2012 In Review:
The Best And Worst
.... And Afew Things Inbetween
Part 3: Best Of Television
So because I am a completest at heart, and also a glutton for punishment, i decided to continue my review of last year's best and worst with the best and worst of Television, simply because, well, why not? 2012 was a pretty odd year over all really, alot of good, alot of bad, alot of WTF and alot of stuff that on paper shouldn't have worked but really did, and became very enjoyable. So lets have us some fun once again, and drive right into what was the best, the worst, and the WTF of last year in tv, just, remember, diving in isn't like diving into Scrooge McDuck's money bin, because believe it or not, diving into a several mile high bin of gold coins and moneys, is gonna be sold and painful to land on, it won't be like diving into a pool or something....
Anyway, with that said, lets get right to it... climb aboard the great space coaster, and away we go!
Best Television Series Of 2012
Five years ago, the brilliant J.J Abrams and the writing staff behind Micheal Bay's Transformers films and the current Transformers series Transformers Prime, embarked on a journey, taking from the foundation built by shows like The X-Files and mixing the impossible of classic sci fi, and the excitement of cloak and dagger style mystery, basing it in Boston Massachusetts, a hub of supernatural for hundreds of years, they called their series Fringe, and oh, how it was a thing of beauty, right up to its very sad end. Fringe started out as just a regular sci fi mystery series, but soon it evolved, it evolved into the story of Walter Bishop, a sort of Dr. Frankenstein who was framed for something he did not do and has spent the better part of 20 years in a mental ward south of Boston, he is released by Agent Olivia Dunham, who had to first track down Walter's estranged son Peter, because Walter could only be released into a family member's custody. Walter is released into a world where all of the super science, or "fringe science" he, like his father before him, had spent his whole life working on, has been sold off and weaponized to the highest bidder. Setting up shop in Walter's old lab at Harvard University the three of them, along with a FBI codebreaker named Astrid form a small group referred to as "Fringe Division" designed to counter and fix anything related to Walter's work thats gotten out into the world. From there the show would just go into mindblowing places, duel universes, time travel, so very many different ways that most sci fi shows only dream of. Sadly though Fringe ended its 5 year run this year after what could be the best 13 episode story arch in all of sci fi tv history, and for that, I have given Fringe my show of the year award for 2012.
Best Drama Of 2012
I know alot of you out there are abit amazed that I am going with a rookie for best drama, but, as you know, when something is worthy, i like to give it the respect it deserves, even if thats not the popular opinion, I know most critics went with the easy choices like Downton Abby or Homeland or Breaking Bad, or anything of that ilk, but I've always thought outside the box, unless I was playing a Metal Gear Solid game, then i'm all about being inside the cardboard box of destiny, but thats a whole other matter. Anyway, though it was mostly overlooked by many, i happened to have loved the series Banshee. Part In Plain Sight, part Outrageous Fortune, part whatever that boring Kevin Costner movie where he kills that dude in a rowboat and takes his identity, Banshee is a smart, brilliant, dark, and delightfully twisted story set in a fictional town in Pennsylvania Amish country called Banshee, where our lead, an unnamed former thief comes to find his expartner and lover after 15 years in jail, so he can get his cut of their last big job. He finds her married with two children and having gone amish on him, as fate would have it, the new town sheriff is killed before he can make it to town, so our excon takes up his name and job as a means of not only being close to his partner, but to hide from the man they both ripped off years ago. Seriously this is a great show, if you haven't seen it yet, you really should give it a look, but start from the start, otherwise you'll be confused.
