Paul & AJ’s Top 10 TV Series of 2012

On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.

Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)

Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, and Rashida Jones in 'Parks and Recreation'

Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.

AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

Peter Dinklage in 'Game of Thrones'

What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 6 – War in the Sun’

Welcome to week 6 of 9 in our analysis of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

AJ: A lot happens in this volume, and there’s a lot to talk about, but I’m going to start off with perhaps the least important storyline because I don’t want to forget to bring it up…what the fuck happened to Arseface at the end?! His “furruh uhzmuhyuh,” the arsefaced paradise, his Dad appearing to him and apologizing–was that like the most surreal depiction of suicide ever, or…?

Paul: Unfortunately(?), you’re not gonna get any more on that. The Arseface story is…a little hard to put my finger on. To be honest, though it does have a conclusion, I’m not 100% sure I could tell you what it all ultimately means. Which is why I keep saying, for all intents and purposes you could really just ignore it and hope it goes away.

But to answer your question, I’m pretty sure Ennis wrote that bit while on peyote.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 4 – Ancient History’

Welcome to week 4 of 9 in our analysis of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Read the past installments here, here, and here.

AJ: After three volumes of mayhem, destruction, bloodshed, blasphemy, and a heapin’ helpin’ of profanity, the Preacher TPBs take a breather with…well, “breather” might be the wrong word. “Diversion” is more like it. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are out of the picture this time as Garth Ennis and a couple guest artists flesh out the backstories of the Saint of Killers, Arseface, and Jody ‘n T.C. Last week, you called this collection “inessential.” Having re-read it, do you still feel the same?

Paul: I’m afraid I actually feel it even more strongly than I remembered. This won’t happen very often at all over the course of these discussions, but I’m going to say that the stories this time around are just not very good. I mean, getting the backstory of the Saint of Killers (or more accurately, a version of his backstory) is cool and interesting. But it also takes the exaggeration and clichés of the main story and really turns them up to 11. And while both Steve Pugh and Carlos Ezquerra have done pretty great stuff elsewhere over the years, here I think they really suffer from being “fill-in” artists for Steve Dillon.

The Arseface and Jody & T.C. stories are straight up pointless.

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Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2011

On the new episode of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ told you about all the things you should buy this Christmas season, and now here’s a comprehensive guide! (Including a few items that weren’t even mentioned on the show.)

Note: Most links and prices are from Amazon.

BOOKS/COMICS

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
$14.33

Hands down one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. It’s like my admittedly overdeveloped nostalgia gland were milked and distilled onto the page. This book is my geeky, pop-culture DNA printed in ink. ~ Paul

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‘Party Down’ Is Canceled; Comedy Fans Weep

Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott in 'Party Down'

You’ve probably never seen an episode of Party Down. It had dire ratings; this past Friday’s season finale, for example, only garnered 74,000 viewers. My rationale was that it was on premium cable channel Starz (which, we can agree, does not have the luster of HBO or Showtime) but with that channel’s relative hit Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I was proven incorrect. Each episode was also available on Netflix Instant Viewing, but I doubt that expanded viewership much. Perhaps it was just too bleak; good things rarely happened to its team of fame-seeking caterers, and it reveled in the art of schadenfreude almost as much as the British Office. Or maybe it just wasn’t on the right channel at the time, or something.

What I do know is that for two seasons, it was the funniest show on television, or at least tied with Parks and Recreation. It was hindered by the fact that its stars were only signed for season-by-season contracts, which meant it lost Jane Lynch after season 1, and would have lost Ryan Hansen or, far more troubling, main caterer Adam Scott after this season. (The irony here is, of course, that they lost Scott to Parks and Rec.) But I presume that Rob Thomas, John Enbom, and the rest would’ve carried on and would’ve continued to make one damn funny show. Alas, Starz officially announced that the series was canceled today.

Now that Party Down is over, there are only a handful of worthy sitcoms left on the air: Parks and Recreation, Community, Modern Family, and maybe 30 Rock (this season was good, not great, but maybe it can come back; I have no such hopes for The Office).

I still haven’t watched the finale. I think I will right now.