Monday, January 7, 2013

Stellar Four's Best of 2012

By the ladies of Stellar Four

Man, 2012 was a hell of a year, right? First off, the world didn't end, so that's positive. Joss Whedon had his best year possibly ever. There were awesome movies, brain-meltingly wonderful books, and completely epic TV shows.

Here are our picks for the best (and sometimes worst!) stuff we saw, read and heard in 2012. (Hey, better late than never, right?)

A hint: This movie was the boss of us last year.

Meghan B


Let me be the first to say that this year was completely OWNED by The Avengers. I can't think of any movie that was half as amazing and well done as it. The Dark Knight Rises? Pfft, Batman wishes he was an Avenger. Joss Whedon showed why he deserves the feverent adoration of his fans by putting together the best superhero movie in the history of the genre. Marvel has a very far reaching plan for their movies and it's really working well for them. DC, time to get your rear in gear. There was also Brave, which was beautiful and heartwarming. Pixar can do no wrong in my book.

TV Shows

Doctor Who basically destroyed my will to live after the Ponds made their exit, but the Christmas special has perked me up a little. Am I ready to love a new companion yet? We'll see... 2012 will always be the year the Ponds left.

Community left a gaping hole in my life after its season finale, but the season was incredibly awesome. Six seasons and a movie!

Cartoons this year were the best they've ever been, what with the entirely epic Adventure Time! as well as the more bizarre My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic. Twilight Sparkle is my spirit animal.


Oh god, where to even begin with books? Rachel Aaron and Gail Carriger both finished their obscenely awesome series, leaving me broken hearted.

Sara N.


Like the rest of the world, I was ridiculously entertained by The Avengers. Joss did the impossible and made the Hulk not just a compelling movie character but possibly the funniest, most complex character in a film bursting with funny, complex characters. For brain-twisting sci fi fun, Looper is my pick. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actors working today, and he carried that film with his world-weary performance.

TV Shows

NBC's Revolution isn't a perfect show, but Billy Burke is one of the better antiheroes on TV right now — well, on network TV, anyway. (Don't hurt me, Walter White.) And Grimm has become a reliably fun show in its second season on NBC. The handsomeness of both leading men doesn't hurt, either.

The Walking Dead had a much-improved third season with amped-up zombie action and a fantastic mid-season cliffhanger. Likewise, Game of Thrones showed that its early renewal wasn't a fluke, with season two featuring a Battle of the Blackwater sequence that lived up to the book, an eye-popping finale parade of White Walkers, and continued insouciant awesomeness from Peter Dinklage as Tyrion.


2012 was the year I finally picked up Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. First, I could kick myself for waiting so long. And second, the quality remains strong all the way through the 2012 release Ashes of Honor. I'm delighted to have found another urban fantasy series featuring a strong, relatable female character. Also, Tybalt: Meeeoooow!

Jim Butcher's Cold Nights was a welcome return for everyone's favorite wizard, Harry Dresden. The series has been re-energized after the lackluster Ghost Story; I'm already eager for Butcher to bring on the next book.

Two young adult novels blew my hair back this year: Blood Red Road by Moira Young, featuring a challenging but rewarding narrative style, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, who I'm pretty sure can do no wrong.

In non-genre news, I fell for the slow-growing charms of Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, a decade-hopping book whose ending left me breathless with the beauty of humanity's frailties and strengths.  And standing above everything I read this year is Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, a WWII-set novel about young female spies in Britain. It's powerful and haunting, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It will devastate you and lift you up and stay with you long after you've read the final pages.

Kathy F.


Another vote for Avengers here. Just so much fun, great cast, excellent dialogue and of course, action! The Hobbit did not disappoint. Sure it took a while for Bilbo to leave the Shire, but I thoroughly enjoyed every second. Brave was just wonderful, and I'm so happy to have it at home now so we can watch it whenever we want.

TV Shows

The Legend of Korra made me want to stand up and cheer. The whole family got hooked on Avatar: The Last Airbender. We were pretty sad when it was over. Korra gave us what we wanted — great characters, awesome world, and fast-paced storytelling, all in a new package with a little steampunk mixed in. Cannot wait for Season 2.


