The end of 2008 creeps even closer, time to close the year out. Here's my five favorite TV shows and Movies of the past twelve months.
5. The Big Bang Theory
In it's second season, I found the Geekamania even more appealing as more focus fell upon supernerd Sheldon. Sheldon's anal retentive ways, cold logic and lack of understanding about human beings is like Mr. Spock in Star Trek IV minus the innocence. While Big Bang Theory won't be confused with great television, it's a fun time passer.
4. WWE Raw
How could I not pick the grappler's premier program? Wrestling still lacks the excitement of the 90's Attitude era though it has levelled off into a consistent spree of choke holds and jumps. And it's interesting to see people who were mid carders when I started to follow wrestling now get the Top Belts (the high flying mic fearing Hardy Boyz are both Champions now). Best of all, Chris Jericho dominated with his egotistical gimmick and rightfully was named Superstar of the Year.
3. The Clone Wars
The idea of a CGI cartoon Star Wars didn't appeal to me initially and poor reviews of the movie didn't help. But I gave the Cartoon Network series a chance and was rewarded with something better than 90% of the junk in those prequel movies. Better acting and tighter stories makes The Clone Wars light years ahead of any Phantom Menace. It's not amazing or at the level of the Original Trilogy, but at least you can watch The Clone Wars without shaking your head at how much what you're seeing sucks.
2. Family Guy
Lots of Animation Domination here, The Griffin clan is still my favorite comedy on TV. However, for the second straight season new episodes were hard to come by after the first four episodes. And with all those spin offs it seems like the jokes are getting spread thin. I really can't stand that I can see two new episodes of American Dad for every one Family Guy. The proposed Cleveland spin off means even fewer jokes to go around, I'm still a fan but a little disappointed. Disappointed didn't mean I stopped loving the crude and insane antics of Peter Griffin and gang, so they'll still rate high with me.
The human dork computer rolled into the second season and caught fire. This year saw deeper characterizations while maintaining its tone of lovable farce. While too many episodes took place at the main set (the Best Buy knockoff Buy More), Chuck's canny use of spy head game madness, sexual tension (between Chuck and protector spy Sarah) and all out doofiness (an entire episode revolved around a secret code if you defeated Missile Command) made for a weekly hour of entertainment fun.
5. There Will Be Blood
"I...drink...your...milkshake!" With that phrase, Daniel Day Lewis put the crown jewel on yet another dazzling performance. This time as a paranoid oil Barron, Lewis amazes in this epic meditation on greed and corruption. The story of a thoroughly unlikeable but completely relatable person writ large, There Will Be Blood is a textbook on how to make a good movie.
4. Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 had good and bad points, action excitement and more insight on the soul of James Bond versus well intentioned yet overly stylized direction. Sort of reminiscent of Licence To Kill and The Man With The Golden Gun in tone, Craig expanded on his gritty Bond. I'm sure once it's on DVD I'll watch it 50 more times and get even more out of it. For now, Quantum of Solace is an interesting, deeper yet intermittently exciting addition to the 007 canon.
3. Iron Man
Shellhead locked and loaded with a stand out popcorn flick. Robert Downey Jr brought in an offhand sense of humor while maintaining enough gravitas to sell the drama. Backed by a cast of Academy Award winners and nominees, director Jon Favreau delivers the goods. Like Iron Man himself, the film is part man part machine and designed for maximum impact. Though it didn't answer the one question I've had about Iron Man through the years: how smart is it to place weaponry built into your palm? You go to scratch your head and boom! No more head.
2. Wall - E
Pixar continues to create groundbreaking CGI, though this time out it was less about the actual graphics than the content. The first half hour was almost silent which is asking a lot of a kids audience. But it worked, it worked because Wall-E is well made by creating lovable characters that appealed to both children and adults. Sly social commentary about pollution and sloth also gets worked in nicely. A kids movie that has an artistic edge is tough to pull off. Wall-E makes it work.
1. The Dark Knight
The greatest Superhero movie ever made, The Dark Knight hits all its marks. Adrenalin pumping action, characters that stand out yet are true to the comic roots, brilliant direction and art direction, first class acting performances...the list goes on and on. While there certainly will be a Batman 3, The Dark Knight is so good it's actually worth stopping the series now. You just can't beat perfection. Plus, we all get to do that low gravelly "Batman" voice for fun. Talk like you're taking a big dump that's stuck and say "I'm Batman". Guaranteed hours of entertainment! Okay, maybe I need to find higher forms of entertainment.
And that wraps up the high points of 2008 for me. All right 2009, bring it on!