This was a somewhat disappointing year for me, tv & movie-wise. While there were some shows I really enjoyed, there weren’t any new ones I found to get super excited about, until I discovered the Great British Bake Off at the end of the year and absolutely fell in love. I also found that I didn’t love any of the movies I saw in theatres (hoping that Mockingjay & Star Wars will reverse that trend) which was frustrating since I was really excited for them.
However, I also wasn’t very deliberate about what I was watching–an episode here or there on Netflix or library DVD. I want to try to make a plan for 2016, so I’m not so behind on shows I really do want to catch up on (Elementary & Person of Interest, eg).
Parks & Rec: The last season aired and I have so many conflicting feelings: sadness that it’s gone, and happiness that it ended on a great note, and a very slight let-down about the season as a whole. Despite that, Parks has become one of my absolute favorite TV shows of all time, and I’m just glad that I can revisit Pawnee whenever I feel like it.
Great British Bake Off: I cannot tell you how delighted I am by this show. Okay, I can try. I’m not a big reality tv watcher, nor do I particularly get the appeal of most cooking reality shows in particular. But I could happily live in the GBBO tent and have Mary Berry say gently critical things to me while I sip my tea. I’m sure there are tensions we don’t necessarily see, but this is the most cozy of reality shows and I love it.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Miss Fisher FINALLY RETURNED TO US. While I think the first two seasons are maybe a bit stronger, I don’t particularly care; I’m a Phryne fan for life. And this one definitely had some strong episodes and moments. Also some very swoony ones, and yes I mean the end of that last episode how DARE they. I’m curious to know if there will be another season, as the end of this one seemed like it could act as the finale to the show. (Obviously I want more, but…I’m curious.)
Person of Interest: I fell a bit behind on this one, but I think this is such an interesting show, despite my residual ire over the death of one of the main characters and the way it was handled. Regardless, I love Shaw and Root’s developing relationship, and while this is maybe a bit more dude-heavy than the other shows I love, I do find Finch and Reese relatively compelling as characters.
Mad Max Fury Road: I wasn’t sure that I would like this movie at all, but I did. To the extent that I’ve watched it twice now and loved it just as much and maybe even more the second time. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s smart and thoughtful and exciting, and I loved the characters. There are a lot of layers to this one, and I’ve enjoyed thinking about them since watching it.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: I know this came out last year and was on last year’s list. I don’t care. I rewatched it after the disappointment that was Age of Ultron (sighhhhhhhh) and was afraid it wouldn’t be good anymore. But it was! I still love it to a slightly unreasonable degree! Dang it, Whedon!
Belle: I watched this fictionalized biopic of Dido Elizabeth Belle back in March. It’s beautiful shot and acted, and it’s such a powerful piece of history and representation. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a luminous actress, and she brings so much depth and nuance to this role.
Beyond the Lights: Funnily enough, my last favorite movie for the year also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw! The Two Bossy Dames sometimes host a livetweet and this was the latest one–it’s a great romcom with Mbatha-Raw as a superstar and Nate Parker as a cop who enters her life. It was really smart and heartfelt and fun.
HAMILTON: You probably all know this by now, but my Hamilton fangirl-ness shows absolutely no signs of abating. It’s hilarious, it’s heartbreaking, it’s so full of layers and complexity, it asks us to take a look at history and the stories we tell. And the music & cast are wonderful.
There are a couple of people I’ve started to listen to and really like but haven’t listened to exhaustively: Phildel, Sarah Jarosz, and Isla Cameron. I also liked Emily Smith’s new album, although not quite as much as her previous ones.