continue. But unlike season 1 where Peggy was working undercover, this time around she has more people on her side and I loved seeing her working with Daniel as well with the two clearly having feelings for each other. Romantic triangles aside, these two clearly should be together. Look at these wonderful moments.

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As far as Peggy and Jarvis, they continue to be my favorite relationship on the show, with the beautiful depiction of how strong and meaningful a platonic friendship can be. Like Peggy and Daniel, they make quite the team, but relate to each other in a completely different but equally engaging way. Frankly any time they are screen is golden, and we can see how much they have grown to care for each other.

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One thing I particularly loved in the two episodes “Life of the Party” and “Monsters” was the two moments we saw Peggy reach out and hold hands with Daniel and Jarvis. Both relationships are based on deep and sincere affection, as well as mutual respect, and both times the gesture is a sign of comfort. And yet the resulting meaning could not be more different. I loved that both scenes emphasized their hands joined. This is such a wonderful example of showcasing that each kind of relationship is special and true. Some are romantic and some are based in friendship, but each is important. And both types of relationships can and should includes gestures of affection like this. Bravo Agent Carter!! You moved with these two heartwarming moments!!

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The other romances on the show have been superb, most especially the beautiful and refreshing one between Jarvis and his wife Ana. They seem so different but obviously adore each other.

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Wonderful New and Further Explored Characters:

Speaking of Ana Jarvis, I could not love her more. You just knew she had to be someone special. But I never expected her to be such a fabulous outgoing angel!!! She is such a bloody fantastic addition to the show!!

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Rose is not a new character, but I love that she has been more involved in the story and missions. She is as tough and capable as anyone and I love it!!

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Jason Wilkes is so likable as well. Even though I am rooting for Peggy and Daniel romantically, one cannot help but love this intelligent and handsome charmer. You can see why Peggy would like him. Much like Steve, he is very innocent and idealistic and wants to be a part of something special. And just like Jarvis said- his smile is incandescent!!

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It has also been a delight to see Howard Stark again. He is such a cad, but a lovable rogue as well. I am ignorant of the comics and back story but answer me this- he is supposed to be modeled after Howard Hughes, correct? Between his name, appearance, wardrobe, demeanor, excessive wealth, and innovative mind it seems pretty clear that his character is an homage to the iconic man. It’s really fantastic!!

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So Much Humor

One thing about Season 2 that has been great has been the added humor. Season 1 definitely had its laughs but this year so far has featured a lot lightness, fun and many moments that had me literally laughing out loud.

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This is what I call THE MONEY SHOT!

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And this moment right here: these five walking out on a mission with confidence and panache to the tune of Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters singing “Pistol Packin’ Mama” was one the best things I HAVE EVER SEEN. PERIOD!! TELEVISION GOLD!!! Not to mention #SQUADGOALS

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Beautiful and Bright New Setting and the Gorgeous Wardrobe:

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Welcome to Los Angeles, Miss Carter!! While I loved the color palette, wardrobe and design in Season 1 that reflect that post war New York feel with a bit of comic flair, I have to say I am also loving the contrast to what we’ve seen in Season 2. It’s a mixture of film noir, old Hollywood glamour and comic style adventure. It’s reminds a lot of one of my favorite films The Rocketeer, which also coincidentally is reminiscent of Captain America: The First Avenger (the same director as well). Sunny LA is reflected in everything. I love seeing everything from the iconic locations like the Griffith Observatory, to the stylish touring cars, and the glorious sets such as Howard Stark’s mansion which is so reminiscent of the Spanish stable estates of such stars as Rudolph Valentino. It’s wonderful to see Daniel and Jarvis is lighter suits and more relaxed ensembles. And being the Girly Nerd I am I must mention the stunning outfits Peggy has donned this season. I love seeing her in so many colorful and soft dresses. These have been my favorites!!

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And can someone tell me where I can find some Red sunglasses like this because they’re adorable!!

