Best Of 2013

 

 GRAVITY securing-yard

Best Sci-Fi TV Show

Doctor Who has been going on for fifty years and it’s still an entertaining and imaginative romp. The show was at its creative peak this season thanks to wonderful scripts, a spunky new Companion (Jenna Coleman) and Matt Smith’s perfect portrayal of our favorite time-traveling alien. All this was topped off with its fiftieth anniversary special that united the Doctor with past incarnations to save his world.

dr who

Best Horror TV Show:

The Walking Dead is the best genre show on TV right now and for good reason. Gory, suspenseful and gripping, The Walking Dead reached creative heights with the introduction of the evil Governor (David Morrissey), who was a greater force for our heroes to grapple with than the flesh-eating zombies. The show has become a must-see event with each new episode.

Best Fantasy Show

thronesGame of Thrones, man can the Starks ever catch a break? The wedding event was a surprising game changer and the body count both infuriated many and created new fans of this adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga. Its rich production values, dense plotlines and acting make it one of the best shows on TV.

Best Documentary/Reality Show

Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited, throughout the year BBCAmerica aired at the end of the month three-hour long specials that examined each incarnation of the Doctor starting from William Hartnell’s era up to the present. Then once that was done, we were treated to episodes from each era. This was a great way for old and new fans to see each version of Doctor Who.

Best Cancelled TV Show

Touch was cancelled after its second season, touchwhich was too bad. After its over reliance on touchy, feel-good stories in its first season, Touch switched gears and introduced an evil corporation that wanted to kidnap Jake Bohm (David Mazouz) to harness his near-precognitive ability. Meanwhile, he was stalked by a religious fanatic. With these developements, Touch added a much-needed narrative and purpose as Jake’s father (Keifer Sutherland) struggled to understand his son and protect him.

Best Animated Show

Beware The Batman, the computer-animated show looked at the early years of the Dark Knight’s crime-fighting career. The stories and the animation were great, as was the use of lesser-known villains like Firefly and Anarky. We cannot wait to see new episodes next month!

batman

Best TV Character

The Doctor (Matt Smith) in Doctor Who was very memorable this year thanks in large part to Smith’s performance. Showing an unexpected maturity while retaining his zest for life, the Doctor was someone who was a joy to watch as he outwitted his foes. Sadly, while Smith was at his peak, he decided to leave the show. But his last couple of outings were a tour de force and brought a tear to the eyes in his final moments as he reflected on how while things will always change, it’s important to remember your past.

Most Missed TV Character

rick and hershelHershel Greene (Scott Wilson) in The Walking Dead was a gentle and wise patriarch and the voice of reason for the show’s characters, especially Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). As the show’s moral compass, Hershel’s shocking death at the hands of the Governor was outrageous and we can only wonder how Rick and the others will carry on without him now.

Best TV Villain

The Governor (David Morrissey) in governorThe Walking Dead was one of the most malicious, manipulative and sadistic characters ever to grace a TV show. His character elevated the show as he and his machinations were one of the best reasons to tune in each week. His well-deserved death after the destruction he created was welcomed, but we can’t help wondering how the show’s creators will follow up this character. 

Most Improved TV show

Supernatural and many other genre shows greatly improved this year. But the long-running show about two brothers facing down the supernatural found new life in its latest episodes. Gone was the turgid storyline about the Leviathan with a renewed emphasis on Castiel (Misha Collins) and the troublesome angels that are just as bad as the demons in the show.

Best Series Finale

fringe season 5Fringe, the show came to a very satisfying conclusion very early in 2013. The storyline wrapped up the future invasion of the Observers and we got to see the parallel world for one last time. More importantly, we were allowed to say goodbye to the quirky characters that defined Fringe. The final episode’s last image of the white tulip drawing that Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) held was pure perfection. Thanks guys for five great years of stimulating weirdness. We’ll leave out some licorice for Walt if he ever leaves the distant future and drops by to visit.

Biggest Disappointment

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Joss Whedon, the  mastermind behind Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Firefly, is the show’s executive producer. For Pete’s sake he directed The Avengers! How could this show be so bland with generic and annoying characters? Instead of elite, badass super spies this show is riddled with so-called cute and perky morons that should be tossed from that S.H.I.E.L.D. plane at the first chance!

Best Sci-Fi Film

Gravity, it was a hard choice graitybetween this and Pacific Rim. An argument can be made that Gravity isn’t really a sci-fi film, but there are a few elements that imply that it is such as a still functioning space shuttle program (perhaps it’s an alternate reality?) and the nature of the space disaster. Nonetheless, Gravity was an electrifying and immersive viewing experience thanks to its perfect depiction of living in space and direction by Alfonso Cuarón’s expert hands.

