Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

Karen: As 2013 draws to a close, let's talk about some of our "best of" lists in entertainment. Seeing as how I am not currently reading new comics, nor do I listen to much new music, I'm going to have to just go with books and movies here, but the rest of you can chime in on any material produced during the last year.

Karen: I thought it was a fairly poor year for films. Granted, I don't get out and see a film every week, but I do go to a fair number of films. But so many I saw this year were either downright bad, or had terrible third acts, or just enough problems to keep me from whole-heartedly embracing them. Here's my short list of favorite films that I saw  for 2013:

1. Star Trek Into Darkness
2. Thor: The Dark World
3. Now You See Me

Doug:  We don't go to a lot of movies, but for some reason I did see several in the theater this year.  By no means am I qualified to give any constructive criticisms, but the following were films I enjoyed -

  1. 42 - this was the Jackie Robinson biopic
  2. Gatsby - visually stunning, but disconnect on the soundtrack
  3. Monsters University - Pixar wins again
  4. The Butler - a little too much historical fiction, but good
  5. Thor: The Dark World
  6. Saving Mr. Banks - Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are fabulous
  7. Now You See Me - which I actually just watched last night on video!
Karen: I'm much more enthusiastic about books. There are several on-going series I'm reading (although one of these, the Ian Tregillis' Milkweed series, seems to have ended) and they are all excellent. It's been a few years since I had the thrill of expectation for the next book in a series and I'm really enjoying that. So here's my list of favorite new books in 2013 (again, books released in 2013 only):

1. Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey
2. Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis
3. Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi by Mark Hodder

Karen: All of these books are parts of series and I would highly recommend them to any of you, as they are very entertaining reads.

Karen: Feel free to serve up your own lists of favorites from 2013 as we bid this year good-bye and welcome in 2014. And may you all have a fun (and safe!) New Year's Eve!

29 comments:

Redartz said...

Doug and Karen- a very happy New Year to you both, and to all Bronze Age Babies everywhere!

As our budget shrunk this year, we haven't been to the movies, nor made many book purchases. Also had to cut off my new comic subscriptions, but did pick up a couple here and there:
Batman 1966 - very fun , a nice diversion from most of today's darker work.
Daredevil- very good; will have to pick up the TPB one day.

Television: mostly free viewing, so a couple nominations:
Drama:
Game of Thrones; vast, detailed, and very well casted.
The Walking Dead: not so vast, but intense and loaded with great characters who you are afraid to get to attached to.

Comedy: the only sitcom I watch is Big Bang Theory. The show just keeps getting better and better, with a cast that obviously is having a blast.

david_b said...

Doug and Karen, most wonderful New Year thoughts to both you and all our regulars and visitors.

I typically don't frequent films in theaters.. I'm one to wait and watch it HD for $5.99 at home with the dogs and a beer or two. So this years releases will be my favs come next year.

STRONGLY agree on Big Bang Theory, the Thanksgiving one was a hoot..!! Very happy to see that the Family Guy team decided to bring Brian back.

Silly gimmick, really. WHO WHOULD THINK OF killing a major character just to get publicity, then bring him/her back...? "The nerve of 'em."

I've seen Batman 1966 at my LCS, but haven't ventured to pick any up. I'm still spending $$ each month on Silver gems, and rebuying some Bronze issues I cut the Marvel Value Stamps out of. I'm buzzed to have finally picked up VF copy of Hulk 122 (with the FF) for $10.

Anyone going out for New Years..? I typically just sit at home and head to bed early.

Matt Celis said...

I'm surprised Big Bang is getting so much love. When I see it now it just feels like the hype has gone to their heads. At least it hasn't jumped the shark as How I Met Your Mother did this past year. It's Always Sunny is still good. Aside from that, Elementary is pretty good and so is Blacklist. Haven't read any books published in 2013. Everything I read is old. Can't remember seeing any good movies in the theater. I saw Thor and it sucked. Too many plot holes, too many lame attempts at levity mostly due to too much Kat Dennings. Haven't read any new comics except Batman '66 which is sadly mediocre despite my hopes, The Fox which is also sadly mediocre, and Mark Waid's Daredevil which is decent but getting the axe for "Marvel Now" so Marvel can do its version of "Nu 52." Ugh. Can't say 2013 impressed me much.

Matt Celis said...

Dang, forgot the best show on TV, which naturally was cancelled: Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23!

Karen said...

The husband and I have tried to watch Big Bang Theory several times, and it just doesn't do anything for us. I always feel like a pariah when I admit that. Maybe it's because I've spent time around both extreme comic nerds and socially inept scientists and engineers, but I find the characters (especially Sheldon) just annoying, not funny. But to each his own.