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Timeless Lessons

Just like season 1, Season 2 of Agent Carter continues to deliver timeless lessons and tackles important issues, particularly for women. Peggy Carter is such an inspiring character because she is strong, resourceful, and intelligent. Her instincts and morals are what guides her as well as an unwillingness to let others dictate what she does or belittle her, especially when she knows she is right. And as we learned, these were not always her strengths. Her brother who sadly was killed in the war, was one of the people who helped guide her towards her path, and she overcame her fears to become the woman she is. Through Peggy we learn that no matter what our path in life is, it should be of our choosing. Peggy may be a woman from the 40’s but this is something that remains relevant and profound in our lives today.

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2015 Year in Review: Best of the Best in Television

Most Consistent Drama: These are the shows that week after week were proved to be captivating, moving, and had me on the edge of my seat with incredible storytelling.

Once Upon a Time:

By far my favorite show on television, 2015 proved to be one of the best for the series about true love and happy endings, moving in new, daring directions while still remaining true to its roots in hope, forgiveness and redemption. Very few episodes fell short, especially in the first half of Season 5 which dealt with the bold move of turning the show’s heroine into the “villain.” Of course the truth was much more complicated, but getting there had us glued to our screens every week, and in the end, completely devastated, but still full of hope. Now, if only the premiere of 5B would get here sooner. Is it March 6th yet?

Agent Carter:

Agent Carter succeeds remarkably so in its first season run of 8 episodes with each and every one feeling like an exciting and compelling miniature movie, between the evocative cinematography and stunting trip into nostalgia with the gorgeous production design and wardrobe, and finally to the gripping performances and story all around. Agent Carter was not only the best new show of 2015 and one of the most consistent ones, but a delight for anyone who loves adventure with a slice of 1940s nostalgia and modern, inspiring themes of integrity and equality.

Poldark:

This romantic and poignant drama was consistently profound and gripping in every one of its first season 9episode run. From week to week a great deal of time would pass for our characters and we never once felt unsatisfied or unmoved by the drama. Real and touching, sad and hopeful, Poldark is thoroughly wonderful in all regards.

Castle:

The most remarkable thing about this drama is not only that the series continues to be consistently compelling while in its 8th season, but also that even when a story I wasn’t particularly fond of on the surface – Beckett distancing herself from Castle – the show finds ways to create new and familiar dynamics that are thoroughly entertaining. Castle continues to balance lighthearted banter with real and moving stories and relationships all while solving interesting crimes every week.

Most Consistent Comedy:

Modern Family:

It’s amazing that so far into the series that Modern Family continues to shine; but when you have such a natural set up and colorful characters who continue to grow and evolve yet remain true to who they are, it’s unsurprising. There was not a single episode of 2015 that did not result in laugh out loud moments as well as ones that were genuinely touching. Modern Family succeeds in ways very few comedies do because it’s not only truly both modern and traditional in its family dynamics, but also because it’s beauty lies in its simplicity. It’s not just about family. It’s about life and all the crazy ups and downs and the people who make it all worth it. 

The Goldbergs:

This look into the 1980s at a family of misfits is consistently hilarious and sweet. I suppose if you grew up in the time you might find it a bit more enjoyable but truly the humor and storylines are well-balanced between the parents and the kids all with issues and situations inspired by two life events, peppered with delightful references. This year alone we were treated to the sweet pangs of adolescence and first love, to fitting in and dealing with an overbearing but loving mother, with tributes to Ferris Bueller, New Kids on the Block, The Princess Bride, Transformers and more. Every week we are in stitches.

Series Finale:

Parks and Recreation:

The final season of the delightful comedy ended on a unique high note, fast forwarding into the future. And it’s final episodes were everything the show embodied – sweet, silly, inspiring, and eccentric. Each relationship and character was given a final bow in relation to series leading lady Leslie Knope as we see how this unlikely group of people became a family, in a very unlikely place of work, all with different ideologies. In the end we saw what really mattered was what Leslie would spend hours creating vision boards and color-coordinated binders on – friends, waffles, and work, where friends are always first. 

