I’m focusing on TV and movies, because when it comes to music, I tend to discover new stuff, only to learn that it came out five or six years ago. Anyway, here’s some of the stuff that entertained me this past year.
The Arrowverse (The CW)
I love all four of the superhero-themed shows that air on The CW, The Flash being my #1 favorite. Once all four shows finally got up and running (they had to wait until CBS cancelled Supergirl), they’ve started having exciting crossover episodes, where everyone gets to hang out with one another. This season, all our heroes came together for Crisis On Earth-X, and it was glorious. The best team-up so far, by far. Though they really didn’t do anything about the um, actual crisis on Earth-X; they didn’t go back there and wipe out the menace once and for all, but they did kick a lot of Nazi ass, when the big baddies tried to bring their craziness to Earth-1.
This four-part event had everything the 14 year-old inside me had been clamoring for since 1985. Like most of these shows, I had to do a fairly good amount of handwaving, but I happily did so, because it was so much damn fun. The ending is bittersweet; it almost brought me to tears. It had my wife bawling her eyes out. Four and a half out of five stars.
The Good Doctor (ABC)
I usually stay far away from medical dramas (I still haven’t seen one episode of Grey’s Anatomy), and dramas in general; my life has plenty enough drama for me. But the Mrs. and I decided to give this one a go, because we both enjoyed Freddie Highmore on Bates Motel. On The Good Doctor, he plays a skilled physician who just happens to have autism. The show’s got the usual “If we don’t x, y, and/or z, the patient will die” mumbo-jumbo, but I’ve been enjoying it for Highmore’s performance. His condition causes him to be brutally honest, which of course, not everyone appreciates. It also causes him to sound a lot like Beldar Conehead, which I find particularly amusing.
Most of the dramatic beats on this show have been done ad infinitum, and can get a bit tedious, but it’s Highmore’s portrayal of Dr. Sean Murphy that keeps me watching. For now. Three out of five stars.
Logan (20th Century Fox)
Best superhero movie of the year. (Wonder Woman was great too, but this one edges it out.) Jackman and Stewart closed out their roles as Wolverine and Professor X on a very high, if not tragic, note. It had more of everything: More tension, more risk, more SNIKT, and more humor than Wolvie’s last two solo flicks. They did everything that an R-rated superhero movie should do to entertain casual moviegoers and fanboys alike. The future looks very bright with li’l X-23 and her band of new mutants. (Not to be confused with these New Mutants.) Five out of five stars.
Stranger Things 2 (Netflix)
I enjoyed the second season of Stranger Things, even though it was a huge step back from the fantastic first season. Season one was much more tense and exciting; this past season was a little too formulaic for me, except for when they did stupid stuff. I felt like Dustin keeping the obvious demogorgon as a pet was so out of character for him, given everything they went through in season one. I also didn’t appreciate Steve getting his ass kicked by Billy the douche, only to be saved by Mad Max.
Not to mention that Eleven spends most of the season separated from her friends. It was great that she found her mother, and learned her real name, but I wanted more adventures with the boys. Add on the lame season finale, and it was just two and a half out of five stars for me.
Other Stuff: Get Out (Universal): I liked it a lot. I thought it was funny, original, and suspenseful, but people are out here acting like it’s the black Citizen Kane or something. Impressive directorial debut for Jordan Peele. Four out of five stars. American Ninja Warrior (NBC): No one made it to the top of the mountain, but my play-wife Jessie Graff did very well. Three out of five stars. Justice League (Warner Bros.): Could it have been better? Yes. But I don’t think it deserves all the derision it’s been getting. But then, I’m a fan of Zack Snyder’s films. Three out of five stars.