delme-haydee.jpgEvery year, Carolyn & I post a list of what we watched. This year, I am breaking it into sections. Read on to see what TV SHOWS we watched in 2006. (Most of these were skimmed; few were watched in their entiretly.) This is a time consuming post to read, but I’d like people to comment on them if possible and willing.

The anime chick on the right is Haydee, a character in Gankutsuo, an anime adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo. It was the most artistically animated show we watched all year. It was also, uncoincidentally, the only anime we watched this year. Read on for the full list of shows, and more Gankutsuo pictures.

*** AWARDS ***
BEST SITCOM: The Office, Arrested Development
BEST TOON, COMEDY: South Park, Drawn Together, Metalocalypse
BEST TOON, COMEDY: HONORABLE MENTION: Tripping The Rift
BEST TOON, DRAMATIC: Gankutsuo – The Count Of Monte Cristo
BEST TOON, SUPERHERO: Justice League Unlimited
BEST TOON, NEW: Metalocalypse
MOST EPISODES WATCHED OF ANY SINGLE SHOW: Frasier. All 265. That’s a lifetime record.

ANIME:

delme-thecount.jpgThe only anime we watched this year was Gankutsuou – The Count Of Monte Cristo. WOW!! This is one of the best anime ever, and the animation style is VERY unique and textured. The picture of Haydee above, and The Count to the right, both show a hint of what the animation style is like (rich, detailed textures). Remember those old 1950s Freeling(?) cartoons where the outline of a character moved, but the background was a pattern (often plaid) that stayed still? (They did this for people’s shirts a lot.) That style always annoyed me, but this show changed my mind about that style. Perhaps because their backgrounds were very textured — far more than simply ‘plaid’. Hair glimmered. Expensive clothing had intricate textures, but of course as the character moved, the textures did not; only the outlines. This phenomenon is known as Unmoving Plaid, accordnig to TVTropes.org

Everything in the whole series was “overdone”, in a sense, compared to normal animation. This really led to the feel of the aristrocratic characters that make up the ‘high society’ featured in the story.

Oh, it has a story? Yes. Most anime seem to have really very intricate character development, while having fairly generic plots (high school, fighting robots, vampires). This had a good story, in no small part due to being loosely based on Duma’s original book.

While Gankutsuo did admittedly have 2 episodes with fighting robots, these were just a metaphor for the “duel” of the 1800s, and were actually some of the best robot fighting scenes I’ve ever seen (they had megaphones, so you could hear the terror of the person inside the loosing robot).

This Monte Cristo takes place in the future. The first 2 episodes are on the moon, which is a resort. I believe it is the 2500s or so. The rest of the story (episodes 3-24) all take place in Paris, just like the original(?).

The story actually starts after The Count escapes from prison. This is very different than the live action remake movie that came out c.2002 (which I absolutely loved). I suggest watching the american live action movie to get a feel for the wrongful imprisonment, and then to watch this afterwards. I actually did not understand how this was based on Monte Cristo until several episodes in. The plot revealed itself one bit at a time. The plot turned out to be fairly faithful to the original Monte Cristo (well, I’ve only seen the 2000 movie — sue me, I’m only “cultured” in modern adaptations!).

And every episode starts in French. Of course, the rest is Japanese. Much better to watch with subtitles than lame american dubbing. . . You can buy this series in the anime store at Springfield Mall, and you can download it wherever anime is downloaded too. It is probably not available via “normal” American distribution channels.

And now, the rest of the shows we saw this year:

CARTOONS:

