Mook Life Style: Pawn Future Kings

Everything Else

This isn’t something I’d usually write about here but I really wanted to give these guys some support because they deserve it. Growing up in Hull I often visited a clothing shop called Space. I’ve always been a massive hip-hop head and Space was one of the only shops in the area where you could get your hands on urban clothing labels and hip-hop mixtapes. Unfortunately the shop is no longer open but the owner has since established a fantastic new streetwear brand called Pawn Future Kings.

Pawn Future Kings describe themselves as being inspired by music, sport, surf culture and positive vibes, which is very evident when you look at their Autumn 2015 collection. From striking branded sweatshirts to vibrant patterned t-shirts, the new line is incredibly stylish and very high quality. With so many big names out there it can be hard to stand out from the crowd with fashionable and unique clothing but Pawn Future Kings will have you looking your best without turning you in to a high street clone.

There is a real classic, 80’s/90’s American streetwear influence in Pawn Future Kings’ designs, the bold fonts and powerful chess piece logo give the clothes a real iconic look. With a free snapback on offer when you buy 2 t-shirts, now is the time to head over to the website and get yourself looking fresh for autumn.

Check out the website to place an order and find out more.

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Reddit Round-Up April 2015

Everything Else

Here are a bunch of the best things I’ve seen on Reddit recently. The internet is a great place!

Worst day at work ever!

Found here

The fastest cop in the world.

Found here

Time to get a new bike.

Found here

Dropping a metal ball in to sand in slow motion. Strangely mesmerising.

Found here

A MASSIVE kickflip!

Found here

“What you doing?” “Just playing with my cat.”

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Just try to fit.

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Braver than your average dog.

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I’d definitely need a change of underwear after this.

Found here

If the Marvel Universe was a sitcom.

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Wrestling In .Gifs March 2015 Part 2

Everything Else

More wrestling madness! Part 1 here.

You don’t have to be insane to work for CZW but it helps.

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What was supposed to be a powerbomb in to the ring goes horribly wrong when BJ Whitmer loses his balance.

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Mr Perfect got that swagger.

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El Generico takes someone’s head off.

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More craziness from CZW.

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Aerostar descends from the heavens.

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Something very strange is going on with Stone Cold’s beer, it must be a conspiracy!

Found here

Wrestling In .Gifs March 2015 Part 1

Everything Else

Here are some of the most spectacular, brutal, funny and weird wrestling .gifs I’ve come across recently. I’ve had to split this in two as the page was loading too slowly, check the second half here. Enjoy!

Toyota showing total disregard for her own safety with a ridiculous top rope drop kick.

Found here

More madness to the outside, this time from Honma.

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Jack Evans up to his usual crazy antics.

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Mmmmm, musty.

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One of the first of many people to go through the Spanish announce table.

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Matt Sydal gets murdered by The Bullet Club.

Found here

Top 10 PWG Matches of 2014

Everything Else

PWG is my favourite wrestling company in the world right now. I love so much about it; it encompasses everything I love about wrestling, it’s impressive, technical, brutal, engaging, funny and exciting. So when it came to the end of the 2014 I wanted to celebrate how much I love PWG by putting together my favourite 10 matches of the year. It was hard to narrow it down this much because every show this year has been fantastic and always a highlight of my regular viewing schedule.

Sorry it’s been so late, I was waiting a while for the last show of the year to come out on DVD and have been a bit busy. If you love wrestling like I do then check out these matches and support the company by buying some DVDs, they deserve your money!

I have tried to keep this as spoiler free as possible for those that haven’t seen these matches but there are some obvious give aways in the BOLA match ups and title holders, so be warned.

African American Wolves vs Inner City Machine Guns (DDT4 2014)

These 4 wrestlers are some of the best high flyers on the US independent scene so when you put them together you know you’re in for a treat. This match is very fast paced with some incredible acrobatics and precisely timed spots on display. Having worked together many times before in PWG, either on the same team or in singles matches against each other, they all know each other very well and it’s evident in how good their chemistry.

Chris Hero vs Johnny Gargano vs Kyle O’Reilly vs Drake Younger (DDT4 2014)

4 of the biggest fan favourites in PWG at the time faced off with the winner earning themselves a shot at the title. The mix of styles in this match created some fantastic action; Chris Hero with his hard striking style, Jonny Gargano with his technical abilities, Kyle O’Reilly with his MMA influenced style and Drake Younger being the insane brawler. 4 way matches have a tendency to have little pacing and are just fast paced spot fests from the start (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But this match was excellently paced, starting out with holds and the process of the wrestlers getting a feel for each other, like you often see in regular one on one matches. There were also some fun spots that I’d never seen before involving all of the participants and although it got a little bit sloppy at times it’s always a joy to see something new in the ring.

Watch a preview of the show

Buy the DVD

Best Friends vs World’s Cutest Tag Team (Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘N’ Roll)

PWG frequently has some hilarious comedy segments in matches but this was probably the funniest match of the year. I don’t want to give too much away because it will spoil the surprise but the whole interaction between Chuck Taylor and Candice Le Rae is comedy genius.

