It’s that time of year again when media outlets large and small.–do they get much smaller than us?–look back at their previous predictions and see how things turned out. Or that’s what I’m saying here and sticking to it.
So, let’s see how many of the things put on our annual “Year of Anticipation” post turned out in the views of the people who actually bothered to check them out.
Was it a good year for movies? It probably depends on what you saw. We were pleased by many things, displeased by others, and, well, here’s what we have to say about what we saw.
Avengers: Infinity War
Tom says: If the MCU never makes another movie after the second part of this story, and it is just as good as this one, then Kevin Feige and the many creative types he worked with over the past decade may have put together the best long-form cinematic story they possibly could have. This was the culmination of all those other stories tossed into a pure popcorn flick designed to hit the pleasure centers of the brain in every MCU fan, and man, did it work. I know what I am looking forward to the most this coming year.
Watson says: This was a disappointing year for movies overall, but this was a diamond in the rough. What an amazing culmination of ten years of serial storytelling. I was afraid when Marvel brought such a large cast of character together that things would feel clunky or crowded. That didn’t happen. This is an A-list entry into the consistently solid MCU pantheon. But fuck Ryan and his dirty cheating ways on the Death Pool draft.
Jimmy says: There’s not much left for me to say after Tom and Watson, but I loved it too. It’s one of my favorite MCU films and I thought the ending was just perfect.
Jenny says: Looks like we all survived the snap. Lucky us.
Tom says: Ryan Coogler put his own stamp on the superhero, and he did it by making what was probably the most narratively complex movie in the MCU’s entire cannon. Killmonger is probably the most complex villain to come along yet, and his actions actually had a positive impact on the heroic T’Challa who stopped to question whether or not his opponent may have had an actual point. We can’t say that about Ronan the Accuser or Yellowjacket, can we?
Watson says: I liked this movie a lot but didn’t see the Oscar appeal of it. It was a nice Marvel movie, but still just a Marvel movie. This is no Logan, Dark Knight, or Deadpool. I also didn’t love Killmonger. I don’t hate him as much as the gang says I do, in my review I said he was middle of the pack, but I also don’t see the way he is portrayed onscreen as complex and deep. His motivations are fascinating, and Jordan is a phenomenal actor, but Coogler ruined it by sprinkling in an undercurrent of LIAM NEESON! villain behavior. I couldn’t believe someone who wanted social justice globally would pull such cliche villain moves, as Killmonger did scene after scene.
Jimmy says: Black Panther may be the low point of my year. Not because I think I liked the movie less than the rest of the bullpen, but because it meant having to agree with Watson about Killmonger. I actually dug BP until it became the Michael B. Jordan show, and then it kinda lost me.
Jenny says: This movie was excellent. Not only did it have the tall task of introducing us to a gaggle of new characters, but it also established a whole new world for us to see. I love Wakanda. I love the inter-workings of government, I love the spicy characters (M’Baku), and I love that this wasn’t just a slam dunk superhero movie about T’Challa. This was a complicated movie, with complicated themes mixed in with all the other elements of wonder, and they pulled it off beautifully.
Watson says: This movie was dumb but fun. It was also fun but dumb. I liked it a lot but only because I knew it was what it was.
Tom says: Aquaman is not a great movie. What it is is a fun movie. This is a movie that knew how goofy the very concept behind it was and decided to embrace it for what it was. I had a really good time with Aquaman.
Jenny says: Dumb fun. That’s all this is. And BOOOOOOO to the kissing scene. Not needed.
Tom says: I really hated this movie for some reason. I think, on reflection, it was a combination of lesser filmmaking combined with a sense that nothing here was necessary. Little if anything on display seemed to be all that well done. And the less said about the mid-credits sequel tease, the better.
Watson says: If you are a diehard fanboy purist, you won’t be able to get past the changes in Venom’s origin story. If you go in expecting dumb, unintentional comedy, you’ll be ok. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t the worst thing I saw this year.
Jimmy says: I didn’t love it, but my expectations were so low that when it wasn’t an absolute trainwreck, I was surprised. I think the kindest reviews have basically been along the lines of “it could have been worse.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Tom says: Hey, this was a decent bit of light-hearted fun. I was wondering what director Peyton Reed would do on his own once he wasn’t working off whatever Edgar Wright left behind was used up. And it was fine. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are a delightful superhero pairing, we got another villain with a more complex motivation than what we’re used to from the MCU until this year, and we’re better off for it.
