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THE 2012 GEEK SPEAK AWARDS – The Best and the Worst of Film and TV This Year

December 20 2012

Yes, it’s another year end list!

by The Geek Speak Staff

The end of each year brings with it a time of joyous celebration and deep introspection. We get misty-eyed over the good times and maudlin over the bad, we think back to triumphs and disappointments and all the hot, hot people doing cool, cool stuff.

Nowhere is this spirit of retrospective analysis more in evidence than in the plethora of year’s best/worst lists that flood the media come December – and who are we to buck such a winning trend?

So here, Geek Speak Magazine’s crack staff present our best and worst across all of genre movies and TV for 2012. (For some of the books we loved this year, see our Best of 2012 reviews.)

Oh, and please bear in mind that The Hobbit, for all its many glories, was exempt from voting due to its not yet being out in all Geek Speaker countries. Sorry, Peter Jackson; there’s always 2013!

MOVIES

BEST PICTURE

Nominees: The Avengers, Cloud Atlas, Looper, Prometheus, Skyfall, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Cabin in the Woods, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games

This was never going to be a landslide victory for any one movie, and titles as varied as The Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman (yes, really), Cloud Atlas, The Cabin in the Woods and, of course, The Avengers all gathered support – and we had more than one write-in vote for indie awesome of Safety Not Guaranteed – but in the end it was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises that took out this award, by the narrowest of margins. As Geonn Cannon said, DKR was: “… a movie that, yes, went on forever. But it brought the trilogy to an epic ending, the ending it deserved. And it finally gave us a Catwoman we could really purr over. ‘Don’t those shoes make it hard to walk?’” K. Burtt summed up the general feeling: “It had some flaws, and The Avengers was a better comic book movie, but I think Batman was a better overall movie.” Cassandra Chin was less equivocal in her Nolan vs. Joss praise: “Don’t get me wrong, The Avengers was pretty epic – but The Dark Knight Rises? Man, that was spectacular.” Even those of the staff who didn’t accord the film “Best” status – and there were many – had to give credit where due. Will Cashin was pleased by “John/Roland Daggett and Daggett Industries in The Dark Knight Rises. Nice obscure reference. Good to see a plug for The Animated Series.” And even our Kim Sorensen, who “hated the movie” found one point to praise: “Teal’c was in it! And he was a bad guy!!” Every dark cloud…

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Nominees: Brave, Frankenweenie, Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, Rise of the Guardians, The Lorax, The Secret World of Arietty, Wreck-It Ralph

Despite a strong showing for Pixar’s Brave – because apparently some of our staff enjoy racist stereotyping and foolhardy, imbecilic protagonists – and special mentions made of the cleverness of ParaNorman and the beauty of Miyazaki’s The Secret World of Arietty, Disney’s old school arcade game romp Wreck-It Ralph managed the high score here. As Matthew Layden said: “A beautifully realized world that is made all the better by the addition of the characters that I loved as a kid.” And as David Baldwin commented: “Ralph was a lot of fun and packed in so many references that it practically screams the need to watch it at least two more times to take it all in.” Or, as Jason Luna so cogently put it: “Wreck-It Ralph. Being funny and not being Brave always wins my vote.”

BEST NOVEL ADAPTATION

Nominees: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Argo, Cloud Atlas, The Bourne Legacy, The Hunger Games, The Secret World of Arietty, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

While some were in awed praise of the Wachawskis’ controversial Cloud Atlas, it was director Gary Ross’s adaptation of the wildly popular YA dystopian novel The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, that easily swept this category. As Cassandra Chin said: “Like with many book-to-movie adaptations, there were some… alterations that I could have done without, but otherwise, a film I thoroughly enjoyed.” Or, in the words of Kate Nagy: “Best Novel Adaptation: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. JUST KIDDING. Definitely The Hunger Games.” Rachel Hyland responds: “Oh, Breaking Dawn, Part 2 was alright, actually; at least it was a significant improvement over Part 1, and featured a kickass climactic battle scene sadly lacking from the book. If this category were simply for the screenwriter who managed to improve most on the source material, Twilight film scribe Melissa Rosenberg earned it. But since this is for the film as a whole: oh, yes. Definitely The Hunger Games (even if it was lacking most of my favorite parts of the book).”

