SUPER BOWL Houston Texans def. San Francisco 49ers
At the very beginning of the season I predicted the Texans to come out of the AFC and the Bears to come out of the NFC (which at the time was a very homer pick. I fully cop to it). I also had the Texans winning it all and I'm not going to change my mind now and I am sticking to my original prediction. If I didn't make the preseason prediction I'd have the Patriots defeat the Texans in the Divisional Round and the Broncos during the Championship game and have the 49ers defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
END OF SEASON AWARDS
Most Valuable Player - If I had an MVP vote, I'd vote for: Adrian Peterson (MIN)
- The true MVP of the 2012 season: Peyton Manning (DEN)
Rookie Of The Year - Offensive: Robert Griffin III (WAS)
- Defensive: Luke Kuechly (CAR)
Sophomore Of The Year
- Offensive: A.J. Green (CIN)
- Defensive: J.J. Watt (HOU)
Comeback Player Of The Year - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Defensive Player Of The Year - J.J. Watt (HOU)
Offensive Player Of The Year - Adrian Peterson (MIN)
Coach of the Year - Jim Harbaugh (SF)
Offensive Coordinator of the Year - Kyle Shanahan (WAS)
Defensive Coordinator of the Year - Wade Phillips (HOU)
BEST ______ IN THE PLAYOFFS
1) Peyton Manning (DEN)
2) Tom Brady (NE)
3) Aaron Rodgers (GB)
4) Robert Griffin III (WAS)
5) Matt Schaub (HOU)
6) Russell Wilson (SEA)
7) Colin Kaepernick (SF)
8) Matt Ryan (ATL)
9) Andrew Luck (IND)
10) Andy Dalton (CIN)
11) Joe Flacco (BAL)
12) Christian Ponder (MIN)
1) Adrian Peterson (MIN)
2) Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
3) Ray Rice (BAL)
4) Frank Gore (SF)
5) Alfred Morris (WAS)
6) Arian Foster (HOU)
7) BenJarvis Green-Ellis (CIN)
8) Stevan Ridley (NE)
9) Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
10) Ben Tate (HOU)
11) Vick Ballard (IND)
12) Michael Turner (ATL)
1) A.J. Green (CIN)
2) Roddy White (ATL)
3) Andre Johnson (HOU)
4) Reggie Wayne (IND)
5) Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
6) Julio Jones (ATL)
7) Randall Cobb (GB)
8) Eric Decker (DEN)
9) Wes Welker (NE)
10) Pierre Garcon (WAS)
11) James Jones (GB)
12) T.Y. Hilton (IND)
1) New England Patriots
2) Denver Broncos
3) Seattle Seahawks
4) Green Bay Packers
5) Washington Redskins
6) San Francisco 49ers
7) Atlanta Falcons
8) Houston Texans
9) Minnesota Vikings
10) Cincinnati Bengals
11) Baltimore Ravens
12) Indianapolis Colts
1) San Francisco 49ers
2) Seattle Seahawks
3) Denver Broncos
4) Houston Texans
5) Cincinnati Bengals
6) Minnesota Vikings
7) Atlanta Falcons
8) Green Bay Packers
9) Washington Redskins
10) New England Patriots
11) Baltimore Ravens
12) Indianapolis Colts
1) Jim Harbaugh (SF)
2) Bill Belicheck (NE)
3) Mike McCarthy (GB)
4) John Fox (DEN)
5) Mike Smith (ATL)
6) Gary Kubiak (HOU)
7) Bruce Arians / Chuck Pagano (IND)
8) Mike Shanahan (WAS)
9) Pete Carroll (SEA)
10) Leslie Frazier (MIN)
11) John Harbaugh (BAL)
12) Marvin Lewis (CIN)
1) San Francisco 49ers
2) Denver Broncos
3) Seattle Seahawks
4) New England Patriots
5) Houston Texans
6) Green Bay Packers
7) Atlanta Falcons
8) Washington Redskins
9) Baltimore Ravens
10) Minnesota Vikings
11) Indianapolis Colts
12) Cincinnati Bengals
2004 was a monster year for Jude Law. He starred in or appeared in SIX films: Sky Captain and the World Of Tomorrow, I Heart Huckabees, Alfie, Closer, The Aviator, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Plus, he was named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (which was a no brainer because that award always goes to the person who has the biggest and hottest year). 2004 was such a big year for Jude Law that at the 2004 Oscars, host Chris Rock joked, "Who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie that I've seen for the past 4 years? He's in everything. Even in the movies he's not in, if you look at the credits he made cupcakes or something".