Best Horror Film

The Conjuring set out what it wanted to do, which was to provide good, old-fashioned scares thanks to James Wan’s direction. What is even more frightening to ponder at night when you’re all alone is that this was supposedly based on actual events.  

Best Fantasy Film

smaugThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson continues his journey into Middle Earth with this lush and exciting adventure. The entire affair was elevated to new heights with the revelation of the dragon Smaug. His presence was so captivating that it made some forget about Gollum!

Best Animated Film

Monsters University, none of 2013’s animated movies were really exceptional, but this was the best one released. A surprisingly good and effective prequel that accomplished its goal of examining its main characters and helping audiences understand where they came from. It was also very funny.

Best Superhero Film

Man Of Steel, after the perceived misfire of Superman Returns years ago, it seemed that making an exciting Superman movie was impossible. Well, folks it was done with Man Of Steel. It had its flaws (another round at the editing station could’ve helped) and was controversial, but it’s clear that it got people talking about Superman again. Those fight scenes over Metropolis and Smallville were really epic, too.

MAN OF STEEL

Best Superhero on Film

Superman in Man Of Steel, thanks to Henry Cavill’s performance the Man of Tomorrow became relevant again in this bold and exciting film. While Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, Cavill’s interpretation takes him to the new century.

Best Film Character

GRAVITYDr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) in Gravity. She was the emotional core of the movie and audiences empathized with her as she found her inner resolve to fight on and survive in a hostile environment. Audiences couldn’t help but root for her during her struggles with herself and her plight.

Best Film Villain

Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Star Trek kahn2Into Darkness. One of the highlights from the latest Star Trek film was Kirk’s greatest nemesis. Putting aside the complaints about using the genetic superman in the rebooted Trek, it can’t be denied that Cumberbatch gave a chilling performance.

Best Surprise In Film

World War Z, it should’ve been DOA like After Earth given its many production problems. It went into massive reshoots, which delayed its release. All this spelled a crappy film, yet this zombie apocalypse film was actually well done.

Best Use of 3D & IMAX In a Film

Gravity is the kind of film tailor made for 3D and IMAX with its space visuals that looked so realistic. The entire thing looked like it was actually filmed up in the I.S.S. It’s hard to see how typical home theater can do this film any justice when it’s released on Blu-ray and other outlets.

Best Trailer For an Upcoming Film

Godzilla, beat out a crowded crop of many excellent trailers (X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Transcendence, Interstellar) but this one hit all the right notes with its ominous mood. From the beginning with the Navy SEALs preparing to take on a force of nature to the mayhem shown in quick cuts, Godzilla is now a must-see for 2014.

Best App

Plants Vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to the hit app is one of the best free apps around. Addictive with great content and game play, Plants Vs. Zombies 2 is worth downloading to your devices.

Best Online Social Network Game

AAMarvel: Avengers Alliance, is a very addictive, turn-based game based on the Marvel superheroes. It’s very buggy and the player vs. player feature is annoying as hell, but it’s a lot of fun to play. The game rocked fans with the introductions of obtainable lockbox characters and group bosses that had to be fought by you and your allies online.

Best Video Game

Bioshock: Infinite, the sequel to the superb Bioshock video game took the story in a new and fresh direction, in a year with many great games like The Last Of Us, this one stood out thanks to its storyline and game features.

Best Hallmark Ornament

It wasn’t the best year for genre ornaments with the slim pickings offered by Hallmark. Still, the Star Trek ornament based on the classic episode “Arena” is our pick for best Hallmark ornament. Whether it was the sight of Kirk cowering in terror from the might of the Gorn or hearing the alien hiss, this ornament is a very kitschy thing to hang on a tree.

Biggest News Item

Forget the government shutdown and batsupe symbolthe Obamacare debacle! The news that truly shook fandom came in the summer when it was announced that the Man Of Steel sequel would pit Superman against the Caped Crusader himself, Batman! DC and Warner Brothers have clearly thrown the gauntlet at Marvel and its cinematic universe. Each new update, ranging from Ben Affleck being cast as Batman to the confirmation that Wonder Women will appear has sent fandom into tizzies.

*Be sure to check out our Facebook page for our lists of the top 10 films and TV shows of 2013.

