There were many outstanding films and TV shows, etc. in 2012 and many letdowns. Here are our rankings for the best in sci-fi, fantasy and horror in 2012.
Best Sci-Fi TV Show
Fringe, now in its final season, the show left its X-Files trappings of government agents investigating unusual phenomenon and radically changed the show’s concept. The main characters wind up decades into the future and have become freedom fighters against the oppressive Observers, post-humans from the distant future who traveled back in time and conquered the world. It’s still head-spinning fun but the new unexpected plot development refreshed the show as Fringe marches towards its conclusion.
Best Web-Based Show
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, shame on Syfy for not greenlighting this as a regular series. The network took the pilot and cut it up into ten minute segments that appeared online, making it a web show. It was exciting with terrific f/x and production values, plus engaging characters. It was a perfect companion piece and prequel to Battlestar Galactica.
Best Animated Show
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul finally came back from the dead! Until Episode VII comes along this well-produced animated series is the perfect tonic for Star Wars fans waiting for the next big-screen installment.
Best Horror TV Show
The Walking Dead, the tension and developments kept viewers on edge as the characters’ plight in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world went from bad to worse. People unexpectedly died, the gore quotient was high and gross and the stories were some of the most riveting shown on TV. The Walking Dead only loosely followed the comic book it’s based on, which allowed it to take different paths, introduce new characters and kept fans guessing.
Best Fantasy Show
Game of Thrones, two things made this fantasy show based on George R. R. Martin’s books noteworthy for viewers: Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who despite his size manages to hold his kingdom together, and snow zombies a.k.a. the White Walkers and wights.
Best Documentary/Reality Show
Dark Matters: Twisted But True, John Noble (from Fringe) hosts this interesting and sometimes macabre look at some of the weirdest and most disturbing science experiments and discoveries throughout history.
Best Cancelled TV Show
Last Resort, admittedly the show was borderline sci-fi (a nuclear sub with stealth capabilities, hints that it takes place in the very near future with nuclear warfare and $8 dollar a gallon gas prices), but this military drama about a renegade nuclear sub crew who commandeer an island retreat was suspenseful, gripping and entertaining. Too bad it didn’t catch on.
Best TV Character
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, kudos have to go to Lincoln for his near-perfect characterization of a former deputy sheriff who struggles to keep his band of survivors alive in a world full of flesh-eating ghouls. Despite his best efforts, people die and he’s forced to become more and more ruthless to survive.
Most Missed TV Character
Etta Bishop (Georgina Haig) in Fringe, she only appeared for a few episodes but Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham’s grown up daughter while sweet and endearing to loved ones was surprisingly brutal against the Observers and their human allies. Her death was a sudden shock that nearly unhinged her parents in their struggle to defeat the Observers.
Most Improved TV Character
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in The Walking Dead, at first he was a non-descript redneck but Daryl has shown an inner toughness and tenderness that was astonishing to watch. Usually quiet, Daryl has emerged as Rick’s most dependable ally and right-hand man, and is quite adept at surviving and killing zombies.
Most Improved TV show
Being Human, this American/Canadian adaptation of the hit U.K. show wisely took the characters and situations of the original and spun itself off into different and unpredictable directions. At the same time, Being Human in its second season quickly developed an engrossing mythology as its non-human characters struggled to regain their humanity.
Best Series Finale
The River, this uneven supernatural series ended with the main characters managing to find the TV show host that they were all searching for in the Amazon since the show began. But the evil spirits that plagued them keep them trapped in the mysterious waterways. Not a bad way to end a horror show.
Worst Series Finale
Alcatraz, the producers of this low-rated show decides to end its first and only season with a cliffhanger that kills off the main character and leaves its core mystery unsolved! Way to go fellas!
Best Sci-Fi Film
John Carter, Disney should fire any marketing exec involved with this exciting, fun and action-packed thrill ride. Director Andrew Stanton skillfully presented a grand swashbuckling yarn about the very first space hero whose adventures predated all the familiar space operas and originated the sub genre. John Carter featured a rugged hero, a tough and beautiful damsel in distress, weird aliens, and fantastic f/x and production values.