In the vein of Law's ginormous year, I want to honor him by crowning a Jude Law Award Winner every year to the actor or actress who had the biggest year. But before we crown a winner, let's look to see who the runners up were.
THE LIST OF TEN FIELD
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) This Means War
2) The Dark Knight Rises
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) Moonrise Kingdom
2) The Expendables II
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) 21 Jump Street
2) The Watch
3) Django Unchained
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) Snow White and the Hunstman
2) Twilight: Breaking Dawn (Part II)
3) On The Road
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) John Carter
NUMBER OF FILMS: 3
1) The Hunger Games
2) The House At The End Of The Street
3) Silver Linings Playbook
NUMBER OF FILMS: 4
1) The Grey
2) Wrath Of The Titans
4) Taken 2
NUMBER OF FILMS: 4
1) What To Expect When You're Expecting
3) End Of Watch
4) Pitch Perfect
NUMBER OF FILMS: 5
1) Man On A Ledge
2) The Hunger Games
3) What To Expect When You're Expecting
4) People Like Us
5) Pitch Perfect
NUMBER OF FILMS: 6
1) Red Tails
2) John Carter
3) Rock of Ages
4) Madagascar III: Europe's Most Wanted
5) Total Recall
THE RUNNER UP
NUMBER OF FILMS: 4
1) The Dark Knight Rises
2) Premium Rush
NUMBER OF FILMS: 5
2) The Vow
3) 21 Jump Street
4) Magic Mike
5) 10 Years
There have been actors who have starred in more films in 2012 than Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum, but there is no doubt that these two were the cream of the crop. No disrespect to Elizabeth Banks or Bryan Cranston, but they played bit parts in everything they were in and were never asked to carry a film in 2012. These two actors are in essentially everything so of course they are going to appear in the most films. However, nobody would proclaim that 2012 was the year of Elizabeth Bank or Bryan Cranston. This was the year of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum.
If JoGo and Tatum had made the same number of films then Gordon-Levitt would be my 2012 winner. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my man-crush and I think he is the most talented young actor currently working in Hollywood. Gordon-Levitt starred in the best film (in my opinion) of 2012 [Looper], he stole every scene he was in in The Dark Knight Rises, he was great in the criminally underrated Premium Rush, and he was in America's consensus #1 film in 2012 [Lincoln].
However, 2012 was undoubtedly the year of Channing Tatum. He was the actor that received the more buzz, he was (rightfully) named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Of The Year, and his meteoric rise to prominence seems unprecedented. He starred in his classic, go-to Nicholas Sparks movie, he was allowed to be an action guy in Haywire, he managed to be funnier than Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street, and he managed to make ladies swoon in Magic Mike while also managed to make an incredibly dull movie somewhat entertaining through his charm, charisma, and general likeability. When people look back on 2012, they will undoubtedly say that this was the year of Channing Tatum. That 2012 Channing Tatum was easily like 2004's Jude Law.
1) I have to start with my Chicago Bears. There is only one Bear that legitimately deserved to go (and start) and that was Brandon Marshall. Luckily, the fans were smart enough to vote him in and he starts opposite of Megatron. The other Chicago Bear that would could have made a rational argument for going was Charles "Peanut" Tillman because the dude was a monster during the first half of the season. In fact, Bill Barnwell made the argument that Peanut was a Pro Bowler, so that selection was justified. However, the other three Chicago Bear selections were iffy at best, and this is coming from a die hard Chicago Bears fan. Tillman's teammate who plays opposite of him, Tim Jennings, was also selected making both Bears corners starters. I understand Jennings leads the NFL in interceptions but this looks more like the DeAngelo Hall effect + teams not wanting to throw to Tillman more than Jennings being a top 2 CB in the NFC. Defensive lineman Henry Melton is a starter. To be honest I have no idea if this is a good selection or not because who really cares about defensive tackles? Lastly, Julius Peppers is a Pro Bowler which is an absolute travesty. He has not shown up for virtually all season and the reason the Bears defense has struggled in the second half is because Peppers is essentially non existent.
