2010 Year in Review Part I: My Year in TV and Film

Author’s Note:  The Year that was 2010 was notable for me for many different things.  From great triumphs such as graduating with a Masters to degree to great opportunities such as traveling to DC to the greatest sorrow of losing my beloved Mother, 2010 is definitely a year I will never forget and a year no one post will adequately cover.  Here is Part I of this series looking back at my year in TV and film.

The Year in TV

2010, in terms of television, signified a year of transition of sorts.  It saw the end of two of my long-time favorite series in 24 and LOST as well as the sudden end of one of my favorite newer shows Heroes.

24 and LOST signified the 2000s to me better than any other show as these were the two series I followed religiously for most of the decade.  I waited anxiously each week to follow the further adventures of terrorist hunter Jack Bauer and our stranded band of LOSTIES.  For almost 10 years I thrilled to Jack Bauer dusting evil terrorists in his no-nonsense style and for 6 years I thrilled to the mysteries of LOST island as Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Jin, Sun and the rest of the castaways tried to make sense of the world around them.  Both of these long time series came to an end this past year and I for one am saddened and will miss them.

Social trends reared their head in my TV watching.  With the HUGE void of 24, LOST and Heroes’ departures I filled the void by discovering more and more “filler” shows on cable laughing to iCarly and Victorious on Nickelodeon (wife’s influence), thrilling to the 2nd season of Deadliest Warrior on Spike (that show is gooooood!), drooling to various food shows on Food Network and the Travel Channel (Man vs. Food, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, The Great Food Truck Race, etc, etc) and learning “stuffs” on History and Discovery.

Back in the mainstream I still thrilled to the Amazing Race (soooo wanna compete one day), delved deeper and deeper into the Criminal Minds (new eps on CBS, reruns on ION and A&E), LOLed to Undercover Boss (the MBA in me loves it) and collectively with the rest of the country I sang out in Glee with Will and crew.  And while upset I’ll never see Peter Petrelli regain his full powers or hear Hiro Nakamura scream “YATTA!!!” again with the rest of the gang, there’s No Ordinary Family to fill the super-powered human gap (sorta).

The Year in Film

2010, like every other year, was a great year in films.  With so many great flicks to entertain and so few dollars to go around, thank God for the quick release of DVDs and Netflix Instant download.

As in recent years, to maximize the little money I have for theatrical releases I really pick and choose what I actually bother to spend cash on at the theaters limiting myself basically to major blockbusters.  Everything else I wait for the DVD or (legal) digital stream.  Here’s my short list of films I saw on the big screen.

List of Films Watched

In Theater

  • Iron Man 2
  • Shrek Ever After
  • The Karate Kid
  • Twilight Saga:  Eclipse
  • The Last Airbender
  • The Expendables
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I also had a chance to see a few current films in-flight from Vegas back in November.  Here’s what I saw:

  • Grown Ups
  • Toy Story 3
  • Predators

All nine films were great in there own way but my personal favorite of all the releases was Toy Story 3.  The story really spoke deeply to me with the toys and Andy all “growing up” and moving on in there own ways.  With great animation (nothing less from Pixar), a moving story and great character work, Toy Story 3 takes my pick for best film of 2010.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I sought to redeem itself for some lackluster translations in the past few rounds of the Potter franchise (OoTP, HBP) and it surely did so.  I’d say DHpI is probably the most pure translation of the series we’ve seen since the original SS back in 2001.  I can’t wait till DHpII this summer!!!

The Karate Kid was a great remake/reboot for the franchise.  As a kung fu practitioner I for one appreciated the update and retelling of the story from karate to kung fu.  Hopefully they’ll be more from Jackie and Jaden.

I was a bit disappointed with The Last Airbender.  While it was an ok film on its own merits with the totally EPIC material from the cartoon I had expected a bit more from the film translation.  I’ll still catch the sequels if they do follow through with the series.

The Expendables was a fun movie.  While it won’t win any awards, seeing all the big action stars (and wannabe stars of now) together on the big screen was very EPIC in its own way.

With the vast library of DVDs and Instant Watching on Netflix I fully take advantage of my membership to catch up on the current film releases I’d like to see but did not want to pay theater prices for as well as great films, tv shows and documentaries of yesteryear.  This year in particular I partook in seeing some great films that came out this year (Valentine’s Day, Brooklyn’s Finest), some great films of yesteryear (Footloose, the Guardian) and some great documentary series (Barbarians, 500 Nations, Up Series, Gunfighters) and one AWESOME tv series (Avatar:  The Last Airbender).

