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PopMatters Picks: The Best TV, Film, and DVD of 2006

For the past week PopMatters has been presenting the best of 2006’s visual entertainment.  Last week was the best TV, DVDs and film of 2006.  This week look for genre picks and best performances from a range of our staff critics. On tap today: Best TV Characters 2006 Best of TV on DVD.

+ PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2006

What’s more important when making up a year end list—artistic merit or entertainment value? Are the two mutually exclusive, or are there instances where pure pop value equals cinematic craft? Should one vote with the heart or with the head, does how much you laugh matter less than how hard you cried… or raged… or thought? These are the factors that fluster even the most seasoned cinephile and taunt the television fan. Throughout the course of any particular timeframe, a reviewer is bombarded with a smorgasbord of sound and vision—movies about hope and heroism, TV shows trading on both humor and heartache. It’s a sometimes pleasant, sometimes profound assault on the senses, but remains an attack nonetheless. To ask said victim to turn around and rate their assailants from one to ten is paramount to impossible. Somewhere along the line, omissions will be made and gut reactions will overwhelm intelligence and logic.

So perhaps its best to consider this collection of PopMatters 2006 Picks for the year’s outstanding film, DVD, and television fare as less of a legitimate grading of media, and more like a gathering of memories. Or, even better, a recognition of reactions, for in the end, that’s what any ranked list really is. You look over the 12 months that have passed, you put on your thinking cap, and try to recall the 10 or 20 titles that made the biggest impact on you. Sure, some outside aesthetics are applied, but in the end, what you’re really doing is scoring how significant each experience was. And since it will be filtered through your own sensibility first, and a more generalized awareness second, the result is much more recollected than ranked. As a matter of fact, this should be your approach when reading these pieces.

Instead of wondering why a certain series was overlooked, or how anyone could champion such a crappy motion picture, use these lists as a starting point for your own reminiscences. If we don’t agree, so what? That’s the beauty—and purpose—of such endeavors.

—Bill Gibron

Wednesday, January 10 2007

The Pay Off: The Best Film of 2006

For many of the movies on PopMatters' 2006 list of the year's best films, it is clear that a heavy personal and professional stake was riding on the final product.

Net-Works: The Best TV of 2006

You won't have to look far along your television dial to discover the Top TV picks from PopMatters staff. From 20 upward, each entry represents the boob tube at its best.

Time Encapsulating: The Best DVDs of 2006

From solid single issues to amazingly complete film and television compilations, the works highlighted here argue for DVD's continued importance.

War Stories: Top 12 Films of 2006

You hardly needed to duck into theaters to see war images this year. And yet, there it they were. War stories made for some of the most gripping, provocative, and outraged offerings of 2006.

Tuesday, January 9 2007

Best TV Characters 2006

Monday, January 8 2007

Best of TV’s Performers 2006

As TV leans increasingly towards game and reality shows, opportunities diminish... the chances to develop plots and characters are decreasing.

Geek Goes Mainstream

The year 2006 saw many examples of so-called geeks breaking into the mainstream.

Sunday, January 7 2007

The Year in Crime

The best four films of the year are all essentially crime pictures. Though they are stylish, none could be deemed pulp, or at least not in the Tarantino/Rodriguez sense of the word.

Unkept Promises: Most Disappointing Films of 2006

If it's easy to get excited about a new film, it's just as easy to feel disenchanted with the results. Looking over 2006, there were lots of unkept promises.

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