Well, we’ve reached that time of year when everyone is doing their best of/worst of lists – so why should I not join in the fun? Here are the Fangirl highs (and some lows) of 2013. Did I include yours?
Surprisingly good sequels
I might have been (almost) alone in being disappointed in Iron Man 3, but there were plenty of sequels that more than lived up to expectations this year. Catching Fire managed to bring the world of the Hunger Games more vividly to life that the stolid series opener, while The Wolverine managed to (almost) banish the painful memories of its predecessor, finally giving Hugh Jackman a film worthy of his perfect casting. Thor 2 was far more fun than the first movie, abandoning a slightly stodgy version of Asgard for one with dark elves in spaceships, lots of Loki to love and, best of all, Thor on the tube. All in all, this year made me excited for both the new X-Men movie and the Winter Soldier.
The disappointments: Pacific Rim was a great concept that floundered under weak characterisation and an overlong running time; Iron Man 3 was a Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr vehicle that seemed to forget it was supposed to be a superhero film, while Star Trek into Darkness made it increasingly apparent that JJ Abrams doesn’t really understand the universe he’s writing about – with a gratuitous, sexist underwear scene thrown in to boot. This makes me fear for Star Wars…
Fantastic new TV shows
There was plenty to love on the small screen this year, too, with my favourite new series the utterly charming and slightly bonkers Sleepy Hollow, while James Spader’s reptilian villain made The Blacklist must-see TV. Other shows went from strength to strength – after a patchy few seasons, Supernatural pulled out all the stops to produce ‘Season great’ and Elementary went from an idea that seemed like it was jumping too late on the Sherlock bandwagon, to a gripping, smart show in its own right.
Oh, Agents of SHIELD, how much I want to love you, and how hard you seem to make it. Bland characters, generic monster of the week storylines… it’s just not getting any better, and I’m not sure how much longer I can stay in denial…
Game of Thrones ruled
[Season 3 SPOILERS]
Continuing to set the standard for long-form storytelling, this season was a triumph from start to finish, with superb performances, thrilling – and utterly shocking – twists, and, of course, ridiculously gratuitous amounts of boobs. Readers of the books deserve a medal for keeping schtum about all the plot developments, and next season can’t come soon enough.
Dany’s white Messiah routine at the end of the season was racially problematic – though I’m hoping the show is smart enough to address it, which it has been in the past – and, while I’m not a prude, even I am starting to find the endless, pointless nudity a little grating. If we must have it, at least balance it out with a few more naked men, will you?
Comics were cool
It’s been a bumper year for great comics, but if I had to pick my favourites, I would go for Saga (a filthy, funny, wildly original space opera by Brian K Vaugh and Fiona Staples), Matt Fraction’s cool as ice take on Hawkeye, and The Young Avengers, a smart, fresh approach to storytelling that’s given real heart by one of the best young gay relationships in popular fiction, the tender, touching love story of Billy and Teddy – if you don’t root for them to be happy, I just don’t want to know you.
DC seemed in freefall, stumbling from one PR disaster to the next, whether it was losing the creative team from Batwoman or seeming to sexualise suicide through its ill-judged Harley Quinn competition. And still no Wonder Woman movie…
Happy birthday, Doctor Who!
The Doctor’s 50th anniversary had so much hype it could have set us all up for a crushing disappointment, but amazingly managed to please almost everyone with an episode that finely balanced the past, present and future Doctors (and I say this as someone who is neither a big fan of Moffat’s run on the show, nor of the immensely annoying Clara). Almost as much fun was all the hoopla around it – An Adventure in Space and Time was a classy, moving tribute, and the ‘Five Doctors reboot’ was daffy and funny. Plus, I am beyond excited by Peter Capaldi being the new Doctor, even if he won’t be allowed to swear.
None, I’m letting this one off the hook. At least until after the Christmas special…
Since it’s Christmas, I’m giving all royalties from my short story, A Vampire Christmas, to homeless charities – if you want to help out, click here!