Monday, December 31, 2012

My Personal Best and Worst – Entertainment 2012

The end of the year is when many entertainment and news magazines and papers publish their “Best of” entertainment lists. The difference between them and me is the writers who come up with those lists are professional reviewers who are paid to watch TV and movies, read books, listen to music, and write about their opinions. I’m just going to let that sink in for a second… there are people who get paid to do what for the rest of us is an escape. Maybe they do Excel spreadsheets in their spare time to relax; I don’t know.

Since no one’s paying me to watch TV – to be honest, no one’s really paying me to do anything right now, but that’s OK – my own list of personal bests and worsts is hardly all-inclusive. I know I’m missing out on a lot of quality TV by refusing to subscribe to more than one pay channel. I know this because I follow a lot of professional TV people on Twitter and I am not watching what they are watching on Sunday nights. Furthermore, my husband doesn’t like the movies, so I’ve only been to three in 2012 – and one of them was a 3-D remake of a film I’d seen several times, and the other two were both in December. Yes, one of my 2013 goals is to go to more movies.

So here it is; my own personal list of the best of 2012, the biggest disappointments of 2012, and things I hear are really good but I didn’t have time to watch in 2012, in the world of entertainment. I can’t promise a specific number because I don’t know how many I’ll come up with.

Best in Entertainment

The revitalization of General Hospital

Fans have complained for years about the mob-centric show, and as the ratings declined and its sister soaps All My Children and One Life to Live were canceled, rumors were that GH was next on the chopping block. Instead, with a new producer/writer team at the helm, GH returned to its roots of character-driven story and brought back stars that shined in the heyday of the 1980s. While the show still suffers from some weak storylines, overall it’s an hour of soapy goodness once again.

The Redskins, the Nationals and the Orioles all make the playoffs

The DC area has long suffered with some of the worst teams in the nation. Only the Capitals, now on strike again, have provided area sports fans for a reason to look forward to the post-season. But in 2012, these three teams all made the playoffs. (Yes, I know the Ravens regularly compete in the post-season, but DC fans don’t root for them. Yes, we do root for the Orioles, but that’s only because we went for so long without a baseball team.) While the Redskins and the Nationals were both revitalized due to new, young, ubertalented players (RG3 for president, anyone?), the Orioles turnaround was that much more miraculous as they did it with pretty much the same staff they had in 2011. No one expected new VP Dan Duquette to have that big of an impact that soon, but you can’t argue with a winning season.

Grey’s Anatomy continues to shine

This show is older than my dog, and should be jumping sharks and disappointing fans all over the place. Instead, by allowing characters to grow professionally, adding new young doctors, and keeping the Meredith/Christina friendship at its core, Grey’s remained an entertaining hour full of characters you love without ever getting stupid or repeating itself.

These terrific shows kept me entertained: The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Girls, Portlandia, 30 Rock, Nashville.

Best books of 2012? Gillian Flynn’s“Gone Girl” wins, hands down. It’s the kind of book you can’t predict, you can’t put down, and you can’t stop kicking yourself for even thinking you can write because who can compete with a book like this? Other books I really enjoyed this year include “Blackberry Winter” by Sarah Jio, “Totlandia,” by Josie Brown, “Home Front,” by Kristin Hannah, and “Unbroken,” by Laura Hillenbrand.

Music? Two songs by Fun – “We are Young” and “Some Nights.” Pink and Nicki Minaj make the treadmill that much easier to handle. Phillip Phillips’ “Home” is great for the cool down, while Train’s “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” is great for a laugh.

Biggest Disappointments of 2012

I read a lot of reviews, so I generally stay away from bad stuff and don’t need to come up with a “worst” list. But I did find myself disappointed a lot, mostly by these:

Revenge turned into a mess this season, with too many new characters and “the Initiative” – aka, “It’s not really Conrad and Victoria’s fault, because we want to keep them around.”

True Blood

Whose idea was it that Bill and Eric needed to leave Louisiana and spend the entire season and storyline away from Sookie? Because as ideas go, this was a very bad one.

The Good Wife

Most people are citing Kalinda’s creepy ex-husband as the reason why this season was disappointing. I found him serious fast-forward material, but more than that, the evaporation of the Will/Alicia relationship was puzzling. Without the tension between these two, the urgency to tune in every week disappeared, too.

ABC cancels 666 Park Avenue

This was a good show that got better (and better DVR ratings) every week. Its cancelation made no sense, and ABC’s decision to put sitcoms in its time slot rather than giving fans its last episodes was an additional kick in the butt.
The Hobbit

Without a ring to fight over and possibly turn heroes into Gollums, the journey lacked urgency. And what does a dragon want with gold, anyway?

I Heard These Were Really Good, But I Didn’t Have Time


Magic Mike

Hunger Games

Defending Jacob

Breaking Bad

Oh, and one last disappointment – Netflix streaming service, which guarantees I’ll need a disc in the mail in order to watch the stuff I missed!

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