Not Another Top (X) List: Top 12 Episodes of Steven Universe Season 1

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Hello, and welcome to another edition of…

NOT ANOTHER TOP X LIST!

And today, what else should I take a look at but a season from one of my favorite TV shows?

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Steven Universe season 1 is an intriguing block of episodes. I mean, take a look at episode 1, where Steven tries to harness his powers by eating ice cream. Goofy sci-fi comedy, right? Now take a look at episode 52, where Steven and the Crystal Gems are arrested for crimes of treason and face death row just as he starts to realize what the title means on a political level.

Goofy sci-fi comedy, right?

The second half of Season 1, while not perfect, is impressive as all hell, taking what once seemed like a silly little show and making it one of the most stunning and moving shows on cable television. Even the first half, while lighter and more self-contained, is often given a poor rap by the fandom (at least in my opinion), bringing with it some rather intriguing episodes under its belt.

But what episodes, from the season as a whole, managed to leave the largest and most positive impression with me? That’s where this list comes in.

Now, I will admit that, with one or two exemptions, this is basically a recap of my episode rankings, specifically, the top 12. I just happen to go more into detail here – think of it as a happy medium between my longer reviews and the simple list of episodes on the ranking.

With that said, X=12. I present to you…

THE TOP 12 EPISODES OF STEVEN UNIVERSE SEASON 1

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Not Another Top (X) List – Top 10 Worst Episodes of The Simpsons Season 10

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Hello, and welcome to another edition of…

NOT ANOTHER TOP (X) LIST!

And Season 10 of The Simpsons was subpar.

But it also didn’t suck too much.

Excellent, now that I have both sides of The Simpsons fandom declaring war against this stupid little blog, let me explain.

Yes, Season 10 of The Simpsons was a noticeable step down from Season 9 – which was itself a step down from Season 8. Many of the complaints I had in Season 9 – sketchy characterization, weaker plots, sillier endings, a thinner reliance on effective social analysis, etc. – not only remained in Season 10, but also became more egregious, neutralizing any sort of positives found in those episodes such as the jokes that I laughed at, any decent social insight, etc.

Most fans will remember this season for an overreliance on two cliches – the guest stars and the plot thread of “Homer Getting A Job”. Alone, they resulted in some dodgy moments – Homer helping Mr. Burns become loved, Dolly Parton breaking Homer and his acquaintances out of Super Bowl jail with her lipstick, etc. Together? …oh, boy.

But if it seems like I’m being too negative, there were a fair number of episodes that ranged from “fair” to “good”. The good ones really would hold their own in the golden era, while the “fair” ones still contained some level of societal insight, quirky comedy, or a combination of both – as well as flaws that were less egregious or more forgivable overall. (And before I continue, I’ve decided in the act of fairness to honor the three best episodes of the season, in ascending order. Stand up, “Lisa Gets an A”, “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken”, and “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”. Kinda interesting that my favorites were Lisa-centered episodes, for various reasons.)

So let’s dive into the worst of the worst. X=10, and we are looking at…

THE 10 WORST EPISODES OF SIMPSONS SEASON 10!

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Not Another Top X List – Top 40 Gravity Falls Episodes (AKA – My Personal Ranking)

(I’ll explain that title in a second.)
Hello, and welcome to another edition of…
NOT ANOTHER TOP X LIST!

Gravity Falls, over the past three-and-a-half years, made its mark as one of the most beloved cartoons on TV. It’s mystical plot, it’s combination of highbrow and lowbrow comedy, it’s mixture of scathing comedy with deep drama, all of it combined to make one of the biggest cult hits on TV.

Now, it’s over, and it will be missed.

(Yes, I am aware that it’s been over for a flipping month. Schoolwork happened. Sorry about that.)

I do intend to write one final requiem for the show before leaving it for (at least) a while, one where I lay out why I loved Gravity Falls so much. Before I do so, I have decided to do a personal ranking of every… single… episode. I did it for Season 1, and I did it for the first half of Season 2.

