As we discussed in our last podcast, we felt this was a lackluster year overall for Sci-Guys wheelhouse material, but the top 5 is still pretty great. Here is the best of 2012 in sci-Fi, comics, games, and other cool stuff, computed via our own patented algorithm.
5: ARROW (season 1 CW network)
What are the odds that a comic book themed show on the CW would turn out to be Sci-Guy-Mike’s favorite new show of 2012? “Arrow” is the CW’s spin on the DC Comics hero “Green Arrow.” Set in the fictitious Starling City, it follows the adventures of Oliver Queen as he attempts to mete out justice to those people identified by his deceased father as responsible for the decline of his beloved city. Silly billionaire trust fund baby by day, cowled longbow hunter by night… this show mixes action with a healthy dose of “Melrose Place” style romantic drama. Stephen Amell (Queen) is certainly the reason many female viewers might tune in, and Katie Cassidy isn’t that bad either. Give this one a chance—it might turn into one of those guilty pleasures you don’t want to keep secret. -Mike
4: GAME OF THRONES (season 2 HBO)
After a debut season that was one of television’s the best ever, nobody could fault Game Of Thrones for having a drop off in its second outing. Not that season two was bad, it just wasn’t as good as the first. Of course very few things are – Last season was our unanimous pick for best of the year. Season two of HBO’s adaption of George R R Martin’s fantasy epic continues to be remarkably entertaining. Even as war has broken out in Westeros, giving us one of the greatest fantasy battles in TV history, it is the great characters that keep us coming back. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion is still the fan favorite, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau definitely deserves a hand for his portrayal of the “love-to-hate-him” Jamie Lannister. Was this season as good as the first? No, but if this is your “sophomore slump” you’ve got nothing to worry about – Game Of Thrones is still passing with flying colors. -Jim
3: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Of all the superhero characters, Batman has always been my favorite. I think the appeal is his “powers” are less concrete. Bruce Wayne is a human being whose strength comes from his dark roots, deep pockets, detective skills, and, of course, his dexterity and physical strength. The Dark Knight Rises is the final chapter on Sci-Guy favorite Christopher Nolan’s take on the Bat’s tale. Expectations were high and “Rises” was certainly the most epic in scale of the three movies. Tom Hardy takes the role of the marble-mouth menace, Bane who is justifiably but surprisingly overshadowed in the end by the markedly adult and diverse acting job done by Anne Hathaway in the role of Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman. Superior performances by the likes of Jason Gordon-Levitt and an underused Michael Caine highlight a movie that might have been a little bigger (and longer) than it should have been, and at times held the core of the appeal of the series (meaning the characters themselves) at the very tips of its fingers. But The Dark Knight Rises was a big and (almost) definitive end to Nolan’s take on the Dark Knight. Without question this is one of, if not the best superhero trilogy to date, and we are curious to see where the franchise can go from here. -John
2: THE WALKING DEAD (season 3 AMC)
After The Walking Dead spent season two down on the farm, the smartest thing they did for the beginning of season three was dividing up the group into two settings, which allowed them to expand the plot, develop the characters, and set up the inevitable showdown for the second half of the season. As good as the show was, being confined to one setting got really stale. The show needed a shot in the arm.
And that’s exactly what it got. The brilliant opening to season 3 showed the group clearing out a house full of Walkers. They moved with surgically efficient precision…and they never speak a word. It was clever, effective and powerful.
After that, without showing what happened or even how it happened, the passage of time between season two and three reveals that the group took Rick’s declaration of “it’s my way or the highway” and followed his lead. They turned into a seasoned group of survivors who work in tactful harmony when battling the Walkers. And the inevitable irony is that as skilled as they’ve become battling the dead, in the second half of season three, it looks like they could have a bigger battle fighting the living. -Scott
Our anticipation of The Avengers started way back in 2008 with the release of Iron Man 1 and the post-credit of Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD. With the high quality of Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America, could The Avengers seriously live up to the hype and buzz. Although not a perfect movie, The Avengers exceeded all of our expectations by a Hulk-sized Hail Mary. Clever, evenly paced, and epic without being over-the-top, The Avengers reinforced our established care of a handful of heroes while re-introducing us to one of the most unique “superheroes” of all time, The Incredible Hulk, now played to perfection by Mark Ruffalo. The Avengers drives in the last stake against any doubt of Marvel Studios’ ability to deliver on the big screen and we look forward to the next installment in May 2015. -John