My 6 Favorite Things of 2019
Happy New Year, everybody! Like pretty much every pop culture site on the internet, I do a round-up for my favorite things of the past year. Unlike all those professional sites with their professional standards and plenty of employees, I just try to bang out my favorites in a couple different categories. Mostly, there were a ton of good TV shows this year!
I had a little trouble coming up with some bonus categories. I don’t really listen to music, so I can’t judge that. And I need to get my Lists of Six up to six. Sometimes I’ve done my favorite toys of the year, but then I didn’t really buy too many memorable action figures or LEGO models. And sometimes I’d done my favorite new thing on the internet, but I don’t think I saw too many new and exciting things. And there weren’t many memorable movie trailers!
So join me after the jump to see what I eventually came up with! Along with my favorite video games, TV shows, movies and comic books! Feel free to share your own favorites in the comments!
6. Graphic Novel: Empowered vol. 11
I’m going to do comics later on down the list, but there’s one comic I love that I never find the time to talk about: Empowered! And a new volume came out this year and was so damn good! Empowered is an indie comic by writer/artist Adam Warren about an insecure superhero who has more power and more awesomeness than she realizes. Volume 11 is a novel-length fight scene, as Emp takes on a villain that has been quietly building in the background for awhile. I was actually a little disappointed with Volume 10 because it seemed so light on material…but all of that was just set up for this spectacular new volume this year! Warren really nails the desperation, the fear, the intensity as Emp spends most of the issue on the run from a powerful telepath, who is mind-controlling all of her friends and allies to go after her. And Warren so artfully mixes in heroic moments, great bits for some minor characters, and just an overall sense of greatness. Somebody I need to do a larger article to get you all to read Empowered, because chapters like 11 show why it’s one of the best, least-talked-about comics out there!
5. Star Wars: The Mandalorian
This was a pretty big year for Star Wars. They had a big new movie, a big video game and a their first ever live-action TV show, all at the end of the year. And considering none of those things topped their respective categories for me this year, I figured why not give Star Wars its own category? It’s my list, after all! And of all the new Star Wars things we got this year, my favorite, by far, was The Mandalorian TV show! Such a great show! I love taking a look at the smaller corners of the Star Wars Universe, and this show easily and readily scratched that itch. I’m a big Boba Fett fan, so seeing a character embody that same enigmatic badassery without all of the baggage was great! I loved the slow, simmering style of the show, as it leaned into Old West tropes. And I loved Baby Yoda! How could you not? This show was damn good and started off live action Star Wars on the right foot.
4. Video Games: The Outer Worlds
I didn’t actually play too many new video games this year. I mostly spent the year playing Red Dead Redemption Online, but I decided not to count that. So instead, my favorite new game this year was The Outer Worlds! I thought the game was a bit shallow overall, but the game itself was a lot of fun to play. It was the classic Fallout playstyle with the classic Obsidian sense of humor and writing. I expect it to be the start of a new, bigger franchise going forward.
Runner Up: Death Stranding
The only reason Death Stranding isn’t top of this list is because I only just started playing and am far from finishing. I had Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order ready to go for the Runner Up spot, but the couple of hours I’ve put into Death Stranding easily knocked out that game. Death Standing has the patient pedantry of Red Dead Redemption 2 with the weird specificity of a Hideo Kojima game, and I love it! I spent several hours the other day simply collecting materials to build roads and then using those roads to make deliveries between four outposts in my truck. It was great.
3. Television: Watchmen
I had my doubts and concerns about the Watchmen TV show. Heck, I still had some of those same concerns midway through the season! But by the time the grand finale was over, I was a convert. This show was masterful. A slow but confident building of drama, tension, twists, surprises and deep, affecting social commentary, all leading to a finale so exciting, so impactful, so powerful that this series instantly shot to the top of my favorite shows. Literally, I had She-Ra as the top show and Watchmen wasn’t even in the Honorable Mentions until that finale brought everything together in ways I wasn’t expecting and blew me away! And best of all, the show is so supportive of the comic! It’s not an adaptation or a repeat, but it uses the elements of the comic so well and to tell such an amazing story! Just phenomenal.
Runner Up: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
I love this show so much! It’s everything I want from a good TV show. It’s a cartoon revival of a classic 1980s cartoon, but there’s clearly so much care and attention paid to the revival. I love the stories, I love the characters and the creative uses the writers have for them; I love how well-crafted the entire revival has been. This isn’t just your average Ninja Turtles or Transformers relaunch. This is a true recreation, full of charm and drama and emotion and resonance. And this year saw three whole seasons dropped onto us at Netflix, so there was a lot of She-Ra to enjoy. The stories and the characters were pushed to new emotional heights, with friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming friends and enemies fighting other enemies. This whole year of She-Ra was great, especially the fourth and latest season.
Honorable Mentions: Harley Quinn, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, The Man in the High Castle, Steven Universe, The Mandalorian, Good Omens, GLOW, Tuca & Bertie, BoJack Horseman, Dead to Me and The Boys.
2. Movies: Avengers: Endgame
Look, I’m not made of stone. I am who I am, and a Marvel movie is probably always going to be my favorite movie of the year from now until the heat death of the universe. They’re just so damn good! And so much fun to watch! Endgame brought the usual Marvel charm and added world-ending stakes! It was big, it was meaningful; it was a celebration of the entire Avengers franchise up until that point! Endgame was everything I wanted and was easily my favorite movie of the year.
Runner Up: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
This film got a bad rap for some reason. Maybe it was franchise fatigue. Maybe people forgot it was coming. I don’t know. I thought the LEGO Movie sequel was just as good as the first film. It was still hilarious, and the writers found new ways to tug at our heart strings, even when we knew some sort of tugging was probably going to happen. This movie also added songs! And really good songs, at that!
Honorable Mentions: Knives Out, Jo Jo Rabbit, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, and Shazam!
1. Comics: Wonder Twins
Who could have predicted that my dreams of a Wonder Twins comic would be so gloriously fulfilled? I’ve been a fan of the characters for so long, but they’ve made so few appearances that my fandom was largely ironic. Obviously they were a silly idea back on the SuperFriends several decades ago, but surely modern writers could take those characters and actually bring them into the DC Universe in a real and meaningful way. Leave it up to Mark Russell, the genius behind The Flintstones comic, to make my dreams a wondrous reality! Funny, insightful, satirical and honest about its characters, Wonder Twins is everything I want from comics. It takes two obscure but memorable characters and does so right by them that it defies my wildest dreams. And on top of the great superhero comic, Russell injects so much heart and ethos. And then artist Stephen Byrne brings the comic to life with dazzling perfection! You’ll never look at the color purple the same way again! Wonder Twins is a literal dream come true of a comic and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Runner Up: House of X/Powers of X
I don’t think Dawn of X has lived up to the promises of House of X/Powers of X, but this opening dual-storyline was exciting and fun, things I hadn’t seen with the X-Men in years. HoX/PoX were weird and crazy and out there, with cool new ideas and fun use of the X-Men and various mutant characters. It promised something new and exciting for the franchise as a whole and I still hope we get there eventually.
Honorable Mentions: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Runaways, Power Rangers.