Pointless Nonsense

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 2, 2012

Continuing my now annual tradition of doing a top 10 everything at the end of the tv season:

Half hour TV

  1. Louie, though only two seasons in, I now consider to be among the all-time great comedy series.
  2. Archer seems to have hit the big time, getting guest voices like Burt Reynolds and Bryan Cranston, and it’s remained as funny as the first two seasons.
  3. Community may not crack this list again with the departure of Dan Harmon, but its third season kept up the standard the show has set for trying new things and not being afraid of the occasional misfire (also, Annie’s Christmas song was awesome).
  4. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret got pretty dark in season 2, but in the best possible way. I feel like this is going to be one of those shows that will gain a lot more fans after it’s finished than it had in its original run.
  5. Wilfred seemed at first like a pot comedy that I would get sick of in a hurry, but it grew increasingly strange and increasingly funny as the series progressed. The first season finale was kind of a game changer, so I’m really excited about the upcoming second season.
  6. Bored to Death is already cancelled, and probably ranks higher here for the fact that I’ll miss it. It was such a weird combination of madcap comedy and hardboiled crime, so I don’t expect to ever see another show like it.
  7. Parks and Recreation probably has the best character on TV in Ron Swanson, and Tom Haverford is not too far behind. I don’t tend to find the positive heartwarming happy shows all that funny, but it reminds me of King of the Hill in a weird way. Both are about generally good small-town people, both have slightly unusual sense of humor, and both are very good.
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm is not at the top of its game anymore, but for the Bill Buckner episode alone, it deserves a spot here.
  9. Life’s Too Short is not Ricky Gervais’ best series at all, but it has some scenes like this that make it worth sitting through the slower parts.
  10. Batman: The Brave and the Bold probably got more attention for this than any other part of the series. And that was admittedly quite good, but what stood out to me was the absolutely amazing finale, where Bat-Mite becomes bored with the show, and, in an effort to get the show cancelled, forces every shark-jumping cliche imaginable on to the show (including a Ted McGinley appearance). It was a crazy and brilliant fourth wall breaking metafictional bonanza. And based on the teaser for the next iteration of Batman cartoons, I’m going to miss the campy take of BatB.

Almost made the cut: The League, Cougar Town, It’s Always Sunny…, Modern Family, Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, Futurama.
Notably absent: The Venture Bros. (the last regular episode was in November 2010, with only a Shallow Gravy special since then), House of Lies (despite Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell and a promising pilot, the show just wasn’t all that good).

Hourlong (or more) TV

  1. Breaking Bad is almost unquestionably the best drama on TV right now. It’s just relentlessly tense and I’m completely excited for season 5 to start up next month.
  2. Homeland is the only reason I had to add “unquestionably” earlier. I have my doubts about how they can continue this premise for all that long, but the first season was amazing.
  3. Game of Thrones might have a different position if I’d waited another day or two to write this to see the season finale first. But the penultimate episode was excellent, and the whole season continued the first’s winning formula of blood, nudity, and witty/vulgar dialogue.
  4. Justified seemed like it might slump after it raised its game for the second season, but it really didn’t. They just keep bringing in new and interesting antagonists while mixing in familiar faces from seasons past, and Timothy Olyphant is just the right combination of wry and badass.
  5. Fringe is still the best science fiction show on TV, but that’s becoming a lot like being the world’s strongest one-armed gay native american little person. There’s just not that much competition. Also, they had one episode this season that sticks out horribly as… not necessarily bad, but out of sequence. I think they put it in there for if they were cancelled, to take the finale in a different direction, but as it is, it makes no sense whatsoever until they presumably revisit it later. As it is, it was just this weird tangent right in the middle of the buildup to an otherwise pretty satisfying season finale.
  6. Sherlock is almost cheating, because they just do three 90 minute episodes, leaving no room for things to get old. But damn, it’s good.
  7. Suits is just like most every other USA show, except better.
  8. Boss is a mix of the political maneuvering of The West Wing and the political maneuvering of The Godfather. I wonder if I’ll like it as much when there’s another political drama (Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom) on, but it was the only game in town this past year, and it was really good.
  9. Misfits shouldn’t have been able to survive the departure of its best character, but it did. Now I guess the question is whether it’ll survive losing a bunch of the rest of the original cast for next season.
  10. Dirk Gently is the kind of strange show I wish they would make more of. But they won’t, because apparently people have terrible taste. Four episodes of this totally weird and hilarious procedural based on a Douglas Adams book is better than nothing, so I should learn to be happy with that.