Watch a preview of the show

Buy the DVD

Young Bucks vs World’s Cutest Tag Team in a Guerilla Warfare Match for the PWG World Tag Team Championship (Eleven)

Young Buck, the longest reigning tag team champions and by far the most dominant tag team in PWG defend their belt against the inter-gender team of Joe Ryan and Candice Le Rae in a brutal Guerrilla Warfare (No DQ) match. Young Bucks are arguably the best tag team in the world right now, always delivering exciting matches and they certainly brought their A game here. Candice LeRae continued to prove that she can hang with the guys; hitting some impressive offense and taking some of the most painful spots in the match.

Watch a preview of the show

Buy the DVD

Adam Cole & Young Bucks vs Friends of Low Moral Fibre (Battle of Los Angeles 2014)

One of my favourite things about the Battle of Los Angeles events is the non-tournament matches that are put together. With so many wrestlers on the card we end up seeing some indy dream matches like this one. This match had a great balance of high spots, comedy and technical wrestling, making it one of the highlights of an amazing event.

Kyle O’Reilly vs Zack Sabre Jr. (Battle of Los Angeles 2014)

Before BOLA 2014 I had seen a few Zack Sabre Jr. matches and been very impressed but he really made a name for himself in this tournament. Sabre Jr.’s speed and technical, grappling based style is mind blowing and seeing him wrestle against Kyle O’Reilly, another one of the best technical wrestlers on the indy scene is a real spectacle. These two put on a real clinic as they attempted to out wrestle each other, this is a must see for fans of chain wrestling.

Kenny Omega vs Ricochet (Battle of Los Angeles 2014)

Last year’s BOLA was my favourite since the tournament began, if you’re only going to watch one show from last year I recommend you watch this. Every match was fantastic so it’s been difficult to pick only a few. This match, one of the semi-finals, was an almost perfect match. Kenny Omega and Ricochet are both having an incredible run at the moment, putting on stellar matches all over the world and have continued to improve in all facets of pro wrestling. Simply put, this is two future legends going all out in what would be a superb main event on any wrestling show, never mind the semi-finals of an indy tournament.

Watch a preview of night 1, night 2 and night 3

Buy the DVD of night 1, night 2 and night 3

Brian Cage vs Uhaa Nation (Untitled II)

Brian Cage and Uhaa Nation are both freaks of nature, they’re huge, muscular guys with super human strength yet their speed and high flying ability is on par with many guys half their size. Putting these two in a match together was a no-brainer and they didn’t disappoint. WWE have been showing interest in Uhaa Nation and you can see why in this match, he is the full package. It still surprises me that Brian Cage isn’t in WWE, I’m not sure what happened to his previous developmental run but they’d be crazy not to have him back.

Watch a preview of the show

Buy the DVD

Young Bucks vs Chris Sabin and Matt Sydal (Black Cole Sun)

Despite the fact Chris Sabin an Matt Sydal are veterans who have both spent a large amount of time in PWG this is the first time they have teamed together, you wouldn’t know it though by how smoothly they worked. The Young Bucks are on another level when it comes to tag team wrestling but Sabin and Sydal gave them a run for their money with some flawless tag team manoeuvres. Hopefully we will see a lot more in the future from this new duo.

Roderick Strong vs Kyle O’Reilly in a Guerilla Warfare Match for the PWG World Heavyweight Championship (Black Cole Sun)

After months of chasing the title and tormenting Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong got his second shot at taking the belt. Kyle O’Reilly was fresh out of a hard fought win against Ricochet when Strong came out and demanded a match right there, the challenge was accepted under the condition it was a Guerrilla Warfare Match. The story telling in this match was superb as the tension had been building for a long time and the added danger of match type made this a truly exciting fight.

Watch a preview of the show

Buy the DVD

What to Watch – February 2015

Everything Else

The new year is here, and while many shows are now mid season we had a bunch of great shows that started in January. We have some long awaited returns and a few new comers that have impressed. Check out below what I’ve been watching and let me know what you’ve been enjoying in the comments.

12 Monkeys

Based on the film of the same name, 12 Monkeys is about a man sent back in time from 2043 to stop the spreading of a virus that has wiped out nearly the entire population of Earth. This show was a very pleasant surprise because I’m not usually a fan of the Syfy channel who produced it, but 12 Monkeys really exemplifies what this genre can be when it’s done right. Fast paced and action packed, the story progresses quickly and the time travelling elements are fascinating. Not exactly high brow programming but extremely enjoyable TV nonetheless.

Watch the trailer here

Broad City

The girls are back and up to their antics again. So far this season they’ve been on a mission to find an air conditioner, made progression in their jobs and Abbi has had her wisdom tooth removed. It goes without saying that none of these events go smoothly and the girls end up in some very strange but hilarious situations.

