My newest three photos include the night sky from my back yard, some shadow play in Nashville and the Colorado mountain town of Georgetown.
Every year for the last few years I have enjoyed putting together my "Most Anticipated" list for film in an upcoming year. I do find it hard however to see many of those films. In 2011, I only saw eight of the 24 films released on my list (one of them was pushed to a 2012 release). Of course I saw other films that weren't on my list, and I ended up enjoying some of those more than the ones I looked forward to. Below are the 24 films released in 2011 that I have seen, ranked of course. I have put their "Most Anticipated of 2011" rankings in parenthesis with "NR" meaning not rated and "HM" meaning one of the twenty honorable mentions.
24(NR). Bad Teacher
I was mildly interested in seeing this film, mostly because of the idea of Jason Segal and Justin Timberlake. Ended up seeing this because I went to the theater with some friends to see a different film (Midnight in Paris) but we had the time wrong. The only thing good about Bad Teacher was Jason Segal, and he was severely underused.
23(NR). The Conspirator
This film is about the trial of Mary Surratt, the boarding house owner convicted and hung for conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. I saw this on an airplane.
22(HM). The Green Hornet
Went to the dollar theater to see this, and it was definitely worth the money. I was however hoping this would be more entertaining than it actually turned out to be.
The story of two brothers, one a teacher and another a former marine, who for different reasons enter the same mixed martial arts tournament. This film has garnered a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Nick Nolte.
20(NR). The Adjustment Bureau
Science-fiction film starring Matt Damon as a man who discovers there is a group of "people" who controls the fate of all human beings by selectively triggering chains of events in everyone's lives. A television show is being developed based on the story.
19(17). The Vanishing on 7th Street
This thriller stars Hayden Christensen as a man who wakes up one morning to find that almost all human have disappeared. He soon finds out that something in darkness is taking people, so in order to survive he has to stay in light at all times.
18(NR). Hobo With a Shotgun
When Grindhouse came out in 2007, there was a competition for a fake movie trailer, and Hobo With a Shotgun won. Four years later, an actual film was made and released, starring Rutger Hauer. This pure grindhouse film is exactly what the title implies, and it great fun.
17(HM). Kill the Irishman
Based on the life of Cleveland mobster Danny Greene, this biopic stars Ray Stevenson and features Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and Vincent D'Onofrio.
165(NR). Take Me Home Tonight
Topher Grace stars as a recent college grad who returns home to figure out what he wants to do in life. The film takes place over the course of one night in which he tries to win over his high school crush. A fun comedy that takes place in the 80's.
15(NR). 30 Minutes or Less
Fun comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari about a pizza delivery guy who is forced to rob a bank when two men strap a bomb to his chest.
14(5). Hall Pass
Though I did enjoy this film, my expectations were a bit higher than they should have been. The Farrelly brothers are generally hit or miss, and I put this in the middle of the road for their films.
13(NR). The Way
Emilio Estevez directs and his father Martin Sheen stars in a film about a father whose son dies on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across northern Spain. The father goes to Spain to bring the ashes home, but decides to go on the pilgrimage instead to honor his son and spread his ashes. This is a very moving film that highlights the beauty of northern Spain.
Josh Radnor's (How I Met Your Mother) directorial/writing debut was an enjoyable little indie, but it could have been better. I found the conflicts in the movie a bit forced, as well as the relationships of the three couples. Michael Algieri (Rasheen) and Tony Hale (Sam 2) were bright spots in the film.
11(NR). Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
A fun unknown based on an Italian comic, Dylan Dog stars Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) as a private investigator for the undead. Routh does a good job with relatively weak material, and Sam Huntington (Being Human) is entertaining as always as Dylan's friend/assistant.
10(4). Cowboys & Aliens
I always figured there was a chance this could disappoint me, and it did a bit. However I still found the cross-genre film quite entertaining, and Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were very watchable. I could have done without Olivia Wilde though.
This was one of the surprise hits of the year, but unfortunately like the first Hangover, I didn't see it until after it was hyped up. I loved the film, I just let me expectations get a tad too high. It's a great comedy and deserves its two Oscar nominations (Melissa McCarthy for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay). I already loved Kristen Wiig before this and look forward to more films with her.