2) The other NFC cornerback selected besides the two Chicago guys was Arizona's Patrick Peterson. This is a great selection as he was the best corner in the league according to Advanced NFL Stats. However, I can't believe no corner from Seattle was selected. I would take Seattle's Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner over both Bears corners and really over almost any corners in the league right now.
3) Speaking of Seattle, either the Seahawks or the 49ers have the best offensive line in football. This was even more evident as both teams each had two O-lineman selected to go to the Pro Bowl.
4) Arian Foster is NOT a Pro Bowler. I understand he leads all running backs in touchdowns but the man is barely running at four yards per carry. In fact, during the very, very end of Pro Bowl voting, Foster was UNDER 4.0 YPC. That's not just terrible, that's straight up atrocious. C.J. Spiller, who has been running at an incredible 6.5 YPC, absolutely deserved Foster's spot.
5) Matt Schaub was selected as the 3rd AFC quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. At first I was outraged by this because Schaub is good but he's not THAT good. But then I went through the other AFC teams and realized there really was no one better. The only other two selections I could think of that maybe deserved the last spot were Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton and neither made a convincing case that they DESERVED the spot over Schaub.
6) I hate Matt Ryan. He has done nothing personally to me and has never affected anything I have ever done in fantasy football but there's something about him that I don't like when he plays. He was selected as Aaron Rodgers first back up which would have been fine except Matt Ryan IS a Pro Bowler and Drew Brees is NOT. That's just ridiculous. Hell, I'd take Russell Wilson over Matt Ryan.
7) A terrible, 37 year old Jeff Saturday who controls a terrible offensive line in Green Bay is not a Pro Bowler. In fact, Saturday was playing so poorly that he was demoted in Week 16 for a rookie. This is another example of people not actually knowing how offensive lineman actually play and a player getting selected solely because people know his name.
8) Julio Jones and Victor Cruz were selected as the back up wide outs in the NFC. One of those spots should have been guaranteed to Vincent Jackson and the last one should have gone to either Roddy White, Dez Bryant, or Randall Cobb. My personal selection would be Cobb.
9) The wide receiver starters for the AFC are Andre Johnson and A.J. Green. No argument from me on that one. The backs ups are Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker. Wayne is easily a Pro Bowler but Welker has not been good this season- even despite the way he plays the position. He's had too many drops to really deserve a Pro Bowl berth this year and just does not look like the same guy we saw for the past few years. Welker's spot probably should have gone to either Demaryius Thomas or his teammate Eric Decker.
10) The Kansas City Chiefs have more Pro Bowlers (5) than wins (2). I understand each player is (probably) deserving per their position but really the selection should just be Jamaal Charles and nobody else. Hey, that's just like their real team!
Overall, this was a pretty good year for Pro Bowl selections. Not a whole lot of objections or things to get super worked up about. Great job fans and all those who select Pro Bowlers for not being completely and utterly incompetent like normal!
NOTE: As of the writing of this post, my #10, #9, #7, #4, and #1 selections are currently streaming on Netflix.
10) Bernie (2012) STARS: 3 out of 4 Directed By: Richard Linklater Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey
Brief Description: Jack Black plays the titular character who is a mortician and a beloved member of a small Texas community. He is accused of killing his friend Marjorie (MacLaine) and the D.A. Danny Buck (McConaughey) has to find a way to prosecute Bernie even though everyone in the town is glad Marjorie is dead and is rooting for Bernie to be acquitted. Jack Black gives one of the best performances of 2012 in this indie black comedy.
9) Goon (2011) STARS: 3 out of 4 Directed By: Michael Dowse Starring: Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Jay Baruchel
Brief Description: Written by Jay Bauchel and Evan Goldberg, this comedy is easily the best hockey movie since Slap Shot. Seann William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a simple man with poor skating skills who ends up becoming a minor league hockey sensation because of his ability to be his team's enforcer on the ice. This movie is surprisingly sweet and it's great to see William Scott in a role that is the exact opposite of his American Pie's Stifler.