Watch the trailer here

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe

Everyone’s favourite angry journalist is back with his weekly round ups of what’s been going on in the world of news, politics and TV. As with previous series Brooker is joined by a number of other comedians and although I’m not keen on the addition of Morgana Robinson, Philomena Clunk is hilarious as ever.

Watch the trailer here

Fortitude

Fortitude is Sky’s attempt at making their own massive, HBO style drama. With a huge budget, some familiar faces in the cast and a ubiquitous advert campaign, Sky have really gone all out on this one. The series is set in a town called Fortitude in the Arctic and follows the lives of its residents as strange and dangerous incidents start to occur. The show is extremely ambitious, with a large ensemble of characters and plot lines. Unfortunately after the pilot the show looked a little unfocused, jumping from scene to scene with seemingly little connecting them. That being said, there are a lot of interesting themes and ideas in the show that make me want to see more which hopefully will all be tied together.

Watch the trailer here

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The gang returns after a bit of a hiatus and have started the new season off strong. The season premier had me in stitches as the gang jumped on a plane and attempted to brake the record of baseball player “Boggs” by drinking an inhuman amount of beer.

Watch the trailer here

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation has been storming through their 7th and final season, showing 2 episodes per week. So far the season has been very focused with a strong story line which has made for excellent viewing. The crew are battling a big corporation that is trying to buy up land to build its offices but Lesley is determined to use it for a national park. I’m going to be sad to see Parks and Recreation finish but so far they’ve been wrapping it up perfectly.

Watch the trailer here

Review

This show was actually out last year but I missed it so have been catching up and just had to mention it. This is one of the funniest new shows I’ve seen in a while and hasn’t got much attention so far. The series is a parody of review shows but instead of reviewing things like films or books, the host is reviewing life experiences such as going to prom, making a sex tape and getting a divorce. This is awkward comedy at its best.

Watch a clip from the show here

Workaholics

Workaholics continues its over the top, hilarious stupidity in their 5th season. These guys have such great chemistry together that even when the story line isn’t that strong they still bring the laughs. The highlight of the season so far for me has been the trio setting up their own wrestling company to make some money to pay rent with Ben Stiller guest starring in the episode.

Watch the trailer here

Reddit Round Up – February 2015

Everything Else

While I’m working on a few bigger articles I thought I’d keep you all entertained with some funny and interesting stuff I’ve spotted on Reddit recently.

Woah, where did you guys come from?

Found here

Now that is a clever shrimp.

Found here

An easy way to make people in the street look silly.

Video here

Found here

And you thought your morning commute was bad.

Found here

Cuteness overload!

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Skateboarding and playing American football at the same time, these guys have skills.

Video here

Found here

Who would have thought editing googly eyes and arms on to a car would be so funny? More similar .gifs in the Reddit thread.

Found here

An interesting infographic of how many species we have discovered vs how many scientists predict actually exist.

Found here

The shark on the left maybe needs to have some more dancing lessons. Taken from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl performance.

Bonus .gif from the Reddit thread makes it even funnier!

Found here

My 10 Favourite Comics of 2014

Everything Else

I’ve been reading comics for about 3 years now but only got in to them in a big way last year. I’m far from an expert but the sheer amount of fantastic stuff coming out at the moment has me excited, so I wanted to share some of the series that I’ve read. The following are a few of my favourite trades that came out last year (I generally don’t read single issues). I hope you enjoy reading about them and maybe discover something new.

The Auteur – Oni Press

Writer: Rick Spears

Artist: James Callahan

One of the stranger comics I read in 2014, The Auteur follows a washed up film maker as he attempts to regain the critical acclaim he once had. It’s a fun story as our protagonist overloads his brain with hallucinogenic drugs to find inspiration and attempts to give his movies an edge with ridiculous ideas, like hiring a real murderer as a consultant on a slasher film. It’s the artwork that really shines in this series, it’s so colourful and gruesomely psychedelic, a perfect match for the bizarre plot.

The Bunker – Oni Press

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Joe Infunari

A group of friends go in to the woods to bury a time capsule but discover a bunker containing a letter to each of them. These letters are written by themselves in the future as a warning of the terrible things that will happen if they don’t do something to stop it. The writing is the right kind of complicated were you have to think about what is happening but it doesn’t leave you completely lost. The dynamic between the characters is fantastic as they all have their own motives and secrets that they must hide. Really exciting idea off to a great start.

Deadly Class – Image

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge

Deadly Class is probably the most stylish comic I read last year with some of the best panelling I have ever seen. The plot follows a homeless teenager who gets taken to a secret school where children of organised crime families are trained to become assassins. Like every high school this one is full of cliques, fashion, gossip and crushes, but instead of the usual harmless teenage feuds, here it might end it murder. Packed with flawless artwork and a fast paced writing style, this first volume was an absolute joy to read.

