Jan 18

The Inaugural FreakyTrigger TV Poll: 35 – 25

Do You See7 comments • 786 views

disposable-heroes-of-hiphoprisy-michael-franteHi I am Michael Franti and I am here to present the first ever FreakyTrigger TV Poll. Now some of you might remember me, and my clumsily named band, The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy and my opinion the Television was The Drug Of The Nation. You may not remember our follow-up hits, Don’t Sit So Close You’ll Go Blind, and Your Eyes Will Go Square They Will. Well even so I have realised that it isn’t the TV that is the problem, and so I have returned with the band for a whole new album called Tiny Mobile Phone Screens – The Opiate Of The Masses and will be making hot takes about millenials bumping into things whilst using their mobile phones in a toilet venue near you soon.

Thanks Michael, nice Spearhead – I mean big toe. So here are the first set of results. The TV vote was a lot more spread out than the Movie one, which had the upshot that under our methodology (you had to get two votes) only 35 TV shows actually qualified. And down the bottom they scraped by on a few votes each. Here are the first 11, so I might get this done in three lists (I have a film list to do too you know).

35: Grace And Frankie
Basically its The Odd Couple (the hippy and the straight one), given a little bit of a fillip by its overarching sit, Grace and Frankie’s husbands have both left them to be together as a couple. This inflects much of the action of the first season, but by the time the third one came around, it had found a groove which was about these women having a friendship based on shared trauma. Jane Fonda touches on some of her own screen history here, but it is Lily Tomlin who reminds you wnat a great comic presence she is. Very Mum friendly.

34: Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
I liked the idea of Wet Hot American Summer (a summer camp movie with adults playing many of the kids roles in an absurdist pitch) more than the execution, though it has its lovers. I actually thought Wet Hot American Summer: The First Week Of Camp (where the same cast do a prequel about ten years later) was much funnier. And then this, it catches up ten years, though everyone is still obviously way too young, or even too famous. It has that giddy vein of absurdist humour where if you are in the right mood it will be perfect for you, but only if you are willing to go with it.

32= Star Trek: Discovery
Or, Star Trek Disco as this scene below suggests. Its not you Dad’s Star Trek this, for good and for bad. Set before the original series, this gets seriously DARRRRKKKK, seriously silly in places and has infuriated many people. But as a different way of doing a highly serialised wartime Star Trek it is entertaining and having a viewpoint character not be a captain is also interesting (having her as Spock’s hithertoo never mentioned adopted elder sister pretty much highlight some of the bad stuff here). But worth it to know rap versions of Stayin; Aline will be around forever.

32= Riverdale
The Archie comics but DARRRRRKKKK. A lot of fun of had taking the all American cheese of the Archie relationship comics and implanting a bit of Twin Peaks DNA, and a thoroughly inappropriate murder mystery. Its a soap, but one which is knowing about its teen milieu, but not usually in an annoying way. And as all versions of Archie must always do – Archie himself is an absolute dick.

31: Brooklyn 99
There have been very few successful cop TV comedies, and this is no Thin Blue Line. It has the Michael Schuur generosity of spirit built into it, a properly diverse cast and whilst it is probably sillier than it should be it has managed to make Andy Samberg a genuinely pleasant screen presence, which ten years ago on SNL seemed impossible.

29= Legion
Bonkers X-Men sort of spin-off which has one of the broader X-Men conceits at its heart, a man who believes he is hallucinating his super-powers, actually has them. But is still a but unhinged. The opening episode set the tone that anything can happen and Dan Stevens, and particularly Aubrey Plaza’s performances maintain that air.

29= iZombie
The little Zombie procedural that could runs full bloodedly into its third series and the complexities of the zombie underground, the zombie para-military and the zombie truthers threatened to knock the case of the week (and the brain of the week) out of the spotlight. But its conceit (our zombie takes on personality traits of the brains she eats) is too good to squander and we get Rose McIver channelling a dominatrix, a D&D dungeon master and a Jackass-esque internet stunt guy, and ended its season throwing all the cards in the air.