8) Moon (2009) STARS: 3 out of 4 Directed By: Duncan Jones Starring: Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey (voice)
Brief Description: Sam Rockwell is incredible as always as astronaut Sam Bell, a man alone on Earth's moon doing scientific tests. A mystery unfolds after Bell is in a lunar driving accident and Bell struggles to stay sane alone on the edge of the universe. Despite the limited storytelling, Rockwell given an amazing performance to keep you on the edge of your seat.
7) God Bless America (2011) STARS: 3.5 out of 4 Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait Starring: Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr
Brief Description: You might not know this but Bobcat Goldthwait is an indie black comedy God with three movies under his belt before God Bless America. This story follows middle age man at the end of his wits Frank (Murray) and his platonic teenage female companion Roxy (Lynne Barr) as they go on a murder spree throughout America killing everyone who is deteriorating America's culture. Despite the great political stand this film takes, the film never loses sight that this is a character driven movie first and a statement movie second.
6) Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012) STARS: 3.5 out of 4 Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, and Elijah Wood
Brief Description: Rashida Jones gives a wonderful performance in this film that she co-wrote. Celeste (Jones) attempts to get over the break-up of her best friends and soul mate Jesse (Samberg) as well as deal with the aftermath that Jesse is having a baby with another woman. There is not a lot of plot to this joyous character-driven film as Jones and the rest of this cast carry this enchanting movie.
5) Cube (1997) STARS: 3.5 out of 4 Directed By: Vincenzo Natali Starring: Maurice Dean Witt, David Hewlett, and Nicole de Boer
Brief Description: The Godfather to the spectacular original Saw, this film follows 6 people who are trapped in this gigantic cube. You don't know how they got in there but you don't care. All that matters is watching this group attempt to navigate themselves to safety.
4) Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) STARS: 3.5 out of 4 Directed By: Eli Craig Starring: Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, and Katrina Bowden
Brief Description: This campy satire is a fun and entertaining twist on the teen horror genre. A group of teens go into the woods on a camping trip when they stumble upon Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine). Like the genre dictates, the kids assume these two men are evil. However, the story is seen through Tucker and Dale's eyes and as the kids attempt to "retaliate" against Tucker and Dale, the kids start to accidentally kill themselves.
3) Leon: The Professional (1994) STARS: 3.4 out of 4 Directed By: Luc Besson Starring: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman
Brief Description: Jean Reno plays a professional hitman named Leon who befriends a twelve year old girl played by Natalie Portman in her first ever movie role as they go against the film's bad guy portrayed by the amazing Gary Oldman. Action movies tend to hinge on how great the villain is and Gary Oldman who portrays Stansfield is the cream of the crop of movie villains in this character-driven popcorn flick.
2) Shame (2011) STARS: 3.5 out of 4 Directed By: Steve McQueen Starring: Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan
Brief Description: Michael Fassbender gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Brandon who is a sex addict. McQueen's poignant drama takes a realistic look at what it is like to truly be an addict. Brandon struggles with his addiction- especially when a close friend of his played by Carey Mulligan comes in to town to stay with Brandon for a few days. I can see how many people could avoid this movie as many things will stick with me for a long time- including one of the great sex scenes in movie history. However, it is because things will stick with me for a long time that I think this movie is great.
1) This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) STARS: 4 out of 4 Directed By: Kirby Dick
Brief Description: Documentarian Kirby Dick attempts to infiltrate and uncover the doings of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)- the group that determines ratings for movies- to show the hypocrisy and the shady dealings of this unchecked organization. Dick also interviews filmmakers who have been unfairly treated by the MPAA. If you love films as much I do then you need to check out this amazing documentary which will open your eyes to an aspect of movies you had never even thought of before.
Music is so freaking suggestive that it is a fruitless effort to title this post "The Best Singles Of 2012". Personally, I think the fact that Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is on ANYBODY'S list is an outrage. You may like the song and think it is catchy but it is not a GOOD song. Anyways, like I said, this is not a best of list per se but more of personal favorite list. You're still going to hate it anyways.
10) "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye f/ Kimbra
Music is funny. The more you hear it the more you start to hate it. My favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption and I could literally watch that movie on a loop 24/7 for the rest of the my life and not get sick of it... Probably. The point is, music doesn't work like that. "Somebody That I Used To Know" was a great song when it first came out and so the quality of the song shouldn't be diminished just because you heard it 20,000 times since then. This song is the minimalist, modern day version of Human League's "Don't You Want Me". Sometimes, especially in today's times, less is more.
