The Top 50 Geeky Moments of 2013

It's almost a New Year, but first let's look back one more time at the biggest (or weirdest) moments and events of 2013!

The sound of excitement and open champagne bottles can already be heard like echoes from Times Square to the Staples Center. However, it’s still 2013 and it has most certainly been a year of the geek. Go to the nearest multiplex and choose between Marvel superheroes or girls on fire in a dystopian future; turn on your TV and see that the biggest scripted series either involve zombies, headless horsemen, or dragons; read ANY comic book, which is now considered a trendy thing to do! Join as as we look back at the year that was with some of the coolest (or, at least, most interesting) moments that comprised the last 12 months! JANUARY 
 Nobody Seemed to Like Hansel and Gretel, Yet It Gets a Sequel When it opened in the dead of January 2013, nobody seemed especially excited about the comedy-action hybrid Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Even appealing stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton seemed bored with this dullard of a would-be blockbuster, all of which seemed to prelude its anemic opening of $19 million, which grew to a paltry domestic take of $55 million. And yet, if there is ever a better example of the importance of international markets in the 21st century box office races, we cannot think of it. Grossing a stunning $170 million overseas, Hansel and Gretel appears to be the first of these “reimagined” fairy tale movies to actually have a sequel greenlit (though Alice in Wonderland 2 will likely get here first). It would seem that witch hunting is still good sport for many geeks around the world. 
 Superior Spider-Man Does the Unthinkable At the end of 2012, Peter Parker seemingly died, with his consciousness replaced by that of Doctor Octopus. How do you top that? Well, what about making Doc Ock take over Peter’s life…including his superheroic identity? If you haven’t read the comic, this sounds like a completely ludicrous concept. To be fair, it kinda is. But it works. And despite an initial outcry, readers have spent all of 2013 watching one of Spidey’s most notorious villains try his very best to be a hero, all while adding new tricks to Spider-Man’s repertoire.  
Star Wars Gets a Director We knew that Disney would have to get someone big to resurrect the Star Wars franchise for 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII. We had no idea that they’d go right for the guy who resurrected the OTHER big space opera. While (like most things that happened this year), Abrams’ confirmation as director of Star Wars Episode VII was met with a mixed response by fans, there was no denying that this was a bold move on Disney’s part. FEBRUARY 
Warm Bodies Warms Every Heart…Even the Living Dead’s Following the massive success of films and shows like Twilight, The Vampire Diariesand Teen Wolf, it became a running joke that after vampires, werewolves, and witches, Hollywood would eventually turn zombies into romantic heroes….Well, they did! And it was lovely. In perhaps the most unexpected popular rom-com of the year, Nicholas Hoult is R, a zombie with feelings in a post-apocalyptic world. When he falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), the daughter of the human resistance’s leader and girlfriend of his last meal, things get a little awkward. But after a bit of coaxing and getting to know each other, they’re ready to face the world in Jonathan Levine’s shockingly charming brains and roses laugher.  
A Good Day [for a Franchise] to Die Hard Love him or love him more, John McClane is one tough S.O.B. to put in the ground. Hans Gruber and a team of Eurotrash couldn’t do it when he was running around barefoot. Hans’ brother also failed when he had bombs planted all over Manhattan to distract him. Even Timothy Olyphant came up short when he blew up half of the east coast. Yet for many fans, A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth entry in the McClane legacy, just may be that silver bullet. Performed with unwavering apathy by star Bruce Willis—who confirmed later that year that he’s bored with explosions—the film failed to gain any new fans, but still managed to wrangle $300 million worldwide. Reportedly there will be a sixth film to end the series; hopefully McClane will be awake for that one. 
