Clearly, both Ana and Thea are insane, and in addition to reading and reviewing obscene amounts of books, we also obsess over multiple television shows, movies, video games, and all other manner of geekery. With that in mind, we needed to create ANOTHER list (we are list makers, yes we are) for our end of the year celebration. We give you our very own BEST OF THE REST (everything that isn’t a book).
The Best of TV in 2010
First, a disclaimer, lest someone see my list and think, “Why the heck isn’t DEXTER on here?!?!?!!?” or something. I started grad school in the fall, and unfortunately my roommate did not order a DVR with our cable purchase (amateur move!). Which means that I no longer have the luxury of recording my favorite shows, and the ones that don’t go up online or on demand go woefully unwatched because it is a very rare thing that I am actually sitting around at the time the show comes on. Also, I was cut off from Dexter this season (*SOBS DRAMATICALLY*) but it’s ok – I still got to watch a ton of good TV. Here’s my (incomplete because I know I’m missing out on some of my favorite shows, but whatchagonnado?) list of favorite TV this year.
5. The Office
Thank goodness for on demand, because I don’t think I could live with myself if I couldn’t watch Michael Scott’s last season on the show. The Office is consistently awesome and hilarious and cringeworthy and wonderful. My favorite moments and episodes: Pam and Jim on Halloween, the recent Michael Scott’s China info-besting of Oscar (aka “Actually” guy), Dwight being nice to Pam, Michael thinking he has herpes and contacting all the women in his life…
4. How I Met Your Mother
Yes, I know this is an old show. Yes, I know people have loved it and talked about it for years now. But I ONLY started watching it this year and OMFG IT IS HILARIOUS AND SO TRUE! I love this show. I’m watching them all out of sequence, but who cares with a show this legen-wait for it…-dary
(I know that joke is SOOOOOO four years ago, but I’m behind and catching up now, so, that’s all that matters, right? RIGHT?!)
3. Boardwalk Empire
I still haven’t caught up on all the episodes, but sweet merciful mcgillicutty this show is MADE OF WIN. Steve Buschemi is awesome, Michael Pitt is finally getting his due, the clothes and setting and period are wonderful, and who doesn’t love violence and booze and gangs and speakeasies and the like?
2. The Walking Dead
Holy fucking crap. I was excited for this show, having it being hyped up since last year, then at comic con with the sneak peaks – and FINALLY it was Halloween and the pilot aired and HOLY EFFING CRAP IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. The pilot episode will go down in my mind as one of the FINEST pilots I’ve ever seen. Frank Darabont is, of course, a genius, and he managed to bring the comic to life in a beautiful, dark, real way. From the opening credits, I was a goner. The Walking Dead is one of my new favorite shows, and I encourage EVERYONE to watch it.
Love or hate the ending, agree with it or not, Lost was one of the best SF shows on television, EVER. It will always hold a very special place in my heart as the source of countless hours of theorizing and geeking out; it saved my sanity at work (thank you, Lost Forums and MSA and L-F Galleries and DARK UFO); and most importantly, it introduced me to the Ana Banana (*glomps Ana*). It was a very big and important part of my life – so seeing it go? It was a hard thing to do. Rest in peace, dear losties. I miss you more than I can say.
I, on the other hand watched far too many TV Shows. In some ways it feels as though I spent most of my free time in 2010 either reading or watching TV, sometimes both at the same time. It was awesome. Here’s my list of favourites, split in categories.
New-to-me Shows aka What Took Me So Long
I was able to catch up with older shows last year, doing crazy week-long marathons and fell completely in love with 4 of them.
The Vampire Diaries
At one point in time it seemed that everybody on Twitter was watching this freaking show but me. Then, Kaz Mahoney MADE me sit down and watch at least the first 4 episodes. 15 non-stop episodes later…….I was a goner. I love this show for the characters, the acting, the girls, the TWISTS, the sheer amount of “Oh NOES you didn’t”. Plus, the man-candy. Oh my word, the man-candy. Let me just say that I started as Team Stefan and remained thusly till way into season 2 – Elena really does love him and I must respect that, plus Damon is so EVIL – but at some point in season 2, things started to change and I love, love Damon. SO Much. Also, Caroline and Tyler: yes, please.
Friday Night Lights
We got the first four seasons of the show and my partner started watching this without having a clue that we would only surface 2 weeks later, dehydrated (from crying so much) and completely in love. I would never in a million ways predict that I would actually enjoy a show about American Football this much. Seriously, there is not a single episode that hasn’t made both of us cry like babies. It is such a heartwarming, and heartbreaking show, full of good people, trying to make the best of their (sometimes) crappy lot in life. Plus, the Taylor family rules: Coach Taylor and his wife Tami just have the best interest of the kids at their school at their hearts. My partner is a teacher and this show truly inspired him to try and help his students more and I have no idea why this show isn’t more hyped. The acting is…out of this world. Seriously. And we are heartbroken that this ongoing season 5 is its last. (Also: I got the Coolest T Shirt Ever for my partner for Christmas: a Panther’s one – Tim Riggins’ obviously.)
