Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The 2014 Coven Awards - A Year in Review

* This would have been the 9th, but we weren't around for the ends of 2011, 2012 & 2013.

Well, this should be easier than usual as we haven't actually been blog-active for the whole year. Some may call us lazy, but we would just reply "it takes one to know one"!
 Shall we get started then? As usual, I've been lumbered with presenting the awards. 
Probably because we took the time to watch all those telly programmes and read all those bloody books.
Yes, and I shall recap our blog prowess over the year.
Good one, Witchface! Less work for us!
Let's get started then: On with the show!

January: We started the year as we meant to go on, except we didn't. Mean to go on, that is. We published the final issue of wwwWOW! with the intention of shutting up shop. Sadly for you poor, disillusioned readers, we reneged on our promise. Ha!

February: We're closed.

March: Bugger off!

 Well, that was an easy first quarter, wasn't it?!
Oh, hush up and get on with the awards.
 Fine. Here we go then:

 First up we have the award for Televisual Treats. We've had to split this into five different categories as the shows we've watched this year have been so different in terms of concept and content.
• Supernatural: Dracula; Grimm; In The Flesh; Penny Dreadful ~ First to fall is Grimm mainly due to the stupidity and woodeness of main character Nick Burkhardt. Dracula is next to go for its ridiculous sexiness. In The Flesh almost made it to the winner's podium but it's just a little too bleak, which means the winner is the stylish, mysterious and emotional Penny Dreadful!

• Comedy: Benidorm; Harry Hill's TV Burp; Modern Family; Miranda; The Middle ~These shows are funny in different ways, but for sheer performance and out-and-out laughs, the winner has to be Miranda!
• Drama: Looking; Olive Kitteridge ~ Sorry Gay Boys, if you were a bit more likeable you could have nabbed this award from Olive.
 Psssst! Dom? I'll see you later!
• BBC: The Great British Sewing Bee; Strictly Come Dancing; Strictly: It takes Two; Octonauts (Yeah, this surprised me too, but I suppose it's to be expected when one has a 20 month-old niece. Besides, the episodes I saw were teaching kids about yeti crabs at hydrothermal vents and immortal jellyfish, amongst other obscure sea creatures - What other children's show does that?!) ~ If it wasn't for the annoying Tess Daly and the even more annoying voting public, Strictly Come Dancing would have won.


 Instead, the winner is Strictly: It Takes Two presented by the hilarous Zoe Ball and (on Wednesdays) the rather alluring Ian Waite.

• Sci-Fi: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Arrow; Doctor Who; The Flash ~I surprised myself by watching Doctor Who this year - not every episode, mind, but most of them. I was just curious as to whether an older Doctor would be less irritating, as David Tennant and Matt Smith I found to be pretty much unbearable. I'm pleased that I did give it a go as Peter Capaldi's Doctor, while condescending and irrascible, is very watchable. Add in the (mostly) clever and thoughtful stories, the marvellous chemistry of the actors, and the always brilliant Michelle Gomez as The Mistress, and we have a clear winner!

We haven't gone in for much in the way of new music this year. Instead, we've mostly fallen back on new releases from old favourites: Wanderlust, by Sophie Ellis-Bextor; Do It Again, by Röyksopp & Robyn; Running to the Sea/Something in my Heart, by Röyksopp, featuring Susanne Sundfør/Jamie McDermott; and Hush, by The Limousines (the only new artist we've taken note of).

 While Röyksopp and Robyn have done no wrong, the delightful Sophie E-B has easily trounced them with her fifth studio album Wanderlust! My particular favourite tracks are: "Birth of an Empire", "Young Blood", "13 Little Dolls", and "Love is a Camera".

 In the running for Best Book are: Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett; The Collectors, by Christopher L. Bennett; Get Off The Unicorn, by Anne McCaffrey; Second Nature & Point of Divergence, by David Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs; The Woman Who Died A Lot, by Jasper Fforde; The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter; Not the Royal Wedding, edited by Sean Hardie & John Lloyd; Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples.

