WELCOME TO THE MIND’S EYE AWARDS FOR 2012
This ceremony, intended to replace 2011’s Best and Worst thing, is a look at some stuff I thought was great and stuff I thought might’ve given me a brain tumor. I dunno. Could end up I just mention shit I’m into, but we’ll see.
This will be something similar to how this gentleman used to do his yearly roundup. Basically, every category has a (un)funny award name, and every award is given to something – good or bad – that I think deserves it.
Those looking for my thoughts on graphic novels should wait a couple days, then go check that other blog I run.
So chuck on a tuxedo, grab some mail-order champagne, and enjoy it like it’s the Emmys in your bedroom!
The Future Bargain Bin Award for WORST NOVEL
This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s either a regular reader or a right-thinking member of the human race, but this year’s Worst Novel award goes to none other than that atrocity of a hack-rag Fifty Shades Freed, the utterly fail-filled conclusion to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Now, some may argue my choice for award is invalidated given that I only read the first book, and even that was no picnic, but since the original work was published in 2011 I’m giving the award by proxy, since I’m pretty sure the third book will suck just as hard, if not harder, than the first one. And yes, I only now just realised how utterly awful that analogy was to use in this context.
It’s nothing you haven’t heard about in the news before – unrealistic sex scenes, hideous portrayals of BDSM relationships, and the odd melodramatic pregnancy shock – whoops, sorry, SPOILER ALERT. More sickening, offensive and painful than roast Gillard garnished with burnt Abbott ass.
The Virgin Televisual Birth Award for BEST NEW TELEVISION SERIES
The weirdest-named award this year acknowledges original, innovative ideas in television and rewards them accordingly. While we were beset by a variety of new idiot-box-screens this year, including offerings like GCB and Arrow, in my mind there’s only one winner who can take out the award for Best New Series. This is a story I’ve loved from the first episode, followed religiously, and highly anticipate its return in a year’s time. Goddammit.
That’s right, it’s Aaron Sorkin’s latest politics-fest The Newsroom. Despite being a little anvilicious at times and with a few characters and actors who can grate a little (lookin’ at you, Alison Pill), it’s nonetheless a romantic, sweet, funny, nuance-written narrative that had me hooked from the word go. Even if you’ve not enjoyed Sorkin’s previous works like Sports Night and The West Wing (and really, if you don’t, you’re clearly a Jersey Shore fan) it’s still definitely worth a look – and, it just might make you think twice, particular if you’re American, about certain social elements you may have taken for granted.
The Flogged-And-Flensed Horse Award for TELEVISION SHOW MOST DESERVING OF IMMEDIATE CANCELLATION
I’d be willing to bet at least half my readers haven’t actually watched the recent output for this award’s recipient, despite its original popularity and raging success in the States and abroad. God knows the only reason I’d ever consider watching any more of it is so I’ve got more ammo for attacking it later it.
The winner is former musical prodigy Glee. Not content with having a second and third season that floundered, meandered and pandered to the fanbase to the point of sacrificing narrative coherency and the singing novelty that meshed showtunes with pop music in Season 1, the show had to keep little-engine-that-could’ing along into a fourth season that split the cast in half, bumped most of the interesting characters off and introduced more sap and melodrama than a Eucalyptus tree starring on Neighbours. Ryan Murphy and co., if you’re content with keeping up the cred you’re gaining from things like American Horror Story, which is a legitimately badass show, then cancel the hell out of Glee. Seriously, Rebecca Black’s starting to look like a better alternative than you.
The Relentlessly-Awesome Warfighter Dude Award for BEST VETERAN TELEVISION SERIES
While Glee was off sucking on the TV battlefields this year, other long-runners made their presence known in style. Breaking Bad kicked seven shades of piss out of the competition and created huge anticipation during its year-long break between season halves, while How I Met Your Mother, starting on shaky ground, began to retake lost territory in its slog towards the inevitable goal of uncovering the titular mother’s identity – and, incidentally, provided me with an interesting social theory through the “lobster” principle. Watch to find out.
This year, there was only one clear winner for me – the head-smacking, limb-cutting splatterfest of The Walking Dead. After a second season that most found to be a bit ploddy and padded at times, the third season starts off in style with a multitude of characters knockin’ zombies around to get inside a prison, with all the blood and guts porn the comic book is known for. While the season-half ended on a rather annoying cliffhanger, the acting was nonetheless top notch, the new characters intriguing and the plotlines carrying the same gradual-yet-involving development that the first season epitomized. Damn good stuff, and a great setup for next February’s continuation. Plus, David Morrissey’s American accent is disturbingly sexy.
The Willy Wonka Golden Disc Award for BEST VIDEO GAME
This was actually a really tough decision – up until a few weeks ago the winner had been clear to me, and I was positively convinced that nothing could usurp it, no matter what. How hopelessly narrow-minded I can be sometimes.
