Best Of 2015

owen and raptors

defiance bar

Best Sci-Fi TV Show

By the end of its third (and final) season, Defiance had become completely engrossing and well developed thanks to memorable acting and character arcs. It’s too bad that Syfy cancelled the series about a town in the future populated by struggling humans and aliens trying to get along with each other.

Best Horror TV Show

The Walking Dead continues to chomp up the horror competition on TV. It’s been a long road for Rick Grimes and his battered and worn troupe as they battle undead zombies and savage humans, but the show still delivers the chills and excitement.

Best Fantasy Show

4. game of thronesGame of Thrones rightfully won the best drama Emmy, making it one of the few genre shows to accomplish this honor. What helped make the show so captivating is that it outpaced the novels from which it’s based on with new character and plot developments, providing new territory for fans.

Best Cancelled TV Show

Defiance came into its own when it was regrettably cancelled. At least we got three full seasons and the final episode provided for the most part a sense of closure…except will Nolan ever come back from space?

Best Animated Show

Star Wars:Rebels is a fun and engaging TV show that captures the mood of the original Star Wars films as it fills in the gap between the original and prequel films.

Best TV Character

This is a hard one since 2015 featured 6. Jessica jonesmany terrific and memorable characters. With that said the best character has to be Jessica Jones from the TV show named after her. Hard boiled, weary and sporting a tough exterior to mask her pain, Jessica Jones was your typical private detective with superpowers struggling to get by with her life.

Most Missed TV Character

rip tyreeseThe Walking Dead is noted for the constant death of regular characters. Each time this happens, the other characters lose more and more of themselves every time. The slow death of semi-gentle giant Tyreese after he was bitten by a walker wasn’t an exception and came to viewers as a sad surprise.

Best TV Superhero

Thanks to an inspired performance by Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, his alter ego of the Flash has quickly become one of the best superheroes featured on a TV show. Fast, quirky and full of wonder and angst, this version of the Flash combines the traits of many different superheroes and became his own unique character.

flash promo

 

Best TV Villain

The most memorable and unsettling aspect of the Netflix show Jessica Jones was the chilling performance by former Doctor Who actor David Tennant as Kilgrave, the sociopath who can control people with his voice alone. Spoiled, petulant and with a savage streak, Kilgrave was one of the best supervillains ever shown on TV.

kilgrave

Best Fight Scene

The highlight of the second episode of Daredevil (“Cut Man”) and in fact the entire first season was this long, continuous fight scene that took place in a hallway between Daredevil and some Russian thugs. It was brutal and ugly but became a standard bearer for an unforgettable fight scene.

Best Guest Appearance

HauntedEven though Constantine was cancelled earlier this year, that didn’t mean that the title character was forgotten. To fans’ delight, he turned up later this year on Arrow and proved that a cancellation couldn’t keep a good sorcerer down.

Best Sci-Fi Film

There were some great competitors for this category like Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina but Jurassic World just edged them out with its roaring dino action, some food for thought and that unforgettable moment with Owen riding his motorcycle flanked by his raptors sealed the deal.

owen rides with raptors

Best Horror Film

Crimson Peak was a nice throwback to old-fashioned Victorian-era ghost stories that raised viewers hairs while adorned with spooky modern touches.

Best Fantasy/Animated Film

6. inside outOne of Pixar’s two offerings in 2015, Inside Out, quickly won over the hearts of viewers over the summer as they witnessed the inner psyche of a young preteen girl. It was so easy to identify with and delight in the way her inner feelings were represented by such amusing archetypes.

Best Action Film

Director George Miller showed today’s generation of action junkies how to do a real action film without CGI. Mad Max: Fury Road was jammed with non-stop excitement and gasp-inducing action scenes that rarely let up.

mad max chase

Best Superhero Film

Despite its many behind-the-scenes obstacles, Ant-Man defied low expectations, continued Marvel Studios winning streak and proved to be a more fun film than the other Marvel Studios offering, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

3. Antman

Best Superhero on Film

Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, turned out to be the most memorable and fun superhero to star in a superhero film in 2015. He has many downtrodden tropes of a hard-luck superhero like Spider-Man, but witty dialogue and solid acting by Paul Rudd who added just the right amount of humor made Ant-Man a character to watch out for in future films.

