UnderScoopFire Best of 2012 List

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Lists

Another year has passed.


Instead of moping about how we can’t follow Chris Brown on Twitter anymore, let’s have a good time re-living and recognizing some of the things that were great about 2012.


AMC’s The Walking Dead (Reader’s Choice)

This was a tight one. Out of 9 reader nominees, The Walking Dead received 24% of the final vote, barely edging out Breaking Bad at 21% and Game of Thrones also at 21%. After being nominated by 4 different readers, Homeland only secured 3% of the final vote. According to AdWeek’s ratings projections, The Walking Dead is on track to beat every fall show on broadcast TV.

hopefully nothing in this image spoils anything for anyone


Kate McKinnon

A bright spot in the post-Wiig/Forte/Samberg SNL talent pool. A veteran of Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show, lots of people are touting her as the ‘next Kristen Wiig‘ – although there can never be another one of these.



This is a company that just seems to do everything right. By the way, why did I tear up when I read the story in that link? I’m blaming it on sympathy pregnancy hormones. That’s a thing, right? Oh yeah, and THESE just hit the market.


New Girl (Reader’s Choice)

Pitted against 7 other television comedies, New Girl got 27% of the reader vote, edging out Community and Modern Family. Remember when 30 minute network TV wasn’t funny anymore? That changed quickly. Out of 8 shows nominated, the only non-network entries were FX’s The League and HBO’s Eastbound & Down. Fox’s New Girl is at the top of its game, and look who just showed up.

I can’t say much more about New Girl before you tire of my affectionate blathering (you probably already have). For new readers: Nick Miller was our 2012 TV Character of the Year.


This Sunset

Inarguably the best reaction to/comment about a sunset in TV/universe history.

image: ShezCrafti – Kenny Powers’ 10 Kindest Moments


Gravity Falls

Here are 5 reasons you should be watching the best new animated show on television.


The Avengers (Reader’s Choice)

You didn’t have to be Nate Silver to see this one coming. Garnering 72% of the reader vote, Joss Whedon’s triumphant superhero team-up film was hard to beat. Although there did seem to be a late push by Skyfall and Wreck-It Ralph, The Avengers made such a huge first impression and aged well.


American Horror Story: Asylum

One of the few holdovers from the 2011 Best of List, the FX show is great again this year, but for all different reasons. Last year’s incarnation gave us the “ahh, I get it- the real “American horror story” is the fear of buying a house you can’t afford, being stuck in it, discovering your spouse’s infidelity, and having insufferable neighbors” in a delicious slow-burn of a season. It was genius really, take all of modern America’s realistic fears and dial them up to 11.

This year, the dial is still set at 11, but Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are brilliantly dialing up every horror trope we’ve ever been scared of. (Bonus: Ian McShane as Evil Santa Claus.) Demonic possession, Nazis, alien abduction, serial killers, medical experimentation, wrongful imprisonment, creatures in the woods- for Christ’s sake, where’s the f’ing Mer-Man? Which brings me to…


The Cabin in the Woods


Another Whedon project. Whedon is to 2012 as JJ Abrams, Jason Bateman, Betty White and Joseph Gordon Levitt are to various prior years – the guy can absolutely do no wrong. For the record, White and Gordon-Levitt will probably never do wrong ever, and I’d be unshocked to learn that he is her grandson from when she was briefly married to Santa Claus.

The only plausible explanation

Right. Cabin in the Woods. Sorry. This movie flexed every muscle a horror movie can flex, to the point where I’d be as comfortable to classify it as a sci-fi film as I am horror. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely delights as a horror movie, but it goes so much farther. The ending is so corn-shit crazy it’s ridiculous. The genre’s bar has been raised.


Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Reader’s Choice)

The readers chose Nick’s TMNT action figures (by Playmates) as the Toy of the Year in a landslide. The attraction to the toy line is directly tied to the success of the Nickelodeon animated series. In my neck of the woods, the TMNT toys warmed the pegs of the local stores for the months leading up to the show’s premiere. But just as Donatello started getting familiar with Arctic Destro and Marvel Universe’s Gladiator, the show debuted, kicked serious ass, and the toys began selling out.

I didn’t hesitate to unilaterally name these guys the 2012 Action Figure of the Year back in early November. Sometimes I take liberties with this site.


Charlie Hunnam

Hunnam steals scenes on a regular basis on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. I’ve been trying to fantasy cast him as a Marvel or DC superhero/villain for years now- any suggestions? Keep in mind the naturally occurring British accent. I actually think he’d be a great Joker in an inevitable Bat-reboot. Of course, Aquaman might be a good fit as well.


The Village Gate Toy Show

Never disappoints.


Aquaman (Reader’s Choice)

The ‘Best Ongoing Comic Book of 2012’ saw the most reader votes cast of any category. It’s possible that Andy Kapellusch rallied his legion of Aquaman fans to hit the polls and carry the King of Atlantis to victory; regardless- this is a great book.

As part of DC’s New 52 creative team reorganization in 2011, writer Geoff Johns turned his attention to Aquaman. After restoring The Flash and Green Lantern to DCU prominence, his goal was to make Aquaman relatable and entertaining- and he succeeded. Through 14 issues, this doesn’t feel like an “underwater” book about “fish people”. Johns cut the haters off at the pass, addressing things early on as a blogger interviews Aquaman at a restaurant- “Hey, aren’t you the guy who talks to fish?”

The upcoming Throne of Atlantis crossover story arc could make this book a frontrunner for the Best of 2013 List as well.