Advertisements

Season Three Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part II

Editor’s Note: For those of you who haven’t visited our other site Deadloggers, here’s a brief recap of the second half of the third season of The Walking Dead

episode 13 rick with gun

The Summit

Episode Thirteen: In the pre-credits scene of The Walking Dead’s thirteenth third season episode, “Arrow at the Doorpost”, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), and Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) pull up to a deserted farm complex. While Hershel stays in the car as a lookout, readying his weapons, the other two jump out. Moving stealthily through the weeds, they sneak around the silos and storage towers until they come to an abandoned feed store. Rick enters, pistol drawn, looking around carefully until he sees the reason for his visit. It’s a pre-arranged summit with the Governor (David Morrissey)…

Post-credits, the Governor removes his gun belt an act of goodwill, and sits at a table, discreetly verifying a concealed hidden pistol; Rick remains standing, refusing to holster his pistol. Before any discussions begin, Andrea (Laurie Holden) arrives with Martinez (José Pablo Cantillo) and a grumpy-looking Milton (Dallas Roberts), and barges in to the meeting.  Playing the role of peacemaker, she explains why she initiated the summit:

“Too many people have died for no reason. Let’s end this. Save the bullets for the real threat. We can solve this. That’s why I asked you to come here.”

drinksRick ignores Andrea and takes the offensive, explaining to the Governor that he is aware of the severed walker heads, the raids, and the incident with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in episode seven, “When the Dead Come Knocking”. The Governor deftly brushes it aside, blaming Merle (Michael Rooker), and proclaims his desire to “move forward”. The two adversaries get to the issues. Showing the Governor a map, Andrea and Rick announce a demarcation line, of which each party will not cross. The Governor laughs and tosses the map aside, announcing that he is attending the meeting for one purpose: for Rick’s surrender. Demanding that Andrea step outside – she obeys, leaving in a huff–the two continue the battle of wills. The Governor
remains calm and relaxed against the edgier Rick, and comes up with superbly manipulative answers for all Rick’s accusations.

Rick fires back with insults, accusing the Governor of being the “town drunk”, not a leader, for his lack of control over Merle. The Governor immediately takes the negotiation to a darker level, chipping away at Rick’s weak spot by raising the issue of his baby daughter. Rick is hit hard and begins to lose focus…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Thirteen.

prey gov chains

The Stalking Game

Episode Fourteen: The pre-credits scene of the episode, “Prey”, opens with Michonne (Danina Gurai) and Andrea on the road in a pre-Woodbury flashback. Resting for the night, they hunker down by the campfire, eating. The gurgling of Michonne’s pet walkers – chained to a nearby tree – piques Andrea’s curiosity about where the creatures came from. Asking Michonne if they attacked her, or if she knew them, Michonne replies – hissing her answer – that they deserve what they got and weren’t human to begin with. Cut to the present as the Governor labors, in a grisly inner dungeon, at testing chains. Like a man possessed, he grits his teeth, pulling and straining as he checks their might. Finally satisfied, he stops to catch his breath. It’s clear these chains are for people…

In Woodbury, a massive arms preparation is underway as Martinez loads a jeep with assault rifles, ammo, and the .50 caliber machine gun. Learning that a huge militia force is going out to confront the survivors, Milton and Andrea stare, puzzled at what they see, but Milton downplays it as “just a precaution, a show of force”. Andrea remains unconvinced.

prey andrea in woods

Meanwhile, in his dungeon, the Governor spreads out a frightening array of surgical and dental tools. Milton arrives, aghast at what the Governor calls his “workshop”, and asks how it fits into the new start that Woodbury was supposed to be for the sake of people and community. The Governor – whom Milton refers to as “Philip” – answers that it is revenge for his daughter Penny (Kylie Szymanski). Milton immediately finds Andrea, and relays the terrible news: there is no deal and the Governor plans a massacre of the prison population. Andrea knows that she must stop this but is stumped as to how. They visit the dungeon, secretly peeking through the balcony. The Governor continues arranging his torture instruments, whistling Bye Baby Bunting (the song he sang to his daughter), unaware of the two visitors. Andrea, mortified at the spectacle, knows she must assassinate him. She readies her pistol, lining up a shot…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Fourteen. Continue reading

Season Three Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part I

Editor’s Note: For those of you who haven’t visited our other site Deadloggers, here’s a brief recap of the second half of the third season of The Walking Dead

daryl-merle

Brothers In Arms

Episode Nine: The pre-credits scene of episode nine of The Walking Dead, “The Suicide King”, opens in the fights arena as the bandaged Governor (David Morrisey) leaves Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and his captured brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) to slug it out to the death. The crowd, hungry for action, spurs them on. The Governor’s thugs hover around the arena with harnessed walkers –part of the sport – as Merle pulverizes his younger brother, calling out his declarations of loyalty to Woodbury. Unbeknownst to the crowd, Merle instructs Daryl to follow his lead in escaping as the two turn on the surrounding walkers. Suddenly, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rescue team raid the arena, throwing smoke bombs and firing shots as they enable Daryl and Merle to slip out …