BEST COMIC ADAPTATION

Nominees: Dredd, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises may have triumphed as Best Film, but there was no stopping Joss Whedon’s powerhouse superhero team in this category; The Avengers in a landslide! As Geonn Cannon said: “This really is a comic book movie. Forget about physics for a while, forget about convenient hive-mind alien invaders, the plot holes (how exactly did they all talk to each other without earpieces?! No… no). This WAS a comic book movie the way they used to be, and the way they can be. It was an amazing melding of what makes comic movies great but with the innovations that made comic movies watchable.” Or, as K. Burtt pointed out far more concisely: “Duh.”

BEST OTHER ADAPTATION

Nominees: Argo, Dark Shadows, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Lorax, The Raven

A Dr. Seuss picture book, a 1970s supernatural soap opera and the alleged life of Edgar Allen Poe all drew notice here (The Lorax; Dark Shadows; The Raven), but the runaway winner was Argo, based on the true story of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s successful rescue of American hostages by having them pose as a Canadian film crew making a sci-fi movie in Tehran. Matthew Layden says: “One of the best films of the year, Ben Affleck has proven he’s one of this generation’s best directors. One to look forward to every time a film comes out.” David Baldwin concurs: “Argo is unequivocably brilliant filmmaking”, with which Geonn Cannon only slightly disagrees: “Absolutely brilliant in every way, except for Affleck casting himself as the Hispanic main character.” Of course, devastated to be missing out on this award will no doubt be the creative minds behind board game adaptation, Battleship. However, as Will Cashin points out kindly: “The fact that Battleship is up for ANY category other than ‘Worst’ is an achievement.”

WORST ADAPTATION

Nominees: Battleship, Dark Shadows, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Mirror, Mirror, Resident Evil: Retribution, Silent Hill: Revelation, The Three Stooges

Of the plethora of adaptations from which to choose this – as every – year, Dark Shadows, The Lorax and the second Ghost Rider found the most disfavor, only eclipsed by the Hasbro marketing ploy that was Battleship, which takes out this award, despite Brad Crammond’s claim: “Best movie made of a board game yet,” (Not Clue?), and Rachel Hyland’s firm stand that “At least Battleship was so bad it was good fun, whereas Dark Shadows was just BAD.” But, as K. Burtt was quick to point out, Battleship’s flaws extended past its failings as a film. “Aliens?! I think not. Doesn’t matter if it was a good or bad movie. It was a terrible adaptation of the source material.”

BEST EFFECTS

Nominees: Battleship, Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Avengers

It may have been barely mentioned in any of our other categories, but Ridley Scott’s much-hyped Alien prequel, Prometheus, won here by an almost overwhelming margin. As Geonn Cannon allowed kindly: “Well, it WAS pretty”, and as Jason Luna exalted, “They built a planet in an editing room!”. It wasn’t all unalloyed approval from the staff, however. The ever logical Will Cashin couldn’t help but temper his vote with a question: “But round ships? Yes, space is nearly a vacuum but surely at near/past light speed drag becomes an issue…?” And, as Rachel Day pointed out dryly along with her commendation: “Best Effects: Prometheus. Even if they did steal most of the oil slick thing from The X-Files.” Other effects singled out: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and this, from Brad Crammond: “John Carter – I don’t think there were any people in the movie at all. Only CGI. Taylor Kitsch can’t actually be a real person.”

BEST SEQUEL

Nominees: Men in Black 3, Paranormal Activity 4, Skyfall, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

While The Dark Knight Rises and The Expendables 2 had their adherents, it was the James Bond comeback picture Skyfall that handily won our hearts in this most problematic of categories. Says David Baldwin: “Skyfall. A revolution. Amazing from beginning to end.” Says Rachel Day: “Daniel Craig’s chest. Great twist. Scenes written for fan fiction authors everywhere. Need I say more?” Says Geonn Cannon: “…the movie that made James Bond awesome again. He’s come a long way from the kitsch, and I can’t think of a single post-Connery movie that was as enjoyable as this one (and I really didn’t like Connery all that much… I just feel, when talking about Bond badness, you have to toss a ‘except for Connery’ in there).” Then again, as Will Cashin added alongside his vote: “But after twenty-three movies, are they still considered ‘sequels’?”