Here’s the full list of things I saw via Netflix…

Netflix Rental:  Movies

  • American Pie Presents:  The Book of Love
  • 10.5
  • 10.5 Apocalypse
  • 16 Blocks
  • The Guardian
  • Sicko
  • Watchmen
  • Gamer
  • Flightplan
  • Jackie Chan’s The Myth
  • Last Hero in China
  • Born to Defense
  • A Perfect Getaway
  • Seven Swords
  • Armored
  • Ninja Assassin
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Whiteout
  • Fame
  • The Spy Next Door
  • Avatar
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Dear John

Netflix Rental:  Documentaries

  • Sicko
  • G-Man:  Making of an FBI Agent
  • National Geographic:  The FBI
  • Modern Marvels:  FBI’s Crime Lab
  • West Point:  The First 200 Years
  • Inside the U.S. Secret Service
  • Surviving West Point (TV Series)
  • Capitalism:  A Love Story
  • The Big One
  • Barbarians (History Channel Documentary Series)
  • Barbarians II (History Channel Documentary Series)
  • 500 Nations (Documentary Series)

Of these my personal favorite series to watch was probably the Surviving West Point series.  My time in high school JROTC (4-years) was definitely a life defining moment for me and I’ve often wondered just how my life would have been different had I choose the military as my career path.  Having had the aptitude, grades and SAT scores I probably would have had a solid chance of actually getting into one of the service academies.  At times I often do think “what if” and watching this series definitely got me to thinking what my life may have turned out like had I had a chance to attend the Academy…

Netflix Instant Watch Stream:  Movies

  • The Proposal
  • Julie and Julia
  • Hannah Montana:  The Movie
  • Fame (Original)
  • Footloose
  • New York, I Love You
  • Passengers
  • Ip Man
  • Ong Bak 2:  The Beginning
  • Brooklyn’s Finest
  • The Taking of Pelham 123

Netflix Instant Watch Stream:  Documentaries

  • Modern Marvels:  Golden Gate Bridge
  • Modern Marvels:  Brooklyn Bridge
  • Modern Marvels:  Battle Gear
  • Railroads That Tamed the West
  • Modern Marvels:  Mount Rushmore
  • Frontline:  Sick Around the World
  • Frontline:  Sick Around America
  • J. Pierpont Morgan:  Emperor of Wall Street
  • The Kellogg Brothers:  Corn Flake Kings
  • Food, Inc.
  • Seven-Up Series (Documentary — Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up)
  • Modern Marvels:  Eiffel Tower
  • A&E:  America’s Elite Military Honor Guards
  • Samurai:  The Last Warrior
  • Modern Marvels:  Las Vegas
  • Frontline:  Growing Up Online
  • Secret Yellowstone
  • Secret Yosemite
  • National Geographic:  Inside the Embassy
  • Arlington:  Field of Honor
  • Inside American Power:  The Pentagon
  • Ong Bak 2:  The Beginning
  • Gunfighers (documentary series)
  • Moment of Death
  • Science of Evil

Netflix Instant Watch Stream:  TV Shows

  • Avatar:  The Last Air Bender (entire series)
  • Daniel Tosh:  Completely Serious
  • Gunfighers (documentary series)

Yes, very heavy in documentaries but what I can I say, I’m a lifelong nerd.

For my money, probably the BEST thing I saw this year was Avatar:  The Last Airbender.  I’d seen a few episodes here and there over the past years (following my journey to Comic-Con back in 2008) but it was only this past summer (heading up to the film’s release) that I actually took the time to watch the entire series (staying up for a few nights straight after work to catch it all).  The martial arts, the Eastern philosophy, the characters, the storyline just TOTALLY speaks to me.  It may be a “kid’s show” but for my money it’s one of the BEST things that’s ever been produced for TV and goes right up to the top of my all-time favorite shows list next to Quantum Leap, Highlander, 24, LOST and Heroes.

Hawaii International Film Festival 2010

To cap things off, I also partook in catching some great films at the 2010 Hawaii International Film Festival.  For me it was a Donnie Yen fest with my dojo and kwoon mates from both the Shinden Karate Federation and Chin Lung Choy Li Fut Kung Fu school where we took in Ip Man 2, Bodyguards and Assassins and Legend of the Fist.  All three flicks were awesome with great action scenes as well as some insight (dramatized or what not) to some aspects of Chinese history.  Jackie Chan and Jet Li may be more famous in mainstream America but Donnie Yen is the MAN!  In addition I also had a chance to see Time Traveller:  The Girl Who Leapt Through Time which was another awesome and moving flick.

All in all, it was a great year on the tube and at the movie house for me.

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