I wasn’t able to join the rest of the Earth Station One crew for their reminiscences of the year that was 2013, but I wanted to chime in with my own picks for the classic ESO year-end categories. While I did my own Best Of and Worst Of posts on my home site – NeedlessThingsSite.com – I felt like the ESO categories were just different and specific enough to warrant their own post here.
2013 was a pretty huge year for me personally and for dorkery in general. We had the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, Marvel Comics’ “Marvel NOW” initiative, which seems determined to make comics fun again (and is succeeding), the biggest TimeGate ever, the biggest Dragon Con ever, the continued excellence of Arrow, and Pacific Rim.
There was a lot more than all of that, but you get my point. Things were good and dorky.
For my part I expanded the pool of Guest writers for Needless Things, recorded fifteen episodes of the Needless Things podcast, continued as co-host of Earth Station Who, hosted Monstrosity Championship Wrestling as often as my day job would allow (including the run of October shows at Six Flags Over Georgia as part of their Fright Fest), hosted various panels at TimeGate and Dragon Con, introduced national rock n’ roll act CALABRESE at the latter, and was an actual media presence at several cons.
It was a great year, and now it’s time to take a brief look back at some of the specifics as designated by our glorious leader, Director Faber.
Favorite Geek Out Moment (Movie, TV, Comic, etc) – I was floored when Paul McGann appeared in the Doctor Who webisode The Night of the Doctor. If it hadn’t been spoiled for me by a fellow Doctor Who podcaster I probably would have jumped up and yelled like a little kid. But even with the surprise taken away it was a wonderful moment seeing McGann back in the role of the Doctor in a visual medium. It was a bit bittersweet, though, as it gave us a brief look at just how great McGann is. There was a brief outburst of support for some sort of vehicle for the Eighth Doctor, but I can’t imagine that will bear any fruit. For now, we must be content with his Big Finish work (which I am currently making my way through and enjoying every minute of).
A close second for the Big Geek Out was seeing all of the Doctors on screen in the big climax of The Day of the Doctor. That was crazy.
Most Disappointing Moment (Movie, TV, Comic, etc.) – Realizing that he new season of Arrested Development wasn’t very good. There might have been more disappointing things, but I’m having a hard time coming up with them. I block that stuff out, you know. Bury it deep inside and try not to think about it. But this was pretty disappointing. It wasn’t even terrible, it was just sort of… boring. I had to force myself to watch it all.
Favorite Character of 2013 (Real or Fictional) – From Hackers to Trainspotting to Dexter, Jonny Lee Miller’s onscreen presence has always fascinated me. He is a man that can portray a diverse range of characters that all have one thing in common – you can’t take your eyes off of them. His portrayal of consulting detective Sherlock Holmes in the modern day interpretation is no different. Miller’s Sherlock is fascinating – from his incredible egotism to his body language to his occasional vulnerability. The character demands your attention every second he is on the screen.
Least Favorite Character of 2013 (Real or Fictional) – Clara Oswald, as she is the personification of Steven Moffat’s determination to insinuate himself into every corner of Doctor Who history. I don’t dislike Jenna Coleman and I don’t even necessarily dislike her character. My problem is with the things her character did throughout 2013. Namely, becoming a character even more important to the 50 year history of the franchise than the Doctor himself. And when she became the default hero of “The Time of the Doctor” by telling the Time Lords to give the Doctor – who had basically resigned himself and the village under his protection to death – a new cycle of regenerations; well that was enough for me.
Favorite Word, Phrase, or Quote – “Happy New Year! CRANK CRANK CRANK CRANK CRANK!”
Favorite Geek Out Moment (Real Life) – Nothing can compare to the experience of taking my family to see Doctor Who in 3D in the movie theater. Not only was it possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it was a really good story. I suppose it really was a singular experience, because we will never again be celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Doctor Who. I can only hope that when the Hundredth rolls around I will be at the holoplex with my wife and son and grandchildren enjoying the exploits of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Doctors. And maybe David Tennant will show up at the end.
On very close to equal footing with that amazing experience was the fan reaction to my panels at Dragon Con. All weekend long and for weeks after I was hearing about how much people loved the panels. I was even contacted to help one person out with a very specific collection issue. And that’s what I really want to be doing – helping people out.
