Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 20, 2018

The TV season is over, so my annual top 10 of stuff:

TV Half Hour:

  1. The Good Place is impressive for turning a concept with a clear expiration into a multi-season storyline that’s as engaging as anything on TV. Like Prison Break’s “what happens after they break out?,” I just assumed once her secret got out, the show would fall apart.
  2. Bojack Horseman‘s fourth season was my least favorite to date, but still excellent. Some of the darkest moments of the series so far, but still funny.
  3. Corporate is odd at times, with no characters to root for (because they’re all the worst), and the only way you identify with the protagonist is by understanding his misery. But it’s also funny and its cynicism feels appropriate for 2018.
  4. Brockmire‘s second season has been quite a bit better than its first. I would not have recommended the first for anyone who wasn’t a baseball fan, but the second season gets a bit more universal. His dying father’s last letter to him is one of the funnier lines I can remember in anything.
  5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premiered a half season the day after Arrested Development’s much more hyped half season, and was considerably funnier.
  6. Great News/The Mick were both cancelled in what seemed like a brutal TV offseason. Very different shows, but I’ll miss them both.
  7. American Vandal took an unquestionably stupid concept and turned it into an engaging mystery that was probably the biggest surprise of the year to me.
  8. Rick and Morty was probably better than a lot of the shows above, but most of my memories of the show this year have been related to its insufferable fans.
  9. Barry should have been funnier, being a half hour show with Bill Hader, but I did actually get wrapped up in the plot towards the end, and I’m now really interested in season 2.
  10. Love finished its run as one of Netflix’s more underrated shows, but I may just be saying that because I find Claudia O’Doherty really attractive (and not just because of her accent).

Honorable mentions: The Guest Book is a quality anthology-ish series especially if you liked My Name is Earl/Raising Hope, Room 104 is a mostly-dramatic actual anthology that mostly wasn’t very good but its fifth episode, “The Internet,” was amazing. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still good, but I could do without weddings on sitcoms. The Detour is still good but this was their worst season so far, Santa Clarita Diet improved quite a bit over season 1.

TV Hour+:

  1. Killing Eve is the new hotness right now, having just wrapped up its first season a month or so ago, so I’m probably overrating it, but it was a damn good show.
  2. The Orville is kind of stupid in parts, and Seth MacFarlane can’t really act, but I really loved the first season. It’s truer to the spirit of Star Trek than anything else since Voyager ended. It’s optimistic and earnest and not afraid to take on complex issues, but it still keeps a sense of adventure.
  3. Black Mirror‘s 4th season was the weakest so far, but still one of the most interesting shows out there.
  4. Game of Thrones‘ seventh season feels like forever ago, but it was within the last year. The common complaint seems to be that the plot is losing its way after it passed the novels, and that may be true, but it’s still a bigger spectacle than anything else on TV.
  5. Preacher made progress moving to New Orleans. I still think the spirit of the series is as a road trip. That might be too expensive so it might never happen, but it’s
  6. Killjoys is routinely fun and features Hannah John-Kamen who I’ll watch in most anything.
  7. The Expanse was in mid-season at my arbitrary 6/1 cutoff date, but it’s been pretty good. Glad Amazon came to the rescue.
  8. Jessica Jones wasn’t nearly as good as season 1, but I liked season 1 so much that even with a big dropoff, it could still be a quality season.
  9. Sneaky Pete is another one that took a step down in season 2, but I still liked it.
  10. iZombie left off last year with a huge change in the status quo, but made a better season out of it than I thought possible.

Honorable mentions: Altered Carbon has a lot to like but somehow kinda disappointing in the end, Defenders was kind of a letdown, Lethal Weapon is better than it has any right to be, though I’m curious how it’ll handle its casting change, Counterpart has a really cool concept but it’s kinda slow.


  1. Thor Ragnarok is probably peak MCU non-seriousness, unless they do a Nextwave movie (and they should definitely do a Nextwave movie).
  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri hopefully doesn’t mean Sam Rockwell becomes a super serious actor now.
  3. Dunkirk is not normally my kind of movie, being relatively light on story and character, and heavy on visuals and war stuff, but it worked
  4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi remains controversial among fans, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
  5. Black Panther I maybe go the other way on, not quite loving it as much as everyone else seemed to, though I still thought it was excellent.
  6. Logan Lucky is a well-crafted heist movie, and I am a sucker for those.
  7. Wonder Woman managing not to suck was already an achievement, but that it was actually pretty great is amazing.
  8. The Big Sick isn’t too exciting, but it’s funny and an interesting story.
  9. Spider-Man Homecoming is probably going to turn out to be one of the more forgettable MCU movies, but they cast Peter well, and that goes a long way.
  10. Avengers: Infinity War is really half a movie, so I can’t be too high on it until I see where things go after it.


