At the end of each year we like to round up lists of our staff’s favorite movies, TV shows, and video games from the past twelve months. We realize not everything will be hugs and puppies, though, so this year we’re also taking a look back at our biggest disappointments in geekery from 2011. In the spirit of Festivus, here is our own airing of geeky grievances!
Jason’s Disappointment: A Dance with Dragons
The late Robert Jordan became notorious for churning out thousand-page additions to his epic Wheel of Time series in which nothing of substance would happen to push the ongoing plot forward. As a devoted George R. R. Martin fan, I took solace in being able to say that A Song of Ice and Fire never had suffered from that sort of foot-dragging boredom, and every volume had added appreciably to the story and the mythology of Westeros. That’s until the release of A Dance with Dragons, a book Martin affectionately referred to as “Kong” during the six years it took him to complete it. The book itself is well written, but in the context of its superior series, it really is little more than four hundred thousand words of setting up a chess board and never making a move.
Celeste’s Disappointment: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Up to this point, each installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been better than its predecessor, but for the first time, that pattern has been broken — presumably a result of the switch to a yearly release schedule. Revelations‘s story is nowhere near as engaging as that of previous games, whether due to the change in locale, lack of a major villain, or a combination, and some of my favorite gameplay elements (like the glyph puzzles) have been replaced by an out-of-place tower defense mini-game and first-person platforming sequences. After Ubisoft set such a high bar of quality for the franchise, this game just didn’t live up to expectations.
Kimberly’s Disappointment: The Resident
I was looking forward to seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s newest movie, even more so because Hilary Swank, Lee Pace, and Christopher Lee were going to be starring with him, and then I actually watched The Resident. I was not only disturbed by the storyline, but also disappointed that all these great actors signed up for such a horrible script. I could have gladly gone through 2011 without seeing JDM masturbating in a bathtub after continuously molesting an unconscious Hilary Swank, thanks. Oh, Sir, I expected so much more from you.
Ann’s Disappointment: Doctor Who
The second half of this year’s series of Doctor Who was a bit “meh,” especially after all the build-up in the first half. The ultimate payoff for the arc was not the big thing we were led to believe, there were too many too-easy solutions to the impossible problems presented at the beginning, and some of the arc elements that were presented as pretty important just completely dropped off the radar with little to no explanation in the second half. There were some excellent episodes in the first half, but series 6 overall was kind of meh for me. It’s definitely time for a new companion — I really liked Amy Pond in series 5, and I continue to like Rory, especially when they don’t treat him like South Park‘s Kenny, but I think they have overstayed their welcome.
Ryan’s Disappointment: Duke Nukem Forever
For a game that took an unprecedented amount of time to develop (15 years, in fact), Duke Nukem Forever had a lot riding on it. In fact, DNF‘s original developer — 3D Realms — had touted the sequel to the the popular ’90s franchise as perhaps the biggest and most badass shooter ever. However, 3D Realms never did finish the game, and, after a schism with publisher Take-Two Interactive, development was soon transferred to Gearbox Software. Unfortunately, even they could not salvage Duke Nukem, for what was finally released was, quite frankly, an offensive and poorly-designed disaster, complete with clunky controls and dated mechanics. Indeed, Duke may have been better off remaining that which it was predicted to become: vaporware.
Nikki’s Disappointment: The Green Hornet
I had hoped that Seth Rogen wouldn’t go overboard with it and would make it actually serious, but that was not to be. I thought Jay Chou was really good, but Cameron Diaz was unnecessary and didn’t add much to the plot.
Chris’s Disappointment: The Thing
I was a little apprehensive to begin with, but clearly not enough. It was nonsensical, anachronistic, and the effects were questionable most of the time. Also, I understand the female lead is part of the selling point, but her outfit would have likely lead to a quick death in the Antarctic climate.
Kendra’s Disappointment: Toy Story 3‘s Oscar Snub
Toy Story 3 took characters stored in the purest part of audiences hearts’ and made them more human than anyone could have ever imagined. No other film shed a light on the strength it takes to grow up like this one did and it’s a shame it lost out on the Academy Award for Best Picture. Yes, at 24 years old, I am livid on the matter.
Rose’s Disappointment: The X Factor
For the first time in my life I watched a singing reality contest from start to finish, not missing a single minute all season: I fell in love with Chris Rene in the auditions; Astro impressed me beyond words with his amazing lyrical skills and rapping fluidity; I want Drew to become the next it-girl. Then, bam, Melanie Amaro wins and I’m just so annoyed and bored; skeptics are saying the show was rigged from the jump: Simon Cowell as a producer was sure to have his pick go all the way — add in the hand-crafted story of her leaving the show and being pulled back, a victim of bullying for the accent she was trying to hide, and so on.
There you go… A big bunch of disappointment to start off our week-long year end wrap-up! Did we miss anything that was particularly disappointing to you from 2011? Let us know in the comments!