House of Cards is Standing Tall 2013 proved to be a year of cynical confirmation in the world of politics. Whether it was NSA wiretaps or the inability to move real legislation on the 86-percent American supported universal background checks, our worst suspicions were realized on the Beltway landscape. How fitting that the best new show of the whole year was even more sardonically bitter. Based on a lesser-known British series, House of Cards has essentially served as Netflix’s successful launch into competitive original programming, which has been rewarded by recognition from both the Emmys and Golden Globes. And why not? Every time Kevin Spacey breaks the fourth wall with a Southern sneer and a knowing smirk to reveal his utter disgust for his fellow Americans—constituents and political colleagues alike—the audience is left to wonder whether they should laugh, cheer or weep. Is this how the sausage is REALLY made? Probably not quite so crudely, but it can’t be that far off. This show is so good that we love it more than sharks love blood. MARCH  
Game of Thrones Breaks The InternetAlready the geek show of choice amongst the premium cable darlings as it headed into its third season, Game of Thrones hit its prime in 2013 when it offered unforgettable television iconography nearly every week, pulling the mainstream audience in for the bitter end. We all cheered when handless Jaime Lannister went back for the bear and the maiden fair and suppressed a giggle when Joffrey took away Tyrion’s stool, forcing Sansa to kneel for her wedding vows. But the two sequences that will likely live on in television infamy began with the series’ first wholly feel-good payoff when Daenerys Targaryen euphorically took what was hers by fire and blood. The era of happy tidings that followed the Khaleesi switching tongues to old Valyrian, telling her dragons, “Dracarys” (roughly translated as, “Burn all these fools to the ground, because I’m the mother of dragons, bitch!”) lasted all the way to the penultimate episode…when the House Tully joined the House Frey. The strings of “The Rains of Castamere” still haunt HBO subscribers’ dreams, as does the sound of Catelyn Stark’s soul-bearing cry uttered upon the mutilation of her son. Just as she didn’t bother resisting the end as the blade that found her throat, fans could not resist breaking Twitter, Facebook and all other means of social communication in abject horror. Easily one of the five greatest TV death scenesThe Red Wedding is now almost as infamous the viral video chronicling just a handful of the hearts it broke that night…undoubtedly to George R.R. Martin’s delight.read more: Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions and Theories
Audiences Return to Oz Speaking of Sam Raimi, his name shows up again this year as the director of Disney’s prequel/semi-reboot to the fabled legacy of The Wizard of Oz. With James Franco helming it as the conman turned savior of Baum’s mystical realm, reaction was somewhat divided about this portrayal of the grifter. However, Raimi’s gift for eye-popping visuals and out-of-the-frame thrills made even the 3D experience feel worth the price of admission. Albeit, Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the West may have needed a little more fire to go with her rather green turn. 
SimCity Pissed A Lot of People Off–Us Included Nothing was more frustrating this year than the release of SimCity.  We’ve never seen a launch handled that poorly (even Diablo III‘s wasn’t THIS bad).  Servers wouldn’t load for the majority of players, and it remained that way for almost a full week after the game’s launch. In fact, EA even gave players a free game for our troubles because of how bad the launch was. Even after launch, the game wasn’t all that great–small cities, glitches, and some other stuff. And talk about an angry mob of gamers–the online outrage was immense.  SimCity will forever remain one of the worst launches in online gaming. 
GI Joe: Retaliation Gives the Fans What They Want Less a sequel to GI Joe: Rise of Cobra than an apology for it, GI Joe: Retaliation actually delivered something recognizable as a GI Joe movie. Aside from the obvious merits of having Bruce Willis and The Rock engaged in a battle of charm (and the added bonus of the RZA as a blind kung-fu master), GI Joe: Retaliation unabashedly took the franchise back to its cartoon and toy roots. A dizzying fifteen minute battle with Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and dozens of multi-colored ninjas on the side of a mountain was worth the price of admission alone! APRIL
Evil Dead Swallows Horror Remake Curse’s Soul Generally, horror fans are not very keen on seeing their favorite cult classics receive the remake treatment (particularly from Platinum Dunes). Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween are but a few of the ones that left genre fans wishing Hollywood would just go climb a tree in Sam Raimi’s garden. Yet when that camp-horror maestro decided to produce Fede Alvarez’s proposed remake of Evil Dead, along with the 1981 film’s original creative team of Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell as well, it caught fans’ eyes. While 2013’s Evil Dead is far less funny or chatty than the Raimi/Campbell classics—to the point where we personally felt a little more Deadite trash talking would have been a huge plus—the movie was gruesome, cruel and all around unforgiving of its stock characters; earning its soul sucking bonafides in their eternal damnation. Seriously, when Jane Levy’s Mia sticks her bloody stump of an arm into a chainsaw, the audience roars louder than the motor as it slices through a demon’s face. “Suck on this, motherfucker!” Well admit that our dream is no longer Evil Dead 4 now, but an Ash and Mia team-up movie! 
A New Fighting Game Emerges…and We Love It April saw the release of NetherRealms’ highly anticipated Injustice: Gods Among Us, which brought many popular DC characters to the screen–and killing The Joker has never been so much fun! Injustice quickly grew in popularity and has been the focus of many major gaming tournaments throughout the year. While still not as popular as Street Fighter IV (and it never will be), it is a perfect supplement for those that love the genre but need a break from hadoukening. Injustice successfully breathed new life into the fighting game genre, showing us that fighting games can be more than just one dimensional. 