Now, begins my largest-ever list. Note that this ranking represents my current thoughts on the episode – my reviews from before might be outdated. (Also, the name is to keep it within the “Top X” title.)

(Some of these images were from other posts, others, from the Gravity Falls Wiki.)Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
THE TOP 40 GRAVITY FALLS EPISODES!

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Not Another Top (X) List: The Nine Worst Episodes of The Simpsons Season 9

(Author’s note: Meant to post this for a long time. Was too lazy to include the pictures until now.)

Well, after an update schedule that makes that of The Venture Brothers look stable in comparison, I have finally completed season 9 of The Simpsons– the first in a four-part series looking at the Mike Scully Era.

Truth be told, it was sorta what I expected. Character was indeed a bit haphazard, but that was mainly limited to Homer. Amazingly, this wasn’t too zany a season- there were a few wacky moments, but nothing too extreme.

On one hand, I did expect the show to still be relatively decent, even in it’s weaker episodes. That proved true- the show was still largely funny, still seemed like it had something to say, etc. On the other hand, I expected a few duds.

Indeed, there were quite a few duds- no major trainwrecks, but more than a few mediocre episodes. That’s what we’re covering here.

Unlike other lists of this nature, for the most part, these will be listed in order of airdate. The exception is the standout bad episode of the season- it goes at the end.

Oh, and please don’t refer to my reviews posted before February 2014. They’re boring and relatively poorly-written.

Here we are…

The Principal and the Pauper


Even without Mike Scully touching it, this was not the best sign for the season to come. It permanently altered the backstory of one of the characters in such a dramatic fashion. As well as the plot was handled, the plot itself was bad from the word go. I give it credit, though- it was pretty funny when the initial shock of “Armin Tamzarian” wore off. “Keep looking shocked, and move slowly towards the cake.”

The Two Mrs. Nahassapettapetalons


One of many episodes this season that wasn’t memorable. As interesting as the plot could’ve been, it was a relatively boring episode in terms of execution. Having Apu married off seemed like a big change, yet I doubt it had a long-term impact on character development. I’d certainly watch this again, though- Andrea Martin and the late Jan Hooks did put on good performances.

Realty Bites


As funny as Phil Hartman is, something about Homer getting in a car chase with Snake bugged me a bit too much. I give it credit for it’s snarky take on the realty industry, but I remember comparatively little from this episode.

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace


There was nothing horrendously bad in this episode- some Jerkass Homer and some schlockness, but nothing wretched. Except for the humor – with the exception of the ending, it is a dull, color by numbers episode. “Liar Revealed”, other characters out of character for the sake of a cliche plot, and a dearth of humor all hurt this episode. The second of three episodes I would likely skip in a marathon.

Bart Carny


Basically, the episode can be summed up as “Carnies are jerks”. No substance. Oh, and Homer gets a job for a few minutes because. Boy, that’s a good sign. One of three episodes which, during a marathon, I would likely skip. What a waste of Jim Varney.

The Trouble with Trillions

What could’ve been a funny satire on bureaucracy in the government (especially the IRS) instead turned into a “Captain Wacky goes on a zany adventure” plot- one that also feebelized Burns into a complete idiot. Oh, and to quote Mike Nelson: “Did they even need to go to Cuba?”

Trash of the Titans


As funny as the satire of extreme populism is, this is the quintessential Jerkass Homer episode- one where he gets a job and goes bonkers. Oh, and acts vindictive and whiny throughout. Thank you, Steve Martin, for making this more watchable.

Lost Our Lisa


Homer survives horrendous drawbridge injuries, and makes a speech that seems to cement him as Mike Scully’s own Mary Sue- an invincible mouthpiece for the writers and their fantasies. It came at the expense of a plot with a lot of potential.

Now, these were all pretty subpar. But, what was the most subpar? To clarify- what is the episode I am least likely to rewatch?

