Some Stuff I Saw in 2012

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Here’s a quick list of some good films/television shows I saw this year. (Asterisks signify availability on Netflix Instant View.)

imagesThe Artist*

I just watched this for the third time. Yes, it’s that good. I paused it a few times when we watched it as a family—mainly to point out where I thought George dropped the ball with his marriage. (The film gives the impression that his marriage was already doomed and he would be better off abandoning it. Obviously that doesn’t jibe with what I want to teach my kids.) Other than that, it’s storytelling at its best: funny, heartbreaking, imaginative, entertaining, inspiring. Re-reading this, it’s a good time to point out that every one of these films probably has moments that might offend more sensitive viewers. Please don’t throw a brick through my virtual window. I’m a bit neurotic about recommendations like this because I’m a pastor’s kid who’s always assuming that something he says will get him into trouble. I’ll do my best to voice any caveats you should know about if you plan to watch these with your family. There. Disclaimer over. I exhaust myself, honestly.

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images-8Moonrise Kingdom

I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson films (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Fantastic Mr. Fox), and if I had to give one reason is this: he’s a great storyteller who seems to care about the audience. His attention to detail is staggering, and it feels like he’s bending over backwards to delight us with his stories.  That said, most of his films have a moment or two that make me shake my fist and say, “Now why did you have to go and do THAT?” Moonrise Kingdom, in addition to having one of the most magical titles ever, is the perfect vehicle for Anderson’s prowess. But it has one scene that, frankly, ticked me off and, in my opinion, kept it from being the classic it might have been. Anyone who’s seen the film knows exactly what I’m talking about.

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images-9Sherlock*

The BBC knows how to do television. There are two three-episode seasons of Sherlock so far, and each episode is about 90 minutes, which gives the story time to develop in ways most feature films only dream of. From a parental perspective, these are probably PG-13, though the first episode of season two, with the Irene Adler storyline, was racy enough that I fast-forwarded quite a bit of it. You wouldn’t be missing anything to just skip it altogether. I watched the last two episodes of season two with my teenagers and we loved them. The ending is ridiculously good.

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images-2Warrior*

This might be hard to believe, but Warrior might have been my favorite film of 2012. The first thing I should point out is that it’s about MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), but it isn’t at ALL about MMA. It’s about two brothers, their father, and the redemption of their relationship. The fighting is brutal, so if you’re squeamish you shouldn’t watch it. But I basically forced Jamie to watch it and, though she closed her eyes for a lot of the fighting, she told me the next day that she couldn’t stop thinking about it. The last scene made me blubber-cry all six times I watched it this year. The National did a few songs for the film, and from the moment the final song begins to the credits is—and I’m not exaggerating here—one of the most emotionally resonant things I’ve ever seen in a movie. The whole Moby Dick subtext is brilliant, and Nick Nolte’s performance deserved the Oscar nomination he got. I just finished reading Mere Christianity again this year, and I kept thinking about Warrior in the final chapters where Lewis talks about the lengths to which God will go to make us into who he wants us to be.

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images-3Bernie*

I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never seen a movie quite like this one. It’s half-documentary, half-drama, and tells the true story of something pretty crazy that happened in an East Texas town several years ago. It made me glad all over again that I grew up in the south, where it seems that anything can happen, and usually does. I think Flannery O’Connor would have liked this one.

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images-4Forks Over Knives*

My wife is a food nut. This is one of my favorite things about her. She’s determined to create a healthy eating culture in our home, and I’m confident that we’ll all be happier and live longer because of it. Films like this are really interesting whether or not you agree with their conclusions, but their evidence for vegetarianism here is pretty strong. There are all kinds of takes on the veggie story in Daniel 1, but it’s hard to argue with the idea that vegetables are good, and too much meat is bad. I don’t know that I’ll ever give up my dad’s famous ribeye steaks, but I’m done with pigging out on meat at every meal.

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images-5Foyle’s War*

My brother recommended this BBC series to me. Once again, those Brits prove they know good stories. Detective Foyle is solving cases in England during WWII—so imagine all the intrigue of a good Father Brown or Sherlock Holmes story with the historical atmosphere of the German air raids. Throw in the occasional Nazi spy and you’ve got Foyle’s War. I haven’t finished it yet, but I watched quite a few of these with my sons and we had a blast.