Best Film Character

Out of all the characters, old and new, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey was the most intriguing with a mysterious back story that has yet to be fully revealed. Thanks to Daisy Ridley’s performance and the way she was written, this future Jedi left viewers with a confident impression that she will carry the torch for the Star Wars saga.

rey and bb8

Best Line in a Film

“What a lively day!” Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Villain

Indominus Rex was literally the biggest and most terrifying villain/movie monster to come along in some time. His savage rampage across in Jurassic World was one of the reasons why the film became the summer blockbuster of 2015.

I Rex

Best Special Effects

There was so much to choose from this year from the dizzying size proportions of Ant-Man to the practical effects showcased in Mad Max: Fury Road to the rampaging dinosaurs in Jurassic World. But one film stood out above them all and that one was the seventh film of a long-running franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Best Trailer for an Upcoming Film

There were some cool trailers like the one for Independence Day: Resurgence and some Godawful ones like Star Trek Beyond, but the trailer that stuck was one that was leaked out of Comic-Con and forced into general release to the delight of millions as they met the new Joker played by Jared Leto. That trailer was for Suicide Squad.

Biggest Disappointment

Sure there were many truly dreadful films this year like Fant4stic, but Avengers: Age of Ultron has to take the title for biggest disappointment. It’s not a bad film at all, it’s got a lot going for it, but it lacked the energy and fun of the original Avengers film and failed to live up to the buildup.

Best App

Marvel: Future Fight is a true successor and competitor to Marvel: Avengers Alliance with its wide roster of heroes, inventive game play and thrilling graphics.

Best Video Game

Thanks to a sprawling, post-apocalyptic virtual landscape, involving storyline about a parent looking for a lost child and addictive gameplay Fallout 4 gets the honor for the best video game of 2015.

fallout 4

Best Merchandise

Anything with BB-8 🙂

bb8 toy

Best Hallmark Ornament

With Leonard Nimoy passing away bye spock ornamentthis year, this ornament poignantly symbolized the friendship between Kirk and Spock as it recreated their final scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Biggest News Item

2015 started off with the exciting announcement that Spider-Man would now be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the news event that sadly supplanted that later on was the unfortunate passing of Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy. His Spock is a genuine cultural icon and Mr. Nimoy is still missed by us.

 

Advertisements

The Legend Of Zelda Coming To Life

zeldaThe recent announcement by Netflix that it will be developing an original TV series bases on the iconic The Legend of Zelda video game series has caught many by surprise including myself. Nintendo’s only other foray into live action movies or TV based on their games was the not so well received Super Mario Bros. from 1993.

Another odd fact is that there is no major voice acting in the games. Link, the hero of the story doesn’t talk. You only hear him scream or grunt. It will be very interesting to hear him say something for the first time, let alone seeing him portrayed in live action by an actor.  Having said that, the fact that their next project is based on Zelda while unexpected, actually makes a lot of sense.

The Zelda universe has a vast and rich mythology that spans almost 20 games released over a span of almost 30 years. Each game is a tale set in a fantasy world called Hyrule, which is somewhat reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, populated by goblins, wizards, all sorts of fantastic creatures, and a race of elf-like beings that struggle against the evil Ganon. He is a huge villain obsessed with obtaining the all powerful Triforce, a relic from an ancient time that bestows ultimate power to anyone who has it. Again, very much like the One Ring to rule them all from the epic The Lord of the Rings saga.

zelda 3

The success of both Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies and the HBO TV show Game of Thrones, demonstrate that there is a market for live-action epic fantasy stories. The key to the success of any Zelda show will be who Netflix hires to translate the great stories told in each game to the TV screen. As with movies that are based on books demonstrates, this can be a tricky task. However, since this will be a TV series, it will have many hours to tell any such story, instead of the restricted two- hour-plus limit of a movie. This can definitely be a positive since the saga of The Legend of Zelda is as complex as it is interesting. Hopefully, whoever is hired will be able to do justice to the highly regarded Zelda series, which has set a very high standard for quality in all of its games. Nintendo, who is known for protecting all of their characters should be able to make sure this happens.