WORST SEQUEL

Nominees: Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Piranha 3DD, Resident Evil: Retribution, Silent Hill: Revelation, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2, Underworld Awakening, Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Breaking Dawn, Part 2 and even The Dark Knight Rises were all railed against here, but it was the devastatingly dreadful Underworld Awakening that ended up winning – or is that losing? – the day, with Rachel Hyland decrying its “terrible CGI and unwontedly dull yet convoluted plot – plus, really, Scott Speedman was too busy to show up?”, and Geonn Cannon the fact that despite “… Kate Beckinsale in tight leather and with a harem of Canadian actors (Dyson from Lost Girl! Charlotte from Sanctuary!), the title is only appropriate because ‘awakening” what so many people in the theater we doing when the end credits started to roll.”

BEST REMAKE/REBOOT/READAPTATION

Nominees: Dredd, Red Dawn, The Amazing Spider-Man, Silent House, Total RecallThe Woman in Black

In a close run race, the fact that it didn’t completely suck (as widely expected) led The Amazing Spider-Man to a very slight victory over a perhaps more deserving Dredd here (Geonn Cannon: “How is this a remake? There… was no other Dredd movie.”), despite a largely held general opinion of its superfluousness. Jason Murdoch speaks for us all: “Did we really need another Spider-Man?” On the other hand, K. Burtt allowed that “it wasn’t bad”, and Jason Luna said firmly: “You actually let Dr. Connors become the Lizard, you’ll win my vote on anything.” Hmm. Good to know.

WORST REMAKE (AKA: WHY, GOD? WHY?)

Nominees: Dredd, Red Dawn, The Amazing Spider-Man, Silent House, Total Recall, The Woman in Black

While there was a vocal contingent shouting down Len Wiseman’s Total Recall (Geonn Cannon: “Again, poor Kate Beckinsale in the worst category. Make a good movie, Kate! I want to love you so bad!”), and a few suggestions that The Amazing Spider-Man deserved to be considered the worst rather than the best example in this troubled oeuvre, in the end it was the invading of small town America story, Red Dawn, that awoke the most hatred in our collective hearts. Particularly considering, as Kate Nagy pointed out: “Red Dawn wasn’t even that great the first time around.” Wolverines! Anyone? Anyone?

BEST ACTOR

Nominees: Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Dawn), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Daniel Craig (Skyfall), Karl Urban (Dredd), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers)

Karl Urban’s faithful, stone-faced turn as Judge Dredd won acclaim, as did Michael Fassbender’s creepy android in Prometheus, and the simple ubiquity of Chris Hemsworth gained him a modicum of support, but here it was a battle of the non-super-powered superheroes with Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises ultimately losing out to Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in The Avengers. (And with write-in votes going to Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers, Jeremy Renner in The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy and Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed.) As Jason Murdoch says of his, and the majority’s, choice: “Downey Jr. He’s the only one that actually freaking ACTS!! Seriously, I love Thor and Batman as characters, but can we REALLY call what Bale and Hemsworth did “acting”?? Same goes for Daniel Craig for that matter – having an accent does not equal acting.”

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees: Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus), Jennifer Garner (The Odd Life of Timothy Green), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld Awakening, Total Recall), Keira Knightley (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World)

In a three way tussle between Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence (a metaphor millions would doubtless like to see brought to life, with the ladies in question scantily-clad), it was Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen who dazzled ahead of Knightley’s wackiness in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Theron’s bitchy spaceship captain in Prometheus/Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman. David Baldwin said: “Lawrence stole the show here,” and Matthew Layden agreed: “Lawrence was without a doubt, the best thing of the film.” Meanwhile, “The Kate Nagy ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Award for Most Promising Newcomer goes to Amandla Sternberg (Rue), The Hunger Games.” Because apparently anyone can just make up their own awards now.