The Big Bang Theory
Another one that I started watching with my partner and it fits our household like a glove. The show features a bunch of geeky scientists and it mixes Science (my partner is a Physics teacher) and loads of geeky stuff like comics, movies and TV Shows (I am the nerdy-geeky one) and it is just so much fun. Plus, Wil Wheaton guest appeared several times and this provided the Best Line Ever in a TV Show (no, not really) from Sheldon Cooper who thinks as WW as his nemesis:
“Wil Wheaton: the Jar Jar Binks of the Star Trek Universe”.
It cracks me up every.Single.Time.
(I also got a Tee for my darling partner that says: BAZINGA!).
On-going Shows That I Still Love Oh So Much
This show, it has a ludicrous premise (a writer going to crime scenes with a vest that actually says “writer”? ) but I love Nathan Fillion so much so who cares? Plus, this season they had this entire episode paying homage to the X-Files and it was all kinds of awesome.
After the devastating season 4 finale, I was really looking forward to seeing where the show would take Dexter. I have to admit I wasn’t very keen on how this season progressed and I did not like the whole Lumen thing either. I mean, it is still a freaking awesome show and the last 4 episodes almost caused me a heart attack (as per usual) but something was…off. I did LOVE though everything about Deb this year. That is one great female character. Finally, I was under the impression that season 5 would be its last. I wonder if it shouldn’t have been – it has been picked up for at least another season and I am not sure this was the best move. I mean, how many more serial killers could there be in freaking Miami? And what more could they possibly throw at Dexter and Deb?
The Office used to be my favourite comedy…until Modern Family came along last year. It has that same awesome mixture of hilarity and heartwarmth that I love so much. I usually find myself laughing so hard till I am crying only to start going: awwwwwww, that is so sweet. Phil Dunphy is my new Michael Scott/George Constanza. Plus, it has this amazing gay couple who are happily married with an adopted child right there, on prime time TV.
Mad Men is the most frustrating show to watch. It is set in the 60s so it provides this horrendously accurate portrayal of what went through back then with all of the sexism, homophobia and racism. I watch it and I want to kick my TV every time. It is an absolutely amazing show exactly for that – and for showing the ways that people got around all that. I love all the characters in the show even when I hate them (Don Draper, I am looking at you) because they are so real and the acting is top notch. Above all, I love all the female characters and the different ways they deal with sexism. Every single scene with Peggy Olson and her struggle to be respected as a female copywriter in a office filled with men who think they are the best only because they are men, is deserving of an Emmy or Golden Globe or something.
Lost deserves a category for itself, because not only it is one my favourite shows of all time, it also had a huge impact in my life. As Thea mentioned, this is how we met (Ola, Lost-Forum Skate Boards) and that meeting is how The Book Smugglers came to be. Just like all the weird, amazing connections the characters had within the show.
It ended. I cried. A lot. (I have a lot more to say about the ending but that is for the Smugglivus Airing of Grievances.)
The New Shows That Rocked My World
The Walking Dead
What Thea said.
A new imagining of Sherlock Holmes, set in the 21st century by the BBC with only 3 episodes in the first season. The first episode was pure genius, one of the finest hours of TV: it was fun and clever and visually stunning too. The second episode was a let-down especially after the first one. The third, fell somewhere in the middle with some awesome things (Moriarty) and some stupid ones too (all the gay innuendos that went nowhere as some sort of joke. I wasn’t laughing). All things considered, there was enough goodness here to warrant me coming back for a second helping next year. Let’s hope it carries on like the first episode.
Ah. The Jewel in the Crown. Of all the TV Shows I watched this year, Downton Abbey takes the cake for being entirely made of awesome. I learnt about via Jodie of Book Gazing and I am so grateful. It is an upstairs/downstairs show set in the early 1910s (in fact the first season finishes as the first World War begins) and it has that quiet atmosphere that hide tremendous feelings that I love about certain stories (like Gosford Park or Remains of the Day). All the characters, from the lofty Lord of the House to the lowly kitchen maid are fleshed out and sympathetic even when they are doing villainy things or being ignoramus fools. It depicts the era of early feminism and that feeling of change, of Things To Come permeates the entire thing. Plus, great acting all around – Dame Maggie Smith is awesome as the Dowager Countess – and some incredible storylines. Seriously, you have got to watch this. I watched all 7 episodes in a row, then watched them all again with my Dear Partner, who loved them all as well.
The Best Movies of 2010
In ascending order!
This hyper-violent comic book to film adaptation was hilarious, over the top, gratuitous as hell, and, well, it kicked ass. While the nerdy nobody becomes a masked vigilante angle was solid, the true show stealers were Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy and Chloe Moretz’s Hitgirl. Hearing curses galore (including the c-bomb!) glibly fall from Chloe’s angelic lips was a shocker, and backed up with her fighting skills (seriously, this little girl kicks all kinds of ass)…well, suffice to say that Ms. Moretz has a pretty big career ahead of her. Also, Nicholas Cage saying “child” repeatedly was a freaking revelation, as was his sweet Adam West-ish take as Big Daddy.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really that excited to see this movie, but I am SO freaking glad I did because it is AMAZING. Tangled is a quirky, romantic retelling of Rapunzel in old-school Disney style (i.e. songs!), filled with humor and a really interesting take on overprotective mothers. The songs were amazing, the animation is fantastic, and the story is all kinds of heartwarming. Guh. I loved this movie. Please. WATCH IT.
