Friday, December 25, 2015
Day #312 - #321: Favorite Things of 2015
As I reflect upon the year before 2015 comes to a close, I want to make a list of the creative works that have influenced me during these twelve months. (So, keep in mind when I say Favorite Things, I won't be listing family or friends -- it goes without saying that those folks are what make my life some kind of wonderful.)
So the following list is a bunch of creative works which have been inspiring me in a variety of ways. Some of them are brand spanking new; others are quite old -- but I'm experiencing them for the first time, or rediscovering them.
10) The Blacklist
I've binge watched several shows this year, but for some reason this has been the most satisfying of the new shows. I think because it taps into something primal. We want evil to be eradicated from the world, but with civilized laws justice if often unfulfilled. However, if another bad guy goes after the villains, revenge seems much more doable. Such was the case during the first three seasons of Dexter, and such is the case with Blacklist. In some ways it's a typical crime TV show, but James Spader takes things to the next level. He makes the show.
We have been watching every episode of MASH as a family... Well, Emily is usually on FunSubstance... But the rest of us have been exploring the exploits of Hawk Eye Pierce and the doctors and nurses of the 4077. Alan Alda's moral compass is the polar opposite of Blacklist's sensibilities. As a child, I watched reruns of this show, every now and then. But watching it in chronological order and in its entirity is a dramatically different experience. You really sense the fatigue that these characters experience, and you understand how humor becomes their main defense mechanism.
8) Stephen King's 11/22/63
I loved the way Stephen King describes time traveling into the 1950s and early 1960s. He really gets back into his groove as a storyteller with this vivid novel about a man who attempts alter history by saving the life of JFK. One of my favorite moments was when King reintroduces Bev and Richie, two characters from IT. That was so awesome.
7) The Complete Peanuts - 1953 & 1954
Much of my year has been consumed by my obsession with my graphic novel, Duck Town.
I have loved drawing since the second grade, and my greatest inspiration in those early days was Charles Shultz. Peanuts was my first experience as an active reader (meaning the Charlie Brown books were the first books that I actually wanted to read, unlike the assigned readings in elementary school). My art never matched the professionalism of Shultz, but he remains my benchmark, my artistic polaris.
6) Inside Out
I love any creative work that can evoke tears. Pixar's Inside Out did just that. Damn you, Bing Bong!
5) Mad Max: Fury Road
This was a dusty wild ride, and a fitting continuation of the Mad Max world. It's really just a long car chase, but it's incredibly entertaining, filled with lots of action sequences that made me gasp and a
few sequences that made me cringe. A great big screen experience.
4) Star Trek: The Next Generation
If you know me at all, then you know that I am a joyful nerd. I may not be the biggest Trekkie, but I do love me some Star Trek. This year I decided to rewatch all of the Next Generation episodes, usually during my office hours. I was surprised at how many episodes I had missed durng the original series' run. I missed a whole bunch during the second and third season. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Weasley Crusher isn't as annoying as I remember. I love the world view (or should I say galactic view) established by Roddenberry. It's his version of heaven -- and I agree with his version of paradise (minus the Borg).
3) Bloom County
One of the most wonderful and unexpected surprises of 2015 is the return of Berkley Brethed's beloved comic, Bloom County. I have loved reading the further adventures of Milo, Opus, and the gang. However, I must say that I have been most pleased to be reunited with Steven Dallas.
I fell in love with In The Heights, and then this musical came along. Take my admiration for Lin Manuel Miranda's first musical and multiply it by three, and you'll calculate just how strongly I feel about this hip hop historical masterpiece.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- Nuff said.