Hello everyone! I have returned from a near perfect Christmas break, worked a day, and now have the two days of New Year off. I have compiled my list of the 10 best things I watched this year. Either shows or film. I limited it to only things that came out this year, but Oh boy were there some good stuff that came out this year. There will be minimal spoilers ahead so Black Alert is not necessary. Lets get right to it!
Honorable Mention: Coco.
Coco is only an HM because I have not had the funds to go watch it yet. I know it would really be ranked much higher, as I am hopelessly brainswashed by Disney (well 50 percent of the way). That said, the last several films have left huge impressions with me and I have purchased the last 3 films for myself. A rarity these days. Sadly I wasted my dime on the Last Jedi, but you can read my thoughts on that later.
10. Handmaid’s Tale
This show is too haunting not to include. I was introduced to Margaret Atwood’s brilliant novel through Hulu’s break through show this year. Not only was I too disturbed, yet curious, about the show, but I later went back and read the original book. You heard me. I enjoyed the show so much I later read the book. That is something that never happens. Yet months after my initial viewing of her show I had to see what she had envisioned originally. To my surprise, I came out very impressed with the updated setting for the show. In case you were not aware, here is the basic premise. It is set in a not so distant future where the United States has turned into the Republic of Gilead. At least New England has. This new government is a Theocracy, hellbent on protecting the sterility of the few women who can still bare children. Those who can are enslaved and handed out to the wealthy family’s to bear children for them. Once they have, they will be passed on to the next family to do the same. It is a remarkably depressing story. Especially given the current political climate of the world. More remarkable about the show, is how well they update things to adapt from 80’s era political hot buttons to modern ones. This show is a hard watch. It took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally every week, but if you can manage it, Hulu’s hit is for you.
9. Kingsman: the Golden Circle
The original Kingsman film is one of my favorites, ever. It easily makes my top 20 favorite films, and that is if it doesn’t manage to crack top 10. I was very excited for the sequel to the film. Sure it featured some film no-go’s for me (Hallie Barry), but I was excited none the less. As I saw the trailer for the film more and more, I became worried. Despite this I was not turned away. Sadly, my worries about the film were true. It veered well away from the follow up I wanted to see, and did several things from the get go that I have problems with today. Fortunately for me, the film brought me back. It managed to not only bring me back, but almost win me back. The film still has some problems to it, and is far from the spotless work of the first installment, but fun all the same. Seeing the likes of Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, and Channing Tatum join in on the fun made it all the better to watch. Julianne Moore’s villain was good, but lacking. Especially compared to Samuel L Jackson’s charming performance from the first go around. Despite it all, I recommend this film to all fan’s of the spy genre. I was thrilled to get it as a gift this Holiday season, and I look forward to several more watches of the film.
8. The Lego Batman Movie
This movie was flat out fun. Not only did it manage to touch upon literally every aspect of the Batman film franchise. Including references to the late, great Adam West. This film managed to just be a great watch in that of itself. Will Arnett is the perfect Batman, able to play up every aspect of the character as both fun and sad. The film pales in comparison to the original film, but still manages to be a ton of fun by itself. The remaining cast was pretty excellent as well, and I am very excited that so many people can be introduced to the zanier side of Batman. The Dark Knight rarely needs to be as dark as portrayed after Frank Miller’s fetid claws left him, and it is my hope that this film can inspire the next generation of comic fans to expect some light hearted fun from their Caped Crusader.
7. The Orville
I was not sure how to expect this show. A comedy version of Star Trek brought to you by Seth Macfarlene and Fox could have gotten dicey. Especially coming from a massive Star Trek fan such as myself. Being a member of multiple Star Trek Community threads, this show receives a surprising amount of ire from Trek fans. I can only imagine they are jealous of the show. As a fan of Star Trek, and good Science Fiction, I can’t imagine being upset at more genre excellence. Even as recent as this week, I was visiting my family. We passed an Avis Rent A Car agency. My sister and I both smiled at one another, each now taking joy from seeing something as mundane as a rental car company. That is how insidiously delightful the Orville is. You may not even know that at first you are enjoying the show, yet at some point you will find yourself laughing at something because you can’t help yourself. That is how well Seth has done this show. On top of all of this, he has managed to do so while creating a very tasteful and well done universe. I am very glad this show has another season so that I can not only laugh, but be impressed with the universal design Macfarlane has as well.