BEST CAMEO

Nominees: Chuck Norris in The Expendables 2, Jonathan Frid and other original cast members in Dark Shadows, Stan Lee in The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, The Actual Secretary of the Navy in Battleship

While James McColl put in a snarky vote here for “The plot in Spider-Man”, it was Stan Lee versus Chuck Norris for this one, and as he so often does, Chuck Norris kicked ass. His deadpan turn as “The Lone Wolf” in The Expendables 2 is widely accounted the highlight of that movie, and much of our staff seems to agree. Indeed, it is lucky many of us feel that way, for as Jason Murdoch suggested darkly: “If Chuck Norris doesn’t win, I fear for the future and continued good health of the entire Geek Speak staff.” But, really, how could he not have won when, as Matthew Layden points out: “Chuck Norris making a Chuck Norris fact? Pure brilliance.” Meanwhile, K. Burtt would like to offer up a slightly different opinion on the best cameo: “Tight black cat suits, like Black Widow’s in The Avengers, Catwoman’s in The Dark Knight Rises, Selene’s in Underworld: Awakening, etc. Awesome.” Yes. Awesome indeed.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Nominees: Argo, Chronicle, Iron Sky, Robot and Frank, Safety Not Guaranteed, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Sinister, The Odd Life of Timothy Green

While we were happily delighted by the unexpected awesome of Argo, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Chronicle, Looper and The Amazing Spider-Man (K. Burtt: Chemistry between Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy! Best part of the movie, and way better than between Tobey and Kirsten), it was the disturbing Ethan Hawke vehicle Sinister that won the day here. As Rachel Hyland said: “For someone who, in the normal way of things, hates horror movies, I was simply captivated by this clever, creepy film from the very beginning, and am still thinking about it, months later.” Even our resident horror movie maven, David Baldwin, agrees: “Terrifying, and probably the most effective horror film I have seen in years. I’ll watch it again — with the lights on.”

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Nominees: Dark Shadows, Cloud Atlas, Expendables 2, John Carter, Ted, The Dark Knight Rises, The Man with the Iron Fists

Disappointment haunted us at the movie theater throughout 2012 – as, when does it not? – with particular mentions made of Seth McFarlane’s Ted, The Man with the Iron Fists (David Baldwin: “There is no reason this movie should have sucked as much as it did.”), Cloud Atlas and, yes, The Dark Knight Rises. (As Kim Sorensen asked sadly: “Why did Nolan Lucas his trilogy?”) But in the duel for which was the most disappointing, it was the celebrated flop that was John Carter versus the heavily-anticipated self-referential action flick that was The Expendables 2 for the dubious honor of the movie that brought us the least joy, and in the end Stallone and co. narrowly edged out Kitsch’s kitsch, Norris notwithstanding. As K. Burtt said: “I knew The Expendables 2 was going to be cheesy, but this ended up being too cheesy. I hadn’t known that was even possible.” Meawhile, Geonn Cannon was outraged “… they MADE A SECOND ONE. Come on, America. We have to accept Firefly is over, but THERE’S AN EXPENDABLES 2? I… ow. rage-grain.”

WORST MOVIE OF 2010

Oh, not everyone loved The Dark Knight Rises. The Lorax was hated in some corners, and Cloud Atlas in others. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was justly reviled more than once, and one utterly peculiar soul had the nerve to suggest The Avengers belonged in this category. (We choose to believe he was kidding.) But in the final analysis, it was the truly abysmal Wrath of the Titans that garnered the most, er, wrath, from our staff this year, with reactions ranging from Gabrielle Lissauer’s mild “It’s a bad movie all around” to David Baldwin’s outraged “I watched this movie in sheer shock of how bad it was. And I left the theatre and instantly forgot I even saw it. It’s useless and needless.” And the acting doesn’t help at all, as Rachel Hyland said in her review earlier this year, with special mention of: “Rosamund Pike as Queen Andromeda; Pike is English-rose beautiful, every feature perfection, her voice mellifluous, her hair cascading like silken sunshine. And she is awful. As are Neeson, and Fiennes, and yes, Sam Worthington, who may well have been outperformed by his hairstyle here, and even that is appalling.” The only good thing about Wrath of the Titans? Most of the gods died at the end, so a third movie in the accursed series seems blessedly unlikely.