Watson says: For some reason this film connected with me more than the rest of the Geeks. I flat out loved it. The first one was not a particular favorite, but I liked this one WAY more. The humor just clicked with my oddball sensibilities. And never kid yourself…that WAS truth serum.
Jimmy says: I think Tom nails it by saying “it was fine”. And it had a “complex” villain? Did it even have a villain? And the end credit scene was great…even if it made no sense from a MCU timeline perspective…
Jenny says: Ant-Man and the Wasp holds a special place in my heart – mainly because I went to the Red Carpet Premiere with Roger DiLuigi and Trisha Hershberger thanks to Dell (my employer). I got to spend the night talking to the stars of the cast, and generally have a hell of a good time geeking out behind the scenes.
Red Carpet aside, I thought the movie was fun! Sequels are hard to do, but this one felt fresh due to the new characters in Wasp and Ghost, both – of course – strong female leads. I found myself laughing throughout the movie and loving the ride. I especially loved seeing the Quantum Realm come to life where we finally got to meet Janet VanDyne. I strongly believe the Quantum Realm is going to be the key to how we get everyone back from Thanos’ snap. Mark my words people – you heard it here first.
Ready Player One
Tom says: All things being equal, this wasn’t a bad movie. Given Ernie Cline’s original novel was basically “The 80s were awesome!” The Book, director Steven Spielberg made a watchable movie full of all kinds of intellectual property in a rather run-of-the-mill adventure story with some nice special effects…and that Shining sequence. That made the whole movie. The rest was OK.
Watson says: What a huge disappointment. I didn’t have the same problem as Ryan, slavish adherence to the source material, but my problem was the lead. Tye Sheridan was awful. I watched it a second time on a plane, and the problem grew. This was a wasted opportunity.
Jimmy says: There was really no way they were going to capture the endless stream of 80’s nostalgia from the book. There is some of that sprinkled in, and lots of Easter eggs, but for the most part it was a straight forward, virtual reality, Spielbergian extravaganza. The Shining sequence was inspired though.
Jenny says: Sigh. I had such high hopes for this movie. But it felt like digital Fast & The Furious, which I hate. So – this gets a “meh” from me. Sorry Spielberg, I think it’s time to hang up your hat.
Tom says: It would be very difficult to match the originality and fun of the original Deadpool, but Deadpool 2 did the best it could, with Josh Brolin in his second comic book movie of the summer as a very serious Cable, Ryan Reynolds still clearly having a ball playing this anarchic mess of a human being, and while we’re at it, let’s toss in some surprise celebrity cameos and Reynolds in a second role. If you love yourself some Deadpool, this was a good movie for you. If you don’t…why are you reading stuff on this website? I’m genuinely curious about that.
Watson says: I love myself some Deadpool so I liked this movie. It was going to be hard to surprise as the first one did, so I like that his one went more into superhero parody mode and brought in Cable and X-Force. Brolin was awesome and the movie was unique enough to avoid the sequel problem. Love it!
Jimmy says: Have to agree with the guys here. Deadpool 2 seemed primed to be destroyed by sequelitis, but it succeeded on being an enjoyable sequel, even without quite the charm of the original.
Jenny says: I STILL think this movie is overrated. Just like the Beatles. Eat shit, Watson!
You Were Never Really Here
Tom says: Well, I really liked this one, but I like Joaquin Phoenix and that seemed to be a factor for the other person here who saw it. A look into how a life of brutal violence affects one sad shell of a man, You Were Never Really Here gets by solely on Phoenix’s often nonverbal performance. If it works for you, this is a great ride. If it doesn’t, well…
Watson says: I am the other person and I do not like Phoenix. It would be painful to watch actors I love like Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, or Ryan Gosling in this meandering, plodding film. But watching it with my least favorite actor? Excruciating!!!
The Incredibles 2
Tom says: Brad Bird came back to animation for another round of retro-looking superhero action. Maybe the greater frequency of live action superhero movies of late makes it harder for this one to really stand out, but I dug it with more of Mr. Incredible learning to be more of a good family man, Elasti-Girl working outside of the house, Violet hits her own version of teenage rebellion, Edna Mode discovers babysitting can be fun, a raccoon learns the opposite, and the bad guy actually has a point. All that and kinetic Pixar animation made for a good time at the movies, and no stupid talking snowmen Christmas stories before this one.