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images-6Chosin*

I knew almost nothing of the Korean War before I watched this film. It’s a documentary about one of the most famous battles in any war, told by the Americans who fought it. Like Band of Brothers (which I loved), the best part of this documentary is the first-hand accounts by these beautiful, broken old men who survived something I can’t imagine.

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images-7John Carter

This film should have been a gigantic success. Something went wrong (I’m reading a book called John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood which chronicles the making and subsequent bombing of what was actually a really good movie), and for some reason the studios declared it a flop before it even made it out of the gate. My brother described this to me as “The best Star Wars since Star Wars,” and I think he’s spot-on. It’s not perfect (neither was Star Wars), but it made me feel like I was ten again, and woke in me the most delightful longing at the end. Not only that, director Andrew Stanton tweeted Pete’s Rabbit Room post about it, which is cool.

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images-1Life of Pi

I loved this book. I loved this movie. As Thomas McKenzie more or less said in his review, “No, the theology proposed isn’t orthodox, and no I don’t agree with it. Moving on.” It was one of the most beautiful looking films I’ve ever seen, and the story is so good that it’s worth your time. As a Christian, I enjoyed the way it made me think on God, and I can imagine that whoever sees it, regardless of their beliefs, will spend more time than usual considering his existence. With both the book and the movie, the story talks about God and Jesus in a way that isn’t belittling or cynical; it takes for granted that at least some kind of theism is normal and even laudable. That strikes me as surprising in this day and age. The next step, that of believing in Jesus, is another story, of course, but it’s good to start somewhere. Our family conversation on the way home from the cinema was wonderful. Here’s a link to a painting by my son Aedan after seeing the movie and reading the book.

Some more that I liked this year, though I’m fresh out of writing energy: The Pirates!, Brave, The Birds, The Hobbit, The Avengers, Lincoln. Let the listing begin!

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


49 Comments

  1. Chinwe

    Ah! Foyle’s War! I LOVE that show, and DCS Foyle 🙂 I learned so much about the many ways in which war affects life, and specifically about that war. I especially like Foyle’s demonstration of integrity and honor, over and over again.

    I also love Sherlock, but that’s not a surprise ‘cos it has Martin Freeman in it 🙂 You’re right – the British know how to make great TV. Another one of my favorites is “Inspector Lewis.”

  2. JJ

    Sherlock is some of the best stuff on TV. Up there with Doctor Who, even if early episodes can be hard to watch.

  3. Keith Wiederwax

    Totally agree with you on the quality of the BBC shows. My wife and I loved watching the whole “Foyle’s War” series. Great stories, great characters, and WWII history is a favorite of mine, so that just pushed into “must watch” territory for me.

    “Sherlock” is just flat out brilliant. I honestly think it’s the best thing on television. I just wish there were more episodes in each season! The writing for this show is just second to none and Holmes and Watson are just played so well by their respective actors. Great stuff, and I give it my highest recommendation!

  4. Bridget

    The Avengers sort of ate 2012 for me, as far as movies go. I saw it 5 or 7 times in theaters, and accompanied my mother to Wal-Mart at midnight to buy the DVD the second it came out.

    I was able to snap out of it for Brave, The Hobbit, and Rise of the Guardians (my second-favorite movie of last year), all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Other movies I saw were Men In Black 3, The Hunger Games, and Les Miserables. I still need to see John Carter. I wanted to see it in theaters, but I wasn’t paying attention when it came out and then it bombed and was shuffled off to a quiet DVD release before I noticed. Grrr.

    Sherlock is wonderful. Between it and Doctor Who, BBC keeps me well-entertained. I don’t know what it is, but those Brits know how to write characters I love to little bits. 🙂 I watch Doctor Who with my brothers and sister, and Sherlock with my sister and mom. I can’t get Dad into either of them for anything, though.

  5. Kevan Chandler

    Thank you for this list, Andrew! What a refreshing perspective. It really bothers me that so many Christians get caught up in garbage like Downtown Abbey and The Walking Dead. Why do we fill our minds with such blubber? It gladdened my heart to read in some of your reviews, “I watched this with my kids and…” Such a good way to keep a sensitive spirit about such things.

    PS- I have to agree, Warrior was a great film! One of my favorites too.