The original statesman slated for this award was none other than the incomplete RPG gun-show that was Mass Effect 3, which, while a bit rough around the edges, was nonetheless a rollicking, emotional, and (mostly) satisfying conclusion to the series I’d grown to love. It was otherwise pipped at the post, though, by a late but by-no-means-unsatisfying contender, who ended up taking the gold – reborn tactical management simulator XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Sure, the difficulty might be right up there with headbutting a crocodile, but it’s still a bloody enjoyable game and, as Yahtzee Croshaw was keen to point out, a reminder to the games industry that “not everything has to be a bloody shooter” when adapting old properties.
The Cave-Dwelling Sociopath Award for MOST SEQUEL IMPROVEMENT NEEDED
Predictable choice to some, surprising to others, but nonetheless needs saying – Halo 4, you need to step up your game when your next installment is out. If the rumours about Halo 5 being the next Xbox’s launch title are true, you’ve got a lot of work to do.
Granted, the gameplay is standard Halo fare, exactly what I’ve come to expect – shooting, reloading and hiding behind rocks. My two biggest complaints stem from the difficulty (or, more specifically, that there isn’t any – I swear Legendary is more like Heroic this time around, Reach was waaaay harder) and the overreliance on multiplayer (if that’s the only draw-card you can think of for future DLCs, you might as well rename yourselves Call of Duty: Intergalactic Warfare). This might be just scratching the surface for some of the more rabid, upset Bungie purists who would crucify the game were it a long-haired Jewish man, who have more problems with the story than Lindsay Lohan has with traffic lights, but those for me were the two big problem areas. Iron those kinks out, and Halo 5 might still be worth a damn.
The e-Pirate Aural Swag Award for BEST MUSIC ALBUM
Between Muse, Metric and The Killers – by far some of my favourite commercial bands – it seemed the industry had the music remit well covered this year. Granted, we’re still hearing trite, poppy shit on the radio like Rihanna and Chris Brown (incidentally, when d’you reckon they’ll beat each other up again? More accurately, do we care?) but it’s nice to know the flowers of rock and un-AutoTuned singers still bloom in the fetid compost heap that is mainstream music.
This year, though, the award goes somewhere a little different. Some of you may have heard of me banging on about this year’s winner a few times, and it’d be remiss of me to be limited to official, merchandised material in this category like I am in every other one. This year’s Best Music Album goes to Miracle of Sound’s Level 2, an outstanding effort of internet culture, mellifluous singing and hard rock fusing into a melodious combination of awesome. As internet musicians go, Miracle of Sound stands at the top of the pyramid – if only because he hates Claptrap from Borderlands.
The Bleeding-Ear Award for WORST MUSIC ALBUM
My choice may be invalidated by the fact that I tried to veer as far away from it as the Titanic’s drunk navigator should’ve done with that iceberg, but really, if you hear one Rihanna album you’ve heard them all. This year’s piece of aural fecal matter Unapologetic is just another stamping-out from the same mainstream pop cookie-cutter that gives us nothing new (or at least, nothing new that’s worth singing about). The music industry should take this album as a tacit sign that they badly need to drop the whole “popular music” thing and stick to indy internet releases and alternative rock bands that don’t whore themselves too much for money. I realise that’d be nearly 90% of the music I like would end were this the case, but this blog has never been big on logic.
The Cinema Seat Erection Award for BEST MOVIE
What? Are you seriously asking me that? Like, for real? Come on. My choice should be obvious to everybody. Between The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall, you’re seriously telling me you can’t work out what my movie of the year was? For shame.
The Cinema Seat Erectile Dysfunction Award for WORST MOVIE
This is actually a tough one. For ages it seemed like the easy option would be to name the anticlimactic finale that was Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, for its horrible lack of proper characterisation, coherent plot or satisfying ending, but really, who here would be surprised if I did that? No, way too easy. Besides, if me hating on Twilight was a horse it’d be so flogged it’d resemble a badly battered Christmas pork.
No, this year’s worst filmic experience belongs to a veteran director, an outstanding cast, and a laughably awful script and execution – Ridley Scott’s alien adventure Prometheus. The more I think about it, the more I realise how utterly stupid the whole film is. All the plot lines don’t go anywhere, the excellent cast get given mostly irrelevant roles, what few important roles there actually are more often than not follow narrative threads that have next to no payoff, and there is about as much final explanation given to any of the film’s big driving questions as there was to the LOST finale (which makes sense, since Damon Lindelof – one of LOST‘s biggest writers – was involved in the script). Prometheus could’ve meshed together all the very best elements of the Alien franchise into an experience that was visually rewarding and narratively satisfying, but in the end all we get are more bloody questions.
I think that covers almost everything. Assuming y’all are reading this instead of worshipping alien gods or flying on down to hell in the wake of today’s big end-of-the-world thing, I hope you’ve all had a marvelous year for yourselves and look forward to a bright and beautiful 2013. Thanks to everybody who jumps over to my blogs each week, and I hope you’ll be sticking around for all the awesome stuff (like a certain Multiverse project) that’s happening next year.
Drink well, laugh lots, and both a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!