And I’m too far behind on comics to make a top 10 this time around.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 14, 2017
Belated annual top ten of stuff from June 2016-May 2017 (so Wonder Woman will show up next year).
TV Half Hour:
  1. Bojack Horseman – Still loving this show, and it started to get some real critical respect this year (Time named the mostly-silent episode the best TV episode of 2016).
  2. The Good Place – I found the show fun and funny at first, though I was a little iffy on how it would work long-term. The end of the season did an amazing job in… not exactly making me sure hot it would work, but desperate to know where it’s going.
  3. Master of None – Getting close to the line of taking itself too seriously, but fortunately it remains pretty full of jokes.
  4. The Detour – I feel like this show shouldn’t be as good as it is? And yet it has huge laughs in almost every episode.
  5. Fleabag – Downer comedies (aka “sadcoms”) are kinda my thing, especially when there’s a self-loathing protagonist.
  6. The Last Man On Earth – Also a running theme here is plot-heaviness. This and The Detour are as serialized as any drama.
  7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine – First traditional sitcom on here, where the status quo is maintained after most episodes and the tone is generally upbeat. Andre Braugher continues to get robbed during awards season.
  8. Great News is the new 30 Rock. Also Briga Heelan is totally cute.
  9. Silicon Valley annoys me with the technical stuff this year (mobile networks lack the bandwidth and phones lack the uptime% to serve as nodes on a peer-to-peer network, even with fictionally good compression!) but it’s still really funny. The hot dog app alone is enough to make this season a win.
  10. The Mick – I kinda thought this would suck, but it manages to do It’s Always Sunny style comedy in a more traditional sitcom format. There’s a family learning lessons and all, but there’s also episodes that build up to a huge payoff of characters being shockingly horrible in hilarious ways.
Missed the cut: Veep, Archer, and Kimmy Schmidt are all still good, but none at their peak form. Veep has actually had some of their more memorable filthy insults this year, but the plot direction is… meh. I don’t give two shits about a library. Love had a solid second season, but it’s clearly a second-tier sadcom. Rick and Morty had only the one episode in the past year. Trial & Error was pretty good and is surprisingly renewed even though nobody was talking about it (or, judging by the ratings, even watching at all).
TV Hourlong:
  1. Black Mirror‘s first season on Netflix was ridiculously good. If I was doing top 10 hourlong episodes of the year, I think there would be 3 from this one 6 episode season (I’m not on the San Junipero bandwagon though it was pretty good, and Men Against Fire and Playtest were only ok).
  2. Better Call Saul – I heard an interview with Chuck Klosterman talking about the ethics of Breaking Bad – the main character starts as 100% ethically sound, but by the end of the series he’s 100% ethically corrupted, and the question is when do you, as the viewer, recognize him as a villain rather than a hero? I thought that was kinda interesting. And it applies some here too, though Jimmy/Saul starts out fairly ethically compromised already. It builds tension better than anything else on TV, which is even more impressive given that I know the fates of many characters.
  3. Westworld caused me to spend more time theorizing about what’s going on than any other show in a long time. Also I like seeing comics writers I like (Ed Brubaker in this case) break into higher paying gigs with a union and health insurance.
  4. Fargo probably wouldn’t be so high if Mary Elizabeth Winstead wasn’t so trashy-hot this season. It’s still very good, but not up to season 1 or 2 levels, IMO.
  5. Game of Thrones is still awesome, but it only had a half season in the 6/16-5/17 period.
  6. The Expanse didn’t have the breakout season 2 that I was hoping for, but it was still good.
  7. Sherlock kinda disappointed with the overarching plot, but it was still fun and had interesting cases of the week.
  8. Stranger Things seems like more than a year ago, but it was just last summer. Season 2 isn’t until this fall, so I figure at that rate, by season 4 all the kids will have deep voices and be tall and gangly and weird, so get ready for that.
  9. iZombie mixes the short- and long-term plots as well as any show currently running. Not surprising given the Veronica Mars connection.
  10. Luke Cage is the only superhero TV show here, which speaks both to the fading quality of most superhero shows, and to my own level of burnout on them. But this one was definitely good.
Missed the cut: Preacher is pretty good but I still don’t know how they’ll handle the big moments without losing every sponsor. I liked The Night Of a lot. Gotham has gotten highly entertaining, even if it still makes little sense.
  1. John Wick 2 – Really my only complaint is that Bridget Regan wasn’t in it. Who would have thought my favorite movie of any year would star Keanu Reeves?
  2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story I think might turn out to be not-essential-rewatching, but it really was well done and a fun ride.
  3. Arrival was really thought provoking and I always appreciate when a studio spends money on a non-franchise sci-fi movie.
  4. Logan is a nice conclusion to the original set of X-Men movies. I kinda wish they’d stop making them for a while, but that’ll never happen.
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 remains full of amusing wisecracking and whatnot.
  6. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping apparently only made $9.5mil at the box office, which is ridiculous. But maybe it appeals to the kind of people who would either pirate it or wait for it on netflix or something. As I did. Equal Rights alone is worth the price of admission.
  7. Doctor Strange and the ones below it are here because I don’t see enough new releases anymore. It was fine, but hard to get too excited about.
  8. All the Way, the HBO adaptation of the LBJ/MLK play, was pretty decent.
  9. Loving, about the couple that helped overturn interracial marriage laws, same.
  10. Swiss Army Man, I guess? I didn’t particularly like it, but I’m certain it’s the best farting corpse movie I’ve ever seen.

Comics (I used to split these up into superhero and non-superhero but I’ve really cut back on my reading):

  1. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – Nothing is more reliably entertaining. Marvel’s in the midst of a really ill-advised crossover event, and this is one of the few of their titles I haven’t stopped reading.
  2. Injection – Literally 3 issues this year, but I don’t care. I really like this series.
  3. Saga had only 6 issues but it’s still very good too.
  4. Sex Criminals only 4 issues, thanks to artist Chip Zdarsky taking on a bunch of writing gigs and becoming a bit of an internet celebrity (I don’t follow his (or anyone’s) twitter, but when I do see things reposted from it, they’re very funny…. “going to go see Wonder Woman and if it turns out Wonder Woman’s mom isn’t named Martha I’m fucking leaving”).
  5. Black Widow had a short run by the Waid/Samnee team that did a killer Daredevil run. This wasn’t at that level, but it was still a good read.
  6. Invincible is wrapping things up and has kinda renewed my interest in the series (that never completely waned, but it was for a while kinda low priority reading).
  7. Kill or Be Killed is the latest Brubaker/Phillips thing, this one a supernatural (maybe?) revenge story.
  8. Ms. Marvel is avoiding (mostly? so far?) the crossover business, and it’s still light and fun.
  9. Lazarus – The TV section’s theme was sadcoms and serialization, the comics section’s theme is “6 or fewer issues for the whole year.”
  10. Clean Room turned out to have a short run that ended this year (I’m still not entirely sure if it was always intended to be 18 issues or if they wrapped it up quickly due to sales). Not was good as I’d hoped given a promising start, but I liked it.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 8, 2016

Returning to the annual top 10, as usual timed around the TV season rather than the calendar.

TV Half Hour:

  1. Bojack Horseman continues to combine silly animal jokes, show business jokes, and incredibly depressed characters in a way that completely appeals to me. Season 2 was almost as good as the first, and season 3 is coming in July.
  2. Master of None is funny and raises serious issues without being preachy.
  3. The Venture Bros. had a new season, which had a ton of plot, and some very funny parts. But a little disappointing, given the two and a half year wait.
  4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine remains solid. How is Andre Braugher not winning Emmys for this?
  5. Archer is still churning out quality episodes. Kung Fu Krieger alone was worth the whole season.
  6. Rick and Morty – I’ve had “Get Schwifty” stuck in my head for almost a year now.
  7. The Grinder, sadly, wasn’t picked up for season 2. But it was definitely the best new network sitcom of the year.
  8. The Last Man on Earth isn’t the funniest show, exactly, but it has a weird mix of human drama and… I dunno. There’s something fascinating about the main character, where you’re always thinking “I get where you’re coming from, but why are you approaching the problem in the most dickish way possible?”
  9. The Detour managed to sustain an entire season, and somewhat surprisingly has a nice setup for a second season, for which it has been renewed.
  10. Peep Show‘s final season wasn’t its best, but Mark’s dinner party with “Moroccan” food was goddamn hilarious.

