Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2012 Pop Culture Favorites

With some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? I would have to say yes; and this years list includes only things I enjoyed in 2012 and that is fine. Here is a list of 14 things that made me squee with fandom. Please remember -- I am more interested in entertaining myself than in a OMG this is a great moment/statement. So let us get this ride started.

14: The fact that I have not read any of the "best" books of 2012 and I am content with that. I personally do not listen to critics. Sometimes they have an agenda, for example pushing a book that has some of the worst writing ever *cough50ShadesofGreycough*. So instead I went with my own gut feelings and enjoyed reading some paranormal smut (thanks to Felicia Day and her Vaginal Fantasy book club) to steampunk vampires to getting back into comic books (thanks to my friend Veronica as well as DC Comics producing some great stories.) Some great books I read this year were: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith, The Wonderland series by Raven Gregory, Tiger Eye by Judy Blume, Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead, Rot to Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, and Fables by Chris Roberson.

13: The television show Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. It is a shame this show might get cancelled but the comedy writing is pure genius and the acting from Kristen Ritter and James Van Der Beek is pure gold.

12: The cancellation of the television show The Secret Circle. Yes I did say this last year: When I found out this series is based on another series written by L.J. Smith, I had my tread lightly shoes on as the CW Network took another series by L.J. Smith and made a televised version of The Twilight Saga. Yes I am talking about The Vampire Diaries. 'The Secret Circle' did not redefine my idea of what a supernatural drama can be or what a program about witches and warlocks can be. But the main pieces of a teen drama are laid out perfectly from the young women learning about their abilities to first loves/crushes to the bad girl troublemaker and the history of a small town. 'The Secret Circle' demonstrates an admirable confidence in its pace and destination, and it also has the excellent Britt Robertson ('Life Unexpected') giving the journey of Cassie Blake an emotional grounding that is likely to make the whole affair satisfying to genre fans and myself. but this show had no action whatsoever. It was all dialogue dialogue dialogue. If that was the case, I would have just read the books and left it alone. The show did start off well but come March 2012, it fell very flat. Now when will Vampire Diaries get the ax?

11: The television show Two Broke Girls. Again, great comedy writing by Whitney Cummings and the acting of Kat Dennings is golden.

10: The movie version of my favorite musical "Les Miserables". The singing in the movie is subpar at best but I am glad to see that this great book has now passed through three mediums.

9: Gangham Style. Yes it is a silly dance. Yes it is a one hit wonder. Yes PSY's 15 minutes of fame are now over. But to bring together a bunch of people at a convention or a murder mystery weekend in a completely random way and have some fun, isn't that what music and dancing is all about?

8: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Seline Kyle. We all know the story --The prologue alone is a heart-stopper, as masked brute Bane (Tom Hardy) escapes from a CIA-manned plane in midair. He soon plots to destroy Gotham City, leading Batman (Christian Bale) to emerge from an eight-year exile. Can the caped crusader trust a leather-clad cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) to help? Hathaway shines brightest playing a slinky femme fatale. She even induces chills strutting through a jail. But while she rivets and Hardy menaces, Bale broods. Ever the tortured soul, Batman as well as alter ego Bruce Wayne wallows in a pit of desolation -- emotionally and literally -- for long stretches, which doesn't always translate into primo entertainment. This one is not my favorite of the Batman movies but in terms of casting, Anne Hathaway blew Michelle Pfieffer out of the water with her portrayal of Catwoman/Selina Kyle.

7: That the television show Gossip Girl finally ended and I really did not care. Gossip Girl used to be one of my favorite shows. The fashion, the scandals, the relationship between Chuck/Blair/Serena/Dan but after a while it was just downright boring and the characters just did not grab you anymore. For five years it did well. Heck maybe the book Gossip Girl Psycho Killer will be a spin-off?

6: The television show Arrow. Originally I was annoyed that Justin Hartley was not cast as Arrow/Oliver Queen as he did a superb job as this character on Smallville but I got used to the abs known as Stephen Arnell. Also I am glad that the CW Network followed the canon of Arrow as best as they could plus the inclusion of Manhunter and Huntress? I say CW Network found its next superhero television hit.

5: The television show Once Upon a Time. My love of fairy tales came back with Zenescope Entertainment last year and this show continues to foster and make it grow.

4: Animated movies being better than live action movies, namely Brave, Wreck-it Ralph, Rise of the Guardians, and A Cat in Paris. It takes great storytelling and talent to pull off a children's movie or book. These movies did just that.

3: Getting back into the television show The Walking Dead. Season 2 SUCKED. Too much dialogue. Not enough action. Not paying attention/following the canon of the graphic novel. Season 3 changed all that. The show did not follow the graphic novel as precisely as I would like and have expressed in other forums but more action was in this season and more zombies. I like case you did not know that.

2: The book and movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It seems that the mash up of history and fiction works well for Seth Grahame Smith even though I did not like his book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But to take something as far fetched as Abraham Lincoln before becoming the 16th president of the United States that he was a vampire hunter and that slaves were food for vampires and that is one of the reasons he abolished slavery into a book and a movie, that takes some talent.

1: The movie The Avengers. This movie fulfilled every fanboys/fangirls dream. Thank you Joss Whedon! He should be the director of every Marvel superhero movie. Now hopefully he can bring Firefly and Dollhouse back.

So my fellow readers, what are your 2012 pop culture favorites? Why not answer the question in the first paragraph as I did? Remember -- what you enjoyed or were entertained by in 2012 does not have to be from 2012. This years blog for me just happened to be.

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