By Bill Sweeney
it's my web domain/twitter/tumblr but what does "Wicked Theory"
actually Mean? How the hell could I make a Year End Top Ten out of it?
I chose it originally as just wordplay on the phrase "bad idea", over
time I've come to fashion more of a meaning out of it. A "wicked
theory", as I spin it, is a bad idea gone right. Or more to it, an idea
or belief, that seems unlikely (or just plain wrong) when you hear it,
but in retrospect, turns out to be really good. The most badass ideas
are the one that shouldn't work - but do.
And for me, here, in my head, it's a thing I look for and see everywhere. And for what I do here, on the web, I keep it to the context of pop/geek culture.
rather than call this "The Top Ten Things In Pop/Geek Culture That
Seemed Like Bad Ideas At First But Turned Out To Be Pretty Smart This
Year", or "Hey Internet, You Were Wrong About Stuff" let's just go with
the short version above, okay?
Theory 10. That killing off beloved TV characters is a good thing.
Without naming names or spoiling spoilers, this year saw major deaths on The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, Sons Of Anarchy as well as many other shows (here's a list with videos if you really want more) and as much as no one wants to hear this - it's for the greater good.
of these shows did so not because it's attention getting or for shock
value, in truth, a good number of these shows exist in a story framework
of heightened danger or there are characters that other characters
simply want dead. In order to present that threat in as real a manner
possible, people have to die off, the threat needs to come to pass now
and again. TV shows can feel all the more fake when no one ever gets
shot or ages or dies. No one ever expects that a main lead like Jack
Bauer, Rick Grimes or Olivia Pope will die (unless it's the final
episode, maybe) but those around them shouldn't really be safe.
different would the Walking Dead feel if no one had ever died? Besides
overcrowded, I mean. Wouldn't it feel silly then, every time a zombie
lunged forward? Every time someone pointed a gun at someone else? You'd
sit there rolling your eyes. That's how TV was in the 80's and 90's.
There was a LOT of eye rolling.
Formulaic, scripted TV
can only deliver so much "realism", and I'll take as much as it can
offer, whatever form it comes in… no matter how gut-wrenching. Because
I've had the alternative, and it's weak.
Theory 9. That Bill Cosby would turn into a hated man.
many prior accusations, at the start of the year many people had no
idea The Coz had ever been accused of rape. Then comedian Hannibal
Buress mentioned it on stage. And someone got that on video, which made
the rounds and then it became part of the daily conversation on the
webs. New accusations started arising. More women were coming forward,
many not even looking to formally charge him - they just wanted the
truth known. Then Coz had some dumb "Turn Me Into A Meme" promotion of
some kind and the internet rose to the challenge, eviscerating him.
asshats still point the finger at these women saying they are doing it
for money or the spotlight. Seriously? Because that's what people want
to be famous for, being sexually attacked?
Point here is, 30 women can't all be lying, so he's a big ol' pile shit.
Theory 8. That a depressing, sometimes nihilistic, cop procedural would be the must-watch show at the start of last year.
easy to point to the track records of the network and the lead actors
as up front proof this show was going to be a hit, because one could
also point to other bleak cop shows, like The Killing for
example, for proof that as a whole this was not a new idea, and these
kind of shows can struggle. After the first hour though, HBO's True Detective
had displayed approaches in tone, storytelling and characterization
that felt so fresh and different, they demanded your attention. It
became water cooler talk right away, which is always when the first wave
of criticism becomes the public conversation. Was it trying to hard to
be smart and different? What the hell is even going on, I can't follow
it. Is this a supernatural show? Can it live up to the buzz and have a
At the beginning you are given two cops
that are anything but a good match. Each teetering on a ledge of
personal and or mental problems while trying to solve a mystery that
will wind it's way through 17 years of their lives. Speculation on the
show's story got the web all a-buzz with theories on The Yellow King,
featured symbols and much more. I haven't seen that happen since Lost.
By the end, things do feel right as everything wraps with satisfaction,
well told and well considered. Yet there is certainly a point early on
where the show feels limitless, that it could go almost in any
direction, even shift genre mid-season if it wanted to, and it would
work. Those let down by the ending are most likely in love with an
ending they created in their own heads.
Now the question is, can season 2 live up to season one?
Theory 7. That Taking Away The Hellblazer's Cigarettes Was Okay
bad, we all know that, but what some may not know is that it's kind of
central to the comic book character John Constantine, mostly, y'know,
because he develops cancer. The network's stance on this characteristic
was a big no as the series went into production. Fans were left thinking
this whole show is going to be rife with studio compromises because
John's got more than just this to be concerned with in his lore. Well,
guess what guys, not even NBC can keep him from his habit. Since the
first episode it's been mentioned he's recently quit smoking, and it's
alluded to whenever he fidgets with a Zippo lighter he always has on
him. Then in one episode, he s outside of the home of someone he's
trying to help, at his wits end - and just he lights one up. Fuck you,
NBC, I guess.