 Ooh, this is another difficult one as all are clever, well written and engaging, so I've decided that I'm only going to choose from books that I first read this year. That means we say goodbye to possibly my favourite book of all time: Good Omens, along with Get Off The Unicorn and Not the Royal Wedding. The three Star Trek books are next to go, despite featuring a Borg-assimilated Tyrannosaurus Rex and a sexily arrogant unjoined Trill (The Collectors and Second Nature/Point of Divergence, respectively). Closely following them are The Long Earth and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which leaves (the as yet unfinished) Saga and The Woman Who Died A Lot (our introduction to Thursday Next) as joint winners!

 We do love a sleek starship, so this year we've added this category to acknowledge the sleekest! Four contenders fight for the crown, including the surprise Saber-class entry which narrowly pipped the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E to the final line-up.

 The Excelsior-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B (designed by John Eaves for Star Trek Generations); The Saber-class USS Peterson NCC-61815 (redesigned by D. M. Phoenix for the 2015 Ships of the Line calendar); The Akira-class USS Thunderchild NCC-63549 (designed by Alex Jaeger for Star Trek: First Contact); and the Vesta-class USS Aventine NCC-82602 (designed by Mark Rademaker for Pocket Books)

The Enterprise-B, Peterson, Thunderchild and Aventine vogue for the camera
 The winner is the handsome yet elegant Enterprise-B - our perennial favourite!

April: We couldn't bare it any longer and made a triumphant return to brass fanfares, ticker-tape parades, street parties and an international holiday was declared!
 That wasn't for us.
 All that stuff. It wasn't for us!
Well, who was it for, then?
 Will & Kate. It was the Royal Wedding anniversary.
Oh. What did we get, then?
 Nothing really. A few comments for our Monsters Under the Bed, and monstrous Easter Egg posts, and that's it.
Huh. I don't know why we bothered, then.

May: Svaathor Da Vijs assisted the Ladies of Lily's Tearoom remove a nymph from their dishwasher; we tried an Infomaniac House of Beauty diet; and survived a swarm of bees amongst other things.

June: Arcane Aerial Conveyancing and almost being stabbed by Concorde were the prelude to the return of the Tin Foil Hat Competition.

We've managed to watch no fewer than eleven films newly released in 2014, but only three of which were seen at the cinema: Captain America: The Winter SoldierGuardians of the Galaxy; and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The others - The Amazing Spider-Man 2;
(Bad) Neighbo(u)rs; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Godzilla; The Grand Budapest Hotel; and Maleficent, amongst others - we watched at home courtesy of a certain satellite TV channel.

 Looking back on these films now, we picked the right ones to fork out the extra cash and see on the big screen. Having said that though, I wouldn't have minded seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Godzilla at the cinema, although a very engaging film, Dawn was rather predictable, and Godzilla a little over hyped (but still very good). The Grand Budapest Hotel was an incredible surprise - Not what I expected, but very amusing, well cast and acted, and rather stylish.

 So, the top three are the cinema-seen films. The joint runners-up are Captain America and X-Men, with top honors going to Guardians of the Galaxy - A slickly produced, funny, emotional and entertaining film.

Josh Hartnett (Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful) - Well, I've always had a thing for him ever since seeing him in The Faculty.
Murray Bartlett (Dom in Looking) - It's the Tom Selleck-alike moustache! 
Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) - There's something rather reassuring about him. 
Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) - Fun! 
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody in Godzilla) - I was transfixed by his arms.
Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy) - The attainable everyman.

 It has to be my first love: Josh Hartnett!

Bree Turner (Rosalee in Grimm)
Eva Green (Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful)
Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald in Doctor Who)
Michelle Gomez (The Mistress/Master in Doctor Who)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Miranda Hart (Miranda in Miranda)

 Ummm...  I'm a little out of my depth here. Help, anyone? 

Diggle & Felicity - Brains and brawn
FitzSimmons - Awww... I just want to squeeze them!
Rocket & Groot - A talking raccoon and a walking tree. What could be more adorable?
Ian Waite and his telestrator - There's something to be said about a man who gets his wand out in the name of daytime entertainment!
Pasha & Caroline - She's so effervescent and he's so... Pasha! Aww... Just look at his little Pasha face!
Frankie & Kevin - He calls her Frankenstein and she dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West (as you may have seen in the video from Televisual Treats, above). 