Watson says: I liked the focus on Elasti-Girl, but I felt the same about this film as the first one. A fun day at the movies, but nothing special. This movie was good, but how did it make $600m domestically??? It was good enough, but what the heck?
Jenny says: This was a fun sequel, but honestly – I remember thinking in the theater: “when will this be over?” You never want your participants wondering when it’s time to leave. And unfortunately The Incredibles 2 just didn’t do it for me.
Pacific Rim Uprising
Tom says: Yeah, the original Pacific Rim was, at best, decent, but this one doesn’t even give you much robot-on-kaiju action until the end of the movie. Most of the original cast didn’t come back which was fine since I didn’t remember their characters’ names anyway, and what was left was…not a whole hell of a lot.
Watson says: Dear god this was bad. Can we get a good Giant Robot Movie???
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Tom says: The people behind these newer Jurassic Park movies have a potentially interesting plot idea in them about an arms race for genetic engineering and cloning that goes beyond making dinosaurs for a theme park, and they even manage to move the action off a tropical island for much of this one. But then they drop another raptor in and do everything we’ve seen so many times before from this franchise and it just doesn’t work.
Watson says: It was middle of the road, but I will say the ending left me interested in the inevitable third installment. I want to see a post-apocalyptic world where the humans are hunted by dinosaurs. Kind of like a zombie scenario, but with dinos instead of the undead. And with Jeff Goldblum leading humanity’s resistance.
Jimmy says: Now I want to see Watson’s Jurassic Park movie. This one missed on many levels, and I liked the last one.
Tom says: Well, this was a perfectly cromulent and completely unnecessary movie if ever I saw one.
Watson says: The Star Wars franchise is in peril. This movie was an awful entry, with the blame resting solely at the feet of the lead actor. He was dreadful and I can’t understand the other geeks excusing that. If the movie is called Solo, then the guy playing Solo has to be good…
Jimmy says: Did we ever think that anyone could deliver a Han Solo performance on par with Harrison Ford? Casting aside, I agree with Tom. It was the most mediocre of all the Star Wars films.
Jenny says: I thought this was fun! Listen, as long as you don’t expect Alden to actually be Harrison Ford, then this movie is fine. Granted, I haven’t re-watched it since the theater, so it’s been months since I’ve seen the film, but generally speaking, I remember not feeling like I hated it. So there’s gotta be something to it, right?
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Tom says: Ugh. This movie. The first Fantastic Beasts was a rather charming movie that introduced a nice new protagonist in the Wizarding World. Then this one came out and it was a whole lot of plot that added up to a whole lot of nothing except as a set-up for the next movie. What a disappointment.
Watson says: It tried to be too intertwined in the Wizarding World and that hurt the film. It should have stayed in its own corner of the world instead of jumping into the Potterverse deep end.
Tom says: You know, this was the sort of movie that probably wouldn’t hold up too much if you thought about it too hard, but it was pretty good as brain candy, and writer/director Shane Black showed he knows of holidays he can set movies around besides Christmas. It was very much a Shane Black movie. Keep that in mind if you haven’t seen it yet.
Jimmy says: Prior to seeing this I watched the original Predator. Damn that films still holds up. This one…well, actually, it was a perfectly acceptable popcorn film. As Tom says, turn your brain off at the door on your way in, and have some fun.
Watson says: This wasn’t bad! Best one since the original. It wasn’t perfect, but it was more fun than any Predator or Aliens films this decade.
A Wrinkle in Time
Tom says: I decided to read the book before seeing the movie. I didn’t like either one of them.
Watson says: Oprah gave the most self-indulgent performance in decades. Streisand-esque. So many “This is Oprah” sequences. The rest of the film is equally bad. One of the worst films of the year. If not THE worst.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Tom says: The sequel probably didn’t make any greatly original depictions of the Internet, and there was a ton of blatant product placement, and what was there was reduced to something extremely kid friendly, but…wait, why did I enjoy this one again? Oh yeah. Good character work and fun animation.