26= RuPaul’s Drag Race
2017 was season nine of Drag Race, and there are two more coming, which really does cement the show as one of the few actual successes of the competitive reality TV show era. Partially because it leans into the competition without being nasty, partially because the low stakes of the show are completely belied by the high energy of the participants. But fundamentally RuPaul is the star and lends the show its class, grace and sense of humour – very few reality shows lean as heavily, or as successfully, as Drag Race does on RuPaul – and it is absolutely worth it (note I haven’t actually watched it since season three, but I assume this is still the case)

26= Broad City
Abby and Illiana and sex and drugs and New York City (and one episode in Florida). Again another sitcom well settled into its routines maintaining its stride, as probably the most sex positive show on TV right now.

26= Black Mirror
This squeaked in by virtue of the fourth season being released just after Christmas and the fact that with streaming things, especially anthology shows, have a very long tail. So is this for the sweet Hang The DJ, the sour USSS McCalister or more likely people still on a high a year after San Junipero aired. Who knows?

25: Game Of Thrones
This was the season that overtook the books, and realised it was only about twenty episodes away from concluding. So perhaps it went off the rails, perhaps it jumped a shark or two (it certainly introduced high speed travel across Westeros). But winter has pretty much come now, and Jon Snow still knows nothing and the mother of dragons babies have grown up and – gritty high camp drama is pretty much solidified its reputation by now. Let’s see if they can stick the (Kings) landing.

The next twelve or so shows coming soon. In the meantime use the comments to tell everyone why all of these shows are rubbish.


  1. 1
    Mark M on 28 Jan 2018 #

    Interesting. I voted for none, but only because Brooklyn 99 slipped my mind. Of the rest, I watched one episode of Riverdale and wasn’t very taken with it, and two episodes of Broad City, which made me think ‘I’m way, way too old for this.’

    So I guess the question is whether further up the list there’s more a sense of ‘this is the TV of the moment’, rather than ‘there’s now such as super-abundance of TV we can all have our individual shows that we love and nobody else has heard of’. (NB, for what it is worth,I have heard of all the shows so far).

  2. 2

    lol yes, almost all the shows i’ve been diligently enjoying all year — some serious and some trashy, almost all subtitled — were apparently voted for by NOBODY ELSE (so i will write them up separately)

  3. 3
    Steve Mannion on 28 Jan 2018 #

    I’m fairly squeamish regarding the psycho-trauma of Black Mirror and haven’t seen all of the new series but I probably liked the black and white one with Maxine Peake the most although as a basic homage (to a dozen or more things) it trod water.

    Game of Thrones tipped its scales substantially towards the supernatural/fantasy spectacle side after years of struggling to accommodate this in a way that satisfied me but despite so many kill-offs threw the baby out with the bathwater somewhat when it came to pacing and preparation for such pivotal events that had been anticipated by many more or less since the show began. Still so many people, places and predicaments, so little time.

    Broad City was a little too sweet and simple at times for me compared to previous seasons but the reasoning behind this I’m still sympathetic to. The mushroom trip episode is worth seeing for some intense psychedelic animation by Mike Perry.

  4. 4
    Andrew Farrell on 29 Jan 2018 #

    Much as with the movie poll, I’m regretting not voting now I’ve seen Legion’s placing. I feel a little worse because #29 is far too low, but a little better because #29 is far far too low, and so my ballot alone wouldn’t, I imagine, have taken it to the top 5 where it belongs.

  5. 5
    Cumbrian on 30 Jan 2018 #

    I didn’t vote either and would have voted for Legion, and probably pretty high up my ballot too. Episode 7 by itself would have got it on my ballot, to be honest (the one with the silent movie homage, the Bolero sequence, and, frankly, the explanation of what had been going on in the previous 6 episodes that as a non-comic book reader, I’d struggled to 100% get). Chuck in the variety of other sequences of visual wit and I thought it was amongst the best things I’ve seen in quite some time – never mind in 2017.

    There’s so much TV now, on so many platforms, that I have seen little of the rest of this section of the list; though I always enjoy Brooklyn 99 when I see it, I’m not tuning in for new episodes frequently and don’t have whichever service allows you to watch the back episodes. GoT was mostly disappointing I thought, but had just enough moments which meant I’d probably have snuck it on the bottom of my ballot (Diana Rigg’s death scene in particular was excellent – killing off your best actors and leaving the stage to Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke is a bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off).

  6. 6
    Pete Baran on 4 Feb 2018 #

    Andrew, the bottom 20 have about 20 in it points wise, so it totally would have taken Legion top ten.

  7. 7
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