Republibot (dot) Com’s Most Popular Stories Of The Year 2009

Republibot 3.0
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If you ever wondered why so many websites run so many articles like “Top 10 Surprisingly Sensitive Moments from Shockjocks” or “September through November, 2009: A Nostalgic Look Backwards” or “Links to 206 Random Articles That Prove Everyone Is An Idiot Except Me,” the reason, quite obviously, is that it’s the freakin’ holiday, doofus! Everyone’s on the road, or trying to avoid the road, or in a drunken, overfed stupor, or in therapy trying to deal with family dysfunction, or digitally airbrushing out the adult onset acne from the naked pictures they managed to snap at the drunken office party.

Well, we here at Republibot are no different…excepting the Drunken Naked Office Party, of course. Most of us are dudes, and the one chick in our HQ - Madge - is a 300 pound, 75-year-old teetotaler…so, you know, that’d be just plain icky. We tend to avoid even the *mention* of office parties as a result. That notwithstanding, however, we’re like the other guys…oh, wait…another way we’re not the same as the other guys: we’re not gay. Well, insofar as I can tell, we’re not gay. Again, not sure about Madge, of course. I’m not being homophobic or anything, but I’ve noticed a lot of openly gay folks on staff at other websites. We don’t have any of those. If we’ve got anyone gay on staff - and who knows, we might - they’re firmly in the closet. So, anyway, aside from the ‘no naked parties’ thing and the gay thing, we’re just like all the other websites….oh, wait…and we actually research our stories and print retractions and corrections when it turns out we’re right. So, aside from the ‘naked’ thing and the ‘gay’ thing and the ‘research’ thing and the ‘admitting when we’re wrong’ thing, we’re just like everyone else, unless you count - No! No, no, no! It doesn’t matter. I’m digressing. Back on topic:

Just like all the other sites, we’re filling up our spotty end-of-year publication rate with pointless retrospectives. Retrospectives are easy. If done right, you can actually end up with an article that actually takes more time to read than it did to write. That was actually my hope when I sat down to write this, but the paragraph above sort of blew that concept. Sigh. So without further ado, I give you: Republibot’s Most Popular Stories Of The Year!

1) “Black Canary Barbie Doll? What the frack…?” - Inexplicably and humblingly, this random bit of filler from April 30th ended being far-and-away our biggest story of the year. At first we assumed it was because the story included the phrase “Masterbatory aids,” but upon closer inspection of the search keys our visitors use, we have no freakin’ idea where the reads are coming from. Assuming it’s not some weird kind of voodoo computer glitch, however, this stupid, stupid, stupid story is our top one of the year with 8,864 reads - and still counting, disturbingly enough.

2) “Defying Gravity, Episode 13 Review” - Defying Gravity was yet another example of that tragic genre trope: a series that was dead before it ever hit the air. A clever show, interesting, occasionally challenging, slightly menacing at times, frequently beautiful (I mean, check out those sets!), and the true heir apparent to the “Lostback” narrative structure pioneered by Lost (As opposed to “Flash Forward,” which merely wants to be, but isn’t), the show never quite hit the “Watershed” level that changes the genre forever, nor was it as fun as “Firefly,” but it was a damn good show, and I was sorry to hear it go.

The network aired six or eight episodes, I forget how many now, and promises to burn the remaining ones off in the spring, but they’ve already run in Canada. One of our readers, nwkeys01, was able to find the episodes, and get them to us, so we were able to review the second half of the season six months before it airs in the US. The most popular of these reviews was the Season/series finale, Episode 13, “Kiss,” in which I got a bit misty, which got us 2583 reads

3) “Ben 10 Alien Force Series Finale” - One of the things I’m proudest about here on the ‘Bot is that we don’t distinguish between Cartoons and Live Action Shows. Sure, there’s a difference between kid shows and adult shows, but Science Fiction is all about ideas, right? And if you’ve got some original ideas - or even just some good ones - then the medium doesn’t matter, right? I mean, when you get right down to it, Star Trek is a kids show, after all. As a result, we’ve been covering shows like “Ben 10,” and going into depth with more than just a superficial “It was neat and I liked it” kind of thing. This has apparently gone over well with our readers, and our review of the Season 2 Finale for “Alien Force” has nabbed us 2516 reads so far.

3) “Ben 10 Alien Force Season 3 Premier” - one of the advantages of covering ‘orphan shows’ like Defying Gravity, Ben 10, and Kings that tend to escape the view of the larger sites is that you tend to get a lot of repeat traffic from like-minded folks. In our case, we try to be worthy of that by doing the most exhaustive (And frequently exhausting) reviews possible, and most people seem to like that. Duane McDuffie even dropped me an Email telling me ‘thanks for the nice review’ on one occasion. If that isn’t gratifying, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, “Alien Force” was *supposed* to end with the Season 2 finale, but the ratings were so good that the network pulled a “Magnum PI” and brought it back for another year. Our coverage of the unexpected Season Premier has gone over well with the same folks who liked our Series Finale coverage above. 2467 reads.

4) “Virtuality Review” - Another dead-before-it-hit-the-air project was “Virtuality,” a pilot/TV movie about the first spaceship to Alpha Centauri, or whatever. Bizarrely, a lot of the larger sites raved and raved and raved and then raved some more about this boring, cliché-ridden, hackey piece of driftwood, treating it like it was the Second Coming, rather than just a cheap beat-em-to-the-punch knockoff of “Defying Gravity.” (In the same way, but less successfully than “Deep Space 9” was a beat-em-to-the-punch knockoff of “Babylon 5.”) 2365 Reads

5) “Interview With Keith Young” - Keith Young is the guy who’s spent the last twenty years or so cranking out high-quality, high-accuracy blueprints for Moonbase Alpha, and various other Space: 1999 locations and vehicles. His work is amazing, and a labor of love, and after twelve or thirteen years of trying to track him down, I finally got an amazing review. As a bonus, he gave us some artwork for a failed Space: 1999 big-screen revival that he was briefly attached to. 2127 reads.

6) “Defying Gravity Review - Venus” - the penultimate episode of the series, in which they finally get to their destination, and things start to go horribly awry, rather than just the normal mildly awry. Again, fans - and I’m a fan - seem to appreciate our taking the show seriously, in this case to the tune of 1946 reads

7) “John Varley Interview” - Our first interview on the site was also our biggest, and quite the coup at that: We scored a few minutes with “Eight Worlds” and “Gaea Trilogy” author John Varley, who was quite friendly and candid, despite the fact that his politics in no way match ours. A great guy, and a great writer, screw all those other pretenders, Varley is the real heir to Heinleins’ throne. 1674 reads.

8) “Defying Gravity Pilot Review” - As I said, if you take on an orphan show like D.G, and treat it well, its fans will reward you. 1546 Reads.

9) “Defying Gravity Episode 2 Review” - They seem to have really liked our coverate. 1537 reads.

10) “Stargate Universe: Time Review” - Easily the best episode of the unsteady first half of the first season of SGU, I think it’s our observations section on the review that makes it 1465 Reads

And that’s it. Thank you guys for checking us out, and for making all this stuff a hit. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the Drunken Naked Office Party at the Swedish Nurses’ Office across the hall…Happy New Year.