Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recapping 2009: Year Four of Reflections on Film and TV

We're rapidly approaching the end of 2009 and -- at least by one way of counting -- the end of the first decade of the 21st century (2000 - 2009) too.

Accordingly, I'll be assembling my "best of" lists regarding television and film for 2009, and for the decade too. However, I still have to see Avatar, Moon and Paranormal Activity, so I'm not rushing to judgment here....

But in the meantime I wanted to look back one last time at the year that was, especially here on Reflections on Film and Television. 2009 was the blog's biggest year ever, with a whopping 41,000+ more visitors than in 2008. The last quarter of 2009 was, in fact, the biggest quarter ever on the blog. The year saw approximately 316 posts here, and covered a variety of film and TV-related topics.

Early in the year I looked back at some genre "classics" from my mis-spent youth, including Jaws (1975), Logan's Run (1976), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), The Black Hole (1979), John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), Tron (1982), Alien Nation (1988), and Enemy Mine (1985).

This year also saw my retrospective of John Carpenter's later career span, including the director's more controversial films: Prince of Darkness (1987), Village of the Damned (1995) and Ghosts of Mars (2001).

A good portion of 2009 was also taken up with my detailed study of the career of another favorite director, the amazing Brian De Palma. I reviewed many of his films including Sisters (1973), Carrie (1976), Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Scarface (1983), Body Double (1984), The Untouchables (1987), Raising Cain (1992), Mission: Impossible (1996), Snake Eyes (1998), Mission to Mars (2000) and Redacted (2007).

Early in the year, I also undertook a survey of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo in the cinema, beginning with book and film reviews of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and leading into productions such as Mysterious Island, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City and even the 1978 TV mini-series The Return of Captain Nemo.

In the world of TV, I continued my investigation of the intriguing, thematically-valuable (and consistent) universe of Chris Carter and Ten Thirteen Productions, with two essays on Millennium (Enemies Within, and Snakes in the Grass and Snakes in the Open), as well as a retrospective of the late, lamented Harsh Realm (1999-2000) and "Via Negativa," a late-era X-Files installment starring Robert Patrick. The year ended with a personal and professional high point for me: an in-depth interview with Chris Carter himself.

In other TV-related posts, I dissected the first four episodes of the new V, was underwhelmed by The Vampire Diaries, The Prisoner, as well as the pilot for FlashForward. I also remembered nostalgic cult favorites including Mission: Impossible (1967), The All-New Super Friends (1977), Twin Peaks (1991), Dracula: The Series (1990), Werewolf (1987-1988), At The Movies (1982-1986), One Step Beyond (1959-1961), She-Wolf of London (1991), Automan (1983), The Man From Atlantis (1976), Monster Squad (1976), V: The Series (1986), Firefly (2002) and more.

This was also the year of new cinematic favorites including Knowing, Star Trek, District 9 and Drag Me to Hell. Additionally, 2009 was also the final year of production on my independent, dramatic web series, The House Between (to be released on soundtrack CD and DVD in 2010...). My no-budget but big-hearted show (in the third and final season) was nominated for "Best Web Production" at Airlock Alpha (formerly Sy Fy Portal).

Finally, some of my personal favorite posts this year involved in-depth, lengthy essays. I particularly enjoyed writing The Tao of Michael Myers regarding Halloween (1978), Of Men, Morality and Microwaves (concerning The Virgin Spring and the different versions of Last House on the Left), and Don't Tell Them What You Saw, which concerned the two film versions of Diabolique.

Ahead in 2010, I have two new film books in the pipeline, as well as some other exciting appearances and events coming up. More announcements on all that will follow soon. Here on the blog, I intend to launch another directorial retrospective, and will continue looking back to over 50 years of genre TV programming.

I hope that you'll stick around, and also that 2010 will be as exciting, as fun (and busy...) as 2009 turned out to be in these parts. As always, thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, and thanks for coming back to see what's new. To quote Dirk Diggler, "I'm gonna keep trying if you keep trying..."

Happy New Year!


  1. Four years! Time flies when you're having fun!

    -- Nick
    from City of Kik

  2. Personally, I really enjoyed your retrospectives on John Carpenter and Brian De Palma and I hope you do that with some more directors in the future. I always find it interesting reading your thoughts.

    I also wanted to also say that your review of KNOWING really turned me around on that film and motived me to check it out. So thank you for that.

  3. I'm late to this party, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the posts I've caught this year, JKM. Especially, the Brian De Palma study, JKM. If I may, since it was one of my listed Year of Bests over on my blog, your look at Carlito's Way was something quite special, and I hope you add it into this recap. I'm very much looking forward to reading the links here, and all of your 2010 posts, my friend. Thank you very much.

  4. Thank you, Nick, J.D. and LeOpard13 for being the critical ingredient on the blog this year: great readers adding thoughtful and insightful remarks to my posts.

    I've looked forward, several times a week, throughout the year, to reading your thoughts. Thank you for making 2009 so special for me.

    I hope 2010 is wonderful to all of you, and I hope that we'll meet again here, and at your excellent blogs too!



The Cult-TV Faces of: Prison