It's not too late to join in. Choose one thing from each year from 2000 to 2009, be it a Film, a TV show, a radio show, a particular episode of a TV or radio show, a piece of theatre, a book, a comic, a piece of artwork, something online or something else entirely, and then tell us what you love about it.
Here are my favourite things from the Noughties:
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Restless
Every season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer ends with an epic season finale, with one exception. The fourth season ends not with a bang, but ostensibly with a whimper. And what a fantastic whimper it is. The clash with the Big Bad is taken care of in the season's penultimate episode and the actual finale Restless is more of a coda. Having combined their energies with the essence of the first slayer in Primeval, she takes her revenge of Willow, Xander, Giles and Buffy and tries to kill them in their dreams.
The dream sequences are phenomenal, taking in Sapphic poetry, the oddest version of Death Of A Salesman, the first episode of Buffy, Oz and Tara flirting, overexposure, disjointed images, the most conspicuously off camera lesbian kiss, Anya's emphatic steering, starkly colourful lighting, French dubbing, Principal Snyder as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, continuous shots across neighbouring but disparate sets, black and white, 'the exposition song', claustrophobia alongside huge spaces, disconnected speech, "Be back before Dawn", Joyce living in the wall, Adam as a human, Surgeon General Riley's pillow fort, images in negative, a beautiful desert vista, a borrowed Tara, a false awakening and the cheese guy.
I’ve never seen dreams shown better on screen. A masterpiece.
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Spaced Series 2
I nearly wrote about another Buffy episode, The Body, here as well, but the quirky twentysomething flatsharing sitcom Spaced meant so much to me in 2001 so I had to include it. I love this show. I love each and every character. I love 23 Meteor Street. The second series reunites our favourite characters, but stretches their friendships to the limit. Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson's scripts are wonderful and the dialogue contains a plethora of film and TV references are a gift to the viewer. The editing style compliments them brilliantly and really marks this show out as different. Intelligent, surreal and always very, very funny the show manages to be both epic and intimate at the same time.
Tim and Daisy’s relationship deepens as Brian and Twist’s relationship gets shallower. Marsha gets more involved and is all the more hurt when things fall apart. The return of Tyres and Duane Benzie are welcome and the addition of Sophie tests fan loyalty. We watched the fifth episode, Gone, over and over and over again and it never got old.
It's a shame that there wasn't a third series, but if it had to end here, at least it ends on a beautiful note.
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Shamefully messed about by the broadcaster, Joss Whedon's space opera western (with Chinese swearwords) is the best missed opportunity in TV. The story of a spaceship carrying nine people, each with different loyalties and different reasons to stay aboard, somehow becoming a family. The dialogue, the characters and the Verse are all equally compelling: the Alliance, the Reavers, the smugglers and the colonists with a pioneer spirit were all brilliantly conceived. The crew are outsiders and this perspective was key to the success of the show. Everybody loves the underdog, except Fox apparently.
Each of the characters is a beautiful contradiction. Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass are uniformly fantastic and it would have been a joy to watch their adventures unfold over seven seasons or so, but it wasn’t to be. Cut down in its prime, we were left with fourteen really great episodes. Fourteen episodes that are better than any fourteen consecutive episode run of any other TV show, ever. I was beyond happy when they returned in the excellent movie Serenity, but out of necessity that is one story and we deserved hundreds.
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The Station Agent
Tom McCarthy's debut film is a comedy tinged with sadness and a confident sense of modesty. Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale and Patricia Clarkson play three characters who for one reason or another are isolated until they reluctantly find each other and then begin to enjoy each other's company. The hopeful hermit Fin and grief-stricken artist Olivia are drawn out of their chosen mundane lives by the gregarious Joe. Nothing makes me happier than when the trio are together. Every performance in this film is outstanding and has a depth beyond the dialogue. The music is wonderful and the scenes of walking, and there is a lot of walking, are beautifully shot. When the credits rolled after I first saw this film, I wanted to watch it all over again straight away.
I don't just love this film, I adore it.
