Joseph's Best of 2019

I almost decided against writing this post; it's been a busy year, with a PhD and a sick parent to care for.

Then I made a list.

I swear I’m shocked by how much I actually watched - and read - in 2019. It feels like there were a lot of great shows I fell behind on, like Supernatural, or just couldn't fit into my schedule this year as of yet, like Batwoman. Life is like that: sometimes you don't get exactly what you plan! What I did get was a bunch of unexpected bonuses.

Best TV Watched in 2019

SheRa and the Princesses of Power Season Four

Seasons One and Two of this animated series began paying off in the best way with Season Three and now with Season Four all guns are blazing. This is one of the most character-driven cartoons in a while; this season just keeps upping the ante, and has the ensemble power of Buffy the Vampire Slayer combined with the cuteness of Rainbow Brite. Season Four suffered in my view only from the unnecessary and somewhat inexplicable addition of Double Trouble. This doesn't seem to impact anything overall, however. In episode after episode - from "Mer-Mysteries" to "Boy's Night Out" and the well-written "Hero" - SheRa continues to shine.


Raising Dion

When I started watching this series I thought, okay, superhero series with a really young kid. My conceptualization of the show, however, jumped from episode to episode as the series developed. This is a mash-up slice of life show merged with a superhero extravaganza which centralizes a Black family. This is a moralistic story about race in America. This is a great piece of entertainment. I was thrilled throughout by the story itself, the way the series touches on social commentary throughout-but most of all the great rapport between Michael Jordan, Alisha Wainwright and Ja’Siah Young which sells the series and provides its core. There's plenty of meat for Season Two with unanswered questions, a father out there somewhere, and a potential enemy causing even more havoc.

Umbrella Academy

This unexpected gem appeared early in the year. I came upon it by accident and stayed for the joy. This series follows the seven adopted children of Sir Reginald Hargreeves, each powered in one way or another. I can never take my eyes off Tom Hopper, but for me the showstopper is Klaus, whose journey is largely unnoticed or unacknowledged by his siblings for most of the show but winds up being instrumental for the team’s survival. Reviews by Aaron Studer, and we certainly hope the show returns next year.


Best Books Read In 2019

Semiosis

This novel creeped me out in the best kind of way, and frankly never quite lets go. I have to admit it's one of those concepts which makes you think, wait, this has to have been done before, but I don't quite think it has. Escape to another world from political and environmental problems on Earth? Check. Aliens you don't understand? Sure. A plant that tries to take part in democracy - while possibly lacking the moral recourse with which to do so? In a book which reads more like speculative than science fiction, Sue Berke does a deft job of weaving together generations of narrative to create a tale with serious tentacles.



The Fated Sky

The second book in the Lady Astronauts series is actually even better than the first! Now aiming for the long trip to Mars, our perky heroine finds herself in a new ‘society’ where all their survival depends on finding a way to get along - while realizing they’ve brought every single thing from Earth they shouldn’t. The first novel focused heavily on sexism, but this book shifts its view to race, and while there are preachy vibes at times, there's also an honest attempt to engage the limitations of racism with the needs of the space program in a fast-paced novel that kept me riveted to the end.

Overall: 2019

A great year for reading and writing! Thanks to Billie for making such a great home for writers. Here's to a happy and safe 2020 for all.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

An interesting list -- I'm most intrigued by the books you described, Joseph. And I'm so glad you posted a "best of" even though this has certainly been a challenging year for you!