governorPost-credits, Merle leads the rescue team out of Woodbury, curiously leaving an open hole in the fence. They meet up with Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) on the outskirts. Both Michonne and Glenn are incensed that Merle has joined them and both need to be restrained due to their anger. Merle, however, seizes the opportunity to jibe Michonne, sneering a variety of politically incorrect taunts until Rick knocks him unconscious. Heading back to the prison, an argument ensues. Daryl vehemently wants his brother in the group – claiming they need the muscle against the Governor  – but is against Michonne’s presence.  Glenn – his face still red and bruised from Merle’s beating – is opposed to Merle but wants Michonne to stay. Rick, meanwhile opposes the presence of both. Daryl understands Rick’s thinking, and declares that Merle and him will leave the group and fend for themselves. Grabbing his gear, he joins his brother – now awake – and they disappear into the forest. Rick, meanwhile, snaps at Michonne, warning her that the moment she is patched up she is on her own…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Nine.

rick-walkers

Increasing Tensions

Episode Ten: In the pre-credits scene of the episode “Home”, former sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes takes a break from manning the prison barricades in order to scope the perimeter. Using his binoculars, he spots a few stray walkers, but then discovers an odd sight: his dead wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), her back turned, standing over hers and T-Dog’s graves in the prison yard. Dressed in white, she stands erect, radiating a spectral, ethereal beauty. Rick grabs his rifle and feverishly heads out to confront her only to find her gone, having re-appeared outside the prison gates. Drenched in sweat and consumed with longing, he finally reaches her. Lori strokes his cheek as they gaze at one another, face-to-face. Michonne, alerted to this curiosity, closes the gate behind him and watches, shocked, as she realizes Rick is deep inside a powerful hallucination…

Post-credits, Andrea (Laurie Holden) visits the Governor in his Woodbury apartment and finds him apologetic and insecure over his eroding leadership skills. Complimenting her over her impromptu speech to the citizens (in the previous episode, “Made to Suffer”), he declares his plans to abdicate and offers to make her his successor. Andrea, stunned at the revelation, is speechless…

Outside the prison, the now-independent Merle and Daryl Dixon are hiking through the forest. Unsuccessful at finding food, there is growing tension and a general lack of agreement between the brothers. Daryl wants to return to the prison, although Merle assures him that the Governor has already annihilated the survivors, leaving Daryl in somewhat of a funk…

merle-daryl

Continuing on, sweaty and gasping for air in the thick humidity, Merle continues taking shots at Daryl, this time over what he perceives are his poor navigational skills. Alerted by noises that shatter the morning calm, Merle laughs it off as animals getting intimate although Daryl recognizes it as a baby crying. Hurrying in the noise’s direction, they spot a horrifying sight: a desperate Hispanic family is trapped on a bridge, surrounded by a herd of walkers moving in for the kill. Daryl races in to help, while Merle remains behind, mocking his brother’s valiant tendencies and yelling after him to “stay put”…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Ten. Continue reading

Idiotic Twist Ruins The Governor In The Book The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor

Warning: The review/rant below contains major spoilers about the Governor in The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor novel.

bookI just finished reading or rather wasted my time with the horror book The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor written by the creator of The Walking Dead comic book Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga.

It was worse than Michael Crichton’s Sphere!

The thing that gets me about the book is that I was really enjoying this; I’m a recent convert to The Walking Dead phenomenon thanks to the excellent TV show on AMC. I think that the character of the Governor (played on the show by David Morrisey) is one of the best villains I’ve ever seen. As soon as I could I went to the local comic book shop and picked up the graphic novels. I saw the book The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor and decided to buy the book too.

The book focuses on Philip Blake, his daughter Penny, his brother Brian, and Philip’s friend Nick. As you probably know Philip Blake becomes the Governor and his daughter becomes a zombie or as they say on the show and comic book a walker or biter.

It starts off showing the group when the walker outbreak began and their struggles to find safe shelter. There are a few times where you think Penny will get bitten by a walker but it never happens. Instead, Kirkman wrote a nice twist, she gets killed by crazy living people then turns into a walker.

The Walking Dead: Rise Of The Governor had the characters facing many hardships, building up to Penny’s death that makes Philip become angry and crazy and logically becoming the Governor. You really see that as he captures two of the attackers that killed Penny, locks them up and tortures them every day. His brother Brian was a wimp throughout the book and Nick was often the voice of reason.

