Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top 10 Memorable TV Moments of 2016

After doing a list for big screen moments of 2016, it’s now the small screen’s turn.  As it was with my list for memorable movie moments, a featured moment in this list could be either positive or negative, joyful or heartbreaking, gratifying or infuriating, as long as it left a striking, “easy-to-recall” impression on me.

Honorable mentions: Battle of the Bastards (Game of Thrones); Karasuno beat Shiratorizawa for the Miyagi Prefecture Championship (Haikyuu!!); Leonad Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold’s ultimate sacrifice (Legends of Tomorrow); Dr. Stein sings “Edelweiss” (Legends of Tomorrow); Saw reference in Venture Bros.; Ash lost in the Pokemon League… AGAIN! (Pokemon)

Here’s the thing.  I didn’t enjoy the second season of Mr. Robot as much as I did its first (that’s why it didn’t make my top 20 list for 2016 TV shows, when it was the ninth placer of my 2015 list).  Season two started to feel a tad pretentious, and seemed to be delivering plot twists just for the sake of having them.  But I really liked how the episode “Man in the Trunk” started off as if it was an 80’s sitcom centered on Elliot and his family (Alf even had a cameo).  Later, it was revealed that this was simply another defense mechanism brought by Elliot’s psychosis, to detach himself from the pain of getting beaten up. Definitely more clever than “Elliot is in prison all along” twist.

GHOST FRIGGIN' RIDER!!! (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Though it’s mostly a murder mystery thriller, Erased also has a lot of poignant moments.  The most heartbreaking one is when Satoru’s mother prepared a full breakfast meal for the emotionally detached Kayo, who subsequently began crying uncontrollably, overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity shown to her.  The idea of a full breakfast – and, by extension, kindness – is something likely foreign to her, someone who has only known physical abuse her entire life.  It was a very powerful moment, and it really choked me up and made me teary eyed.  (Of course, the scene only works if you have seen the episodes leading to that, for context.) I would have loved this scene more if Satoru hugged her.

That time in Justice League Action when Toy Man captured the Justice League, took control of their bodies, and made them fight each other.  It was as if a Justice League fighting video game was made in the same style as Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom, wherein a playable character shouts the name of the move he or she is executing.  It was extremely delightful, especially the Batman vs. Superman battle, which was infinitely more fun than the one in Batman v Superman.

For a show whose plot twists are significant reasons why it’s special, Westworld’s best moment, in my opinion, is none of its revelation scenes.  It’s the terrace restaurant (or is it a café?) scene between Dr. Robert Ford (masterfully portrayed by Anthony Hopkins all throughout the season) and the park’s operations boss, Theresa Cullen.  Hopkins went full Lecter in that scene, as Ford delivers an enthralling, chilling monologue – complete with freezing all the hosts in the area and letting the wine overflow and spill for dramatic effect – to strike his point emphatically home on Cullen: regardless of the corporate hierarchy, in Westworld, he is god.

Another heartbreaking anime moment: Korosensei’s final roll call of Class 3-E in the penultimate episode of Assassination Classroom.

Lady Lyanna Mormont shaming the Lords of the North with her awesome speech, compelling them to re-swear their allegiance to House Stark and crowning Jon Snow as “King in the North.”  I’ve rewatched that scene multitude of times, and it always gives me goosebumps.  (Game of Thrones)

The DCW Universe’s mega-crossover!

Daenerys Targaryen made Tyrion Lannister the “Hand of the Queen.”  It was an immensely touching, gratifying moment – emphasized further by Peter Dinklage’s amazing acting.  After being constantly mocked for his dwarfism, after being constantly going unrecognized and unrewarded for his intellect and service to the Throne, a monarch finally showed him honor.  And not just any monarch, but the only monarch that matters – the Mother of Dragons herself.  (Game of Thrones)

The Supergirl/Flash crossover earlier in the year is far more terrific than the grander DCW crossover (see number 3).
The expression on Kara's face... GOLD!
Watching Barry and Kara adorably geeking out together with their impeccable, winning chemistry is such a delight!  (This year, they will probably top this with their upcoming, much-anticipated musical crossover!)

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