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Chris's Best of 2012

2012 has been an interesting year, but a pretty good one. As we close in on the new year, here is my list of the best and most interesting things of 2012. Enjoy the list and all the best for 2013.

Best Returning Show:

There is a lot of good drama on television right now, two shows of which I review here. But, if I am being brutally honest, my favorite show in its sophomore season or beyond is Scandal. I have become completely wrapped up in this year’s story line about election fraud and the attempted assassination and can’t wait to see where the writers are going with it.

Best New Show:

This is a difficult one for me. I am not in love with any of the new shows, but I like several of them quite a bit. If I am forced to choose one (the pressure!), I would have to go with Nashville. The show can be a bit soapy, but both Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are doing a fantastic job. The aspect of the show that put it over the top for me, however, is the music. The songs are wonderful and I have found myself downloading more than one of them.

Best Show of the First Half of the Year:

If I had been writing this article in June, the best show would have been easy, The Vampire Diaries. I loved the third season and the finale was breathtaking. To put it mildly, I do not like the fourth season at all and am hugely disappointed in some of the choices the writers and producers have made. I’m still watching it, but unless they pick up their game significantly and soon, I don’t think I will be for long.

Best Show New to Me:

I read sunbunny’s What You Need to Know article about The Tudors without having the slightest intention of watching the show. I was so intrigued by the article that I decided to give the show an episode or two to see what it was about. I’m hooked and loved the first season.

Best Marathon:

At any given time, I am marathoning through two different shows. The first is one I have seen many times and I can watch while I am doing other things around the house. The second is one that I actually sit down and watch. In the former category, the best marathon of 2012 was Smallville. This was my third time through it, but this time I had Billie’s
which, of course, made the experience that much better.

In terms of new shows to me, I know that those of you who followed my progress on the site want me to say Lost. I liked it enough, I did, but the best new marathon was Friday Night Lights based on Jess’s recommendation. Absolutely stunning show that I laughed over and cried over and didn’t want to end. I will definitely be re-watching this show at some point down the line.

Best Reality Show:

I almost never watch reality shows, but this year I got caught up in The Amazing Race. I love watching the various places the contestants go, some of which I have been to, but this year was a great example of the good guys winning. I cheered when the Beekman Boys won.

Best News Moment:

CNN calling the election for Obama, and before midnight EST. Let’s hear it for Ohio!

Best Book:

For I think the first time ever, my favorite book this year is non-fiction. The Storytelling Animal, by Jonathan Gottschall is a fascinating account of why humans tell stories. Gottschall argues that it is an imperative and he backs up his arguments using a lot of the shows discussed on this site. Highly recommended.

Best Movie:

Again, for the first time ever, my favorite movie is non-fiction. The Invisible War is a documentary film by Kirby Dick about sexual assaults on both men and women serving in the military. It is a chilling portrayal of what the military machine does to cover up these crimes and the long term effects on the victims. It won the Best Documentary category at Sundance and deserved to. A must see.

Best Ad Campaign:

Come on, people. Admit it. You know you have one. Although the vast majority of ads are vapid or ridiculous, I must admit that I am a fan of the new Geico campaign. I’ve always loved the Gecko, but the new “happier than a [fill in the metaphor]” campaign I find clever and funny. Columbus in a speedboat, although I have now seen it dozens of times, always makes me laugh out loud.

New for 2013:

I haven’t really decided yet which of the many, many shows I want to catch up will be next. Right now, I’m part way through about five different series. Perhaps I will actually sit down and finish one of them. But, I am tempted to start on Community.


  1. Definitely watch Community. It's utterly weird but it's awesome :)

  2. It feels like I'm reading my own thoughts Chris! I'm writing an awards post for my blog and I also gave Scandal the best returning Drama award ;) As for TVD we've discussed it enough and I totally agree!

    Moreover, I'm intrigued by your thoughts on Nasvhille. I only saw the pilot and now I'm excited to continue! In addition, I've never watched Smallville so I might just give it a shot at some point (As overwhelming as that seems).

    Wonderful read all in all!

  3. Nadim, if you try Smallville and fall in love with it, I shall expect comments! :) At least one or two, at any rate.

    Yes, Chris, Community is a lot of fun and occasionally weird and brilliant. I imagine it's not everybody's cup of tea, though.

    I agree about Scandal. I love it. I didn't put it in my "best of" list, though, because I'm waiting to find out how the current major plotline concludes. If a certain character dies (I'm trying to avoid spoilage) then I'm probably done with the show.

  4. Oh wow. ANOTHER one !

    Community !!!Take the plunge !!! Go for it ! Have a leap of Faith. Go go go !!! Giddeee yop combooooyyyyy (ok cowgirl) !!