TV

BEST SERIES

Nominees: Burn Notice, Doctor Who, Falling Skies, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Lost Girl, Nikita, Once Upon a Time, Person of Interest, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13

With strong advocates for Once Upon a Time, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead and Person of Interest staking out their claims, this was always going to be a tough category in which to find accord. But in the end, HBO’s much-lauded Game of Thrones managed to eke out a narrow victory over 2010 Geek Speak Awards winner Doctor Who, with Will Cashin pleased that things are “still going strong” across Westeros, and Brad Crammond declaring it “… just nudges out Doctor Who, which has been up and down this year.” Jason Murdoch summed up the collective love of this show thusly: “Best Series: Game of Thrones. Why are we even having this conversation?”

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

Nominees: Archer, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Phineas and Ferb, South Park, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Legend of Korra, The Simpsons, ThunderCats

While we’re loving Archer (Geonn Cannon: “For all the times I’ve been embarrassed to even admit I watch this show, I’m taking a stand. It is absolutely brilliantly done.”), Phineas and Ferb, Young Justice and the sadly canceled ThunderCats – plus, of course, The Simpsons – a big cartoony favorite around the Geek Speak offices is The Legend of Korra, Nickelodeon’s sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. As Rachel Hyland said: “Much as I love Phineas and Ferb and the Green Lantern cartoon – and I do – give me a female Avatar, an impressive continuity and a fun political allegory all dressed up in a kid’s show, and your work here is done, animators.” Or, as Cassandra Chin said in its praise: “It’s not Avatar, but it’s still pretty damn good.”

BEST NEW SHOW

Nominees: 666 Park Avenue, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Last Resort, Revolution, The Legend of Korra,The Neighbors

Zooming past the likes of the CW’s comic book adaptation Arrow, ABC’s canceled submarine war drama Last Resort and Fox’s dystopian Revolution, Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra gained itself another award with here. As devoted Avatar: The Last Airbender fan Will Cashin said: “Was concerned, but thankfully turned out to be good.” Rachel Hyland agreed: “While every other new genre show this year has disappointed in some way – especially Revolution with its sloppy writing, Arrow with its tiresome love interest, Last Resort with its abrupt decline in quality, and Beauty and the Beast with its very existence – The Legend of Korra has managed to not only meet but exceed expectations. No easy task, when dealing with such a beloved universe as that of Avatar.”

BEST NOVEL ADAPTATION

Nominees: 666 Park Avenue, Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood

Despite the wealth of novel adaptations on screen this year, this ended up being a two horse race, with Dexter sadly lamed at the starting line and Game of Thrones running away with the award in masterly fashion – somewhat unsurprisingly, we admit. Although Rachel Hyland does refer to A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and upon which this past season was based, as “Medieval Stratego, and Arya Running Away From Stuff!“ We’ll have to see how Season 3, based on A Storm of Swords (AKA Zombie Catelyn, and Everybody Dies!) fares.

BEST COMIC ADAPTATION

Nominees: Archer, Arrow, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Walking Dead, Ultimate Spider-Man

Arrow and Archer both had their adherents here, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series is beloved of at least one staffer, but honestly, AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on the comics of Robert Kirkman, was so close to a unanimous choice here we might as well have left the other shows off the ballot. As Kim Sorensen sensibly asked: “Is there really any competition?” And as Cassandra Chin chimed in: “Guns, zombies and crazy socio-paths, what’s not to love?” Although Jason Murdoch did offer up this alternative opinion of the celebrated cable drama: “Stay away from the zombies… nothing happens… some idiot goes to play with the zombies… cue ‘till next time’… *snore*.” Huh.

BEST OTHER ADAPTATION

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Being Human US, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Teen Wolf

Syfy’s US version of Being Human has its appeal, and even MTV’s Teen Wolf isn’t universally despised around these parts, it seems, but it is ABC’s runaway hit fairy tale series Once Upon a Time, now in its season season, that has really captured many of our imaginations in its short time on air. As Jason Luna said: “What a clever use of fairy tales!” And as Geonn Cannon said: “This show can make ‘And then Captain Hook and Mulan show up!’ seem like an authentic plot point instead of kids playing in the backyard (like when Superman and the Lone Ranger fought in my backyard – note to Hollywood: I still want to see that).

