Yes, it’s another one of those.
Lets start off with Hollywood…and there WERE plenty of good movies this year (and plenty of crap too). The Matrix trilogy and Lord of the Rings both wrapped up, with LotR clearly winning the race. Reloaded was actually quite good with Revolutions just a notch below it, but Peter Jackson’s vision overshadows that of the Wachowski brothers in the long run. There were very few comedies, a genre which seems to be sadly dying out. Most notable are Anger Management, Bruce Alighty, and Bad Santa. The Sandler/Nickelson duo managed to make a satisfying movie despite several lengthy gaps between jokes, and Jim Carrey kept his career alive with another hilarious flick. Thorton remains the victor for the dark and blasphemous version of a Christmas movie, rising above and beyond its competition. As far as drama, Phone Booth was extremelty entertaining despite an incredibly simplistic plot…not an easy thing to achieve. House of Sand and Fog looks like a contender for BEST DRAMA, but I haven’t seen it myself to fairly judge.
Best Overall: LotR Return of the King
Best Comedy: Bad Santa
Best Action: Matrix Revolutions
Best Drama: Phone Booth
Jennifer Garner remains on top with Alias, the show that never ceases to surprise and impress. No competition here! Then there’s comedy…Scrubs was always funny, and Whose Line? continued to be creative and original. Despite no new episodes this year, Family Guy still remains the funniest tv show of 2003. ’24’ is into its third season, and while the “real time” gimmick isn’t nearly as fresh as it once was, it still keeps up the same top-notch quality. CSI, CSI Miami, and all the other copycat shows continue to do what they always do: solve crimes, but with intelligence…which is becoming very old and tired. Sopranos continues to amaze however, with an excellent cast and clever plotting. If it weren’t for my comic-minded bias, I would have picked this as the years best drama. Consequently the gold goes to Smallville. Tom Welling (who initially looked like Clark Kent in Season One but couldn’t act at all!) has finally stepped up and learned a thing or two from his co-workers. The show is kept alive mainly through Lex Luthor’s character (played by Michael Rosenbaum), which continues to fascinate and become deeper as he slowly journeys to the dark side. An A show in my mind, a solid B objectively.
Best Overall: Alias
Best Comedy: Family Guy
Best Action: 24
Best Drama: Smallville
Brian Michael Bendis is well-known as THE best writer in the biz, and once again he showed why he deserves such a title. Writing Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Powers, Ultimate Six, Alias, AND Daredevil is an impressive feat alone, but to also shape them into some of the best mainstream comics is something to really be admired. His best was Daredevil without question, and here’s why: I never liked Daredevil, none whatsoever. Now I’m buying the hardcover editions without any hesitation and enjoying every page of them. Impressive indeed. To be fair, Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper was an excellent read as well, and I get the feeling this comic is just starting to warm up. Best Mini-series goes to TRINITY, which was created completely by Matt Wagner alone (remember the 1992 Batman: Faces?..yeah, THAT guy). All three issues were well done in every way, which is why its getting the HC treatment in 2004. Best trade paper back is a trickier one, but I’ve really been enjoying the trades of Peter David’s Captain Marvel. It covers religion, morality, philosophy, and the like more than any other comic I’ve read yet doesn’t sound preachy, leaving the conclusions to the reader. Both Fantastic Four collections deserve a note, since Mark Waid has infused new life into a title that, like Daredevil, I used to have no interest in. There was plenty of online discussion on Palomar and Blankets, two of the supposedly best graphic novels this year…which I haven’t read. So forgive me for not awarding them what they might deserve.
Best Overall: Daredevil
Runner-ups: Sleeper, Ultimate Spider-Man, Gotham Central, Catwoman,
Best Mini-series: Trinity
Best TPB: Captain Marvel: Nothing To Lose