Top 5 of 2013

December 31st, 2013

Sci-Fi, Comics, Games, we digest it all so you don’t have to. Here are our picks for the best of of 2013. If you are so inclined, we talk about it all on this podcast, if you want to listen.

5: Grand Theft Auto Five

In a first for us, a video games makes the year’s Top 5! Game Developer Rockstar puts this generation of consoles to bed with what is probably its best game yet. A sprawling open-world homage to gratuitous violence, sex and foul language, GTA V doesn’t really break the mold for open-world games, but still manages to feel fresh. Rockstar “fixed” the biggest issue of the previous titles, which was forcing you replay the entire mission if you failed before completion. The result is a far easier and more enjoyable experience. They finally figured out what most of us already knew, which is that the fun comes from exploring the world, and then doing as much damage to it as possible. The missions and story are just an excuse for you to find new ways to cause mayhem. This game has received some criticism for the roles (or lack thereof) of women in the game, and I agree that is fair. But taken on whole, open-world games simply don’t get better than this. -Jim

4: Game of Thrones Season 3

Can you sum up a season of George R.R. Martin’s epic saga in three words? I’ll try: the Red Wedding. The latest season showed us the development of Daenerys Stormborn into a beloved leader, gave us insight into the psyche of Jaime Lannister, reminded us again and again that Jon Snow knows nothing, and then punched us in the gut (even though anybody who reads the books knew it was coming) with the Red Wedding. Peter Dinklage continues to amaze me with his ability to bring Tyrion Lannister to life, and Dame Diana Rigg stolen every scene she had. Season Three really drove home the point that not all the “bad guys” are in fact bad, and not all the “good guys” are all that good… and it doesn’t pay to get too attached to anybody in this series! -Mike

3: Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim is Guillermo del Toro’s personal tribute to Anime/Manga-inspired fighting robots and old monster movies. Del Toro goes heavier on special effects than he does on plot and character development, and that’s ok, because he delivers an immensely entertaining movie. The premise is set up with quick and clever newsreel-type exposition…and after that it’s all action! The monsters are huge. The Jaegers are awesome. The battles are spectacular. Each one builds on the previous one and finally showcases the awesome final battle in the city and underwater. In a year when many movies have probably taken themselves too seriously, Pacific Rim is good plain fun. -Scott

2: Orphan Black Season 1

OK, I am willing to admit it. When I first saw the promos for this show and heard that it somehow involved clones, I thought “this will be awful.” But then I watched the show. I was immediately amazed how effortlessly Tatiana Maslany switched between characters– five of them, I think?. I was sucked in by the “more than meets the eye” plot. If you want to see some amazing acting by Maslany (she was just nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Leading Actress in a Drama category, so apparently I’m not alone in this belief!) , enjoy some dark, mysterious plot, and laugh at some entertaining supporting cast– check out Orphan Black. Season Two will hit the television in April, 2014. -Mike

1: Gravity

The fact that our number 1 winner on this years list is based more on Science Fact rather than Science Fiction has not been ignored by the Sci Guys, but that didn’t stop us from loving Gravity as much as we all did. What feels like the first 3D movie for a mature audience is cast far above the Earth and just as the viewer gets accustomed to the claustrophobia of the space suit and the agoraphobia the sheer depth of open space induces, the out-of-the-blue action of Gravity begins. On the surface Gravity comes across as a typical “strength of the human spirit” story, but the rich character study really goes deep asking what is the human spirit? What is the point of surviving? Expertly and sparsely cast with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and delicately directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity is a movie we are sure we will be remembering fondly for years to come. -John

By Sci-Guy-Jim

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