WORST ADAPTATION

Nominees: 666 Park Avenue, Beauty and the Beast, The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood

While little love was felt for CW teen witch show The Secret Circle (cancelled after one season) or Season 5 of HBO’s True Blood (Kim Sorensen: “True Blood just keeps getting worse and worse.”), it was the abruptly cancelled, largely unmissed 666 Park Avenue, based (somewhat) on the novel by Gabriella Pierce, that least impressed in this category. Despite a uniformly attractive cast and the presence of the ever-compelling Terry O’Quinn – as the Devil, no less – Jason Luna was able to sum up the general reaction in just a few words: “The next anthology-like show should just try harder.

BEST IMPORT

Nominees: Being Human (UK), Doctor Who, Lost Girl, Misfits, Saving Hope

While many of us appreciate the 3D Urban Fantasy novel that is Canada’s Lost Girl and the anti-Heroes awesome that is the UK’s Misfits, it is, of course, BBC stalwart Doctor Who, now in the seventh season of its reboot (and thirty-third overall) that takes out the award for Best Import, and quite handily, too. (Though, as our UK-based Rachel Day pointed out: “Maybe this should be Best Export for me.” Hmmm. That’s a good point.) As Cassandra Chin said: “Doctor Who will forever have me tense with anticipation. When the Ponds departed, I was left clutching my teddy and sobbing – even though I was forewarned and told myself I wouldn’t cry like a child whose candy was taken from them.” Kim Sorensen concurs: “The Daleks!! The farewell to the Ponds! What a great season. No competition for me.”

MOST IMPROVED

Nominees: Alphas, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Grimm, Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead

While the second season of Syfy’s Alphas proved better than the first (Kim Sorensen: “They brought in Summer Glau and Sean Astin!”), and there are those that felt Game of Thrones, Teen Wolf and even The Simpsons were better throughout this year than they were in the last (with Rachel Hyland declaring, quite firmly: “Doctor Who did not need improving!”), it was The Walking Dead that was most honored here for its hard work. Kim Sorensen is particularly impressed with the faithfulness to the prison plot from the original. “I did not think the show would be able to do the story arc from the comics,” she said, “but their interpretation of it has been so amazing and heartbreaking. Despite dumbass Andrea. ” Geonn Cannon was equally please with Season 3: “After a lot of meandering in Season 2 (I can barely remember how they managed to fill so many episodes with so little content), they seem to have… well, some may say they’ve just found a new way to meander. But ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! ~coughs~ Sorry.”

MOST MISSED

Nominees: Chuck, Eureka, Sanctuary, Terra Nova, The Secret Circle

This year we lost more than a few genre shows to the eternal abyss, but none is more lamented by us than Syfy’s Sanctuary, which ended after four seasons and after an interminable wait to discover its fate. As Cassandra Chin said: “I was upset when I heard it had been cancelled. With its wonderful cast and use of green screens, the show was a pleasure to watch.” And as Geonn Cannon said with longing: “Even when the delay for an official announcement took FOREVER, it still hurt to have the axe finally fall and end the speculation. But it left us with one of the best final scenes in sci-fi (“Shall we begin?”), so I can’t mourn too hard.” Also missed by some: Terra Nova. Plus, of course, we still miss Stargate SG-1. And Firefly. “Even if it has been ten years,” as K. Burtt points out reasonably – and somewhat frighteningly.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

There have been twists and turns aplenty in all of our favorite shows, and of course some of us have been taken aback by just how much we are loving (or hating) shows the likes of Arrow, Revolution and the prison-bound stories of this season’s The Walking Dead. But the biggest surprise of this year may well have been the appearance of actress Jenna-Louise Coleman in the first episode of Doctor Who’s seventh season. Long known as the replacement for the departing Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), Coleman’s turn as the adorable Oswin Oswald was a closely-held secret that only served to confuse all of Whodom upon her character’s death at the end of the episode. As Rachel Day remarked: “Oswin for the WIN! It’s known the actress is the new companion, but whether Oswin will be back is probably a different question. If it is Oswin then ‘WA-HOO!’ because Oswin rocked. The character is a breath of fresh air; irreverent, very smart, technology-minded, brave and resolute once she realizes her fate; a true heroine. If this is the character that will accompany the Doctor, then I will be very happy.”

