December 28, 2007

The 2007 Grantie Awards

Here it is - the start of a new annual tradition here on -- My favorites of 2007! (Man, it was tough choosing just two from each category..) And, hey, if you're bored, feel free to comment and let us all know what your favorites of the year were. :)

Without further ado...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This was the Year of Harry Potter for me. I caught up on the first six books, and then picked up Book 7 (along with the rest of the world) and dove into it for an entire weekend (along with the rest of the world). It was one of the best reading experiences of my life. Definitely my favorite book of the series. Damn you, J.K. Rowling, for getting me all choked up like a baby... 0___0 What else is there to say? "Deathly Hallows" was the Bob-Omb.

Y: The Last Man
I'd been hearing great things about "Y: The Last Man" (which is a comic book published by the DC Vertigo line), so I decided to pick up the first couple graphic novels and give it a shot. Lo and behold, it blew me away. I completely fell in love with it.. And this is kind of a big deal for me, because I've been feeling very negative towards the comic world lately. I was starting to wonder if I'd just outgrown comics, or if I just couldn't get excited about them anymore.. Over the past few months, I've been getting my friends (most of whom aren't "comic readers") hooked on "Y: The Last Man" too. Everyone's falling in love with it. And the series is almost over... The final issue is scheduled to come out in the next few weeks. At this point, no matter how it ends, I can pretty safely say that "Y" is one of my all-time favorite comics. And it was one of the highlights of 2007 for me.

Children of Men
Though technically this is a 2006 movie, it was released here in January of 2007.. In fact, it was the first movie I saw in 2007. So, needless to say, I loved it. I think it's one of the most important and hard-hitting movies of the past decade. I remember walking out of the theater, with chills, thinking to myself, "Now that's a movie that should win Best Picture." Also, I have to say that pretty much every actor in this movie was instantly propelled to awesome status in my mind. It didn't have a single weak link.

The Mist
Back when I first saw the somewhat cheesy-lookin' trailer for this movie, I never would've imagined that I'd be naming it one of my favorites of the year. It took me by surprise -- I was expecting a mediocre thriller, and what I got instead was a well-written, well-acted, well-paced movie that dared to break the Hollywood cookie cutter template. It's like an insane Twilight Zone episode come to life, and the ending has stuck with me ever since I left the theater. The Mist isn't a movie for everyone.. But for those of us who dig sci-fi survival horror (like John Carpenter's The Thing), this was the best movie of the year in that genre.

If I were making this list at the beginning of the year, I would've said Battlestar Galactica, because I loved the first half of BSG season three (and I didn't love the first handful of episodes of Lost season three). However... Lost came back stronger than ever, and - in terms of actual episodes that aired in 2007 - it beat out BSG. Which is no easy feat. You know how I loves me some Battlestar. So kudos to Lost for being my favorite TV show of the year. And that season finale was beyond awesome. I was in L.A. when it aired -- I remember watching it in my hotel room, eating way-overpriced room service food. Good times, happy memories. :)

30 Rock
I feel like I'm betraying The Office by not choosing it, because I looove The Office... But 30 Rock gave me the most laughs this year. I don't often laugh out loud while watching TV, but every episode of 30 Rock had me dying. Witty, ridiculous writing mixed with great characters - even the secondary characters are hilarious. If you're not a 30 Rock addict, you need to get in on it. The show took a couple episodes to grow on me, but now I can't get enough.

Battlestar Galactica: Razor
This was a so-so year for me in terms of Battlestar. The second half of season three didn't wow me, and now we're stuck in the middle of this long dry spell, waiting for season four. Fortunately, we got "Razor" to ease the pain. "Razor" is a two-hour prequel episode/movie, going back to some of the events in previous seasons. I wouldn't say it was mind-numbingly awesome, but it was very good and it did bring back some of the Battlestar magic at a time when fans most needed a quick fix. AND the reason I'm choosing it as one of my favorite DVDs is because the extended version is far superior to the broadcast version, not to mention, the disc comes with some fun extras. A must-own for BSG lovers like myself.

Lost: Season 3
Not only did this DVD set remind me of how much I loved the second half of the season, but the extra features disc is jam-packed with documentaries and goodies galore. I spent nearly an entire day just watching the behind-the-scenes stuff, the extra flashbacks, deleted scenes, interviews, commentaries, the list goes on and on. And I'd be crazy not to mention this: In the "Lost in a day" documentary, they show two of the writers talking to Damon Lindelof, and you can see one of my Lost drawings in his office (I couldn't grab a screencap, so here's a digital camera shot - sorry for the fuzziness). I did some artwork for the show's writing/production team last year, and sent a few prints along with the commissioned pieces, so it's really cool to see that! Ah feel loved.

Bear McCreary - Battlestar Galactica: Season 3
While I'm not a fan of the very last track (BSG geeks will know what I'm talking about), the rest of this soundtrack is amazing. With each new season of the show, the music gets better and better.. more emotional, more unique.. I just can't say enough about the talented Bear McCreary. And I have a thing for soundtracks - I listen to them all the time, and I've listened to this one more than any other CD this year. So it's easily my choice for best music of '07.

Eddie Vedder - Into the Wild
This was my toughest choice... Aside from the Battlestar season three soundtrack, there weren't really any CDs that instantly stood out for me. There were a lot of individual songs that I loved, but in terms of loving an entire album as a full listening experience, the only one I could give the Grantie to and not feel like a dirty liar is this one - the Into the Wild soundtrack. I think in part it's because I love all things with a Jeremiah Johnson flavor, and in part I think the old Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder fan in me had been tucked away for too long... It's a soothing album and I fell in love with it. I'm not crazy about the first track, but everything else is great. It makes me want to sit in front of a campfire and contemplate life. Sorry, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Duran Duran, Radiohead, and all you other 2007 potentials.. When it comes down to it, this is the CD that surprised me the most.

Mysterious Universe
This was one of the first podcasts I started listening to on a regular basis, and it remains one of my favorites. It covers all things paranormal, otherworldly, and weird. The host isn't too cheesy or gullible - he makes it interesting and entertaining. It's a free podcast, but they also offer a $5-a-month membership, which gets you extra episodes throughout the week. Definitely worth it. If you're interested in the supernatural in any way, shape or form, check out the free podcast - you'll dig it.

Totally Rad Show
I've been following this video podcast from the beginning (I think they're on episode #40 or so as I type this). Essentially it's three guys who talk about movies, TV shows, videogames, comic books, etc. They keep it loose and entertaining, and I love watchin' it. I actually met the guys in L.A. this year, and they were incredibly nice -- they gave me a little shout-out during their Star Wars Celebration IV coverage, and they're now using some of my artwork on their site. Very cool dudes, and a very cool show.

Holy crap, I made it to the end! That took much longer than I had expected it would.... Good thing I don't have to do this again until the last week of 2008. :P