It’s that season again, when Americans count their blessings and remember what’s happened to them in the past year that they’re thankful about. While many people will include their family and friends, their homes and their jobs, if they’re lucky enough to have one in the continually bad economy, at the time of their lists, many things have happened in the entertainment world in 2011 that pop culture followers will surely love as well. Whether it be the continuation of an old favorite television series, the premiere of a new hit show or the release of a touching film, this edition of ShockYa’s latest mini-series will remind movie and TV fans of the great things that happened in the entertainment world in the past year.

The CW renews ‘Supernatural’ for a seventh season.


Eric Kripe, the creator of the hit horror television series ‘Supernatural,’ which debuted on The WB in 2005 before making the leap to the newly launched CW a year later, originally only intended for the show to run for three seasons, before changing it to five; he wanted the series to end on a high note, and not wear out its welcome. However, ‘Supernatural’ has garnered a cult following among fans for the natural, believable chemistry between its main stars, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Combined with the intricate mythology of the demons, angels, God and the diverse, clashing personalities of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, ‘Supernatural’ has the momentum to continue for several more years.

Kyle Chandler finally wins the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role of Coach Eric Taylor on ‘Friday Night Lights.’

Kyle Chandler

Kyler Chandler garnered attention for his portrayal of Deputy Jackson Lamb in last summer’s hit sci-fi alien film ‘Super 8.’ But what made his 2011 the most memorable year in his career was him finally winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role of Texas high school football coach Eric Taylor on NBC/DirecTV’s critically-acclaimed series ‘Friday Night Lights.’ After being snubbed of a nomination for the show’s first three seasons, Chandler was finally recognized with a nomination for his believable, heart-felt acting for the past two seasons, before finally winning this year.

When NBC and DirecTV announced the fifth season would be the last for the ratings-challenged series, the writers emotionally wrapped up Coach Taylor’s run with the East Dillon Lions. The coach went through a radical change, sacrificing his own career so that his wife, Tami, played by Connie Britton, could accept the job of Dean of Admissions at a prestigious college in Philadelphia. When fans of sports television series think of the greatest actors in the genre, they’ll undoubtedly remember Chandler’s heartfelt performance of Coach Taylor.

FX premieres ‘American Horror Story,’ and renews it for a second season.

American Horror Story

Britton appears on the list yet again with her immediate follow-up to her Emmy-nominated turn on ‘Friday Night Lights,’ with the popular FX horror series ‘American Horror Story.’ She plays Vivien Harmon, the wife of Dylan McDermott’s character, Ben, who move across the country to work on their troubled marriage. The show puts a creative spin on the horror genre, as it creates a realistic, emotional back-story for Ben, Vivien and their teenage daughter Violet, played by Taissa Farmiga, and offers memorable acting by the leads. But at the same time, ‘American Horror Story’ stays true to the genre by featuring frightening ghosts that play tricks on the viewers. Plus, audiences have been guessing all season long who the man in the infamous black leather suit really is.

DreamWorks Pictures releases film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s acclaimed novel ‘The Help.’

The Help

Emma Stone was perfectly cast as main character Skeeter Phelan in the successful film adaptation of ‘The Help,’ showing that there were white people who wanted to stand up and tell the stories of the black maids in the segregated south in the 1960s. Not only did writer-director Tate Taylor, who is a friend of Stockett’s, fully develop the independent, free-thinking Skeeter, he also crafted fierce, outspoken maids who wanted to break free from their pre-determined place in society. Besides Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who play maids Aibileen and Minny, respectively, are also heavy contenders for the upcoming awards seasons for their memorable portrayals.

Movie audiences are growing weary of the 3D format.

3D movie

Movie theater audiences became intrigued with the resurgence of the 3D format in 2006 in such films as ‘Monster House’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ Unfortunately, in the years since, studios have become all to eager to add the illusion of depth perception to films that don’t warrant the special effect, just to earn extra money. In some cases, 3D truly does add to the plot of the film, but studios need to learn how to determine which films truly benefit from the effect. This is especially true when studios film movies conventionally and then digitally process them in post-production to the 3-D format, as seen with such box office disappointments as ‘Clash of the Titans,’ ‘The Last Airbender’ and ‘Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.’ As a result, audiences are rightfully spotting the inferiority in the movies’ picture quality.

Thanksgiving is an important time for families and friends to bond and remember what’s important in life, including their love for each other and having a secure job. But when they also want to indulge in their favorite television and movie happenings of 2011, they truly have plenty to be grateful for. The above list features a select few things that made the past year memorable; stayed tuned for more of the top favorite things by your favorite ShockYa writers in this new mini-series.

Written by: Karen Benardello

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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