  • King Of The Hill – all new episodes. Still strong. Occasionally better than The Simpsons
  • American Dad – all new episodes. Incredible show; almost as good as Family Guy.
  • Boondocks, The – all new episodes, plus some uncensored S1 eps from DVD. I’ve haven’t seen an all-Black cartoon since The PJs (which I also loved). The show is witty, has good social commentary, and is just plain funny with occasionally outrageous plots. The grandfather’s voice is perfect. The first episode of the series is great, when the main character starts off with: “Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil, and the government is lying to you about 911”.
  • Batman, The – the new WB Batman series (3 seasons worth), plus the ‘movie’. Not as good as FOX’s old Batman series, but significantly better than all other superhero cartoons on right now (because Justice League was cancelled). The mythos of Batman may never die. They could crank out a new cartoon every 5 years and I’d watch it til I die.
  • Family Guy – all new episodes, and a couple dvd extras. Need I say more about this great show? One thing I do need to say: F the naysayers. This show is great, and it is not noticeably different from the first four seasons. Those who say it is different — are fickle and/or probably allow nostalgia to influence their objectivity. I really don’t see a big different. C’mon, it’s written by manatees for Chrissakes!
  • Freak Show – I originally posted about this HERE. This was a great 7-episode gem for Comedy Central, and it was a shame to see it go away so soon. While the first couple episodes weren’t as funny as they could have been, the show seemed to get better as you watched it (all cartoons d0). The last two episodes (a 2-parter) were totally hilarious! And they killed off one of their characters unexpected! Ahhh, Siamese Twins whose superpower is… Separation. Go figure. The character “Primi”, a premature Italian baby, was also one of the stranger and more disturbing characters to grace our tv screen this year.
  • Hopeless Pictures – disc 2 of 2 – Sponsored by Netflix in conjunction with the Independent Film Channel, this was a quirky series which was fairly entertaining. It was just watching this failing movie producer’s life suck, and suck more. It had a dry humor to it, much like Dr. Katz.
  • Justice League (plus the annoying Static Shock crossover) – it’s over! nooooo! noooo! noooooo! nooooo! thus ends chapter 2 of Justice League — with the same Batman & Superman voice actors and drawing as featured in their 1990s series… The Batman (mentioned above) is good, but I think Batman sounds best when Kevin Conroy is voicing him. Anyway, this was by far the best action series to grace Cartoon Network since the departure of Samurai Jack (which lacked the cultural mythos(?) of known superheroes such at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, etc). It is a DAMN SHAME to see the show go. They cleared it out to make room for Legion Of Superheroes (reviewed next), a futuristic show featuring futuristic superheroes (no royalties to pay), obviously aimed at a younger audience.
  • Legion Of Superheroes – We tried this out. Carolyn did not want to watch a 2nd ep. I believe we’ve seen 3 now. This isn’t even 20% as good as Justice League. Why does Cartoon Network hate me?
  • Metalocalypse – OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! BRUTAL! METAL! This is the best premise for a comedy cartoon in awhile. I could make a whole blogpost about this show. Where was it when I was 14?? Where was it when metal was even more popular than today? THIS SHOW IS AWESOME. A show where a metal band [sometimes] kills their own fans? Every band member is a cliche. It’s just hilarious. HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • PowerPuff Girls – we’re still watching unwatched episodes, usually with Kipp: S5 & S6. We’re still not done. Back in the day, this was one of the best superhero cartoons, and also one of the best comedy cartoons (since it is “superhero comedy”, like “The Tick” or “Stripperella”). We did watch the series finale, which was a musical episode featuring Jack Black. Kipp swore it was the singer from Jesus Christ Superstar until we saw the final credits.
  • Simpsons, The – all episodes. This show jumped the shark a long time ago, but is still completely worth watching, and completely better than 99% of live shows out there. At least once per season they have an episode that makes me laugh out loud over 10 times. Now remembering which episode that was may proove to be a challenge.
  • South Park – all episodes. strong as ever. The parody-of-Scientology-episode-episode in response to Isaac Hayes leaving was hilarious. They banned an episode, and made another one that was almost the exact same episode, but without any mention of scientology. ALL HAIL XENU!!!!!!
  • Tripping The Rift – every ep (both seasons) – excellent ADULT sci-fi animated comedy. Futurama was the closest thing to this series. The jokes in this series weren’t as clever or as fast-paced as Futurama, but they were definitely more adult, crude, lewd. Too bad they had to change Six’s voice in the 2nd season; I guess Gina Gershon was “too big” to “stay with a cartoon”. Evan said this was his favorite show at some point, and I don’t blame him for that opinion! I never watched it when it was on, but it was a great series to burn through in 2-3 weeks on dvd! Great series.
  • Monkey Dust: Clint needed to watch the Series Finale it again — good 18-ep british sketch DARK DARK DAAAAAAARK animated comedy
  • SeaLab 2021: Gert pre-pilot (1995) – totally different the the normal pilot. Different voices, characters with different names, totally wack, very very very strange and surreal to see this after watching all of SeaLab 2021.
  • Gargoyles – S1 dvd extras. After actually going to a Gargoyles convention (and smelling like campfire while everyone else smelled like hotel room), the least we can do is watch the dvd extras, which include the original series pitch (which we saw Greg Wiseman show us in person, but definitely nice to have our own copy).

