Since I’ve just decided to do a weekly review of everything that comes out in a week, this one will encompass all twelve days of the new year. Take note that this isn’t necessarily limited to the new stuff that comes out, but other things that I have just discovered. Games that I have begun playing, movies I’ve seen, TV I’ve watched, music I’ve listened to, books I’ve read, it’ll all be here. This way, I’ll be able to post more opinionated posts, as opposed to reviews. Also, I’m sorry I’ve been relatively quiet this week, I’ve been pretty busy. Anyways, enjoy!
The past twelve days have been fairly light on TV. The Walking Dead is, sadly, on hiatus, until February, and Arrow doesn’t come back until next week. Young Justice has returned, thankfully, but it wasn’t until today that we actually got a new episode. Meanwhile, there were two new episodes of the Clone Wars, wrapping up the droids arc at long last. Big Bang Theory has also come back with two new episodes.
Big Bang Theory
The first episode of Big Bang Theory in 2012, “The Egg Salad Equivalency was one of the best of season 6 so far. The Leonard/Penny drama, which has been pretty heavy (and boring) this season was actually used effectively to drive the plot forward. Sheldon, as usual, is hilarious, missing every single social cue given to him. The scene where he’s in the Human Resources office is downright hilarious, and so is the ending of the episode. The (anti)climactic Human Resources meeting is a little short, but is still pretty funny.
Sadly, though, the next episode of Big Bang Theory, “The Bakersfield Expedition”, was something Big Bang Theory usually isn’t: stereotypical and cliched. “The Bakersfield Expedition” certainly had it’s funny moments. Most of them stemmed from Penny, Amy, and Bernadette’s voyage into comic books though, and not from Raj, Sheldon, Howard, and Leonard’s adventure to Comic-Con. On the whole, it really wasn’t all that funny, the plot was weak, and it promoted a great deal of stereotypes that I really hate.
Young Justice came back strong from it’s hiatus. The show was already building steam with “Darkest” and “Before the Dawn”, and that trend continues with the latest episode, “Cornered”. “Cornered” deals with the results of the Reach revealing themselves to humanity, as well as the results of the mission to the Reach’s ship. We get to see Static’s powers for the first time, through Black Canary’s interviews of all those who were hostages of the Reach. At the same time, Nightwing shows team members living at the Cave a new home for them, which doesn’t turns out well. Superboy, Mal, and Miss Martian all end up at the Hall of Justice – just as Desparo shows up. This is easily the episode’s main attraction, Desparo’s battle with Superboy, Miss M, Mal, Zatanna (Yes!), Captain Marvel, and Bee. Desparo seems to be easily defeating the group – until the appearance of Guardian, reborn as Mal Duncan. The battle itself is excellent, although when I saw Desparo in the trailer, I was almost sure that it was Trigon, so that is a little disappointing. The behind the scenes stuff between the Reach ambassador, Captain Atom, and Secretary Tsang reveals many of the League’s secrets to the masses, including the Watchtower. The fallout out of this will certainly be interesting. Also, Miss M and Superboy conversing at the end can only mean one thing – Superboy’s going to find out about Aqualad. “Cornered” does not, in any way, lose any of the show’s building momentum.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The 100th episode of the Clone Wars, Missing in Action, was also the first of 2012. It was easily the bets of the droid arc, especially since it had some real characters and action. As usual with this arc, Gascon and WAC are extremely annoying, and it’s hard to not wish death upon them. But this episode is salvaged by Gregor, a lost Clone Commando. Gregor’s development from a dishwasher with memory deficiency into a hero willing to sacrifice himself is handled extremely well. The final scene, where Gregor makes his final stand, is one of season 5’s bets moments, especially with the epic score playing in the background. Still, it doesn’t entirely make up for WAC and Gascon’s stupid jokes.
The 101st episode, meanwhile, finally finished this arc for the Clone Wars. Luckily, it finished it on a pretty good note. The annoying comments made by Gascon and WAC were few. And I seriously didn’t expect the Venator cruiser to be a bomb. Sure, I felt it was way too convenient that it just appeared in orbit to help them, but it turned out to be a bomb, and that made the episode a whole lot more interesting. The plot of the episode revolves around Gascon and the droids attempting to deactivate the bombs before the cruiser detonates at a Republic strategy conference. They meet some other droids, and this was something of an “oh no” moment for me. However, literally a minute later, the best moment of the episode came. A large scale battle between the droids and a massive number of buzz droids. Overall, it was a decent episode, though the plot did feel pretty cliched at times, and Gascon and WAC still had some annoying comments.
Within the first week of 2012, we got what is probably going to end up being one of the year’s bets albums overall. Plus, new singles from A Day to Remember and Alice and Chains were also released, and I came across the new Bullet For My Valentine single, Riot. Overall, it was a pretty good week or so.
