Paul & AJ’s Top 10 New & Returning TV Series of 2013

Last week, we brought you our favorite movies of last year (finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis, by the way, and yes, it would have made the cut). This week, we change channels to focus on TV. We’re doing things a little differently this time out, with separate top 10 lists for new shows and returning favorites. Though there were a lot of new shows I enjoyed over the past year, I’ll admit I couldn’t stretch them to 10; instead, I’ve got 8, while Paul’s just crazy enough to have a full 10.

As always, there are shows we couldn’t get around to: I haven’t seen Rectify, Top of the Lake, Broadchurch, or The Wrong Mans, all of which I’d hoped to see in time for this list. Oh, and to absolve him of all guilt, I should mention that Paul has never seen Breaking Bad. Wait, I don’t think that absolves him.

NEW SERIES

PAUL: 10. HANNIBAL (NBC)

hannibal

I wasn’t particularly interested in a television adaptation of the Thomas Harris characters. But names like Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Bryan Fuller pulled me in. It’s one of the most visually stunning and hauntingly…haunting shows ever to make it to network television. It’s also one of the most shockingly violent and grotesque. All positives in my book. But I can’t put it any higher on my list because it’s crushingly depressing.

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Listen to Episode 162, “Gobbledygeek Versus The BastardCast Versus Gobbledygeek (feat. Jason Tabrys & Jeremy R! Hudson)”

bastardygeek

Gobbledygeek episode 162, “Gobbledygeek Versus The BastardCast Versus Gobbledygeek (feat. Jason Tabrys & Jeremy R! Hudson),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

It has long been foretold by mad prophets clinging to their tattered robes, wild eyes staring at the heavens: “HE WILL RETURN!” As blood-red clouds gather on the horizon and lightning cracks the sky in two, he descends on his rainbow death unicorn. Jason Tabrys licks a lollipop made of skulls, dragging behind him Jeremy R! Hudson, who claws at the earth in a futile attempt to avoid his fate. That’s right: the BastardCast duo lays siege to Gobbledygeek this week, gods of mischief exploding chaos all over what is normally such a tight, well-ordered show. Ahem. Jason and Jeremy join Paul and AJ to talk angry badgers (whom AJ is the victim of), The Walking Dead (which AJ is insufferable about), and the state of the comic book industry (wherein AJ is not particularly victimized nor offensive, rather they all have a thoughtful, fascinating conversation sure to enrich your understanding of the quintessentially American business of show). Plus, badgers, did I mention badgers? There are badgers.

Next: badgers. Or, alternatively, Thor: The Dark World.

(Show notes for “Gobbledygeek Versus The BastardCast Versus Gobbledygeek.”)

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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Listen to Episode 105, “Take a Look, It’s in a Book”

Gobbledygeek episode 105, “Take a Look, It’s in a Book,” is available for listening or download right here.

Do you remember what reading was like when you were a kid? That magical, transportive experience that took you to faraway lands and different time periods? Proving that, yes, they were once literate, Paul and AJ discuss their childhood reading experiences. The books that were important to them include The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterWatership Down, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, among others. They also discuss the differences they had growing up as readers and what it will be like for kids in the future. Plus, Paul rejoices in The Killing‘s cancellation, while AJ discusses watching The Walking Dead season 2 and the original Total Recall, both for the first time.

Next: it’s a Gobbledy-free-for-all! Anything and everything is fair game.

(Show notes for “Take a Look, It’s in a Book.”)

Last Month’s Comics: ‘Uncanny X-Men’ Ends (Until the Next Issue), ‘Spaceman’ Lifts Off

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are.