C.S. Link

 

Best Of 2014

gog

7 who

Best Sci-Fi TV Show

Doctor Who got off to a rocky start for the new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. But the show and the actor quickly found their footing and presented an eclectic and sometimes frenetic mix of the bizarre, silly and loftier themes. What helped where the imaginative scripts and Capaldi’s cutting performance as a more sardonic and mature Doctor, which was a good change of pace for Doctor Who.

Best Horror TV Show:

The Walking Dead continues to be one of the best genre shows on TV. This year saw the aftermath of the fall of the prison that scattered our heroes and introduced memorable characters. At the same time, The Walking Dead kept amping up the stakes with the Terminus cannibals and Grady Hospital storylines. It all ended with a feeling that no one is safe and nothing is secure.

Best Fantasy Show

Game of Thrones is the best produced dragons 2show on TV right now with its topnotch production values, crisp dialogue and scripts, and superior acting. Many episodes stood out which dealt with the deaths of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), the trial of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and the siege of the Wall. The only problem is that the show is now running out of original material since it has almost caught up to George R.R. Martin’s books.

Best Documentary/Reality Show

The Real History of Science Fiction, was a splendid look at film and TV science fiction fare with some nods towards literary works. Each episode of the mini-series was based on a certain theme like robots, time travel and of course space exploration.

"Almost Human" Season 1

Best Cancelled TV Show

Almost Human was a fresh and inventive sci-fi variation of the cop-buddy show thanks to terrific performances by Michael Ealy as an android cop and Karl Urban as his disgruntled human partner. The episodes were straightforward and entertaining as they explored the nature of having a soul and nifty future crimes.

Best Animated Show

Star Wars: The Clone Wars had a fitting final season that aired on Netflix instead of broadcast TV. While current fandom is content to put behind George Lucas’ prequel-based fare and all the attention is on Star Wars Rebels and next year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the final episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars did an excellent job of expanding the Star Wars universe with its explorations of the Force and by providing a segue way to the films.

Best TV Character

tyrionTyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones finally had enough of all the taunts and putdowns and the unjust charges laid on him. His epic courtroom rant in “The Laws of Gods and Men” saw him unleash his fury at those that wronged him including his father and this anger saw its culmination in the final episode of the season where he physically took out his rage on those that hurt him.

Most Missed TV Character

Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) on The Walking Dead was an underused character on the show. For the most part she was just known as the youngest member of the Greene family. But in recent episodes, Beth had matured and become self reliant which culminated in her final episode (and The Walking Dead’s midseason finale) where she was abruptly killed off. The death seemed pointless and enraged fans who were saddened by her death.

carrying beth

Best TV Villain

Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) at first was slade wilsona trusted partner of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) while the future Green Arrow was stranded on an island as seen in flashback scenes on Arrow. But in the second season, this former merc proved to be Queen’s most diabolical enemy as he re-entered the superhero’s life and systematically began to take Queen down in a smoldering bid of vengeance. Raising the stakes for Queen was that Wilson was superior in strength and skills and pushed our hero to the edge. Bennett’s performance as Wilson was so memorable that the Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) couldn’t compare.

Most Improved TV show

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a big disappointment when it first premiered in 2013 because of banal scripts and listless characters. However, thanks to Captain America: The Winter Soldier the show truly came into its own by wholeheartedly embracing the game-changing premise from that movie where Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. Characters were killed off or did a complete 180 and the agents became fugitives while they struggled to defeat Hydra that seemed to be everywhere. Plus, the second season saw the show debut what will turn out to be an important component of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by introducing the Inhumans.

Best Series Finale

being human usBeing Human, it was sad to see this American version of the British cult hit come to an end, but it ended quite well. All the story threads were wrapped up surprisingly well and the finale was bittersweet. A couple of the show’s characters died but had meaningful deaths with rewarding afterlives. Meanwhile, the surviving characters were given a conclusion where they were able to live happily and move on.

Best Sci-Fi Film

Guardians of the Galaxy highlighted a memorable year for sci-fi films. 2014 had some instant classics like Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Snowpiercer, but Guardians of the Galaxy stood out over the rest. It was a fun throwback to pulpy space operas not seen since the original Star Wars trilogy. More importantly, the film had very endearing characters like Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) that made audiences care about them as they went about saving the galaxy.

prisoners

Best Horror Film

Oculus stood out among current horror films that rely all too much on cheap and easy jump scares. This film, which starred genre favorites Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff, instead used psychological horror and mind games that always kept the audience guessing while delivering authentic and natural frights.