July: We flew into Cromer on Broom for tin foil; opened the Chapeau de Tin Foil gallery and announced the winner; and had a look at the Star Trek: Ships of the Line 2015 calendar.

August: We almost popped a dirigible; wanted to pop a red hot cherry; and popped over The Cusp for flying saucer-related shenanigans.

September: Castlette DeVice's gardens were opened; Inexcuseable got a new job; and we returned to the horror of 'Petra's Pudding Debacle!

This is an easy one: Without a doubt, this award goes to Josh Hartnett & Reeve Carney for their totally unexpected liaison in Penny Dreadful.
Sorry about the video - It's the best one we could find that hasn't been doctored by someone.

 Cinzano - Joan Collins & Leonard Rossiter (featuring Marina Sirtis in the last one!)

 Campari - Lorraine Chase & Jeremy Clyde

 Sorry Ms Scarlet, Joan pips Lorraine to the post here.

It's amazing what a beard can do, isn't it?
 Yes. So, here are the nominees for "Best Beard":
• Bobby Drake/Iceman (X-Men: Days of Future Past) - Turned a boy into a man.
• Grant Ward (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) - Transformed a generic, bland character into a sinister fox!
Maurice (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) - This isn't quite what I had in mind, but... Oh, well.
Faro Dastin (Second Nature) - Hang on. This is a character in a book. We don't even see him!
Yeah, but he's described. As is his beard.
 Yes, but-
And he's very proud of it. Plus he's a fox!
 That may be, but-
Moving on!
Zoe Ball (Strictly: It Takes Two) - What?! Oh, come on!
 This is the last time I let you loose in one of these award shows. Ian Waite does not need a beard!

 We had to engage in a little time-travel for this award.
Yes, it was graciously pointed out after the awards ceremony that we had allowed a glaring omission to detract from this hallowed occasion.
Even though it was omitted for the perfectly legitimate reason that it happened last year...
 But, still, this award would have made it into the 2013 Coven Awards had they actually taken place, so with some jiggery-pokery in the time-stream, we bring you this: The Most Shocking Win.
AKA: Did I Win Yet?

(from Spot the bunny)
(from Ghost gerbil)

October: Attack of the Giant Spider; another look around Castlette DeVice's gardens; Cromer on the map; harking back to Hallowe'en.

November: Well, we showed you Cromer Lighthouse and that's about it.
 Yeah, another lazy month.
Hey! Not lazy. Busy.
 Yeah, right...

December: An update; taking a look at Christmas films; 2013 review dusted off.

Thankfully, MJ has been rather slack on the Filthy Friday front this year, so researching this award hasn't been too traumatic. May I present, the Least Repulsive Filthy Friday from Friday 26th September:
 It all looks so wholesome doesn't it? I mean, apart from the strumpet with her thre'pennies out. And I'm sure that once she's poured the tea, Mother will straighten that picture and leave her son and his friend to it.

As Craig Revel Horwood is fond of pointing out on Strictly, the nominees in this category were "all a bit of a Disarrster, Darrling!"
 Now, Criminal Minds and I, Frankenstein weren't exactly disastrous, but I was expecting so much more from both of them. If this final season is anything to go by, Criminal Minds should have finished at the end of the last season. It seems to have taken several steps back and I find it all rather lacklustre. The same goes for I, Frankenstein. Even Aaron Eckhart couldn't save this awful film. To be quite honest, I can't understand why he thought it would be a good idea in the first place. 
 I hesitated to include Transformers: Age of Extinction in this category, because I knew it would be an unmitigated disaster just like its two predecessors (but not the first film),  but it failed to meet even my lowered expectations. The main problems were the shoe-horned in "Dinobots" (if one can truly call them that), and Mark Wahlberg. While his acting and character were perfectly believable, his massive arms were not. They're ridiculous! Far too distracting.
 So, we're left with a disarrster of epic proportions: Under the Dome. Terrible acting; rushed storylines; stupid, stupid townsfolk; the over-the-top evil facial expressions of Big Jim; everyone believing Evil Big Jim has changed for the better EVEN THOUGH HE CLEARLY HASN'T! Did I mention the stupidest townspeople in the history of the world? Even if I did, I'm mentioning them again: THEY ARE SPECTACULARLY STUPID!
 I was hate-watching this show during the second season (the first was pretty good), until I couldn't bear it any longer and just stopped. Ahhhhhhhhhhh...
There's no video as we just couldn't bear to give Under The Dome any more attention than we already have. 

