Over on Ralph the Sacred River, Ed Cook has announced the Third Annual Ralphies, the little bit of annual indulgence among bibliobloggers to go outside of Biblical Studies and blog their "best ofs" of the year. (See mine for 2004 and 2005). This year Ed is doing this as a series. I am keeping mine under one post title so as not to increase the self-indulgence, but I'll blog them in the order in which Ed presents the series, so will update this post at the appropriate times. My campaign of the last couple of years to expand the categories to include best gig, best TV programme, best radio programme and best sporting event seem to be bearing fruit -- best TV programme has been added already. But enough of the preliminaries. Here are my initial entries, following Ed's lead:
Song of the year: Murray Gold's Song for Ten, performed by Neil Hannon. This is a geeky choice, I know, but it made an instant impact on me in last year's Doctor Who Christmas episode, "Christmas Invasion", as David Tennant looks out his (10th doctor)'s outfit. It qualifies as 2006 because the track was only recently released, on Murray Gold, Doctor Who, December 2006.
Honourable mention: The Killers, Read My Mind.
Album of the year: The Killers, Sam's Town. (There was no album by The Fall this year, sadly).
Honourable mention: Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not
Gig of the year: Franz Ferdinand at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University, 7 April. It was a particular thrill to be able to get to see one of my favourite British bands out here in North Carolina. (See Viola's blog post on).
Honourable mention: The Wedding Present, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, March. Same comment as previous. (See Viola's blog post on).
Film of the year: Casino Royale is the only one that made a real impact on me this year, successfully rebooting the Bond franchise, even if it's not quite as great as some people think. Too much of Daniel Craig pouting for my liking. I probably didn't watch enough films this year, so my choice here is uninformed. Honourable mention: Inside Man.
TV programme of the year: Doctor Who, of course! Last year saw a brilliant return for the series after an absence of many years, and it came back transformed, superbly conceived by Russell T. Davies, one of the great contemporary British screen-writers. The second season, starring David Tennant as the tenth doctor, and Billie Piper again as his assistant, fully met our expectations. It was wonderful. Now we await the Christmas day episode co-starring Catherine Tate and the third series in the Spring.
Honourable mention (and a close second): Torchwood, the superb adult-oriented gritty spin-off from Doctor Who, currently airing in the UK on BBC3 and BBC2, created by Russell T. Davies. Some are even saying that they prefer it to Doctor Who.
TV comedy of the year: Extras, the second season of Ricky Gervais's brilliant sitcom. Honourable mentions: Lead Balloon, Catherine Tate.
Other honourable mentions: although nothing is quite up to the standard of the best British TV over here, Heroes is good so far and well worth watching. Battlestar Galactica is still worth watching too.
Radio programme of the year: The Making of Memory -- superb Radio 4 documentary series, part of their Memory Experience series of programmes.
Honourable mentions: I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: funny as ever. There has been so much fantastic radio this year and the perennials keep the world turning around for me, Today, Test Match Special, Simon Mayo, Start the Week. I catch most of these via the BBC Download and Podcast Trial, one of the major changes to my life in 2006. The availability of so much good Radio 4 and Five Live radio via download has been a godsend. Speaking of which, how about a new category?
Podcast of the year: To concentrate on podcasts available outside of the BBC radio programmes above, the top was Baddiel and Skinner's World Cup Podcast -- made me laugh out loud all the way through the World Cup, and cheered me up when we lost to Portugal. Honourable mention: Ricky Gervais on The Guardian in February -- pretty enjoyable.
Sporting event of the year: well it's certainly not the Ashes this year! (American readers: The Ashes is the name for the most famous cricketing rivalry of all, England and Australian. After winning the Ashes back in the summer of 2005, we have just lost them again in Australia). The Sporting event has to be the World Cup, in spite of England's less than brilliant performance. Viola and I wrote a lot about our first experience of The World Cup in America in The Americanization of Emily.