Watson says: It is all about the princesses. This movie is less about Ralph, who is bland, than his pint sized companion.
Watson says: This reminds me why I was I stunned the Disney version was in my top ten the year it came out. This story bores the Hell out of me.
Tom says: While not exactly on par with Disney’s “live action” version of The Jungle Book, the special effects in this were rather good. The acting, particularly voice and perhaps motion capture work from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and first time director Andy Serkis is solid. There’s some neat artistic stuff going on. And making a movie version of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book that is actually more faithful to the source material than whatever Disney has done will set it apart in a good way. Unfortunately, all the good didn’t add up to a good movie. It’s fine, but who is it for? It’s too mature for a kid audience and a boy protagonist surrounded by talking animals may not appeal much to adults.
Mary Poppins Returns
Watson says: Emily Blunt was amazing but this thing is so unnecessary.
Tom says: This one was a mixed bag. Emily Blunt was fantastic as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda sang and danced his freakin’ heart out. Disney clearly got its money’s worth on those two. And the story isn’t bad. It also doesn’t feel quite right. The songs are nice, but none of them particularly stood out. There are actual human villains and a romantic subplot. Is that what we want from Mary Poppins? I may need to read one of the source books and see what she was originally like.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Watson says: It was much better than the middle installment, but nowhere near as good as the first. Honestly, it could have used a “previously on” segment at the beginning.
Tom says: This was probably as good as a movie based on a video game without a plot starring Dwayne Johnson can be. Which is to say, not much but it had its moments here and there and I left entertained but don’t remember too much about it right now.
Watson says: The Rock must be happy a couple of other crap films came out, but this was so cliche and formulaic action dreck that it COULD have contended for the bottom of the barrel.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Watson says: Best movie of the year, hands down. It is the greatest advancement in animation since Toy Story 1. And the animation was used to tell an amazing and funny story.
Tom says: Stunning animation, fantastic humor, great character work, a fun story, and great time at the movies. Nuff said.
Jenny says: Such a fantastic movie! My rating is 9 “Hammers that will fit into your pocket” out of 10. It’s an amazing journey, with and amazing Spider-Man.
Tom says: So, let’s take a beloved children’s classic, bloat it out to 90 minutes for some reason, and have Benedict Cumberbatch speak in a standard cartoon voice rather than his own distinctive baritone. I miss Boris Karloff…
Watson says: I literally fell asleep twice during this movie. Like Christmas candy, it is pretty but full of empty calories.
Tom says: So, Rampage wasn’t the only forgettable video game movie out this past year…
Watson says: The only positive was the casting of Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins. I liked both of them… but don’t remember why. Like Tom said it was ultimately forgettable.
Jimmy says: I enjoyed it…but I can’t recall a single thing that happened.
Tom says: I had only seen the original Mission: Impossible movie before this year. Thanks to my good pal Jimmy Impossible, I got all caught up before the new one came out. Fallout was a really fun entry in a really fun series. Thanks, Jimmy! What should we rewatch this year?
Watson says: This series just keeps getting better and better. But I subscribe to Ryan’s Chinese Food theory on this franchise. I remember liking it, in fact that sensation has moved it up a few spots over the course of the year, but for the life of me I don’t remember the plot…
Jimmy says: I thought Rogue Nation was a small step back for the continually improving franchise, but Cruise and company are back with a vengeance here. And Tom…I have no idea…
Jenny says: Man I loved this film. I have never clenched my ass so hard for so long. Yes – that’s what this movie did to me. It’s a blast!
Tom says: Well, this was OK. I don’t mind an all-female heist movie, but did it have to be a spin-off from the Ocean’s 11 franchise? That seemed a bit unnecessary. Still, it was an engaging cast and tried to copy the look and spirit of the original movies if not quite successfully.
Watson says: Middle of the road fun. Biggest plus is it gave us more Awkwafina!
Jenny says: I thought the movie was fun. I also think they could have taken more risks with the actresses, and allowed them to do more than just walk around and look pretty. But ultimately, the cast worked, and I enjoyed seeing the heist come to life.
Tom says: Man, did I love this movie. Sci-fi done right as a weird and unexplained, and perhaps unexplainable phenomena as a young scientist looks to find out what happened to her husband in a weird zone surrounded by weird stuff. I know I had a blast.
