Seven times TV shocked me in 2012
After calling that Elena would become a vampire at the end of the third season of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and after correctly predicting a plot thread and its outcome on ‘Sons of Anarchy’, I started to wonder if TV could surprise me anymore.
Had I watched so much TV that nothing was novel? Had I just stopped thinking as a viewer and instead thought as a writer? Was I a jaded and cynical shell of my former self? Instead of answering those scary questions, I took a different route and came up with a list of things that did surprise me.
7. The CW cancels ‘The Secret Circle’
As a fan of the late show, I faithfully tuned in every week after ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – after I’d written my review, of course. I thought the two shows paired well together, and not just because they were both shows based on a series of books by the same author. They were both rooted in the supernatural with young, pretty casts – and hey, look how well that turned out for TVD! It’s the most popular show on the network! Every week I tuned in because I enjoyed the characters and the actors who portrayed them (Phoebe Tonkin, holla!), and the story of ‘The Secret Circle’ was interesting in a Pretty People With Powers and Problems kind of way. Even though it turned into ‘The Secret Circle of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ towards the end, the show was still fun to watch – and Chris Zylka’s deep V-necks were certainly not displeasing to the eye. Now, I wasn’t as deeply invested in TSC as I was ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but it was only a season in – there were kinks, just like any other show. But I suppose that was the problem – not enough people were deeply invested in the show. Apparently the ratings were slipping – I blame John Blackwell’s uber lame introduction and unfortunately stupid plotline – but I would not have guessed the show would be canceled after one season. In fact, the show I thought would end up getting the axe was my other favorite freshman show on The CW – ‘Hart of Dixie’. When it was renewed, I gasped out of pure unadulterated Wilson Bethel shirtless joy. But then came the news about TSC and it put me in a real funk. I’m still sad it’s over, because Adam was just getting interesting, and Chris Zylka in V-necks duh.
6. Jenna-Louise Coleman appears in the season premiere of ‘Doctor Who’, is actually a dalek
When it was first announced the Ponds would be departing ‘Doctor Who’, I wept for weeks. I was inconsolable. The Ponds somehow managed to weasel their way into my heart, and knowing my time with them was quickly coming to an end, I hated any and all news related to their “replacement” played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. It was announced she would be making her first appearance in the Christmas special, right after we were to say goodbye to Amy and Rory. So imagine my surprise when Jenna-Louise showed up in the season premiere playing a character named Oswin Oswald. From what I’d pieced together through Tumblr and the rest of the Internet, I knew the character she was supposed to play was to be called Clara. So it was all very confusing when she showed up as Oswin. But even more surprising was that I LIKED her. Now, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not at all surprising; I have liked every companion of the Doctors – even Martha, who sometimes gets the short stick because she happened to be the person who followed Rose. But because I was so dead set on hating her for not being Amy and Rory, it was uncomfortable when I was instantly drawn to the character of Oswin. It was even more uncomfortable when it was revealed she was a dalek. I was sad and confused all at once. How could she be the new companion if she’s a Dalek? How could she be so much fun? How could Moffat keep her appearance a secret? I felt so used. I felt betrayed. I felt like I usually feel after Steven Moffat gets hold of brain – a big pile of goo without the ability to think. And I loved it.
5. ‘Teen Wolf’ is actually a good show
When I heard MTV was making the show, I thought, “Well, that’s going to be a piece of garbage.” But then everyone on the Internet was obsessed with it. I kept hearing about some guy named Stiles. I kept seeing gifs of the show. I kept seeing photos of Colton Haynes’ abdominal muscles. Now, just for the record, I’m not obsessed with half the things the Internet is. One Direction? Hi, I’m 25. I’ve been there and done that (BSB FOREVER). Glee? Over it. Chris Colfer? Ehhh. They’re just not my thing. But there was something that told me I had to watch this show (that something looks a lot like Price Peterson). So I opened up my laptop, I clicked my Netflix bookmark and started streaming the show. And. I. Was. Hooked. Stiles Stilinski? Quite possibly my spirit animal. Colton Haynes’ abs? Yes, please! Holland Roden? On my list of favorite gingers. The first season was good, but the second season was great. The show took on more meat in the second season and rounded out the cast with more werewolves, a reptile creature of death and doom, and some weird creepy guy with a camera. AND COLONEL TIGH. When Michael Hogan was introduced as Allison’s grandfather, I knew that I was dead in the water. And I knew that I was not going to escape this show. Not even the ridiculous size of Allison’s hair could keep me from this show. I’m upset that Colton Haynes isn’t returning for the third season, but even without Jackson, this show still has a season pass on my DVR. The only thing wrong with the show is that I have to wait so long for the third season.
