The best of the Arts staff’s ‘Best of 2012′ lists

January 1, 2013

Combing through the thousands of entertainment releases can be a daunting task for any writer, let alone for teams of critics to determine the best of the year.  Yet, as 2012 comes to a close, the WSN Arts staff has worked together to choose the best albums, films and television shows of the year.  Ranging from expected hits to underdog picks, these lists represent the combined efforts of the Film, Entertainment and Music desks to determine the peaks of artistic expression in the last 12 months.

For explanations of each choice, check out our Arts-dedicated blog, The Highlighter, and leave your own choices in the comments below each article.  Here are the full lists as well as links to our previous coverage.

The Top 10 Films of 2012

  1. “Lincoln”
  2. Moonrise Kingdom
  3. “Argo” — Ben Affleck’s latest directorial endeavor is a love letter to cinema, the United States and even Canada. Based on the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, “Argo” shows that behind every great movie is an even greater tale of real human triumph.
  4. “The Avengers”
  5. Cloud Atlas
  6. “The Dark Knight Rises” — The sad truth is that nothing could have topped the overwhelming quality of “The Dark Knight,” but Nolan’s final entry in the trilogy certainly makes an effort. Audiences are brought into an uglier, less hopeful Gotham City than they’ve ever seen before, with Tom Hardy’s Bane shedding light onto anarchy and complete abandonment of order.
  7. Django Unchained
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  9. Les Misérables
  10. “Silver Linings Playbook”  — Both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence show new levels of realism in their performances, and Robert De Niro even co-stars in what may be his first quality role since the ’90s. David O. Russell’s latest film is fun and quirky in the best and least obnoxious way possible.

The Top 10 Television Shows of 2012

Dramas
  1. “Mad Men”
  2. “Breaking Bad” — The finale’s stunning cliffhanger is just a sample of some of the surprises the season had to offer.  With only eight episodes before the show’s end, “Breaking Bad” is as strong as ever, and the fifth season only stands as proof.
  3. Homeland
  4. Revenge
  5. American Horror Story
Comedies
  1. “Parks and Recreation” — The easy standout of NBC’s Thursday night lineup, “Parks & Recreation” delivered its best material in 2012. The second half of season four followed the end of Leslie Knope’s campaign for Pawnee City Council, allowing Amy Poehler to deliver countless excellent performances.
  2. Girls
  3. Community” — “Community” can accomplish in half of a season what most other shows can do in a full year. Need proof? Just watch “Digital Estate Planning,” an episode from May that was done in the style of an 8-bit video game.
  4. Glee
  5. “Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23″

The Top 10 Albums of 2012

  1. Blunderbuss” - Jack White
  2. Shields” - Grizzly Bear
  3. “Visions” – Grimes
  4. “Bloom” – Beach House - Beach House made their mark on 2012 with “Bloom.” After hovering around the bubble of greatness for a few years, the Baltimore duo seems to have finally entered the pantheon with its newest album’s lush dream-pop sound.
  5. “Babel” – Mumford & Sons
  6. “Lonerism” – Tame Impala
  7. Coexist” - The xx
  8. The Bloom and the Blight” - Two Gallants - With its fourth and best record, this San Francisco duo uses a unique blend of folk rock to resurrect the spirit of rock n’ roll.
  9. “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” – Kendrick Lamar
  10. Halcyon” - Ellie Goulding

Jonathon Dornbush is editor-in-chief. Email him at jdornbush@nyunews.com.

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