Of the shows I do watch on TV, I think the best for me this last year might have been Hell on Wheels, and I felt this season was something of a comedown from the previous seasons. But it still has a strong cast. I also enjoy Game of Thrones. I think the show benefits from being able to see Martin's pitfalls in the books and avoid them. It's interesting seeing how the story is diverging now as they head into the later books.

We might go out for an early dinner, but generally on New Year's we stay in and avoid the amateur drinkers who are out on the roads!

William said...

Here are my pics for best of 2013.

Best movies:
1. Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2. Thor The Dark World
3. Gravity
4. Star Trek: Into Darkness

Most Disappointing Movies of 2013:
1. The Lone Ranger
2. Pacific Rim
3. The Wolverine
4. Iron Man 3

Best TV Shows: (I have a top 7 here)
1. Game of Thrones
2. Breaking Bad
3. Boardwalk Empire
4. The Borgias
5. Ray Donovan
6. Hell on Wheels
7. The Walking Dead

Comics: (there is only one)
Daredevil by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Video Games: (there is only one here as well)
Batman: Arkham Origins

Best Action Figrues:
1. Marvel Select Classic Venom
2. DCUC Batman DKR
3. Mafex Amazing Spider-Man

Best TPBs of 2013:
1. Avengers: Heart of Stone
2. Amazing Spider-Man: Mark of Tarantula
3. Daredevil: Vol. 6 (Mark Waid)

Books:
I read a few books, but I don't think any of them were published in 2013.

themiddlespaces said...

Don't worry Karen, you are not alone. I actively HATE Big Bang Theory. . . so your ambivalence seems much more reasoned in comparison. (Though it is nice to see Mayim Bailik getting work). :)

I guess Thor: The Dark World was the best of this year's crop of superhero movies. I really didn't like Star Trek: Into Darkness (or even thought it made much sense), and Man of Steel. . . well. . . you know. It is was the kind of movie I like less the more I think on it. The take on the Mandarin was the best part of an otherwise disappointing Iron Man III.

As for TV: My wife and I really enjoyed Orange is the New Black, despite some problematic aspects (but what isn't?) and The Americans is a fantastic show set in the Cold War.

For books - I am currently reading Love it the Law by Nick Mamatas and really enjoying it. A crime-cum-occult punk rock novel set on Long Island.

For comics (I know, I know, contemporary comics): The current solo Hawkeye series continues to be fantastic, and China Mieville's weird version of Dial H ended, but was too great to last. Also LOVING FF, the alternate Fantastic Four title. Oh and Superior Foes of Spider-Man was a surprising delight.

Happy New Year everyone!

themiddlespaces said...

Oh William's post reminded me:

For those of you into video games, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is FANTASTIC - a heck of a whole lot of goofy superhero fun with lots of easter eggs for long term fans and obscure characters to unlock (I recently got Capt Britain, Union Jack and Squirrel Girl!) It is not just for kids, but would be fun to play with along with a kid who is curious and wants to now who Howard the Duck is (unlocked him as well) or Gwen Stacy (her too).

William said...

Oh man, I forgot to list "Man of Steel" as the most disappointing movie of 2013 (and almost of all time).

MattComix said...

TV: Doctor Who series 7b. I really enjoy Clara as the companion and I'm gonna miss Matt Smith in the role. Tom Baker will always be THE Doctor to me but I may have to qualify Smith as MY Doctor.

Movies: Pacific Rim. Not perfect but a live action mecha anime was not something I thought Hollywood would be able to pull off with any sort of craft or dignity.

Comics: ..yeah, I got nuthin. Though what I have seen of Daredevil is a breath of fresh air. I think I stopped looking at it when there was a two parter with "superior" Spider-Man. Just the presence of that was too much of a glaring reminder of why modern comics make me feel like George Taylor during the last scene in Planet of the Apes.

Comedy: Key and Peele. Not every sketch works, some are just kind of gross or dumb. ..but many are smart and just too funny to resist. I'm gonna keep an eye on SNL in the coming year because it seems a lot of the guard from the past decade is out so we'll see what some new blood can do.

Karen said...

Osvaldo, my husband got the Lego Marvel Super-Heroes game at Christmas so we would have a game to play together and we have been having a blast! He loves playing the Super-Skrull because of all his powers, while I like to play a variety of characters. And I am amazed at a lot of the characters they included (Modok? the Leader?) but there are few puzzling omissions, including number one -no Sub-Mariner??? Still, loads of fun.

Anonymous said...

There's no theatre here, so I haven't seen any new movies and the only shows I watch (besides sports) are Big Bang and Elementary. I agree that Sheldon's annoying...in fact the show seems to be turning into a regular sitcom with the same cliched situations that we've seen for decades. The female characters on the show are actually more interesting right now (or maybe just written better?)