There are a lot of good shows on right now, since this leaves out Bob’s Burgers, the relatively satisfying end of Gravity Falls, Love, Kimmy Schmidt, Veep, Silicon Valley, and Blunt Talk, all of which I enjoyed quite a bit.

bcsTV Hourlong:

  1. Better Call Saul is still amazing, and violating my “prequels suck” stance.
  2. Jessica Jones – I think this is the best live action superhero TV season yet.
  3. Fargo got a little weirder this season, but I was surprised how the semi-anthology-ness of it didn’t kill the momentum of the first season.
  4. Game of Thrones – the weird nature of me doing this in early June is that I’m basing this on the last third of season 5 and the first 2/3 of season 6. But so far so good.
  5. iZombie probably shouldn’t be as good as it is, but it’s managing to recapture some of the Veronica Mars feel with a damaged/cute/smart/sardonic lead, an entertaining supporting cast, and an ever-expanding universe of small characters who pop back up often.
  6. Daredevil season 2 wasn’t as good as the first, but still very good.
  7. Person of Interest is dialing up the science fiction for the home stretch, which is the stuff that intrigues me the most.
  8. The Expanse has, unfortunately, not entirely lived up to the potential it had in the pilot, but it’s still pretty good. And I’d still call it promising. I may have to re-watch the first season at some point, though, because I already have only a fuzzy recollection of what happened, and it’s 6+ months until season 2.
  9. 11.22.63 wasn’t spectacular or anything, but it was a good story. Sarah Gadon should be in more stuff.
  10. Flash is still solid. I’m nervous about the implications of the season finale though.



  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I want to say “duh” here, but a lot of the discussion I have about this movie focuses on a couple small problems and leaning a little too heavily on borrowing the original formula. But in creating a good movie in the face of massive expectations, bringing back the sense of fun and adventure to Star Wars, it really was a great achievement in mass-market moviemaking.
  2. The Nice Guys – I think the only reason I’m not a serious devotee of classic crime movies is that they tend to be overly serious, but when Shane Black does a movie like this, it keeps all the plot twists and cynical outlook but fills it with jokes, and I love it.
  3. The Martian took kind of a similar approach, cram a science fiction movie full of jokes to make it more palatable to a broad audience. And I already like scifi so it was great.
  4. Deadpool is ultimately really dumb, but also really, really funny.
  5. Captain America: Civil War was disappointing in some respects but it has a great cast and a really good big action sequence in the middle and snappy dialogue throughout.
  6. The Big Short – I lack the attention span/concern for the world around me to do much serious reading or viewing of documentaries or anything like that, so I’m pretty reliant on infotainment. And this was a good piece of infotainment.
  7. The Hateful Eight – QT does long, profane speeches and tense build-up to extreme violence very well.
  8. Inside Out – Fuck you, Pixar, for making me feel feelings.
  9. Ant-Man – I wonder how much I would have liked this without Paul Rudd’s charm and Evangline Lilly’s hotness, but whatever the reason, I did enjoy it a lot.
  10. Spectre – I guess Daniel Craig’s final Bond movie, and a good one to go out on.

Non-Superhero Comics:

  1. Injection is Warren Ellis’s weird scifi/fantasy/horror thing with a bunch of oddball characters and… it’s hard to say much without giving things away. But I look forward to it more than anything else right now. My only complaint is that it’s doing the now-standard TPB worth of material followed by a hiatus, and the break before the start of volume 3 is about to begin.
  2. Saga: still good.
  3. Sex Criminals: also still good.
  4. Chew: nearing the end, and another one that’s still good.
  5. Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses: The Stray Bullets series took a decade hiatus and came back as if it never missed a beat. There’s been a heist in the works for about a year, but it’s never felt like David Lapham is stretching things out, he just has a lot of things going on at once between drug dealers, strippers/hookers, little kids, teenagers in love/lust, and even an occasional diversion into Amy Racecar fantasy world.
  6. Clean Room is another scifi/fantasy/horror thing, this one from Gail Simone. A lot more fucked up, and it is based around a Scientology-type religion that is either helping people or driving them to suicide.
  7. James Bond is Warren Ellis’ original comic story based of the Fleming novels (not the movies). More violent and less sexual than I’ve come to expect from the movies. The first storyline was really good, and I believe there’s another planned later this year.
  8. We(l)come Back is about an ancient war that secretly continues today, being fought by people who reincarnate into new lives every time they die. Lots of chase scenes and action. And it sorta takes off from there. Unfortunately, the original artist left, and I haven’t quite gotten used to the new one, but it’s an interesting story nonetheless.
  9. Lazarus is unfortunately experiencing some delays, and they only put out about 6 issues in the past year. But they’ve been excellent.
  10. The Legend of Luther Strode didn’t go out on its best volume, but Tradd Moore’s art is still really good, and I had a strong affinity for the Petra character all the way to the end.

usgSuperhero Comics

  1. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is an absolutely ridiculous series about a CS student/superhero who eats nuts and kicks butts. The qwantz guy writes it, and it’s just all-around great.
  2. Catwoman had a really top notch run by writer Genevieve Valentine that saw Selina semi-retire that Catwoman costume to take over leadership of one of Gotham’s crime families. It was a moody noir book for a while, and it was great.
  3. Batgirl wrapped up the whole “Batgirl of Burnside” business leading up to DC’s new Rebirth status quo, and it was a good run while it lasted. Cool design, good art, a less grim mood. A breath of fresh air when DC was locked in a single tone across almost their entire line.
  4. Howard the Duck is written by Sex Criminals artist Chip Zdarsky and it’s full of weird jokes like you’d expect from him. Always an entertaining read.
  5. Invincible had a weirdly long break while they prepped for a status quo change, a temporary return of the original artist, and prepping for what looks like some major stuff coming down the line. Hard to believe this is still going strong, but it really is.
  6. Batman saw the whole business with Bruce Wayne being “dead” and Jim Gordon in a robot suit taking over as Batman for a while. Not one of my favorite Batman runs, but it was still well done.
  7. Black Canary is hit or miss on the writing, but Annie Wu’s art and character design are awesome.
  8. Patsy Walker: Hellcat is another one of the goofy/light/fun superhero books I’m increasingly grateful for.
  9. Astonishing Ant-Man is also goofy and fun, but not really light. But it’s in the middle of a clever storyline about the introduction of a Hench app that allows you to hire villains and henchmen like an Uber ride.
  10. Gotham Academy, the last of the light/goofy/fun ones. Maps Mizoguchi is one of the better new characters they’ve had in a while.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 10, 2015

My annual top 10 of everything, presented in early June because I’m a rebel with no regard for normal calendars.