All Singing, All Dancing


Wow, was this pretty weak. The singing made little sense (or at least wasn’t funny), the clips reminded me of better episodes, there was virtually no comedy, very little character development… it was not memorable. Definitely one of the three episodes I wouldn’t rewatch- at least “Trillions” had some funny lines.

Oh, and for clarification purposes, my three favorites (read, the ones I would be most likely to watch again) are, in order, Lisa’s Sax, Girly Edition, and The Joy of Sect.

So, that wasn’t too bad. Not too good, but eh- you could chalk it up to first-season jitters… something which prior showrunners didn’t have, however.

Here we are – Season 10. Starting whenever.

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking the 1st Part of Gravity Falls Season 2

Boy, fate is really testing my fandom patience these past couple of years. The Orlando Magic are wretched. The New York Giants made me bang my head against the wall god knows how many times. (Jacksonville? Really?) And my favorite show goes on hiatuses that are so long, even Ayn Rand novels take up less time. Atlas Shrugged? That’s weaksauce compared to the length of Gravity Falls hiatuses!

Since we are effectively midway through season 2 of Gravity Falls, I figured may as well see how the season’s ranking up so far. So far, I must say this season is better- characters have been fleshed out, the animation has become better and better, the plots are sublime…

Is it awesome? Yes. Is it perfect? No.

For a more definitive look at how the season has played out, I bring you a ranking of the first half of Gravity Falls season 2.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: didn’t you rank Season 1 of Gravity Falls just a few months ago? The answer is yes. But, again, we’re in another hiatus. I think another quick ranking might not be such a bad idea.

(Oh, most images are taken from the Gravity Falls Wiki or my prior blog posts. Please don’t sue me.) Continue reading

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking Gravity Falls Season 1

Told ya I had a New Years trick up my sleeve, didn’t I?

Greetings, everyone! We’re celebrating the new year by doing a bit of a countdown of every episode of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, Gravity Falls! I’m counting down all 20 episodes of Season One. Essentially, this is similar to what I did back in April, with the worst and best episodes of the season. However, this encompasses all of the episodes from Season 1. They go from my least favorite to my, well, favorite. As well, I’ll be giving a one-or-two sentence review on these episodes.

I must stress that there are no “bad” Gravity Falls episodes- just weak Gravity Falls episodes.

Alright, Fallers! Let’s not waste any time! Continue reading

Not Another Top (X) List: Top 11 Best Episodes of Red Dwarf (So Far)

Merry Christmas, and welcome back (again) to…

NOT ANOTHER TOP (X) LIST!
 
At the beginning of our Christmas Spectacular Thing, we took a look at the top 8-ish worst episodes of Red Dwarf. By the end, the questions you were asking were probably…
  1. “Why the hell did you not go completely mad?”
  2. “Why look at the bad of this show?”
  3. “Why was Red Dwarf still your favorite show, even after you reviewed this tripe?”

To all three of those questions, I present this list. You see, when Red Dwarf was at its lowest, during the doldrums of Series VII and VIII, I thought back and actually asked myself these questions.

The thing is that, even with those 16 maligned episodes in Series VII and VIII, and with the more lukewarm material that came afterward, 35 of the first 36 episodes of Red Dwarf were some fantastic television. At worst, those episodes were a bit off, but not too bad. On average, those episodes were some funny, somewhat deep television. At its best? Simply put, at its best, Red Dwarf is some of the best television I’ve ever seen.

Where else could you see an odious failure of a man revealed to be a man with neuroses, a man held back by the worst that life had to offer? Where else did a seemingly one-dimensional fashionista have some of the best dexterity in the history of TV? Where else could one see a loopy computer pull the occasional trick up his sleeve? Where else could a subservient robot use his order to manipulate the system, and almost crack his programming due to the surroundings he faced every day. And where else could a man who seem to be satisfied with the simpler things in life, an utterly unmotivated slob, actually hold deep-seated values, and coincide the negative side of his id with actions that make him one of the kindest people in fiction?

And what other show would pack it all in with comedy that hits both ends of the scale? Jokes about modern pop culture and sex flow into jokes about historical figures that few may have even known about.