Watson says: This was the top film for me for the first couple of months. It was smart sci-fi and I love that genre.
Isle of Dogs
Tom says: Look, this was a Wes Anderson movie. If you like Wes Anderson movies, you’ll like this one. In many ways, they are all about the same in style and substance. Me? I like Wes Anderson movies.
Watson says: I am the resident Wes Anderson fan, and this one didn’t wow me. It was ok, but it was more Anderson’s bad habits than his good ones.
Jenny says: I cried. Need I say more?
Television is that weekly or so visitor that we invite into our homes to tell us generally ongoing stories. And, if we like them, we invite them back to tell us more. What stories were we told in 2018?
Game of Thrones
Tom says: OK, so, there were no new episodes that came out this year, but I got to rewatch the entire series with Jimmy. That was fun.
Watson says: I am in such withdrawal for GoT that I rewatched the whole series in binge mode 2-03
Jimmy says: Prior to this year, I had watched all of two episodes of GoT. Thank God Tom and I rectified that! One of my favorite series of all time. I’ll likely rewatch the whole thing again prior to the final season.
Tom says: Well, the second season seemed to run a lot like the first, which means artsy and weird, but I missed the last episode and heard some disquieting things about what happened there that changed the tone of the series in ways that were somewhat unexpected, so I’m not sure what to think of this right now.
Jenny says: IS THAT BACK ON!? HOW DID I MISS THIS SHOW!?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jenny says: I loved, loved, loved this season of Agents of SHIELD. I thought it was excellently executed, and also took the characters to new heights, literally! There were so many different elements added throughout the season that could have gotten messy, but it didn’t. And for what it’s worth – I think they have set the team up to be long lasting without “major” stars like Clark Gregg at the helm. I cannot wait to see what happens to them “after the snap.”
Tom says: Legends of Tomorrow is probably the most batspit insane fun on TV. It still is. Arrow does OK. But as for The Flash and Supergirl, the former never quite managed to find a season-long foe as fun as the one from season one, and the Thinker was a bit of a bore. As for Supergirl, due to some behind the scenes issues, the series went through a major tonal and story shift late in the season. Currently, all four are doing OK. Supergirl is the most political, doing a not-at-all-subtle take on immigration and refugees and how they should be treated. The Flash did another “an accident created a bunch of metas” story, but there’s more to it than what might first be assumed so it could turn out better than it might at first glance. Arrow is still doing OK. And Legends is still the most batspit insane fun on TV.
Watson says: This whole thing is shit and you are shit for liking it. Fucking Jimmy!
Tom says: I was surprised how much Vikings grew on me, but the History Channel said what looked more like a season six was actually the second half of season five, just returning almost a year later, and this series just isn’t the same since the show followed the (somewhat historically accurate) death of series protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok. None of his sons or his first wife quite hold the camera the way he did.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Tom says: The most depressing show on television continues, having passed all the plot from Margaret Atwood’s original novel. And yet, as depressing as it often is, it’s also about finding the uplifting moments in horrible personal situations. True, it tries to make one of the series’ biggest villains a sympathetic figure as yet another victim in what I feel was only a so-so way, but this is still a really intense show that is perhaps far too timely right now.
Jenny says: I don’t know if I should like this show, but I do. It feels wrong, like watching a dog get beat kind of wrong. I don’t like watching women be tortured, or governments act like they need to educate everyone in the word of “god.” But there is this sick sense of learning that I feel I receive on “HOW NOT TO DO THINGS” that leaves me satisfied with my own life. And right when things seem to be in the darkest part of hell, the show gives you a little hope to keep you going.
Tom says: This came across to me more like a typical high school drama than a superhero story. It took a bit too long to get anywhere. I think I’ll pass on season two.
Jenny says: I loved the Runaways. I think they are definitely taking their time to tell the story, but I’m okay with that – that is what episodic TV is all about. I’d rather they take their time to tell the story correctly vs. rushing it and not getting some of the nuances of their situation ironed out. I look forward to season two where new characters show up, and some wacky things start to happen!