This was nowhere near my radar at the beginning of 2011. This Norwegian film is shot as POV (point of view) taken by a film crew following a man who tracks and covers up trolls from the general public. It seems like the POV genre should be overdone by now, but then this little gem comes out. As any great foreign film, I wouldn't be surprised if an American version shows up in the near future...unfortunately.
7(22). Cedar Rapids
Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) gets his first starring role in this film about a small-town insurance salesman who goes to an insurance conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and discovers much about the world and himself. The supporting cast is great, including John C. Reilly and Anne Heche. Since Cedar Rapids was released, Helms's Office character Andy has become the new boss of Dunder Mifflin Scranton in place of Steve Carrell.
6(NR). Tucker and Dale vs Evil
I waited a long time for this film to finally be released, and I am very happy it did. TnDvE takes the horror genre of teens going to the woods and getting killed by rednecks and flips it around. In this comedy, Tucker and Dale are two "rednecks" who are heading to their new vacation home in the woods when they cross paths with a car full of college kids. Of course the kids look at them and think they're sketchy rednecks when in fact they're a couple of nice guys. Through a series of miscommunications, the college kids think the rednecks are trying to kill them (which is not true) and end of killing themselves trying to attack Tucker and Dale. It's always great to see an original idea in film, and it doesn't hurt to have two great comedic actors in Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk headlining this indie comedy.
Plus their panel at Comic-Con 2011 was awesome!
25). Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
I haven't really thought about the M:I series since the disappointing second film, which led to one of the best surprises of the year for me. I saw this over the holidays on IMAX and it was an incredibly exciting film. Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt is a decent character, but I love the new supporting team of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton. In typical spy movie fashion, we are treated to international locations Budapest, Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai. The action sequences were some of the best I've seen in a while, including a Moscow jail escape and Mumbai parking garage fight. The highlights though were the two scenes in Dubai, the first involving Ethan Hunt scaling the tallest building in the world and the second a chase scene through the streets of Dubai during a massive sandstorm. Both were literally heart-pounding.
Super is about a man named Frank (Rainn Wilson) whose wife (played by Liv Tyler) leaves him to be with a drug lord (played by Kevin Bacon). One night, Frank has a vision of God and television superhero The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) basically telling him to go out and fight for good. Frank soon becomes a super hero called The Crimson Bolt, and with the help of sidekick Boltie (Ellen Page), they try to fight crime and save his wife. Super is written and directed by Troma product James Gunn (Slither), so you can bet you’ll see some fun gore. Overall, this is one of the more realistic takes on the super hero genre and a refreshing one at that.
3(HM). Horrible Bosses
I had a feeling this could be a great comedy based on the cast, but there was little information available when I wrote my Most Anticipated list. Three friends, played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are miserable because of their respective bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) for various reasons. The three friends decide to kill their bosses. It is a funny film.
Paul stars the awesome duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) as two British friends who travel to America to see science-fiction and extraterrestrial hotspots. While on the road they stumble upon an Alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). They try to help Paul, who escaped from a government facility, find a way home. Along the way they are chased by government agents (played by the always great Jason Bateman and Bill Hader). The film co-stars Kristen Wiig and Sigourney Weaver. This really is a fanboy treat, which numerous sci-fi and Spielberg references throughout the film.
1(3). The Muppets
2011 was the year the Muppets made their triumphant return. I have been a fan of the Muppets my entire life, starting with Muppet Babies when I was very young and continuing all the way through my discovery of The Muppet Show and the various films. Unfortunately over the last several years they have become somewhat of an afterthought in pop culture. Thankfully Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother) helped revive the franchise and lovable characters with a film that mimics real life in that the Muppets have been out of the spotlight for a long time and are trying to make a return. The soundtrack (mostly written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords) is wonderful with a great combination of silly songs and moving ones. The new rendition of "Rainbow Connection" gave me chills. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of the Muppets in the near future.