East of West – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Dragotta

The epic sci-fi fantasy Western that is East of West continued its amazing run this year as the story became deeper and more intense. It’s difficult to explain the premise as it has so many layers and sub plots that are all intricately connected. I will just say that it is an incredibly interesting story and it’s a real feather in the hat of Hickman who has truly proven himself to be one of, if not the best comic book writer of recent years.

Manhattan Projects – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Pitarra

In 2014 Manhattan Projects not only smashed its way in to the spot for my favourite comic of the year but also barged itself in there with my favourite comics ever. With such a superb idea for a story and writing that keeps you enthralled I really couldn’t put this series down. It depicts an alternate reality based around the Manhattan Project just after World War 2. The Manhattan Project was the research and development project behind the first atomic bomb but in Hickman’s retelling of the events this was just a cover up for other experiments taking place. As the story continued this year the team became more adventurous in their aggressive scientific progression and ran in to some conflict along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed history this much.

Rover Red Charlie – Avatar

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Michael Dipascale

An odd concept for a comic pulled off with perfection. Rover Red Charlie follows 3 dogs living through an apocalyptic event were all the humans kill themselves. Gath Ennis brings us right in to the mind of a dog as we see how they manage without their masters to tell them what to do. The artwork throughout is fantastic, using an innocent style, almost like you would see in a children’s book. This style along with having dogs as protagonists lures you in to a false sense of security and makes the brutality depicted that much more shocking. This is a great, fresh take on stories about man’s best friend, full of laughs, love and sadness.

Saga – Image

Writer: Brian K. Vaughn

Artist: Fiona Staples

If you’re a fan of comics you will no doubt be familiar with Saga, if you’re not a fan of comics then Saga is a great way to get in to them. Fast paced and accessible yet still well written with enough complexity to keep things interesting, it’s easy to see why Saga is so popular. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet set up but taken in to space, two lovers from civilisations that are at war with each other and on the run from those who would want to split them up. A simple premise really brought to life by the brilliance of Brian K. Vaughn.

Sheltered – Image

Writer: Ed Bisson

Artist: Johnnie Christmas

With so many post-apocalyptic comics on the market it’s refreshing to read a pre-apocalyptic story. Sheltered is about a community that cut themselves off from society in preparation for an event they predict will wipe out most of the world’s population. After a brutal plan is executed for what is thought to be the greater good, the community is split and we are left with a Lord of the Flies-esque situation. The writing is very fast paced and exciting, packed full of action that keeps you on edge. The focus of the series is on paranoia, greed and how power corrupts, all presented through deep and varied cast of characters.

Southern Bastards – Image

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Jason Latour

Southern Bastards is the gritty tale of a man going back to his home town in Southern America to pick up some old things but quickly gets himself in trouble with the wrong people. One of the driving forces is the very likable main character, incredibly cool with a desire to be peaceful but not afraid to get violent when it’s needed. The setting of a small Southern town really adds to the atmosphere with the quaint little rib shack and the whole town turning out to watch the high school football game masking the viscous underbelly of the place. Jason Aaron has a skill for creating detailed and engrossing environments in which to set his stories and Southern Bastards is a great example of that.

The Woods – BOOM!

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Michael Dialynas

A vibrant and thrilling sci-fi about a school full of students and teachers that is suddenly transported to an alien moon. As the teachers try to get everything under control a small group of pupils leave to explore, led by an arrogant teenager who had a strange vision when they arrived. On their journey they come across strange creatures and ancient architecture, creating more questions about the nature of the place. The vivid colours and action sequences really bring the story to life and together with the alluring plot this is an exceptional start to what promises to a spectacular series.

Reddit Round Up – January 2015

Everything Else

It’s cold outside (if you live in the UK), it’s only Tuesday and the next bank holiday is months away! So here are some funny or interesting things I’ve found on Reddit to cheer you up.

This woman just cant find the fuel cap on her car!

Video

Found here

Amazing sculpture made from a single block of wood.

Found here

This cat must really like fish.

Found here

Weed Jesus just doesn’t give a damn

Video

Found here

Sometimes inanimate objects fight back.

Found here

Well what would you do if you were in a shop and a tiger wandered in?

Found here

Cows get everywhere

Found here

OH GOD! GET OUT OF THE WATER!

Found here

How to compliment boobs without getting in trouble.

Video

Found here

Exercise can be painful, and funny.

Found here

The 25 Best TV Shows of 2014

Everything Else

We are living in a golden age for TV with most of the really interesting stories and characters being portrayed through this medium instead of on the big screen. It’s been a fantastic year for many shows so here is my countdown of what I consider the best of the year. I don’t usually like ranking things but I thought I’d go for it this time. Let me know what you thought of the shows in the comments or on twitter and tell me what your favourites were.

I’ve tried to keep everything as spoiler free as I can but be warned there may be a few spoilers in the trailers if you haven’t seen previous seasons.

