A few of my favorite things – 2013 Style
2013 has just about come to a close. Instead of the “Best Of” approach, I take my annual look at some of my favorite things in Television, Film and Pop Culture this year.
Unlike many of my Clacking Contemporaries, I love internet lists; especially end-of-year-compilations. I love the arguments that develop over the placement of one particular show/flick/book/video game over the other. What I don’t always appreciate is the idea of “best.” Take a look at some of the “Best of 2013 Films” lists floating around the Internet this week: Are there a couple of flicks you have never heard of, let alone had the opportunity to see? Yeah, that’s not how I see things. I think we can celebrate the “best.”
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t like Mad Men and I haven’t yet tackled Sons of Anarchy or (GASP!) Breaking Bad. I didn’t see every movie I wanted to (The Butler, About Time and Fruitvale Station probably top that list). Again, this is about what I really liked this year, not about what I — or the Internet as a greater whole — thinks “best.” I think that approach is much more true and much more fun.
I have my problems with Shonda Rhimes’ latest show, but that doesn’t keep me from love everything else about the show. Put simply, Scandal is batshit crazy, and there’s not a single positive character on the entire show. As much as Olivia and her crew talk about their white hats, you can’t add enough white to grey to get the black out; Huck’s actions last week are proof positive of that. But Scandal has also been home to some of the year’s best performances; Bellamy Young and Jeff Perry both have had a couple of scenes that were simply phenomenal.
The Veronica Mars Kickstarter
The announcement that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell would be taking their plans for a Veronica Mars flick to Kickstarter nearly blew the doors off of my Twitter feed. The project quickly met its goal of $2 million within 11 hours, and more than doubled that by the time the funding period was over. The viral campaign leading up to filming was phenomenal; many of the actors filmed quick videos for YouTube announcing their participation, a process that helped build the hype for the show’s cult fandom.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Veronica Mars’ presence at Comic-Con this year. While I wasn’t able to make the Hall H panel, fellow Clacker Keith McDuffee and I did back the Kickstarter project high enough to get a reserved seat at the fan event held later that evening. The event itself was far from perfect, but it was a pretty damn cool experience nonetheless.
Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black
Was there an entertainment company that had a better year than Netflix? Bringing back Arrested Development was a big coup, but it was the other two shows that really tripped my trigger. House of Cards is the kind of show that was conceived personally for my enjoyment. I love a good political yarn, and Kevin Spacey absolutely chews every second he is on the screen. Orange is the New Black was different, “coming out of nowhere” to really surprise some people (Not this particular blogger, who wrote about lead Taylor Schillling: “She has the look, and the talent, to be a breakout star” four years ago).
Gravity was one of those flicks that had been in pre-production for a long time. I had followed the project for years as director Alfonso Cuarón waited for technology to catch up to the script, as well as go through the myriad casting changes the project experienced. The final product was phenomenal. Sandra Bullock and the film’s technical mastery easily covered for a rather pedestrian script. There are very few movie’s that I believe are “must see” in 3D – and in this case IMAX as well – but Gravity was one of them. I’m a little worried that the film won’t hold up on people’s TVs at home, but the theatre experience was unforgettable.
Arrow has received a great deal of buzz this year as being greatly improved from its inaugural season last year and while I won’t deny it has been pretty damn great, I thought that season one was pretty good, too. The promotions of Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett and (particularly) Emily Bett Rickards have filled out the show nicely. The CW is now using the show to launch a show centered on the Barry Allen version of the Flash, and there are continued rumors (that are often denied and then pop up again) that both shows might be linked to the DC Cinematic Universe.