6. Bojack Horseman: Season 4
This show is still one of the greatest shows out right now. While animated, its humor far outpaces anything like normal animated shows. And unlike Rick and Morty, where people desire to be Rick (for some awful reason), I have yet to meet anyone that wants to be Bojack. Even better, people are worried that they are him. This season was the first time that I truly felt like the washed up, messed up, failure of an adult that Bojack constantly struggled with. The fourth season of this show came just as my best friends turned their back on me and called me an unforgivable monster. I had no idea any of these claims were coming, and today I am still surprised that it all happened. Surprised and hurt. Turning around and watching season 4 of this show was probably not the greatest idea, but it did help me cope. It is for this reason that this season speaks out more than any of the previous seasons. But it goes well beyond me. This season managed to explore Alzheimer and dementia in new ways. Following the mind of a normal character who’s memories get more and more intruded by fuzz and nothingness. While visually stunning to see, it is just as stunning to see how frustrating this is. The awful an irredeemable character of Bojack’s mother is discussed in new lights. We are left this season utterly devastated by all the she had gone through, and sad that her life ended the way it did. The audience feels empathy for an otherwise detached and mean character. This season was the most ‘real’ this show has ever been for me. I saw so many aspects of my personal life play out in front of Bojack’s hilarious/tragic drama/comedy that I can no longer separate myself from the character. Not because I cling to the notion of being a self destructive character. Instead I find comfort from him. If Bojack can find some small comfort in his messy fucked up life. Then I should be able to as well. I don’t have it nearly as bad as he does. At least not yet.
5. American Gods
I was initially mad at this show. Not because I knew anything about it, but because it took the great Brian Fuller away from Star Trek. Something I was 1000% more excited to see. Yet, now that I have seen the show. I am an absolute fan of it. I was introduced by people who loved the books. They would squeal in anticipation for the things to come, and look at me, waiting for my reaction to things about to unfold on the screen. I am glad I had no prior sense of what was happening. The splendor and audacity of the show was unmatched by almost anything I have seen (save for literally anything Bryan Fuller has been apart of). Knowing that legendary writer Neil Gaiman was responsible for creating this beautiful story made things all the better. The struggle between the Old Gods and the New (go away Game of Thrones fans) was something that played out excellently on screen. I was constantly curious about which diety was being represented, and in almost every case the casting choice was perfect. Following the main character, Shadow Moon, trying to figure out his place in all of it, is all the better. The show is gorgeous, powerful, and well worth every watch possible. Saddly it appears that Fuller has left the project, and the future of his masterpiece is in jeopardy.
4. Power Rangers
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Look. I was born in the 90’s. I had a Power Rangers sleeping bag until I was 10. Now as an adult, I have moved on to better things. Like editing the flaws on Power Rangers Wikipedia Pages. I am looking at all of you who think that Dom, the Jungle Fury White Rhino doesn’t fit the archetype of 6th Ranger. Yes. I am a bit of a nut for Power Rangers (and all Tokusatsu, but we can dive into that another time). To say I was excited for this film was an understatement. When I found out we were to see the first official LGBT Ranger and a Ranger on the Spectrum, I was literally buzzing with anticipation. I have several friends who claim to love the Power Rangers franchise as much as I and they all fell 50 shades of shy from enjoying this film. I was quite different. I loved this film. Just about every bit of it. The plot was a refreshing and modern twist on the original. The cast brought a bit of an edge that was missing from Zordon’s initial call for “Teenagers with Attitude”. Yet not enough to alienate me, or anyone who is excited to see a fun film. It was truly the best of both worlds. The first two acts were well worth the watch of course, but it was the third act that propelled this film into pure bliss. Unfortunately, the critical reception of this film was not there. I can understand it, to some extent, but it does make me very sad. Yet with the leads landing rolls in Stranger Things, the Live Action Aladin, and others, their future’s will be very bright. Even if I won’t see them Morph again.