Mad Men Season Six  Mad Men sure was strange this season. The Don Draper of the past had almost completely disappeared. The brilliant, suave, bohemian master ad man was gone and in his place was an emotionally stunted, bored, scummy loser who reeked of booze and his neighbor’s wife’s perfume. On top of that, we got trippy drug sequences, a fresh new merger, and fan favorite Peggy Olsen really coming into her own. Most importantly, we learned a lot more about the Don Draper/Dick Whitman complex, with the season ending on a note that suggests that Don is finally ready to face his past coming into the drama’s final season in 2014. MAY
Iron Man 3: Marvel’s New Phase Splits Fans in Two Iron Man 3 marked the launch of the year’s biggest superhero film, and likely its most controversial. While the critics and media, including our own writers, quibbled over the following month’s Man of Tomorrow, fans were far more divided on the start of Marvel Studios’ “Phase 2.” Despite featuring Robert Downey Jr. back in his signature role as a superhero who happens to be a playboy (or should it be a playboy who happens to be a superhero?), Tony Stark was not greeted with as much fanfare by superhero fans as it was by general global audiences that elevated this pic to over $1 billion worldwide. Marvel newcomer Shane Black, the man who first helped reboot Downey’s career with the criminally underrated action-comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), came in to give Downey’s Stark a slightly more sardonic and indifferent tone. The film also featured Stark mulling over whether to continue being Iron Man after his sudden (and random) PTSD following 2012’s The Avengers during this Christmas-themed adventure (it IS a Shane Black movie). But of course the real point of contention is that following a dark and brooding marketing campaign centered around a “Joker-ish” performance by Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin…they got this image. 
 Did it work, did it not? It depends entirely if you wanted to view this film as a comedy. We generally found the twist of the Mandarin really being a junkie actor strung along by Guy Pearce as creative, clever and ultimately, very, very funny. This is not the best movie produced by Marvel Studios, but it will indelibly leave its mark by being the second in the whole multi-franchise to earn 10 figures. 
Star Trek Into Darkness…and KHAAAAN!!!! Everyone and their mother loved J.J. Abrams’ Stark Trek reboot in 2009. So, as inevitable as what happens when you put two Tribbles together, a sequel was coming. Still, four years is a long time to wait for any franchise and when it returned with Benedict Cumberbatch as the villainous Khan, fans were again left somewhat divided. While enjoying the same glowing reviews of Iron Man 3, there is no doubt that Abrams’ follow-up clearly aspired to Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, right down to Khan killing one half of sci-fi’s greatest bromance (except this time it’s Kirk!), only for that hero to be miraculously resurrected shortly thereafter. There is no doubt Star Trek Into Darkness is a visually stimulating movie with strong performances from all the leads. And yes, Cumberbatch devours the screen like a Borg absorbs a planet. Still, this space adventure does feel a bit off months later, not least of all because J.J. Abrams jumped ship from the Enterprise in favor for Disney’s Millennium Falcon before this film was even released. 
Fast & Furious 6 Still a Well Worn Rush It is getting harder and harder to remember that the Fast and the Furious franchise was once about street racing. A series birthed about exploring the “underworld” of suped up quarter-mile runs, the series has become the biggest and best blockbuster budgeted extravangaza not based on a comic book in recent years. Yep, Fast Fivewas an addrenaline fueled Ocean’s 11 meets East L.A.  Avengers in the dumbest (and most entertaining) heist film ever conceived. It also featured a refreshingly diverse cast most highlighted by the introduction of Dwayne Johnson as the series’ absolute best antagonist/frenemy. In Fast & Furious 6Johnson’s DEA Agent Hobbs is back as he recruits Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) into ONE LAST job (after 2011’s final mission). And this time, it is to save a member of the family…the long dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The soapy premise is almost as ridiculous as this spooks and sports cars espionage thriller marketed on its “vehicular warfare.” Yet, the cast is still perfectly entertaining as their “family” and Justin Lin’s eye for creative action sequences is still peerless. The movie is not nearly as fun as Fast Five, but it is still a ride franchise fans have been taking for. It even sets up for Fast & Furious 7to finally offer a truly great villain for the series. Even after the recent, tragic passing of Paul Walker, we still speculate this is the ideal action franchise for the 21st century. 