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Again, disappointment plagued us across the networks this year, but over and above the cancellations the saddened us, the full season orders that perplexed us and the plot holes that bewildered us, it is the highly-anticipated NBC series Revolution that has come as the most devastating blow. As Kellie Sheridan said, with a touch of melancholy: “I had such high hopes.” And as Rachel Hyland said: “Was it fair of me to expect big things with Eric Kripke, of Supernatural fame, at the helm of this show, and the exalted name of J. J. Abrams behind it? Yes. Yes it was. What a total bait-and-switch. What’s next, Star Trek Into Darkness will suck? (Of course, the title already does, so…) On the other hand though, how awesomely awesome – and weirdly hot – is this Action Hero edition of actor Billy Burke? At least there’s one reason to keep tuning in every week.”

BEST EFFECTS

Nominees: Doctor Who, Falling Skies, Haven, Lost Girl, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, The Walking Dead

While we’re impressed with the general quality of the effects on The Walking Dead, Supernatural (Rachel Day: “You can see the big production values at work.) and Falling Skies (Jason Luna: “Given that it’s a cheap show, the robots and the aliens look pretty good.”), it was Canada’s Lost Girl that most impressed here. As Geonn Cannon said: “The effects on this show are done so subtle, and so organic, that it’s easy to miss them. That makes the ones you do see (a brief shine when Bo puts the whammy on someone, for instance) all the more believable.”

BEST ACTOR

Nominees: Jensen Ackles, Supernatural, Jim Caveziel, Person of Interest, Matt Smith, Doctor Who, Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead, Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, Robert Carlyle, Once Upon a Time, Terry O’Quinn, 666 Park Avenue

While Jensen Ackles, Robert Carlyle and Peter Dinklage all earned praise (Will Cashin: “A vote for the ‘Dink’. Wait, is that discriminatory?”), this came down to a very tight race between the Doctor with two hearts and the redneck with a heart of gold. And while it is true, as Rachel Day said, “Matt Smith regularly just turns in excellent performances but his goodbye scenes with Amy were outstanding,” it was Norman Reedus as Darryl who won the day, with Geonn Cannon explaining: “You gotta love someone who is so good that even the haters add ‘except Darryl’ to their criticisms of the show and acting. Even if he does bitch about loud guns while driving the loudest motorcycle in Georgia.” In other news, Kate Nagy decided to merely awarding a “best” actor was unfair, and so decided to institute: “Most Scrumptious Actor: A tie between Matt Bomer, White Collar, and Shirtless!O’Mara, Terra Nova. I’ve spent several long and arduous hours scouring the Internet for evidence to help me choose (all in the name of research, of course), and I just can’t.”

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees: Anna Paquin, True Blood, Anna Silk, Lost Girl, Anna Torv, Fringe, Karen Gillan, Doctor Who, Lana Parilla, Once Upon a Time, Lena Headey, Game of Thrones, Maggie Q, Nikita

Yes, we love Bo (Anna Silk), and Regina (Lana Parilla), and we love, love, love Amy (Karen Gillan) – we miss you already, Amy! – but it is Lena Headey as the devious Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones who earned most of our votes. As Cassandra Chin said: “As much as I loathe her character at times, Headey is a brilliant actress.” Meanwhile, Kate Nagy saw fit to introduce yet another acting category: “Most Underrated and Underutilized Actress: Meghan Ory, Once Upon a Time. Ruby/Red is more interesting than Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) put together.”

BEST GUEST STAR

Nominees: All of them!

Zooey Deschanel’s guest voice in The Simpsons made us laugh (Jason Luna: “They gave her so many weird hick jokes, it was really funny.”) and Mark Williams as Rory’s ever-practical Dad in Doctor Who made us happy (Rachel Day: “Because Brian was bloody brilliant—what kind of man doesn’t carry a trowel?!), but it was Mark Sheppard as Crowley on Supernatural that really continues to delight even as he repels. As Rachel Hyland said: “Crowley’s the King of Hell and does unspeakable things; he’s always betraying our boys and corrupting innocents and there’s nothing he loves better than torturing or killing a victim in front of their loved ones. So why don’t we hate him? Mark Sheppard carries out even the most barbarous of atrocities with such flair – and delivers his quips with such gleeful disdain – that we can’t help but find him just a little bit charming. Besides, hey, better the demon you know…”