Almost made the cut: White Collar, Shameless, Eureka, Psych, Luther (still good, but my favorite character from season 1 didn’t feature prominently in the second season)
Notably absent: The Walking Dead (the second season ended strongly, but the middle of it was almost unbearably slow)

Comics:

  1. Locke & Key is the best comic going right now. I’m a little late to the bandwagon, which is surprising, I guess. But maybe the slightly horror-y flavor of the series kept me away, or that I don’t read anything else from IDW, so I never got any of the publisher’s hype. Anyway, the last volume can’t come fast enough.
  2. Atomic Robo did its sixth volume (the Ghost of Station X), the best Free Comic Book Day issue of the year again, and launched an anthology (Real Science Adventures), and keeps right on humming.
  3. Scotty Snyder’s Batman (pre-New 52 Detective Comics, The Gates of Gotham, and the New 52 Batman) continues to be my favorite Batman run in recent memory. I think the most recent Batman Annual #1 may have been a misstep, but at this point I trust his writing enough to not immediately throw a fit when he changes a character in a way that I don’t immediately like.
  4. Chew remains funny, littered with easter eggs, and what promises to be one of the more complicated conspiracies in all of comics.
  5. Saga is just getting going, but the first few issues of Brian K. Vaughan’s return to comics have been very, very promising.
  6. Daredevil had not been a must-read book for the first time in a while during and after the ill-advised Shadowland event, but Mark Waid took over and relaunched the book with a take on the title closer to its origins: swashbuckling superheroics and courtroom drama. It just manages to be a lot of fun without being campy.
  7. Scalped is about to end, and that’s a shame. It’s been one of the best comics out there for a long time, and I hardly ever hear anyone discuss it.
  8. Witch Doctor was I think sold on the idea of House, M.D. meets H.P. Lovecraft, which is already pretty awesome, but I fell in love with the art, which manages the kind of impressive level of detail you want for Lovecraftian monsters and the kind of facial expressions you need to sell the kind of comedic dickishness you need to make a House-like character work, which is a rare set of skills to see in a comic artist.
  9. Secret Avengers during Warren Ellis’ all-too-brief run reminded me of how damn good he is at just doing regular superhero comics. Each issue told a self-contained story and each used a different artist to brilliant effect, matching the story to the artist’s strengths perfectly. And it did everything you’d want from superhero stories. Funny, fast-paced, and action-packed.
  10. The Boys, like Scalped, is coming to an end, and although I hadn’t been as interested in parts of the later issues, Garth Ennis pulled a fast one near the end of the most recent storyline that actually made me want to go back and read the series again from the beginning. Which would be quite an undertaking, since (not counting the spinoffs) it’s on issue #66.

Almost made the cut: Avengers Academy, Manhattan Projects (so good so far, but hard to judge until it’s over), The Walking Dead, Skullkickers, Batman, Inc.
Notably absent: Morning Glories (after a really strong start, this feels like it’s going nowhere… slowly), Nonplayer (#1 came out in April 2011, and we are still waiting on #2), Scarlet (also nothing since April 2011), anything by Mark Millar (Kick Ass 2 was rapey even by Millar standards)

Movies:

  1. Avengers was great, I can’t imagine anyone reading this would disagree.
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had a really good central mystery, was incredibly well-made, and had some scenes that disturbed even me, a hardened veteran of all sorts of messed up movies.
  3. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was just a really good spy drama with a bunch of excellent actors.
  4. X-Men First Class still pisses me off for how the change to Magneto’s origin affects the logic of his beliefs as an adult, but it was still a good movie.
  5. 50/50 is among the finest cancer comedies ever made.
  6. Super 8 suffered a little bit from an overly Speilbergian ending (and an overly Abramsian amount of lens flare), but it really was that great sort of adventure movie that I was going to say they don’t make anymore. But for all I know, Harry Potter is precisely that. I’m still not going to see them though. Maybe in the 2020s sometime. Anyway, point being, I liked Super 8.
  7. The Trip is generally unknown, though quite a few people have seen this clip, but it’s this scene that stands out to me as particularly hilarious.
  8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was, just like the first one, highly entertaining and totally forgettable. I remember a handful of scenes but I don’t recall what the overall plot was.
  9. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was perfectly enjoyable. But now that I think of it, it’s odd that Jeremy Renner is in a position to take over both the Bourne and Mission: Impossible franchises, since they’re pretty similar.
  10. Captain America: the First Avenger is probably the worst of the Marvel Studios movies to date, but it did have Hugo Weaving doing a Werner Herzog impression and Hayley Atwell and also Hayley Atwell’s breasts.

Almost made the cut: Unless I forgot something, there’s nothing of note. I don’t see as many movies in theaters as I used to, and dropping the Netflix discs has meant many fewer movies I get to soon after release. I intend to see Young Adult and Hugo at some point, and they both look pretty decent.

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2 Responses

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  1. joseph jeong said, on June 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    To use a C-Note quote, “2005 gMa would punch you in the face.” Look at that list; comics, and British humor. Oh how the times have changed.

    By the way, I agree on your selection of the funniest scene in The Trip, that was by far the best scene. I need to go watch Sherlock.

    • Bill said, on June 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      2005 me would take comfort in the continuing lack of anime.


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