Clara Oswald Really is the Impossible Girl The second half of Doctor Who’s seventh season/series since the reboot marked a multi-episode long mystery about just exactly who Clara Oswin Oswald is. Sure, this felt a bit like a Steven Moffat mystery box that was dragged out too long since Whovians already generally were onboard with the character following her charming introductions in both “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen” Christmas Special from 2012. Luckily, we also had fun adventures from the creative minds of Neil Gaiman among others to make the seven-episode riddle still work. The result was a “second part” of Season 7 that felt a bit uneven at times. Fortunately, it concluded like a perfectly formed bowtie with a fantastic season finale. For “In the Name of The Doctor” marked a return to form for Doctor Who by bringing all of the Doctor’s “gang,” including Clara, Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, to combat a villainous Richard E. Grant on the planet where the Doctor’s future corpse is supposedly buried. The episode also represented the beautiful swan song for River Song, the Doctor’s wife who died sometime in-between episodes (Doctor Who is confusing like that). But why the episode will truly be remembered is that it turns out Clara really is “The Impossible Girl” Eleven is always ranting about, due to her being in the entire Doctor Who canon. It was a bold move that makes perfect sense in the show’s timey-wimey, sometimes-storybook logic. This also promotes Clara to the role of one of his most important companions. Finally, “In the Name of the Doctor” teed off the 50th anniversary later in the year when we finally meet the Regeneration who will not be named… 
The Triumphant Return of Arrested Development…On Netflix?!Netflix has become the land of opportunity since revolutionizing the rental and streaming industry. Never could we have dreamed that a company built on shipping DVDs in red envelopes would eventually pull a magic stunt like reviving a critically acclaimed, but ratings challenged series with stars that have seen their paychecks increase tenfold. When the Netflix subscriber base boomed in the last few years, it opened the doors for Arrested Development, one of the service’s most watched series, to make its long awaited return. Michael Bluth and his wealthy family that lost everything rose from the dead in 2013. Easily the most talked about show of the first half of the year, Arrested Development’s social media excitement reached its peak when it was released just before Memorial Day. Reviews of season four were mixed for the most part, but our reviewers came to the consensus that having the Bluths back just felt right.   JUNE 
Man of Steel Falls to EarthNo reboot has probably had more anticipation than Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, least of all because of producer Christopher Nolan’s involvement. Marketed as a semi-continuation of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, this retelling of Superman’s origin promised a post-crisis vision of how the Son of Jor-El came to Earth to save us all from our failings as human beings. As the first Superman movie in 35 years to be set free from the shadow of Richard Donner, Christopher Reeve, et al., this was supposed to be the big one. How did it measure up? Well, continuing the entire trend of Summer 2013 blockbusters, this is one that has left the geek community once more arguing amongst themselves. While some critics were overly harsh in their judgments of the superhero film for being too dark, bleak and mean spirited to be a “Superman movie,” fans by and large appreciated the somber verisimilitude Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer infused in this telling. Also well-received were Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as modern day takes on The Last Son of Krypton and his biggest fan. Gone are disguises as she sniffs out his secret identity before they are even formally introduced. Also, a new dynamic that works well is seeing Russell Crowe give new life to Jor-El beyond Brando’s famed white hair. That might be enough for many, however the real benchmark is how fans process the third act, which features Superman failing to prevent Zod from slaughtering tens of thousands of people in Metropolis, resulting in a downtown battle that looks more like our worst nightmare of urban terrorism following the still psyche-scarring horrors of 9/11. Also, Superman kills Zod. Does this movie work? It’s best for every geek to decide that on their own. 
 Batman Gets a New Origin Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo took Batman back to his roots with Batman: Zero Year, a massive story that began in June’s Batman #21. Why is this a big deal? Well, Batman’s “official” origin has been widely considered to be the untouchable (and highly influential) Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, and there have been no attempts to unpack Batman’s early years in detail in the comics since that masterpiece came on the scene in 1987. But with the newly-rebooted DC Universe, all things must change, and Snyder and Capullo began weaving an intricate look at Batman’s early days as a crime fighter. Not only is Zero Year as fresh and original as such a well-known tale could possibly be, it’s been warmly received by comic fans…which is a superheroic feat in itself.JULY 
The Lone Ranger Derails Everyone apparently told Gore Verbinski that making a version of The Lone Ranger that cost $200 million and starred Johnny Depp dressed as a Comanche was a bad idea…and they were right. What may stand as one of the most bizarre blockbuster flops of all time, this was an action movie with not one, not two, but THREE train crashes, some superb Monument Valley photography, still a good bit of CGI thrown in and…Johnny Depp playing a Comanche. How this got made for $215 million (before reshoots) still boggles the mind. There is some fun to be had in the pic, due in no small part to the wonderful use of the William Tell Overture at the end of the movie, but getting to that point will be its own trip through a cinematic desert. 

 

Orange is the New Black…and New Must-See Netflix Show Before the public, and critics, even got a peek of the dark comedy centered on a women’s prison, Orange is the New Black was picked up for its second season. After watching OITNB, it became clear that Netflix’s vote of confidence for its second original comedy was justified. Lead actress Taylor Schilling, a relative newcomer, received plenty of praise, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Schilling’s excellent performance often took a backseat to a talented, diverse and mostly female cast that grew together as the episodes wore on. 
The Conjuring Possesses The Summer as a Sleeper Hit Micro-budgeted horror movies are a part of the modern wide release landscape, but few if any have struck a chord like James Wan’s The Conjuring. Based on the supposedly true stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the film recalls the events of their most horrific case—a Rhode Island house where a witch who sold her soul to Satan after murdering her infant still haunts families a century later—and it does so in bloody perfect fashion. Relying more on old school haunted house scares over gore, as well as a strong cast playing actually fleshed out characters (and with a dash of The Exorcist thrown in), The Conjuring made audiences scream, squeal and all around scurry out of the theater when the lights blessedly came back on. The movie earned a staggering $316 million worldwide with a $137 million from the U.S. alone, making it the surprise hit of the summer and strangely the most feel good after so many big budgeted disappointments. 