LIVE SHOWS:

  • 24 – all S5 eps, and the S6 10-minute prequel. Best hour-long non-superhero drama ever. Yes, I consider anything with a superhero to be a separate genre.
  • Arrested Development – awww, over already?! damn you, fox! Great show!!! Quirky!! But obviously, anything that doesn’t have a laugh track is destined to fail because Americans can only laugh when told to.
  • Office, The – probably the most consistent “laugh out loud” sitcom on TV today, and the only one I actively subscribe to anymore. BEST AWKWARD HUMOR. Steve Carell is amazing. This series is truly a must-see for everyone who’s ever held a job.
  • Smallville – superhero drama at its best, this season was definitely an improvement over the shark-jumping previous season. They no longer have the Buffy-esque side-plot (written by a Buffy writer!) of Lana being possessed by an old french witch. That really had nothing to do with the original legend of Superman. Now the show seems to have taken a turn back to the strong character development between Clark & Lex & Lana, as well as using more plots that are considered part of the Superman canon, such as the ‘zoners’ from the phantom zone coming to earth (much like in the Christopher Reeve’s Superman 2–I think it was 2.)
  • That 70’s Show – it jumped the shark with Eric left. It limped along one more season. It died. It was time. This was a great show, but like all sitcoms, they eventually descend into soap operas, just like Friends did. However, unlike Malcolm In The Middle, this series finale was actually good. I love it when a show goes out well.
  • Malcolm In The Middle – every episode. Now it’s over. The series finale was not as good as it should have been. Will miss the MILF too. This was the show that I always hated to love. When I thought of my opinion, I would be like, “Meh, why do I keep watching that show?” But then, everytime I watched it, it was really twisted, and made me laugh out loud. A lot. I think I was ashamed of myself for enjoying this show so much. But I’m glad it was over, I’d really had enough. The finale sucked.
  • Weeds – Season 1 – certainly an interesting show, and damn is Mary-Louise Parker hot. This show touched on all kinds of aspects of American Culture that are completely unmentioned in other series. It’s a good show, and more importantly, it’s a unique show. And the theme song? Insane.
  • Firefly – Not really a series, but we saw the Serenity movie, which FINALLY provided excellent closure to the Firefly series! This was a treat. Shame we had to wait so long for it.
  • Frasier – all 265 episodes – this was our default show to watch from mid-January til early-June. Yes, you heard it right…. We spent half the year watching Frasier. ALL episodes. EVERY season. (There’s 11.) Back to back. 1, 2, 3, sometimes 4 or 5 a night. But there were 265. Even if you could watch 2 a night, 5 nights a week, it would still take 26.5 weeks, or half a year. HEY! That’s about how long it took us! I used to think this show as incredibly overrated and undeserving of an Emmy. That’s because it aired when I was aged 20-30. Now that I am 12 years older than when it started, I can appreciate the sublte nuances of a lot of the humor. I thought the show was very banal previously, but actually it is just dry. I realized recently that most humor is dry, and that by only being interested in LAUGH OUT LOUD comedy like Beavis & Butt-head, that I was actually missing a lot of comedy out there. We decided to give Frasier another chance. We took a lot of flak for watching this. I’ve never had more people frown when I told them what we were watching, as when we told people it was Fraiser. Quite honestly, this is a good show with good characters. Uptight snobs as characters let you see how uptight snobs respond to situations. I don’t associate with many uptight snobs, so it’s very funny to hear people talk about “pate” and “wine club” and to see how they react to things such as marijuana brownies, guns accidentally going off, sleeping with your brother’s ex-wife, and all kinds of interesting situations. And Bebe Neuworth is so frickin’ hot, they should have had her in every episode. Oooh Lillith!
  • Facts Of Life – #13 (last half) – Molly Ringwald was a regular? Helen Hunt was a guest?!?! Main characters smoke pot?!?! Tootie buys *3* bongs. Pot referred to as “grass” and “dope”?? I had no idea they had drugs on TV back then! Funny stuff. They used bongs as vases and put flowers in them, because they had no idea.
  • Twilight Zone: Terror At 20,000 ft (with William Shatner) – everybody has to see this at least once in their life, Carolyn … “I saw something! On the wing!”. This was the only TZ ep we watched in its entirety:
  • Twilight Zone: every episode ever (1960s *and* 1980s series). We just skimmed a bit to get a feel of the plot for each episode. 10% of episodes we watched more than half of. 10% of episodes we watched only 2 minutes of. 80% of episodes we watched somewhere in between 2 and 11 out of 22 minutes. :) This took a LOOOOOONG time. Every evening for……..
  • Greatest American Hero – skimmed some dvd extra interviews, skimmed many episodes, and watched most of ‘Greatest American Heroine’, the post-finale movie…. HOLY CHRIST Connie Seleca was hot!!!!!!!!! I got ‘sucked’ into many episodes that I was just-trying-to-skim because I found myself seeking parts of the episodes featuring Connie. You don’t see women that have that type of hotness on TV as much.
  • M*A*S*H – last 12 minutes of the last episode ever — all the ‘goodbyes’ from characters to each other .. Yay, free closure without the investment of watching 265 episodes! It felt great to just watch the last 12 minutes :)
  • Newhart (1980s) – Series Finale – (Darryl & Darryl talk!! “QUIET!”, they say! It’s all a dream!). Plus, I skimmed every episode of the series, ever. They aren’t available on DVD.
  • Dream On – S3E2