Best Horror Film
The Cabin In The Woods, it wasn’t the scariest horror film but it was the most original and fun. It took the concept of isolated young people terrorized by savage killers and went off in a unique and imaginative tangent. The way the entire premise switches midway in the film made it very memorable. BTW, we would’ve picked the merman premise too.
Best Fantasy Film
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, true, it’s too long and not as good as The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but thanks to Peter Jackson’s direction it’s still a grand adventure with dazzling effects, a rich environment (made more real thanks to its 48 fps film), characters and a welcome return to Middle Earth. Better yet, more Gollum and Gandalf!
Best Animated Film
Rise of the Guardians, one of the most underrated animated films in recent memory features stupendous animation and at its core a hero (Jack Frost voiced by Chris Pine) with a surprising amount of depth and heart. It’s also a vibrant celebration of childhood and all of its innocent wonder, imagination and faith.
Best Superhero Film
Marvel’s The Avengers, it’s not like Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance had a chance! Director Joss Whedon hit this one out of the planet in a true epic that saw several of Marvel Comics’ popular superheroes teaming up in an eye-popping spectacular. Fans rejoiced in seeing the momentous occasion that was like seeing a superhero version of an all-star game.
Best Superhero On Film
The Hulk in Marvel’s The Avengers, finally a film captured the essence of the Hulk at his smashing best. The green behemoth stole the show as he pummeled Loki and his alien forces. So how about a proper film for the Hulk now?
Best Film Character
Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) in Chronicle, DeHaan gives a great performance as a picked-upon high school loner who gets superpowers one day and basically doesn’t do anything with them. Instead of becoming a hero, Andrew slowly and disturbingly becoame more and more malevolent as Chronicle came to its terrifying conclusion.
Prometheus, wow was this a huge letdown. A poorly written mess where characters behave illogically and plot points appear and disappear at a moment’s notice. Ridley Scott and wiz bang f/x couldn’t salvage this disappointing Alien prequel. Note to Scott: forget about those Prometheus and Blade Runner sequel ideas.
Most Overrated Film
Looper, let’s see gangsters in the future only use time travel to get rid of bodies? Immoral types wouldn’t want to get rich or muck with timelines? What’s with the out-of-left-field plot development about the telekinetic mutants and a kid that belongs in an Omen movie? The unlikeable characters didn’t help matters with this unsatisfying time travel film.
Best Use Of 3D In A Film
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, thanks in part to it being filmed in an immersive 48 fps, the 3D erases the barrier between the film and the audience.
Best Trailer For An Upcoming Film
Star Trek Into Darkness, while the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek film was more exhilarating this trailer promises excitement and vengeance-fueled destruction as seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, the Star Trek film that all the others in the franchise try to emulate.
Angry Birds Star Wars, it’s the best mashup since peanut butter met chocolate!
Best Video Game
Mass Effect 3, despite all the groans about its ending, the game featured stunning graphics, addictive game play and a solid storyline.
Best Hallmark Ornament
TIE: the time-traveling DeLorean car from Back To The Future and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. ’80s genre nostalgia lives on with these accurate and detailed ornaments.
Best Marketing Tie-In
The black, Avengers-themed monorail at Walt Disney World. It’s visually arresting with the movie heroes and logo boldly displayed on the sleek mode of transit seen around the Magic Kingdom in Florida. It continues to wow tourists.
Biggest News Item
Disney buys Lucasfilm and thus the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Not since Disney purchased Marvel Comics has there been such a cataclysmic happening in the world of fandom. Many had conflicted thoughts about seeing George Lucas stepping down and handing control of his beloved franchises to the Disney juggernaut. Feelings were also mixed but guardedly excited over the announcement of new Star Wars films on the horizon.
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I totally agree with your “Best Cancelled TV Show.” I too am sad Last Resort didn’t catch on with audiences.