Here is a list of 2011 films I haven't seen yet that I most want to see:
1. X-Men: First Class
2. Captain America: The First Avenger
3. Attack the Block (going to watch this tonight)
4. The Thing
6. In Time
7. Your Highness
8. Super 8
9. Kung Fu Panda 2
10. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
11. A Good Old Fasioned Orgy
12. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
13. The Adventures of Tintin
14. Crazy, Stupid, Love
15. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
17. The Three Musketeers
19. I Saw the Devil
21. Midnight in Paris
23. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
24. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
5. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino’s new film about a former slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to free his wife from a Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Another revenge theme for Tarantino, but I am pleased with the casting.
Daniel Craig took over as James Bond and brought the character to a whole new level. Skyfall will be the third film since Craig has been in the role, and there’s no reason to think there’s going to be a drop off of excitement in the series. The best piece of info has to be that the Bond baddie will be played by Javier Bardem.
Ridley Scott returns to the sci-fi/action/horror genre after over 30 years away from it (Alien)! Prometheus follows a team of space explorers who are on a mission to save the future of mankind. The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
As the follow-up to one of the highest critically-acclaimed movies of all time, The Dark Knight Rises concludes the story of Batman as told by Christopher Nolan. There are large shoes to fill after Heath Ledger’s mesmerizing performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, but they managed to find a man big enough to fill any shoes. That man is Tom Hardy, and he will be playing the role of Bane. Anne Hathaway takes on Catwoman as the other villain of the film. I expect this to be an explosive and riveting conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy.
1. The Avengers
Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr)! Captain America (Chris Evans)! Thor (Chris Hemsworth)! The Hulk(Mark Ruffalo)! Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson)! Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)! Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)! Joss Whedon! Does anything else matter?
25 Runner Ups in Alphabetical Order
Bullet to the Head
Friends With Kids
Jeff Who Lives At Home
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Bourne Legacy
The Expendables 2
The Hunger Games
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Woman in Black
This is 40
Chronicle is a sci-fi film that finds three teens acquiring super powers from a crater. The film seems to “chronicle” their discovery, development and eventual misuse of the powers. I believe this will have a strong emphasis on the characters and their spiral into darkness.
9. Casa de mi Padre
This Spanish-language comedy stars Will Ferrell as Armando Alvarez. “Who is Armando Alvarez?” the trailer asks. It promptly replies to itself, “Rancher…Son…Lover…Vigilante.” Will Ferrell can certainly be hit or miss, but I like the idea of this. The movie also co-stars the stars from Y Tu Mama Tambien (Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna) as well as Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson) and Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro).
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Though I did enjoy the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the films worked their way to the back of my mind. When I watched the trailer for The Hobbit, I found myself wanting to return to Middle-Earth. I have no doubt Peter Jackson will put together another epic film, and I love the casting of Martin Freeman (British series The Office and Sherlock) as Bilbo Baggins.
This was on my most anticipated list of 2011 (at #15) but it was pushed back to a 2012 release. Here’s an excerpt from my preview one year ago:
From the minds of Ken Marino and David Wain (The State) comes a new comedy about an urban couple who leaves the big city to explore a different lifestyle. This film stars Paul Rudd, who has appeared in all three Wain/Marino films prior to this (Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, Role Models), and Jennifer Aniston.
6. The Raven
I have always been a fan of John Cusack. I believe his work in thrillers like Identity and 1408 are a bit underrated. This new thriller has Mr. Cusack in the role of Edgar Allen Poe near the end of his life. A killer is on the loose and is taunting Poe by murdering people in ways directly taken from Poe’s stories. I think this is a great casting choice for Poe and could turn out to be a great thriller.
15. World War Z
World War Z is an upcoming zombie film based on the novel of the same name. The book is a series of UN documents that interviews people in the wake of an international zombie war. The film will star Brad Pitt as the UN interviewer. I’ve read descriptions that say this could be a combination of the Bourne movies and television series The Walking Dead. It’s also been said to be stylistically similar to Children of Men. I do very much like all of the things this film is compared to, so that gives me hope for this big-budget zombie film.