9) "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
When I first heard, "Little Lion Man" as I was randomly searching through the radio one day in 2010, I was blown away. To have music be this fresh and sound this great in today's musical landscape was astonishing to me. In fact, "Little Lion Man" was 4th on my list of the best singles of 2010. I still feel the same way about Mumford & Sons in 2012 with "I Will Wait". The main criticism I've heard of M&S is that they haven't evolved since 2010 and "I Will Wait" sounds exactly like "Little Lion Man". That's probably fair, but this "same" song is still incredible.
8) "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys
The Black Keys are awesome. Enough said. I want to dedicate my few words about "Lonely Boy" to this awesome music video and not to the incredible song itself. The Black Keys actually shot a really long and elaborate music video but after watching the final product they realized it was terrible and they scraped it. However, during the original filming of said music video, the director shot this guy dancing and everyone decided that this man dancing should be the music video instead. This shot was done in one take and in fact if you look in the background 28 seconds in you can see a body pop up in the Office. That's how 'rough' this take was and it turned into awesomeness.
7) "Lights" by Elle Goulding
I feel like this is the selection I will get the biggest slack for but I don't care. I love this song and this is my list and not yours. I have literally sat at work at played "Lights" on a loop for an hour straight. On multiple occasions. I'm still not sick of it (although I can see how you could be) and think "Lights" is just a great pop song to dance to. The beat is rhythmically hypnotic and I love Goulding's soft spoken voice.
6) "Mercy" by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, & 2 Chainz
How can you not bob your head and get up and start dancing when the beat immediately comes in. LAMBORGHINI MERCY! YOUR CHICK SHE'S SO THIRSTY! It's just another great song created by Kanye West that has another great verse by Kanye West. Even though this is 2012 and even though this is a West track, it's still fresh and it's still new. Every time I play this track I feel like I'm walking into a club in slow motion and making it rain like I'm a football player walking into a strip joint. That's what "Mercy" does to you. Plus, any time you can make me say "Wow, I actually enjoyed what 2 Chainz had to say" then you're a rousing success.
5) "Blue Jeans" by Lana Del Rey
This song is so addicting that you won't be able to get it out of your head. I know I can't. It goes into your ear, runs around the crevasses of your brain, and just nestles in there for weeks. The orchestral arrangement with the simple drum line combined with Del Rey's incredible voice just makes for an unforgettable track.
4) "Love Interruption" by Jack White
Jack White said on WTF with Marc Maron that the word "love" is so overused and is such a cliche in songs that if he was going to say the word, it was going to be for a purpose. So the fact that he not only entitled his song to have the word "love" in it but the fact that he says it says "love" 25 times during a two minute and thirty-four second song says something. Love has been, for lack of a better term, romanticized and White tells you exactly how love really is. He wants love and needs love but it's tough and dirty. He wants love but he wants it "to stick a knife inside [him] and twist it all around". To make this song even better he uses Sing Off contestant Ruby Amanfu's incredible vocals which just enhances everything.
3) "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men
Before 2012 I truly believed that Rock was dead. It's still not as alive as it was in the 90's but 2012 is giving me hope. With hit songs by Mumford & Sons, fun., and The Lumineers and headed by "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men, there is hope. This acoustic and folk renaissance that emerged this year is welcoming and I'm glad it's coming/already here. "Little Talks" is a song about futile love from both the male and female perspective. These wondrous lyrics combined with rocking and thumping beats played by real instruments (including the trumpet. The trumpet!) is a delight. With a catchy hook created not by a producer or even vocals but by pure instrumentality and talent, "Little Talks" proudly earns a spot on my list.
2) "Bottom Of The River" by Delta Rae
Artists get credit all the time for pulling from their predecessors in music history and making it their own. Ray Charles took gospel and made it his own. Chuck Berry took soul and rhythm & blues and made it his own, rock artists in the 60's and 70's took Black rock/blues and made it their own and so on and so forth. However, Delta Rae takes the cake on this one. They didn't borrow from 70's rock or 50's blues or 30's gospel. Hell, they didn't even borrow music from the 20th century! They created music inspired by old southern songs from the 19th century and made it their own! Sure, this sound is also inspired from the 20th century as well but the fact that this song sounds like it could be sung in 1812, 1912, and 2012 is just incredible to me. I just happened to be watching Vh1 in the middle of the day when this music video came on and I was so blown away by what I heard. The creativity and originality of "Bottom Of The River" and the look of Delta Rae was just amazing to me.