  6. JON SLONE

    Of the ones you mentioned that I have seen, I agree.

    To add to the list, I would have to include:

    7 Psychopaths, Safety Not Guaranteed and Lawless.

    Tom Hardy is Beast-Mode!

  7. JJ

    Guess it’s good I didn’t say that my wife and I love Downton Abbey and that I got hooked on The Walking Dead last year. 😉

    I’m not sure why it would bother you Kevan if Christians enjoyed those shows. Downton Abbey is fascinating to me. For all the “bad” in the show, it’s pretty realistically portrayed, and never glorified. Actions have consequences for all involved. And characters that do evil eventually reap what they sow. It’s pretty consistent in showing that.

    And as far as the Walking Dead, I hate horror. And I can’t really stomach gory stuff. But the character stuff is fascinating and is what brings me back. It’s all about asking how would normal people react, and eventually change, if faced with such a horrific scenario. It’s not even really about the zombies. That’s just the backdrop. Kind of like The Road. We’re never told what caused the apocalypse. We just see what it did to people, and our two main characters. The Walking Dead is similar, except the apocalypse event is still ongoing. I honestly never expected a show like that to make me cry. But it has on numerous occasions.

  8. Eowyn

    Can’t describe how happy I am to see Foyle’s War and Sherlock on this list. We were introduced to both this year. The BBC really is the best.

    Foyle’s War is absolutely terrific – and I was ecstatic when Bonhoeffer was mentioned in one episode. It’s just a pleasure to watch Michael Kitchen act – his subtlety is astounding.

    Sherlock is just…fun. I won’t be able to watch the Bilbo-and-Smaug dialogue this December without thinking “It’s Sherlock and Watson…” And such a harvest of one-liners…

    Both shows made it onto my Top 5’s list: http://www.longish95.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-5s-of-2012.html

    @Chinwe Is Lewis as good as its predecessor, Morse? The few episodes I’ve seen didn’t impress me. Coincidentally, Morse (and later, its terrific new prequel, Endeavour) is another BBC mystery show we watched and enjoyed this year.

  9. Eowyn

    @JJ I haven’t watched the Walking Dead, but Downton Abbey I dislike because of unrealistic characterizations. Season Two was bad about this, especially with Lord Grantham’s unexpected…mid-life crisis or whatever it was. It’s like there can’t be even one decent character. After that, I really couldn’t find the sympathy for any of the characters. Plus, the whole soap opera bit – that is to say, nothing is ever resolved. However, there were many parts of the show that were very well done, I admit. I could probably watch it just for the gorgeous costumes, and the scenes in Highclere Castle.

    And Maggie Smith. She could – should run the show. ;D

  10. April Pickle

    Bernie did feel like a Flannery O’Connor story! Disturbing and convicting and hilarious at the same time, and I found myself relating to the fear and fallen-ness in the characters. Also, just loved it because I spent some growing-up years in East Texas, not far from Carthage, and I know the culture, and the movie pretty much nails it (with some added exaggeration, of course. But we know that all the good stories are worthy of some exaggeration!) I pulled this quote from IMDB. This kind of says it all without giving any of the movie away:
    Bernie: [cosmetizing the corpse] We must always be on guard for the mischievous lip drift. Even the slightest hint of teeth can be disastrous. You cannot have grief tragically becoming a comedy.

  11. Chinwe

    @Eowyn: I hadn’t seen a single episode of Morse when I started watching Lewis. I really just like the main characters’ relationship, the backdrop of Oxford, and the fascinating cases. Also, it’s interesting to see Lewis “battle” with God in his own way, and the quiet faith of his partner.

    I watched a couple of episodes of Morse recently and it was a bit strange to see Lewis as a young man, with none of the anger/loneliness that plagues him now. I don’t have an attachment to Inspector Morse, so it’s probably different for someone who loves that show. I’m sure you can’t help but compare the two. I think Lewis stands on its own though 🙂

  12. EmmaJ

    Happy to see some of my own faves on this list 🙂

    Totally with you on Sherlock – have long been eagerly anticipating the answer to last season’s fantastic riddle. And yeah, probably all someone would miss by skipping “A Scandal in Belgravia” is the interesting hint that deep inside, Sherlock has something like a beating, or at least ticking, heart. But then, that was well-indicated in the last episode of season 2, as well, and most poignantly.

