My Top 10 Albums of 2012

10. Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
This album had a slightly new sound from the band that on their previous records.
Favorite tracks: “How To Live” “A Little Biblical” “Shut-In Tourist” “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” “Heartbreak On The 101”

9. Mumford & Sons – Babel
The highs on this might not be as high as on Sigh No More, but there is a lot of really good music on here.  Glad to have Mumford & Sons back with new music.
Favorite tracks: “I Will Wait” “Lover Of The Light” “Below My Feet”

8. Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
Some of the bluesiest rock of the year was on this album.
Favorite tracks: “Sweet Sour” “Bruises” “The Devil Takes Care Of His Own” “You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On” “Lies”

7. fun. – Some Nights
The best Queen-influenced album in a long time.
Favorite tracks: “Some Nights” “We Are Young” “Carry On” “One Foot” “Stars”

6. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Here
I feel like I’m listening to an AM folk station from the 60s when I listen to this band.  In a good way.  A really good way.  I feel like this is the kind of music the Dharma Initiative would have listened to on Lost.
Favorite tracks: “The Man On Fire” “That’s What’s Up” “I Don’t Wanna Pray” “Dear Believer”

5. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Extraordinary Machine remains my favorite album of hers, but this is such an impressive album and I really wish she was more prolific in her song making.
Favorite tracks: “Jonathan” “Werewolf” “Anything We Want” “Hot Knife”

4. Jack White – Blunderbuss
Jack White, completely unfiltered.  Not limited by the structure of The White Stripes, or the collaborative nature of The Raconteurs.  And culling influences from the entire breadth of rock/blues history.
Favorite tracks: “Sixteen Saltines” “Love Interruption” “I’m Shakin'” “Trash Tongue Talker”

3. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
As The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Wye Oak and others have reminded us recently, sometimes less IS more.  This is the hardest rocking album of the year, and the most aptly titled album of the year.
Favorite tracks: “The Nights Of Wine And Roses” “Fire’s Highway” “Evil’s Sway” “For The Love Of Ivy” “Adrenaline Nightshift” “Younger Us” “The House That Heaven Built” “Continuous Thunder” (Yes, that is ALL of the tracks!)

2. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
These guys tried to take back the sound of folk and Americana from British imports Mumford & Sons.  They mostly succeeded.
Favorite tracks: “Flowers In Your Hair” “Classy Girls” “Submarines” “Dead Sea” “Ho Hey” “Slow It Down” “Big Parade” “Morning Song”

1. Of Monsters and Men – My Head Is An Animal
The Lumineers mostly succeeded, because this Icelandic group swooped in and caught everyone unawares.
Favorite tracks: “Dirty Paws” “King And Lionheart” “Little Talks” “Six Weeks” “Love Love Love” “Sloom” “Lakehouse”



20 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the 90s

[Please check out my new blog, Jonesing For Film, a movie review blog]

I compiled this list with the one criteria that I couldn’t include any of the “big” bands of the 90s Rock scene.  So Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, U2, Foo Fighters, and a few others were excluded.  They’re not exactly “deep cuts” and a few of them were big hits, but a few of them have also probably gotten lost in the shuffle.  Almost every time I hear them, I’m transported back to high school.

20. Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot: Before “Take My Picture” there was this song.

19. Collective Soul – Run: Varsity Blues soundtrack

18. Counting Crows – A Murder of One

17. Barenaked Ladies – Alternative Girlfriend: I love two lines from this song. 1.) “Your parents understand, but you don’t care.” And 2.) Old at being young, young at being old.”

16. The Eels – Novocaine for the Soul: Before I sputter out…

15. The Dandy Warhols – Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth: Heroine IS so passe.

14. The Nixons – Sister: I had forgotten this song and was very happy when I stumbled across it a few years ago.

13. The Presidents of the United States of America – Peaches: Always loved these guys. Hard to pick between this and a few other songs.

12. Schtum – Skydiver: This song makes me think of the Saturday Morning Recovery Show on 94.3 WCYY.

11. The Sundays – Summertime: I wish this band had been bigger. I love the voice of the lead singer. Also great is “Here’s Where the Story Ends.”

