2019 Media in Review: TV and Books

This was a weird year. In the past, TV and/or movies have dominated my media intake, but not only did I see comparatively few movies, I only finished one season of a non-current TV show (that I’d been slogging through for years), struggled mightily to keep up with my currently-airing shows, and didn’t finish reading any books. I guess I played a lot of Splatoon in between complicated apartment hunting and eventual moving.

Time to finish up the 2019 Media posts and look forward to a more robust 2020.

TV

Older shows

onceFirst things first: I have finally finished season one of Once Upon A Time! I have a weird relationship with that show. Because I started it when it aired in 2011, dropped it when I realized how much I hated the Mary Margaret/David Nolan romance and reluctantly picked it back up in season two when a friend had it on in the background at work only to become so invested we turned it into a weekly dinner break watch party. But then shifts changed and without the social aspect, it just kind of slipped away from me around season 5.

This time around…I still really hated the MM/DN romance, which is probably why it took literal years to get through, but their flashback alter egos of Snow White and Prince Charming really grew on me a little bit.

2018-2019 season

As far as shows from the 2018-2019 season go, it was kind of a disappointing year. I wasn’t thrilled with any of my Arrowverse shows, which are usually pretty reliable on the enjoyment scale. I really liked The Passage, The Gifted, The Kids are Alright and Speechless, but they were all canceled. I fell behind on Gotham, missed the final five episodes entirely and still haven’t caught up. And I gave up on Lethal Weapon before it was predictably and maybe even deservedly canceled.

The only real highlights of last season to me were Manifest, A Million Little Things and Will & Grace. This Is Us was fine, too.

2019 season

As for this current season, I haven’t really picked up anything new except Batwoman, I really love the dynamic between Jacob Kane and Kate and Alice. But Mary and Luke are no slouches either.

I thought I might get sucked into The Masked Singer and Almost Family, but it turns out they’re very out of sight, out of mind shows, and when the World Series interrupted them both and then Fox did as Fox does and monkeyed around with the schedules I lost track and interest. I’ll still probably look up who Thingamajig and Rottweiler on Masked Singer were, though.

macgyverAnd this is the year I gave up on MacGyver.  It’s one of those shows that I always get behind on and then wonder why as eventually start barreling through the episodes. But then I heard about George Eads leaving the show, and I thought I’d still give it a shot, but it turns out just the thought of Mac without Jack was enough to kill my enthusiasm to even finish the episodes that Jack was still in.

However, Arrow has done an amazing job of redeeming itself in its final season. It took everything I hated about last season and gave me good reason to hope for the rest. I am, however, behind on all of my Arrowverse shows. I’m still kind of meh about this season of The Flash, though.

2020

This year I really want to get current on my shows and not fall so far behind that my whole summer is filled with more games of catch up. Because now that I’m through season one of Once Upon A Time, I really want to watch more of it during current season hiatuses. And I’d like to finally finish Gotham and maybe catch some of the streaming exclusives I’ve missed out on over the years.

I’m also looking forward to the debuts of the new Party of Five on Freeform and Picard on CBS All Access. And speaking of All Access, I should probably look at its library of old shows and see if there’s anything else I want to watch to justify continuing to pay for it now that MacGyver’s off my schedule.  The Orville is set to return for season 3 on Hulu this year, too…so I guess I better finish season 2.

And sometime in the next few months I’m going to pick up Disney+ so I can see The Mandalorian before the internet COMPLETELY spoils it for me. Also both WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier are set to debut this year, and I’m sort of excited for them.

Books

I really wanted to read things this year…I just didn’t. Well, that’s not true. I started three books but haven’t finished them. And I did take part in a library-sponsored survey that a librarian then used to hand-pick a reading list for me. Still looking forward to digging into those this year, along with two of those three books I started.

The two I’m going to finish are nonfiction: Run For Your Life by Mark Cucuzzella and How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing With Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White.  Both are easy reads that feel like they get me, and I’ll say more about them later this year.

aartThe one book I put down and won’t be picking back up again is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. It was a library book, and if I hadn’t been trying to read it while also doing a hundred other things, I’d probably have finished it. Because it was very readable, I just didn’t always care for the main character, April May. She’s the first person to discover and start YouTubing about a massive, mysterious sculpture that just appears in the middle of a street one night and doesn’t behave the way physics would expect. And then it turns out there are more of them, and what’s going on?

That part was interesting. But April is a character who a few decades earlier would definitely be the sort of person who bragged about not even having a TV but in the current day is just oh-so-very above the internet with all its social media nonsense and she doesn’t even have Twitter or know why she felt like documenting the statue, and what do you mean her job expects her to be there and committed to it? Her boss should KNOW that that job isn’t her passion and not expect so much of her!

And that is absolutely insufferable.

When I had to stop and return it to the library, it looked like there was about to be a sea-change, though. As her video starts acquiring her a little bit of fame and she’s thrust into the social media spotlight, she starts to realize both the power it gives her (via followers and fans) and the power it has over her (via newfound interest in keeping her followers and fans).

It’s written by Hank Green, who along with his brother John has become one of the most prominent YouTubers around, so he can speak with some authority in that regard and I was just interested enough to probably pick the book back up when things settled down. But  then because I also periodically follow Hank’s channel, I stumbled into a video that seemed to imply that I was dead-on with regards to April’s shifting attitude and the negative effect of her new reliance on those likes and subscribers…and I kind of lost interest. Because if I wasn’t even a third of the way through it and I could already tell what the human element of the story was going to be, I realized there wasn’t a lot of point in continuing on with a character I didn’t like. The mystery behind the Carls (as the statues become known) just wasn’t enough of a draw to keep me invested.

Now, maybe I misinterpreted the book or the video and it’s actually not like that, but I just really don’t care anymore.

But you know what I DO care about (besides my handpicked reading list)? Star Wars! And so again I’m going to try to make good on my plan to do a deep dive into the former Expanded Universe (Now Legends) series of novels.

So, yeah. I’m expecting my 2020 to be filled with a lot of TV, hopefully quite a few books and an average amount of movies. And unlike 2019, I’ll even try to write about them from time to time.

Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @theLTtweet for post updates and smaller thoughts.

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