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An Honest Fangirl's Best of 2021

This year was, like for many people, a little strange for me. I kind of slept through the entire first half of the year, something that I dearly wish was more of an exaggeration, so my content consumption was rather limited to this back half. That being said, I still had my favorites. So, in no particular order, here's some of the movies and shows that I enjoyed this year!

Best New Reboot - CSI: Las Vegas

Of all the shows slated to premiere this fall season, this was the one I was most excited about. I've always loved crime procedurals, and I've loved CSI as an entity the most out of all of them. No other series has really been able to capture that same level of interest from me, at least not without adding something ridiculous to the formula like a crime solving devil. I don't know if Las Vegas has quite reached the heights of some of the other iterations for me yet, but I can see it getting there. They have some very interesting characters to anchor the action and play off each other in fun ways.

Yes, it got very heavy-handed and preachy at times about the importance of truth in a post-truth world where it's more important to be charismatic and to make people believe you than to be right. Especially towards the end. And the ending did feel a little rushed, although that may have been due to the fact that it is a significantly more episodic show than I'm used to watching now. It was still a show that I watched the night that it aired instead of waiting to see it the next day.

Best Miniseries - Midnight Mass

This is a miniseries that was released on Netflix a few months ago from Mike Flanagan, the same mind behind movies like Hush and Gerald's Game and shows like The Haunting of Hill House. He has a very specific style when it comes to content, so if you like what he's done before, you'll probably like this. If you've disliked his previous work, you'll probably dislike this. The series follows a small, isolated island community that has an intense revival of faith once a new, charismatic priest arrives.

In multiple discussions that I've read and been in about this series, a reoccurring theme has popped up in that you'll get more out of this series if you've dealt with addiction and/or if you grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. I can definitely see why that argument can be made. Hamish Linklater, who plays the new priest, has a very specific cadence and tenor in his voice when he's giving a homily that is just uncanny in its similarity to every homily I've personally sat through. I don't think those experiences are necessarily, though, to enjoy the series. It just deepens them in a lot of spots. The series can be a little slow in spots, with a lot of very long monologues, but the payoff at the end is worth it. It really is.

Best Marvel TV Show - Hawkeye

Okay, so I know that it isn't over yet, but it has been my favorite television entry into the MCU this year. Loki was a close second. It was. Kate Bishop just manages to push it up and over the top. She shines whenever she's on screen. It can be very difficult to write a younger, female character that is as headstrong and optimistic and sassy as she is without it falling into the realm of trying too hard or being annoying. Kate only ever feels grounded and real.

Her relationship with Clint is also a very strong highlight. It made me like Clint again! I didn't think that was possible! I had given up hope! As of writing this, we have one episode left so I desperately hope that they stick the landing. Also, I adore how Laura isn't kept in the dark about Clint's activities and that she isn't angry about him potentially missing Christmas. It's such a nice change from the usual.

Most Surprising TV Performance - Owen Wilson, Loki

When I was pulling together my list of things to talk about in this article, this was the first category I wrote down. I hate Owen Wilson as an actor. Hate him. I don't know what it is, but whenever he's onscreen, I cringe. When I heard that he had been cast as a major character in Loki, my heart sank. This was not what I wanted in the slightest. I went into that first episode fully prepared to be very annoyed for most of it.

So imagine my surprise when less than an hour later, I walked away thinking that I might have actually liked Mobius than I did Loki. I have no idea how, but he immediately won me over, and I'm so glad that he did. His arc over the course of the season was one of the ones that affected me the most emotionally. I love being wrong!

Show I Want to Finish Watching - Chucky

Chucky is one of those mainstay horror movie franchises that I've always really respected. Unlike most franchises were creative control changes every other movie, Don Mancini has shepherded this series from the very beginning, through all of its highs and lows and genre changes. It has always been his vision. (Ignoring the most recent, big studio done reboot starring Aubrey Plaza which was... disappointing.) When I heard that he would be making the shift to television in a series that would be a direct follow up to the excellent Cult of Chucky, I was thrilled.