1b) "Heartbeat" by Childish Gambino
1a) "Bonfire" by Childish Gambino
I couldn't decide which Childish Gambino (aka comedian Donald Glover aka Troy Barnes on Community) song was best so I put them both on my list. "Bonfire" is the better song and it's not even close but "Heartbeat" really was the only mainstream(ish) single off of Childish Gambino's amazing album "Camp" (SIDENOTE: "Camp" is one of the best rap albums I've ever heard and that's not a hyperbole).
I love "Heartbeat" because it takes a realistic view on relationships in this modern world. Essentially every song ever made is about a relationship or a past relationship, but in 2012 the word "relationship" doesn't mean what it used to. How the opposite sexes interact with each other is just different nowadays. I mean, Facebook has a "It's Complicated" button. Often people just hook and are together but are not in a relationship, however that line is often blurred. As Gambino says in the song, "Are we dating? Are we f***ing? Are we best friends? Are we something... in between that?" That's the world today's youth lives in and for an artist to sum up those feelings so perfectly is brilliant to me.
I love "Bonfire" and think ultimately that is the best song of 2012. Rap and the ability to rap is an art form to me, but that art has seemed to have gotten lost by the way side of making money (which is harder to do now in this digital age so I get it. I don't like it but I get it). If a rapper has someone else make beats for him (or her) and that rapper just spits out nonsense, then what really is the difference between that and a crap movie like "Epic Movie"? There's no art or individuality there. That is why I appreciate "Bonfire" so much. If rap isn't going to speak from the heart (which not all rap has to) then at least put some creativity in the lyrics and take time to perfect the art form of rapping. Sure "Bonfire" is at its heart a song just like every other rap song. All it is is a rapper saying how awesome he is, but Childish Gambino is lights ahead of everyone else in his use of metaphors, analogies, and word play (EXAMPLES: "You can f***ing kiss my ass. Human Centipede" or "Made the beat then murdered it. Casey Anthony.") which makes "Bonfire" my number one song of 2012.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I know some of the singles on this list were technically released in 2011 and/or off of an album released in 2011 but when a song gets released and when a song inches its way in to the mainstream are two different things. If Vh1 ever did a "I Love The 2010's" series and talked about these songs, in my opinion, they would talk about them in 2012 and not 2011. Hence, they make my 2012 year end list. Also, my list, my rules. Whaddya gonna do about it?
10) On My Way- Glee (FOX)
Season 3 / Episode 14 Directed By: Bradley Buecker / Written By: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Brief Description: As bad as Glee is, it is great at bringing to light social issues that high schoolers and today's youth struggle with. Glee is especially great at dealing with homosexuality in today's landscape. "On My Way" focused on the Karofsky story line to help bring awareness to the struggle that young gay kids unfortunately have to face with on an every day basis. Plus, the story line at the end dealing with texting while driving was very powerful as well.
9) Q&A- Homeland (Showtime)
Season 2 / Episode 5 Directed By: Lesli Linka Glatter / Written By: Henry Bromell
Brief Description: As crazy and out-of-control as Homeland got in 2012, it still stopped to take moments to highlight its best feature- Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody and all of their great chemistry together. Nothing was better this this year than having Carrie and Brody alone together in an interrogation room. Grantland's Andy Greenwald called that interrogation the Best 15 Minutes Of Television This Year.
8) Louie C.K. / fun.- Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Season 38 / Episode 6 Head Writer: Seth Meyers
Brief Description: Despite SNL not being any good since Tina Fey left the show, I still continue to watch it on a weekly basis for some unknown reason. It's probably because you get amazing gems like this episode. When you get the best comedian on the planet to host your show, great things ensue. His Lincoln sketch is one of the funniest things you'll ever see.