Tom says: I think Jessica Jones came back for a second season pretty well, but as with so many Netflix Marvel shows, it had far too many episodes. But of the original four, it is the last one standing, so…
Jimmy says: I loved the first season of Jessica Jones. I ranked it just below Daredevil season 1. But I hated this season and couldn’t wait for it to be over. It wasn’t Iron Fist bad, but it was torturous and I haven’t watched a Marvel Netflix series since.
Jenny says: I was okay – I can admit that now. I don’t know if I loved or hated the “mom” aspect, but looking back, I think they drug it out waaaaaaay to long. Cut the season down a few episodes, and I think I would feel differently.
And the rest….
Tom says: Well, that was disappointing. Luke Cage did what was basically a two season villain arc for one character, introduced a fun new villain, brought Luke a good sidekick/partner if he wants one, and set Luke up with a new, potentially troublesome new status quo. Iron Fist jettisoned most of what made its first season bad and went for the sort of nutso stuff it always should have been. Daredevil just had a hell of a great third season. And all three were canceled before various plot threads could be explored further. Thanks a heap, Netflix.
Jenny says: I loved Iron Fist Season 2 – Loved Luke Cage Season 2, and ECSTATICALLY LOVED Daredevil Season 3. Incredible run this past year for Marvel on Netflix. Each of these stories took our characters to new places, and explored a whole heap of different villains. I’m hoping we get to see everyone come back to the new Disney Streaming service once that is up and running.
House of Cards
Tom says: Did anyone actually watch these last six episodes without Kevin Spacey? No? I know I sure didn’t, but I was pretty tired of the show by the time Spacey was fired regardless.
Tom says: It was about the same as the previous season of Black Mirror, meaning there were some good episodes in there but a few weaker ones since Netflix seems to insist on six episode season as opposed to the three of the original British run.
Ash vs Evil Dead
Tom says: Starz canceled this somewhat unexpectedly after three seasons, but it actually ended well in a way that works for Ash Williams. I was pleased even though we won’t get to see Bruce Campbell in his signature role anymore. Finish this series, Jimmy!
Jimmy says: Dammit! I need to finish this series!
Jenny says: I just finished watching season 3 – so….I hope I’m caught up? Am I caught up people? Anyway, I loved it. It felt very “Chronicles of Narnia” to me, but in a sassy way. I’ve continued to enjoy this show year to year, and I hope they keep telling wacky stories to keep me coming back. More Elliot please!
The Walking Dead
Watson Says: It doesn’t have Seth Green…
Jimmy says: The Walking Dead has been slowly shambling along the last couple of seasons and really seemed to have lost it’s way. But with a new showrunner this season, things have really been shaken up, for the better. The show that Ryan won’t watch because he “knows what happens”, would probably be unrecognizable to him.
Jenny says: I gave up on The Walking Dead this year. Boo-hoo. That should tell you something.
Tom says: I finally got to see a season finale! iZombie is the little show that could, a quirky, often fun and funny procedural involving zombies solving murders, and it has one last season in the coming year to wrap everything up. The show does seem to be getting a bit heavy in the plot, with more serious stuff being tossed atop the generally winning mystery mysteries and fun of seeing the lead actress take on different characteristics every week based entirely on whose brain she just ate.
Jimmy says: It’s losing steam, but continually manages to reinvent itself and keep itself relevant, much like…
The Good Place
Tom says: I wanted to say that more people should be watching what may be the smartest comedy on television, but then I learned that it’s the highest rated comedy on NBC, so plenty of people must be watching it. Then I decided more people should be watching it anyway.
Watson says: Fine….I’ll watch the damn thing…
Jimmy says: I’m a bit behind this season as the Ms. gave up on it, but I still love it.
Jenny says: SO GOOD! SOOOOOO INCREDIBLY GOOD! I didn’t know what to think when I first started watching this show, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. They continually take the plot to new wacky locations and ideas, and I love it. I also love Janet, honestly – I think she’s the best part of the show! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this little tenderfooted show. Michael Schur does it again!
Tom says: Is Black Lightning part of the Arrowverse? Well, I don’t think so. They reference Supergirl once or twice, but they also reference other DC characters who haven’t appeared in the Arrowverse and its not been part of any crossovers. And that’s fine. Black Lightning has a much different tone and style from the other shows, dealing more with inner-city issues and a more mature, experienced hero, different from the young adults of the other shows who are just finding their feet. Jefferson Pierce the character is a hero who mostly knows what he’s doing, dealing with rebellious teenagers, police shootings, drug problems, and school issues in his day job as an educator. It’s probably closer to Black Panther than it is to anything else DC has on TV right now.