The first two episodes were really good, too. I enjoyed them a lot. I enjoyed Chucky's growing relationship with Jake, our teenaged main character. I enjoyed the few kills that we did get. I absolutely loved seeing old characters show up, like the now adult Andy from the very first movie. (Same actor too!) It was just one of those shows where I missed an episode because I had a busy week, and that was all that it needed to start stacking up on my DVR. I just need to pick a weekend to sit down and binge through the rest now that the season has finished.

Show I Will Miss the Most - Lucifer

Lucifer ended this year, and I'm still a little sad about it. It was my favorite show for a very long time, and it ending has left a hole that I haven't been able to fill yet. With the benefit of hindsight, there are a lot of things that I wish they had done different in their final season. It was perfectly wonderful, don't get me wrong. I'm very happy that we got it. There were just fundamental decisions made that I think the overall experience weaker. Yes, I'm talking about Rory. Having a brand new character take up so much focus was a misstep.

But I can forgive Lucifer for that. The highs were as high as ever, and I was sobbing into my blanket by the time the credits rolled for the last time. I can't ask for anything more from a show. The real indication of whether or not a show sticks the landing is if I'd recommend it to someone, and if I'd recommend it in its entirety or if I'd tell them to stop watching after a certain point. I would still strongly recommend Lucifer. All of Lucifer. And I'm very happy that I can say that.

Most WTF Movie - Willy's Wonderland

How does one explain a creation like Willy's Wonderland? Really, this is a movie that needs to be experienced as blindly as possible with as open a mind as possible. And probably with an adult beverage or two. In very broad strokes, Nic Cage plays a drifter who agrees to clean up an abandoned Chucky Cheese's type place in exchange for the local mechanic fixing his car. If you've ever seen or played the video game Five Nights at Freddy's you might have an idea of where this is going.

Nic Cage does not say a single line of dialogue the entire movie despite being on screen for essentially every minute of it. Apparently, this was his condition in exchange for doing this movie. There are animatronics. There are teenage characters with close to no characterization that do really dumb things. There are buckets of blood to be had. It's one of the most entertaining viewing experiences I've had this year, and one of the most bizarre.

Most Surprising Movie Performance - Megan Fox, Till Death

I'll round out my list with another actor who I tended to hate on sight only to be proven wrong in the best way possible. Most of my memories and opinions of Megan Fox were formed around the time the first Transformers movies came out. They were, in a word or three, not very favorable, and I think that that was very common among people in my age group. So a lot of this entry is me almost recalibrating my brain and interrogating those past opinions.

All of this being said, she is fantastic in this movie as a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, who goes to a deserted cabin in the middle of winter to celebrate her anniversary with her husband. Things very quickly go wrong from there. It's a very difficult role, not only emotionally but physically. Megan winds up chained to a lot of dead weight that she drags around all over the very beautiful set. She really does carry this movie, and I highly recommend watching it if you like something that's tense and clever with a strong, female lead.

I hope that everyone has a very safe, happy, and healthy holidays. Here's to 2022!
An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.


  1. I feel the same way about Will Ferrell that you do about Owen Wilson. And yet I love Elf? Exceptions will prove the rule. :)

  2. I don't pay much attention to network television anymore, so I had missed the CSI reboot completely. I loved the entire franchise and have, over the years, watched most of it.

    After reading your post, I dropped everything and watched the first episode. Something tells me that today is going to be a lost Sunday as I zoom through the episodes.

    Great post. I love finding new things (or old favorites) to watch.

  3. Sunbunny - I don't like Will Ferrell either! Although I do hate Elf with a passion. It's one of my least favorite Christmas movies haha

    ChrisB - sorry for your lost Sunday! At least there aren't too many episodes? ; )

  4. As predicted, I lost my Sunday. I thought the reboot was excellent, a good blend of homage to the past while moving the characters and the story forward. So glad you pointed it out! Thanks.

  5. Fangirl, I think I'm with you in the "show I'll miss the most" category. While it wasn't perfect, I was happy with how Lucifer ended and I've already started a slow rewatch, on the savor setting.

    And I have Midnight Mass in my Netflix queue, although I have a hard time with the scary. We shall see.

  6. I've got Midnight Mass on my list, too.

    Fangirl, your reviews were a big part of the reason I decided to finally watch Lucifer. Thank you!


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