25 – Under The Dome

The TV adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel, about a town trapped under a transparent dome, had its second season in 2014 and things started to get weird. The first season got off to a slow start but was very exciting once it got going and left us with a huge cliff hanger so I was very excited to watch the story continue. They’ve really picked up the pace this season with lots of action and plot twists that initially had me on the edge of my seat and dying to see the next episode. Unfortunately these constant twists started get a little tiring as I became somewhat desensitized to the strange happenings which would soon be forgotten or become irrelevant. Despite this I’m really enjoying Under The Dome as it’s satisfying the sci-fi cravings I’ve had since Lost came to an end.

Watch the trailer here

24 – South Park

It’s strange to think that South Park is now in its 18th season, that’s a lot of episodes and in recent years the show has been increasingly hit and miss. This is understandable considering almost every episode of the show has been written by Trey Parker, while other longstanding animated comedy shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy have a different writer almost of episode (and are still hit and miss). It has been a pleasant surprise then, to see South Park go in a slightly different direction from previous seasons. Unlike older episodes with completely self-contained story lines, this season has had continuity with plots running throughout. Although still a bit hit and miss, this alternative approach has breathed new life in to the show and with storylines including Lorde actually being Stan’s dad Randy, South Park has got its edge back.

Watch a clip here

23 – Harry and Paul’s Story of the Twos

I wasn’t sure whether or not to include this in my yearly round up as it was only a one off episode but it was so hilarious I had to. As part of BBC 2’s anniversary celebrations, UK comedy legends Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse put together this mockumentary of the history of the channel. The duo manage to brutally satirize almost everything that’s ever been on BBC 2, from old war documentaries to modern panel shows, all with their laugh out loud brand of silliness.

Watch the trailer here

22 – Broad City

When I hear people say that women aren’t funny I always jump in to tell them how wrong they are but sadly often get stuck when providing examples, and with 30 Rock ending last year, truly funny female created shows are very thin on the ground. Fortunately Llana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are here to prove women are just as capable of making fantastic comedy as men are. The show follows the antics of 2 twenty something girls living in New York, as they struggle with dead end jobs, dodgy guys and dreadful parties. Think Sex and the City but with poor stoners instead of rich spinsters.

Watch a clip here

21 – Workaholics

2014 saw Adam, Blake and Anders back on our TV with more of their bizarre shenanigans and desperate attempts to look cool. They’ve taken things even further than usual in this season with some of the most disgustingly funny things I’ve ever seen and lots of really outlandish plot lines. This show isn’t for everyone but episodes such as “Three and a Half Men” where Karl decides he wants his penis removed are pure comedy genius.

Watch a clip here

20 – The League

After a slightly disappointing season in 2013 I was dubious about The League starting again this year. The show had started to feature more football related plots (I know it’s all about a group of guys in an American fantasy football league but it was previously kept to a minimum) and lost some of its original quick wit and bold rudeness. Fortunately after a fairly dull start this season really picked up, delivering some of the funniest episodes since the start of the show. Kevin’s ongoing sexual problems and Taco’s insane business ventures had me in stitches as well as the psychotic Raffi continuing to be a strong source of laughs.

19 – Orange Is The New Black

Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black follows the story of a seemingly straight laced woman spending time in jail for transporting drug money when she was younger. The show depicts her troubles trying to fit in, the friction between gangs and the corruption of the jail staff, but does it all with decent dose of comedy. Picture a cross between Desperate Housewives and Oz, and you’re pretty close to what this show is like.

     Continuing from the cliff hanger at the end of season 1, with plenty of drama and grit perfectly balanced with heart-warming moments and humorous situations Orange Is The New Black is addictively entertaining. If you’re anything like me you’ll binge watch the whole season in no time at all.

Watch the trailer here

18 – The Trip

I can’t think of many things more entertaining than Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon sitting around in restaurants taking the piss out of each other, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to hear they were making another series of The Trip. This time the duo are touring around Italy, experiencing the culture, the food, the wine, and of course, the women.

     Although this series was not quite as laugh out loud funny as the first the writing is impeccable, Coogan and Brydon have switched roles in many ways and subtle parallels to first series are drawn. We previously had a few sombre moments, like Coogan struggling to discipline his children and further his career while travelling around the North of England, but it was light-hearted for the most part. In this series while the backdrop may be sunnier, the tone is much more melancholy, as the two watch their youth fade and desperately attempt to maintain their charm. It looks like we will get a 3 series of The Trip and I am looking forward to where they take the story as this installment really exemplified the quality of writing that they are capable of.

Watch the trailer here

17 – Orphan Black

One of BBC America’s few original series, Orphan Black passed by a lot of people when it first came out but the second season has brought it more attention, and deservedly so. The show is a sci-fi drama about orphan Sarah, who witnesses someone identical to herself jump in front of a train and then pretends to be that person in attempt to make sense of what she just saw. Things quickly get complicated when Sarah discovers there are other clones out there along with mysterious corporations behind it all.

     This season especially has been very fast paced and exciting with new twists and surprise revelations at every turn. The level of acting from Tatiana Maslany is flawless as she gives each of the characters she plays such individuality that you forget it is the same person playing them.