The Wolverine Fights On And then there is the superhero movie that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Following up on the less-than-fondly remembered X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine had a high mountain to climb, but it did just that when it extracted its claws and cut the rock down to scale for its own convenience. As much a 1970s kung-fu movie that happened to star a knife-wielding Clint Eastwood as a superhero movie, James Mangold’s The Wolverine is the film X-fans have always wanted for the furry anti-hero. The first two acts flow perfectly as Logan’s stories in Japan are interwoven with Nagasaki and other unseemly details when he battles ninjas on bullet trains and wanna-be Samurai in tea gardens, all with a little romance thrown in for a character who also can simultaneously perform heart surgery ON HIMSELF. The climax might feel a little cluttered as it tried to be more “comic booky” than it ever needed to be, but this was an adventure that most walked away buzzing about. Cameos from Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Xavier and Magneto of course only could levitate geekdom’s excitement. 
Man of Steel 2 is “Batman vs. Superman…” Trying to round up news stories for future movies in a 2013 list can be a bit like chasing Krypton particles in the wind, but sometimes the announcement is bigger than the movie itself. When Zack Snyder had Harry Lennix read from the pages of The Dark Knight Returns at San Diego Comic Con 2013, Hall H erupted in the type of thunder that could make Zod tremble. The next Superman movie was going to also be a Batman movie. While this left some Superman fans wringing their hands, many more DC fans rejoiced at a shared universe in the offing. AUGUST 
…And Then Ben Affleck Broke The Internet Again But in August 2013 is when it REALLY happened, when The Batfleck Rises. Yes, when Ben Affleck was announced to play Batman, fans, casual moviegoers and diehard Bat-fans broke the Internet in unison. Overnight, the actor who rebuilt his career as the filmmaker behind Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo, the last of which won an Oscar earlier in the year, became “the guy from Gigli.” In a 1988 repeat, fans were practically rioting in the street at the newest casting of the Batman. To which we still have some sage-like advice: Check out this list of Seven Actors Fans Also Thought Would Suck. Thank us later. 
Jim Carrey Disses Kick-Ass 2 Actor Jim Carrey made hay earlier in the year when he drew a snarky (but hilarious) point about gun control in a Funny or Die video. Many, including Den of Geek, wondered how exactly he could square that though with his latest film, which featured him in trailers waving a gun and laughing like maniac. Carrey answered that question when he threw Kick-Ass 2 under the bus by not only refusing to promote it, but openly denouncing its violence on Twitter. Talk about a great way to make friends in this industry…It is unfortunate because while Kick-Ass 2 proved to be quite underwhelming when compared to the irreverent joy bouncing from the 2010 original’s potty mouth (largely thanks to director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman in retrospect), Carrey is actually quite good in this movie. Indeed, he is downright hilarious in the way he becomes his character throughout the film. Coupled with another star-making turn by Chloe Grace Moretz as the ever-controversial Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass 2 had more than a few elements going for the biggest Mark Millar enthusiasts. It appears that we can scratch Jim Carrey’s name out of this group after he even did free-promotion for the 2010 film as a fan. Too bad that’s the reason, as we’re always quick to provide context the idea that movies are responsible for violence, particularly in as “Looney Tunes” a fashion as the Kick-Ass movies. SEPTEMBER 
Sleepy Hollow Heads for a Wild Spin in 2013  If you told us a year ago that Fox would have a runaway hit by turning Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow into a modern day police procedural with a time traveling Revolutionary warrior Ichabod Crane, we’d say what conspiracy theories were you reading when smoking that contraband. But here we are and Sleepy Hollowis fantastic, campy fun. A case of creators Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Len Wiseman, and Phillip Iscove mixing Dan Brown-styled historical fantasy with an actual “end of the world” fantasy based on the Book of Revelations, and then stirring it in a pot of Irving archetypes, this show is often bizarre and always entertaining. A major factor of this can be credited to stars Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie’s appealing chemistry as Ichabod Crane and modern day deptuy Abbie Mills, however nothing beats seeing the Headless Horseman (now Death made flesh and first horseman of the Apocalypse) pumping a shotgun like he’s out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Throw in Orlando Jones for some awesome supporting work, and you have the best new broadcast network show of the season.
Agents of SHIELD vs. Fan ExpectationsMarvel’s Agents of SHIELD debuted to spectacular ratings and a fair amount of critical acclaim, but quickly found itself on the wrong side of fan expectations. Despite the prominent inclusion of Joss Whedon’s name for the premiere (not to mention the Marvel brand name) and the promise that this show would expand the Marvel movie universe, a series of uneven episodes and a parade of decidedly non-super foes left fans confused about what the show was supposed to be. There’s still plenty of time for Agents of SHIELD to right the helicarrier, but they might want to do it quickly.
Grand Theft Auto V Stole All of Our TimeSeptember saw one of the biggest game releases of all-time with the release of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online.  The game earned more than $1 billion in just three days on the global market, and Rockstar Games cemented their dominance of the console game market.  Unfortunately, we haven’t seen Grand Theft Auto V hit the PC yet–and we might not.  Regardless, the game deserved its nomination (and win on some websites) for game of the year.