Half Hour TV:


  1. Bojack Horseman, Netflix’s cartoon about anthropomorphic animals and sadness stuck with me more than any other show this year. It started off a little slow, but by episode 4 I was loving it, and towards the end it got really heavy and weird, in a good way.
  2. Community being on Yahoo is a little bit annoying. I have to remember to go to some new site to find it, and they screw up the placement of the ads sometimes (where it abruptly cuts to commercial in the middle of a sentence, then at the end of the break, you hear 4 words and then there’s a fade out/fade in where the ad break should have gone). But the show’s still smart and different and funny and Keith David and Paget Brewster are welcome additions to the cast.
  3. Big Time in Hollywood, FL is a very unusual show that the more I think about it, the more it reminds me of Evil Dead II except with crime instead of horror. It mostly plays with the tropes of the genre straight, but when somebody gets their hand blown off, we aren’t supposed to feel for the character or anything like that, we’re supposed to laugh as he manages to get the advantage in the fight by spraying blood from his wrist into the face of his opponent. The same people did this youtube series, which is a fake reality show but told entirely through “Next time on…” teasers. About a minute into that, you pretty much see the comedic sensibility of Big Time summed up perfectly.
  4. Parks and Recreation was still a very good show right up to the end, and I thought it had a fitting conclusion. It managed to not be too sappy but give satisfying endings to everyone.
  5. Brooklyn 99 remains very good, but for some reason I always feel like it could turn to crap any minute. And I don’t think there’s any rational reason to feel that way.
  6. Gravity Falls would be higher up if it put out more episodes. But it’s very, very slow going. Still, it’s an excellent supernatural conspiracy mystery comedy show, even if it’s probably supposed to be for 10 year olds.
  7. Archer is still solid. Though I feel like it always needs more Cheryl/Carol.
  8. The Last Man on Earth is a title full of lies, but the show has been interesting. It’s not always the funniest, but I am always curious to see where it goes next.
  9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is actually quite weak story-wise, and a lot of the jokes are iffy, but Ellie Kemper is really likable and makes it work.
  10. Bob’s Burgers is consistently good.

Missed the cut: It’s Always Sunny and The League are fine but I can’t get too excited about them anymore. Silicon Valley is interesting enough but sometimes it goes long stretches of not being very funny at all. Louie is getting weird.

Hourlong (or more) TV:


  1. Better Call Saul somehow doesn’t bother me like other prequels tend to. How did the guy from Mr. Show end up as the star of TV’s best drama?
  2. Daredevil is the TV adaptation of comic books I’ve been hoping for since the whole live action superhero boom started. If they do anywhere close to this well with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, I will be a happy man. Though happier still if they cast an Asian American as Danny Rand, but I don’t have enough faith in Marvel to expect that to happen.
  3. Justified went out on a really good note, with an exciting finale that wrapped things up nicely but not too neatly.
  4. Game of Thrones is still very good, but I really wish it wasn’t so rapey.
  5. The Flash is goofy and sometimes nonsensical but that’s how most superhero stories are supposed to be.
  6. How to Get Away with Murder played games with its timeline to make for a really engaging first season. I have no idea how they’ll manage to keep the same level of excitement for another season, but I hope they figure out a way.
  7. Agent Carter is actually getting a second season, which surprised me. But I liked the show, and Hayley Atwell is really attractive.
  8. iZombie brings back some of that classic Veronica Mars feel. It’s not as good, I preferred the film noir take on high school to the teen drama take on zombies (albeit with adults), but I do like the case-of-the-week mixed with lots of long-term subplots and a sardonic cute girl lead.
  9. Orange is the New Black‘s second season still kinda suffered from the protagonist being the least interesting thing about it. But it’s still a good show.
  10. House of Cards was better with Kate Mara, but Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood is still awesomely evil.

Missed the cut: The Americans is starting to get called “the best show you’re not watching” all over the place but also starting to lose my interest. The longer Suits goes, the more petty everyone on the show seems.

Superhero Comics:


  1. Batman Eternal was the year-long weekly series featuring a much wider cast and more long-term mystery than typical monthly comics, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
  2. Catwoman had been a pretty typically bad T&A book ever since the New 52, but partly due to the events of Batman Eternal and partly due to bringing in writer Genevieve Valentine it turned into a gritty organized crime story, and a damn good one.
  3. Daredevil has been written by Mark Waid for years now, and at some point I’d expect the quality to fall off, but it’s consistently one of the best comics out there.
  4. Moon Knight, the tail end of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s short run on the series, was excellent. The fifth issue was one of the best single issues I’ve read in a long time. Only this low because just 3 issues were Ellis/Shalvey, the rest were forgettable and I quit reading it.
  5. She-Hulk was sadly cancelled after 12 issues, which is a shame. It did the superhero/lawyer thing as well as any Daredevil series, and kept a fun light tone. The only real drawback was that I didn’t like the artist’s style.
  6. The Punisher has been written by Nathan Edmonson for over a year now, and he has done a lot of things I really like. He didn’t forget about Rachel Cole-Alves, he brought in the military to try to take down Frank, kept a serious tone while raising the stakes and still having Frank be obsessed with putting skull symbols on everything. It’s a quality series.
  7. Batman has still been good, but I didn’t really like the conclusion to Scott Snyder’s big Joker story arc.
  8. Batgirl, like Catwoman, had been pretty weak, but they revamped it, sending Barbara to college with a new costume redesign and moved away from the grim tone that had made the book kinda boring. And they had Black Canary around, who will be getting her own series in a bit.
  9. Mighty Avengers/Captain America and the Mighty Avengers is the Avengers team with Luke Cage, Monica Rambeau, Sam Wilson, the new Power Man and White Tiger, the Blue Marvel, and sometimes Spider-Man and She-Hulk and Jessica Jones and this wizard guy who’s name I always forget. It’s just a fun series. It was briefly derailed by Marvel’s really dumb Axis event where briefly (except for Iron Man, who remains Axis flipped) a bunch of heroes turned evil and villains turned good, so they had to deal with evil Sam Wilson FalconCap, but quickly returned to the quality it had before.
  10. Grayson spun out of some DC event where Dick “Nightwing” Grayon’s identity was revealed to the world and he “died.” In this series, Batman and Dick faked his death to have him infiltrate Spyral, an espionage group with questionable motives. Dick and his partner Helena Bertinelli do spy stuff, and he feeds intel back to Batman. Despite being really different, it remains unquestionably a Dick Grayson book, with all the acrobatics and wisecracking and stuff.

Missed the cut: Ant-Man, Black Widow, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man, and Gotham Academy are all very good.

Not enough issues to make a call: Hawkeye (3 issues in a year, still waiting on the last one), Spider-Woman (it was an uninteresting book with a garbage artist until a creative team switch in March).

