The Siskoid Awards 2009

It's that time of year again! Movie Marquee Friday has been preempted by the fine awards gala that is the Siskoid Awards. Aren't you excited?

Rewarding excellence in stuff I've seen, heard or read this year (regardless of its original inception date - that's what happens when you're a time traveler). As usual, only new material will be up for consideration (or else I'd just read Morrison's Animal Man once a year and be done with it). No money or prizes will actually be awarded. Don't try to collect, thanks.

Best Book of 2009 - The runners up are...
5. Tragedy Day (Gareth Roberts)
4. Blood Heat (Jim Mortimore)
3. Generation A (Douglas Coupland)
2. The Family of Pascual Duarte (Camilo José Cela)
...and the Siskoid goes to: No Future (Paul Cornell) - I read a lot of Doctor Who novels this summer and not a whole lot else (my bad). Still, it's one of the New Adventures that got to the very top. What I said back then stands: "Granted, it has the worst cover of any Doctor Who book ever, but the insides are pretty great, especially for a Who nerd like me. It's 1976, an era which combines punk rock with UNIT, with old foes coming out of the woodwork, and Cornell bringing closure not only to the Alternate History cycle, but to the enmity between Ace and his beloved creation, Bernice Summerfield. What I found most remarkable is that a few pages before any kind of revelation, I was thinking 'oh my God, THIS is what's happening, isn't it?' and then it was. A superbly executed high wire act between surprise and predictability."

Best Comic of 2009 - The runners up are...
5. Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter (Gillen and Kano)
4. Jersey Gods (Brunswick and McDaid)
3. The Unknown (Waid and Oosterveer)
2. The Mighty (Tomasi and Champagne)
...and the Siskoid goes to: Adventure Comics (Johns and Manapul) - I'm as surprised as you are. Somehow, the otherwise over-stretched Geoff Johns has managed to revitalize the Superboy character by injecting him with all the right parts of his 1950s forebear. Touching and thoughtful, with beautiful artwork by Francis Manapul, and Krypto steals every scene he's in. Plus, Legion back-ups, and I love me the Legion, especially the one I grew up with, which is Johns'. And for all that, Adventure might not have come up on the very top if it wasn't for the wonderful and postmodern farewell it gave to Superboy-Prime in issues 4 and 5.

Best Film of 2009 - The runners up are...
5. Star Trek (J.J. Abrams)
4. Born to Fight (Panna Rittikrai)
3. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
2. Infernal Affairs (Andy Lau and Alan Mak)
...and the Siskoid goes to: Synecdoche New York (Charlie Kaufman), edging out some high quality Asian films and even Tarantino's highly entertaining latest. I had this to say in my original review: "So that's what undiluted Kaufman is like, huh? It is a tour de force. I was completely bowled over by it. After I was done, I walked around the apartment stunned, and I wasn't sure I wanted to watch the DVD extras in case it answered questions I wanted to think answer myself (not that they can). My one word review is: Profound. This isn't an easy film to watch - it involves a lot of work - but I heartily recommend it."

Best TV Series of 2009 - The runners up are...
5. Torchwood Series 3
4. 30 Rock Seasons 1-3
3. John Adams
2. Spooks Series 1-3
...and the Siskoid goes to: Firefly. After years of calling it the MacIntosh of canceled television shows, I finally gave it a try and found myself converted. And despite it lasting only half a season, I still think it's a satisfying little gem, of which the movie (Serenity), for me, was enough of a resolution. It was enough to turn me onto other Whedon stuff, and spouting the "Mac user"-type stuff I once remain steadfast against.

Best TV Episode of 2009 - Limited to one per Season of any series. The runners up are...
5. Six Feet Under - Everyone's Waiting
4. Sports Night - Eli's Coming
3. Firefly - Objects in Space
2. 30 Rock - UCB live performance of Secrets and Lies (Season 2 DVD)
...and the Siskoid goes to: Spooks - I Spy Apocalypse - Though I'm a late comer to the series, I love Spooks, especially those episodes written by playwright Howard Brenton, and in the middle of series 2 comes this worst case scenario story, a real gem overloaded with tension despite the fact you know the world can't possibly have come to an end. There are a number of episodes of Spooks I could have thrown into this list, but examining them all, I think this was the most intense.

