5 Favorites of 2009: Gerald Brennan

Top five TV Series

I’m married with two young kids. It’s a great life, but I don’t get out as much as I used to. So I tend to watch more TV than I would like to admit. Luckily, there’s some seriously great stuff out there (so long as you avoid the prime time reality crap). This year, between DVD box sets and TV repeats, I’ve caught up on a lot of those shows that are probably old news to many of you, but they’re shiny and new to me. Here’s my top five:

Sopranos season 6

The final season in the epic tale of Tony Soprano and his two families. It caught a lot of flak for the ending, but really I found it pretty satisfying. Well, after I checked the DVD for scratches. They didn’t waste much time with the old fade to black routine did they? Of course, if they do a seventh series, I’d watch it…

The Wire season 2

Wow! And I thought the Irish could drink. These Baltimore dock workers are frickin’ hardcore. Of course, McNulty, the Irish American cop, did his bit for the old green white and gold. He drank more Jameson than a Ken Bruen character. The story was a slow burner, but if you’ve got patience and an ear for street patois, this one’s a winner.

Life on Mars season 1

This one surprised the hell out of me. The premise was a bit, I don’t know, dodgy…? I kind of expected a cross between Doctor Who and The Bill, which is fine if you’re a fan of either show. I’m not. But the stories, sets and characters (especially DCI Gene Hunt) were brilliant. I’ll be on the look out for season 2 and the spin off series, Ashes to Ashes.

Single Handed seasons 1, 2 and 3

Set in Connemara, Ireland, this police procedural drama was as gritty as any of the hard boiled fiction I’ve read this year. Horrible family secrets, murder and mayhem… and that’s the good guy’s story. You’ll think twice before committing a crime in a sleepy Irish village after watching this one. These Guards are a lot sharper than they let on.

Dirt season 1

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t strictly crime fiction, but there are crimes committed and investigative journalism is only a step away from private investigation, if you ask me. Courtney Cox gives an amazing performance as Lucy Spiller, a career focussed cold-hearted bitch in charge of a tabloid magazine. And her schizophrenic paparazzi photographer, Don Konkey (played by Ian Hart), is one of my favourite characters of all time.

And there you have it, my top five for 2009. Honourable mentions go out to Dexter, Oz and Brotherhood, all of which fell outside the criteria as they were watched in 2008. Here’s to more quality viewing in 2010.

Gerard Brennan is an emerging Northern Irish writer. When he is not tinkering with a novel, screenplay, stage play or short story he runs Crime Scene NI, a blog devoted primarily to Irish crime fiction. He is represented by Allan Guthrie of Jenny Brown Associates.

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