The Walking Dead, an apocalypse-ready gift guide, and more this week on The A.V. Club
New this week
As part of our ongoing attempts to undermine the Nielsen system, we launched TV Club Power Rankings. Our new list of TV’s best shows combines the Nielsen numbers with our grades, readers' grades, and the “What We Watched” chart for what is hopefully a more accurate assessment of the TV landscape.
We continued that quest for accuracy with Trailers Revisited, a new column that returns to trailers weeks after the films are released to assess their honesty. First up, Skyfall, Lincoln, and Life Of Pi.
The busy week went on with the launch of Survey Says, in which celebrities tell us what they think, this time about the best pop culture of 2012. Andrew W.K., Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and a few others kicked things off, and we’ll be running a different set of answers from various pop-culture heroes every Friday until the end of the year.
Nathan Rabin debuted his new feature Money Matters, where he talks to artists about how they make money. First up, Paul Gilmartin explained why having a lot of money and being People famous made him want to put a gun in his mouth.
The cheer countdown also began this week with 13 Days Of Christmas, a series of articles about beloved holiday classics. So far we have Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, A Charlie Brown Christmas’ soundtrack, and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, the first-ever animated Christmas TV special. Noted holiday lover Todd VanDerWerff is still sad that we didn’t start this feature at 12:01 am on Black Friday and continue it well into January.
- We really helped readers revel in the holiday season with our apocalypse-ready gift guide. Not only do you now know what to get your favorite geeks, you know how they’ll use your present in the wasteland.
- Oliver Sava explained how Hawkeye became Marvel’s best comic. That’s Eisner Award nominee Oliver Sava to you.
- NOFX’s Fat Mike explained why he came to drugs later in life. In his words: “All right, now I’ve got a few million bucks, my band is successful, I’m going to start partying!”
- Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” got The Single File treatment, where Jason Heller explored how the song’s morbid metaphor is actually examining the nature of truth.
- We learned a lot about The Walking Dead by playing its board game.
- A Very Special Episode checked in with The Bob Newhart Show, where an unexpected hospitalization affirms Christmas.
- Josh Modell returned to Fugazi’s End Hits to consider “Break,” the album’s strange but powerful opener.
- We offered up some presidential films this week as an alternative to Hyde Park On Hudson. Idiocracy’s dumb president was high on our list.
- We delivered another cheery Inventory, this time on 21 inspired creative works made by the dying.
- Then we followed up that delight with 10 film flops headlined by doomed couples. Next week we promise to do an Inventory of adorable woodland creatures.
- Jason Heller explored the strange success of Rage Against The Machine.
- We planned for our inevitable presidential runs by tossing aside our favorite movies and selecting new, more tasteful films to help us reach the widest possible base.
- If you’re preparing your own presidential run, start by letting these 10 episodes of Fraggle Rock teach you about society.
What are we arguing about this week
The Walking Dead midseason finale has accumulated quite a lot of discussion, spoilers, and wild predictions, for those who find that of interest.
See: Playing For Keeps received the dreaded gentleman’s F, and Hyde Park On Hudson didn’t fare much better. We can, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Rabbi’s Cat, an animated gem based on the graphic novel of the same name. Or you can just play the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer over and over again until that film comes out.
Read: Joe Abercrombie continued updating his gritty fantasy world in Red Country, while Roberto Bolaño’s latest posthumous work received a solid B.
Listen to: Ke$ha’s latest record isn’t nearly as bad as you may think, but we still recommend Memory Tapes or Tame Impala over it.
Watch: Boardwalk Empire wrapped up this season with a great episode, but American Horror Story had a murderous Santa. Watch what you will.
The A.V. Club in your town
Milwaukee, Atlanta, Portland Ore., and Minneapolis, come drink free Mike’s Hard Lemonade and watch Bad Santa with us on the New Cult Canon tour. Portland, Ore. will even have director Terry Zwigoff on hand to answer questions and show his slideshow of bad Santas. To buy tickets and see if the tour is coming to your town, check out our website.