Best CD of 2009 - The runners up are...
5. The Natural History of Fear (Big Finish audio by Jim Mortimore)
4. Doctor Who Original Television Soundtrack Series 4 (Murray Gold)
3. Davros (Big Finish audio Lance Parkin)
2. Day One (Sarah Slean)
...and the Siskoid goes to: I'm going to cheat a little bit and say the soundtracks for two movies that haven't yet been made. Me and my friend Carolynn have been working on scripts for a number of films, starting with their soundtracks and working ourselves back. Our speed dating romantic comedy The Fast and the Curious, and our time travel robot-fighting vote-getting epic Suffer-agettes! have both benefited from Carolynn's talent for music casting. The first one is available as an iTunes mix. The second to come in a day or two, watch this space.

Stupidest Move in the Geekaverse 2009 - The runners up are...
5. Reading the Spaceknights mini-series to extend Spaceknight Saturdays (Siskoid) - Ow, my head!
4. Alan Moore takes his name off Watchmen - Certainly wins Most Pointless Move in the Geekaverse this year.
3. Big Brother doesn't get the irony ( - Remotely deleting Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customers' Kindles has me asking... Kindles, really? (The other side from the Ministry of the Truth itself)
2. Science-Fiction Network becomes SyFy (Froghammer) - Stated reason for rebranding: Sci-Fi Network was too "nerdy". Uh-huh.
...and the Siskoid goes to: The gratuitous 4$ price point (Marvel Comics) - Though DC at least upped the page count with back-up stories (which were half the time better than the main feature) before putting the dreaded 3.99$ price on their comics, Marvel confused fans by adding it willy-nilly to any issue that seemed like it would sell well. #1s, crossover events, alternate covers... If it looked like it could earn Marvel an extra buck, it usually did. Even if it had only 22 pages. Even if it had the same paper stock as 2.99$ issues. Even later page additions weren't story content, but the equivalent of text pages, often available elsewhere. Suddenly, readers were talking about dropping titles, waiting for trades and - eep! - getting pirate copies on the Internet.

What would YOUR picks look like? Monday: The Technical Awards as given in a ceremony prior to this one!


Prof. Sci-Fi said...

Didn't know you were a Sports Night fan. Very cool. Anything written by Aaron Sorkin is on my to-watch list. How did you come by Sports Night?

And you've convinced me: "Synecdoche, New York" is my next rental. Can't wait to check it out.

Siskoid said...

From huge West Wing fan to Studio 60 fan, I eventually tracked down Sports Night when they issued a new DVD box for it, but I did come into it late.

De said...

Let's see...

Best Book: I have to admit to being a bad nerd and only reading one book for leisure this past year, the Enterprise novel Kobayashi Maru.

Best Comic: Green Lantern. Yep, I'm an unabashed fanboy ;-)

Best Film: Star Trek by a slim margin. The other contender was Up in the Air, the only other film I felt the need to see twice in the theater.

Best TV Series: The Big Bang Theory. I came to this one pretty late, just as I did How I Met Your Mother -- its close competitor.

Best TV Episode: A bit of a cheat here: Torchwood's Children of Earth. An episode in 4 parts :-)

Best CD: Patton Oswalt's My Weakness is Strong.

Stupidest Move: Mattel making yet another Wal-Mart exclusive wave of DC Universe Classics figures and not distributing them to all stores. This doubly sucks for my Canadian friends interested in such things.

Mathieu said...

"...and the Siskoid goes to: Firefly. After years of calling it the MacIntosh of canceled television shows..."

It's the other way around, MacIntosh is the Firefly of computing... ;)

Siskoid said...

Torchwood: In 5 parts actually. I almost gave it a spot, and it would have gone to whichever episode ends with Jack being encased in concrete.

rob! said...

At $3.99 a pop, mainstream comics have finally hit a price point so high that I have started to put books back solely because of cost, something I never did before.

Before, I was willing to give a new book and/or new storyline a try, but now I'm much more skeptical--do I really want to spend $4 for something that, odds are, I'm going to be able to read in five minutes and completely forget five minutes after that?

Pafruu said...

Glad to see that you are finally a brown coat siskoid.. after repeating it over and over that firefly needed to be experienced you finally decided to thorw down the green


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