I usually get to this post really late – sometime after the New Year – though this year I was determined to do it right. Here is the last day of the year wrapped up with my list of favorites. I’m sure if you peruse it you’ll wonder why some things are on there but I think I’ll get more flak for the things that aren’t. I’m sure I’ll get to a lot of what happened in 2012 in 2013. For now here’s what mattered most to me across all forms of media.
Let’s start with MUSIC.
I won’t even mention here and in further lists things that I may have experienced that I don’t find worth mentioning.
The year started waiting with bated breath for the new Shins album. It didn’t disappoint but I don’t know if I could call it my favorite. The next album that really resonated with me was Passion Pit’s Gossamer. To me there was nothing better than this though starting my new job at Blue Bottle introduced me to a lot of great new album’s including those of Lumineers, Avett Brothers, Father John Misty, and Of Monster and Men (though this last album was released in another country at the end of last year; it was released in America in April). It was a great year for music for me. I feel like, musically, I broadened my horizons when I am always worrying that this will be the year that I stop discovering new music.
TV isn’t my favorite medium for telling a story but when done right it can be perfect. The only times I ever watch television is at night with Cindy – one of my favorite times of day. I don’t have any favorite new TV shows, I have favorites currently on TV. Wilfred, Parks and Recreation, The League, New Girl and a surprise new addition Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The latter is a great show – yes it takes a little to get used to the new animation – with great stories and humor in the vein of the original animated series. I recommend everyone give it a shot.
For those that wonder why The Walking Dead or Doctor Who aren’t on here it is because, though I love them, they don’t give me the same satisfaction – week to week – as the rest of them. I am happy to be free of the burden of watching Glee.
I think perhaps my most disappointing area of entertainment this year, for me, were books. There weren’t many books I looked forward to coming out this year and even some of those that did come out I didn’t get the chance to read. Three books that I was excited for were They Eat Puppies Don’t They, The Dark Monk, and Telegraph Avenue. The two former books weren’t bad but neither were they amazing or memorable. Telegraph Avenue was fantastic, beautifully written, and a great story. But I couldn’t call it my book of the year – I don’t have one – because at the end I wasn’t absolutely floored. Three books that did that for me this year were books that came out last year or before: The Art of Fielding, The Night Circus, and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (this last Chabon book released before Telegraph Avenue).
Maybe it’s just because I just saw it yesterday but I think Django Unchained was my favorite movie of the year. Safety Not Guaranteed was phenomenal. The Amazing Spider-Man, ParaNorman, and Wreck-It Ralph all follow closely behind. It wasn’t a huge year for movies – again, for me – having all of the huge blockbuster’s, that everyone else loved, just be decent or disappointing.
And of course, last but certainly not least, comes video games. Again not a huge year for me. No opportunities that I can think of to discover new IP’s but still some great stuff in there. Mass Effect 3 was a great end to the trilogy. I didn’t have the problems with the ending that a lot of others had. Borderlands 2 is a close second to my first – Halo 4. I don’t know if anyone expected it to be as good as it was but my official standpoint was to wait for the reviews (something I don’t really do). And then those said something I never expected to hear: “the best Halo campaign”. Though I can’t remember how I felt the first time I played Halo 1 I can tell you that this one felt great, it felt like an old friend and yet it felt new. I always get joy from Halo games. Halo 4 is no slouch. Honorable mention goes to Angry Birds Star Wars for successfully combining two of my favorite things.
I’m looking forward to at least a couple things that I can think of in 2013: Neil Gaiman’s new novel and J.J. Abrams’s new Star Trek.