So many wonderful reads this year. I'm going to just have to mention a few. Like Meghan, I loved the final Parasol Protectorate book by Gail Carriger. A truly fitting end to a marvelous series. Also coming to an end, Ilona Andrews' Edge series with Steel's Edge. My favorite in that series will probably always be Bayou Moon, but I really thought the series ended well. Meljean Brooks' Riveted was a phenomenal steampunk romance, probably my favorite romance of 2012. Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds and Mockingbird were crude, rude and also heartrending. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley was unique and had me wanting more. Blade Song by JC Daniels was just so much fun. The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens was hugely addictive. Like Sara, I completely adored Blood Red Road. It is probably my favorite dystopian. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire gave us a ballroom dancing cryptozoologist and all kinds of intriguing creatures. Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard thrilled me with a Sci Fi YA with tons of action, an interesting world, and no romance. Blackwood by Gwenda Bond gave us a paranormal set among my favorite historical mystery - the Roanoke Colony.

Best Example of Irony

Any time I heard that E.L. James' lawyers were sending cease and desist letters to anyone trying to profit off Fifty Shades. Cause hijacking someone else's artistic work to make a buck is not OK.

Asher P.

Best Example Of Me Being Late To The Party

I discovered podcasts this year because of a very recent addition of a long commute to my life that was excruciatingly boring. Holy crap I have been missing out. I listen to a ton now (Nerdist, Star Talk, Stuff You Should Know, ect, ect), but Thrilling Adventure Hour stands out with the pure entertainment value. It's just brilliant with how they play with the format of radio shows and the genres within the old medium. Not to mention everyone you love on TV seems to star or guest star frequently. TAH is also hilarious, touching and the way they ended 2012 with an enormous cliffhanger left me on the edge of my seat.

Walking Dead Got Better & People Died & It Was Awesome

During Season 2, Walking Dead was this shambling hot mess of a show that reeked of the rotten flesh of crappy writing. Then Season 3 came and the show came back lean and mean. The writing was much tighter, there was no "Where's Sophia?" dragging everything down and they killed Lori. It was fantastic.

The Best Example Of Awesome Cartoons On One Network

Between Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, Toonami returning, and a Venture Bros special airing, Cartoon Network has made me feel spoiled. It's all sooooo gooood. And it's all seeping into my life to the point where I'm telling my parents that that is so totally math.

Best Example Of Disney Stepping Up

Wreck It Ralph was really solid for an animation film. For me it was even better than Brave. Pixar gets major points for finally giving us a main female character, but the story just wasn't their strongest.  Wreck It Ralph, while certainly not perfect, was a good film; fun and tapping into another point of nostalgia as well as another demographic. We geeks. The premise itself felt more like early era Pixar than classic format Disney, and that's not a bad thing. Paired with the breathtakingly lovely short Paperman, it really stood out.

Best Example Of "Oh thank the old ones, it's over..."

Love it or hate it, Twilight is over. No more movies. No more disco-ball WASP vampires with X-Men powers. No more expressionless, scoffing girls with no aspirations. No more shirtless teens loping around the forests of Washington with their washboard abs and fursplosian transformations into giant lupine. No more Volvo driving, sullen 100+ year old boys who watch you sleep. No more actors appearing in a franchise that make you go "WHY ARE YOU IN THIS?" as you sarcastically tweet your way through  it, with booze in your cup, cuz that's the only way to get through it.

Best Example Of A Good Movie No One Went To

Why didn't anyone go watch John Carter of Mars? Oh yeah, there are a lot of reasons. However, it was so much fun! Adventure! Mars! With an ass kicking leading lady who's a scientist! Women and science! The thought! It was a really nice romp for me, but no one went and not I'm probably not going to get a sequel which makes me kinda sad.

Best Example of Joss Whedon Invading Your Brainspace Multiple Times

 THE AVENGERS, OVBS. That was a magical sweet spot of thrilling blockbuster cinematics wrapped around some sweet, sweet writing. However Cabin in the Woods was also finally released and was just... all the feels. All the feels drenched in blood and reeking of lit joints. There was also the big board. The big board! The big board was such a wonderful tease of the horrifying glory that was to come.

My money was on "sexy witches"
So how'd we do, readers? Which of your favorites did we miss?

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  1. Game of it. Favorite show. Period. Avengers was great but Looper blew me away. In terms of books, it really was a great year of reading new-to-me authors. So happy to have finally read Alison Pang and to read new series by Suzanne Johnson, Delilah S. Dawson, and Bec McMasters. Great list, ladies!

  2. Verity sounds good, and I agree that revolution got better as it went on. How about Fringe? It's their last season, and I think they deserve some love.

    1. It's funny you mention Fringe. I started with the pilot episode after Christmas and am currently halfway through season 4. I just felt a little strange talking about a show whose current season I haven't seen. But YES, it's fantastic!