Best Comedy Of 2012
Mrs. Brown's Boys
I actually had trouble originally coming up with a winner for this one, in a year when alot of comedies came and went and were forgotten as fast as they'd appeared, and when afew that just aren't funny seem to have proven staying power (I am looking at you The Mindy Project..), it seems that people only were caring for existing shows that made them laugh rather then looking for new places to give their gafaws and chuckles. And though the older shows seem to be staying pretty much as fun as they've been, I wanted something different, something unique, and after basically being beat over the head with a frying pan to try the irish sitcom Mrs. Brown's Boys, I decided to give in and give a try. I've learned from this, not to wait so long when beaten over the skull with a pan to see a series, for you see, this show, which is basically part Tyler Perry as Media in all of those horrible movies everyone hates but he somehow makes money off of still, and part classic american sitcom Mama's Family, and set in a place thats living room looks alot like the season one set of The Cosby Show, is undoubtly one of the funniest things I've seen in recent years. What you'd think is a show just about a foul mouthed old irish women played by a man, is really a series about not only her, but her rather messed up children and friends, all of which at times get their lines in, but in the fashion of Mama's Family, its always Mrs. Brown that gets the killer ender lines. This series is one of those thing I wish we here in the states didn't have to seek out online to see, because its truly a comedic gem, and one worth sharing with the entire world. So if you know where to find this hilarious future cult classic, by all means give it a go, you'll love it.
Best Animated Series Of 2012
Now i know alot of Spiderman purists hate this show, they've down right called it the worst spiderman cartoon ever made, worse then Spiderman Unlimited, which, if you've seen that steaming pile of 1990s, is really a massive insult. And though they're welcome to their opinions, lord knows I have mine, but, in a world where the spiderman comic book as spent the last few years just piling WTF ontop of WTF and adding even more WTF just so they don't run out of it. Seriously from Spiderman trading his marriage to Mary Jane and destroying 40 years of marvel history, just to bring Aunt May back to life AGAIN, all the way up to finding out recently that Doctor Octopus bodyswapped with Spiderman at some point when he found he was dying of cancer, and thus, Peter Parker died in Octavious' body, and his "ghost and memories" inspire Doc Ock to be the "superior spiderman" (seriously, that actually happened recently). Anyway, my point is, in a world where the comic book is all over the place, and arguably in its worst state sense the whole Clone Saga of the 1990s, that there is still something out there that gives you the true feel and joy that is Spiderman. This show, creating its own pocket universe where teenage Peter Parker is recruited into SHIELD by Nick Fury and not only given insane amounts of SHIELD tech to help him in his fight on crime, but he's put in charge of a group of orphaned teenage superheroes (Teenage versions of Nova, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and White Tiger), claiming that these things will "take him from the amazing spiderman to the ultimate spiderman". And though the show takes alot of liberties with characters and its take on classic Spiderman mythos, it at its core, is what Spiderman is all about, watching a young hero no different then most of those reading the comics, fighting super villains and though his home life is angsty, he still manages the funny and awesome that makes Spiderman who he is. Its part sitcom, part superhero adventure, and has a healthy dose of nostalga easter eggs as well (There are two hilarious spoofs of the opening to Spiderman and his Amazing Friends that will make you laugh outloud). All this, and much more are why you should give this show a look if you're a nerd friendly cartoon viewer... need more? well, look at the above picture of Spidey in a jetpack... there ya go.
Best Sci Fi Series Of 2012
The Almighty Johnsons
i wrote about this show recently, and got alot of good feedback from new viewers to the series, which is always good, it also works out pretty well that its one my favorite shows of the last few years, and is also one of the most unique and creative ideas in the last few years as well. Set in modern day New Zealand, The Almighty Johnsons tells the story of reincarnation, prophecy and love eternal, the short less complicated version is, it centers around the modern day reincarnations of norse gods. The original norse gods fled the viking lands in the 1850s and landed in new zealand, where they settled into normal lives and began to create families, as each god or goddess died, they were reborn again in the body of a child of a god and a goddess, though you don't know which god they are, until they turn 21 and gain your god name and some of your powers. Among the reborn gods, there is a belief that once Odin is reborn, and he finds his reborn wife Frigg, they will fall in love again, marry and once they do, all the gods and goddesses will be returned to their full powers and status as gods living in Asgard. The series starts as we meet Axel Johnson and his family on his 21st birthday, where its revealed that he is infact the rebirth of Odin, which puts him and his brothers on a hunt for "the frigg" in hopes of making the legend reality, along the way they encounter other gods both good and bad and inbetween, Maori gods, and christian godhunters who believe only their god can exist, and any others are an abomination. The series does a great job picking the right personalities for the right gods, Hel is a bat shit crazy goth girl, Loki is a slimy pile of shit lawyer, Thor is a completely insane goat farmer who spends his days pegging rabbits with his hammer from miles away, seriously its a great concept and a great cast, and though i might make it sound abit choppy, trust me, its a wonderful series and just a joy to watch, seriously if you wanna give it a look, please do so, you will enjoy it.