As for books, I'm kinda on Karen's wavelength there...I love the Burton/Swinburne books, but I haven't read the newest one yet. I've only read the first Sandman Slim book too, so maybe I'll catch up this year!

Mike W.

Matt Celis said...

Oh heck, forgot about The Americans. What a good show.

And Key & Peele are always at least amusing when not outright hilarious. Why can't SNL get guys like that to write and perform?

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, I'm really a fish out of water for this conversation: like David, I never go see movies in the theaters, and always see them with a considerable delay. As for TV, since I'm not in the US, we always get things here with at least a 6-month delay, and even with the equivalent of basic cable or satellite service, you can't always catch everything. I don't follow any ongoing comics, and books, well, I'm a voracious reader, but I'm all over the place, reading both fiction and non, genre and non-genre stuff, but I'm not reading any up-to-the-minute bestsellers or new series.
However, in the case of the latter two, I'll mention a few things I bought/read over the last year that have a more recent original publication date.
Comics:
1. Joe Kubert Presents tpb - just a lovely book.
Uh, that's it.
Books:
Damballa by Charles Saunders. Really fun "new pulp" adventure by one of my favorite sword & socery (actually sword & soul) authors. Otherwise, if anyone's into this whole "new pulp" phenomenon, I highly recommend the publisher's site, Airship 27.
2. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor - a kind of dark fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. Even though she mainly writes YA books, I highly recommend anything by Okorafor.

As for New Year's celebrations, like several others here, my wife and I spend it alone at home. So have a good one, everybody, and best wishes for the new year.

david_b said...

Comedy: In the spirit of MattComix's posting, 2013 was great for discovering Mitchell and Webb, a british comedy team probably a few years past already, but they were new to me.

Movies..: Trek: Into Darkness was a competent sequel, but otherwise not too awesome. Other movies like Thor just haven't stood out enough for me to actively look for. Just waiting on the next Avengers and Ant-Man films. I read this morning the new 'Man From UNCLE' film with Hugh Grant just completed principle filming so wondering how that'll turn out.

Comics: Quite frankly, I have ZERO interest in any comics today. They've lost my trust of character usage many times over, plus.., well, I'm just not interested. Any disposable income I happen to find goes to filling my Silver and Bronze holes (as mentioned earlier..). My stance is, 'Why buy the new stuff when I get more fun out of reading all the old letters pages for the vintage stuff I enjoy best..?' Perhaps I'll pick up that McGregor's Panther Masterworks hardcover or Joker solo title TPB with the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas.

Garett said...

Movies: This is the End, Warm Bodies

TV: Breaking Bad, Mindy Project, Walking Dead (I read the first 80 issues of the comic, and the TV series is just as good)

Comics: nothing new, but 2 published in 2013--Days of the Mob, and Thor Omnibus, both Jack Kirby.

Mike said...

Happy New Year guys! Just a couple of things here from me.

Comics: I gotta say I enjoy Batman '66, although its losing a little bit of its mojo. Another one I really like is Batman Beyond Universe. Every other book I tried this year was very ho hum.

TV: I wanna agree with the earlier mentions of Game of Thrones and Elementary. One to add that literally shocked me: Arrow. Yes, the first season is a little lame and little too much shirtless beefcake for my tastes, but believe it or not the second season outright rocks! This season is worth giving a chance if you're a DC or Green Arrow fan.

One more mention on TV is Vikings on History Channel. Really cool show.

Oh, and Breaking Bad ended well.

Movies: Nothing stands out to me at all this year, although I haven't seen the new Hobbit movie yet.

That's it. Thanks for the site Doug and Karen, and we'll see ya next year!

Anonymous said...

For the best sitcom, I'd like to put in a vote for Veep.
One of the most howlingly funny shows I've ever seen.
Julia Louise Dreyfuss for prez in 2016!

Matt Celis said...

I taped it as I heard good things but didn't actually laugh even once. Smiled a couple of times.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, I basically turned my nose up at buying new comics this last year, because of both the price of comics but also...yeesh.
But I did pick up a few issues of that Marvel Now FF...I really dug it! I like that Mike Allred!
But that Superior Spider-Man thing...one issue was enough for me.
And D.C.,...yikes.

Doug said...

Edo -

I've been meaning to ask you over the last few days to expound on the Kubert book. If I recall, that mini-series featured a lead feature by Kubert and then his signature characters by other teams. Can you give us some info. and your overall thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Doug

Teresa said...

Happy New Year!

Superior Spider-Man:
I know this is not a fan favorite. But I really like it. It is a new idea and has a lot of depth to it. I'm only reading it in TPB. I'm on the 3rd trade, ready for the fourth. But to each their own. See: Big Bang Theory.

The Walking Dead:
I have read the comic book since issue one, day one. (I sold my 1 - 40 run for a bewildering sum)
The show goes places the comic book didn't. That has allowed me to be surprised all over again. The characterizations are great. I love this show.