10. Local H – High-Fiving M.F.: “Your glory days are over and so’s your stone-washed jeans.” Yeah, take that, hair bands… (NSFW because of language)

9. The Flys – Got You (Where I Want You): For the teens who didn’t watch Dawson’s Creek, this song, for the Disturbing Behavior soundtrack, made us fall in love with Katie Holmes. Also, the rest of their album sounded NOTHING like this song.

8. Butthole Surfers – Pepper: Quiet, loud, quiet loud. “They were all in love with Di and they were doing it in Texas.”

7. Spacehog – In the Meantime: I still don’t understand all of the lyrics, but I love this song.

6. Seven Mary Three – Lucky: “Cumbersome” is a grungier song, but I loved the stripped down nature of this song.

5. The Bogmen – Suddenly: Just a fun, funny song. I shout this one out in my car whenever it comes across my iPod.

4. Soul Coughing – Super Bon Bon: Awesome awesome awesome beat.

3. Everclear – Santa Monica: The best Everclear song. Great guitar riff. And one of my favorites of all time.

2. Rustic Overtones – Iron Boots: Horn section in this song is so awesome. Hard to find a clean version on YouTube because they’re not well-known outside of Maine. But this is easily one of my most favorite songs of all time.

1. Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike: I said no Pearl Jam and no Soundgarden, but I didn’t say anything about Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell together in the same song. Again, one of my most favorite songs. Ever. Period. Special bonus, I’m posting the music video AND the surprise performance that they sprung on the world a few years back that gave me chills.

~Moose (

Most Anticipated Movies of (the Rest of) 2012

I should have done this list at the beginning of the year.  In fact, I made the list up at the beginning of the year, but forgot to put it on here.  It would have included The Hunger Games and Chronicle for sure, both of which I did enjoy.  So minus those two movies, here are 15 that I’m looking forward to in 2012.

15. Stoker – TBD 2012 – Chan-wook Park’s first American film.  After killing it in South Korea for the last 15 years or so, Park takes a stab at exporting his horror/thriller sensibilities to America.  With an interesting cast (Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Goode) I’m going to be keeping my eye on this one.

14. The Campaign – August 12 – A comedy featuring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis about two rival North Carolina politicians on the campaign trail running against one another, directed by Jay Roach.  Sounds like a quality trio of hilarity.

13. Gravity – November 21 – Alfonso Cauron’s first directorial feature effort since 2006’s Children of Men.  This movie stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  Bullock plays a woman returning home from a space mission by herself to reunite with her daughter.  Cauron is famous for having long, extended takes in his films, and I heard recently that this one has a 17 minute uninterrupted opening take.

12. Brave – June 22 – Pixar attempts to get back on top of the animated mountain after their first real blemish with Cars 2.  I believe this is going to be a slightly “darker” and “grown up” Pixar movie (relatively speaking, of course).  Everything I’ve seen so far has looked amazing.

11. Only God Forgives – TBD 2012 – Drive was one of my favorite movies of 2011.  This movie has the director (Nicolas Winding Refn) and the star (Ryan Gosling) of that movie getting back together for a movie about a police officer and a gangster settling their differences in a Thai-boxing match in Thailand.  I’m willing to go wherever these two are taking this movie.

10. Skyfall – November 9 – I like the Bond franchise, but I’m looking forward to this one more than the usual Bond film.  Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are back.  But it seems like they have decided to blow the doors out on this one, by surrounding Craig with great talent that has maybe never been equaled in a Bond movie before.  Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem are in this movie along with Naomie Harris and the director is Sam Mendes.  I’m especially intrigued by Mendes, as a franchise film in the Bond series is such a departure from anything he has ever done before.

9. The Master – October 12 – Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie since There Will Be Blood.  This is a very tight-lipped production.  Not much is really known about it.  Most of the speculation is that it is loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but most likely as a jumping off point for a more fictional tale as opposed to an outright biopic or in-depth portrayal of the Hollywood “religion.”  I’ll be interested to see as its release nears how the Scientology folks in Hollywood will react to it.