3. The Good Place Season 2
This show is the best thing on network television. It is not only one of the funniest shows on television (though I would argue the funniest). It is also one one the smartest. As someone who regularly likes to deep dive into philosophy purely on whim, to see a half o dozen legendary philosophers used in a 20 minute network comedy to such great effect is exhilarating. What is even better about this show is that it is done so well, you can get a general understanding of the basic philosophies of Descartes, Kant, and even a brief introduction of Nietzsche. The cast is superb lead by Kristen Bell and the legendary Ted Danson each having a delightful time in their roles. The second season of this show has yet to be concluded, but the brilliance demonstrated by its first half is truly something to behold. Many wondered where the show would go after the first season’s cliff hanging ending. I doubt few expected it to go the way it did, and I mean that in all the right ways. It is truly hard to better describe the show without divulging to much of the twists and turns in the plot.
2. Wonder Woman
The DC Cinematic Universe is an unrepentant pile of horse shit. Full of the most grotesque and foul abominations of the characters and locations that I hold so dear to my heart. It has been since the dawn of Zach Snyder and I expect it will continue as long as anything his horrid condemn-able tentacles have had a hold of. To see something like Wonder Woman rise above the maggot infested carrion of the previous films was truly a sight to behold. The film truly embodies everything the character has to stand for, and I am amazing such a masterpiece exists. I am baffled that this film alone almost makes up for the rest of the wretched termite mound of films by itself alone. I digress. I am wallowing to much in the despair of the franchise and not the glory of the film itself. Very little media can make me cry, especially tears for joy. Yet as Diana rose above the trenches to “Defend those who can’t defend themselves” I was instantly moved to tears. What followed was one of the purest super hero films ever made and the hope that maybe DC had finally figured things out (spoilers, they didn’t). Yet Wonder Woman goes so much further than a super hero film. It is action packed, touching, fun, and sad. It is the complete package. It is a film that makes me smile when another mentions it, and not shy away in disgust. To have the world introduced to a character so near and dear to me in this splendid fashion is incredibly heartwarming. If the sequel to this film is even a tenth as enjoyable as his film was, it will be one for the record book.
1. Star Trek Discovery
I am so pleased that Star Trek is at the top of this list. It has truly been a sight to see. In the hiatus of the show (which comes back in just over a week!) I have re-watched the first portion of this season no less than a dozen times. The down time I would normally be watching favorite episodes of DS9, TNG, or TOS, are now consumed watching, and loving as much of DSC as I possibly can. For starters, getting a show set in the prime universe, and away from the Kelvin Time line has been something long coming. Despite a rocky start to the pilot episodes, the show has stuck the landing. Helped by a fantastic cast, Discovery is so much more about ‘Boldly Going’. Set roughly 10 years before the 5 year mission of Kirk’s Enterprise, Discovery follows the outbreak of the first Federation Klingon War. What this doesn’t tell you to the show is the fantastic character development rarely seen this well in Trek (I would make a case for DS9, but that’s just me). It is easy to find heart and humor amidst the back drop of drama and war. As well as finding all the fun science-y things you expect from Star Trek. Despite coming on a platform I have to pay extra for, I happily do so and will continue to if the quality keeps up like this. All this said, I riot if Tilly dies. She must be protected at all costs.
So there you have it. Another Ravingnerd stream of consciousness. I hope you found something useful out of this list. If you disagree with anything here, please let me know. I would love to hear your reasons behind it. Stay tuned tomorrow for the best comics of 2017!