Non-superhero Comics:


  1. Saga is still really good.
  2. Chew is sometimes troubled by an irregular shipping schedule. They seem to do between 6 and 10 issues a year. But they are always good issues, at least.
  3. Lumberjanes is weird in that I wouldn’t imagine myself enjoying a comic about adventures at a girls’ camp as much as I do, but this comic makes me laugh a lot.
  4. Trees is Warren Ellis’s scifi series about giant monolithic devices planted by aliens on earth that don’t seem to do anything. So far, it’s mostly a slice of life book about a world where people have gotten used to these “trees,” but the end of the first volume seems to promise some plot progression in interesting directions.
  5. Darth Vader is part of Marvel’s new Star Wars line, and it’s been surprisingly good. It helps that one of the characters is a hot/kinda evil lady Indiana Jones type, which… why isn’t that a thing more often?
  6. Stray Bullets, which took an almost 10 year hiatus before returning in March 2014, is somehow still a really interesting comic. It’s mostly a crime story that follows Virginia Applejack, who was a little kid when the series started, but I think she’s 20-ish now. But I keep hoping they’ll bring back Amy Racecar, the star of nihilist scifi/crime comics written and drawn by the character Virginia, who has appeared in several issues throughout the run.
  7. Lazarus had a big cliffhanger two issues ago, and then in the last issue detoured to totally unrelated events. Which is good writing but also a dick move, so I’m kinda pissed at Greg Rucka right now. But this is a quality series, and Michael Lark is the perfect artist for a dystopian future story about a badass woman.
  8. Revival is Fargo-meets-zombies sort of comic from the writer of Hack/Slash, which is consistently solid.
  9. Stumptown put out a five issue miniseries this year, and Greg Rucka can still write the hell out of a PI story.
  10. Private Eye, Brian K. Vaughan’s digital-only series, wrapped up this year. It wasn’t the greatest, but still interesting.

Missed the cut: Sex Criminals and Rat Queens are still very good, but their publishing schedule has slowed to a crawl. Atomic Robo finished a fairly lackluster last print volume, before moving 100% online, the beginning of the next volume is promising so far, but the last print one was the worst Robo to date.

Not enough issues: Fight Club 2, Injection, The Legacy of Luther Strode, and Red One.



  1. Interstellar wasn’t perfect, but I do love accessible big idea scifi that makes you think, especially when there’s time stuff going on.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the most fun superhero movie so far.
  3. John Wick surprised the hell out of me with how good it was.
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road was weird as hell, I understood at most 2/3 of the dialogue, left the theater knowing like 3 character names, but it was still pretty great.
  5. Big Hero 6 had a solid story, good action, a quality sense of humor, and a pretty nice animation style.
  6. Gone Girl is clever as hell, but I still worry about douchebags getting the wrong idea from it.
  7. Avengers: Age of Ultron probably suffers from high expectations. Underwhelming for what it could have been.
  8. Edge of Tomorrow still has one of the worst titles of any movie ever, but it was highly enjoyable.
  9. Snowpiercer had some flaws, but it also had some really great parts.
  10. Birdman, I guess? I didn’t really love it, but it was impressive in a lot of respects.

Missed the cut: Kingsman, The Imitation Game, They Came Together were all fine too.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 6, 2014

Once again, a top 10 of everything, having picked June 1st as the cutoff date because it’s roughly the end of the TV year.

Half Hour TV:


  1. Brooklyn Nine Nine – Maybe because it’s the new hotness, but it actually felt like the best comedy on TV this year. It’s not doing anything incredibly inventive, it’s following a lot of single camera comedy trends. It’s just well-written and has a great cast.
  2. Venture Bros. – Not its greatest season but it still had some major highlights. Hopefully not another 3 year wait for next season (they have said a special will be coming late this year followed by a season in 2015, fingers crossed).
  3. Archer – Archer Vice made for an odd season, but still a very funny one.
  4. Parks and Recreation – Had some speedbumps this year with some cast changes, but still one of the better shows out there. The time jump season finale could be interesting next year… or a disaster, who knows.
  5. Louie – I still feel like this show is getting less funny as it goes. I still like it, but there are really long stretches where there’s nothing funny at all. The early seasons, it managed to be just as good otherwise, but also very, very funny, so I still miss that.
  6. Bob’s Burgers – I have a hard time remembering what actually aired this year, since I caught up on the show from start to finish this year, but it’s an excellent, excellent show. I’d watched the pilot and seen a few minutes here and there but it never really clicked for me until I gave it another shot.
  7. Gravity Falls – This is a cartoon on the Disney Channel and it only aired like 3 episodes and a few online shorts in the past year, but dammit it’s good. Tons of mysteries, crazy adventures, and it’s really funny.
  8. Community – It was a big step up from the misfire last season, but didn’t exactly return to form. Still sad to see it go.
  9. Modern Family – I guess it’s only been 5 seasons, and I’m sure it won’t happen because it makes too much money, but I think it’s time for this show to die. It’s unquestionably on the down swing, the formerly young kids are either awkwardly or distractingly hitting puberty, and the gay wedding and the new baby are basically the things you’d expect to see when they’re wrapping up.
  10. Silicon Valley – Basically cracked the top 10 for this one scene in the season finale that absolutely killed me. That episode was a lot better than all the previous ones, both in terms of story and humor. I still find Amanda Crew (basically the only woman on the show) to be really, really attractive too.

Missed the cut: Legit (the drug/alcohol stuff is getting pathetic), Wilfred (honestly it’s been so long that I forget what happened last season), Veep (it’s fine, and I’m liking the campaign stuff more than the general VP stuff, just not one of my favorites), The Boondocks (it doesn’t seem very good anymore?), Cougar Town (another one where it’s time to go… but apparently next season is its last), Avengers Assemble (I really don’t care about this show anymore, and I miss Earth’s Mightiest Heroes).

Hourlong (or more) TV:


  1. Breaking Bad – Solid final season, satisfying finale, one of the best shows ever.
  2. Game of Thrones – In Venture Bros. commentary, Doc Hammer says he doesn’t watch this because it sounds like Falcon Crest with dragons. But that sounds awesome! And is basically what it is. But also with a lot of blood and nudity.
  3. Sherlock – Season one is still their best, but this show is still great.
  4. Orange is the New Black – Based on the first season, not the just-released second one (which I’m only just starting). It’s an excellent show, the only thing keeping it from greatness is the kind of shitty main character and her very shitty husband. Any time Jason Biggs is on screen, I kind of zone out.
  5. House of Cards – Kevin Spacey kills it on this show, and I do love both political drama and dark, cynical drama, so this is right up my alley.
  6. Suits – I worry about this show going forward, because the premise is getting more and more ridiculous over time. But somehow they’ve managed to keep it entertaining.
  7. Psych – Another solid final season with a satisfying ending. This leaves Royal Pains and White Collar as the last of USA’s fun shows. With HBO, AMC, and FX constantly churning out dark anti-hero dramas, I really liked that USA just had light dramedy. But they’re increasingly going in the same direction as everyone else.
  8. Justified – Next season is the last one, apparently, and this season felt more like getting things set for a big showdown next year. I do like Alicia Witt’s white trash hotness though (much like when she was on FNL).
  9. Fargo – One exception to FX’s dark anti-hero thing, this is… still dark, but if you had to pick a main character it’d be Molly, and she’s not even remotely an anti-hero. It’s definitely not like anything else on TV.
  10. Pick one of: Arrow, Lost Girl, The Walking Dead: These shows are all dumb and I could (and do) nitpick all the stupid stuff they’re constantly doing, but I find them entertaining anyway.