8. The Cabin in the Woods – April 13 – The only movie on this list currently in theaters.  I am seeing this movie on Friday.  I have been anticipating this movie for a while, as it has been on the shelf for 3 years after multiple delays.  The studio that produced it closed up shop.  Then the studio that bought it wanted to convert it to a 3-D feature.  Then that plan was scrapped.  And now it’s getting a release a few weeks before The Avengers, the “other” feature film that Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth are attached to this year.  Reviews for this movie have been through the roof!

7. Seven Psychopaths – TBD 2012 – One of my favorite black comedies of the last few years was In Bruges.  While it has some dark subject matter, dealing with hitmen lying low in Bruges after a job gone wrong, it had a hilarious dialogue and great performances from Colin Farrell and Brenden Gleeson.  Writer/director Martin McDonagh actually got an Oscar nomination for the screenplay, which was totally deserved.  Here, Farrell and McDonagh re-team for another gangster comedy, along with Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and a great supporting cast.

6. Looper – September 28 – Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt should be enough to warrant interest in a movie for me.  But what really puts this movie over the top is that it is written and directed by Rian Johnson, the man behind Brick and The Brothers Bloom.  Not only that, but it’s a movie about time travel.  And not only that, but he also had Primer writer/director/actor Shane Carruth consult on the movie.

5. Django Unchained – December 25 – Quentin Tarantino is back this Christmas with the sure-to-be bloody tale of a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to free his wife from a notorious plantation in the pre-Civil War South.  Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and an all-star cast easily make this an event to see.

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – December 14 – Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth!  This project has been long in the making and once had Guillermo Del Toro attached to direct with Jackson only serving in a screenplay and production capacity.  Del Toro left and Jackson stepped back in to finish the job.  Very excited for this.  Love the cast.  Interested to see how they treat this story as they are breaking the book into two movies and expanding on some parts of the book and adding in some extras of their own.  But I trust Peter Jackson, despite his misstep with The Lovely Bones.  He could make a quality Hobbit movie in his sleep.

3. The Avengers – May 4 – This movie has had a long build-up, starting all the way back in 2008 with the first Iron Man in a scene at the end of the credits between Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.  Since then there has been a Hulk movie, a second Iron Man movie, a Thor movie, and a Captain America movie that have all built toward assembling them all in this movie.  They went a got Joss Whedon to write the screenplay and direct the movie, a move that is sure to win over the fanboys.  Everything is suggesting that this will be a huge kickoff to the summer movie season.  More importantly, the early buzz is that the movie, especially its last act, is awesome.

2. The Dark Knight Rises – July 20 – “Whaaaaaaat????” you may be asking yourself.  How is it possible that there is any other movie I am looking forward to more this year than the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga?  Well, I’ll get into that coming up, but make no mistake, I am eagerly awaiting this movie.  Christopher Nolan is a director I trust implicitly.  I do not think the man has made a bad movie yet.  And I think he will nail it this time around and give the audience a proper ending to his trilogy, something that is apparently hard to achieve in superhero movies (damn you, Spidey 3…).  I love the casting of Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway as Bane and Catwoman, respectively.  And you’ve also got JGL and Marion Cotillard in supporting roles.  This is going to be the biggest movie of the summer, no doubt about it.  I am hoping/expecting it to break all kinds of box office opening weekend records.  Could it be the first movie to break the $200 million opening weekend mark?  I think it’s got a shot.  I have nothing but love for The Dark Knight and this movie is really more like a “1b.” than a “2” for me.