    I happened to see a copy of The Artist in the movie store a few days back and just seeing the cover delighted my heart. Well-made and endearing – I really enjoyed that film (with the same caveat you added about the guy’s marriage).

    My sister just told me about Moonrise Kingdom and I was thinking I might give it a try.

    And Forks Over Knives – I salute the acknowledgement of the goodness that is the (at least mostly) plant-based diet. I didn’t become a vegetarian for any real ethical or ideological reasons, but just because meat is not a thing that I like to eat. However, I find that there are lots of benefits… not only the tastiness of the veggies, but their healthfulness, dearth of fats & cholesterol and the fact that I’m profoundly lazy and like that I never have to be bothered about cross-contamination from raw meats in the kitchen.

    Since I find that well-told tales are a rare thing and rather far between, I’m holding out and savoring the anticipation of a few recently released films, including some of those on this list. Glad to have some good stories to look forward to in the coming year.

    On a related note, this past weekend I finally got around to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Has anyone else shared this odd experience with me? I totally didn’t know what to expect and I’m kind of glad about that, since it unfolded so interestingly.

  13. EmmaJ

    Oh, and also… I’d be interested in hearing that author’s opinion on what went wrong with John Carter. I wanted to love it, but something seemed off to me and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Perhaps a combination of faults in the movie and faults within myself, such as losing the sense of wonder that made Star Wars such a fantastic experience of early childhood.

  14. JJ

    @Eowyn: I admit my wife and I did the facepalm head slap during some of that in season 2. The manufactured drama with Lord Grantham just for the sake of drama was kind of goofy, and very disappointing. And I think we enjoyed season 1 more than 2, but we still enjoyed it. The stuff we liked outnumbered the stuff we didn’t.

    And yes, we could watch it just for Maggie Smith. She’s amazing. But when is she never amazing? 🙂

  15. Eowyn

    @Chinwe For me, it’s just the opposite, so it’s weird seeing happy-go-lucky young Lewis being the grumpy one. Watching Morse and Lewis interact could be hilarious. Morse was eternally disappointed with life, but one couldn’t help but like him despite (and sometimes because of) his brokenness. He was tragic, but romantic.

    Lewis was the opposite – the normal guy – a family man and not so much a loner. Seeing that reversed is odd, and when, in the first episode of the new show, Lewis went on a tirade about God, I wondered if that was going to be his mentality for the whole show (it would figure, with the Brits). But seeing Hathaway’s effect on him could be intriguing. Interestingly, Laurence Fox’s father, in real life, is a Christian, and I wonder how that affects his portrayal of the character.

    Oops. Didn’t mean to write an essay. We just finished watching Morse a few months ago. It’s been a real year for mystery.

  16. Eowyn

    @JJ She defines amazingness. They ought to give her more scenes. Overall, the acting is very good, even when the writing fails. 😉

  17. Chinwe

    @Eowyn: Yeah, I can see how odd this new Lewis would be. For what it’s worth, the tirades aren’t a regular thing, although it’s not hard to understand, given his loss. I guess that’s something else I appreciate about his character – his honesty in his deep sadness. At least he’s angry and questioning. He hasn’t completely given up. Life is hard and there are no easy answers. I really like Hathaway’s patience with him, not patronizing but listening and being present.

    Alright. Fine – I’ll watch more episodes of Morse 🙂

  18. Thomas McKenzie

    I’m also a Sherlock fan, and I still don’t understand your brother’s love of John Carter. It isn’t terrible at all, but it isn’t great.

    I did my little Top Ten Movies of 2012 on my blog. Here is the quick and dirty:

    My Top Ten of 2012
    1. The Master
    2. Life of Pi
    3. Django Unchained
    4. Moonrise Kingdom
    5. Skyfall
    6. Looper
    7. The Grey
    8. The Dark Knight Rises
    9. Argo
    10. Brave

  19. EmmaJ

    I’m kind of surprised to see Brave on both your lists, AP and Fr. Thomas. I gave that one a total miss because I was expecting that it would be just one more version of the same tired story, albeit with more hair and maybe some serious dialectal travesty – “Young girl refuses to be forced into mold of family expectations, forges bold path into the… oh, wait, the known. We’ve been here before.”