Missed the cut: The Newsroom (this season was terrible, a show I appreciated for snappy dialogue and ridiculously optimistic liberal bullshit became a show about pessimistic liberal bullshit and random pairing off of characters because maybe this was the end), The Bridge (I really liked the beginning, but lost interest more and more as it went along), Homeland (one of the best shows on tv in season one, I may not watch it next season), Person of Interest (probably should be #10 instead of those dumb shows, but I lose interest in a lot of their cases of the week), True Detective (I enjoyed it, but not as much as everyone else, apparently, and the ending was fairly underwhelming), Shameless (last season blew me away, this season was just a downer), Mind Games (over too quick to really matter, but I wish this had caught on), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (hey this show kinda sucks huh? even with a couple hot actresses and a Cap 2 tie-in, meh)



  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Best Marvel movie to date? Probably.
  2. Pacific Rim – One of those things, maybe honest trailers, kept calling it “so dumb, but so awesome” which is about right. But I would put the emphasis on awesome. I even liked the tie-in comic.
  3. Gravity – I’m with Neil deGrasse Tyson on all the physics goofs, but I still thought it was an excellent movie.
  4. Thor: The Dark World – The Thor movies and Cap 1 are definitely the lesser Marvel Studios movies. Though I’m expecting Guardians of the Galaxy (based on having seen no trailers) to join them. But they’re all still pretty good.
  5. American Hustle – A 70s crime/con story, ridiculous wigs for the guys and ridiculous cleavage for the ladies? Of course I’m going to enjoy that.
  6. The World’s End – Got pretty weird towards the end, but it was very funny. The thing that may impress me the most about the “cornetto trilogy” is that Simon Pegg plays very different characters in each one. He could have a career playing Shaun type characters, nerdy loser but ultimately good guy. Instead he plays super serious dude, or alcoholic asshole.
  7. The Way Way Back – Basically because Sam Rockwell is one of the most entertaining actors out there. And also because I don’t see as many movies as I used to, so these last few are pretty mediocre.
  8. The Wolverine – Also, I don’t see as many movies as I used to.
  9. Red 2 – Did I mention that I don’t see as many movies as I used to?
  10. Monsters University – See above.

Edit: Crap, I skipped Veronica Mars, which should go at #6 and bump everything else down one.

Missed the cut: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (after the third one comes out, someone edit them down to about 4 hours combined, and I bet it’ll be great).



  1. Saga – Still excellent.
  2. Locke and Key – I was pleased, but not thrilled, with the ending. Overall, one of my favorite series ever.
  3. Sex Criminals – Googling for this series probably puts you on some kind of list, but it’s worth it. This is a very original concept, and of course raunchy and funny too. The first trade is also very cheap.
  4. Batman Eternal – Too many current Batman comics ignore all the great and weird things about Gotham and just have Batman, Alfred, a villain, and maybe a love interest. Batman Eternal, a new-ish weekly Batman series, is telling a long story about Carmine Falcone’s return to Gotham, a gang war, Commissioner Gordon being in prison (and presumably set up), and all sorts of other stuff. It brings in Catwoman, Tim Drake, Spoiler, Jason Bard, Spectre, Batwing, Bluebird and tons of others, to make this series’ Gotham the vast array of characters that it was when I thought the Batman line was at its peak (roughly from No Man’s Land to Gotham Central).
  5. Rat Queens – A regular fantasy type setting, but with a group of ladies who curse and take drugs and fuck. It’s not too far in, but I’m enjoying the hell out of it so far. Also plugging a cheap first trade for this one.
  6. Daredevil – I thought the move from Hell’s Kitchen to San Francisco might derail the series, but it’s actually still one of the series I most look forward to.
  7. Hawkeye – The quality has gone down, the story pace is absolutely glacial, and it’s not as energetic/funny/action packed as before. It’s like Fraction took all his good ideas and instead of using them on Hawkeye, he moved them to Sex Criminals. But Kate Bishop is still the best.
  8. Chew – This is starting to hit the home stretch, at #41 out of a planned (I think) 60, and it remains funny and plot-twisty and full of weird/funny/random shit thrown in the background by Rob Guillory which I really appreciate.
  9. Li’l Gotham was a fun series with chibi versions of Batman characters having goofy adventures. Sadly, it only ran for 22 issues, and it was digital first so the issues were shorter than normal. But it was great.
  10. Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell – An OGN that at one point was maybe going to be called The Fishnet Brigade (a much better title, IMO), it’s surprisingly good. The writer, Paul Dini, is married to a magician, and that comes out every time he writes Zatanna. Usually in a bad way, he keeps trying to push Batman/Zatanna as a thing. But here it works pretty nicely. Just a fun adventure with two characters that have been pretty neglected since the New 52.

Missed the cut: Mighty Avengers (idiot fanboys dismissed it as “the black avengers” when it was announced, but it’s actually the best Avengers title going right now, shitty Greg Land art notwithstanding), Wild Blue Yonder (it’s like a grown up TaleSpin but without the anthropomorphized animals, and other than an erratic shipping schedule it’s pretty awesome), Atomic Robo (unlike movies, I read shitloads of comics, so falling out of my top 10 doesn’t indicate mediocrity, most of these are still good), Lazarus (a little disappointing given my love for both the creators and subject matter, but I still have high hopes for this), The Manhattan Projects (kind of losing steam, but I’m in this for the long haul regardless), Captain Marvel (it works better as a series about this punch-first-ask-questions-later superheroine and her band of misfit friends, but sometimes it turns into this sort of serious woe-is-me kinda thing and I don’t like it as much), Skullkickers (still a lot of fun, but the most recent story arc is not my favorite), Lumberjanes (is only two issues in, but it’s adorable), Alex + Ada (has a lot of things that appeal to me, AI/Singularity type concepts, I just wish the story would move a little faster), East of West (I have no idea what’s going on but I’m still enjoying it), Fables (if it weren’t about to end I would have quit it by now), Moon Knight (Warren Ellis’ short but strange run is almost done, I’ve enjoyed it but may not continue once he leaves), The Wake (started off as an Aliens but with sea monsters thing, but went off in an interesting/unexpected direction), Revival (the guy who did Hack/Slash writing a sort of Fargo/Zombies thing, I never would have expected it to be as good as it is, but it’s quite good), Velvet (I love the concept, some shit happens and it turns out a Miss Moneypenny type, despite being a little older, has been pretending to be some secretary when she’s actually a badass spy too), Trees (Warren Ellis’ latest series with a really interesting beginning, but the first issue only just came out)

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 3, 2013

Once again, a top 10 everything at the end of the TV season (having picked June 1st as my arbitrary cutoff date).