14. Men in Black III
It has been ten years since the previous installment of the Men in Black series. Though the second film was weak, there’s no denying that the MIB films are fun summer blockbusters. I don’t necessarily have high expectations for this film, but I believe it to be an entertaining one. The story sees Agent J (Will Smith) travelling back in time to the 60’s, where Josh Brolin plays a spot-on young Tommy Lee Jones.
13. G.I. Joe Retaliation
I was pretty excited when the first G.I. Joe was released a couple years ago. Unfortunately it was a bit disappointing (though still entertaining). I believe they tried to fit too much into the first film (especially characters). I must say though that the trailer for the upcoming film makes it look much better than the first. That and the trailer uses a cool cover of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army. Retaliation puts the focus on three main characters, Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) as they try to get “retaliation” for what appears to be the framing and extermination of the G.I. Joes. Ray Park returns as Snake Eyes and in a brilliant casting move, Bruce Willis appears as the original Joe!
7500 is about a cross-Pacific flight that encounters supernatural events. It is directed by the director of both the Japanese and American versions of Ju-On: The Grudge. I know the idea sounds a bit far-fetched, but it certainly doesn’t seem as ridiculous as Snakes on a Plane or Flight of the Undead. I feel like thrillers on an airplane can be really good if done right. Air Force One and Executive Decision are a couple good examples.
11. Silent House
One young actress who has been getting a lot of compliments lately is Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the Olsen twins. In 2011 she starred in the acclaimed indie Martha Marcy May Marlene. In 2012 she stars in Silent House, a thriller that finds a girl and her father trapped inside a lake house. Silent House is like the 24 of film, as the entire film takes place in real time. It appears this will be another chance for Ms. Olsen to show off her acting chops as she will be responsible for carrying most of the film.
20. The Amazing Spider-Man
Not super-thrilled about such a quick reboot, however the Spider-Man franchise definitely needed a change after the abysmal third installment. Brit Andrew Garfield is your new Spider-Man, rising star Emma Stone is the love interest and Rhys Ifans is The Lizard.
The lone survivor (Sandra Bullock) of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope struggles to find a way to return home. Gravity co-stars George Clooney and is directed by Alfonso Cuaròn (Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También). My intrigue is solely built on knowing two quality actors and a director whose style is simply beautiful.
18. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Based on a novel with the same name, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an alternate-history story in which Lincoln has a secret life as a vampire hunter. I really like the idea of this, I should probably check out the book.
17. The Cabin in the Woods
Co-written and produced by Joss Whedon (Firefly, The Avengers), The Cabin in the Woods is an upcoming “teenagers in the woods” horror film. Unlike most films in this genre, there appears to be people watching the teens and controlling what happens from some sort of control room. The film stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Richard Jenkins.
Haywire is an upcoming action film directed by Steven Soderbergh (Contagion, Oceans trilogy) and stars Gina Carano (“female face of MMA”) as a freelance cover operative who is betrayed by her employer. The trailer is action-packed and makes this look like a fun, pure action film. Haywire co-stars Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton.
It's common to find lists all over the internet, and this time of year it's especially common to find "best of" lists for the prior year and "most anticipated" for the new year. Most lists vary between people, and the fact is these are completely based on opinion. Over the next week I will be posting my "most anticipated" list for 2012 movie releases.
When it comes to writing about and rankning upcoming films of the year, it should be known that there is varying amounts of information available for these new movies. Some movies are about to be released and have already gone through plenty of marketing. Others aren't due until the end of the year and may still be in early production. In this case one may know the people involved in a film and a basic premise, but that's it. Some films have trailers out that you can base some of your excitement on. Because of this, what might sound like a good idea at the time might start releasing trailers and more information and you find out you don't really want to see this. I like going back to my previous lists and noticing which films I don't want to see anymore and which films surprised me. Also, each of the last two years I've included a film that ended up being pushed to the following year. One of those will be on this list. I'll probably write a retrospective of my 2011 Most Anticipated after I'm done with my 2012 list.
So this list is my personal most anticipated list of upcoming films for 2012.