Gangsters Take a Cut of TV It was a good year for gangsters on TV. Not necessarily in quality, but in quantity. Gangsters don’t get a lot of play on TV, not when you compare them to cops, doctors, forensics experts, and vampires. Boardwalk Empire took the place of The Sopranos and Luck just ran out of the money last year, which was a shame. All those horses. I don’t think we even got to see a scene between Nick Nolte and Dustin Hoffman. Even William Forsythe couldn’t save Mob Doctor, which spilled over into this year. Magic City survived. We couldn’t really pay attention to Bonnie and Clyde…which just tried too hard. But it didn’t look like they knew what they were trying. A love story? A vanilla fetish parade? A tween vampire romance? Regardless, we’re glad it was on. 
DC Comics Lets the Bad Guys Win With Forever Evil #1, DC Comics reintroduced The Crime Syndicate to their New 52 universe. For the uninitiated, think of the Crime Syndicate as the evil, goateed dopplegangers from Star Trek episodes like “Mirror, Mirror.” While Forever Evil has (so far) been one of the highlights of the rebooted Justice League’s run, what made this more than your standard event was the simultaneous launch of “Villains Month” in which every single DC superhero book was replaced by titles showcasing the bad guys. Some of these comics dealt with how the baddies were reveling in a world in which the heroes found themselves defeated, while others focused on their origins. While the quality of the Villains Month one-shots was inconsistent, it was still something we hadn’t really seen before, and it was a bold move by DC.  
Arrow Season Two is Right on Target After a first season that was often mired in some of the less-appealing aspects of the CW’s action/soap opera format, Arrow came roaring back with a second season that corrected the sins of the first. With virtually every episode featuring a parade of DC Comics supporting characters, supervillains, and recognizable heroes, Arrow was suddenly getting praised as one of the best superhero shows ever. And as the show’s first half was spent building up to the reveal of Barry Allen and the origin of The Flash (who will soon get a show of his own), we have to wonder how they’ll up the ante in the second half of season two. 
Breaking Bad Delivers a Finale That’s 97% Pure

Breaking Bad is the latest television show to become a piece of monoculture – a pop culture installment that captured the attention of almost the entire nation. It’s amazing how fiercely viewership grew for the program coming into its startlingly powerful final season. With all eyes on Walter White, Breaking Bad’s final eight episodes did not disappoint. The tension and action grew exponentially week to week, leaving most to wonder how creator Vince Gilligan and Co. could conjure up a satisfying conclusion that would live up to expectations. No worries though, Gilligan executed with Heisenberg-like precision, giving Walt a goodbye tour de force that wrapped up all the loose ends and left most people without a qualm. It’s likely we wont see another series pull off this kind of storytelling mastery for quite some time.

Dexter, on the other hand… While Breaking Bad got everything right on its way out, Dexter couldn’t seem to do anything correctly. In its final season, the Dexter writers followed the trends of their latter season sins; poor characterization, plot lines that went nowhere, needless new characters, and a hapless devotion to their main character with a refusal to acknowledge his many blaring flaws. To make matters worse, the series ended in a completely laughable, head-scratching manner. Apparently the conclusion was at the fault of Showtime Executives, who refused to let the titular character die, but who can we blame for the rest of this disappointing season? 
South Park is in the News Again! It’s been some time since South Park has made headline-grabbing news. I’m looking at you, Isaac Hayes (RIP), Stick of Truth and Tom Cruise. So when creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker announced that South Park would not return in the spring of 2013, but rather come back for a straight 10-episode run in the fall, the news hit fans where it hurts: the chocolate, salty balls. After the long wait, South Park delivered one of its best seasons in some time, with takes on the Trayvon Martin case, an epic Game of Thrones three-part arc, and the return of the Gay Fish, Kanye West. OCTOBER 
Gravity is Out of This World Some of us at Den of Geek are not exactly the biggest fans of 3D. With that said, if you haven’t seen Gravity in 3D yet, DO SO NOW. If it can’t be done at nearby second-run theater, buy a 3D TV for pity’s sake, because this movie is the most visually engrossing cinematic experience in years. As the project that took Alfonso Cuarón far too many years to get made, this mind-bending sci-fi survivalist story features stunning visuals that are still confounding in their effectiveness. Relying almost wholly on restrained and riveting performances from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Cuarón invents a world where the cameras seemingly float in their dolly like orbits around the stars as they desperately look for a way home in the quiet vacuum of space. It can be argued there are better movies in 2013, but none will have the visceral impact as the one where Clooney drifts into the black, enjoying the sunrise. 
Something Wicked This Way Comes on American Horror Story: Coven Every season in the now accepted anthology series of American Horror Story brings its own unique scenario and campy quality (preferably with a delicious diva role for Jessica Lange). But in 2013, it became a bewitching mixture of feminist allegory (when Ryan Murphy can stay focused) and powerhouse acting from the best female cast on television. Besides Lange there is also Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Patti LuPone, Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe and Emma Roberts. And they are all being allowed to camp it up as a group of witches and/or vodou priestesses who battle for supremacy in New Orleans and use burning stakes, vodou dolls, Frankenstein monsters, resurrected corpses and even the occasional zombie to do it. Yes, they too have walking dead, but these are of the vodou variety and get cut up with chainsaws! For any fan of horror madlibs, this season might be the best one yet. 