    I've stopped watching publicity for quite a while now, but Columbus up there is tempting. Let's see if it's available on youtube.

  5. Yea, another FNL convert! Clear eyes, full hearts!

    I'm also sticking with Nashville for now. I definitely don't love it, but I adore Connie Britton and find myself captivated by any scene featuring Rayna and Deacon. Hayden P's Juliette has managed to somewhat endear herself to me, too, although I find her new Fake Tim Tebow boyfriend a bore. A large number of the storylines are either too soapy or too boring for my tastes, but I love whenever they focus on the music making business, especially the artist collaborations.

    And here's another plug for The Storytelling Animal. I read it earlier this year per Chris's recommendation and found it totally fascinating. For anyone obsessed with stories of any type, I think it is a great read. I found myself thinking back on the book frequently, when recent tragedies inevitably turned into attacks on violent content in the entertainment media. As though darkness in storytelling is something new, and not something that's been there from the earliest days of stories. (The section on children's make believe play was particularly fascinating in this regard.) Thanks again for the recommendation, Chris!

  6. Okay, okay, I'll read The Storytelling Animal already! I came darn close with Chris's recommendation a few months ago. Chris + Jess = no excuses.

    But...is it one of those "here's the answer to the universe" theories, like Campbell's monomyth, or Jung's archetypes? I have an intense aversion to one-size-fits-all explanations of stuff.

    Chris, please do try Community. And don't worry if you don't like the pilot. The pilot is the worst episode and the most normal. It only goes uphill from there. "Remedial Chaos Theory" is one of my favorite half-hours of TV ever.

  7. Love Scandel, and the stuff with the election rigging and the assassination attempt is really fascinating. I just hope they don't kill off Fitz.

    Remedial Chaos Theory is one of my absolute favorite episodes of any sitcom ever. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously though, when they rerun it, I watched it three times. I know I'm pathetic. Community is unlike any sitcom, you really have to experience it to understand.

    Marathoning all ten seasons of Smallville makes me feel just a touch ill. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the show. I just can't imagine trying to watch it again, at least for a few more years.

    Great Article Chris, and a Happy New Year to you with many great new episodes ahead of us all!

  8. Thanks, all, for the comments. It does sound as though Community is something I should try this year.

    Josie -- the book does not attempt to have the answer to the universe. I am not a fan of those either. Gottschall's argument is that, as humans, we must tell stories and that our lives are surrounded by them. Like your recommendation of Ways of Seeing, this was one of those reads that, once I read it, I kept wondering why I had never thought of it before. By the way, Ways of Seeing was number two on my list for 2012 -- so, thanks again!

    J.D. -- even I couldn't sit still for all ten seasons. I would "watch" it while I was doing paperwork, cooking dinner, etc. But, it does hold up well.

  9. Great thoughts, Chris.

    I'm with you on the Vampire Diaries. I'm not that mad at the 4th season, but season 3 was strong, for sure.

    I haven't seen beyond the second episode of Nashville, even though I liked what I saw. Maybe I just don't LOVE it yet?

  10. *Adds Storytelling Animal to Amazon cart*

    I've been meaning to see The Invisible War. I'm sort of waiting for it to pop up on Netflix Instant. A lot of Kirby Dick's docs are available there.

    After years of trying to make myself like Community, this year I finally succeeded! Push past the first season, it's my least favorite. And try your very best to ignore Chang.

  11. No one has commented on your ad campaign pick so I will...my fave is the antelopes with night vision goggles....

  12. Sooze -- I love that one as well. The other one that just amuses me beyond the telling of it is the slinky on the escalator. I must lead a sad life!


  13. LOL

    Poor Chang; so much hatred. (no, I don't love him either)

  14. Allo, Chris.

    I am now following Scandal.
    Nadim has ticked my interest in watching it and so far, it's okay.

    New Year greetings to you and all the writers here.

  15. Jess

    Not a sports fan. But I confess that FNL has intrigued me for quite a while. Might add it to my to watch list...

    (SOB ! So much to watch !)

  16. Ahhhhhhhhhhh

    Remedial Chaos Theory.

    Spectacularly brilliant. I could rant about this particular episode as I did with Lost, at the height of my flabbergasted wild inspiration (why take psychotropics when you have something in front of you ????) ST TNG had its Inner Light; Community has its Remedial Chaos Theory...

    Yes, THAT good. Yes, not kidding. Yes, we are NOT pulling your arm(s). Chris ? Take the p-l-u-n-g-e.

  17. and I do re read myself.

    .....when you have something this good in front of you....


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