Half hour TV


  1. Parks and Recreation is consistently funnier than anything out there.
  2. Arrested Development produced the most complicated season of a TV comedy I’ve ever seen, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
  3. Archer was not quite as good as seasons past, but its fourth season was still excellent.
  4. Louie is still good, but the most recent season wasn’t all that funny. The trip to Miami and the three episodes about The Late Show were interesting stories, but almost no laughs.
  5. The Thick of It went out in top form, and Malcolm Tucker probably goes down as one of the better characters in the history of television.
  6. Legit is too offensive to be sappy but still manages to handle difficult topics in an interesting and thoughtful way. And it is still very funny.
  7. Wilfred‘s second season was so long ago I had to look it up to remember what happened in what season, but from what I remember it was pretty good.
  8. The League is just stupid fun. I care nothing for the characters or plot, but the show makes me laugh.
  9. Peep Show had a good 8th season, just not as good as the first 7.
  10. Modern Family is just a generally well-made sitcom.

Almost made the cut: Don’t Trust the B…, 30 Rock, Cougar Town, It’s Always Sunny….

Notably absent: Community (this season was not very good), Venture Bros. (for the 2nd straight year, they only managed 1 episode, but the 5th season begins just after my 6/1 cutoff for this list), or anything on Showtime (Californication is absurd, House of Lies is ok, and Episodes isn’t very interesting except for Matt LeBlanc)

Hourlong TV:


  1. Breaking Bad, duh. My only complaint is that I’m still waiting for the latter half of season 5.
  2. Game of Thrones, or “dragons and titties.” Technically, this includes the season 2 finale and the first 8 episodes of season 3, but I continue to enjoy this series a lot.
  3. Justified just seems to get better and better every year.
  4. The Newsroom is a show I kind of want to hate, because so much of it is bullshit. But it is bullshit for which I am a sucker. And Aaron Sorkin writes possibly the snappiest dialogue around.
  5. Suits is actually a pretty stupid concept for a show, since our non-law-talkin-guy hero could do 99% of what he does now as a paralegal, and it would be legally and ethically just fine. But putting that aside, the show is damn entertaining. And also every episode, Donna the redheaded secretary seems to get hotter.
  6. Shameless was really, impressively good this season. The show gives you so much over-the-top insanity that you forget it’s sometimes a drama, and they completely blindsided me with an absolutely heartbreaking season finale. Emotional kick in the balls. I’m really looking forward to the next season.
  7. The Americans had a really exciting pilot and then the actual show turned out to be quite different. Very little action, mostly taking place in suburbia, but the show’s take on cold war spy games was really fascinating. And Keri Russell is still a good looking lady.
  8. Lost Girl is a show where I hate how much I like it. At first I just watched it because the lead actress was hot, but then the hotness of her sidekick grew on me, and now I actually give a crap about the show. It’s kinda dumb but I can’t help it.
  9. House of Cards was quite good. And Kate Mara is hot. And I will totally watch a second season. But I’m also not super excited about it. I don’t know why.
  10. Psych was a little bogged down by some relationship drama for a bit, and I think it may be close to time for this show to end, but I enjoyed the newest season (which was a full 10 months after the previous season ended on a cliffhanger).

Almost made the cut: Homeland (pretty good, but a letdown after season one), White Collar (I can’t think of a complaint or a compliment), Person of Interest (a huge improvement over season 1), The Walking Dead (big improvement over season 2)

Notably absent: Misfits (I still watch it, but meh)



  1. Saga is funny and vulgar and exciting and basically everything I want in a comic.
  2. Hawkeye is basically everything I want in a superhero comic. It’s slickly designed, has tons of action, and even though he’s a character I never cared about, it makes Hawkguy pretty interesting. And also Kate Biship is badass.
  3. Locke and Key would be higher on this list if the wait between issues wasn’t so excruciating. It’s slower to come out than most comics by quite a bit (4 issues of the 7-part finale have come out since November), and each issue leaves me desperate to read the next.
  4. Daredevil is really well made and deserves all the awards it’s been getting. I’m late to the Mark Waid bandwagon but as I check out more of his earlier works he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite writers.
  5. Witch Doctor: Mal Practice is the second Witch Doctor mini and it’s just as good as the first. That a mix of Lovecraftian horror and comedy works so well is impressive.
  6. Manhattan Projects is losing a little bit of momentum but I still enjoy it quite a bit.
  7. The Legend of Luther Strode, the second Luther Strode mini, is still underway, but it remains the bloodiest comic out there, and it’s damn entertaining too.
  8. Indestructible Hulk is the first concept for a Hulk book that I’ve been interested in: Banner gives up on stopping the Hulk, and gets S.H.I.E.L.D. to give him a lab and a staff to do whatever he wants, in exchange for S.H.I.E.L.D. getting to drop him like a bomb on places they need wrecked. And it, like Daredevil, is written by Mark Waid.
  9. Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific was not my favorite Atomic Robo miniseries, but it’s still a good one.
  10. Wonder Woman has been pretty good from the start, but even better with the introduction of Orion.

Just missed the cut: Grim Leaper (a surprisingly good romance/death comic), Batman (lots of people loved Death of the Family, I thought it was only ok), Captain Marvel (very hit or miss), Stumptown, Daredevil: End of Days (might be great, but a lot is riding on the “Mapone” reveal), Private Eye (only 2 issues so far), Five Weapons (goofy but fun), Avengers and New Avengers (both good, but both still early enough that I haven’t decided how good), Fatale (consistently good, rarely great), Nowhere Men (mostly because it’s a wonderfully designed book)

Notably absent: Blackacre (the first issue really impressed me, since then not so much), Fables (it’s maybe better than that toyland arc, but still not that great), Nonplayer, Secret, and S.H.I.E.L.D. (those last three have had major delays… Nonplayer #1 came out in early 2011 and we still don’t have a #2, but it was so good I’m still holding out hope).



  1. Django Unchained is a funny and exciting and action-paked movie. I just wish QT’s pointlessly bad Australian accent wasn’t in it.
  2. Iron Man 3 is really damn good. Rumor is Robert Downey Jr. is asking for $100 million for a 2 picture deal to play Tony Stark some more, and crazy as it sounds, he’s worth it.
  3. Brave just makes me wonder what Pixar knows that everyone else who makes family-friendly movies doesn’t.
  4. The Dark Knight Rises is flawed in a lot of ways, but it’s still a grand and exciting conclusion to Nolan’s Batman. And Catwoman was badass. Why is that so hard for comics people to do?
  5. Dredd really surprised me. It sounded like the possibilities for a sequel were dead, but during Star Trek promotion, Karl Urban made it sound like there was still some chance. Here’s hoping.
  6. Argo was very good, but still puzzling how the Oscars decided it was the best of the year.
  7. Skyfall is a beautifully filmed movie. The action and plot and things don’t stick in my mind as much as the cinematography.
  8. Looper has done the reverse of Django, I think my initial reaction was so positive because original science fiction stories are all too rare in movies. I still like it, but the plot is extremely contrived. So many people have to be irrational idiots for things to be the way they are.
  9. This is 40 is not only a funny movie, it understands my deep and personal relationship with Lost
  10. The Amazing Spider-Man may only be in this space because of Emma Stone. I don’t think Andrew Garfield had the pre-spider-bite Peter Parker right in the slightest. He’s an awkward nerd in this sense of the term. I may have wanted to punch Tobey Maguire in the face, but at least I found it believable that his Peter Parker couldn’t get laid.