Batman: Arkham Origins Glides Above Buggy Launch Even if Batman: Arkham Origins is pretty much more of the same offered by Rocksteady’s 2011 gem Batman: Arkham City, it is still nevertheless exceedingly fun to play. Indeed, the engine of the Arkham Games, which four years after Asylum isstill simulating the feeling of being Batman, must be wonderful, because it’s allowed Warner Brothers Games Montreal to survive a bumpy launch. Stuffed with pauses and glitches, Arkham Origins still is one of the most entertaining games of 2013 thanks to a compelling story that finally does justice to Bane after two lukewarm appearances in the previous games’ efforts, and also features a very clever interpretation of Batman and Joker’s earliest encounters. While the game lacks the polish and innovation of the previous two Arkham entries, it offers enough of what made those PS3/360 classics to ensure this generation’s last trip back to Gotham is more than worth playing. It was a highlight. NOVEMBER 
Thor: The Dark World Hammers Phase 2 Forward And once more we arrive at 2013’s latest superhero wedge issue. Despite getting mostly favorable reviews, if slightly more tepid than Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World’s sitcom approach to the antics of the Asgardian God of Thunder has left some Marvel fans apprehensive and others begging for more. Reuniting Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with his lady love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), plus her gang of tagalongs including Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Eric (Stellan Skarsgard), made for supposedly dark times when the evil Dark Elves came to Asgard and Earth to…get some evil thing or aether. We don’t really know. They’re just bad, and they kill Thor’s mama. But despite this dark turn, as well as its welcome invitation for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to join the show as the real lead, the movie is unmistakably funny. Indeed, the climax feels like a great finish to a madcap comedy with the entire Scooby gang getting in on the action. Oh and Thor saves the world, we guess. Great disposable escapism or a half-hearted effort? You be the judge. 
Marvel and Netflix Team-Up For Unprecedented Superhero Action Not happy with superhero box-office dominance and a prime-time network show, Marvel looks to satisfy binge-watchers, as well! With the announcement that Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones would each get Netflix shows, culminating in an Avengers-style team-up as they join forces as The Defenders, Marvel made it clear that they weren’t going to play it safe with their ever-expanding shared superhero universe. We’re still probably quite a ways off from seeing the first of these, but it’s definitely something to look forward to! 
Doctor Who Turns 50 And the Doctor came back again in 2013 for what may have been the biggest televised geek event of the year (or ever). Simulcast in 94 countries and 1,500 movie theaters around the globe, it really was “The Day of the Doctor.” And in it, we pick up the cliffhanger from “In the Name of the Doctor,” which featured the revelation that John Hurt is the previously unknown regeneration Doctor (since disowned) who blew up Gallifrey. It is all very geeky…and wonderful. The ultimate fan dream of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith’s Eleventh teaming up comes true through the help of Queen Elizabeth I (yes, THAT Queen Elizabeth), and they join forces to save Earth in 2013, but also more importantly, save their souls when they convince Hurt’s War Doctor not to blow up Gallifrey. It changes the entire canon of Doctor Who and sets a new course for the upcoming Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, expected to arrive on Christmas Day! Until then, cheers to Ten and Eleven, because sandshoes (and that is what they are!) and bowties are cool! Almost as much as a Tom Baker cameo…. 
Boardwalk Empire Says Goodbye to Half-MoonThis wasn’t our favorite season on Boardwalk Empire, but not due to lack of quality…we just liked other seasons more. The writing, acting, and plot were engaging, fun and treacherous. Quite a few beloved characters got buried under the sands of Atlantic City and there was at least one surprising survivor. Everyone expected Dr. Narcisse to get whacked this year and most people probably wanted him to. Not us. He’s not quite the “Manson Lamps” HBO characters like Richie Aprile, Gyp Rosetti, or even Russell Edgington on True Blood, but he can kick up his share of chaos. No, he did not die, he was condemned to live. And to live as what? A rat. A rat with principles. That’s going to make him just insane next season and we’re looking forward to it. On the other hand, we’re not looking forward to a season without Richard Harrow. Michael Shannon was a blast this year. His slow corruption is almost complete and he’s got Manson lamps to burn. 
The Hunger Games Catches Fire and Imaginations If you were to tell most people that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire would be the biggest and best blockbuster in 2013 just a year ago, they would have laughed. But here we are and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire rocks. Proving definitively that old Hollywood wisdom dictating women can’t lead action movies is wrong, this dystopian sci-fi epic features Jennifer Lawrence returning in her star-making role as Katniss Everdeen just as she ignites the fumes of revolution into a fully blazing war. Preferring IMAX to 3D, there is something old school about this film that places emphasis on characters, performances and writing, as opposed to solely setting up the next entry. And while this film does end with a heavy-handed cliffhanger, most of the moviegoing public in America will be back to see if this girl can catch enough fire to bring down an authoritarian regime! Oh, and the love triangle actually works pretty well too. 
