My favorite things in 2011
As I begin a new year I want to take a quick look back at some of the things I enjoyed last year.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9
Buffy and the gang are back. Abandoning the Slayer Army she built, Buffy and the Scoobies have set up in San Francisco. But instead of actively looking for danger, the gang are all leading normal lives. Buffy is a waitress at a deli and has two normal roommates. And then *&$% hits the fan. The first couple of issues have been fantastic and I can’t wait to see where the story goes.
ANGEL & FAITH
Angel and Faith are both working toward redemption for their past. Angel kills Giles at the end of Season 8 so he and Faith move to England, set up shop at Giles’ house, and begin to work their way through Giles’ Watcher diaries. But Angel shocks Faith when he tells her that his overall plan is to find a way to bring Giles back to life.
THE DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN & FALLOUT
Mark Bagley returns to the title he helped launch to draw the final chapter of the Ultimate Universe’s Peter Parker. The story arc and Fallout mini series are amazing. For 10 years, Brian Michael Bendis started and completed one enormous story about a teenager who learned that with great power comes great responsibility and died protecting his family. It was a fantastic, unparalleled run that was exciting and will be missed.
STAR TREK / LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES CROSSOVER
I’m a big LoSH fan and a fan of Star Trek – and I’m a huge fan of crossovers. This crossover is taking place in a mirror universe where Earth has conquered most of the planets that some members of the Legionnaires call home and are using its inhabitants to conquer other planets. While the mini-series won’t wrap up until March, it’s off to a good start.
FANTASTIC FOUR #587 & 588 AND THE FUTURE FOUNDATION
In Fantastic Four #587, Johnny gets left in the Negative Zone with a horde of aliens bearing down on him and is presumed dead. In Fantastic Four #588 we get to see his family and friends mourn his loss and see Spider-Man join the team as they become The Future Foundation. The best part about Spider-Man joining the FF is having his perspective on cosmic adventures he doesn’t usually get to go on.
From “Drawing the Line at $2.99” in January to relaunching their entire universe late in the year, DC has had a fantastic year. I sampled a lot of DC books at the beginning of the year (and reviewed them back in February 2011). I also bought all 52 #1 and #2 issues of the relaunch and reviewed those in a previous January post. DC has never been more interesting then it is right now and I’m happy to be part of it.
In addition to Paul, Scream 4, Thor, Hangover 2, X-Men: First Class (all of which I reviewed in a June 2011 post), Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (all of which I reviewed in an August 2011 post), here are some other movies I liked this year.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL
It’s the fourth film in the franchise and the second one in a row I’ve enjoyed. JJ Abrams has worked magic on the franchise and the action and character moments are terrific. I hope they’ll keep putting out these films with Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams working together.
This ensemble comedy featuring a lot of familiar faces was funny, exciting, and unpredictable. This was a return to form for Eddie Murphy who hasn’t been this funny since Beverly Hills Cop 3. This is going on the Blu Ray shelf when it comes out.
Danny McBride, James Franco, and Natalie Portman star in a movie that everyone but me seems to hate. I thought it was a really funny movie and it’s on my Blu Ray shelf.
The Marvel Universe toyline released the Jim Lee version of Cyclops, Cable, Doctor Strange, Darkhawk, the best version of Iceman so far, Psylocke, and X-23. I eagerly snatched up each wave that came out this year and was lucky enough to find the Absorbing Man variant.
The Comic Packs came out with Taskmaster & Deadpool, Power Man & Iron Fist, and Quicksilver & Wonder Man. I collected all of the team packs (except the X-Force one) and was able to find the Future Foundation variant – the Fantastic Four version was the best because it was based on the old cartoon which substituted Human Torch for HERBIE. The toyline also gave me the awesome 19” Sentinel.
GI JOE 30TH ANNIVERSARY
2011 found Hasbro bailing on the ‘Pursuit of Cobra’ gimmick in favor of making more 25th Anniversary-type figures for the 30th Anniversary. Of course they didn’t abandon the gimmick before giving me a kick ass version of Snake Eyes with two head sculpts so I could choose between both versions of his mask and enough weapons to start a war and a vintage-accurate Lowlight.
The more vintage-accurate figures Hasbro gave me for GI Joe’s 30th Anniversary that I was excited about are Crazy Legs, Lifeline, and Sci-Fi. It also gave me the best looking versions of the Cobra Trooper and Cobra Viper I’ve ever seen. It also gave me new army builder characters, Hazard-Viper and Iron Grenadier.
The GI Joe Collector’s Club also gave me an amazing 25th Anniversary version of Dial-Tone. Comic-Con gave me Zarana (the original and a ‘Cold Slither’ variant) and it gave me the best GI Joe toy this year: a Sky Striker decorated as Starscream from the Transformers. The Cobra Commander that came with it had a rifle that resembled Megatron in G1 gun-mode.
Chuck proposed, saved the life of, and then married Sarah this year while taking some time to free his mother from the deep cover assignment that had become her life. Chuck and Sarah bought the Buy More and, along with Casey and Morgan, started their own spy team independent of the CIA. Oh…and for a short time, Morgan knew Kung Fu.
ONCE UPON A TIME
With Jane Espenson at the helm, it’s little wonder why this critically acclaimed show is poised to be my favorite show on television once Chuck goes off the air. This fantastic blending of fantasy and drama that ties into all of the fairy tales we grew up with is intelligent, well acted, and unpredictable.
2 BROKE GIRLS
Funny and smart, this comedy is definitely one I’m adding to the collection when season 1 comes out. Caroline is a rich girl who has to abandon her life of luxury when her father ends up in prison and all of their assets are taken from them. Instead of curling up in a ball, Caroline takes a job as a waitress while keeping her chin up. Max shows her the ropes and even (grudgingly) gives her a place to stay. When Caroline, always looking for a good business opportunities, discovers that Max’s homemade cupcakes sell in other places besides the diner, she convinces Max that the two of them should save their money to open a shop while taking odd jobs and starting a business to cater the cupcakes. It’s a really funny, hopeful show about two girls bonding with each one learning from the other.
This year saw Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to television (as twins no less). This is a great show that has had many twists and turns. I can’t wait to see where it goes this year.
While revenge is a pretty typical subject for a 2 hour movie, I’ve never seen that concept applied to a television show where the protagonist has to work for an entire season to get that revenge. But the show has been great so far.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and THE BIG BANG THEORY
Two of my favorite long-term comedies continue to relentlessly bring the funny.
“A Fistful of Paintballs” and “For a Few Paintballs More”: FUNNIEST TWO EPISODES EVER! The Abed and Annie kiss while he’s Han Solo is hilarious and sexy at the same time – how do the writers do it?
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
I always look forward to this on weekends and this year was no different. SNL has always been hit-and-miss each episode but there are really great, funny moments. In my opinion there haven’t been any bad seasons of the show for at least a decade.
NERD HQ AT COMIC CON
While Comic Con continues to be a crowded nightmare, Zachary Levi’s “Nerd HQ” was my favorite place to hang out. I got to have two real conversations with Zachary Levi and I got to see a few great panels and get a lot of great autographs. If I don’t end up going to the Con this year, I can still go to Nerd HQ and do it again.
DC UNIVERSE ONLINE
In its first year, DC Universe Online has added a lot of great things and the players have come out in force to play. The adventures are fun and creating my own heroes has been a blast.