There are only a few hours left in 2015–and I just got used to writing the correct year on checks. Alas. In continuation of my series of my 2015 favorite things, this last post is dedicated to movies and TV. I had to combine them because I don’t do much of either, but what I like, I really like. So…here goes:
Marvel TV (via Netflix)
Okay, Netflix, you got me. You really, really got me. Daredevil and Jessica Jones were two of the smartest, darkest, best written superhero shows in 2015–even more so than Avengers: Age of Ultron (which I liked okay) and Antman (which I thoroughly enjoyed against my initial impression). These two shows, written for Netflix, are made to be binged. Netflix, wisely, released the entire seasons at once, allowing for “just one more” when you’re bleary-eyed at eleven p.m. In Daredevil, they created a smart, likable, if brutal, hero, two great “sidekicks” (although I’d argue they transcend that label), an excellent cameo in Rosario Dawson, and one of the best Marvel villains ever written for the screen. Yes, I made that claim. Fisk was so complete: loving (yes!), scared, brusque, driven, passionate, merciless, and as broken as our hero.
Jessica Jones did something we haven’t seen from Marvel on the screen (yet): they let a woman lead. Besides Agent Carter and until Captain Marvel, we haven’t had much in the way of female characters being central to the story from Marvel, until now. And, oh, what a character Jessica is. She’s an anti-hero extraordinaire. A victim, a liar, a voyeur, an unrepentant alcoholic. She’s a terrible friend, but grows into a great one. She’s a terrible lover, but atones for her sin. And she doesn’t let the damage done to her stop her from seeking out and destroying the man who destroyed her first. Dark, twisted, raw–it’s definitely rated M for mature, but it works despite the shock and awe. And maybe because of it. Oh, and David Tennant is terrifying as the villain. His superpower is so simple, but so awful at the same time.
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
A lot of people think TBBT is on its last legs. Many complain that “it’s not as nerdy, therefore not as fun.” As a writer, I have to ask: if the show and the characters stayed exactly the same for nine seasons, would you still enjoy it? Probably not. I think the reason I’m still so invested (and I’ll admit, season 8 was soft) is because the characters are evolving–especially Sheldon. It’s nice to see these guys mature, while still enjoying all things Comic Con. And the women on the show add some much needed texture. I love Amy. Mayim Bialik has done a great job with the character. You can tell she’s finally in a place where she feels validated and belongs.
The Blacklist, NBC
I started watching the blacklist early in 2015–I watched a few minutes of the episode after the Superbowl and decided I should give it a try. After that, I picked up season one on Netflix, and I’ve been devouring episodes since. I talked a little about my obsession with Liz and Tom’s twisted relationship before, but I’m still ‘shipping them. He’s willing to do anything for her–and I mean anything. She’s gone from black and white FBI agent to someone in the margins, which is why they work so well. And James Spader…I’ve been a fan of his for years, from Brat Pack, to Stargate, to Boston Legal to Red Reddington. You can just tell he’s having a blast on this show. And he can basically outact just about everyone, even guest stars like Isabella Rossellini and Peter Fonda. Jury’s out on David Strathairn, though–depending on what they let his character do. Oh, and did I mention they get kickass guest stars? The FBI is writing to look a little slow, but there’s enough to make up for it to keep the show interesting.
The movie started slow. Let’s admit it. BUT–when it got going, it was a darn fun popcorn flick. Ultron was big and loud and (JAMES SPADER!) and amazing to look at, but Antman was just fun. Michael Douglas was part badass, part nerd, and part grumpy (funny) old man. Evangeline Lilly proved she can kick ass without Tolkein at her back. And Paul Rudd was hilarious. The scene with Thomas the Tank engine never gets old to me. I laugh every single time–it’s ingenious film making to use perspective to be awe and entertain. Oh, and Michael Pena was so funny, too.
And finally (you knew this was coming):
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney/Lucasfilms
There’s so much I want to say about this movie, and I just can’t. It’s too soon for spoilers (tomorrow is 2 weeks, and I think the “imaginary ban” is lifted, but I won’t post yet), but…BUT. Daisy Ridley’s Rey is an amazing, empowered, spunky, stubborn, compassionate heroine. She’s the Star Wars heroine I’ve been waiting for (nothing against Leia–but Rey literally kicks ass). Finn has a big heart–for fear, pride, and for friends. Poe is fearless, funny, and loyal. And our old favorites don’t disappoint. I know a lot of people were disappointed. I know a lot of people thought it was too much like A New Hope. While that may be, peel back the layers and you’ll see it’s different enough, and going in a different direction. This was the setup. VIII is going to be the launch. I saw it twice in the theater. It’s been years since I’ve paid for a theater ticket to see something twice. Usually I wait for the DVD and watch at home. That says a lot about how much I enjoyed it. Part of that was nostalgia, sure. But a lot of that second time was to devour all the details I missed. To immerse myself in the experience. For me, it’s the Star Wars movie I’ve been waiting for since Jedi.
So that’s my list. Any great movies or shows I’m missing? Let me know in the comments. And here’s to 2016! Suicide Squad! Civil War! X-Men: Apocalypse! Should be entertaining.