Most Disappointing Moment (Real Life)– Getting my work schedule and seeing that I was going to miss the Great Atlanta Toy Convention, TimeGate, MonsterMania, and various other holidays and occasions. 2014 has brought the worst work schedule I have had at this job. I had to use 72 hours of my vacation just to get Dragon Con and HeroesCon off and there wasn’t a whole lot left after that.
Prior to the schedule being posted I was talking to the guys running the Great Atlanta Toy convention about panels and appearances. TimeGate is my home con. And Monstermania is a new horror con that I was really excited about. But when I’m scheduled to work weekends it’s either nights or days, 5 to 5 Friday through Sunday. So I can’t do anything.
A close runner-up here was the day that I got called into my real job and had to miss working the MCW show with Jake “The Snake” Roberts on the card. I could have worked with Jake the Snake. I’m still furious about this one.
What Geeks You Out the Most about 2014? – Despite my depressing work schedule, I am still excited about the year. I’m going to do as many things as I can – MCW, cons, podcasts – and make the name Phantom Troublemaker bigger than ever. I will continue to grow Needless Things and improve myself in live formats. I know that I can be better and I am going to work all year to become so.
Outside of personal improvement there are other things to get excited about, and as always the easiest dorkery to discuss is what’s going to hit the theaters. 2015 is shaping up to be the biggest movie year ever (with the most potential for disappointment), but 2014 has a very strong list to start:
I, Frankenstein – I am somewhat less excited about this one after seeing the trailer in front of Anchorman 2. I thought Aaron Eckhardt as Frankenstein’s Monster would be awesome, but it turns out he doesn’t look all that Frankenstein-y. This could still be a good flick, but now I’m concerned that somebody, somewhere had to bow to studio demands and it might be watered down.
The Lego Movie – The Troublemakers will be there opening day. In 3D. There isn’t one thing about this film that doesn’t look awesome.
RoboCop – I am still totally stoked about this one. I love the different take on the story and I can’t wait to see Michael Keaton as a bad guy again.
Veronica Mars – I watched the first season and a half on Netflix due to the Buffy Factor. The Buffy Factor takes into consideration that I am generally uninterested in television shows that appear to be geared towards teenage girls, but also that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest television show I have ever seen (until I saw Firefly). Once I got all caught up in the exploits of Veronica and her pals, Netflix dropped it. So I immediately went on Amazon and just ordered everything on DVD. I cannot wait for this movie.
And if you’re curious – no, I did not help to fund it. I can barely fund my own projects, let alone some big-time Hollywood writer’s. But I’m glad it happened.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Captain America: The First Avenger is still my favorite of the Marvel movies and I am so stoked about the sequel. I’m a little disappointed that Joe Johnston isn’t directing, but I get that that’s how Marvel is rolling with these. And it’s probably a good thing to keep directors fresh (it certainly was in the case of Thor: The Dark World – how epic was that?). Everything about this movie looks great.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – I loved the first Marc Webb Spidey flick. I absolutely hated how the Lizard looked and acted and pretty much everything about the Lizard except for Rhys Ifans’ performance, but the rest of the movie was almost perfect. I loved Andrew Garfield’s smart-ass web slinger. While I am excited about this sequel, it looks like it’s going to have the same overall issues – I hate everything I’ve seen of Jamie Fox as Electro, I’m not crazy about what I’ve seen of Rhino, and please tell me that wasn’t Green Goblin.
But the movie looks bright and colorful and fun and Lil’ Troublemaker is excited about it and for the first time ever I thought, “Well, if he ends up liking it that’s kind of all that matters,” and you might just have to yank my Nerd Card now. Some folks are apparently already trying.
Godzilla – Speaking of hate, I thoroughly disliked Gareth Edwards’ Monsters. As a matter of fact, I gave it Worst Movie of 2010. You’ve got to have some set of balls to call a movie something powerful like “Monsters” and then make it about two assholes falling in love with the occasional semi-Kaiju wandering around (or porking, even) in the background. Monsters is on a short list of movies that have pissed me off so much that I still don’t quite believe they exist.
Needless to say, I was not happy when I heard that Edwards was directing this new Godzilla flick. I am not a Godzilla fiend like my close, personal friend Johnny Danger Van Helsing, but I have a deep respect for the King of Monsters and have seen most of his movies. I want this movie to be powerful. I want it to make Pacific Rim look like a Wallace and Grommit story. I can’t believe that the dude that gave us that chick flick in the jungle is going to deliver.