Hollywood Undead “Notes From the Underground”
Notes From the Underground, the band’s third studio album, is also their best yet. The group seems to have matured a little for this album, and the party songs are pretty much gone, replaced with more mature, serious songs. And Hollywood Undead is a lot better for it. Songs like “Kill Everyone” and “From the Ground” are some of the bands heaviest songs yet. “Dead Bite” is an excellent industrial song with one of Charlie Scene’s most hilarious verses ever. “Lion”, “Outside”, and “Rain” are extremely dark, gritty songs, and all of them are awesome. The party songs aren’t completely gone though, and return in the form of “Up in Smoke” and “Pigskin’. “up in Smoke” is a pretty good song, on the whole. the first verse of “Pigskin” is downright horrible, but the song gets better from there. Overall, Notes From the Underground is a stellar album, with something for everyone.
A Day to Remember – “Violence (Enough is Enough)”
A Day to Remember’s first new song since 2012’s “What Separates Me From You”, is a heavy song, ridden with death roars, pounding drums, and heavy guitars. The message is one of anti-violence, which is awesome. A Day to Remember, as always, delivers a stellar song, which is both lyrically and musically excellent.
Alice in Chains – “Hollow”
The lead single off of their second album with their new singer, William DuVall, “Hollow” is as good, if not better, than Alice in Chains’ glory days in the 1990’s. The dark, low guitars and vocals are both present on this song. William DuVall sounds almost exactly like Lane Staley, and “Hollow” is evidence that the band really is back to stay.
Bullet For My Valentine – “Riot”
From the very beginning of “Riot”, you will be assaulted with heavy guitars, bass, and drums. And that is a good thing. A very good thing. Musically, “Riot” is stellar. It sounds great, like everything else Bullet has put out. But, like their last few albums, “Riot” is an extremely shallow song. It has no specific message, really, other than starting a riot. It’s a good song musically, but it falls flat lyrically.
Annihilation by Drew Kapshryn
I recently finished “Annihilation”, the most recent book in the Old Republic series, and the only one to not focus entirely around the Jedi. Only one Force-sensitive character actually plays a major role in this novel, while all the others take backseat to Theron Shan. Yes, the son of Satele Shan, who she gave up so she could continue being a Jedi. “Annihilation” dissects the reasons behind the rules against attachment in the Jedi order in a few flashbacks, which is nice. Also, Drew Kapshryn seems to have a great knowledge of the Star Wars universe. I mean, he gives the names of lightsaber forms, which I’ve only seen a few times before. The story is fairly simple, revolving around Theron and Gnost-Dural sneaking aboard the Empire’s most powerful ship and sabotaging it, ensuring Republic victory. Theron is a great character, because, unlike others, he uses his brain to get past obstacles. Plus, he develops a lot, especially in his relationship with Satele and Jace (His father) throughout the novel. There are also a few excellent chapters revolving around Sith politics peppered throughout the novel. The plot at times, however, feels pretty shallow and weak.
The Best of Philip K. Dick
A collection of 11 of Philip K. Dick’s short stories for $0.99? How could I refuse? I’m still reading it (Like I said, I’ve been busy), and so far, it’s awesome. Philip K. Dick’s writing is stellar, as always, and his sci-fi plots are excellent. Every single story has an unexpected twist that makes the story even better. For example, my favorite story so far is “The Defenders”. It takes place in a post nuclear war world, in which humans have gone underground and left robots in charge of the world. Instead of continuing the war, though, they have rebuilt the planet in an attempt to create peace between the warring nations. By the end, it seems to work. All of the stories I’ve read so far have been almost as good as “The Defenders”, and I really enjoyed “The Gun”, one of his bets known works. Everything about Philip K. Dick’s short stories is executed with near perfection.
Since the start of 2012, I have only seen one new movie; The Hobbit. I’m still dying to see Skyfall, Argo, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty. Next week will certainly see at least one, hopefully more, of those movies in this category.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit was, essentially, a lighthearted version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It doesn’t have the same epic scope as the three Lord of the Rings movies (and books). Being a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, I was afraid that they would mess with the source material. Peter Jackson, however, is extremely loyal to the novel, and I felt that the point at which the first part ended was perfect. The movie is a lot more light hearted, mostly because of the Dwarves. They are probably the most jolly of the species in Middle Earth, and much of the movie focused in on this. Many of the major plot elements (Like the Necromancer) were only briefly introduced, but that allowed for more concentration on the white Orc and Bilbo’s development. The riddles for the Ring scene is as awesome as it was in the book, and Gollum is, once again, done excellently. The action scenes were also great, as usual. the Dwarves humor can get a little annoying at times, but, other than that, part 1 of The Hobbit was great.