It’s that time of year again – the best of the year reviews! This year we’re going to have three of them, so let’s get started 🙂
Holly and I at least missed a number of things this year, with all our Geek Babying and such, so there’s things that are missed that were perhaps awesome. There’s also some things that are more about them being good for us this year, or discovered this year, or what have you. It’s personal, it’s ours – it’s the best of 2015.
Movie – Best
Maybe I’m still basking in having just seen it, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens was just awesome. It was so much fun to see the original cast back, and meanwhile, they gave us interesting and original new cast members as well. And mysteries! Secrets! The Force! Lightsabers!
More than that is spoilers. The statute of limitations seems to be lifting officially on January 1, so we’re planning on writing up some thoughts on the movie next week. Until then, my favorite movie of the year.
Movie – Worst
For me, it’s got to be poor Jupiter Ascending. This movie, from the Wachowski’s who gave us The Matrix, just did not live up at all. It might have been an interesting TV mini-series, actually, as she moves from one fantasy (space) world to another – without resolution, really, as she goes. It was still pretty fun, and to be fair, the movies we’re really expecting to just be bad or to not like, we don’t see.
Comics LitFlix – Best
It was a pretty thin year for LitFlix, and even thinner for ones we actually made it to go see. But by golly, I have to choose. And I think the best comics LitFlix for this year was Kingsman: The Secret Service. Part of the thing is that the long-standing franchise movies take pieces parts, the essence, of the characters and stories. Kingsman was a short comic story, and thus a more direct adaptation to the big screen.
That said, like other Mark Millar comics, it was better in the movie adaptation than in the comic – they improved on it. Added fun. And for some reason, removed Mark Hamill – while also casting him…
Comics LitFlix – Worst
Not too many to choose from, but one that very clearly stands out. Fantastic Four. Honestly, this one would have been a better movie without it being the Fantastic Four – which really says something about the comics adaptation… If taken as a Fantastic Four story, it sure takes them a long time to actually get their powers, and even longer to use them. Sure, it’s a different origin story… but it’s an origin story. Usually things only get better after that… we’ll see if they get a chance for a sequel.
TV Show – New
Oh man. We subscribed to NetFlix again to watch this show. I should add that other NetFlix shows were pretty good too (House of Cards), but Daredevil was just. So. Good. Not a police or law procedural (when it could have been). Not a case of the week. Not a boss or fight of the week even. The episodes were both individual and a continuity, and I can definitely say that NetFlix is telling stories in a little different of a way – because they can when they release the whole season at once. I imagine the Amazon shows are like this as well. Definitely going to have to explore more. But for now? I’m excited for Daredevil season 2!
TV Show – Old
Man oh man. I’m not sure how I would approach this as its own blog post – but Doctor Who series 9 was amazing! They did something fascinating here, as well, by making (almost) every episode a two-parter. We caught on and watched the show every-other week, which was a bit sad and we had to hide from spoilers (oh man, if you follow the official Instagrams they live-photo the episode! Which is bad when you’re not watching it live!). However, they got to take time with all of the themes they were exploring, and do a good job with them.
A couple of my favorite things? The Zygon Inversion with the Doctor’s speech about war was amazing. That two parter also did a lot to redeem the side-plot of the 50th Anniversary Special, by giving it all a point and purpose, by giving it payoff. I also absolutely loved Heaven Sent, and I think that one I will be coming up with a blog post about! So good, and if you haven’t caught up with the season, that episode is worth it.
I am going with an older channel here – and one we’ve followed and watched for a long time. That would be the Philip DeFranco News Show. When you get past the fact that the headline and thumbnail are click bait, what you get is a level-headed, fast-paced news show. But it wasn’t until this year – during Holly’s pregnancy – that I figured out just how good a show it is.
See, we were waking up early every day so we could move slowly. We would have the morning news on in the background, first the local, then the national. And I had forgotten just how much they spend time teasing what news stories are “coming up,” just for them to finally be a few second blip with no new information because they already said it all in the teaser. Enter PhillyD, who we would watch in the evening – and who would cover the same important stories, in a show about 8 minutes long. So hours worth of news broadcasting accomplished in a few minutes – with time for editorializing and such. YouTube killing traditional media? Yeah, I could see it happen…
We just didn’t read enough this year to break these all out into their own categories… also it made us think a lot to throw them all in together. And for me, while I read a number of great comics this year, I am going to have to go with Understanding Comics as my best of the year. A book about the medium of comics, about appreciating them as an art form. It is part of the reason I enjoyed the comics I did read. Plus, it kind of counts as all three categories. Nailed it!
There were some good albums that came out this year, and Apple Music is just helping me find more and more albums to explore… but there’s one band I’ve spent the whole year coming back to after each new thing I listen to. A band I’ve finally gotten to listen to all the albums for. And that’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I had them recommended to me back when I was blogging music on Sourcerer. So I grabbed their first album and have listened to that a ton. More recently, getting their more recent albums and a live one… so great. I love it.
And I can’t put my finger on why. There’s an almost first-cut quality to the songs – them laughing, making other human sorts of noise. It isn’t a perfect, manufactured sound. Or experience. But that just makes it great. Their subject matter is all over, and the perfect sort of stuff for me to mull over and not understand…
Video Game – New
There’s one game that completely took me by surprise this year, and that’s Fallout 4. It came with out X-Box One, and so we got it kind of as an afterthought. Our real goals were games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Batman: Arkham Knight. But we’ve set those aside to play Fallout 4.
Better than any previous Bethesda game, this one has drawn me in and hooked me with the story, the questing, the crafting – even my character. One of my biggest challenges is not re-starting with a new character and skill build. But I haven’t done it yet with this one. And I’m not sure when I will – I’m taking this guy a long way.
I’ve got to save my son!
Video Game – Old
We didn’t play a ton of new games this year – only just got a new console (and access to a lot of the new stuff coming out) towards the end of the year. Which means we were playing older games, and for me, my favorite of those was Kingdom Hearts 2. I hadn’t beaten either of these games before (still haven’t finished 2…) so it was fun to play them. But in 2, there’s a lot more with the Final Fantasy characters, and the system is more refined.
Oh, and the opening sequence:
There’s one that easily takes the cake for me. One that I played – and thought about, and listened to podcasts about, and blogged about – more than all the rest combined. And that would be Warmachine. I could gush more about this game at you. Or just share a picture. I’ll go with picture.
A new category for these posts, but also a major item from our year… And honestly, so vague it was hard to think of something. There’s a lot of great baby gear we’ve gotten – lots of great recommendations and hand-me-downs and gifts from others. But we decided to go with things we found ourselves, and put to great use.
It’s a baby bandana. It’s been amazing for managing drool – something the Geek Baby has shared with us a lot. It also then just looks cool. It makes her our little Bandida – I love it. We’ve got a few now so we can always use them.