Bob’s Burgers

The Simpsons and Family Guy had Sunday’s Animation Domination market cornered. Not anymore! Bob’s Burgers is now king and one of the most underated shows on TV. – Tank


fun. “Some Nights” (Reader’s Choice)

Garnering 31% of the vote, “Some Nights” was chosen as the Best Album of 2012. Fun. grew in popularity after the widespread release of the hit singles “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monáe, and “Some Nights”.


Blind Bags

LEGO Minifigures, Nitro Mites, Trash Packs, Bonka Zonks, Playmobil, Marvel Grab Zags – all 2012 synonyms for “Howie crack”. I can’t walk past a display of these without picking one up, or in the case of LEGO Minifigs- aggressively pawing about the package in an attempt to determine which specific figure it holds.


Kick Ass 2

The issues have been in print since 2010, but on June 13, 2012 we finally got the collected edition graphic novel. Those who crave blood and violence of the highest order will not be disappointed. In 2013 we get the movie adaptation to whet our violent tendencies. -Tank

image via NerdyNothings.com


They Live (Collector’s Edition) Blu Ray

Just get it. If you read this site there’s a 74% chance you really want it. Pull the trigger.


Mike Trout

Once in a lifetime Major League Baseball talent. Pay attention baseball fans, this is our Mickey Mantle.


Star Wars Angry Birds (Reader’s Choice)

Rovio’s juggernaut Angry Birds game gains the ultimate geek license. I wanted to resist, being kinda burnt out on Angry Birds, but man this game is fun. Just enough new wrinkles to keep it interesting, without ruining the game with too many bells and blasters.

He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe was not nominated, but I have to give it honorable mention. A fun side-scroller that harkens back to the last time I was into video games, you control He-Man as he battles henchman after henchman in pursuit of Skeletor. After last week’s update, you can play as She-Ra as well!


Toy Hunter

It’s just fun to see all those vintage toys highlighted weekly on television. On no other show will you see things like Snake Mountain and a M.A.S.K. Switchblade prominently displayed.


Scott Snyder

I’ve always been a Batman fan and a comic book fan, but never a Batman comic fan. Snyder has changed that- so much so, that Batman is the only title I make sure to buy and read the day it comes out. He’s a great guy to follow on Twitter as well- he has meaningful and funny interactions with the fans. His creator-owned American Vampire is another one of the best ongoing series in all of comics. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Vampire’s Skinner Sweet take his act to cable or the big screen very soon.


Greg Capullo

Capullo’s art on Batman (above left) brings Snyder’s story to life. They’re a perfect team.


Gyp Rosetti

One of the greatest villains ever on TV. -Joe


Wreck-It Ralph

If you’re a child of the 80s, Wreck-It Ralph was made for you. If not, you still get a fun, visually beautiful ride of a movie that will leave you with tears of joy and laughter. -Tank


The new iMac

I guess it’s good. That’s what Battle Armor Joe tells me.


Batman: Arkham City (Reader’s Choice)

Batman: Arkham City received 28% of the vote, edging out Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and defeating 7 other nominated games in the Best Video Game of 2012 category.


Peyton Manning

Guy has still got it. The Broncos are quietly positioning themselves for a #1 or 2 seed in the AFC Playoffs, and with home field advantage in a place like Denver; Manning is set to do some postseason damage.


The possibility of a Boba Fett movie

..or a Darth Vader Jedi Purge film. While Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm was certainly a newsworthy item in 2012, time will tell if any products of the merger make future ‘Best Of’ lists. The possibilities are endless, and for now all we can do is hope.


The Griswolds

This summer the cast of Vacation reunited for Entertainment Weekly’s ‘Reunions’ issue. Other configurations of the Griswold family can currently be seen on Christmas Vacation-themed Old Navy ads. It started with Clark, Ellen, and “Christmas Vacation” Audrey (Juliette Lewis). The latest version (called “Sweater Sequels“) still features Clark, Ellen, and the Juliette Lewis Audrey, but they are joined by a host of other Rustys and Audreys, including the wildly underrated “Euro Rusty”.

The fact that they are all narrated by Martin Short (host of SNL’s upcoming Christmas episode) certainly doesn’t hurt.



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Dex (@Dex1138) December 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Re: Marvel Universe’s Gladiator
Please don’t ever mention that figure. My Target has had the same @#%!@? SEVEN Gladiators on the pegs for months which is why they’re not putting out anything new.

Re: Aquaman
I dove into most of the N52 when it started. I dropped books as months went on. The only two I’m still reading are Aquaman (because it’s good!) and Flash (because he’s a long time favorite).


Howie Decker December 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Yeah what is up with those Gladiator figs?

Glad you like Aquaman too.


Paul G. December 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hunnam as Aquaman would be awesome..


James December 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

Man Beverly D’Angelo looks rough in that pic from the summer but she looks good in the Old Navy ads. Shouldn’t have went for Botox the day before the shoot, Bev!


More0_0Than December 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Great list, very happy to see some of my favorites (Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Cabin In The Woods, Avengers)on here as well as re-afriming some of the things on my 2012 to-do list that haven’t been gotten around to yet (Bob’s Burgers, The New Girl, Wreck It Ralph, Arkham City). Great stuff as usual!


Howie Decker December 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thanks for reading Tom! Always appreciate the feedback.


Kap El December 13, 2012 at 1:45 am

AWWWWWWW YEAH! No bad choices! Glad to see my fellow FOAMers were out in FULL EFFECT to bring Aquaman some serious UnderScoop GOLD.


Howie Decker December 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

Yes! I was quite impressed/supportive of all the Aquaman love on this year’s list. I’ve always been a fan (see here http://underscoopfire.com/why-the-world-needs-aquaman/ ), and he needs more recognition!


Paul G. January 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm

and McKinnon is awesome onn SNL, though it seems they have forgotten about her or she earned her way into Lorne’s doghouse over the last few eps.


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