 Another new category this year: The Most Polished Pilot.
Well, we needed something to highlight my skills astride Broom.
 Oh, yeah, and who was who nearly popped Cloudlab?
But I didn't though, did I? You know why? Skillful flying.
 Ha! Anyway, there are other contenders and other piloted contraptions, and they are nominated below:

Russell Adams/in anything he wants!
LX/a flying saucer
Ms Scarlet/the other flying saucer
• Frankie Bridge/a broom (see the first Televisual Treats video above)
• Judy Murray/a bunch of balloons

 And the winner is: Ms Scarlet!

  Well, without Connor Trinneer, the award for the sexiest Sci-Figure will have to go to one of these three: 

Faro Dastin (Second Nature) AKA "Mr Fabulous"; Marko (Saga); Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy)

 While Marko is certainly sexy and has those amazing horns (plus the cutest face), and Star-Lord is very attractive (even after being covered in orange goo), this award can only go to the awesomely ab-ed (and pec-ed, and shouldered, and armed etc) Faro Dastin as "played" by Ryan Reynolds (seen here in The Amityville Horror).
The author of Second Nature, David Mack, imagined Dastin to be portrayed by Reynolds, as evidenced by this screen cap:

So, that's it for another year.
 Review-wise, anyway.
Yeah, we're not going to disappear for a year, much as you may actually enjoy our absence!
Wow. Someone's a bit mardy.
Well, I've been slaving over this thing for days-
You're not the only one, you know!
While they're squabbling, we'll just say thank you for pandering to us for another (almost complete) year, and we'll see you soon.
 Happy New Year!


  1. That was a lot of stuff. Excellent recap!

    PS: I guess it's too late to ask if I won yet?

  2. PPS: Happy New Year!

  3. my god, aren't you exhausted? i am,
    and all i did was read it....you lived it!

    happy 2015 darling, may you continue
    to take copious notes!

  4. LX: Actually, LX, it's not too late. While you didn't win the Most Polished Pilot award, you did win something last year that would have made it into the 2013 Coven Awards had they been finished and published on time. With a bit of judicious time-travel, I should be able to insert your award into this year's review. You'd better keep your eyes open for it in the next half an our or so...

    Oh, and have a Happy New Year yourself!

    Norma: I *am* exhausted!

    Blast! I knew I should have asked for a new notebook for Christmas...

    Happy New Year to you, too!

  5. * glingle glingle *

    * POOF! *

    Ah. We're back and our time travel shennanigans seem to have worked. Although we've ended up with this h...
    We must have snagged it from our last comment on the way back.


  6. Wow, a time-traveling gerbil! Excellent work sir!


  7. I WON EVERYTHING!!!!! Well, enough to make me happy. Excuse me whilst I retire to write my acceptance speech...



  8. Happy New Year cutie!!!!!!! Shame to review the whole year and no porn review!?!? Well, you seen one.........xoxox

  9. LX: Luckily, Gerbils are quite resiliant when it comes to temporal transgressions.

    Ms Scarlet: Congratulations!

    And Happy New Year, too.

    Mistress Maddie: Happy New Year!

    Ah, the porn review was published at the same time, but under plain covers. So plain, in fact, that I can no longer find it! Oh well... As you say: ... seen 'em all!

  10. What a tremendous & exciting review. Congrats to all the winners!

    My winner for leading lady is the sultry Eva Green for her smoldering presence.

    My pick for best beard would've been Emily Rose's character Audrey Parker in Haven, whose love interest, cop Nathan Wuornos (played by Lucas Bryant), frequently spends way too much time trying to get his hands (& handcuffs) on outlaw Duke Crocker (played by Eric Balfour), to punish him for his infractions.

  11. I'm just happy I didn't have to compete against Beast this year.

    Well done, Mr. DeVice.


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