    So, it’s not like that after all? I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t have made the cut if my gut feeling were correct.

    Then again, you are both the dads of darling elementary-aged daughters… did you enjoy the movie yourself, or mostly enjoy how much your daughters enjoyed it?

    Do set me straight. It’s nice to have one’s negative expectations thwarted every now and again.

  20. drew zahn

    Emmaj,

    No, it’s not like that at all. You might enjoy my review of the film, called “Everything you know about ‘Brave’ is wrong”: http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/everything-you-know-about-brave-is-wrong/

    Thrilled, Andrew, to see “Warrior” on your list! Pete and I have argued about that film a bit, he not caring for it as much as I do. I consider it my favorite (not best, mind you, just favorite) movie of all time. But I’ve only seen it 3 times, not 6! I’m not sure my tear ducts can take that much crying.

  21. Dan R.

    I definitely agree with the tide of opinion on Sherlock here.
    And I can’t believe no one else brought up the fact that the actor who plays Sherlock is named Benedict Cumberbatch! To me, that’s one of the finest details about that show. Also, I want to submit that Moriarty from that show is one of the best villains I’ve seen in a while.

    $.02 from me to you

    p.s. thanks for posting the instant-watch availability on these

  22. Kevan Chandler

    @JJ Let me just clarify my qualm with The Walking Dead, since @EOWYN already took care of Downtown Abbey so “gracefully” (Maggie Grace pun completely intended).

    I am a zombie geek, and read the first 60+ issues of the TWD comic series in college. It’s not that it got worse, per se, but some things happened in the series that woke me up to what I was investing in. It’s not the zombie gore that bothers me, but that there is no redeeming character to counter all the terrible things going on, and (spoiler alert!) there’s not going to be. If you’re waiting for the situation to get better, it doesn’t. Robert Kirkman wrote 100 issues of pain, misery, and immorality, and Season 3 of the show is maybe 20 issues in, so buckle down for the long haul. I tried watching the show (because of a girl, go figure) and stopped at… well, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say “the barn.”

    As a writer, I believe darkness is often necessary in storytelling to show light, but this doesn’t mean casting off all moral integrity as the author or reader/viewer… especially if there is no light that the story is planning to shine.

    PS- My best friend and his wife watch TWD and Downtown Abbey, and I still love them. So no hard feelings, man. Please don’t kick me if we ever meet. 🙂
    PPS- The Road is amazing 🙂

  23. EmmaJ

    Dan R., did you notice that he’s also playing the shadowy character of the Necromancer in the Hobbit? Because he is.

    I was surprised to see that in the credits, given the minor-ness of the role for such an in-demand actor, but to me that hints of possibility of the Necromancer showing up a bit more in the next two films. Either that or they just wanted his name in the credits, says the tiny cynic riding on my left shoulder.

  24. drew zahn

    Hmm, Pete. Perhaps I remember incorrectly. I thought I remembered raving about it at Hutchmoot 2011 and you were less than impressed. But that was a while back; perhaps you hadn’t seen it yet, or Thomas McKenzie was there, too. Maybe he was the one who didn’t like it as much. Regardless, my apologies.

  25. Eowyn

    @Dan R. YES. It’s a great name. And Moriarty is very original. I enjoyed him so much in The Reichenbach Fall that I didn’t spend enough time watching how you-know-what was pulled off.

    @EmmaJ He’s also playing Smaug, the dragon, in the next film. They’re using motion capture, which I fail to understand. Looking forward to many jokes about 221B Lonely Mountain. Also, the Necromancer will definitely turn up, though I will not say more for fear of spoilers. 😉

  26. Amy

    Oh, Sherlock. I absolutely adore it. And you’re right, the Brits certainly know how to do television. And despite the few racy minutes of Belgravia, I love the episode. I happen think it has some of the best one-liners of the season (though of course it’s not quite appropriate for kids). I personally believe that Benedict and Martin are the best Holmes and Watson I’ve ever seen. And Andrew Scott is such a brilliant Moriarity that I actually hate to see him go. Now, like everyone who’s seen Reichenbach, I’m chomping at the bit waiting for them to make and release series 3 so we can find out how Sherlock managed that ending!
    I also discovered Doctor Who this year. It’s so weird and absolutely mental, but I’ve fallen in love with the show and the characters. I don’t know what it is about British television that makes it so much better (in comparison) to American television. But there’s just something there.
    Also, Andrew: have you and your family watched (BBC’s) Merlin? It’s a fun show and should be completely appropriate for your kids. The first couple seasons are admittedly a bit on the corny side, but my family and I love it. It’s a really fun and different take to have a young Arthur and Merlin. And the character development (watching how the characters grow and mature through the 5 seasons) is really really fantastic. 🙂

  27. EmmaJ

    @Eowyn… truly? The Necromancer AND Smaug?