Best New Show Of 2012
Now, I know long time reader Mojo is gonna give me alot of crap about this one, but, to that i always counterpoint with the fact his opinions don't count because he is reads DC Comics that aren't Batman related and somehow thinks Mark Harmon doesn't eat babies covered in barbecue sauce, but thats a matter for another time. Anyway, I just can't get enough of this show, maybe its because I'm a massive J.J Abrams fanboy, or I just love the fact post apocalyptic stories are finally getting some sci fi respect, and that they're making them look believable now, not like, set just in a bunker or underground city or in space or whatever, I mean if you've watched Revolution, you can clearly see the detail, Wrigley Field in Chicago, looks like Wrigley Field would look in the story's timeline, so does everything else! For those of you who haven't watched the program, here is the basic outline of the plot, with out afew key twists that will ruin the whole thing if i tell you.. 15 years ago, with out any warning, an EMP like wave swept across the United States, and they believe the entire world, knocking out everything that needs electricity to run, so cars, lights, computers, power plants, jets, helicopters, ect, basically everything that we know as common place. Flashforward 15 years, to where our story begins, in a world where we're settled into a mid-1800s at most lifestyle, plants have overgrown cities, all of that, but humanity has survived, and thrived, even if the US is now broken up into territories held by different militant groups, who control their lands and live on the edge of war with each other, well except California, everyone just leaves Governor Afleck and his crazies alone. The story starts in suburban Michigan where we meet Charlie, and her family, as officers from the ruling body of their area, The Monroe Republic, come looking for her father, claiming he is needed to help them with something, Charlie is out hunting at the time and comes home to find her father is shot and her brother has been kidnapped, thinking he can help them as well. Charlie then sets out with her stepmother Maggie Foster, and a family friend Aaron Pittman, go off to find Charlie's uncle Miles, a war hero who can help them get her brother back. By telling you anything after that would be dropping major spoilers, and I really don't wanna do that, the show is just so awesome, seriously, give it a try if you haven't already, its just awesome.
Best "One And Done" Series Of 2012
Now, long time readers will know what my term "One and Done" means, but for those of you that are new, or for people that don't retain memory all that well, let me explain this term, "one and done" is a term I came up with years ago in reference to the series Prison Break, where I stated "it had a great first season, it would just been amazing television if it was just left as that, one and done, it would have been amazing.", sense then, its become a term for shows that were canceled before they should have been, as well as a term for shows that though canceled after one year, told an amazingly good story in that one year, that works as a great stand alone series. Last Resort falls into the side of this with the shows that stand alone as a single, powerful, and downright epic story. Last Resort is a political thriller mystery that dares to tell a story that doesn't put the government of the united states of america in the greatest of lights, it tells the story of the nuclear submarine USS Colorado, a top of the line submarine that is testing out a top secret underwater cloaking system in the indian ocean off the coast of Pakistan, when they get a distress call to pick up some Navy Seals who are in need of a emergency pick up, The Colorado responds they are near by and will pick them up, once they've picked up and radioed they have the Seals onboard, they get a mysterious order sent through the old mostly forgotten cold war emergency back up station on Antarctica giving them an order to fire two of their nuclear missile load at Pakistan. The ship's captain, Marcus Chaplin believes this odd, and calls the pentagon for confirmation, believing sense he's friends with the secretary of defense, he should be able to confirm the order, simply so he doesn't fire for no reason, not wishing to cause an international incident. He is promptly ordered to fire the missiles without question, with threat of court-martial, he refuses to do so until he Secretary of Defense himself gives him the order, in the mean time, another ship, the USS Illinois, actually fires two missiles into Pakistan, and then tries to sink The Colorado, which gets away and takes control of a small island with a NATO missile tracking station on it, by the name of Sainte Marina, where Chaplin broadcasts to the world that he, his troops, his ship, and its nuclear missiles, are alive and well, declairing they have taken control of the island and stating anyone that attempts to attack them, shall meet with their full force, and demanding they will only come home to the united states once their names have been cleared or they've been given the chance to put their case to the people in a civilian court of law. From there the series involves political and military take over attempts, rogue foreign agents, black ops teams, hostile governments looking to take the Colorado for themselves, and a local despot who believes himself a god when he knows all it will take is one order and he, and all he has repressed the island's people for, will be gone. Seriously check this one out once the series is released, and if you can, get the blu rays, because the scenery and the sub shots are just amazing in HD.
