It was an interesting year for me. Normally I have a slew of movies to regale, but this is the first year streaming TV and podcasts have impressed and surpassed my expectations. The only movie I can recommend with any enthusiasm this year was Mandy.
Enjoy the best and the worst as we say goodbye to 2018.
New TV favorites:
- LetterKenny (Hulu): A Canadian comedy about the zany inhabitants in a small hick town. All characters have something to bring to the show and it rewards longstanding watchers with repeat jokes.
- Altered Carbon (Netflix): A future where your soul can be transferred between bodies for the right price. A man is resurrected to solve a murder mystery.
- Lost in Space (Netflix): A worthy reboot of the original.
- Aggretsuko (Netflix): Hello Kitty meets real life. She is stuck at a dead end job with an evil boss and sings death metal to stabilize her ranging anger. It’s all chibi!
- The Staircase (Netflix): The true story of an author who is charged with killing his wife yet he claims she fell down the stairs. I’m still not sure who to believe.
- Tabula Rasa (Netflix): A woman wakes up in an insane asylum with no memory of an event that the police are blaming her for. Each episode she remembers a little more about her past. It has great twists. This one is worth binge watching.
- Atypical (Netflix): An autistic teenage boy begins a search for love. This is one of those shows I love because you discover everyone has challenges in life not only someone who is autistic.
- Future Man (Hulu): A regular “loser” guy beats an impossible video game and becomes the chosen one. He travels through time and saves the world. It is HYSTERICAL.
- Dark (Netflix): A child goes missing. A mysterious cave. A strange traveler. I’m afraid to give away too much more because I think the best part is how it all unfolds. It took a little while to get all the characters straight, but worth the confusion.
- Castle Rock (Hulu): A man returns to his childhood home in Castle Rock, Maine after a mysterious inmate discovered in the bowels of a prison refuses to speak to anyone but him. This is another one where I’m afraid to give away too much of the plot. So far, I love all the references to other Stephen King novels. Bill Skarsgård has a great performance as another Stephen King character.
Great new seasons:
- Stranger Things (Netflix): I don’t know anyone who grew up in the 80s and doesn’t love Stranger Things. When the second season came out, I was at a party and hid myself in a room to start watching it.
- Ozark (Netflix): One man’s family is in the middle of a drug feud in the middle of the boonies and he just can’t get out of it. No matter how hard he tries.
- Luke Cage (Netflix): Luke Cage is a badass superhero from Harlem that has impenetrable skin. The soundtrack is killer this season. I’m sad Disney is probably going to make their own spin off shows now and drop these in the dust…except Iron Fist.
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu): I was on the edge of my seat the entire season AGAIN. Some episodes included a disclaimer this time around, they were hard to watch in this current political climate and definitely NOT ones to watch while you’re hanging out at a Panera killing time. It still seems all too close to being real.
- Big Mouth (Netflix): Teens going through puberty are visited by a hormone monster. This comedy brings humor to a very traumatic time in all our lives.
- Iron Fist (Netflix): Season 1 was terrible but he redeemed himself in The Defenders. It’s no surprise that Iron Fist was cancelled after just two seasons.
- Runaways (Hulu): I couldn’t get into the show or the kids.
- The Rain (Netflix): I really love post-apocalyptic TV shows but this one was just unbelievable. They kept doing really stupid things to move the plot along. If all the water was contaminated, the minute they left their fallout shelter they would have stepped into a puddle or breathed some in the air and DIED. THE END.
- Dr. Death: A hard look at the hospitals and what they do when doctors make deliberate mistakes. Hint: NOT MUCH.
- Serial Season 3: They take on the American court system through one year of vignettes of everyday cases. It’s depressing and realistic.
- Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: Chapter-by-chapter Harry Potter reflections on life. They are my favorite hosts of any podcast.
- Reply All: Technology meets sociology and gumshoe journalism told in layman’s terms. They are my second favorite hosts of any podcast.
- Headlong Surving Y2K: What do bank robberies, hackers and survivalists have in common? Surviving the Y2K bug. I was a senior in high school when it “didn’t happen” and was forced to stay home while my friends had a party. My mother wanted us “all to be together just in case.” I’m still not bitter or anything….