How to Train Your Dragon
So…I like animated films. How to Train Your Dragon looked like any number of animated kiddie films out there, and I didn’t buy into the whole “jaw dropping special effects” angle that the film kept touting – but I am so glad that I took a chance on this one because not only are the special effects really that good, the story is also really awesome. Also, I love that there is some semblance of cause and effect and consequences for this film. And I want my own Toothless.
Toy Story 3
Last animated movie, I PROMISE! I think everyone can agree on this one. Not only has Pixar outdone itself with graphics, but this franchise ending was…well, tear jerking and perfectly done. I remember watching the first Toy Story film in sixth grade – even though I’m older, I grew up with Andy, and Woody and Buzz. And this finale…guh, I’m getting all teary eyed just thinking about it. Bravo, Pixar.
I don’t care what ANY damn critic says, Predators was a fucking AWESOME example of how to reboot a franchise. More scifi than the action-film bend of the original series, the reboot has a group of badass humans – (ex-Black Ops) mercenary, guerrilla sniper, russian badass, yakuza, sierra leone warlord, deathrow inmate, Mexican drug lord, and a doctor – dropped in the middle of an alien jungle, and they are hunted like game by big badass Predators with their thermal vision and cloaking devices and sweet armpads with explosives and holograms and shit. Adrian Brody is a badass. Who knew, right? I love that Robert Rodriguez and company kept the same music and some of the same dialogue as the original film. AWESOME.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I cannot believe this franchise is almost at an end. This first half of Harry’s final act is true to the book in the extreme, capturing the air of desolation and helplessness in Voldermort’s return to power. It wasn’t a perfect film, but I think Yates is finally getting this one right. Also, I almost cried three times in this movie (1. Hermoine’s “Obliviate” 2. Hedwig 3. DOBBY).
I really don’t know what I’m going to do when it is over.
My favorite film of the year, and one of the finest SF blockbusters ever. Christopher Nolan has proven himself to me as a directing genius, pulling off what is essentially a heist movie, swathed in non-mainstream SF tropes. Somehow, he made this movie – which could have been a genre piece – an all-ages (my 11 year old sister LOVES this movie), all-audiences must see. GodDAMN, can you wait to see what he does with the next Batman film?! Holy freaking crap, Nolan.
Also, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt! What the? Where did you come from? In your sweet suits and your badassness and full on hotness? This is the kid from ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD. Holy crap.
I didn’t watch as many movies as watched TV Shows (I mean, when would I even have the time?) but I do have a few faves out of the few I did. In no particular order:
Toy Story 3
Dudes, I bawled my eyes out watching this movie, it was quite embarrassing too leaving the cinema with mascara all over my face, I looked like a freaking panda. But it was so worth it, I am a little bit older than Thea and didn’t exactly grow up with these movies but I love them to bits. It was a fitting send-off.
If I had to pick ONE movie to rule them all, this would be it. I saw it at the movies and it blew my mind away. I saw it again on DVD and it is still so freaking good. The story, the characters, the visual effects, it is all so damn good, I haven’t felt like this since the first Matrix movie, I think. Plus, that ending provided several hours of conversation between my partner and I – we both think he got out (as to not spoiler). Plus plus: Arthur and Eames? Whoa, baby.
What Thea said. Hit Girl is quite possibly my favourite character of the year.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
I didn’t almost cry watching this movie: I was Panda 2.0 leaving the cinema again. Such a bleak movie – just like the book – I believe this is my favourite HP movie to date, beating even Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Regardless of that wtfuckery scene (no, not the nekkid Harry and Hermione one) between Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent, the movie got the tone just about right. Rest in Peace Dobby: a Free Elf. *sobs*
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Funny story: it was the first time I went to the movies with a colleague. I think it will be the last one too: I don’t think she was prepared for the full-on experience of Going to the Movies with Ana. I screamed – a lot. I cursed – a lot. I cried – a lot (again, Panda 3.0). I loved the first Narnia movie, wasn’t too keen on the second one, but this third one was awesome and I loved it to bits. Eustace rules the world!
El Secreto de sus Ojos – The Secret in Their Eyes
The Secret in Their Eyes won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film last year – it is an Argentine movie about this retired agent who never got over the case of a murdered girl and it goes back and forth between past and present and it is a love story as well as a crime/thriller (warning: with a couple of really graphic rape scenes) and it is really, really good with a major WTF-awesome twist in the end. It is everything that the crappy Girl with the Dragon Tattoo aspired to be and more. Seriously good stuff.
And that’s it from us! What about you? Any TV Shows and Movies that rocked your world in 2010? Do share!