I have hope because the trailers I have seen so far look badass. But that hope is tainted with chick flick feelings. Because sprinkled in the midst of those trailers are slow, lingering shots of people feeling feelings. Instead of what should be there – people feeling Godzilla’s atomic fire breath.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – I loved the first two X-Men movies. Of course they could have been better, but they were still pretty great. I didn’t hate X-Men 3 like a lot of people did. It was a mess and didn’t make a lick of sense, but I had a great time watching it.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the worst theatrically released comic book movie I have ever seen. Worse than the 1990 Captain America. Worse than Batman Forever. Even worse than League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
X-Men: First Class was fantastic, though mostly due to Michael Fassbender James Bond-ing all over the place. I am stoked about this sequel, but very disappointed that Matthew Vaughn isn’t in charge. Bryan Singer used to have a lot of stock with me, but then Superman Returns happened and I had to wonder if somehow the first two X-Men movies were flukes.
And yes – X-Men Origins: Wolverine was even worse than Superman Returns.
Maleficent – There was a time when I would have said I was a huge fan of Angelina Jolie. For me, the peak was Tomb Raider. That movie was outstanding and I kind of hate that it seems to have fallen by the wayside. It was the closest we’re ever going to get to another Indiana Jones movie, what with all of the sets and locations and practical effects. Since then Jolie has done some things that ranged from awesome (Wanted) to far outside of my areas of interest (whatever dramatic movies about people feeling feelings she has done).
I am very excited to see Jolie as a villain. Given the title I’m afraid she might end up being more sympathetic than I might have liked, but I think this should be a killer flick if the studio didn’t interfere too much with Paul Dini’s script. Not that I know anything about said script, but it’s by Paul Dini.
Hercules: The Thracian Wars – The Rock fights monsters from Greek mythology. Sold.
Guardians of the Galaxy – I have never read a comic book featuring the Guardians. I just couldn’t ever get into Marvel’s cosmic stuff (except for the Starjammers because they were part of the mutant side of the MU). But when you combine the forces of Chris Pratt, Karen Gillen, Batista, Michael Rooker, and Zoe Saldana under the direction of the mighty James Gunn with a score by the near-infallible Tyler Bates (I’ll never forget that one episode of Battlestar Galactica with the weird score); well buddy – I’m there. I don’t care if it’s a movie starring a CGI raccoon.
Oh. Well, there you go.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Ugh. I’m not looking forward to this, I just can’t even imagine how badly Michael Bay is going to f**k it up. And I like the first and third Transformers movies. But Transformers aren’t one of my passions. The Turtles are. And so far, every single thing I have heard about this movie sounds terrible. But I have a morbid interest in seeing just how awful it’s going to be. My biggest problem with the whole thing is that I know Bay is going to make it inappropriate for children and Lil’ Troublemaker will not be able to see it. He loves the Ninja Turtles. They’re his big thing right now. And because some egotistical Hollywood jerk can’t grow up and make a movie that is suitable for all ages I’m going to be stuck explaining to my son why he can’t go and see the movie about his favorite characters. Because there are too many jokes about turtle dicks or something and because Michelangelo says, “F**k”.
The Expendables 3 – YES.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – The first Sin City lies at the far end of the spectrum from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was the perfect comic book movie. From the performances to the visuals, everything was not only a perfect adaptation of Frank Miller’s work, but also an incredible movie. I am eagerly anticipating the next installment, though I am concerned about how long it took to happen.
Interstellar – Time and again I have said that Nolan’s Bat movies are terrible Batman movies. But – like everything Nolan has created – they are excellent films. I can see past all of the things that I do not like about Nolan’s version of the Dark Knight and recognize that (well, except for The Dark Knight Rises – I still think that was just plain bad). But I remain a fan of Nolan’s non-Batman works and am very excited about this one. Whatever it is. I have no idea.
Dumb and Dumber To – I hope this is as funny as the first one. It took me a couple of years to like the original Dumb and Dumber, but once I did I decided it was genius. I’d really like to see a worthy follow-up, and I think that all of those involved are comfortable and mature enough to make something that not only matches the first, but surpasses it. We’ll see.
Paddington – What? I loved Paddington Bear when I was a kid. I’d love to see a thoroughly British adaptation of the original book. Lil’ Troublemaker might be a bit too old to appreciate this one, but I’m curious about it.
I’m sure there are all kinds of other things I could discuss about 2014, but I passed my minimum word count long ago. Chime in in the comments section about what you’re excited about, or post over on the ESO Facebook page. I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store, both for me and for everybody else here at Earth Station One!