As we prepare to close the book on 2015 I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favorite moments over the past year in television and movies. Shows that had me on the edge of my seat, surpassed my expectations and left me wanting more, and films that gave me that good old fashioned theatre going experience.
While we’ve been swept up in the crazy excitement that has been Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was another blockbuster that took hold of audiences, me, and a good bit of cash at the box office: Jurassic World. Maybe the nostalgia hit me hard with this one but when I heard John Williams’s iconic theme I was immediately transported back to my 12-year old self who watched Jurassic Park in a theater for the first time. It was that much fun. Were there problems with the movie? Of course, there were many. But, I wasn’t about to let those things hold me back from enjoying the overall movie experience. Chris Pratt rocked and we saw an awesome dino fight. Bitchin’ and awesome, if you ask me.
I won’t get too much into Star Wars: The Force Awakens because I feel like we’re all still waiting until it’s safe enough to get into spoilers. I’ll just say that it was amazing, Rey kicked ass, and it felt good watching a Star Wars movie on the big screen again. The team behind this movie really kick-started this franchise back to life. As I tweeted, “J.J. Abrams did with The Force Awakens what Bryan Singer couldn’t do with Superman Returns”. Think about it. One more thing, IT’S NOT A REPEAT OF EPISODE IV. SO, STOP IT. Ok, I’m done.
While the blockbusters, this past year, weren’t as huge as we’d normally like them to be, 2016 plans to kick things up to a whole other level. It all starts in February with Deadpool. From there it’s Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange, and that’s just comic book movies. Other well loved franchises are ready to make some noise at the Cine-plex as well. Star Trek celebrates their 50th anniversary in style with Star Trek Beyond. The movie that reignited the “blockbuster” returns with a sequel in Independence Day: Resurgence. The Ghostbusters are back and rebooted for a new generation and we get another trip back to a galaxy, far, far away with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 2016 has the potential to be one of the most successful box office years in a recent memory. It all looks good on paper, we can only hope that all of these films deliver.
Television had another great year. Some shows continued their momentum and have not faltered. Shows like How to Get Away with Murder, The Flash, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and The Leftovers have kept audiences engaged and yearning for more. But, new shows have come to the forefront and made names for themselves. My favorite new show (this is probably a tie with Better Call Saul and it’s really close) is one of my favorite shows for all of 2015, Mr. Robot. The storytelling is well done, the writing is excellent and the acting is amazing. I was happy to see it recognized by the Golden Globes because it is deserving of all its nominations. If you haven’t watched it yet do yourself a favor and catch up, immediately. Quite honestly, it’s the best piece of television I’ve seen since Breaking Bad. It’s that good.
As with any new year in TV we welcome new shows by saying goodbye to old favorites. My favorite network comedy, and one of the funniest shows on television, that left this past year was Parks and Recreation. It was quite sad to see Leslie Knope and her crew from Pawnee, Indiana say goodbye. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been this emotional over a comedy since FRIENDS left the air waves. I think it has something to do with being invested in a show with likable and well written characters for so long. You follow them on their journey of growth. Whether Andy is running into an ambulance or Ron and Leslie are hashing out their issues, in the funniest and most emotional way possible, you loved the entire cast. In the end they always gave you a reason to smile.
Another show that ended this past year was Justified. A show I absolutely loved (Raylan Givens is my hero to be honest) but THANKS to my DVR deleting episodes from the final season I was never able to finish it (I’m still upset about this). Hurry up and get on Amazon video stream please!
While I’m not a fan of reality shows and try to stay away from them as much as possible (Hey, they had their time back when there was nothing good on TV) I have actually found a reality show that is such a trainwreck that I can’t pull myself away from it. No, it’s not ‘The Bachelor’, it’s called ‘Married at First Sight’. My guilty pleasure of 2015. It’s a social experiment about three couples who have “marriage experts” fix them up for, well, marriage. When these people meet it’s for the first time, on their wedding day, with zero knowledge of who their future partner is. Do I still have you? Good, because after one viewing of this show all singles out there will be wiser if someone approaches them about being on a reality show or maybe not. This show is in its third season. So they keep suckering people into it somehow. I don’t know. In any case, it’s the only reality show I will ever recommend. So, you’re welcome.
As far as 2016 goes I’m definitely looking forward to new and returning shows (Agent Carter FTW!). Being the big nerd I am, I cannot wait for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the spin-off from Arrow and The Flash. Hey, it’s the closest thing we’ll get to Justice League on TV. So I’m in. I’m also intrigued by American Crime Story: The People vs O.J. Simpson. Maybe it’s because I still remember that whole thing. The bronco chase, the trial, my 8th grade teacher turning on the TV so we could watch the verdict. It was crazy and I still remember networks trying to cash in on that situation by producing their own “Made for TV movies” of what happened WHILE the trial was happening. They were awful, primarily, because they were cast with unknown actors, which in turn churned out some really shitty acting. Thanks, FOX. This mini-series however boasts some serious star power. Selma Blair, Connie Britton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer and John Travolta. FX has a knack for producing some cutting edge dramas as seen with American Horror Story, Justified and The Americans, just to name a few. So, I’d imagine this will be just as captivating.
Those are my thoughts on this past year in film and TV and also what I’m looking forward to next year. Edge of your seat dramas and captivating stories told through interesting characters. These pieces of entertainment left me wanting more and have me excited for what should be a fun cinematic thrill ride in the coming year. I’m ready for 2016. Are you?