Show That Shouldn't Have Failed But Did
Now when we first saw the previews of Terra Nova at ComiCon 2010, with the belief we were to get the series in January 2011, the world collectively shit a brick, this was one of the best ideas in television in a long time, its premiss, was so awesome we all wondered how we hadn't touched on it before. Set in the far flung future, where we've basically destroyed the earth, you need special air tanks to breath outside of your homes, and you can only have a limited amount of children under penalty of jail time and death of the child, the world is nothing more then a dead husk and humanity is running out of time. Scientists develop a means of what they believe is traveling backwards in time, a means they hope will save the planet somehow, but they discover, when they hear back from their rest probe, they not only traveled to the past, but to a different timeline, and from there, their plan start to send back people and in a sense, rebuild humanity using the untouched, unspoiled world of 85 million years in the past, but this time, get things right, and not destroy the planet, to make it all better, to give the world a free start, oh as long as they can deal with the dinosaurs. Yes, didn't i tell you that part? There are dinosaurs that roam wild all around them. Now i admit, the series started out great once it finally came to air, rave reviews, the nerds rejoiced, and we were all happy, we had everything we could need in a sci fi series; time travel, alternate realities, futuristic dead earth, the guy that played the general in Avatar, a chick that looked like former wrestler turned actress turned porn star Chyna but not being her, rebels, awesome transportation, and dinosaurs.. except as the series went on, we got less and less of alot of these things, by which i mean we got alot less dinosaurs, which is ofcourse what we were all watching for, the crazy violent angry dinosaurs we were promised by means of the pilot and the promo material. Sadly, the budget cutting of that nature is what killed the show, which is really sad, it was pretty good while it lasted.
Show I Thought Would Second Year Flop But Didn't
Once Upon A Time
I had abit of a hard time coming up with an honor to give this curious little ABC series, I wanted to give it an honor for not only cultivating an incredibly rabid fanbase, seriously "Oncers" make House Fans seem like jerks that spend all day on WebMD, oh wait, they are, anyway my point is the fanbase they've cultivated is insane hardcore, and thanks to that, and incredibly good writing, that both fits realistic and fairy tale logic, has proven they still have their magic in the second year, and with ratings at a massive high, they'll be easily sliding into a third and possibly more. I honestly must admit, I was worried about this series though, when I read that in its second year, not only where they using characters from fairy tales and folklore, but they wre even adding Disney characters into the series, I was cringing at the idea, but then I saw not only how they were doing this, but why, and I was very relieved, and very surprised that Disney would let anyone write Mulan and Sleeping Beauty as as either bisexual or lesbian. I guess Disney is loosening up in their old age eh? The other thing that saved this awesome little series about fairy tale characters brought to our reality by a curse, is the constant scene stealing by irish character actor Robert Carlyle as nightmare fuel Rumpelstiltskin and his real world alter ego, Mr. Gold, the rich pawn broker who owns most of the town the series of set in. I was so scared for this series last year, but I have to admit, it not only continued to climb after its amazing first year, but it hit the ground running in year two and kept going faster then a horse called Shadowfax ever could. (haha see what i did there? I'm so clever.....) Anyway where was I? Oh yeah, if you haven't seen this wonderful series yet, get right with that, sure its two years in, but those two seasons of catch up with fly by, for reals.
Well thats it for the best, next comes the worst, and then we're back to reviews and a commentary piece i was asked to write up.... So till next time... onto the next!!
Well thats it for the best, next comes the worst, and then we're back to reviews and a commentary piece i was asked to write up.... So till next time... onto the next!!