Tom says: The second season revival turned out better than the first. At least it didn’t end on a complete feeling of “WTF was that crap?!” Instead it started with that, did a few episodes that were fine, and then ended in a way that means we don’t really need any more of it which is fine because Gillian Anderson says she’s done with it. You can’t have The X-Files without Agent Scully.
Jimmy says: I haven’t watched the latest season. I’m sure I will. Won’t I?
We all should probably read more, but I know I never know what new books are coming out before they appear somewhere. Still, we did read some stuff.
Tom says: This was a bit of an improvement over what I felt was a mildly disappointing third book in author Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series. Four narrators instead of the usual one, we see the aftereffects of Darrow and Mustang’s new regime are not as clear cut and hopeful as originally assumed.
Jenny says: Ryan is going to kill me. I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my to-do list…just like so many other things. But – I bet it’s awesome!
Tom says: I’m almost certainly the only one here to have even heard of this novel, but Christopher Moore is one of my favorite living and working authors, and this was the sort of humorous fun I expect from him. And hey, the plot involves Area 51, the Bohemian Grove, and exotic snakes. That’s par for the course for Moore, actually…
The Winds of Winter
Tom says: I put this up every year, knowing it almost certainly isn’t coming out, for two reasons: 1) to annoy some of the others around here and their disbelief this book will ever see print is entertaining to me in its own way, and 2) in the unlikely event the book actually does appear, don’t I look smart for making that prediction? Besides, George R.R. Martin did release a related book this year, Fire and Blood, and that means…not much I suppose.
Watson Says: At this point, I am not even sure I would read it if it came out. The books are no longer Game of Thrones to me.
Jimmy says: I’ve been reading the books since I finished catching up on the show. I’m still enjoying them. People need to relax.
I think everyone here loved comics at one point in time or another. Like books, I don’t necessarily know what’s coming until it hits a shelf, but I do enjoy reading them. So, here goes…
Watson says: FUCKING JIMMY!!!
Jimmy says: LOL. Doomsday Clock has been good, but suffers badly from being released every two months or so. They should have waited and released it on a more regular schedule.
DC’s Hanna-Barbera line
Tom says: I was only a little familiar with this line last year, but I’ve read a few more books in the line last year, and these are mostly rather fun. Taking some more mature paths, I found some really good stuff, especially a postmodern Flintstones, and hey, the writer of that series did a Snagglepuss mini-series about being gay and an artist in the McCarthy era 1950s. Who could have thought something like that would have ever been published even five years ago?
Jimmy says: The only book along these lines I’ve read was the awesome Tom King written Batman and Elmer Fudd. The artist on that Snagglepuss book Tom mentions is from my home town, which is pretty cool.
Jenny says: Snagglepuss is on 2018 top books of the year on nearly every list out there. I just got it for Christmas from one of my friends. I started the book last night – I cannot wait to read it. This is live people! Live COMMENTARY!
Dark Nights: Metal
Tom says: Something about this story just didn’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on it because there were so many cool things in it, like pulling together all the different corners of the DCU, the re-imagined evil Batman copies from “broken” Earths, and a whole lot more…but it just didn’t quite work for me. I can’t explain it.
Jimmy says: I enjoyed it, but can see it not being for everyone. Ryan complained about being a bit lost, not being up to date on all of Snyder’s build up to this in his previous Batman work. At the very least it gave us The Batman Who Laughs. Hopefully DC doesn’t ruin him with overexposure.
Tom says: Stories like this and The Handmaid’s Tale mentioned above usually come out as a primal scream against societal forces, asking hard questions about the society we live in while using a sci-fi setting. As great as this series is, wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where no one felt the need to write it? Female empowerment against male aggression has rarely been so bleak and so excellently told.
Jenny says: So Bitch Planet has been around for a while, but lord do I love it. It’s a fantastic telling of women banding together to get shit done – and done for the right reasons. What could be a really overly salty book actually turns out to be something very endearing and tender. If you haven’t tried Bitch Planet out yet, give it a whirl.
