And here are my favorites of 2006:
Best New BlogJane Espenson
: It's great when top professionals give up their tradecraft for us lesser mortals, and somehow Jane finds the time to do it between writing episodes of shows we'd all kill to staff.
Favorite BlogDead Things on Sticks
: If talking sense can fix Canadian TV, DMc is the man to do it. And if you're south of the border, there's lot of stuff to learn about creating and staffing TV shows. Sure, Denis is a good friend, so this is arguably logrolling, but part of the reason
he's a friend is because he's so smart and funny.
This is the year Slings and Arrows
made it to basic cable, so this is the year I discovered it. Probably one of my top five favorite current TV shows. If you didn't catch it on TV, rent the DVD.
This was also the year we ploughed through the entire run of Sopranos
, and rediscovered the joys of Northern Exposure
. And it was great fun to watch the Walking with Dinosaurs
/ Walking with Prehistoric Monsters
/ Walking with Cavemen
series with Hunter.
Probably the most directly useful book I read this year was John Badham and Craig Modderno's book on directing actors, I'll Be in My Trailer
. I got to use it while casting my short film. Packed with specifics on what to do and what not to do.
The most fascinating book I read was 1491
, which develops the thesis that the New World was heavily populated with advanced farming civilizations prior to the arrival of Columbus, and that the impression of Indians as primitive Neolithic hunter-gatherers was a result of 96% mortality rates in plagues that swept the continents long before most European diarists got anywhere near them.
Other books that will in no way help my career unless I am very, very lucky include Rubicon
, about the fall of the Roman Republic -- the book that inspired the HBO series Rome
; Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
; and Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography
, about the Victorian explorer/rogue/linguist/translator.
In the land of fiction, obviously there was Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys
, which Lenny Henry was kind enough to read to me on my iPod. I also caught up to Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky
and A Fire Upon The Deep
. And, purely for research, mind you, most of the DC Vertigo Lucifer
Best Toy I Definitely Did Not Buy For Myself, It Was For My Daughter You See: Darth Tater.
Best First Sentence (Jesse Anne Epstein): "I'm not sleepy!" She says it a lot.
Best Song: "Furry Happy Monsters" by REM.
Best New Agent: Amy Stulberg.
Happy New Year! May your year be a happy and successful one.