As the year draws to a close, I think it right to take a look back at some of the best (and maybe worst!) that we’ve gotten this year. It’s been a pretty great year all around, so it’s only fair that we give it its due.
It’s been a fantastic year for movies, and though I haven’t seen everything I wanted to (yet), that doesn’t change the fact that there were a lot of great releases. Movies like:
Wreck-It Ralph: This was one that could have gone one of two ways — fantastic or terrible. Luckily it took the former route. It’s filled with Easter Eggs for gamers, and I shudder to think of what licensing fees must have cost Disney…
The Avengers: So very deserving of its status as the summer block-buster of the year. One of the best superhero movies in recent history, right up there next to The Dark Knight. Speaking of which…
The Dark Knight Rises: Not gonna lie, like many others I was somewhat disappointed with this one. Its predecessor set such high standards, and this one fell flat in comparison. Also, the titular character had about 10 minutes of screentime total, if that, which was a huge letdown. But still an enjoyable film, even if it’s the weakest in Nolan’s trilogy.
Lincoln: I haven’t seen this one but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it; it’s easily an Oscar contender.
Skyfall: Another one I’ve yet to see, though I’m dying to. Again, I’ve heard some really great things about it, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
The Amazing Spider-Man: As a huge Spidey fan, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t seen it yet, but again, good things all around as far as I’ve heard.
Some other pivotal films this year include The Hunger Games, which I wasn’t a fan of, but I understand the significance on the general population; Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, which is only notable because it finally signals the end of the horrible hell which Twilight has brought upon us; and Titanic: 3D, notable for lining James Cameron’s special-fx obsessed pockets with even more money that he doesn’t need. Also, Men in Black III was surprisingly good. Also notable for being the tipping point that got me back together with my girlfriend, so bonus.
Many more movies I wanted to see and haven’t yet:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Bourne Legacy
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The Three Stooges
Of course we can’t forget the movies that, as of the time I’m writing this, haven’t come out yet (though they will be when this is published). Movies like The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and Django Unchained. Yeah, it’s been a good year for movies.
From BBC’s Sherlock, to Doctor Who season 7, to Elementary, Community, The Big Bang Theory, Two Broke Girls, and more, television has been stronger than ever this year. It’s not all fun and games though, with bittersweet farewells to How I Met Your Mother and Merlin in the cards as well. Transformers: Prime had an excellent second season, ending with a huge cliffhanger, and Episodes also had a strong second season. DC graced our living rooms with Arrow, though I have yet to see it. Grimm and Once Upon a Time have found themselves a comfortable niche, and are doing quite well. Just think: a few years ago, those shows probably would have had trouble getting off the ground, despite the popularity of Supernatural and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. The only thing that would have made this year even better for television is if Joss Whedon had returned to the small screen and given us another fantastic show — and if it would last for more than a season or two!! But hey, he gave us The Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods, so the lack of Whedon on TV is forgivable.
If you thought it was a strong year for movies and television, just take a look at all the great music we got. Ok, I know, you have to dig through all of the garbage that we get dumped on us from rap and pop, but there’ve been some great albums and tracks. Just check out:
“Gangnam Style” – Psy: Yeah, I went there. But I mean, come on, it’s got to be one of the funnest songs all year, and it’s so catchy!
“Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen: I know the camp is pretty divided on this one, but I have to say, I love it, and it takes a lot for me to love a pop song these days.
¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tre! – Green Day: Though I liked the first and third albums more than the second, all three are pretty fantastic. Green Day’s still got it, no matter what the haters say.
Number One, Number Two, Number Three (forthcoming) – My Chemical Romance: MCR dropped the first three of their five two-track “singles,” as it were, from the Danger Days sessions this year, and true to form, the tracks all rock. It’s a great blend of classic and modern MCR, and I’m looking forward to checking out their next full album.
The Strange Case of… – Halestorm: After what felt like way too long, Halestorm finally released a new full length studio album, and… well, let’s just say there’s a very good reason that they’re up for a Grammy this year.
Tempest – Bob Dylan: The legend is back, and though his voice is raspier than ever, his songs are still just as good as always.
Also of note, Muse put The 2nd Law on shelves this year, The All-American Rejects made a return with Kids in the Street, Ringo released Ringo 2012 so that he could tour with the All-Starrs again over the summer (and it was a great tour), and in general there was just a lot of awesomeness. It’s definitely been a fantastic year for music, and despite the kind of music that’s been popular lately, it looks like rock will live on.
This is a tough category, mainly because I’m not as up-to-date with books as I’d like to be. But here’s some of the stuff I can remember:
The Blinding Knife – Brent Weeks: You’re probably tired of hearing about Weeks by now.
Blackout – Mira Grant: Ok, so I still haven’t read Deadline, but the Newsflesh Trilogy has come to an end.
Batman: Earth One – Geoff Johns: Yes, it’s a comic, but graphic novels are a legitimate form of storytelling. Also it’s a pretty fantastic alternate universe, in the same universe as…
Superman: Earth One (Vol. 2) – J. Michael Straczynski: I haven’t picked it up yet, but yes, the sequel dropped in November, and as I loved the first one, I’m excited to read this one too.
Batman: Knightfall – Chuck Dixon: Again, haven’t read it yet, but the classic saga has been released, in color, in three massive volumes containing the entire story; former releases have, I’ve read, been missing certain sub-plots and supporting comics, but the giant new volumes contain everything.
I’m not as up-to-date with video games as I used to be, but I know that we got some important games this year. Games like Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3-D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Pokemon Black 2/White 2. The Wii-U was released, as well as the 3DS XL. Halo 4 came out last month, too, and this year also saw the triumphant return of Transformers to the video game world, with the much anticipated Fall of Cybertron. And MMORPG fans rejoiced when Star Wars: The Old Republic finally opened to the general public.
There’s a lot more that happened this year, but frankly I just can’t cover it all. Of course, the 13/31 staff is happy that President Obama won the election, and I think I speak for all of us when I say how great a year it’s been. So I now pose the question to you, dear readers: What was your favorite thing this year? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments, and we look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Let’s hope it brings health and happiness for us all.