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Y: The Last Man
On one day in Brian K. Vaughn's post apocalyptic comic book every mammal with a Y chromosome died, with two notable exceptions. One man and his monkey are left alone in a society of women attempting to rebuild and surrounded by male corpses. At this point the comic had been running for two years, but this is when it takes on a more playful and sinister tone. The almost manless world grows increasingly complex and cruel in this period, as the comic asks bigger and bigger "what if?" questions, takes more chances, increasingly plays with its format and is bolder with its take on gender politics. From the comedy and tragedy of Comedy And Tragedy's play within a play, via the sadomasochism of Safeword, to the big theological questions of Tongues Of Flame, a sidestep to witness Hero's Journey, before the plot surges forward in Ring Of Truth…At a point when many ongoing comic starts to flag Y: The Last Man just got better and better and better.
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Doctor Who's triumphant return
Fantastic. Doctor Who never really went away, but by crikey in 2005 it was back. It was back and it was great. The first new season in fifteen years was as good as we knew it could be: Bad Wolf, anti-plastic, bitchy trampoline, Charles Dickens, Harriet Jones MP for Flydale North's Port etiquette, the Metaltron, the Doctor's response to the question "Is a slave, a slave if he doesn't know he's enslaved?", the Tylers in the Eighties, "Are you my mummy?", Blon, Lynda with a Y, Barcelona and the new Doctor's new hand.
Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke, Simon Callow, Penelope Wilton, Simon Pegg, Shaun Dingwall, John Barrowman, Annette Badland, Jo Joyner and David Tennant are all magnificent in excellent scripts, beautifully designed and brilliantly realised. Why did we ever let it go away? It proved that Doctor Who made by fans wasn’t the inmates taking over the asylum, it was the way it needed to be and caused a boom in British SF programming. Thank you Russell T. Davies.
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Jarvis by Jarvis Cocker
I was devastated when Pulp went "on hiatus" and so when 'The Jarvis Cocker Record' was released I was one of the first in the queue. The new sound is more relaxed, the lyrics are as great as ever and featuring former band members Steve Mackey, Mark Webber, Anthony Genn and Richard Hawley it could be argued that this is a Pulp album in all but name. There are pop songs like 'Black Magic', 'Heavy Weather' and 'Fat Children' with a real momentum behind them, but it's the more introspective tracks with ballsy lyrics like 'I Will Kill Again', 'Auschwitz To Ipswitch' and 'Running The World' prove why music needs Jarvis.
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The return of the Master in Doctor Who's Utopia
I managed to avoid any spoilers during David Tennant's second season and so I had no idea that one of the best villains on television was about to return. I was completely fooled. Professor Yana seemed like nothing more than a delightfully amiable fellow wearing a pocket watch. Derek Jacobi had previously played a version of the Master in Scream Of The Shalka and so I put any thoughts of the Master appearing here out of my head, because that sort of joined up thinking just doesn't happen. And then it did and it was fantastic. I doubt my reaction was as explosive as this, but it gives you an idea. Thank you again, Russell T. Davies.
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Son Of Rambow
The coming of age story of two very different boys who try to film a tribute to Sylvester Stallone's super soldier. The Plymouth Brethren, the French exchange programme and an inattentive brother all complicate their efforts. Bill Milner and Will Poulter are fantastic as the two boys and give the film a genuine youthful zeal. Inventive and nostalgic in equal measure, this film is beautiful, imaginative, charming and full of the wonder of childhood. A very funny and very intelligent feel good film.
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This movie is amazing. It's brilliant to see a return to the claustrophobia and traditional movie making techniques of films like Alien. Sam Rockwell is fantastic, the tone of the film is wonderful and the twist in the tale is incredible. The twist is also something I'm really glad I didn‘t know about when I first sat down to watch the movie and so I'm not going to reveal any more about it here.
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Here are the details on how to take part:
• Leave your name and link on the linky below.
• Feel free to publicise the blogfest on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and post the above image on your blog if you wish.
• On the 14th of November post a favourite something for each year 2000-2009, and tell us what you love about each of them.
• Leave a comment here, so that we know that you have posted your efforts for all to see.
• Visit as many other participating bloggers as you can on the list below. Compare, contrast and comment on their choices.