The Mentalist:

What was so wonderful about the finale of the serious and heavy crime drama was how light it felt. After wrapping up one last case, Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon were married in a beautiful, small ceremony with family and friends. Knowing how television often is, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. But thankfully and happily it never did. Instead, after so much pain, the series ended in a truly beautiful and peaceful way where love and hope endured. The final image was Jane hugging Lisbon – a joyful look on his face previously unseen. It was a perfect way to end his journey as he learns that she is pregnant and that life and their future will be happy.

Underrated Shows:

The Mysteries of Laura:  

This fantastic crime drama has a wonderful ensemble and balances the lives of a harried mother/homicide detective with intriguing mysteries each week – some emotional, some harrowing, and always entertaining. As we said previously, Laura Diamond is one of the best characters of the year, but indeed each character is wonderful as we see the true sense of camaraderie amongst those who protect and bring people to justice every day, demonstrating that these are not only brave individuals but also very human ones. Poignant and funny, refreshing and realistic, this is the one show that if you’re not watching you definitely should. 

Blue Bloods:  

This family political and crime drama is a relatively new love– I recently caught up on Netflix – and I became comletely engrossed in the lives of the Reagan family. Every character has their own valid point of view, the stories are compelling and the weekly family dinners that are a part of every episode are so wonderful. Steady and true, Blue Bloods deserves more praise.

Show I Miss the Most:

Forever:

I cannot express how amazing Forever was and how heartbroken that such a gripping, moving show ended in 2015. It had everything that makes a great procedural drama with an extremely unique format. Each episode had an intriguing flashback to a different time period, ruminations on the preciousness of life, captivating, affable performance and relationships, and most importantly a beautiful heartbeat that what was felt undeniably. I shall miss the show forever.

Netflix Binge:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

At the risk of getting too personal, there are multiple reasons why Kimmy Schmidt is such a fantastic show and worthy of your latest binge- one that I know from personal experience can’t be completed in one day. This show is sweet and laugh out laugh funny, often times to the point of excess. I binged this show on a weekend after I injured my knee and literally could be barely move. The pain did not disappear but watching the show help to alleviate it and make me forget as I watch Kimmy’s fighting spirit and sunny attitude. She is inspiring in a silly world and proved that laughter can indeed be the best medicine.

Relaxing Reality Show:  When it comes to reality shows my taste involves those that offer something both useful, sweet, and relaxing- the type of show that serves a purpose and is still entertaining. 

Dinner at Tiffani’s:

As a fan of Tiffani Thiessen’s since childhood I never imagined I’d be watching a cooking show with her, but here we are and it is a delight, full of fun guests and delicious looking recipes. Literally everything she prepares not only look scrumptious but unlike many other cooking shows, completely doable for even the most inexperienced. She is so affable and engaging especially with the witty banter with her friends, and the end result always looks good enough to eat. Pun intended. 

Fixer Upper:

The work of Chip and Joanna Gaines is simply remarkable as they turn sometimes dilapidated unlivable properties into gorgeous dream homes. The process is interesting and the interactions delightful especially the charming look at their own sweet family.

Heroes:

Emma Swan, Killian Jones, Henry Mills (Once Upon a Time)  

Showing moments of heroics both individually and together, what made Emma and Killian heroes in 2015 was the way they overcame the greatest evil of all time, a darkness neither of them wanted. And while both faltered they were able to overcome it, both for themselves and by themselves, as well as together. The overcame their demons. But their true heroism was in sacrificing their own happiness to save others. Emma becoming the Dark One to save everyone in Storybrooke, Killian telling her to let him go, and Emma finally doing so were heartbreaking but truly heroic. They proved that when you fall you can pull yourself back up and demonstrated the timeless truth the show epitomizes – love is strength. Henry also showed true heroism when he became the next author of the storybook. This honor is only bestowed upon those truly worthy and not only does he know that no one should have power to change things the way the previous author did, he made it his mission to set things right for his family and the ones that they love, thinking only of their happiness and proving that the heart of the truest is believer beats in the person that it is truly meant to.

