Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post of the Year

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! On my last post of 2008, I thought I should do some kind of reflection on the year. I have to see a few more movies and catch up on a few more shows before I can do my top 10 lists, but they are coming. As for what else is coming up: tomorrow is blog resolutions, Friday is a midseason TV preview, and next week will be season premiere recaps. Now back to 2008:

It's a really good thing Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, since that's about the only thing that kept it from being The Year That Sucked. Just look at today's news stories. In real news, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has come back full force, and controversy over disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich's senate pick will spill far into 2009. In entertainment news, a Viacom/Time Warner dispute could mean no Daily Show for the forseeable future, while a SAG strike is still a possibility. And that's just this week.

Here's just a few things we've dealt with this year: the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the fall of Wall Street, the beginnings of the fall of Detroit, record-high gas prices, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Russia's invasion of Georgia, the Eliot Spitzer scandal, the Rod Blagojevich scandal, a writer's strike that led to one of the worst TV seasons in memory, and a very weak year for movies.

But there were some bright spots, mostly in the election. From the epic Hillary/Obama primary battle to the conventions, debates, and Sarah Palin, the 2008 election was THE entertainment event of the year. People who never voted in their lives were suddenly political junkies, checking daily poll results and tracking debates like play-offs for the World Series. The election even spilled over to real entertainment, giving The Daily Show and The Colbert Report tons of material, and revitalizing Saturday Night Live with Tina Fey's instant-classic impersonation of Sarah Palin. And best of all, it had a happy ending.

While the overall field of movies and TV shows this year may have been weak, the best were comparable with any other year. The Dark Knight was the best superhero movie ever, one of the best crime epics ever, and featured one of the best movie villains ever. Wall-E was so much more than Pixar's best film, being as well a definitive look at our era. Slumdog Millionaire's frontrunner status for best picture may come out of lack of competition, but it would be at the top in any other year too. I'd put these three above my top three movies from last year, easily.

As for TV, I may not have added any new shows to my dvr in 2008, and a lot of my old favorites may have disappointed, but that didn't stop shows from continuing to wow. Lost, already the best tv show ever, proved it more by changing up the formula with flashforwards. Mad Men avoided a sophomore slump by going even deeper into its characters in year 2. And Dexter showed it could still be suspenseful without as compelling a central device as the Ice Truck Killer or the Bay Harbor Butcher.

So 2008 wasn't ALL bad, just mostly bad. On January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama gets sworn in as president. I certainly hope that means my final post for 2009 will be very different from this one.

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