Watch the trailer here

16 – Mad Men

After the success of Breaking Bad, AMC decided they would go down the same route of splitting the last season in half when it came to wrapping up Mad Men. I personally think that was a bad idea as Mad Men is a very different style of show with a much slower pace that would have benefited from having the last season all in one go. That being said, the first half of this season has been almost perfect and it looks like we will get a fantastic conclusion to the series.

     After years of getting pretty much anything he wants, Don’s luck and charm is finally running out and his life is falling apart, this has created a shift in the tone with this season. All the characters in Mad Men have been fascinating and complex, it’s been a constant pleasure watching them grow since the start of the show and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Watch the trailer here

15 – Modern Family

Modern Family has quickly become one of the most consistent and watchable TV shows being made. Full of puns and recurring jokes the show has a level of writing that you don’t get in many sitcoms, especially ones as popular as this. That is where the real genius of Modern Family lies, it has managed to be intelligently written but also very accessible. There are subtle jokes that you may miss on the first viewing but enough obvious jokes to keep you laughing the whole way through.

     They have built layered and genuine characters without the series ever feeling slow. We are now half way through the sixth season and we are seeing the children in the show mature while the adults try to deal with their own problems. After spending so long watching the group’s lives you almost feel like part of the family yourself, and it’s always a pleasure catching up.

Watch a trailer here

14 – In The Flesh

Zombies are now a subject that has been done to death in TV and film so it’s incredible that the writers of In The Flesh have created such a fresh and interesting TV show about them. The series follows Kieran Walker who suffers from “Partially Deceased Syndrome”, which is basically the politically correct way of saying he’s a zombie. Kieran lives in a small town in the North of England and is on medication to stop him behaving like a zombie, so while he may not have a heartbeat or be able to eat food, he is just like a normal person.

     The first series was short at only 3 episodes but the second has a full 6 so the plot has been able to develop a lot, allowing it to become deep and often very intense. The main focus of In The Flesh is the relationships between the characters, the way a family copes with having their dead son back, how a woman reacts when she’s moved on after her boyfriend dies only to have him return and what a community does when the sick people who were trying to kill them all are now integrated amongst them. It is this focus on human emotions that sets the show apart from other zombie stories, making for an interesting and emotional piece of TV.

Watch the trailer here

13 – A Touch Of Cloth

Charlie Brooker’s parody of UK crime dramas returned in 2014 with another 2 episodes of pun filled silliness. A Touch Of Cloth is a perfect example of a parody in that if you’re not really paying attention to what the characters are saying you might not even realise that they’re taking the piss. UK crime dramas are rather ridiculous to start with which makes them a great target for satire, and having grown up watching them it’s incredibly fun to see Charlie Brooker play with all the classic tropes contained in them.

     But it’s not only the satirising of clichés that make this show so hilarious, it’s the fact that Brooker has managed to make almost every line in to some kind of gag. I thought they may have ran out of ideas for the show by now but this series has been just as funny as the other two and has again been of the my TV highlights of the year.

Watch the trailer here

12 – Black Dynamite

Many of you will be familiar with Black Dynamite the feature film but fewer will know the Adult Swim animated show based on it. The show, like the film is a parody of 70s Blaxploitation films and chronicles the misadventures of Black Dynamite and his friends living in the whorephanage (that’s an orphanage and a brothel in the same building).

     As much as I loved the premise, the first season of the show was hit and miss with some episodes lacking any real laughs and seeming to drag on for too long. Fortunately in the new episodes the writers have really hit their stride creating some hysterical moments woven in to interesting plot lines. As in the first season the animation is spectacular, this is a very welcome change from the usual basic style used in most animated comedies. This season sees Black Dynamite clash with a disillusioned, gun toting Mr Rogers, a crowd of whore hungry zombies and Black Jaws. It’s just as hilarious as it sounds.

Watch the trailer here

11 – Hannibal

Hannibal, as the name may suggest is based on characters from the Red Dragon novel and is somewhat of a prequel to the book, although creator of the show Bryan Fuller still seems a bit unsure of where he wants to take the plot going forward. I was recommended the show by a friend and although the start of the first season was slow he assured me if I kept watching it would get better, he couldn’t have been more right.

     The whole of the second season is sublime, the way it’s written, the acting, the way it’s shot, it all blends perfectly to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Hannibal character is played amazingly, he is calm and friendly but you can always sense the deranged killer behind it all. You’re never allowed to relax throughout the series as you know that the next horrific event is just around the corner. One of the things I really loved about this season was the mystery behind what was going on in the heads of the characters, you can’t tell who is bluffing, who is genuine and even who the good guys are supposed to be. The season finale was one of the most intense TV episodes I’ve ever seen and has me dying to see what Dr Lector gets up to next.

Watch the trailer here

10 – House Of Fools

Since a child I have always been a huge fan of Reeves and Mortimer with their insane random slapstick brand of comedy. When I heard they would be making a sitcom together I was very excited but also a little unsure of how their style of humour would work in a different format. Fortunately my reservations were put to rest within the first five minutes of episode 1, these two are just hysterical and their transition in to the sitcom genre couldn’t feel more natural.