Game of Thrones:
Or as I call it "I didn't see that coming." So many wonderful and gutsy surprises. (I haven't read the books.) There were a few mouth drop open moments. That's rare for me.

Veep:
One of the few shows that gets an out loud laugh and sometimes *snort* (You didn't read that.) The show has an almost British comedic sense to it. Everyone is uncomfortable, embarrassed or about to step in something. So funny!


Star Trek: Into Darkness
I avoided all press or spoilers and that was a feat. I gasped at the big reveal. The big battle was great. I am a fan of this new timeline. All Star Trek, really.


Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
This is the first time I ever believed in Dragons. Amazing CGI of Smaug. The barrel ride was an edge of the seat action sequence. Loved it!


"Hi my name is Teresa and I don't like the Big Bang Theory."
Seriously though, to each their own.
I personally don't like the Big Bang Theory. If it actually was nuanced and attempted to be about Nerds, by Nerds, then I think I might like it. But IMHO it is presented as Nerdom from the outside looking in. I've watched four episodes. Nada.


R.I.P.
Legion of Superheroes: You were my gateway into comic books and nothing can compare to the wonder you shared with me. I followed you all the way to the end. You are missed.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen The Desolation of Smaug, although I'm definitely going to. At some point, here.
Don't spoil the ending for me!
Seriously, though, if you're a big fan of Tolkien from way back as I am, check out the great Richard Boone doing the voice of Smaug in the 70's cartoon (if you haven't already). It's on You Tube, and well worth a look and a listen. And easy to find.
What a voice! Has to be heard to be believed.
I'll wait to wait and see if this Cumberbatch fellow is up to snuff. But then, I had doubts about that Hardy guy, so...we'll see.
Also, happy new year to Karen and Doug and all of my fellow fans of Bronze Age Babies! Let's all have a good and happy year! M.P.

Anonymous said...

These last couple years, Sunday nights, I didn't wanna be bugged. Whether its Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.
Even Boardwalk Empire..."leave me alone on Sunday nights".
My mother is like that when Downton Abbey is on..."unless somebody is dead or dying, call me back later."

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, re: the Kubert book. Yes, it collects a 6-part mini-series of the same name which started coming out not long before Kubert died (I think he died before the fourth issue was published). It contains a bunch of original stories by Kubert himself (one Hawkman story, and then a short series of stories featuring a character called the Redeemer, and a Sgt. Rock tale, among other things), plus a World War II memoir type comic about a naval vessel called the USS Stevens by Sam Glanzman (who also did a Marvel graphic novel in the 1980s on a similar topic) and a series of Angel and the Ape stories by a writer/artist named Brian Buniak.

Like I said in a previous post, I haven't actually sat down to read it, but since it came in the mail, I've admiringly flipped through it a few times. This is what all reprint books should be like: it's packed with material, i.e. about 300 pages, the coloring is more old school, and the paper stock is not glossy, so it just looks more like a 'real' comic book.

Doug said...

Thank you, Edo! I still have not taken the shrinkwrap off the Tor hardcover I got for $3 in Chicago last August. Maybe I'll try to get a review written up from that during January.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, given my backlog of books to read, usually it takes a few months between buying something and actually reading it, but in this case I just may move that schedule up significantly. I'm not making any New Year's resolutions, but maybe we'll be able to compare notes later in January.

Doug said...

Edo --

I've slotted a review from this book for 7 March 2014.

If anyone wants to know, I'm looking at a story from the Golden Age Batman dailies on 2/7, Joker #4 on 2/21, and then the Tor review. Nothing like thinking about post-vacation blogging while watching a bazillion football games and the NHL's Winter Classic (which is very cool in the snows of Ann Arbor!)!

Doug

Anonymous said...

2013, as every year should, went out with a BANG for me and mine. By that I mean we had the time and place to get together, take a deep breath and tell some VERY old stories about each other. That was great! As I mentioned in gift post, I had the chance to go through my comic book collection and write down everything I have. (Too much Power Pack and Micronauts Vol 2). I hope to spend 2014 reading comics. Unless I decided to put all my Image together, all my DC, all my Marvel and Dark Horse and Aclaim and etc etc etc.

2013 was spent enjoying Iron Man 3, yeah, I liked it. Thor 2, liked that also. I have just started The Returned. One episode in and I think I'm hooked. I have the final season of Burn Notice on DVR but I haven't watched it yet. No spoilers!!!!

Favorite moment from 2013 was Jeremy Renner's SNL stint when they did the Avengers spoof. When Capt America commented on the 7 or 8 aliens he killed and he answered with "You're welcome". I still laugh.

Good times, good, good times.....


The Prowler (from the old Spider-Man Crawlspace)

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