Tom says: I really like this series, but I read it in trade form and so many of the characters look similar that I sometimes can’t keep them straight. That’s a shame because I really like this one and would like to keep the gigantic, complicated new world the series created straight.
Jenny says: This book is brilliantly written & drawn. I’m in love with this series. The ideas of how magic works, and where it comes from, and how “people” are supposed to use it are all very complicated. And things could get really messy if it wasn’t so well put together. If there is one comic to put on your pull list for 2018 “best” – Monstress should be it.
Tom says: A group of adolescent girls experiences unwanted time travel during some sort of temporal war that none of them quite understand and without anything approaching a side that could be said to be truly on their side. Each trade gives more personality to one of the girls, and it’s always worth a look.
Jimmy says: I enjoy the majority of writer Brian K. Vaughan’s work, and Paper Girls is no exception. It has some ebbs and flows like most series, but overall a very intriguing read that tries to be smart about it’s time travel paradoxes.
Jenny says: I have loved Brian K. Vaughan since Y-The Last Man. And Paper Girls is no different. It’s wacky. It’s tender. And honestly, there are parts of the book where I forget that this is a man writing about women. If you’re looking for Stranger Things, but with a lot more estrogen, then this is your bag.
East of West
Tom says: I’m not quite caught up yet, but this pre-Apocalyptic Western is a ton of fun all the same. It does seem to be entering some sort of endgame, but isn’t a story about the end of the world already in a sort of endgame?
Tom says: I’m not completely caught up with this fantastic series either, but I think the creators are taking a bit of a break, so that’s sort of good news for me, not so much for people who are all caught up.
Watson Says: I actually want to read this. I may read it over Christmas…
Jimmy says: I’m up to date. It’s still fantastic.
Jenny says: Saga, Saga, Saga…. sigh…. you break my heart, and then you mend it. YOU rip out my spine, and then you mold it back. You write for ages about the importance of loyalty, and then you stab us in the back. Damn this series is so good. I’m sad it’s going on hiatus for a while, but I’ll be here when it comes back. Will you?
Do I play video game? No, but others do.
Spider-Man for the Playstation
Watson says: My kids got their mom to buy them a PS4 just to play this and love it. My ex-wife doesn’t respect my hatred of Sony gaming and actually liked Ryan when we were married, so she also doesn’t respect my hatred of Ryan….
Jimmy says: As arguably the biggest Spider-Man fan around the Gabbing Geek offices (and Jonathan makes a very strong case with his impressive Silver Age Amazing Spider-Man collection) it may be a bit of a surprise that I still haven’t finished this game. Part of it is just that I’ve been busy with other things. But, while I’ll admit it is fantastic and the best Spidey game to date, there are just way too many “levels” that are just endless button mashers with Spidey fighting way too many hired goons, and never even reaching a boss at the end.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Watson says: My kids have this for both platforms and I will play it on my Xbox when they are done with that version.
Jimmy says: But I have finished RDR1…
Jenny says: I’m literally watching this right now as I type up my portion of the article. The game is beautiful, complicated, and ultimately Grand Theft Auto – Wild West style. I kinda love it, and I’m not even playing it. Cheers to all your RRD2 Reddit users, you’re the reason why I bought this game for my husband.
Tom says: Some would say a lot of work goes into this site. I would say a lot of fun goes in and doesn’t seem much like work. Besides, there’s always more on the way. What’s one more year?
Watson says: I am thrilled we got back to recording the podcast on a regular basis. It is always fun to gab geek. I am also proud I got back into writing again for the site. I reviewed every single movie I watched this year, and it was a record year of film for me! Can’t wait to do it again!
Jimmy says: I fell off the wagon big time this year. The geeks banished myself and Tom from the podcast and I haven’t written a whole lot of anything. Will that change? Maybe. We’ll see. I have a lot of unfinished Spider-Man related projects in the hopper. Whatever happens, while I too am happy the podcast is back on a more regular basis, my hat is off big time to Tom who keeps this ship afloat with so much new content it is unreal. Kudos to you Tom!
Jenny says: This ship doesn’t run itself like a Dalek – it takes a lot of time, effort, and tons of heart from all of us here at Gabbing Geek. Thanks for sticking with us, for reading, writing, and listening. You all hold a special place in my heart, and I am so grateful for our little geek community. Onward and upward!