It’s a Wonderful Life: The Sundae Presents Episode 11

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. For our first Christmas Spectacular, Ciara helps Dean rid himself of one of his most grievous shames: never having seen It’s a Wonderful Life. They talk about its view of capitalism, the brilliance of its final act and whether there’s even such a thing as corny.

It's a Wonderful Life The Sundae Presents

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Ikiru: The Sundae Presents Episode 10

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. This episode, in a shocking twist, Dean shows Ciara a film widely acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time: Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru. They talk about its humour and humanism, Kurosawa’s influences and how the main character’s son is a complete piece of shit.

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Welcome to Me: The Sundae Presents Episode 9

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. This episode, Dean shows Ciara a film released after they met instead of before they were born: the 2014 Kristen Wiig vehicle Welcome to Me. They talk about the positive thinking movement, Wiig’s career arc and why Oprah sucks.

Welcome to Me The Sundae Presents

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TV Was Always Good #2

The last time we decided to shine a spotlight on some of the classic TV shows we’ve fallen in love with over the last few years, we were motivated in part to push back on the idea that TV only “got good” relatively recently, with The Sopranos, and then shows that lived up to its sophistication followed, mostly from HBO, other cable networks and then streaming services. But that’s a myth, one that HBO has been capitalising on for decades, and which the streaming giants are essentially trying to claim for themselves. Let’s hope they fail, because if not the recency bias people already have toward TV is gonna get dragged up to, like, Breaking Bad becoming a global hit on Netflix at the latest.

That would be tragic, because TV has literally always been good, from the very earliest days of the medium to the present moment. It can be hard to feel that at the present moment when there’s more television being made than ever, but less and less television that stands out enough to make you think it might not be focus-tested and algorithmed into a bland tasteless mush. We’ve almost a year left before we help you sift through the slurry of contemporary TV for the handful of precious shows worth watching in the next Sundae TV Awards. But we’ve both watched a lot of different TV shows, from a lot of different decades, in a lot of different genres since the last time we defended the honour of classic TV.

Here’s some you should check out, to remind you of what makes television great:

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The Evil Dead / Evil Dead II: The Sundae Presents Episode 8

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. For our first Halloween Spooktacular, Ciara shows Dean a Sam Raimi double bill: The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. They talk about the genius of Bruce Campbell, innovation born from ignorance, and all the different kinds of goo.

The Evil Dead / Evil Dead II The Sundae Presents

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The Best of The Sundae #5

Self-congratulation is gauche, but as long as we’re doing it anyway: it’s pretty unbelievable we managed to stick so rigidly to our “no hot takes” policy in a year that featured the most consistently hot topic of our lifetimes. Amazon literally released a show about a pandemic caused by a bat virus jumping to humans, seemingly as a result of a vast conspiracy by liberal elites, and we just had to be like, nah, not gonna write about that. Expect our frigid coronavirus takes circa 2030.

Instead, we wrote what we’ve always written: deep dives into movies and shows that stick in our brains for months or years, screeds against the state of the entertainment industry and essays about the way we understand and misunderstand art. We also published great pieces from guest contributors and started our very own podcast, The Sundae Presents, where we take turns showing each other favourite films of ours the other hasn’t seen.

For long-time readers, this is our year in review. For newer readers, this is our sizzle reel. And if you’re here for the first time, this is a pretty good look at what we’re all about, as are the previous four times we’ve done this, so check them out.

Here’s the best of The Sundae so far since last so far.

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Dog Day Afternoon: The Sundae Presents Episode 7

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. This episode, Ciara makes Dean watch one of her actual favourite films, Dog Day Afternoon. They talk about sexuality and gender, optimism and the Attica prison massacre.

Dog Day Afternoon The Sundae Presents

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The Sundae TV Awards 2021

We’ll not beat around the bush: watching TV was not as fun as usual for us this year. It can already be hard to get excited about the quantity-over-quality glut of Peak TV when there’s decades of classic TV to watch instead. But less new TV was released than usual due to the pandemic, so it was harder to just skim the cream off the top, and lots of ongoing shows we love didn’t release a new season, so we couldn’t even turn to our old reliables. Also, GLOW got cancelled in the middle of production on its fourth and final season for either no good reason or in retaliation for cast members criticising the producers for sidelining the show’s characters and actors of colour. Netflix said it was because COVID restrictions made filming a show about professional wrestling too logistically difficult, which was very hard to take seriously considering how many actual professional wrestling shows continued filming throughout lockdown. This has nothing to do with why TV was less fun this year, but it was a bullshit decision and we’ll be mad about it for at least a decade.

But life finds a way and there’s still been some fantastic television over the last TV season (June 2020 – May 2021). Enough that we decided to expand the awards to include two new categories this year. We’ve previously used special achievement awards to honour television that didn’t always fit neatly into drama or comedy categories. On reflection, the majority of that television comprises a general category of TV – the largest category of TV, in truth – contrasted with the narrative fiction of conventional TV drama and comedy. Our new categories will celebrate the best of reality, variety and documentary television, including game shows, professional wrestling and whatever Eric Andre is doing at any given minute. We picked our winners by consensus, so only shows we both watched were eligible to win, but we each picked a runner-up, regardless of whether the other has seen it.

You can find each of our full slates of nominees at the bottom of the post. We recommend checking them out if you’re looking for recommendations. 

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Way Down East: The Sundae Presents Episode 6

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. This episode, Dean shows Ciara D.W. Griffith’s 1920 silent melodrama Way Down East. They talk about its weird Christian feminism, silent film acting and sleepy kitties.

Way Down East The Sundae Presents

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Good Will Hunting: The Sundae Presents Episode 5

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which each of us makes the other watch films they haven’t seen. This episode, Ciara makes Dean watch Good Will Hunting for the first time. They talk about class, toilet humour, and whether Ben Affleck is a good actor. 

Good Will Hunting The Sundae Presents

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