2011's pop culture squees, 'sad trombones'
Colin Ferguson, left, star of "Eureka," at Dragon*Con. Andrew Garfield, right, delivered an impassioned speech at Comic-Con.
December 30th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

2011's pop culture squees, 'sad trombones'

We're pretty sure 2011 was a great year to be a geek. But with all of the amazing things we've witnessed in the nexus of nerd culture and mainstream pop culture, there were plenty of potential geek out moments that didn't quite work out. And then there were a few things this year that were just a mixed bag.

So, here's a look at some squees and corresponding "sad trombones" for this year's pop culture with a nerdy bent:

Squee: "Doctor Who"

Things got off to a rip-roaring start in the sixth season of "Doctor Who." We encountered the ominously creepy Silence, an “impossible astronaut” with murderous intentions towards the Doctor, and the constant foreshadowing of a fixed date when the Doctor must die. The episodes that followed maneuvered the twists and turns of Steven Moffat’s layered plotlines, and Matt Smith continued to reveal deeper and darker sides of our beloved Doctor. But perhaps the most brilliant gem was the Neil Gaiman-penned episode, “The Doctor’s Wife,” where the TARDIS comes to life in a beautifully poignant character, and we realize that she is the Doctor’s only constant.

'Star Trek' vs. 'Star Wars:' The ultimate showdown
December 29th, 2011
05:53 PM ET

'Star Trek' vs. 'Star Wars:' The ultimate showdown

No look back at the year in nerd culture can be complete without one of the most interesting developments in quite some time for fans of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek."

William Shatner took to his YouTube channel in September to declare, once and for all (reminiscent of the movie "Fanboys"), that "Star Trek" is superior to "Star Wars." In the midst of that, he took a few shots at Carrie Fisher (who appeared at Dragon*Con at the same time he did a few weeks earlier).

Fisher defended "Star Wars," and Shatner did not go unscathed either. "Shat" had a retort to Fisher, as well. George Takei, meanwhile, urged peace between the "Star-people," since they have a common enemy: "Twilight."

This debate for the ages inspired us to settle it once and for all, with you, dear Geek Out readers, as the judges. FULL POST

What we geeked out about in 2011
George R.R. Martin, author of "Dance with Dragons" and other books in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series.
December 28th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

What we geeked out about in 2011

2011 was a big year for geeking out (for one thing, this blog launched in 2011).

The staff of CNN Geek Out had quite a few geek out moments but we picked just a few of the biggest ones to share with you as we say goodbye to this year.

Doug Gross:

We’d waited six long years to hear those seven magical words.

“The dragons are coming. Prepare to dance.”

That’s what fantasy writer George R.R. Martin wrote on his website in March, signaling that “A Dance With Dragons,” the fifth book in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, had gotten a July publication date.

By this point, “SOIAF” had already leapt to the top of my list. I’d even committed the geek-sacrilege of suggesting it’s better than “Lord of the Rings.” The fact that Martin had taken so long to get this one just right only made the moment I learned that 2011 would mark a return to Westeros more of a rush.

There would be more fantasy-geeking on my part when the book was actually released and was just as masterful as any of us could have expected. And, of course, there was the rush of seeing “Game of Thrones” adapted for HBO. But those seven words … yeah. That was big.

Our geekiest gifts this holiday season
December 27th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Our geekiest gifts this holiday season

'Tis the season for geeky gifts, and there are certainly plenty of them out there. It's been a happy holiday for your friendly neighborhood CNN Geek Out staff, and we'd like to share with you some of our favorite things received this year.

Nikki Rau-Baker:

This Christmas was another good one for me as I received some fairly geeky gifts.

A must for anyone gearing up for the upcoming big-screen version of The Hobbit: "The History of The Hobbit" by John D. Rateliff, covers the beginnings of The Hobbit with such tidbits of information as the original names of the dwarves and the shocking revelation that the leader was initially called Gandalf.

The Chillbots ice cube tray makes me happy as I listen to the tinkling of the robots in my glass.They’re a party hit!

As I prepare my glass of blue milk to go with dinner nothing says “I might kill you over dessert” like lighting candles in my lightsaber candlestick holders. The weight of these really could knock someone out if you decide to get into a dual after your meal, but I won’t endorse that sort of vicious behavior.

That's quite a wardrobe you've got there, Doctor
December 26th, 2011
09:48 AM ET

That's quite a wardrobe you've got there, Doctor

SPOILER ALERT: If you didn't see the Doctor Who Christmas special on BBCA last night, what kind of Whovian are you?!?! Because this jazz is totally bigger on the inside.

My, but it was good to see the Doctor again. It must be the bow tie.

As leading man Matt Smith and producer Marcus Wilson both promised in interviews before the episode aired, “The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe” is simply effervescent with Christmas nostalgia, charm and heart. And it's definitely the most Christmas-y yet of the famed Doctor Who holiday specials.

The first scene showing him barely hanging on to an exploding spaceship was oddly comforting, because it's reminiscent of one of the first times we saw the Eleventh Doctor grappling for his out-of-control TARDIS before it crash-landed in Amy Pond’s backyard.

After a chance encounter in 1938 England with Madge Arwell, a mother and wife, the Doctor returns three years later to answer her Christmas wish. Madge’s husband, a pilot in the war, died trying to make it home for the holiday, and she has yet to tell her children.

On a TARDIS and a wish, the Doctor returns and attempts to help Madge and her two children, Lily and Cyril, have the best Christmas they can. Starting by decking the halls of the drafty home they are staying in with his own childlike impulses - like a lemonade tap in the kitchen and a wonderland of toys in the children’s bedroom - the Doctor is ready to indulge himself and enchant the Arwells. FULL POST

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