Just missed the cut: Butter (Olivia Wilde makes out with Ashley Greene in this movie, it is by default good), Ted

Notably absent: The Hobbit (it wasn’t bad, and the HFR 3D thing may have been more to blame than the movie itself, but I don’t remember this movie particularly fondly), Star Trek (also not bad, but using Benedict Cumberbatch as you-know-who and then having him be a pretty bland villain is very disappointing), and all the things from the past year I still haven’t seen.

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)


  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)


  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.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 3, 2011

I did top 10 lists last year when the TV season ended, so I figured I’d do it again.

TV – Half Hour

  1. Louie is a strange show. Most (all?) episodes are split into two completely independent short stories, with some stand-up material thrown in. It changes gears constantly, but not like Scrubs or Mash where they’d throw in a maudlin moment to drive home an episode. Some of the segments are almost comedy-free looks at his time in Catholic school or his relationship with his mother. Others are completely pointless except to make me laugh so hard it hurts. But it’s never not interesting.
  2. Archer raised the bar in the second season. Nothing was more consistently funny in the past year.
  3. The Venture Bros. is still very, very good, its just not at it’s peak anymore, I don’t think, and can’t compete with two also great shows at the top of their game.
  4. Community is clearly the best sitcom on network TV. If it was just Annie’s hotness and Senor Chang’s antics, I’d be happy with it. What makes the show special is its ability to be a pastiche of sitcom conventions and cram movie and TV references into every episode without betraying character or plot (as compared to something like Family Guy which is funny, but can’t sustain a story).
  5. Parks and Recreation is a little too wrapped up in the relationship drama these days, but any show with Ron fucking Swanson is going to be entertaining.
  6. Modern Family is not, I don’t think, as good as last year, but it’s still very funny and Sofia Vergara is hypnotically bouncy.
  7. Episodes started out only ok, but Matt LeBlanc developed into one of the best characters on any sitcom this year.
  8. 30 Rock gets criticized, I think rightfully, for being overly zany, but it’s still funnier than most anything else.
  9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was infinitely better when it picked a topic (gun control, abortion, racism), built a simple story around it, and had them all yell at each other. Now the stories are much more complicated, and it’s more just Seinfeld but the characters are poorer and louder. Which isn’t a terrible show at all, but it’s not as good as it used to be.
  10. The Office handled the exit of Michael about as well as they could have, and my interest in the show is on the rise, wondering what they’ll do next season, but there are quite a few shows that were just as good this year that could go here.

Missed the cut: Cougar Town (almost made it on the strength of a single in-joke in the season finale), The League, Raising Hope, Bored to Death, Breaking In.
Notably absent: South Park has sucked this year.

TV – Hourlong (or more):

  1. Fringe is the only show right now that compares at all to how I felt about Lost and Battlestar Galactica.
  2. Justified improved a lot on an already good first season.
  3. Sherlock was only three 90-minute episodes, but it’s a near-perfect version of a modern Sherlock Holmes.
  4. The Walking Dead suffered from corny dialogue from time to time, but a good cast, high production values, a compelling plot, and being able to spot familiar Atlanta locations makes it really engaging.
  5. Terriers blended the case-of-the-week, a season-long mystery, and the characters’ personal lives as well as any show since Veronica Mars, so naturally nobody watched and it got cancelled.
  6. Misfits is probably going to be mediocre from here on out, with the departure of Robert Sheehan, but it was fun while it lasted.
  7. – 10. Psych, Leverage, Warehouse 13, and Eureka are essentially indistinguishable. They have different plots and characters and styles, but they’re all that light, consistently fun, mindless entertainment.

Missed the cut: Breaking Bad (only aired 2 episodes since the last time I posted one of these), Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights, Rubicon, Lone Star.
Notably absent: Treme is still decent, but without [season 1 spoiler redacted], it’s not the same.


  1. Chew combines X-Files style conspiracies with weird superpowers and chicken, which, along with a cool cartoony art style and jokes crammed into the background of seemingly every page, makes it the best comic out there right now.
  2. Atomic Robo is just as good, but the writer and artist take regular breaks to do work that probably pays better, so they don’t put out as much. But whatever they have to do to keep making more Robo is ok by me.
  3. Scalped is the closest thing to Breaking Bad in comics. Dash Bad Horse is not a bad person, and we understand why he does what he does, but we also see all the horrible stuff that happens to him and know that the bulk of it is his own fault. I don’t know if I’m just a sadist, but I love these kinds of stories.
  4. SHIELD confuses the hell out of me sometimes, but in the best possible way.
  5. The Walking Dead probably also appeals to the sadist in me.
  6. Avengers Academy is consistently the best mainstream superhero title right now, but…
  7. Detective Comics‘ ~6 issues since Scott Snyder took over have been just what I want in an ongoing Batman series.
  8. Secret Six didn’t wow me with the most recent story arc, but even the down issues of this are better than most.
  9. Ex Machina wrapped up in August with a pretty satisfying ending.
  10. Punisher MAX has done a really good job of building on what Garth Ennis had done on various Punisher titles before, but the publishing delay from July to February really killed the momentum. Especially since it was so Steve Dillon could do a sub-par Ultimate Avengers vampire story with Mark Millar.

Missed the cut: The Avengers, Morning Glories, Skullkickers, Ultimate Thor.
Notably absent: Anything by Warren Ellis, who has a (prose) book deal so he won’t be doing many comics for a while. Which is sad.


  1. Inception, obviously.
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World boiled down the comics to a good movie-length story. I’d never before seen a movie make good use of the visual styles of comic books or video games, but Edgar Wright managed to do both.
  3. Machete wasn’t quite as good as its original trailer, but it was damn entertaining.
  4. Tron: Legacy was basically a long form music video, and while I don’t usually like that kinda thing, it was quite cool.
  5. The Social Network was an extremely well crafted movie, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth over the portrayal of Zuckerberg. If a woman made facebook after some “men are pigs” drunken rant on livejournal, I don’t think they’d have been nearly as harsh on her.
  6. The Fighter is just a solid sports movie with an excellent Christian Bale performance.
  7. Toy Story 3… fuck this movie, but it was pretty good.
  8. Source Code had time travel and Michelle Monaghan.
  9. Iron Man 2 was a huge disappointment but if I ignore the first movie, I can admit it wasn’t bad at all. Thank goodness for Sam Rockwell.
  10. The Hangover Part II was funny.

Missed the cut: Thor, not much else. It hasn’t been a great year for movies.
Notably absent: True Grit, because I still haven’t seen it.

Posted in comics, movies, top10, tv by Bill on June 3, 2010

With the end of the network TV season, I thought it would be a good time to run down my top 10 everything of the past year.