     The premise of the show is simple, as with most sitcoms, it’s just Vic and Bob living together in a house with some odd neighbours, all of them getting into strange predicaments every episode. There are a lot of people who try to do the random, bizarre style of comedy but it all too often comes off as forced and unfunny (I’m looking at you Mighty Boosh), this has never been a problem for Vic and Bob and their talent for the ridiculous is shining brighter than ever. House of Fools definitely isn’t for everyone, it’s extremely stupid, but it’s the kind of concentrated stupidity that takes a genius to write.

Watch the trailer here

9 – True Detective

HBO continued their streak of quality programming this year with new show True Detective. Every season will be self-contained and revolve around different detectives trying to solve a case. This season focused on 2 detectives in Louisiana looking in to the ritualistic murders of young women across the state.

     This was really a break out year for Matthey McConaughey as an actor, playing multiple big roles throughout the year and really shining in each of them. For me, this was McConaughey’s most impressive performance but what made the show so great was that Woody Harrelson was just as good. These two had such amazing chemistry together, their relationship was one of the main driving forces behind the plot and made the series so watchable. Louisiana was the perfect backdrop for this story and was shot flawlessly, adding to the intensity and unsettling tone throughout. True Detective really was one of the most cinematic and complete TV series of the year, let’s see if they can top it in 2015.

Watch the trailer here

8 – Rick And Morty

There have been so many new animated comedies in recent years that some have become a bit lazy, simply trying to cash in on the popularity of shows like Family Guy and American Dad!. But Rick and Morty is different. Watching Rick and Morty is incredibly refreshing, it’s very original and hits all the right spots that other shows are missing. You get the interesting, complex, sci-fi plots Futurama has; the complexity of animation you only get in shows like Boondocks and Black Dynamite; the laugh out loud funny of Family Guy and the all-out weirdness of other Adult Swim shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This series really has everything.

     It’s about Morty, a kid who lives with his family, including his crazy scientist grandfather Rick. Rick is constantly creating new inventions that inevitably wind up getting Morty in trouble and sending the duo on an adventure to set things right. The only complaint I have about this show is that there weren’t enough episodes. Bring on season 2!

Watch a promo here

7 – Nathan For You 

Nathan For You may be one of the greatest parodies ever made, it takes aim at an easy target but the end result is one of the funniest TV shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching. As a spoof of improvement reality shows like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Mary Queen of Shops, the show follows Nathan Fielder as he visits struggling local businesses and attempts to improve them with his fantastic ideas. The thing is, Nathan is incredibly awkward and unlikeable, and his ideas are actually terrible. The format of the series is a bit weird in that some of the characters are just real people, oblivious to the fact they are on a comedy show, while other characters are obviously played by actors. So in that way it isn’t much different to most normal reality shows, blurring the line between what is real and what is fictional.

     In this season we see Nathan implement a no ghost guarantee at a real estate agents, turn a souvenir shop in to a fake movie set and disguise an exterminator as a hotel award presenter. The idea for the show is great in itself but Nathan Fielder is what really brings the show together, he plays the part so amazingly well and had me in hysterics throughout.

Watch the trailer here

6 – Boardwalk Empire

It’s not often a series comes a long that really grabs you, that immerses you in a different world and makes you truly care for the characters. Boardwalk Empire is one of those series and I’m very sad to see it end. Although I would have loved for Boardwalk Empire to continue for another season or two, everything here was wrapped up in a satisfying manor and cemented the show as one of my all-time favourites.

     This season jumped forward 7 years from the last but wastes no time filling you on what has happened and instead makes you put the pieces together yourself. As prohibition seems to be coming to an end and the crime bosses are aging, everything in the lives of the characters is changing and this is the focus of the season. Alongside the main plots we are shown flashbacks to Nucky’s earlier life, getting an insight in to what made him the man he is. I’m usually not a fan of flashbacks, especially so late in the timeline of a show but the phenomenal casting and writing of these flashbacks made them a pleasure to watch and an integral part of the overall story. Although this wasn’t my favourite season (that would be the third) it is still better than most shows ever get at their peak and was a beautiful way to end everything. If you haven’t seen Boardwalk Empire, do yourself a favour and watch it as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

Watch the trailer here

5 – Fargo

Inspired by the film of the same name, Fargo depicts the events that take place when the mysterious and violent Lorne Malvo passes through the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota in January 2009. I don’t want to say any more about the plot because I feel that could spoil it a bit. One of the things that make this series so exciting is not knowing what the hell comes next.

     Fargo is impeccably put together, every line seems almost poetic, every shot has an artistic brilliance and even when not much is happening, it still feels fast paced. Billy Bob Thornton excels as the unpredictable villain, set on causing problems for people with seemingly no motivation other than it entertains him. Martin Freeman also impresses in his role as a quiet insurance salesman stuck in over his head in all the chaos he is now a part of. Wildly unpredictable and shockingly entertaining, Fargo is one of this year’s standout shows.

