PURE GOLDER Picks Of The Year
SFX.co.uk editor Dave Golder reveals his Best Of 2010 picks. Because he can…
Christmas is an excuse for indulgence. An editorial column, also, is an excuse for indulgence (don’t listen to any journalist who suggests otherwise no matter how silver-tongued their prose). So before I go overboard on turkey, trimmings and tipples tomorrow, I’m going to unashamedly overdose here on some of my favourite things about SF and Fantasy in 2010. Next week, for my final editorial of the year – when I’ve got a hangover, squiffy tummy and bad attitude – I’ll treat you to some of my clunkers of the year (though – newsflash – Lost’s finale and No Ordinary Family will feature) but for now, I’m full of Christmas cheer (and will be fuller by the end of this column, thanks to the glass of Pinot beside me) and only in a mood to hand out presents to shows an films that have been good this year, not naughty (though in the case of Misfits, both are valid). So, on we go:
Animated Film Of The Year: How To Train Your Dragon
I’m going to paraphrase SFX’s Jordan here because he hit the nail on the head when he said to me during the end-of-term Twister game we were having in the office this week, “Toy Story 3 was virtually perfect, but you expect that from the Toy Story movies. How To Train Your Dragon was so much more entertaining because you didn’t expect it to be so great.” Plus, I’m a sucker for dragons. However…
Best Cameo Of The Year: Totoro in Toy Story 3
I just wish he’d had a line and said something in Japanese.
Man Of The Year: Matt Smith
He certainly spanned the year, first turning up on New Year’s Day, and back on our screens for Christmas Day tomorrow. What a brave man, taking over from the impossibly popular David Tennant, but any worries that because of his age and lanky frame (and his first few moments in “The End Of Time Part Two”) he was going to be a pale Tennant impersonator were rapidly dispelled in the first few minutes of “The Eleventh Hour”. This guy is the most physical actor ever to have played the Doctor, and his barrage of nervous ticks, quirky mannerisms and mercurial expressions have created a Doctor who’s the ultimate in cool uncool. He is the old man in the youthful body, and he plays the role like the body doesn’t quite fit, but he’s oblivious to the fact. The fifth series itself may have a variable affair quality-wise, but Matt has been awesome throughout. And if you’re still yet to be convinced, tune into the Christmas special – I reckon he’s going to win a whole new load of converts.
Difficult Second Album Of The Year: Misfits
2009 saw the launch of two great, great new UK telefantasy shows: Being Human and Misfits. So, could they maintain the quality for their second series? Or was it going to be the case of the difficult second album? You know, when a band disappoints with a follow-up album because all the great tracks they’d been working on for years were on the first album. The second album then either becomes a case of “try to do the same thing again” (which runs the risk of producing an album that sounds like a watered down version of the first one) or “try something new and different” (which runs the risk of losing the elements that made the band popular in the first place). Being Human tried the second approach and should be applauded for being brave enough to do so. But despite some brilliant moments, and three great, great episodes, there was still the annoying feeling that the banter and camaraderie between the three stars which had been a key element in series one, was somehow lacking this time around. Misfits instead went for option one… but amazingly managed to make the same tunes sound even better. Misfits series two was stunningly good. Surely series three can’t get any better?
Woman Of The Year: Jane Espenson
Oh, it was so tempting to vote for Yvonne Strahovski, but I’ve already let my testosterone get the better of me here, so instead I’m going to go for the possibly surprising choice of Buffy and Galactica scripter Jane Espenson. Surprising, because she hasn’t really had that much on screen this year. But she was chosen as one of the writers on the new US Torchwood which has to rate as one of the canniest decision Russell T Davies has ever made – not just because she a great writer but because she brings her own set of devoted fans, and a level of cult cool, along with her. And ever since the announcement she’s been merrily drip-feeding us info about the series via Twitter. She seems so nice, and yet she’s such a tease!
Episode Of The Year: Ashes To Ashes’ series finale
And not just because the discussion it caused afterwards lead the record for the “most users online simultaneously” ever on the SFX forum (that’s some feat when usually all anybody ever wants to talk about is Doctor Who or why their subs copy hasn’t arrived yet). For me, this was the prefect pay-off for five years of the modern TV myth that was Gene Hunt. It was emotional without being sentimental. It made sense. It wasn’t predictable. It was perfectly performed and executed. All things which the finale of Lost wasn’t. In my opinion.
Comic Of The Year: Phonogram – The Singles Club
Magic. Indie music. Overlapping stories of teen angst. Bristol. Stunning artwork. Sparse, economical dialogue. Sudden moments of post-modern genius. Something truly original from the world of comics. I loved it. You may have guessed.
Sheer Balls Of The Year: the writers and producers of Fringe
First they come up with that bonkers idea of alternating episodes between the “real” world and the “alternative” world – which we predicted could be commercial disaster while a fan-pleaser. Then, when dwindling audiences lead to the show being shunted to the notorious “Friday night on Fox” death zone (ask Joss Whedon) instead of taking it lying down, they just adopted a “bring it on!” attitude, calling the first episode in the new time slot “Firefly” and creating a trailer which cheekily annouced that the show was going to regenerate Friday nights. We wish them the best of luck, we really do, because the show itself remains as enthralling bat’s-arse as ever.
Best New Show Of The Year: Lost Girl
Not heard of it? Well, it’s not brilliant (but in a year that gave us No Ordinary Family it doesn’t need to be), but it is a lot of fun. Think a beef-up Charmed or Buffy-lite, but with more lesbian snogging (it’s a about a succubus, y’see). It’s chokka with cheeky lines, quirky characters and silly plots, and also boasts a gutsy pair of performances from its two female leads (and no that’s not a sexiest gag about Bo’s ample bosom). It feels somewhere between those whimsical shows so beloved of Syfy at the mo’ and True Blood – though we’d much prefer to see it move to HBO than Syfy.
Best Show Called Chuck Of The Year: Chuck
An honorary award, because while I don’t think Chuck is the tip top best in any other category, it comes close, and also consistently makes me feel very happy every week. I genuinely think it’s been better this year than ever before. It’s a Marmite show, I know, but I love Marmite.
Grossest Moment Of The Year: Alien Afterbirth In Misfits
The show managed to out-gross True Blood. That takes some doing… Though True Blood does win the “Twisted Sex Of The Year Award” (people who’ve seen it will understand, but we won’t spoil it for those watching in the UK for the first time next year).
Film Of The Year: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World
Look, I loved Kick-Ass too, but Scott Pilgrim was just so joyously anarchic. And while Inception intrigued me intellectually, it left me cold emotionally.
Newcomer Of The Year: Gareth Edwards
Even if he hadn’t directed such a fresh, edgy, witty and sumptuous-looking film as Monster, I’d give him this award for just being such a damned entertaining interviewee: ““We can talk after [my next film’s] made and you can tell me how shit it is and how I’ve sold out.”
Novel Of The Year: Kraken/Surface Detail
It’s a tie! And I know I should go for something less obvious, but honestly, both these books show the respective authors at the top of their game and also having a lot of fun. If pushed, I’d have to go for China Mieville’s action-packed oddity One Of Our Squid Is Missing, but only because Banksie’s spaced-out space opera caused me so much angst reviewing it: the one thing you want to point out you can’t – or even allude to – because IT’S A MAJOR BLOODY SPOILER! Even saying that I fear I’ve said too much…
Tags: Ashes To Ashes, Being Human, China Miéville, Chuck, Doctor Who, Fringe, Iain M Banks, Inception, Kick-Ass, Lost Girl, Misfits, Monsters, Phonogram, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, Torchwood