25. Jack the Giant Killer/Snow White and the Huntsman/Mirror Mirror
I grouped these three films together as they are all film adaptations of classic fairy tales. Jack the Giant Killer takes on the British fairy tale of the same name and stars Nicholas Hoult, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci. Bryan Singer (X-Men) directs.
Snow White and the Huntsman provides a take on the classic Snow White tale where the evil Queen (Charlize Theron) sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to kill Snow White (Kristen Stewart) but he instead decides to help Snow White defeat the queen. I am most excited about the stellar casting of the dwarves, played by Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan.
Where SWatH will be darker and more action-packed, Mirror Mirror looks like a lighter and more comedic fare for the Snow White tale. In Mirror Mirror, Julia Roberts plays the evil Queen who sends Snow White (Lily Collins) off to the woods to be killed. Of course Snow White ends up meeting the dwarves and they help her to get revenge on the queen.
24. Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages is a film adaptation of the hit musical with the same name. The story follows two young lovers during the 1980s. The music alone makes me interested in this film, but the ensemble cast doesn’t hurt (including Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Russel Brand, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise).
Looper is a sci-fi film about a killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who works for a mob from the future and kills people that are sent back to his time. One target turns out to be his future self (Bruce Willis). That's about all I know. It's a tough concept to get behind, but having Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis (plus Emily Blunt) makes me at least interested.
22. The Five-Year Engagement
Speaking of Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement stars Jason Segal and Emily Blunt as a California couple who gets engaged but keep having to push the wedding date due to various circumstances. This is the only film resembling a romantic comedy on my list and I’m ok with that. I love Jason Segal and Emily Blunt appears to be an up-and-coming young actress. I expect this to be a bit more funny than sappy, but it’s ok to have some of each.
21. This Means War
Two spies (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) find out they’re dating the same girl (Reese Witherspoon) and decide not to tell her and battle each other over who gets her. Just reading about this movie didn’t intrigue me that much, but then I watched the trailer. This looks to be a good combination of action and comedy. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy appear to have good chemistry as well.
As I have been the last few months, I've fallen behind with posting the weekly pics again. Here are the last four.
Four new shows premiering this January/February I'm interested in checking out.
Alcatraz (Premieres Jan. 16 on FOX)
Alcatraz is a sci-fi/drama about prisoners who mysteriously disappeared from Alcatraz several decades ago and are reappearing in present-day San Francisco having not aged. I really want this to be a good show with great mysteries. Alcatraz stars Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia and Sam Neill.
The River (Premieres Feb. 7 on ABC)
The River is a new horror POV series from the writer/director of Paranormal Activity. I love horror as a movie genre and would love to see more of it on television. The River is about a renowned adventure television host who goes missing in the Amazon. His wife and son get a team together and go to the Amazon to find him. It appears the entire thing is in the POV (point of view) style a la Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project.
House of Lies (Premieres Jan. 8 on Showtime)
House of Lies is about a group of businessmen (and women) who con big companies out of lots of money by offering up their "management consulting" services. This comedy stars Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.
Lost Girl (Premieres Jan. 16 on SyFy)
This Canadian series has been on the air in Canada for three seasons but is getting its American premiere this January on SyFy. Lost Girl is about a succubus named Bo. In case you're wondering, a succubus is a female demon who sucks the life out of men during sexual encounters. She was raised a human and seems to be just discovering that she isn't actually one. It sounds like she will learn about her true nature and try to use it for good.
Though most television shows will air through the Fall and Spring television season, some shows are chosen to wait until the beginning of the new calendar year (and middle of the television season) to start a new season. This occurs for various reasons. Some networks (FX) like their shows to have shorter seasons and therefore air during half the season. Others are due to schedule conflicts. Either way, it's always exciting to see some shows premiere in the middle of the season when other shows tend to be falling into their midseason funk.
Below are returning shows that are premiering this January that I am most looking forward to. There are a few networks that have multiple shows, so they are grouped up like that.