Villains:

Adam (Forever)

Learning that another immortal existed besides Henry was an unexpected twist, especially when we learned that he was the therapist Henry had been seeing. But in 2015, what made Adam so terrifying was his ability to not only be one step ahead of Henry, but to be able to exploit all of his deepest fears, because they share such a unique connection. His demeanor was cold and unsettling, and his lack of compassion and regard for human life when he himself can live forever was spine tinglingly scary. 

Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon a Time)
What makes Rumple such a compelling villain is that as many horrible actions as he performs, he can still garner sympathy and as selfish as he is, he is still capable of selfless heroism. These contradictions were abundant in 2015, but while you saw that he was capable of goodness he is still the over arching villain of the show and his evil deeds are dazzling to watch. Choosing power over love, lies over the truth, and allowing others to sacrifice their own happiness so he could regain the dark wind power Rumple’s villainy is always frightening.

Happy Moments:

Emma is reunited with Killian, She tells him she wants a future with him (Once Upon a Time)

Once Upon a Time is always a show that implores us to enjoy the good and quiet moments amongst all the chaos of the world. And indeed there were some truly beautiful moments this year for all the characters particularly the shows most glorious couple. The pure joy and elation that Emma displayed when she found Killian alive after their trip into the alternate storybook was so beautiful in its purity. So happy that the force of her hug causes them to fall down onto her bed, the two of them giggling in the process, was incredibly sweet. And even though she was still afraid to tell him “I love you,” the happiness and love was felt in their exquisite expressions and tender affection. This scene was matched by the one in which Emma tells Killian and she does want a future with him but is afraid at the same time. When he tells her that the future is nothing to fear, she kisses him lighting the flame of Prometheus beside them. Their love literally ignited a spark and signified that she was ready to move on and enjoy their happy future together. 

Lisbon tells Jane she is pregnant (The Mentalist)

Lisbon revealing her pregnancy was such a perfect way to end a series that was so often dark in filled with grief. It began with Jane losing his wife and child. It ended with him coming to terms with that loss, moving on and finding love again. After so much loss it was so touching to see them share this private moment of pure joy.

Deacon Proposes to Rayna (Nashville)

This season on Nashville has not been particularly happy one but after surviving so many ups and downs and literally a life-and-death situation with Deacon’s cancer, the couple finally were able to find their way back to happiness. The moment he proposes was not only joyful but so well-earned.

The Ball in Camelot (Once Upon a Time)

Rounding out our OUAT mentions in this category, the ball and Camelot was a lovely, resplendent gift wrapped in golden grandeur. It was brief; but fora few glorious moments all the characters were able to simply be happy and in love. Snow and Charming where are all smiles finally seeing their daughter at a ball and Henry developing his first crush. As for Emma and Killian and Robin and Regina- both couples were able to forget about curses and obstacles and enjoy themselves with dances, smiles, and kisses completely lost in the moment and in each other. Happy moments like this make the show so special.

Sad Moments:

Howard believes he is going to rescue Steve & Peggy finally says goodbye (Agent Carter)  

Agent Carter was always able to pull our heartstrings with inclusion of Captain America and the affection our characters had for Steve Rogers. As a brainwashed Howard Stark flies towards New York City with a look of hope believing that he is finally going to rescue Steve, it was so sad because you could see how much he cared first friend and was about to wake up from this delirium and realize that Steve is gone and they must move on. Equally tear inducing was the moment Peggy finally lets the love of her life go. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge she lets go of Steve’s blood saying “Goodbye, my darling.” letting his, what she believes would be his final resting place, be the place he called home. 

Jake doesn’t remember his conversation with Laura (The Mysteries of Laura)
It was touch and go when Captain Jake Broderick was injured in the line of duty. But when all seems fine, the road to forgiveness also seemed to be lit towards him and his ex-wife Laura when he asked her if she still loves him and she says “maybe a little bit.” But only a few minutes later he has no recollection of the conversation – a side effect from his accident. After coming so far on this path towards love again it was so sad that it suddenly turned dark once more.