1. Prometheus – June 8 – For the longest time, whenever the words “movies” and “2012” popped into my head, the only thing I could think of was The Dark Knight Rises.  For another movie to come along and knock it out of the #1 spot for me would require a “Once in a Generation”-type of potential.  And for me, Prometheus has the potential to reach that level.  It started out as a full-on prequel to Alien.  Then it shifted a bit and we were told it would merely “exist in the same universe” that Alien had established.  And then the trailers and stills and promotional material and viral videos started to come out for the movie and it was clearly more than just a movie that existed in the “same universe.”  It is a prequel, whether director Ridley Scott wants to call it that or not.  However directly or indirectly, it is a prequel to Alien.  It takes place on the same planet that the Nostromo goes to in response to a distress signal at the beginning of Alien.  It’s got the famous “space jokey” in the trailers.  It doesn’t have Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley or (as we’ve been told repeatedly) a Xenomorph alien, but for all intents and purposes, this movie will set the stage for the conditions that the original Alien starts in.  And this is a BIG DEAL.  Ridley Scott is returning to the sci-fi genre for the first time in 30 years.  His other two sci-fi efforts were the aforementioned Alien and Blade Runner.  Those two movies are all-time greats.  If there were a Mt. Rushmore of sci-fi movies they would be on it right beside 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars.  They are pantheon-level movies.  So for the director of those movies to feel like there is something there worth still exploring, that is something I am excited about and am going to take notice of.  Alien is one of my favorite films of all time.  I can still vividly remember the first time I watched it as a teenager.  All of the promotion for this movie has worked like a charm.  I am captivated.  I would take on a face-hugger for this movie!  And it’s got a great cast.  June 8th cannot come fast enough.


Artists I Want To Hear From In 2012

10. Tool – We’re closing in on six years since Tool released 10,000 Days.  I’m sure they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they make really great rock music.  They are known to take their time in between albums, with 5 years in between Aenima, Lateralus, and 10,000 Days.  But when they do come out with new material, it is rock solid.  Lateralus was one of my favorite albums of the previous decade and 10,000 Days had some great singles in “Vicarious”, “Jambi” and “The Pot.”  If they come out with anything this year, it will be a welcome addition to the 2012 rock landscape.

9. Muse – Muse seemed to really hit it big with The Resistance in 2009, becoming one of the biggest rock bands in the world.  They make big, anthemic progressive rock and when that works, it really works.  The Resistance produced a lot of big singles, but I sometimes wondered what exactly it was that they were resisting and raging against in their songs.  In the long run, it didn’t really matter, as they make great big music to sing along to.  There is talk that they are working on a new album already, so we’ll see what 2012 brings from these radio-friendly rockers.

8. Mumford & Sons – These guys had a monster 2010 and it looks like they are readying for a follow-up album to be released this year.  It is going to be interesting to see if the indie folk genre is sustainable or if there will be too many bands out their replicating their sound to be able to achieve success again.  If they can make an album that is as enjoyable and accessible as Sigh No More, then things will be alright.

7. Kings of Leon – It feels like their star has faded a bit, like they peaked with Only by the Night and the smash hits “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.”  Come Around Sundown was released in the latter half of 2010, and they usually put out music at a steady clip, with releases in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010.  So it is possible that they would release something toward the end of this year, but they could take a step back like their ‘04-‘07 period.  As divisive as their musical progression has been for some of their fans, I still enjoy their sound, though I wouldn’t mind a return to the grittier sounds of their first few albums and away from the polish of their last couple.

6. Anything Jack White – The White Stripes are done.  I’ve shed my tears, rent my garments, covered my head in ashes, and started to piece my heart back together.  In the wake of that, I’ll take anything “full-length” that Jack White has to offer musically.  Whether it is in the form of a new Raconteurs album or The Dead Weather or a solo album or some other collaboration he is prominently involved in.

5. Damien Rice – This guy seems to be notorious for taking his time to release new albums.  It seemed like I was waiting forever for 2006’s 9, a follow-up to 2002’s O.  And while 9 wasn’t as good as his first album, it was still enough to keep me interested.  But now we’re closing in on six years since his last release.  And there is no hint of anything new on the horizon.  I wonder how much of an effect his breakup with Lisa Hannigan had on his music.  She was a longtime collaborator and girlfriend and their relationship ended poorly.  Since that time, she has produced two really good albums and he’s gone rather silent.

4. Band of Skulls – These guys have a bluesy rock sound similar to The White Stripes and The Black Keys.  However, as their debut album, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, showed, they are a very versatile band.  It seems like they have 2 or 3 competing influences and give them all a chance to be aired on the album.  They’re listed as having a February 21st release for their second album, Sweet Sour.  I’ll be interested to see if a dominant influence emerges.

3. Arcade Fire – Arcade Fire have released three very impressive albums, with the last one The Suburbs, winning the Grammy.  They have usually gone 2-3 years between albums, so 2012 might be a bit early for a follow-up to Suburbs, which came out in August 2010.  But I can hope.