Portlandia (Season 2 Premiere Jan. 6 on IFC)
Late 2010/early 2011 IFC gave me two reasons to tune in for original programming. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (TIPDOTM) quietly premiered in October 2010 and Portlandia premiered in January 2011 with awkward fun. Portlandia is a sketch show starring SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein. Their brand of indy hipster comedy targeting the similar population of Portland is a refreshingly different type of show. Season 2 will be ten episodes (Season 1 had six) and feature guest appearances by Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jeff Goldblum, Eddie Vedder and Kyle MacLaclan returning as the Seattle-hating mayor of Portland.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (Season 2 Premiere Jan. 6 on IFC)
TIPDOTM stars David Cross (Arrested Development) as Todd Margaret, an American who gets a job heading sales of an energy drink in London. His boss is played by the brilliant Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Up All Night) and his one employee is played by Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners). Todd is a compulsive liar who doesn’t know a thing about sales. Each episode finds Todd digging himself in a bigger hole, which sometimes results in cringe-inducing situations. The show is awkwardly funny and the season one finale left me wanting more.
Face Off (Season 2 Premiere Jan. 11 on SyFy)
SyFy's original reality competition series about special effects make-up artists begins it's second season this month. The first season was fun to watch. I am a big fan of the content, which is mainly sci-fi/ fantasy/horror. This season will bring in new contestants trying to win the chance to be the next big special effects artist. Compeitions will include reimagined Wizard of Oz characters, dino-humans and more.
Being Human (Season 2 Premiere Jan. 16 on SyFy)
American remakes of British shows have certainly been done before, some successfully (The Office) and others not (Viva Laughlin!). Being Human appears positioned to remain in the successful category. The first season about three unusual roommates (a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire) was exciting and borrowed just enough from its British counterpart. With the death of the major antagonist of season one taking place in the finale, it’ll be interesting to see what the writers have come up with for season two.
Justified (Season 3 Premiere Jan. 17 on FX)
The first season of Justified was good, and I was just happy to see Timothy Olyphant on tv in a cowboy hat again. I had no idea what was to come. Season 2 jumped up to a whole new level and helped Justified become not only my favorite drama on television, but one of my favorite overall shows. If you look at my 2011 tv reviews you’ll see that in the drama categories Justified had my #1,2 and 10 favorite male characters and #1 and 10 favorite female characters. It’s safe to say I am highly anticipating the third season.
Archer (Season 3 Premiere Jan. 19 on FX)
The best animated show on television premieres its third season January 19. Archer follows the exploits of self-centered secret agent Sterling Archer and his agency ISIS.
30 Rock (Season 6 Premiere Jan. 12 on NBC)
I can’t believe 30 Rock is about to premiere its sixth season. 30 Rock continues to produce strong episodes thanks to its clever (though sometimes too clever) writing and hilarious cast. One thing I’m interested in seeing is how they handle the death of Kim Jong Il, who just happens to be an important character in the show. Apparently Il (portrayed by comedienne Margaret Cho) was to feature in multiple episodes, as the North Korean dictator had kidnapped and married Jack’s wife Avery (Elizabeth Banks) last season.
White Collar (Season 3.5 Premiere Jan. 17 on USA)
This technically is a continuation of season 3 that began airing last summer, but since it wasn’t on for a few months I consider it a mid-season return. The midseason finale ended with Elizabeth Burke, Peter’s wife, having been kidnapped. It appears that Neal’s possession of a stolen treasure has to do with the kidnapping, so he may have to come clean to his partner.
An Idiot Abroad (Season 2 Premiere Jan. 21 on Science Channel)
The first season of An Idiot Abroad was an incredibly satisfying surprise. Idiot is a travel show created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant which finds their bumbling and unworldly friend Karl Pilkington traveling to see the seven wonders. Karl gives the viewer a point of view that no other travel show gives, a skeptical one. I find this important as most other travel shows tend to sugarcoat things. Anyone who has traveled the world knows there can be times and experiences that make you wish you were in the comfort of your home, and this show embraces that. The second season is called An Idiot Abroad: The Bucket List, so I imagine Karl will be experiencing typical “things to do before you die.” Of course Ricky and Stephen will have plenty of surprises in store for Karl as they hope to cause him displeasure.
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