    @Amy… 2012 was also the year that I conquered a childhood fear of Doctor Who and had a lovely romp through several of the recent seasons.

  28. Amy

    @EmmaJ Yup, Benedict is voicing the Necromancer and Smaug. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see Bilbo and Smaug meet. It’ll be like Baker Street! Haha. 🙂 And the Necromancer will definitely appear again.

    As to Doctor Who… I spent a month of my summer going through all of the “new” seasons (the classic seasons aren’t so easy to find). Just in time to start watching 7 in September. And now I’ve gotten my family into watching it. Thankfully, they’ve been able to look past the weird and see the awesome. I will soon be introducing them to David Tennant who (though I absolutely love Eccleston and Smith) is my favorite Doctor.

  29. Chinwe

    To add to the conversation about British shows — my brother and I talk about this often: they know how to do “dark” really well. The villains are truly villainous and the hero is often damaged/broken and actually in danger. Case in point: Luther and Wallander. I am often on the edge of my seat when watching both shows because I truly don’t know what will happen next. There’s a “real” sense of danger. I feel like this is often lacking in American dramatic/crime TV – things are so safe and any semblance of brokenness is glossed over. Unfortunately, life isn’t like that.

    Well, I guess there’s a place for escapism, to a place where all is well. Ah…I’ve started to ramble, so I’ll stop here.

  30. yankeegospelgirl

    Just a quick note to say that I loved _Warrior_ even though it wasn’t perfect, and _The Artist_ is also brilliant.

    As for _Sherlock_, that show frustrated me to no end, but more on that anon… it deserves a proper dissection, and the garbage is calling.

  31. Eowyn

    @Chinwe There’s a part of me that likes an infallible hero (like in the case of D.C.S. Foyle), but, as Raymond Chandler put it, there should always be “the quality of redemption.” Most of the “hard-boiled” mysteries have villain/heroes who live in really corrupt places and dispense vigilante justice. Their greatest quality is redemption, I think, but they don’t really appeal to me.

    On the other hand, “soft-boiled” mysteries are set in an idyllic place, where the peace is disturbed by murder. An agent of (almost divine) justice steps in and makes things right. Often, they’re described as escapist, but I wouldn’t say that – as Lord Peter put it “Detective stories keep alive a view of the world which ought to be true…they feed a hunger for justice, and heaven help us if ordinary people cease to feel that.” As Christians, we can believe that ultimately, justice will be done – I find soft-boiled mysteries a picture, in miniature, of eternal justice. Yeah, life isn’t like that, but eternal life is. 🙂 Also, P.D. James pointed out that murder is more shocking when it’s in a peaceful place, than when it’s in a place where that’s just the norm.

    Anyway. I wrote my research paper (and a crazy-long blog post) on the subject, so I’ve thought about it a lot.

  32. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I get the love for the British shows, but really it’s the Danes making the best TV right now, unforch we have to use creative methods to see it in the US!

    But Call the Midwife is another great British show that is based on Jennifer Worth’s memoirs. The first of her memoirs is truly an amazing read.

    I didn’t really get into John Carter, sadly. I wanted to like it.

    I’ll keep these recs in mind!

  33. Nicole McLernon

    I must confess – I laughed out loud due to delighted shock when I saw that Sherlock made it onto this list. I fell in love with the show in January. Benedict and Martin are brilliant and Andrew Scott was pure genius as Moriarty. Now that I know that this show can be included on my 2012 Top Ten list, it’s going straight to the tippy-top.

    Also. Les Mis was incredible. As was The Dark Knight Rises.