7) Far Away Places- Mad Men (AMC)
Season 5 / Episode 6 Directed By: Scott Hornbacher / Written By: Semi Chellas
Brief Description: Despite my constant public bashing of Mad Men, it did have some incredible moments. I saw TIME choose "At The Codfish Ball" as the best Mad Men episode in 2012 and it's hard to argue with that selection. I chose "Far Away Places" because it had Roger Sterling's (the show's most charismatic character) take an incredible LSD trip. It just seemed for fitting for this season of Mad Men because the entire season felt like an acid trip.
6) Win, Lose, or Draw- Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Season 4 / Episode 22 Written and Directed By: Michael Schur
Brief Description: For four long seasons we have sat beside and cared for Leslie Knope. We knew it was a huge dream of hers to become a city counsel woman (as a stepping stone to eventually becoming President) and in the Season 4 finale "Win, Lose, or Draw" we finally got to see if Leslie's dream came true or not.
5) Two Imposters- Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Season 3 / Episode 11 Directed By: Allen Coulter / Written By: Howard Korder
Brief Description: The last three episodes of Boardwalk Empire were incredible. B.E. took a giant leap this year to become one of TV's elite and best dramas. If I could choose all three I would. While the finale had the incredible rampaging of Richard Harrow, I ultimately chose the show's penultimate episode because the episode narrowed in on two of its most amazing characters (Nucky Thompson and Chalky White) and that was it. Despite the big cast, it is nice to settle down and focus on the show's best characters.
4) Pillows and Blankets- Community (NBC)
Season 3 / Episode 14 Directed By: Tristham Shapeero / Written By: Andy Bobrow
Brief Description: I am a Community fan but I hated Season 3 and thought the show imploded on itself. I was glad to see Dan Harmon leave. But during this implosion, we did get greatness like "Pillows and Blankets"- an episode mocking War documentaries such as the ones Ken Burns makes. Community was always at its best when it was doing parodies or poking fun at pop culture and "Pillows and Blankets" was the perfect representation of that in 2012.
3) Eggs- New Girl (FOX)
Season 2 / Episode 9 Directed By: Neal Brennan / Written By: Kay Cannon
Brief Description: "Eggs" was probably THE funniest episode that aired this year. I was literally laughing out loud and Schmidt's scene describing his sexual moves was incredible. Despite the amazing laughs and the frequency of them, the show never lost its heart and still had its characters at the core of the episode. Plus, writer Kay Cannon (30 Rock, Pitch Perfect) makes a wonderful cameo at the beginning. Great all around.
2) Dead Freight- Breaking Bad (AMC)
Season 5 / Episode 5 Written and Directed By: George Mastras
Brief Description: The beginning of the episode was just a kid on a dirt bike riding around in the desert and you think, "That was weird". And then the very last moment of the episode brings everything full circle and makes you scream, "Oh, Shit!" at the top of lungs and you can't wait for more. The Great Train Robbery was one of the best scenes Breaking Bad has ever done. And that's saying something considering this is Breaking freaking Bad.
1) Blackwater- Game of Thrones (HBO)
Season 2 / Episode 9 Directed By: Neil Marshall / Written By: George R.R. Martin
Brief Description: Even though I thought GOT was only the fourth best show in 2012, it without a doubt, aired the single greatest episode of 2012. This episode was solely about the Battle of Blackwater- when Stannis Baratheon finally comes to King's Landing and the great Tyrion Lannister attempts to fight him off. Because Game of Thrones has the biggest freaking cast in the world, we normally see about 10 different scenes with about 20 different characters on any given week. But the show's penultimate episode was solely about this one battle with the vast majority of the cast never to be seen. The limited storytelling made for the best episode Game of Thrones has ever aired and made for the best episode during this great and deep year that was 2012.
10) Key and Peele (Comedy Central) Season 1 Created By: Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele
Brief Description: It's easy to call this show the 2012 reincarnation of Chapelle's Show, but please do not. While there are many similarities, Key and Peele's humor is smarter and their skits are more well crafted. This is one of the smartest and funniest shows on television right now.
9) Suits (USA) Season 2 Created By: Aaron Korsh
Brief Description: The show started off amazing as a brewing war in the Pearson Mardman law firm between current firm partner/creator Jessica Pearson and the main character Harvey versus absent firm partner/creator Daniel Hardman but ended sourly because it ended up being the predictable USA show that it is.
