Here’s my second? third? post of 2017. I’ve been away from the blog for a little bit for a few reasons. The holidays kept me pretty busy, along with some medical issues between me and my Mom, most shows are in hiatus, and I did kind get worn out with the Westworld reviews. But I’ve got my mojo back and I’m ready to get to writin’.
I can’t completely get behind the sentiment of Fuck 2016, because there were so many great pop cultural goodies that appeared this year. There were a lot of movies, books, and TV shows that I particularly enjoyed. So for all of the shitty things that happened this year, from starting off the new year minus my appendix, to ending the year minus any political hope, Fuck You 2016. But for all the great things that happened this year, from Luke Cage, to Yuri on Ice, Thank You 2016!
Top Books I enjoyed this year:
The Suicide Motor Club by Chris Buehlman – This is the best vampire book I read this year. I didn’t read many novels this year, and the ones I finished were good, but didn’t WOW me. This book did.
The League of Dragons by Naomi Novik – So ends an era. I read the first Temeraire book over a decade ago, and I really, really, really, loved this series. Not only did I buy all the books, I bought all the audiobooks too, because the voice actor was absolutely perfect. League of Dragons is the last Temeraire book and I’m glad he got a happy ending.
Nevermore by Rob Thurman- This appears to be the last Cal Leandros book. This is a sad!
The Re-arrival of Bloom County – I loved this series back in the 80s, and I’m very glad to see it make a comeback.
Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher – Its gotten to the point where I will read anything by this writer. I really enjoyed this book, which is a perfect cross between Horror and Fantasy, involving a secret society of monster hunters who drive trucks, urban legends, cops, and demons. There’s some great female representation in Belcher’s books, along with plenty of action.
Tor. com short stories like: Dead Djinn in Cairo, The Ballad of Black Tom, and the Story of Kao Yu – Short stories from Tor are about all I get time to read. These are some top notch Fantasy stories, by some of my favorite writers.
Borderline by Mishell Baker – This is the best Urban Fantasy novel written this year, and should be on everybody’s list. It has everything: a female protagonist with disabilities, prominent PoC (some who are actually unlikable), elves, and witches, all set in LA. This book manages to avoid all of the tropes of writing characters with disabilities, the characters have different kinds of disabilites, and it manages to avoid inspiration porn by making them people with personalities you might actually dislike, all while still being inspiring.
I’ve started reading comics and graphic novels again, for which I have to thank the existence of Comixology. Unlike a lot of book snobs, I don’t disdain digital books, and I’m damned glad I never have to step foot in another dusty comic book shop again. As a Black woman, I don’t have fond memories of browsing comic book shops for hours at a time, or talking shop with the proprietors. Also, I m not hung up on physical books. I simply have no more room in my house for them. I have several hundred books stashed in my attic right now. I always collected comic books for the art and the story, not just the book itself, and the same is true for novels. It’s what’s in them that matters to me. Not the dressing.
Graphic Novels I just bought:
Enormous – Giant monsters have taken over the Earth, and one woman runs a rescue service for children who have been orphaned by the rampaging creatures.
The New Dr. Fate – I’ve been fascinated by this character since I first read about him, in those long ago 80s Justice League books, with Guy Gardner and Captain Atom.
Planetary : Crossing Worlds – I’m a big Planetary fan because I just like weird superhero books.
Shaolin Cowboy: Shemp Buffet – I was attracted to this because I’m a huge fan of the artist, Geof Darrow, who also wrote the graphic novel HardBoiled. Also who can resist the idea of a Shaolin Monk, who fights zombies and demons, in the old West?
Apollo and the Midnighter -I’m glad to see the return of two of my favorite, and badass, superheroes, and I’m glad they’re still a couple!
Captain America Civil War – This isn’t as good as Winter Soldier, and could’ve used more Steve and Bucky in a movie that’s best know as Avengers 3, or Iron Man 4. But I loved the unnecessary glimpse we got of the new Spider-Man, and that airport fight scene was just about the funniest shit I’ve seen this year, and wtf! Black Panther feckin’ killed it. So yeah, this is on my Best of list.
Suicide Squad– I’m one of five people that actually seemed to like this movie. I had hella fun watching this at the theater. I think it had a lot to do with Viola Davis, and Will Smith, being in the same movie, tho’.
Deadpool – This is how you make an Action Comedy. This is a thoroughly ridiculous movie, and I loved it. If you didn’t cosplay as “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”, this past Halloween, then you are not a Marvel fan. My girl just needs her own damn movie, at this point.
Train to Busan – Along with the movie The Girl with All the Gifts, this is one of the best zombie movies released this year. I’m still crying about this one.
Rogue One – My future ex-husband, Donnie Yen, is in this movie. Also this seemed to be the year for Asians in Space!
Star Trek Beyond – We got a Star Wars movie and a new Star Trek movie in one year. We got a canonically gay Sulu, some McCoy/Spock love, and Idris Elba. There was a lot about this movie I didn’t particularly care for, but there was also a lot I absolutely loved, and that’s alright.
Preacher: This was a great underrated show. Tulip was an Awesome creature of Awesomeness. Ruth Negga really knocked it out of the park. This year actually had some great WoC representation at the movies. As much as I complain about there not being any, this is a great start. Actually, this year was one of the Black-est years of TV in recent memory. (Now it’s time for us to get some SpaceLatinas and stuff, too.)
Luke Cage -I’ve said all I’m gonna say about this because I can’t laud it anymore than I have. There was a lot of good TV this year, but this really resonated with a lot of people.
Westworld – Whoo! You see the effect this show had on me, right? And I’m not done. I got more reviewin’ to do. Once again, we got some great WoC representation.
Yuri on Ice – I haven’t watched this anime, but it’s been all over my Tumblr dash for weeks. I just want to give a shoutout to a show about a couple of ice skating boyfriends, that has actual ice skaters, losing their minds.
Atlanta – I love this show. It’s the weirdest show about Black people on TV. The writers have zero fucks to give about whether white people like this, or understand it. There’s a level of authenticity to it that just resonates on a soul deep level. Any white people watching this how, don’t try to get it, just go with it. It’s pretty much like Black people’s actual lives only fucking weird.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – At some point I expect Samantha to mess up and state some white feminist nonsense, but so far she’s been pretty good at saying shit I want to say to white people, but don’t, because I wanna keep my job. And she’s pretty damn funny, too.
Brooklyn 99 – Next to Black*ish, this is one of the best comedies on TV. And all of its characters are funny too. It has multiple Woc, who talk to, and support, each other, good black men, canon gay characters, father figures, and it’s funny without belittleing any of the characters or assuming the audience was dumb. I want to talk about how the show approaches mental illness, tho.
A new character was introduced, who has PTSD, and he’s become a love interest for one of the female cops on the show. I love how this character is depicted. He’s funny but the humor is never at his expense. He genuinely wants to be good and kind ,and when his behavior is pointed out as questionable, he’s willing to change. He’s never abusive, or uses his trauma as an excuse for it, and genuinely likes his co-workers. It’s sort of implied that he was a weirdo before he was traumatized, so that his quirky personal decisions aren’t necessarily a result of the trauma. He tries to be supportive of his co-workers, even if that support is expressed in some odd ways. You’re not laughing at his mental illness, you’re laughing at the nonplussed reactions of his co-workers, which is a fine line to walk. The other characters think he’s pretty odd, but never make fun of him, and seem to take all his trauma in stride, treating him as they would any close friend that you don’t understand, but he’s your friend, so you do.
On every level, Brooklyn 99’s writers work really hard to get this shit right, and they manage to be hella funny, too.
So yeah! The year wasn’t all awful. Just mostly awful.