Henry learns the truth about Abigail (Forever)

Henry had finally begun to open his heart again when he met Detective Jo Martinez, but the unknown of his beloved wife Abigail was still holding him back. The truth set him free and allowed him to begin to truly mourn her loss. But the truth of her death was sad and profound. She died protecting his secret from the vile man Adam. She could’ve survived but chose to die so Henry would be safe. Her final act of love for her husband was indeed sad, but beautifully moving.

Heartbreaking Moments:

Killian Dies (Once Upon a Time)

Seeing Killian Jones die once was devastating enough but seeing him perish three times in front of his true love Emma, each time her grief growing more and more powerful, was agonizing. Beautiful drama and storytelling, what makes it heartbreaking was that each time was to protect Emma and that as he was taking his last breaths his only thought was to comfort her. Emma and Killian lived very sad, lonely lives so finding love with each other was like a beautiful gift to each other and the viewers. So to see them lose their chance at happiness ws utterly heartbreaking. Luckily for them, and for us, this show is the embodiment of hope and with Emma marching into the Underworld to save him it’s certain this heartbreak will only be temporary. 

Ross and Demelza’s baby dies (Poldark)
It was painful to watch to Demelza fight for her life, wondering if her husband’s heart could still be stolen away. But to see her wake up and discover that her daughter had died in Ross’s arms as he made sure she wasn’t afraid, is as heartbreaking as can be. The loss of a child is utterly devastating; I cry as I sit here writing about it. The story maybe fictional but the effect it can have is truly deep.

Chief Dooley sacrifices himself (Agent Carter)

I’m not sure which was the most heartbreaking part of Chief Dooley’s noble sacrifice as he leapt out of the window of the SSR to save everyone’s lives: his final words, the pain on everyone’s faces, or the fact that moments before he was dreaming of  being at home with his wife and children happy and at peace. As he asks Peggy to get those responsible telling her “thatta  girl” when she promises to, one cannot help but cry for this good man’s final heroic act.

Visually Beautiful Scenes:

Emma and Killian kiss in the field of Middlemist flowers (Once Upon a Time)

Emma and Killian had three stunning scenes that took place in the field of middle mist flowers in Camelot, but there was something so unbelievably gorgeous about the first, happiest moment. After the darkness was quieted from Emma, she feels light and happy again and ready to share a quiet moment with the man she loves. With the sun rising behind them, the two share a passionate kiss and the camera pans over head to the couple amongst hundreds of pink blossoms. With a rich score by Mark Isham and gorgeous cinematography by Stephen Jackson this moment was perfect in its idyllic fairy tale beauty.

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Ross and Demelza’s promise of hope (Poldark)

As Ross and Demelza mourn the loss of their daughter, they vowed to move on and mend fences between family. Releasing the ribbon that held their baby’s hair into the wind they cling to each other, the windswept moment on the beautiful cliffs on the edge of the sea. Stunning in meaning, with glorious cinematography Adam Etherington, it’s beauty is matched by the breathtaking visual that was akin to something out a big grand romance.

poldark5

Plot Twist:

Killian was a Dark One the entire time, Rumple Becomes The Dark One again (Once Upon a Time)

My favorite show of the year also held the monopoly on plot twists. Both dealt with the ominous aspect of the Dark One, completely unexpected and matched by the fact that Season 5 was all about Emma taking on the darkness and struggling to overcome it. It was definitely a shocking turn of events when Emma turned Killian into a second vessel for this evil curse to save his life revealing that in present-day Storybrooke he had been so all along and had no idea. In the end, when he chose to sacrifice himself I believed he was destroying it forever, so was completely dumbfounded when we discovered that Killian’s sacrifice was manipulated by Rumple to channel the darkness back into himself as he regained the power he cannot seem to let go of. Seems that the darkness will still have to be destroyed after all. 