Best Fantasy Film

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIESPeter Jackson concluded his three-part adaptation of the Tolkien classic with wall-to-wall action and his now trademark sweeping scenes of battlefields and armies. Although, The Hobbit trilogy may not have the same punch as The Lord of the Rings films, it was still a memorable viewing experience. And The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was a fitting conclusion to Jackson’s final sojourn to Middle Earth.

Best Animated Film

THE LEGO MOVIEThe LEGO Movie, this year had some great animated films like How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6. But The LEGO Movie was the best surprise not because of its use of famous characters like Batman or it being a cross of Legos and stop motion animation, but due to its championing of imagination and creativity.

Best Superhero Film

Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a bold, exciting sequel that outshone the original and upturned the MCU with its revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. the spy organization had been infiltrated by the evil Hydra organization. This, of course, forced our hero to go on the run as he tried to tear down the organization he once fought for while uncovering disturbing conspiracies. But the film also took time to humanize Captain America and reflect on his past. These simple touches are what made the film so memorable.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Best Superhero on Film

Captain America (Chris Evans) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, once again demonstrated why he is arguably the greatest hero in the MCU and a true patriot who questioned the Big Brother methods of S.H.I.E.L.D. This in turn led him to be a man truly out of place in society fighting a lonely and dangerous fight as many supposed allies turned against him. More importantly, his heroic actions would unravel the MCU forever.

Best Film Characters

Hands down, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) stole the film Guardians of the Galaxy and were a big cause of that film’s success. Who would’ve imagined a year ago that two unknown CG characters would have so much heart and be so endearing to audiences?

groot and com

Best Line in a Film

“I am Groot”

Best Performance Capture

caesarCaesar the ape in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was exceptionally brought to life by Andy Serkis in what is probably his best performance. Many times in the film, one easily forgot that Caesar was not an actual chimp but a performance capture/CG creation. Just give the guy an Oscar already!

Best Film Villain

Koba the ape (performance captured by Toby Kebbel) in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a hideous, chilling and conniving villain who’s undying hatred for humans brings about a war between the two species. He was the most memorable villains seen in genre films for 2014.

Best Use of 3D & IMAX In a Film

Interstellar showed that director Christopher Nolan is undeniably the master when it comes to filming genre efforts on IMAX. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy had unexpectedly terrific 3D effects thanks to director James Gunn who utilized the format to its best.

interstellar 2

Best Trailer for an Upcoming Film

Avengers: Age of Ultron, is one of next year’s most anticipated films and the moody trailer for it ratcheted up interest. It gave us the cool effects shots, especially the Hulkbuster Iron Man suit in action, but it didn’t play it safe with its dark forebodings (broken Captain America shield anyone?) and that creepy rendition of “I Got No Strings” from Pinocchio. On a side note the other best teaser trailer has to be for Avengers: Infinity War, Part I & II, which aren’t due until 2018 and 2019!

Biggest Disappointment

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered the same fate as the infamous Spider-Man 3. It had too many villains, characters, subplots and worst of all too much studio interference that mandated that this film be used to launch spinoffs in a clumsy attempt by Sony Pictures to create its own superhero cinematic universe. In the end, this mess has put the Spider-Man film series in doubt, let alone the announced spinoffs.

Best App

Star Wars Scene Maker was an scene makerapp that allowed users to recreate scenes from the iconic original Star Wars. around. Or better it allowed anyone’s creativity to get going by allowing users to mix and match characters, weapons and vehicles and the best fun was seeing these setups come to animated life.

Best Video Game

Mario Kart 8 was a lot of fun to play and proved to be one of the best Mario Kart games ever made. Nintendo made this latest Mario game with incredible graphics, game play and delivering the simple joys that fans of the Mario Kart games have expected over the years.

mario kart

Best Hallmark Ornament: 2014 proved to be a landmark year for genre-related Hallmark ornaments. There were so many great ornaments like the xenomorph from Alien, the shark from Jaws or the flying DeLorean from the Back to the Future films. It was actually hard to pick out the best genre ornament, but in the end the best ornament was the Yoda Peekbuster. What made it stand out was its motion sensor that warned peekers away from gifts placed under the Christmas tree as Yoda admonished his distinct Yodaisms.

yODA

Biggest News Item

In light of the recent calamities like super diseases, incompetent politicians, demagogues, and riots, entertainment genre news couldn’t compare. Still, there were a couple of news item that have had immediate ramifications, especially with the future of the Spider-Man film franchise. Those would have to be the announcements from DC/Warner Bros. and Marvel/Disney of a busy schedule of interrelated superhero films. Both camps’ culminations will include two-part Justice League and Avengers films. These revelation were very exciting and left other studios’ attempts at building their own cinematic universes in the dust.

