We continue to look back at 2011 by looking at interesting fandom happenings outside of Star Wars.
Best closure to a franchise: Harry Potter
And what a way to end! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II not only concluded the series with a relatively faithful adaptation of the book, but the entire cast took it to a whole other level; marking graduation from what had to be one of the best acting schools on the planet. With major kudos to Matthew Lewis’ portrayal of Neville’s growth and Alan Rickman’s heartbreaking death scene. (Sorry. Was that spoilery?)
Best busting out of a potentially career-binding genre film: Daniel Radcliffe
Sure, he could have gone from pub to pub getting free drinks as Harry the rest of his life. Instead, Daniel put that aside (literally) to study singing and dancing and get rave reviews on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. And he also is tackling the upcoming horror thriller The Woman in Black. We foresee great things for you, Daniel.
Saddest end to a franchise: Stargate
Although the last ten episodes of Stargate Universe were some of the best sci-fi episodes produced in a long time, they didn’t come soon enough to keep the Stargate franchise going amid the financial difficulties at MGM. It ended a major franchise with a whimper, instead of the big send-off such a long-running franchise deserved.
Biggest U.S. genre TV disappointment: Lack of Genre TV Lightning
In spite of some attempts that can be described as uneven at best (Terra Nova, Falling Skies), the only genre TV that appears to be doing okay right now is based on fairy tales (Once Upon a Time, Grimm). And while fairy tales are awesome, one wonders where they could find strong sci-fi writers to develop a show that people can engage in. We can only hope that the BBC will continue its commitment, as they seem to be the only ones continuing to try. (Even if we do have to wait for it to show up on BBC America, which is well worth it as this past series of Doctor Who has been stellar.) James adds: And Syfy, now that you’ve got things like Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen tried and done with, how about going back to scripted shows – with Eureka going off in 2012, the awesome Warehouse 13 is going to be lonely.
Best genre TV addition.
Big-budget award-bait TV came to genre this year with HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sure, True Blood has vampires and werewolves, but it also makes no qualms about being anything other than a trashy supernatural soap. Game of Thrones may not be beating Mad Men out for Emmys, but it’s certainly making an effort at bringing grown-up fantasy to people who probably never would have picked up George R. R. Martin’s books. – Dunc
Best amusement park improvement: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Butterbeer. Snow-covered Hogsmeade in the middle of Florida. They just need to expand the awesome and take over the entire park! (Yeah. The redone Star Tours came a close second, but we like this world-building.) LEGOLAND California’s Star Wars miniland dioramas are a distant last – hopefully we’ll get more from them.
Biggest trend in genre publishing: Self-Publishing
Best Way to Find New Genre Authors: E-book readers
Even though Mike Stackpole has been advocating it for a few years, now, the eBook finally took off this year in a big way. And, as a result, a whole new world has opened up for genre readers. Not only can the genre shy enjoy a book without fear of public mocking, but talented genre writers who might not find it easy to break through to traditional publishers are able to get their work out there. Even some of the established authors are using this method to publish works that they couldn’t convince publishers to take on.
Costuming trend of the year: Fashion Inspired by Genre
We saw the first sparks of this in 2010 with Dalek dresses. This then inspired all sorts of awesome fashion interpretations of genre symbols including several Tardis-inspired dresses and the Star Wars Opening Crawl dress. We hope that other designers continue to interpret. Paris will have nothing on sci-fi conventions!
Biggest genre film disappointment: Twilight
Seriously? We still have another one to go? Yet it still did better than all the other genre films.
Best genre movie trend that wasn’t Harry Potter: The Comic Movies
Granted, The Green Lantern was crap, but it was pretty. The build-up to The Avengers next summer with Thor and Captain America was a pretty awesome way to get out of the summer heat. (And, personally, I really liked X-Men: First Class. So sue me.)
Best gift to geek women and gay men: Thor’s Abs
Although we could appreciate how nicely he filled out a tight t-shirt and jeans; that one shot of a shirtless Thor made more than one person gasp in appreciation. We expect more of that in The Avengers, please. (A runner-up kudo goes to Captain America’s after shot. Woo hoo!)
Biggest geek trend we can totally get behind: Geek Girl Marketing
Her Universe demonstrated that there’s a market and now everyone’s getting on board. Pretty much any geek-flavored catalog made sure to feature items the lady geek would enjoy, this year. Add in the increasing popularity of “Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day” that supports allowing everyone, but especially girls, to express their love of Star Wars, women seem to be really gaining the power in fandom, lately.
Best hope for 2012.
Well, there’s The Hunger Games adaption. Season two of Game of Thrones. The first part of Peter Jackson’s adaption of The Hobbit. Brave, the latest from Pixar. Joss Whedon’s Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Maybe even Legend of Korra? Don’t make us choose! – Dunc