And in this way, I think it kind of works
better. In a sense, the smoking can cary more story weight if he's not
chaining them constantly, instead, lighting up a stashed, half finished
ciggie in a quieter moment of frustration.
Theory 6. That the above 11 minute clip called "TOO MANY COOKS" from Adult Swim could renew my faith in mankind…
Theory 5. That a story about an old dude returning to his home town would be the most badass thing of the year.
is the story of Earl Tubb as he returns home to Craw County, Alabama.
He hates this place and that's why he left it. So what's to do when you
get pulled into the Good Ole' Boy type bullshit? You start cracking'
heads with a big fuckin' stick is Earl's answer. He's got little to
lose, and nothing to gain, all he's got is his righteousness, anger and
grit. Is it enough?
At first glance, this seems to be
just a riff on Walkin' Tall, but we soon see it's about more than just
Earl. It's about this messed up town and the football and BBQ loving'
Bastards who live there. Just when you get all filled in on Earl's
messed up back story, well, here comes one that's even worse once you
really get to know town bad guy Coach Boss.
over all others I've read this year, feels perfect for adaption on cable
TV. This is the next thing AMC or HBO should scoop up, and you should
That an audio podcast where a reporter speculates about a murder trial
and conviction from 15 years ago could really be THAT good.
Well, it depends on how you define "THAT".
has just enough quirk, just enough polish - but not too much - and just
enough "I'm figuring this out as I go along" type honesty that you
can't help but want to listen to the next episode. The central
"mystery", for many, is no mystery at all. Host Sarah Koenig's own doubt
is as central a mystery as any person or event discussed while she
tries to understand a conviction that just seems wrong to her. There's
no "fourth wall" here and in later episodes the show itself begins to
become a small issue as its popularity grows and becomes known to those
being interviewed. Yes, it got real popular real quick, and for good
reason, it's smart and compelling.
Imperial Geekdom was on pins and needles after Lucas sold Star Wars to
Disney. They cringed when it was announced any prior "Non-Movie"
mythology was out and new ancillary books and games and comics would
replace them (albeit, much of the new material as officially canon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon , which was never the case before).
came word that JJ Abrams was going to direct and a certain contingent
of fans snapped. "The guy who just turned Star Trek into a glossy, lens
flared, youth-ified reboot?" Despite JJ's very own, documented life-long
obsession with the Original Trilogy, speculation went wild and all
kinds of horrors were imagined. But then a funny thing happened. He
started making all the right moves. It started with casting all the
original actors along with the new blood. Then came the trailer for
episode seven, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
it did everything it was designed to do. It surprised you and left you
with wonder, it left you with new iconic imagery that feels right, and
most of all - without even showing a single member of the classic cast -
it got legions of diehard fans pumped and eager for more. The Star Wars
fandom's embrace of the brief preview can be seen all around the web,
from pro quality fan art to simple exuberant speculation. Yeah there's
nerd confusion about understanding the functionality and practicality of
a Tri-Saber, but who cares, it'll be explained!
Theory #2. That a Franco and Rogen movie would be anything important.
the whole thing turned out okay, this whole situation is filled with
bad ideas turned good. The decision to even write this movie probably
seemed like a bad idea at one point. Because, y'know, that guy Un is
kinda wacky. The decision to green light this movie probably seemed like
a bad idea, too. Because that guy Un, kinda wacky. The decision to pull
it from theaters, the decision to put it back. Because… you get it.
In the end it was all good ideas.
Especially the one about killing Kim Jong Un.
could go on, but this story is really fresh so you're probably sick of
it anyway, besides, it'll be in your kids text books one day. And when they have to do a report for history, you can help!
Theory #1. That the movie with the most riding against it would be, not just a success, but the hit of the summer.
won't work, they said. No one's even heard of them, they said. It could
break Marvel, some said. It's got an untested lead actor, a pro
wrestler and some low budget director, they scoffed. Oh, for Pete's
sake, it's got a freaking talking tree and a gun-crazy raccoon in it,
they screamed. Repeatedly.
And they were almost right, it shouldn't have worked. But it did.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
took everyone by surprise for a lot of reasons, but what most who've
seen it will tell you is that it was fun. The movie had personality. And
as we all learned from Jules, personality goes a long way. In a world
of super serious sequels and prequels that have maybe one joke or two,
here came a space pirate move that was just shy of swashbuckling, and
refused to take itself too seriously - despite being about saving the
universe. None should really be too surprised by this fact. Marvel
movies always have a degree of fun and humor, that almost always lands,
so why wouldn't a movie of theirs that put some focus on laughs knock it
out of he park?
Yes, the relentless cynic in me has a
couple of small issues, but they are exceeded by the overall charm on
display. In the end, GOTG embodies what this list is all about -- not
just in it's plot and story, but in it's success -- proving naysayers
(and maybe even yourself) wrong with a great idea.