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Screens 2011

I thought I'd tackle TV and movies in the same post this year. As usual, I watched a ton of TV and didn't see very many movies (only 24 combined in the theater and on DVD). The latter is something I'd like to change in 2012 but we'll see. As for the former, I'm not going to stop watching TV. I love the medium so much (and still have a bunch saved between the 2 DVRs). Anyway, here are my favorites things I watched on a screen this year...

Breaking Bad - Very few shows have ever had a perfect season but Breaking Bad did just that this year in its 4th season. The story, acting, and direction came together for 13 episodes of exquisite tension. Just amazing television. I also spent the year getting caught up on previous season, having abandoned it during the 2nd season. Yes, I know what a mistake it was. I've made amends and was given the gift of this show. Only 16 more episodes left and what a ride they will be.

Parks & Recreation - This is my favorite sitcom on television right now and is becoming one of the best ever. The world of Pawnee has expanded in the last year and I've enjoyed every single character. Ron Swanson is the best character on TV right now. Tom Haverford is one of the most entertaining. April and Andy. Treat yo' self. And so on. Hilarious.

Louie - Speaking of perfect seasons, this show might have had one in only its 2nd season. Louis C.K. is building something amazing and he has complete control over it. "Duckling" would be enough for any season but we also had Louie awkwardly confessing his love, a tense encounter with Dane Cook, a lesson from Joan Rivers, and a road trip to see a racist relative where Louie loudly sang along to "Who Are You" on the car radio to his unappreciative daughters. Great stuff.

Justified - I missed this show during the 1st season but caught up via Netflix before the 2nd season started. Wow, is this show good. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are amazing as Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Margo Martindale justly earned an Emmy for her work as the complicated Mags Bennett this season. It's a character-driven thriller based on Elmore Leonard's work and I can't wait for it to come back in a few weeks.

Bridesmaids - The funniest comedy of the summer, hands down.

Crazy Stupid Love - This one gave Bridesmaids a run for its money, though.

Super 8 - Spielbergian goodness from J.J. Abrams

The Muppets - A great addition to a franchise I love from my childhood.

TV Honorable Mentions
Children's Hospital
Game of Thrones
Homeland - though I've only watched the first 2 episodes so far

Movie Honorable Mentions
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Horrible Bosses
Marvel movies (Captain America, Thor, and X-Men: First Class)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
The Town - which I saw on DVD


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The Broken West/I Can't Go On I'll Go On (2007) - "Down in the Valley" hooked me the first time I heard it streaming on KEXP. At the time, the band was still called The Brokedown, but that would soon change to due copyright issues; that's okay, I like The Broken West as a name better anyway. To get back to "Down in the Valley," what grabbed me were the ringing guitars, layered harmonies, and the organ that weaved in and out. And the lyrics, of course - "I had my feelings like the Dutchman has his gold/Deep in the canyon by the river that runs cold." Speaking of The Dutchman's Gold, that was the name of the EP that I learned had already been out and used my eMusic credits to grab it. "Down in the Valley" was the lead-off track, but there were six other great power pop songs and I was both in love and even mor…