[W00T: a expression of joy after a triumph (or an obvious victory).]
The alchemy of fan joy remains a mystery – it’s a highly subjective business – but sadly for me 2012 was a year of near-woot-misses (I’m looking at you, Legend of Korra – and even you, my dear Sherlock). And while there were plenty of books, movies and TV shows I enjoyed, I just kept finding that something, however ephemeral, was holding me back from that pure, unadulterated glee, that Breakfast Club style fist pump. So here are the rather few (but still proud) that amped me up, geeked me out, and left me ridiculously happy in 2012. Welcome to The Woot List.
A hilariously forthright pirate girl ducks out on her arranged marriage, steals a camel, and takes off on a magical adventure across desert and sea – and holy moly I loved it. This book came out of nowhere and ambushed me with its awesomeness – it has it all: originality, pacing, humor, and even a romance to root for. I seriously cannot wait for the next book!
I cannot even begin to describe how many times I laughed out loud while reading this book. Far and away my favorite narrator of the year, Sheila Turnage’s Mo is a true character, in every sense. Mo’s delightful turns of phrase and dry, colorful humor make this book shine – and all in all her charm is downright impossible to resist.
The Silvered by Tanya Huff
This book is old school, classic high fantasy – immersive, detailed and rich, but with a clean, focused narrative through-line – and I loved every second of it. Werewolves and Empires and Napoleonic-style warfare, oh my! And while the end of this story falters just a hair, overall I pretty much snogged the heck out this book.
Ignore the lame cover, this is the best YA mystery you haven’t read. A brilliant exploration of friendship and high school life, teaming with fascinating, complicated characters – this book is fantastic, and I’m still stunned that no one seems to have heard of it.
Revenge, season 2
While I rather enjoyed the first season of ABC’s Count of Monte Cristo retelling, with its mix of mystery/soap/revenge drama, to be frank the show did stall out at times, and my interest would wax and wane – but I am so very glad that I stuck with this show, because season two has had me glued to the TV every Sunday. Revenging is happening all over the place, the flashbacks have been downright delectable (that Thanksgiving episode was a treat), and Emily has actually shown a touch of vulnerability this season, which I love. The arc with Emily’s Mom, the Fauxmanda of it all, even the fact that they finally managed to give Jack a decent storyline (though it took a few eps to rev up) – this show has found its groove, to be sure, and I can’t wait to see who makes the next move in this crazy chess match of a series. Well played, Mike Kelley, well played…
All Frank Spotnitz TV (i.e. Hunted & Strike Back, season 1)
I’m pretty much a card-carrying, life-long X-Files fan, so when the name Frank Spotnitz (one of The Guys behind all things Mulder & Scully) popped up on a couple of shows this year (Hunted and Strike Back, both on Cinemax), I just about sprinted to my TV. And man oh man was I not disappointed! Hunted is a delectably twisty, unabashedly smart spy show set in the world of private intelligence firms (which is right up Spotnitz’s X-Files-y conspiracy/paranoia alley), and I was just mesmerized. Basically if Three Days of the Condor and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy had a love child, it would be this show. And as for Strike Back – well I was dubious going in, I’ll admit it, but wow did it turn out to be the best action TV I’ve seen in years. Yes, this is a show about manly men doing manly things – and it definitely throws in a fair bit of T&A just to be SURE to appeal to the fellas – but it’s smarter than you’d think, it knows how to deliver, and all in all it makes for a ridiculous amount of fun. I mean, Cinemax – who knew?
So there you have it – my W00t List, 2012, those precious few which reduced me to a puddle of fan glee. What got you this year?