Spoiler time: Philip gets really crazy and kills a woman to feed to walker Penny. Nick tells Brian he can’t stand it anymore and a fight between Philip and Nick happens. Around this time, they wind up staying in the town of Woodbury, the same place that the Governor rules as seen in the comics and show. When they first arrive at the town, the place is controlled by Major Gene Gavin, a lunatic National Guardsman who calls himself the Major and abuses the residents. Continue reading

Worlds Collide In The Walking Dead, Parts I & II

bite

Part I:

What you all did – leaving me up there – people wouldn’t do that to an animal…”

Merle to Glenn

In the pre-credits scene of episode seven of The Walking Dead, “When The Dead Come Knocking”, Merle (Michael Rooker) is brutally interrogating Glenn (Steven Yeun). Still bitter about being abandoned in Atlanta (in season one), Merle demands to know the survivors’ whereabouts. When Glenn refuses, Merle reacts savagely.

really tortured

Post-credits, Michonne (Danai Gurira) is standing at the prison gate, her walker-blood-drenched shirt serving as camouflage to the surrounding creatures. Before Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) can act, her open gunshot wound reveals her presence and the walkers attack. Michonne’s limp and fatigue hamper her ability to fight back, but Rick saves her just as she passes out. Inside the prison, Rick’s group tend to Michonne’s wound but they and she are mutually suspicious of each other. After she witnesses Rick’s touching reunion with Carol (Melissa McBride) – previously thought to be dead, Michonne opens up and tells about Glenn, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) held prisoner by the Governor (David Morrissey) in the town of Woodbury. Rick formulates a rescue plan, and heavily armed and equipped, sets out to Woodbury taking Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne, and Oscar (Vincent Ward).

In Woodbury, Milton (Dallas Roberts) conducts a bizarre experiment, with Andrea’s (Laurie Holden) assistance, on a dying old man (Peter Kulas). Seeking to determine if he retains his human memory after re-animating as a walker, the experiment fails. Before the re-animated walker could bite him an already cynical Andrea kills the creature.

lunchMeanwhile, Glenn, duct-taped to a chair, still refuses to divulge any information to Merle, who then releases a walker on him. In an exciting scene, Glenn fights for his life as he cleverly alternates between evading the creature, striking it and smashing apart his chair to break free; eventually he gains the upper hand and kills it with pieces of the smashed chair. The Governor decides next to interrogate Maggie himself. With the sinister air of a viper, he calmly orders her to remove her shirt and bra, hinting at rape. Unable to break the sobbing young woman, he leaves her but later reunites Maggie and the bloodied Glenn. After threatening Glenn in her presence, Maggie in her loved one’s presence. Maggie breaks down and reveals the survivors’ numbers and whereabouts.

Outside of Woodbury, Rick and the three others leave their car a few miles from the town and stealthily approach; but are spotted by walkers. Initially fighting them off, more walkers arrive in distractionimpossible numbers, so they seek shelter in a nearby cabin. Locking the door, they discover the cabin’s sole inhabitant, a hermit (Alex Van) who initially holds a gun to Rick. Although they disarm him, he panics and runs to escape; Michonne kills him to prevent him from opening the door. To distract the walkers, his body is thrown to them, which they devour in a grotesque feeding frenzy. Rick and the rescue party escape the cabin and later approach Woodbury after dark, hiding just outside its heavy fortifications.

The Governor meanwhile is stunned from Maggie’s revelation that such a small group – ten – was able to clear out a prison by themselves, a task thought to be impossible. Together with Glenn’s performance with the walker, he is impressed by them as a tough group. The Governor orders Merle and another of his thugs, Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo), to scout out the prison.

Except for a few token touchy-feely moments involving the newborn baby and Carol’s return, “When The Dead Come Knocking” is exciting and fast-paced. We are opening our eyes to Glenn, no longer the baseball-capped, delivery-boy-next-door type. He is emerging as a serious hombre with testicular fortitude, surviving a savage beating without ratting out his friends and later killing a walker while initially strapped to a chair. The episode suffered a few reality black holes, though. Jumping into a rescue mission without a complete and thorough re-con is a serious (and possibly fatal) mistake, especially up against a hard-nosed cat such as the Governor. Additionally, Michonne’s reluctance to reveal even her name also struck me as odd, considering she went through hell and high water to get to the prison, meet them, and deliver the baby supplies. And how exactly did that hermit survive in the middle of walker territory?

But ultimately that’s nitpicking, as The Walking Dead is leading to a deadly confrontation. Perhaps Michonne can clue the rescue team in to something we have already witnessed, because despite the grisly acts regularly committed by walkers in The Walking Dead, “When The Dead Come Knocking” ultimately focuses on the dark side of human behavior, something Rick and the survivors will soon experience for themselves.

Continue reading