Watch the trailer here

4 – Trailer Park Boys

The last full season of Trailer Park Boys finished way back in 2007, they had a one off special in 2008 and then in September 2009 the movie Countdown To Liquor Day was released as an end to the show. It was a satisfying ending, but really there was no need for it to finish there because the characters of this series are so lovable that we will always want to see more.

     There had been talk of reviving the show for a while and then in March 2014 Netflix announced they would be bringing the guys back together for season 8. This was an exciting moment but also a worrying one, not too long ago Netflix brought back the cult classic, Arrested Development to a mixed reception and without Mike Clattenburg as director there were fears the new season would be a disappointment. Fortunately our fears were laid to rest as the crew really pulled off a fantastic season, true to the earlier seasons and packed full of the usual high jinks that will have you in hysterics. If you’re a fan of Trailer Park Boys you need to watch this, and if you’re not then you need to catch up with one of the greatest sitcoms ever made.

Watch the trailer here

3 – Utopia

It’s rare that a British drama is quite this ambitious. That isn’t an insult to British drama, but we tend to stick to simpler concepts when making TV shows. A big part of this is obviously due to the fact that most UK production companies have smaller budgets than those in the US. In Utopia we have something different for British TV, a show that is aiming for the heights of US successes like Breaking Bad, Lost and House Of Cards, a complex story with realistic characters that will unfold over a number of seasons.

The show follows a group of people who met online through their love of a graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments and when one of them acquires the sequel to the book it seems the story may not be as fictional as they thought. It’s hard to say too much without giving things away but the second season continues the excitement and twists of the first, making for real addictive television. What I love about this series so much is the ambiguity of the characters. Like in real life there are rarely any true good guys and bad guys, everyone has their motives and everyone thinks they are doing what is right. Even as a viewer it is hard to decide what the right thing to do would be, it leaves you conflicted and unable to stop thinking about what you have just watched.

     It was recently announced that Utopia has now been cancelled and it seems we may not see the end of one of the best British TV shows ever made because Channel 4 seems to think that “normal people” sat at home watching the telly and a barrage of poverty porn is better programming. Hopefully Netflix or another on demand service will come to the rescue and bring us the ending we so desperately need.

Watch the trailer here

2 – House Of Cards

The most successful Netflix original series returned in 2014 with another intense season causing people all over the world to shut themselves inside and watch the whole thing in one go. House of Cards may be one of the most addictive TV shows ever and it really lends itself to the Netflix model. I got through the season a couple of days, I kept telling myself I would only watch one more episode but by the end of it I just had to see one more.

     This season follows Frank Underwood as he continues his quest to become president, at any cost. It’s a real pleasure watching Frank’s plans unfold, every time you think he’s going to slip up he has another idea, he’s always one step ahead. There is something fantastically dark about this series, there have been a lot of shows recently that have depicted some really horrible violence and gore, but none of them have been as unsettling as House of Cards. All of the characters are selfish, manipulative liars trying to get what they want and these people who are supposed to be running the country for the better of the people are committing the most horrific acts with absolutely no remorse. This is a side of humanity that is hard to watch, we like to think there is good in people but pretty much the only character in House Of Cards with any redeeming qualities is BBQ joint owner Freddy. House of Cards is an incredibly powerful TV show, it depicts a reality that we don’t want to believe in yet it’s extremely enjoyable to watch. Now give us season 3!

Watch the trailer here

1 – The Leftovers

It’s strange that my favourite TV show of 2014 is not the one I enjoyed the most, instead it’s this, The Leftovers, a show that I didn’t really enjoy at all until a few episodes in. So why is it my favourite show of the year? Because it’s challenging, it’s exciting and it’s fascinating. I haven’t been quite this excited about a show in a long time, throughout the season I really had no idea what was going to happen next, but I couldn’t wait to find out.

The show is set three years after an unexplained event where 2% of the whole world’s population disappeared in to thin air and we follow the inhabitants of a town in New York. In the first few episodes I was getting a bit frustrated with the lack of focus on this event, the writers were almost ignoring what seemed like it should be the focus of the show and I didn’t understand that at first. It soon became obvious though, that what happened is not important, it’s how the people deal with it that matters, it’s the humanity that is interesting, the relationships between these people who lived through an unbearable loss.

     This series is definitely not for everyone and had critics completely split, half of them loving it and the other half hating it. The Leftovers is relentlessly bleak throughout, most of the characters aren’t very likeable and some episodes are quite uneventful, but all this serves its purpose, it creates an atmosphere and crafts a complex story about love, loss, depression and insanity. It examines what happens when people are lost, when something shakes the foundation of their reality and leaves them asking “why?”. The acting has been impeccable, spawning some truly heinous characters and some intensely emotional moments. If they can keep this quality up I may have a new all time favourite TV show.

Watch the trailer here