FAVORITE COUPLE

Nominees: Amy and Rory, Doctor Who, Bo and Dyson, Lost Girl, Jaime and Cersei, Game of Thrones, Michael and Fiona, Burn Notice, Peter and Olivia, Fringe, Sam and Dean, Supernatural

Despite campaigns for Wash and Taylor from Terra Nova (Kate Nagy: “A shipper’s dream-come-true right there, those two”), Bo and Lauren from Lost Girl (Geonn Cannon: “Team Lauren! On-screen lesbian (well, okay, bisexual) couple!”) and Jaime and Cersei from Game of Thrones (Will Cashin: “Yep, I went there”), the majority vote fell to Amy and Rory (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) from Doctor Who, who also took out the award in our 2010 Awards. As Cassandra Chin said: “The relationship between the two grew and developed as the series continued, leaving viewers (or me at least) the impression of forever. It’s the relationship that you want to have in real life because even though there are clearly ups and downs, as a couple they leave you sighing with longing.” Kim Sorensen sums up our love of their love: “So beautifully perfect and sweet and tragic.”

MOST UNDESERVING CANCELLATION

Nominees: 666 Park Avenue, Alcatraz, Awake, Last Resort, Napoleon Dynamite, Terra Nova, The Secret Circle

Though many of us were sad to see the ending of Last Resort (Geonn Cannon: The show was extremely well-done, but it was killed by a horrible time slot… anything at 8pm on Thursday is fighting an uphill battle. It deserved more time.) and Awake (Matthew Layden: “An interesting premise that never got the chance to pan out. It should have worked.”), among others, the winner here was time-bending crime thriller Alcatraz, cancelled by impatient FOX executives after only one short season. Jason Luna praised its “weirdly interesting storyline” and wished they’d just “put it in the Saturday night time slot it deserved!”, while Will Cashin was equally dismayed: “Geez, give it time…” So there you have it. In our considered opinion, every show we like only needs a better time slot and more time on air in order to succeed. Shocker.

MOST DESERVING OF CANCELLATION

Nominees: 666 Park Avenue, Alcatraz, Awake, Last Resort, Napoleon Dynamite, Terra Nova, The Secret Circle

Oh, can there be any doubt? Futuristic dinosaur epic Terra Nova was voted for in this category even by its most stalwart defenders on the staff. To wit, Kate Nagy: “It had so much promise. Some competent scriptwriters (and, I’m just speculating, less input from high-level network idiots) could have made this one a classic. Alas for what might have been.” Or, as Geonn Cannon less charitably states: “Terra Nova. Expensive, plus delayed, plus waning fan interest. A horrid combo.” Other shows not at all missed by most: The Secret Circle, Napoleon Dynamite and 666 Park Avenue.

WORST TV SERIES OF 2012

Have you seen The Neighbors? It stars Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito as parents of three precocious kids who move into a lovely housing development in New Jersey, only to learn that every one of their neighbors is an alien. There follows much misunderstanding and Very Special Lessons Learned amidst a whole lot of “on this planet” lecturing and “on our planet” comparisons. As Jason Luna put it so succinctly: “Comedies should be funnier than that.” Rachel Hyland defends the Zabronians, however: “Sure, it’s silly, and is hardlu comic genius, but it’s way better than it could have been, that’s for sure. Besides, all the aliens have taken the names of professional athletes, and that never gets not funny. ‘Morning, Mary Lou Rettan! Hello, Greg Luganis!’ Hilarity!”

GEEK HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

While it was hardly unanimous, and The Dark Knight Rises, the entire 2012 run of Doctor Who and Disney’s announcement of Star Wars VII in the wake of their purchase of Lucas Film all garnered support, Joss Whedon’s phenomenally successful movie The Avengers was a clear winner as our highlight of 2012 (Rachel Day: “From the moment the trailer hit the internet to seeing it in 3D glory.”) But Geonn Cannon also added this uplifting tale for our consideration: “When Neil Gaiman’s new Doctor Who script got left in a cab, and the woman who found it turned it in rather than spoiling it. And she was honored by fans far and wide. That was a true moment of geek.” Editor at Large Kate Nagy counters with this simple, heartfelt, not-at-all self-serving vote for the geek highlight of the year: Geek Speak Magazine. Of course.”

Amen to that.

The Geek Speak Staff

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