The Next-Gen Consoles Release To Mild Excitement It’s undeniable that Microsoft botched their delivery of the Xbox One when it was announced at E3 earlier this year. But the company rebounded (somewhat) by the time the console released on November. Even so, the early reviews of the consoles generally lacked enthusiasm and excitement, and the same thing goes for the PlayStation 4. November saw the Battle of the Launch Day Exclusives, which in our opinion, seemed to favor the Xbox One with Forza 5 and Dead Rising, beating out the PS4’s Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall. Hopefully, 2014 brings us more games for our new consoles that will make us fall in love with them. For now, they’re just mildly amusing us. 
Frozen Thaws All Hearts For each and every accusation hurled at Disney movies, deep down we know that we all love them when done right. When they find that perfect balance between fairy tale and modernized wit, Broadway musical and animated adventure, there is nothing as enchanting as a fantasy from the House of Mouse. And Frozen was the one we’ve been waiting for. As the best animated film released by Walt Disney Animation Studios since The Lion King, Frozen is that rare fairy tale that appeals just as much to adults as it does children. With two princesses who are more well-rounded, and Kristen Bell-approved kooky, than their brand heritage, theirs is a story of two sisters as opposed to a girl looking for love. Indeed directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee even subvert that aspect through a clever script that also guarantees Josh Gad’s Olaf will be a treasured plush toy for many Christmases to come. Nonetheless, the real magic comes from a book of songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez who imbue the film with a coveted timeless quality. They provide a number of showstoppers with “Let It Go,” Queen Elsa’s self-empowerment anthem for being different, bringing down the movie house every time as Idina Menzel’s sinuous voice proves as arresting as the gorgeously rendered CGI snow and ice designs. This is the one that Disney and animation geeks have long for, and it is a true delight that will thrill generations to come. DECEMBER 
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Burns a Path Forward The last major blockbuster of 2013 of course had to be one of more division. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s slender, shimmering novel, Desolation of Smaug is the second installment in a nine-hour adaptation of the text. It can be ponderous at times, but also glorious. Moving at a faster clip than its 2012 predecessor, Desolation of Smaug features a number of set-pieces serving as a tourism guide to Middle-earth (or New Zealand), such as the whacky escape via barrels from the wood elves, and the fight with giant spiders. But of course, the real magnificence to be found here is Smaug, the dragon that would burn Lake-town. His ending may be a cliffhanger, but we all know that we’ll be seeing his scaly face again in 2014. 
 The first big-screen Wonder Woman is Cast! It turns out that Wonder Woman is also in the Man of Steel sequel. But whatever you do…don’t call it a Justice League movie. The Amazing Amazon has never made it to the cinemas in her nearly 75 year history, but there’s a first time for everything. Gal Gadot will make cinematic history as the first big screen Wonder Woman when Batman vs. Superman (or whatever it’s called) opens in July, 2015. 
Raggedy Man, Goodnight ….And we close out our year in review by looking back one last time to the Doctor and his impossibly cool bowtie. When it was announced that this year’s Christmas Special, “The Time of the Doctor,” would be the final Matt Smith episode of Doctor Who, we felt confused and lost for that brief moment, forced us to reflect on Eleven’s 11 best moments. However, we have since said our farewells and were ready for Peter Capaldi’s intense stare after his announcement as the twelfth Doctor. But when the time came, it still hurt like a Dalek to let him go. Framed early in the episode around those big-handed movements that Smith is remembered for, writer Steven Moffat made us recall why we loved this man and his fish fingers and custard in the first place. But as the episode reached its second half, it took on a strangely sweet, and fairy tale tone when the Doctor stayed for all of Christmas—a town on Trenzalore. He fought for that land of perpetual Yuletide and Eggnog for several hundreds of years, finally dying of old age. It is all very storybook, and so fitting for a Doctor defined as much by the Girl Who Waited and the Impossible Girl, as his own fetish for the fez. Ultimately, it was a somewhat uneven episode, as it tried to be a “Smith’s Greatest Hits” catalogue, a Christmas special, and a complex closing of loose story threads from Eleven’s entire four-year run. In the end, the parts were better than its whole, but when Smith finally said goodnight to Amy and Clara before taking off the bowtie, there was nary a dry eye in the Whoverse. Stylish neckwear will just never be the same. So there are the most interesting geek moments from 2014! What were your thoughts about them? Did you fall on the sides of praise or outrage over battle lines like the Mandarin, Khan, and Superman snapping Zod’s neck? Were you ecstatic or merely thrilled about the return of Gallifrey in Doctor Who? And how many hours have you logged into Grand Theft Auto V? Let us know about these subjects—and any we missed!—in the comments section below! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!