 

Countdown To Destiny

destiny

Out of all the video game releases for this year, the one that really caught my attention is Destiny. It’s made by Activision and Bungie and from watching the trailers, it looks as epic and jaw-dropping as the Halo games.

Destiny takes place about seven hundred years in the future. Humanity has had a period of a Golden Age when planets in our solar system were colonized. But a calamity occurred and now humankind is on the verge of extinction. The last, few survivors live on the Last City on Earth, while aliens have taken the colonies and are now encroaching upon Earth and the Last City. The only defenders are a group known as the Guardians, who use a power called “The Light”, which they received from the mysterious Traveler, a non-corporeal being. The players’ task is fairly simple; defend humanity from the aliens, while reviving the Traveler.

Players get to choose the factions of the Guardians they can play: either humans, Awoken, or the Exo. The game also allows players to choose classes for the factions they pick such as Hunters, Warlocks and Titans. But as a plus, it seems as if players can create different characters from different races.

Bungie has stated that the game isn’t a traditional multiplayer online game (MMO) since players can’t interact with everyone playing, but only with certain other players depending on the game.

To me, the game looks rich, inviting and complex. All the ingredients needed for a game that is playable for a long, long time. The designs of the characters and aliens are just stupefying and beautiful. Like any great game, Destiny promises a unique and intricate universe with its own history and background. I just hope it isn’t too complex for many players but from the looks of it, Destiny doesn’t seem like it’s for the casual player.

It will available for Xbox and Playstation and is sure to be the game of the year when it’s released next week on September 9. I’m very sure Destiny will live up to its hype.

T. Rod Jones

Batman: 75 Years Old & More Popular Than Ever

batman 75

Batman is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year so let’s take a look at why this character has such an enduring legacy. Batman is a very versatile character that seems to be at home in any era. He got started in 1939 during the Depression and has gone through many changes during the years. One just has to look at his comic books through the decades, the Batman TV series of the ’60s and The Dark Knight film of 2008 to see how easily and successful Batman can be and reflect the times that he is existing on. This means he appeals to a wide audience and will continue to attract fans and not become irrelevant regardless of whether he appears in either comics or movies. Another trait that makes the Caped Crusader interesting is the fact that he has no superpowers.

All of his strengths and arsenal are the result of years of training and brain power. He does not have the luxury of a mutation or any outside force to give him his powers. Batman batman 2does it the hard way. This means he can be more vulnerable, but also somewhat more relatable as well. This doesn’t mean that he is not just some wag with a cheap costume. He uses his many resources to make himself into a first class fighter and detective with a formidable arsenal (like the always cool Batmobile or Batwing) to fight crime.

Any discussion of Batman’s popularity must also include his rogues gallery of villains, some of the most interesting in the genre. Obviously the best one is his nemesis the Joker, the insane killer clown. Who wouldn’t be afraid of that? Not to mention other classic characters like The Penguin, the Riddler, his former ally Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face and his sometime love interest Catwoman. All are in their own right fascinating characters who are in some ways as popular as Batman himself. These iconic characters all show up in highly successful comics, movies and video games that are some of the best to have been created.

The 1989 Batman movie was a phenomenon that foreshadowed the super hero craze of today, which includes the critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy. He is so popular that he will be featured in the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel and the eventual Justice League film. The Caped Crusade has also conquered the world of animation with many excellent animated series like Batman Beyond and Beware The Batman.

ccccIn regards to other media, the Batman: Arkham video game series for the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii U and soon for next gen systems is widely regarded as one of the best to feature a super hero that has ever been created. These include Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Batman: Arkham Knight. All of this illustrates why Batman is still, after 75 years, a very popular and relevant character that will continue to entertain audiences for years and decades to come.

C.S. Link