CARTOONS, LAME:

  • bits of Saturday Supercade (1983) – horrible Donkey Kong Jr 10-min cartoonDonkey Kong felches Mario ... God help us all. However, watching the cartoon did provide us with the picture of Donkey Kong felching Mario (see right)!
  • He-Man & She-Ra – A Christmas Special (1985) (44m28s) (a group of people collectively decided to watch this during the holidays… got 2/3rds of the way thru, FF’ed to the end…. ugh. “Looks like you need your nails trimmed!” was He-Man’s best line, delivered to some dragon-like monster with claws.)

SPECIALS:

  • Best Of Banned From TV 3 (33m30s)
  • Best TV Shows That Never Were – This was great!! Awesome clips from incredibly cheezy failed pilots – a talking dog that is a cop, clips of “Heat Vision & Jack” with Jack Black (I have that pilot, it is excellent, but unsuitable for closeminded American audiences) — Mostly, this special was amazingly horroble stuff, and it was good for humanity that most of these shows were never created!

REALITY TV:

  • Kenny Vs. Spenny – already reviewed HERE. This was the only “reality” show we watched. It’s a copmetition between two bestfriends – a wuss, and an asshole. See review for more. We watched all of S1, some of S2, and all of S3 as they come out (still airing in Canada).
  • Tom Green webovision Steve-O appearance – “that guy was pathetic”, says Carolyn. Steve-O is puffing nitrous every 5 seconds and is INCREDIBLY wasted the entire time. The webcast was over 2 hrs, we watched 20 min or so (various points throughout, incl the end)… It was more than enough. Steve-O with snot dripping out of his freshly-puked-from face laying on the ground hugging Tom Green was plenty disturbing enough. There’s a reason this wasn’t on television.
  • Body Doubles – International Twins Search (38m42s) – skimmed 10-20min or so. I mean, who could resist checking out tons of hot identical twins?!? The top 4 were AMAZING. Truly. The power of twos is amazing. I can’t get over how hot they were.
  • Felony Fights – just amateur videos of street brawls, interspersed with porn nude starlets to divert your testosterone-generated energy from violence back to the norm (sex)

GAMESHOWS:

Starcade – Q-Bert,Star Trek,Pole Position, Burger Time, Millipede (just watched the game matches) – a video game show where people play actual arcade games to win? Only in the 1980s! Only in the 80s…

Also, I skimmed part of the “Primetime Price As Right“, which was NOT hosted by Bob Barker, which failed pretty quickly. It was a VHS from the 1970s, and it was interesting how much prices, clothing, and people have changed since.

SHORTS:
MANY MANY, including but not limited to:

  • H. Jon Benjamin clips
  • Howard Stern: Carmen Electra sits on a Sybian
  • Andrew Dice Clay – Howard Stern appearance – interesting to see them resolve their 10-year fued that I never knew about
  • Hard Gay – Bug Hunt, + something at Eli’s – “Hard Gay” is this hilarious Japanese talk show character who dresses up in leather and acts utterly ridiculous….. “Say! Say! Say!”
  • Don Herztfeld – Lily & Jim 13min – amusing
  • Japanese Rube Goldberg Devices – 12min – amazing. The Way Things Were still tops this, of course, with a 30-minute Rube Goldberg device. But Rube Goldberg devices are awesome.
  • William Shatner – sings ‘My Way’ to George Lucas at his Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony (4m30s) – haha, lots of Star Trek vs Star Wars references
  • D&D parody: Summoner Geeks funny machinma making fun of D&D dorkism
  • Possessed Cat – “Burger & Fries” – on my YouTube favorites; I’ve never seen a cat make a noise like this before….
  • TimeCube – TechTV – Unscrewed – Gene Ray appearance (5m48s) (LQ) – Gene Ray is back! After me and my friends personally emailing him, making fun of him, and then sending his replies to the rest of each other, it’s nie to know that Gene Ray is still going around trying to explain how the earth is a cube with 4 days happening simultaneously, and how “you are educated stupid” if you don’t believe this. I thought he was a crazy Asian, but he’s actually a crazy white redneck. http://www.TimeCube.com for more info. If you can call it that. The site is purely insane.

For other lists of what we watched in various years, click HERE.