4. Rory Gilmore goes topless on ‘Mad Men’
I can’t even talk about it. I’m still trying to purge the memory of it from my brain.
3. Toby appears to be working with A on ‘Pretty Little Liars’
Sue me, I really like ‘Pretty Little Liars’. It’s a fun show with pretty people, hilarious fashion and an interesting central mystery. The show’s target demographic is the teen girl demo, but there is a lot to like about the show even for those of us outside those limits. When you take into consideration the show has stolen several plot points from the late ‘Twin Peaks’, you’ll realize it’s more than just a teen girl show. Sure, sometimes it’s implausible and ridiculous – and I don’t mean Aria’s wardrobe, though it almost always is implausible and ridiculous – but there’s enough drama and intrigue to keep viewers interested. The idea that these four girls have so many secrets that they have to take on a stalker murderer themselves, without police intervention, baffles me, but nonetheless, I can’t stop watching the show. When Mona was revealed to be A, you knew that there was more to the story. There’s no way one person is A, there’s just too many places A has to be at once for it to be one person. But the reveal that Toby is seemingly working with Mona and the A Team, broke my heart. Toby, who is one of my favorite boyfriends on the show (shout out to Ezra Fitz, my number one boyfriend!), would not have been the person I thought would be working against the girls. I have a theory that he’s giving off the appearance of working with A in order to get closer to finding out who A is and to protect Spencer and the rest of the gang, but I was still shocked into silence when I saw his face under the black hoodie. Here’s hoping that when the show returns, we’ll find out he’s a double agent and I can go back to doodling Spencer + Toby Forever in my notebook.
2. Alaric turns evil, dies, turns more evil and dies again on ‘The Vampire Diaries’
I don’t know if anyone could have predicted that Alaric Saltzman, friend, brother and parental figure to our heroine, would become the Big Bad of the third season. The show is known for pulling the rug out from under its viewers, but even the most cynical viewers could not have seen that one coming. His death? Yes. That could have been foretold. Every person Elena loves dies, so when Alaric died, it was incredibly sad but not completely surprising (In fact, I was surprised Alaric even made it to the end of season three. I thought for sure he was going to die in the middle of season two once Klaus left his body. Needless to say, I was very happy when that didn’t happen). The twist that he had a split personality, however, was shocking. The idea that every time he died with the Gilbert ring on, Esther was on the other side turning him evil was a brilliant piece of storytelling. Even more brilliant was having him be responsible for the town murders, including the attack on Caroline’s father who ended up dying and choosing not to become a vampire. When Alaric went to die alone, I ugly cried. I mean, I really did. It was not pretty. But then at the last minute it seemed like there was a way out – Alaric became a vampire. I immediately thought of how Damon and Alaric could continue their bromance for eternity. I was so happy. Unfortunately, Julie Plec crushed those dreams when it was revealed that when Alaric became a vampire, good Alaric was lost forever and the only thing left was the vampire hating vampire killing machine. It was rather poetic that he was a vampire created to kill the Original vampires, but in the end, when Elena died, so too did Alaric. And so did a piece of my heart. I keep waiting for him to show up as Ghost Advisor to the Gang, and perhaps he still might, but until that day, I’ll just have to be happy knowing he’s hanging around Damon, just as sad and miserable as the elder Salvatore.
1. Opie dies on ‘Sons of Anarchy’
I’ve already written extensively about the death of Ryan Hurst’s Opie on ‘Sons of Anarchy’, but his death literally brought me to tears of the wailing, snotty sort. Opie was a fan favorite (I named my car after him!). He was a pillar of quiet strength and a loyal brother to Jax, and I thought that he’d be standing next to him until the end. I just didn’t realize it was his end, not the end of the show. Even now, thinking about the episode in which he was murdered fills me with sadness and rage, and I suppose that’s a sign of good storytelling. When a character’s death affects the viewers the way Opie’s did, you know that you’ve done something right. Would Tig’s death have affected the viewer the way Opie’s did? No. And it wouldn’t have affected Jax the way it needed to. Opie’s death was necessary to launch Jax into the final act. He needed a catalyst for his transformation into Clay. He needed to be filled with anger and sadness so that he could become the savage that the story necessitated. Even understanding all of this, I’ll still never get over having watched that final blow to the head. I’ll never be able to erase that horrific image from my mind. And I’ll probably never watch that episode again. RIP Ope.
Note: Photos courtesy of The CW, FX, BBC, and MTV.