Santa Claus isn't the only guy making a list and checking it twice. We’ve watched over the entertainment industry with the same critical gaze that Old Saint Nick does for all the boys and girls out there. We’ve liked a lot of what 2014 has brought us. Some other things—well, let’s just say that a lump of coal would be mercy. As we all sweat out the the lead in to Christmas by acting on our best behavior, we present the Naughty and Nice List of 2014. Santa would be proud.
The Nice List
As if working out on a salmon ladder 10 times a day wasn’t difficult enough, Arrow’s lead star continues championing his show with the same gusto that Oliver Queen would for Starling City. With an outspoken voice, active social media presence, and greater social involvement with F*ck Cancer and Movember, there’s bound to be some nice presents waiting under Amell’s tree. Maybe a good old fashioned chin-up bar?
Guardians of the Galaxy’s director bestowed so many gifts upon popular culture this year, he’s practically a thinner and nerdier version of Santa Claus himself. Guardians was arguably one of the greatest films of the year, filled with enough action and humor to remove even the biggest sticks up people’s butts. Santa (and Kevin Bacon) would be proud.
It’s a little tricky to stuff an entire cast and crew under one spot, but everyone on The Flash deserves an extra special gift this year. Whereas most superhero shows have been slow out the gate, The Flash has, rather appropriately, done a dead sprint since the start. This show contains so much energy and optimism, it’s the televised embodiment of The Flash himself. Everyone should feel extremely grateful for the special care this show has given to its source material and audience.
The DC Cinematic Universe
Finally. With only a Batman trilogy to really brag about in the past fourteen years, DC Comics has finally risen to match Marvel with a cinematic universe of their own. Watching the company continuously fumble the ball as Marvel rose to pop culture stardom has frustrated fans to say the least, but that finally changed with a lineup of interconnected films highlighted by a two-part Justice League epic. Who knows if the movie’s will actually be any good, but for now the world should feel content that DC has finally gotten off of its butt.
The Naughty List
Why NBC put Constantine on the the 10:00 p.m. Friday night time-slot is beyond anyone’s comprehension. Constantine, DC’s fledgling Vertigo show that’s acually done quite an impressive job in it’s first half of a season, was doomed before it even had a chance to win viewers over. That kiss of death was only furthered by NBC’s decision to forgo a back half to season one, further slimming the chance of Constantine’s survival. Fortunately, the Network is shifting Constantine’s time slot up to an 8:00 p.m. in January, but it’s still too little too late. Forget the coal, NBC’s executive are getting ravaged voodoo dolls—of themselves—for Christmas.
The Fantastic Four
It hasn’t been the best year for Marvel’s first family in any medium. The cast and crew for next year’s Fantastic Four reboot haven’t exactly given fans a reason to get excited, highlighting all of the drastic changes and departures their interpretation will make. It we’re trying to stay optimistic, but they’re making it difficult. Then, on the comics side, Marvel decided to axe a main Fantastic Four series from its publishing lineup, reportedly over fear of giving FOX studios any greater reason to profit from Fantastic Four films. Dark times are ahead for the Fantastic Four, but maybe they can light that coal up to guide their way through 2015.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony Pictures
Why is it that Sony Pictures can never get The Green Goblin right? Osborn issues aside, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was an underwhelming experience across the board. Too many villains were stuffed in, the subplot of Peter’s parents continued to bore, and the only memorable part of the franchise—Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s romance—was snuffed. There’s no joy to be had in hating on Spider-Man, but the low box office numbers and poor critical reception only confirm that reboot sequel was a strike in the “lose” column. In fact, the damage was so catastrophic, that Sony is reportedly considering scrapping their plans for a third Amazing Spider-Man and engineer a new direction for the character. We know exactly what Sony Pictures needs for Christmas: A time-out.
Michael Bay is usually known for putting out one stinker a year, but he really outdid himself by directing Transformers: Age of Extinction and producing the equally-abysmal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Each exercise in gratuitous CGI action sequencing seemed more interest in product placement and freeze-dried performances than delivering an actual story. With each film pulling less than a 25% “Rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear that Santa isn’t the only one disappointed with Mr. Bay’s efforts. Are there any Transformers out there that turn into pieces of coal?