That’s why Red Dwarf is so brilliant. Through the doldrums, I never forgot about the brilliance of the best episodes.

I picked out 11 episodes that I feel are required viewing for any fan of Red Dwarf. OK, these are mainly my favorites, but you get the idea. I was originally going to do 10, but I realized that would exclude an episode that I feel needs to be on the list. These episodes are the best that Grant/Naylor have to offer. The highest parts of the list are some of the best TV I’ve ever seen.

Now, as with my “Worst Episodes” list, my opinions may have changed since I reviewed them, albeit not by too much.

So, here we are…

THE TOP 11 BEST EPISODES OF RED DWARF (SO FAR)

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking the Series of Red Dwarf (So Far)

Hello, and welcome to…

NOT ANOTHER TOP (X) LIST!
Last time, we took a look at the 8 worst episodes in the history of Red Dwarf, plus one that surpassed the 8 so far in badness that it ranked under the eight (know what I’m saying?) Since I expect the last list to debut on Christmas, I have decided to bridge the “bad” with the “good” by ranking every series of Red Dwarf so far, from worst to best. I think the start of the list is pretty predictable- it’s the rest of the series that might throw a curveball or two.

In addition, I have decided to add the “worst episode” and “best episode” from the season. Here’s the deal- the best episode from the best season might not (not necessarily “won’t”) make it to #1 on the “top episodes” list. Likewise, a “best episode” from a lower-ranked series might make it to #1 on the “top episodes list”.

Oh, and none of the DVD covers featured here belong to me.

Enough stalling… let’s begin!

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Not Another Top (X) List: Top 8-ish Worst Episodes of Red Dwarf (So Far)

Note to self: invest in Photoshop!

Hello, and welcome to another edition of….

NOT ANOTHER TOP (X) LIST!

Oh, and it’s December! Time for our…

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR THING!

Over the past two years, I took a look at Red Dwarf. I’ve seen the highs, I’ve seen the lows. I’ve seen the best, I’ve seen the worst. I’ve seen Duane Dibbley and the Polymorph. I saw Krytie TV and the Dinosaur. I’ve watched the characters evolve, devolve, and everything in between.

Now, until Series XI premieres (or until I get around to re-reviewing episodes), it’s the end of the road for our look at Red Dwarf.

When Red Dwarf was good, it was awesome. Its characters, its plots, it’s humor were unparalleled in British Comedy, in science-fiction, in TV. The construction of a solid majority of the episodes is awesome, and quite a few episodes are perfection.

Yet, to say it’s not perfect would be an understatement. The bad episodes of Red Dwarf ranged from duff episodes to some of the worst TV I’ve ever watched. Now, debate can range on if and when Red Dwarf went down the tubes, if and when it recovered, and if and when the show’s legacy was tarnished by the weaker seasons.

Still, I feel fit to put in my top examples on when Red Dwarf failed to meet the high standards set by the cream of the crop… of if it just failed, period.

Now, a disclosure: this is not in the order that I graded them, nor could the episode that I may have noted was the worst episode ever at the time of review make it to #1 on this list. This is purely on reflection. My opinions may have changed since I originally reviewed these episodes, albeit only slightly.

Oh, and stories=episodes.

Ladies and gentlemen, X=8. After the jump…

THE TOP 8 WORST EPISODES OF RED DWARF (SO FAR)

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Not Another Top (X) List: Top 6 Best Episodes of Gravity Falls Season 1

Well, yesterday, we looked at the top 5 worst episodes of season 1 of Gravity Falls. It was hard to pick the 5 worst, simply because the season was so good.

Now, onto another hard task; the top 6 episodes of Gravity Falls season 1. This was hard merely because the season was so fantastic, it produced god-knows-how-many candidates for the title of “best episode”. Narrowing it down to 6 was a hard task.

So, without further ado, here are…

THE TOP 6 BEST GRAVITY FALLS EPISODES OF SEASON 1!

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