Laugh out Loud Moments:

“Pinot Noir” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt):

In truth, Kimmy Schmidt’s first season had an abundance of hilarious moments, but one in particular holds the rare exception of making me laugh so uncontrollably I literally had to pause the episode to catch my breath. Tituss made a music video called “Pinot Noir,” which was a nonsensical string of phrases meant to sound elegant. It’s beyond silly and beyond hilarious. 

Any Goldbergs 80s reference (The Goldbergs)

It is difficult to pinpoint specific moments from The Goldbergs that resulted in laugh out loud instants because each episode does so. But needless to say every single 80s reference this year did so, from Barry dressing up like Boy George and him and Adam re-creating New Kids on the Block dance moves, to the famous frozen tongue to the flagpole from A Christmas Story, two Pops dressing up as a Transformer for his grandson, and Adam wanting to be the next Inigo Montoya, any reference had us busting a gut laughing.

Best Wardrobe:

Once Upon a Time: 

Going in new directions in Season 5 allowed brilliant costume designer Eduardo Castro to also give our characters some beautiful wardrobe. As the Dark Swan, Emma had stunning and sleek black outfits that reflected her colder demeanor but still retained a distinct elegance. But it was the trip into Camelot that gave the characters an abundance of gorgeous, colorful frocks. Emma was in intricate white dresses and Killian in a red vest and quilted long coat. Snow, Regina and Zelina in sumptuous gowns and Charming and Robin has costumes masculine and undeniably fairytale like. Even Henry had a wonderful fairy tale outfit as well as the numerous guest stars. Take a look at this brilliant work.

costumes ouat1

costumes ouat2

Agent Carter:

Agent Carter’s trip into 1940s New York City is wonderfully sleek and crisp while still having the comic book style feel especially in Peggy’s iconic constant costume inspired by Captain America But each character looked incredibly stylish fabulous. Take a look for yourself.

costumes carter

Inspiring Moments:

Emma fights back against the Darkness (Once Upon a Time)

After seeing Emma struggle for so long with feelings of worthlessness, abandonment and feeling unloved, it was beyond moving and inspiring to not only see her fight back against the darkness trying to overtake her, but declare “I am not nothing! I was never nothing!” It was a monumental moment for her character as well as an example of hope that those who feel such despair can overcome these thoughts and that your life is worthy and important. 

Peggy knows her value (Agent Carter)

After a season determined to prove herself to her colleagues and earn the respect she deserves, it was inspiring to hear Peggy state that she knows her own value and that it’s not determined by the opinions of others. This is a very wise lesson we all should endeavor to remember. 

Musical Moments:

Gunnar and Scarlett sing “Longer” and “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” (Nashville)

We spoke of the beautiful chemistry of Scarlett and Gunnar and that despite what their characters are going through the moment they sing together magic happens. Why explain further when you can hear for yourself. These were their best moments.

“Lords of the Sea” (Galavant)

Just about every number and Galavant’s first season was golden but I must mention that the Pirate’s little shanty was so funny and clever that it deserves all the praise in the world.

Sexiest Couples:

Emma and Killian (Once Upon a Time)

What makes Emma and Killian so sexy is that the two actors have undeniably palpable chemistry, subtle nuances in their performances, and exude so much passion while doing so little. It is easy to be sexy in certain more obvious ways that the PG show doesn’t afford. But that is what makes them even sexier. Their kisses, intense glances, the way they touch, you always feel the intense magnetism between the characters, and for a couple who has not made love yet, that is remarkably beautiful. 

Ross and Demelza (Poldark)  

This beautiful couple had one of the sexiest scenes of the year when Demelza wore a fine dress that was not her own and asked Ross to help her unbutton it as he kissed her neck and gently caressed her back. So little was seen an yet it was a very steamy scene. Every amourous moment after exuded the love and passion they feel in ways that were subtly and tastefully done. Sometimes seeing less is far more alluring.