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2009 Features

The Best Movie Posters of 2009 - This is the third year in a row that I've picked my favorite movie posters of the year. And though the posters below are examples of some of the best posters I've ever seen, overall I'd have to say that there weren't too many other posters this year that really got me excited about seeing the movies those posters were advertising.

The Best TV Series 1999-2008, #1 and #2 - By all outward appearances, Deadwood seemed to be a generic "cowboys and Indians" drama that has been a TV staple since the beginning of TV. In reality, though, Deadwood was FAR more complicated than that.

Fall/Winter Movie Preview - It seemed as if a lot of good movies came out last spring/summer. Be it an indie gem like Moon or a more mainstream film like Inglourious Basterds - from May until August I found myself to be quite entertained at the cineplex. However overflowing with interesting movies the first two-thirds of the year might have been, latter third of 2009 seems to be a bit more bleak.

The Best TV Series 1999-2008, #4 and #3 - What has come before; #10 Battlestar Galactica, #9 The Sopranos, #8 Spaced, #7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ Veronica Mars, #6 The West Wing and #5 Freaks and Geeks.

Drag Me to Hell - I can't say that I'm a fan of many modern horror movies. I thought the first Saw (2004) film was decent enough but have been disappointed to see that just about every other horror film since the has copied much of the structure of that movie; namely an uncomfortable focus on pain, torture and suffering.

50 Years of The Twilight Zone - I'm about to make a bold statement; The Twilight Zone (the first episode of which aired 50 years ago on October 2, 1959) is my favorite TV series of all time. Period. I may love Arrested Development and think that The Wire was one of the best TV dramas ever, but when it comes to BEST TV SERIES OF ALL TIME I'd cast my vote for The Twilight Zone every time.

The Best TV Series 1999-2008, #6 and #5 - What has come before - #10 Battlestar Galactica, #9 The Sopranos, #8 Spaced and #7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Veronica Mars.

War Through the Eyes of Patrick S. Duncan - Just a few years ago before the proliferation of the Internet and DVD rental services like Netflix, there were very few ways to see movies that were out of the mainstream. If a movie didn't get a theatrical release in your area, if it didn't air on one of your 30 or so cable channels or wasn't available on VHS at the local video rental place...well, it could be difficult at best to see that particular movie. So, when I did manage to catch MoPic airing one evening sometime in the early 1990s as a feature on the PBS series American Playhouse I didn't realize what a huge break I had caught.

Fall TV Preview - The 2008-09 TV season was one that the broadcast networks are probably trying to forget. Overall viewership was down last season compared to the previous and has been steadily declining the last few years.

G.I. Joe: What's The Other Half of the Battle? - When I was younger, my absolute favorite TV cartoon and toy line was G.I. Joe. I have fond memories of buying my very first two Joes back in '82 (Breaker and Short Fuse) and for a time I was so into the line that I subscribed to the comic series.

The Best TV Series 1999-2008, #8 and #7 - This is the second column of many that will chronicle the ten best TV series 1999-2008. What's come before is #10 Battlestar Galactica and #9 The Sopranos.

Make Mine Batman! - It's difficult for anyone born after the fact to realize just how HUGE the original Batman (1989) movie was. To be sure there have been movies after that have earned more money but I don't think that any other film since has come close to the hype and excitement that followed the lead up to the release of Batman - and then again months later again for the release of the film on VHS.

Michael Mann, Public Enemy Number One - I've been a big fan of writer/director Michael Mann for some time now. I originally discovered him through his film Heat (1995) and after that devoured all the Mann films I could get my hands on.

The Aliens Turn 30 - This spring the Alien franchise that includes six films, numerous comic books, novels, toys and everything else turns 30. And though I've been a fan of just about everything Alien for most of that time, when the first film was originally released I was a bit too young to quite comprehend and appreciate that movie.

Drag Me To Terminator - There are a few interesting movies opening up this month - one is the fourth film of a 25 year old franchise and the other is also the fourth film of a 28 year old horror movie franchise. Only not quite.

To boldly go-where are we going again? - Star Trek is the only television series I can think of whose fans were constantly derided. No one ever made fun of people that watched Cheers or Guiding Light, yet everyone, no matter how subtle or deep their affection for Star Trek, were branded as "trekkies" or "trekkers."

The Best TV Series 1999-2008, #10 and #9 - It seems a bit odd to think this, but The Sopranos premiered on HBO a full decade ago last January. That series was groundbreaking in so many ways, the least of which for HBO was that it turned this once backwater pay cable channel into THE destination for innovative TV series.

What to watch this spring - As spring quietly enveloped Indiana a few weeks back - giving us slightly more day than night and (hopefully) sending Old Man Winter up north for the next seven or eight months - we quickly started down the road towards the time where most network and cable TV series begin winding down and films at the Cineplex turn almost exclusively to mindless fun.

Comics as Good as Watchmen - The Watchmen movie opened in theaters a few weeks back generating nearly $60 million in ticket sales capturing the number one spot opening weekend. Even though the movie was a little over two hours in length, there was no way that it could have ever come close to the depth of the original 380 page Watchmen series of comics originally published back in 1986.

Who's Going to Watch the Watchmen? Hurm! - The massive scale of the Watchmen (1986) series of comics is staggering. Consisting of twelve issues and over 380 pages of content that deals with everything from childhood abuse, sex and murder as well as the threat of total nuclear annihilation - the mind-boggling complexity of Watchmen had kept this fan-favorite story from being translated into film form for more than 20 years.

What's Your Setup? - As the date for the conversion to digital television crept closer and closer to reality this month - only to be pushed back all the way to June - I started wondering all the ways people access entertainment content today differently than they would have a few years back.

Summer Movie Preview - The 2009 summer movie season kicks off May 1 with the X-Men spin-off movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I liked X-Men (2000), loved X2 (2003) but thought that X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) was lacking just about everything a movie can lack.

The Best Films of 2008 - On and off over the last decade, I've taken time at the end of each winter to compile my list of the best movies of the year. It's a trip to look back at the first list I came up with at the end of 1999 that had The Matrix as the best movie of the year but somehow failed to include films like The Iron Giant or Fight Club.

The Best Television Shows of 2008 - The best TV series of the 2008 season was also the best of the 2007 season - Mad Men. Mad Men I thought that the sophomore season of Mad Men couldn't be as