This column is later than usual, as I was a little preoccupied earlier this month, but for all those still madly wondering about what October 2011’s comics had to offer, here we go…

BEST #1

Spaceman #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo

I’ve read only a fraction of Azzarello and Risso’s acclaimed 100 Bullets, which ran for ten years from 1999 to 2009, but one needs no familiarity with their past work to be immediately sucked in by the opening chapter of Spaceman, their new nine-issue mini-series from Vertigo. It takes place in a weird, sad future, just a few monsters and flying cars away from the one in Joss Whedon’s Fray. Our protagonist is Orson, a monkey-ish man genetically engineered to travel to Mars, a trip the human race never got to make. Orson and his low-class friends speak in bizarre, disjointed slang; “okee” is how they say okay, and they actually say “LOL LOL LOL” instead of laughing. In this first issue, Orson has ominous spaceman dreams and becomes involved in the kidnapping of the adopted child of reality TV stars. Eduardo Risso’s art is terrific, Brian Azzarello’s storytelling immediately compelling. Choice line, as Orson’s alarm chirps “New day, new day, new day” while he opens the door on a bleak, cloudless future: “Why, you lyin machine…it’s the same fuck old day it always is.” (Plus: $1!)

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Listen to Episode 72, “No More Room in Hell”

Gobbledygeek episode 72, “No More Room in Hell,” is available for listening or download right here. (GOBBLEDYUPDATE: Technical issues appear to have been resolved. We now return you to our regularly scheduled gobbling.)

When there is no more room in hell, the Gobbledygeeks will walk the earth. And while we’re here, we shall discuss George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead! That’s right, zombiefolk, it’s Gobbledyween week three, so we’re turning our rotting, shambling corpses upon one of the original undead classics. Part consumerism satire and part gory munchfest, the film set a high bar for zombie films that not many have been able to shuffle up to. After we discuss the film and go off on some bizarre tangents, we talk about the Walking Dead season 2 premiere and answer some off-the-wall Formspring questions.

Next: for the final week of Gobbledyween 2011, we will discuss Event Horizon, a movie that Paul has not seen since it was in theaters and one AJ has never seen. Good times!

(Show notes for “No More Room in Hell.”)

Last Month’s Comics: DC Reboots and ‘Spider-Island’ Breaks Out

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I will discuss, uh, last month’s comics. The past couple episodes, we’ve pimped Direct Comic Book Service, which I’ve recently started using as a way to return to regular comics reading. The only downside is that I only get bi-weekly shipments (the weekly option is there, it’s just more expensive), so I won’t wind up reading all of my comics from one month until the beginning or the middle of the next. So I figured it’d be nice to sum up my thoughts, frustrations, and surprises about each month’s comics in a single column. It should be noted that, of course, I’m only reading comics that strike my fancy, there are some books I won’t get started on until a couple months from now, and that I also skipped out on all of DC’s books this month…with one exception.

Let’s get started with August 2011…

BEST #1
Angel & Faith #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs (pencils/inks), Dan Jackson (colors)
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Publisher: Dark Horse

Last year, Gobbledygeek called Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight the Worst Comic Book of 2010. It was more a symbolic award than anything: there were worse comics, but none that were more disappointing. Season Eight had a very strong first two-thirds, but in the last third, things went awry more than they went a-right (please forgive me). It all culminated in the bizarre, confusing, contrived “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” arc. However, the final issue was a stellar return to form, and Joss Whedon has promised that Season Nine will be smaller, more character-driven, less prone to jump-the-shark-ness. Judging from Angel & Faith #1, the first piece of Season Nine, I’d say he’s kept that promise. Though I still don’t fully understand what Angel was up to last season–“Your whole Twilight phase makes about as much sense as a David Lynch movie,” so says Faith–watching him again struggling with remorse over his actions and back in help-the-helpless mode is refreshing. Where once Angel was Faith’s mentor, the roles have reversed. Faith is now there to help Angel deal with his grief, though based on the last-page shocker, she’s got a lot of work to do. Christos Gage has all of the characters’ voices down pat, and Rebekah Isaacs’ art might be the best to ever grace any Whedon comic. Can she draw Buffy too?

(Paul and I reviewed Angel & Faith #1 in “Talking Turkey.”)

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