2. The Shins – The last Shins album was 2007’s Wincing the Night Away.  Since then, James Mercer, the lead singer, replaced all of the other band members with new performers.  And he has had a successful run with Danger Mouse in forming Broken Bells, releasing one EP and LP.  So this new album will be different, but hopefully not too different.  On March 20th, Port of Morrow will come out.  This makes me happy.  This new album with a new lineup will be different, but hopefully not too different.  At least one of my musical appetites will be sated this year.

1. Fiona Apple – It’s been seven, SEVEN, calendar years (six years and about 3 months) since Fiona Apple released Extraordinary Machine in October of 2005.  It may come as a surprise to some that I would list her at the top, but, man, do I missed her voice.  She is easily my favorite female artist.  As far as I’m concerned, Norah Jones, Alicia Keyes and any of these other singer/songwriter ladies are merely pretenders to the throne and Fiona puts them all back in their place whenever she releases something new.  Nobody else on this list has had as much time elapse between when they released their last album.  She has stated recently that she made new music that has been done for over a year and it’s just sitting on a shelf.  Given the difficulty she has had getting Extraordinary Machine released, it is no surprise, but I hope it sees the light of day sooner rather than later.


Top 10 Movies of 2011

I really struggled with this list.  At one point I thought about expanding it to a Top 25.  And for quite a while I had it as a Top 20.  But at the end of the day, it would have just been too long.  So I said to myself, if I could only have 10 movies to have 2011 be known by, which 10 would I pick?  So that is what this list is.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – This is sort of a lifetime achievement award, a culmination of a pretty good series of movies.  They did a really good job concluding this film franchise with this movie.

9. Beginners – Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent may have been the most adorable on screen coupling of the year.  Christopher Plummer put in an amazing performance here as well.  Most of the news about this movie focused on the aspect that Plummer’s character revealing late in life that he is gay, but the real focus of this movie is relationships, particularly the one between the father and son.

8. Source Code – Duncan Jones makes really good sci-fi movies.  Moon was one of my favorite movies of 2009 and so I was very excited to see this follow-up effort from him and it did not disappoint.

7. Bridesmaids – Funniest movie of the year.  Kristen Wiig, as much as I sometimes can’t stand her on SNL, was really good in this movie.  Melinda McCarthy had a breakthrough performance as well.  And Rose Byrne, who was all over the place in 2011, was really good in the somewhat-antagonists role.

6. Crazy, Stupid, Love – Why can’t more romantic comedies be like this movie?  Outside of the horror genre, I think the rom com genre is the most overrated in terms of producing the most dreck that people have to sift through in order to find the few gems that are out there.  This was a definite gem.  2011 was the “Year of the Gosling,” and this movie was a major part of that in showing his versatility and range as an actor.  Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore were also their typical reliable selves.

5. The Muppets – A welcomed return by the Muppets.  I was a bit worried about this movie, not sure if they would be able to pull it off or if it would have the same spirit as the other Muppets movies and the tv show had when I was younger.  They pulled it off.  You can tell that Jason Segel and the people who made this movie had a real love and respect for the Muppets.  I also loved that Bret Mackenzie of Flight of the Conchords wrote some of the music for the movie.  “Man or Muppet” felt like a Conchords song.  And Chris Cooper was great as the villain.  Maniacal laugh.  Maniacal laugh!

4. 13 Assassins – This might have been my favorite movie of the year.  I’m cheating a bit here, because the movie was released in most countries in 2010, but it had a brief US release in the spring of 2011.  Takashi Miike makes some of the most graphic, gory, violent, and distrubing movies.  This movie had all of that, but most of the graphic gore in this movie came from the violent action and less from some of the disturbing things sometimes found in Miike movies.  The first half of this movie is mostly build-up, but the last half is basically one non-stop action sequence that is just wonderously bloody and beautifully choreographed.  It puts Hollywood action movies to shame.

3. Drive – This movie, along with Crazy, Stupid, Love, and The Ides of March made this the “Year of the Gosling.”  Of his three big movies, this was the best.  A stylized, neo-noir thriller with a killer 80’s-style soundtrack, Drive was a really unique movie experience.  It even had a kind-of-homage to Halloween.  And the elevator scene with Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan was one of the best scenes of the year.  Just a cool, cool movie.

