If there were awards for streaming, CONSTANTINOS PSILLIDES comes up with some categories, and their winners
Welcome to the first-ever Cyprus Mail Streaming Awards, the Mailies (trademark pending). You have seen the end-of-the-year list for the worst series, and you have been flooded with ‘best show’ lists (ours is coming next week cause, you know, if it works it works), so we are coming up with something different. Awards for non-existant categories!
Without further ado, let us open the envelopes!
Award for Best Use of Epic Song in Series: Stranger Things, Season 4, Vol. I & II
Whether the Duffer brothers, the creators of Stranger Things, knew that nostalgia has now reached weaponised status or if they actually wanted to pay tribute to their youth, their use of song in the series got everyone talking. In Vol. 1 of the series 4th season, one of the young protagonists is kept safe in that universe’s version of Hell, the Upside Down, by listening to her favourite pop artist, Kate Bush. Running up That Hill was first released in 1985, but Stranger Things pulled it out of obscurity and propelled it to the top of the charts, introducing a new generation of music lovers to Kate Bush.
The clip with the girl listening to Kate Bush on her Walkman dominated the digital landscape for a couple of weeks, increasing Stranger Things’ popularity, but the Duffer Bros weren’t done.
Enter Eddie Munson.
When the gang descended to the Upside Down for a final confrontation with the show’s villain, the loveable, misunderstood metalhead took it upon himself to create a distraction to allow them to slip in unnoticed. He made that happen by shredding the guitar in a gloriously epic solo of Metallica’s Master of Puppets. The scene became an instant hit, skyrocketing actor Joseph Quinn’s popularity and prompting even Metallica to include a clip in their live shows.
Award for OMG, It’s Finally Over: The Walking Dead.
The most common response to learning that The Walking Dead is in its 11th season was “is that show STILL on?”. Premiering back in 2010, this AMC series reanimated (heh) interest in the zombie genre as it told the story of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. TWD deviated from the source material and devolved into a formulaic show without high stakes, as the main characters developed thick plot armour. This resulted in the loss of one of the show’s main advantages, the notion that everyone was expendable. Based on a famous graphic novel, the series hit its peak in season 5 (over 20 million viewers in four days) and has been on a decline since then.
Thankfully, in 2022 the show came to an end. Although, much like its subject matter, it is not truly dead, as it spawned at least three different series. We may need to ram a spike through its head.
Award for Most Hated by Trolls: Rings of Power
Prime’s colossal bet, a series drawing from the Lord of the Rings universe called Rings of Power, had some significant flaws. Still, it was overall a good show, especially considering that its job was to lay the groundwork for future seasons. That was not the way a considerable portion of the viewers saw it. Diversity, focusing on female characters and some creative freedoms were anathema for LOTR gatekeepers and online trolls, who blasted the show before it even aired. A fierce flame war erupted online, and every flaw or misstep was over-scrutinised and over-debated. Comparisons to Peter Jackson’s work were constantly drawn as a guideline on how the source material should be handled by those who conveniently ignored that while the original LOTR was cinematic history, the author’s estate thoroughly hated it.
Award for Most Disappointing Reboot: Quantum Leap
Digging through the bin for beloved shows, it was only a matter of time before studios stumbled upon Quantum Leap, the 1983 sci-fi show about a time-travelling scientist. Starring Scott Bakula, it told the story of Sam Beckett, a scientist in the future who had a lab accident and ended up jumping from body to body in different periods, each time tasked with correcting something that went wrong and changing their lives.
The new series takes place some 30 years after the original show and stars Raymond Lee as Dr Ben Song, the current head of the Quantum Leap project tasked with solving the mystery of Beckett’s disappearance. Predictably, something goes wrong, and Song is propelled back to the past, trapped in the same body-swapping cycle as his predecessor.
The reboot improves every aspect of the original show, save the most important one. Fun. The new Quantum Leap takes itself way too seriously, completely missing the point of the original. The show was picked up for a second season, so here’s to hoping it improves.