8) Homeland (Showtime) Season 2 Created By: Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
Brief Description: What made Season 1 of Homeland great was that it was 24 except character driven instead of plot driven. However, Season 2 (especially the latter half of it) is now full on 24 with glaring plot holes which diminishes what was an incredible rookie season for Gordon and Gansa.
7) Justified (FX) Season 3 Created By: Graham Yost
Brief Description: The show was not going to live up to its incredible second season but it sure came close. They added two new villains in Season 3 (Quarles and Limehouse) and I thought that muddled the plot because there were too many moving pieces at once. Hopefully, they'll simplify that for Season 4
6) Mad Men (AMC) Season 5 Created By: Matthew Weiner
Brief Description: Despite Season 5 being extremely boring for the vast majority of it and is easily the worst Mad Men series to date, it's still Mad Men. It's still doing things other shows wouldn't dare to do and pulling them off. Despite my constant knocking of the show, there were still many amazing moments like Roger's LSD trip and the Lane Pryce story line during the second half of the season.
5) New Girl (FOX) Seasons 1/2 Created By: Elizabeth Meriwether
Brief Description: While the show took a few episodes in 2011 to figure out its characters and where they wanted to take everybody and everything, by 2012 the show was rocking on all cylinders. The show started focusing more or Schmidt and Nick which made Meriwether's good idea great.
4) Game Of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Created By: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Brief Description: The show aired the best episodes of the year ("Blackwater") and found a way to not only be completely fascinating and mesmerizing but also found a way to focus on character development this season. The one problem I had with Season 2 is that there are so many characters all over this world and some sub-points are getting tiresome (mainly Dany and Jon Snow). I know everyone will converge eventually but right now it feels like the show is dragging its feet at times.
3) Boardwalk Empire (HBO) Season 3 Created By: Terence Winter
Brief Description: "You Can't Be Half A Gangster". Words uttered by the immortal Jimmy Darmody in the show's pilot. Nucky Thompson becomes a full gangster in Season 3 which in turn causes Boardwalk Empire to turn a corner into greatness. The show found a damn good balance between character arcs versus plot points to make this season of Boardwalk the best one to date.
2) Parks and Recreation (NBC) Seasons 4/5 Created By: Michael Schur and Greg Daniels
Brief Description: Parks and Recreation is simply the best comedy on television right now. I think it's surpassing The Office for one of the greatest and recent NBC comedies. Parks and Rec have been on an amazing roll since Season 3 and have not let up on the gas pedal since.
1) Breaking Bad (AMC) Season 5.1 Created By: Vince Gilligan
Brief Description: While normally a Breaking Bad season is 13 episodes long, this "half" season of Breaking Bad was only 8. That in turn affected the storytelling. Gilligan and company are amazing at spending time articulating every detail of everything but they were forced to cut corners with 5 less episodes. That in turn created the worst Breaking Bad season to date since it's first season (which was shortened by the writer's strike). That being said, it's still the greatest show ever and the best show of the year. Even a "bad" season of Breaking Bad is better than anything currently on television.
Shows That Missed The Cut
- Archer (FX): A show that just missed the cut and is 11th on my list. I probably enjoy Archer more than I do Key and Peele but Archer will go through slumps (both mid episode and mid season) and has done so throughout its three year run. I'd like to see Archer be at a higher level more consistently before I throw it on a top ten list.
- 30 Rock (NBC): I have come to grips that 30 Rock will never be as good as it was in Seasons 1-3 but it's sixth season in 2012 was excellent and easily made an argument that it deserved to make my top 10.
- Modern Family(ABC): I know I'm alone on an island on this one but I don't like Modern Family anymore. The characters and the beats of the show have become repetitive and I feel like I'm watching the same episode over and over again.
- The League (FX): Holy cow is Season 4 of The League bad. It was never a great show because it sacrificed both plot and characters for a laugh (which used to work) but now it's not even generating laughs.
- It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX): It's still great but the season is too young for me to properly judge it.
- How I Met Your Mother (CBS) / The Office (NBC): One of my favorite comedies of all time and now have become completely unwatchable (I have stopped watching). Please die already.
- Glee (FOX): it was never that good of a show to begin with but with more worse plot lines (which I didn't think were possible), crappier songs, and poor handling of important teen issues, the bloom is officially off of the Glee rose.