  34. Amy

    @Amy (I feel like I’m talking to myself now…)
    I’ve seen Call the Midwife, and I really like it too. I haven’t read the book (or even heard of it before the show) so I can’t compare them. But there really is a raw humanity to the show that’s just beautiful in it’s desperation. The characters are fantastic (I love Sister Monica Rose). Have you seen the Christmas episode? Beautifully done.

  35. Bruce Hennigan

    I am definitely SHERLOCKED! Hands down the best television show out there. I cannot wait for season three. This series showcases excellent, brilliant scripting. And, the acting is top notch with Martin Freeman and Cumby!
    I also loved John Carter. What an underrated movie that did not deserve the critical drubbing it took!

  36. JJ

    @Kevan #23: Of course there’s no hard feelings. If I can ever make it to Hutchmoot I’d be more worried about Pete tackling us. 🙂

    I’ve only read some of the Walking Dead comics, up through what would be season 1 of the show. But I’m current on the show. I actually tried to watch the pilot last summer. I got 20 minutes into it and was too depressed to finish it. Why I tried it again I don’t remember, but like I said before I find the character stuff really compelling. I don’t know if there needs to necessarily be a redeeming character, but most of them have redeeming qualities that have risen in the midst of the crisis. The father and son who took in Rick in the pilot, and much later the lengths Daryl went to try and find Sophia. I have a dozen examples in my head but don’t want to post spoilers. 🙂

    Week in and week out characters are laying down their lives (sometimes for real) for people that were once strangers, but now they’re friends. There are some real heroics in that show. It may be a totally hopeless situation that will never get better (and it often gets worse, ie: The Governor). But there is some light shining in there, even if it is a little dim most of the time.

    But yes, sometimes you do have to navigate through a lot of other stuff to see that. Same with Downton. Or any show on TV really (Parks and Rec for the win!). 🙂

  37. aimee

    We liked Call the Midwife too, I was going to throw it out there. There is one episode that got weird. You’ll know it when you get to it. We were able to check the season out from the library.

    Here’s an oldie: We’re re-watching the Band of Brothers series. Watch them if you didn’t catch them when they first came out…great storytelling, of true stories.

  38. EmmaJ

    Call the Midwife was so great – it was the highlight of my week while it was running. I need to get that memoir from the library.

  39. JJ

    @Kevan: I think we’re in luck though. To my knowledge our own S.D. Smith was the only one ever tackled by Pete at Hutchmoot. Or so I heard.

    My wife has wanted me to go to Hutchmoot since the first year they did it. This year we were expecting our 2nd baby, who was born two days after Hutchmoot 2012 ended. Probably a good thing I stayed home. 🙂

  40. Kevan Chandler

    @JJ: Haha yeah, I’d say you made the right call on staying home. I mean, Phil Vischer is cool and all, but he’s no baby.

    I’ve not been yet myself, either, though I hope to soon. I’m trying to drum up some buzz to get Doug TenNapel there as a guest speaker sometime. And if that ever happens, a team of Rhosgobel Rabbits couldn’t even keep me away.

  41. Tony Heringer

    Oh and Warrior was definitely a surprise find from Hutchmoot. I had seen it previewed but didn’t think I’d care for MMA but then when Andrew brought it up that sealed the deal. I’ve seen it three times and the last with my son. Powerful story.

    Another film we enjoyed on Netflix was Bottle Shock (2008 but new to us) which details the rise of Nappa Valley wine making in the 70s. My wife and I had a chance to visit the vineyard featured inthe film a few months later and found out the story was just loosely based on the owners life. A great little film none the less.

  42. TYLER

    Great list! What about your favorite books this year, AP? Would love some winter reading suggestions…

  43. Becca

    Foyle’s War has been my favorite T.V. series for a good long while. When you get to the four bonus episodes they tried to record a few years later (post war when Sam is older) skip them. Trust me on this. They are not in the same vein at all, and they will leave you feeling dissatisfied completely.

    Yes on Sherlock, too. And yes on skipping Season Two episode one.

    What I really want to hear more about, however, is this whole pastor’s kid afraid he’s going to get into trouble for something he writes bit. Not kidding about that. Someday I’d love to hear how you work through honesty/the possibility of being misunderstood.

  44. Paedra

    I squealed when i saw Sherlock on this list. I get so giddy when i find a kindred spirit. now, if only you watched doctor who…

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