2. 50/50 – I felt like this movie had a high degree of difficulty.  It’s a comedy where cancer is prominently involved.  Ok, it’s more of a dramedy, but I don’t really like to use that word too much.  Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt made a great pairing as best friends.  The movie made me want to fall in love with Anna Kendrick, who plays JGL’s therapist.  More than anything, the movie seemed genuine and true to life, especially the scene in the hospital when he is surrounded by his family before heading into surgery,  The emotion conveyed during that scene of fear and uncertainty was so effective.

1. The Tree of Life – Maybe a controversial movie in that it’s likely to be disliked by as many people who loved it, but it is the movie that stuck out to me the most this year in terms of what it seemed like everyone was talking about online for movies, it’s the movie that captivated me the most when I watched it, and it is the movie that has stuck with me the most after seeing it even now.  The acting is good, but what sticks with me with this movie is its impressive visuals: the vivid colors and the beauty of the world around us.  And the spritualness of this movie also left an impression on me.  I loved the visual, spiritual, poetry of this movie.  A splendid job by Terrence Malick.


2011 Movies: Honorable Mentions and Missed Opportunities

Before I list my Top 10 movies of 2011, I wanted to preface it with a list of movies that I missed out on:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Adventures of Tintin
Jane Eyre
We Bought a Zoo
The Descendants
Midnight in Paris
The Skin I Live In
Take Shelter
The Artist
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The Guard
War Horse

Also, here is a list of movies I saw this year that I enjoyed, but weren’t quite good enough for my Top 10, in no particular order:
X-Men: First Class
Super 8
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Adjustment Bureau
The Ides of March
Our Idiot Brother
Fright Night
Young Adult
Cedar Rapids
Win Win
The Way Back
Pearl Jam Twenty
The Lincoln Lawyer

Also, since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy didn’t become available in my area until this past weekend, I’m counting it as a 2012 movie and reserve the right to put it in my 2012 year-end list if I so choose.


New Year’s Pop Culture Resolution Suggestions for 2012

This is a list of entertainment (mostly, if not all, TV) I love that I know not enough people have experienced that if you’re looking for something to check out in 2012, you should give it a shot.

1. Mad Men – Four seasons in and every single season has won the Emmy for best drama.  But since it is a cable drama on AMC, I know that there are plenty of people who have not seen this show.  Do yourself a favor and watch.  All of the show is available on Netflix Instant Watch.

2. Breaking Bad – The other best drama on AMC.  Mad Men is a compelling ensemble show while Breaking Bad is spectacular deconstruction of a single character for the most part.  Such a great show.

3. Community – The show is on hiatus on NBC right now.  This is my most favoritest show.  It makes me laugh so consistently hard and it also balances the funny with some genuine sincereity that is incredibly rare for a sitcom.  I know its rapid fire jokes and style of comedy might not be for everybody, but it’s got a great cast and a it’s a wonderfully versatile show.  I love it so much.

4. The Wire – If you haven’t seen this show, you owe it to yourself.  It feels significant.  It’s compelling.  It’s ridiculously layered, but easy to follow.  It’s gripping and heartbreaking and the best show HBO has ever produced.

5. Party Down – A terrifically funny show about a catering business in Los Angeles that employs failed and/or struggling actors.  Only about 20 episodes of this show were made but they are all fantastic.

6. Firefly – If you don’t think Westerns and Sci-Fi can mix well, think again.  Such a shame this show never got a fair shake on Fox.  Speaking of which…

7. Arrested Development – Arguably the funniest show of the last decade.  And with a return of the series planned for 2013 and a potential movie also in the rumor pipeline, what better year than 2012 to dive into this series?

8. Friday Night Lights – This was an outstanding series.  I know for a fact that not nearly enough people watched this show.  You don’t even need to be a big fan of football to really enjoy this show.  It’s more about the characters and the stories they’re involved in than the game of football.  I’m going to miss the story of Coach and Mrs. Coach and their family and friends in Dillon, TX.