Favourites of 2015

Getting this in on the last day of the year! I like to take part with my version of the usual best-of lists/year-end recaps, which is basically just a list of my favourites from the past year. It is in no particular order at all. It is what it is.

ALBUMS

  1. PENTATONIX, Pentatonix
  2. KELLY CLARKSON, Piece by Piece
  3. ADELE, 25
  4. MATT NATHANSON, Show Me Your Fangs
  5. TORI KELLY, Unbreakable Smile
  6. JAMES BAY, Chaos and the Calm
  7. JOY WILLIAMS, Venus
  8. HAMILTON Soundtrack
  9. DAVID COOK, Digital Vein
  10. SARA BAREILLES, What’s Inside – Songs from Waitress

Some of my favourites released some truly good albums this year that I haven’t stopped listening to. 2015 also brought on new favourites in Tori Kelly and James Bay, plus Joy Williams’ first solo effort since The Civil Wars ended. And of course, there was Hamilton; how I wish I could witness it in all its glory, but I’ll have to settle for hearing the soundtrack on repeat.

SONGS

  1. JANET JACKSON, BURNITUP! ft. Missy Elliott
  2. MISSY ELLIOTT, WTF (Where They From) ft. Pharrell
  3. JOJO, Save My Soul
  4. ROZZI CRANE, Crazy Ass Bitch
  5. BRITTANY CAIRNS, Everybody’s Got That Something
  6. JUSSIE SMOLLETT & YAZZ, No Apologies
  7. DEMI LOVATO, Confident
  8. SELENA GOMEZ, Same Old Love
  9. NICK JONAS, Levels

Outside of all the songs I loved on my favourite albums this year, there were these songs. First of all, the return of Missy Elliott! I would’ve been fine with just the feature on Janet’s song, but then she released “WTF, which is just so classic Missy. Also, the return of JoJo who was in record label limbo for so long; she came back with an EP that was a nice re-introduction to her and I can’t wait for what’s next. I loved a lot of the songs that came out of Empire, but my favourite of the bunch is definitely “No Apologies” which fuses the rap, hip-hop and R&B so well. I have to say that I’m actually quite impressed with what Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez did this year on their respective albums; they’ve really come into their own as music artists.

NEW TV SHOWS

  1. iZombie
  2. Fresh Off the Boat
  3. Agent Carter
  4. 12 Monkeys
  5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  6. Daredevil
  7. Dark Matter
  8. Killjoys
  9. UnREAL
  10. Empire
  11. Master of None

SO MANY TV SHOWS!!! These were by far my absolute new favourites of the year. There were also shows I enjoyed like Limitless and Quantico, as well as shows I haven’t had time to watch yet like Jessica Jones.

RETURNING TV SHOWS

  1. The Flash
  2. You’re the Worst
  3. Jane the Virgin
  4. Agents of SHIELD
  5. Orphan Black
  6. The Americans
  7. Outlander
  8. Arrow
  9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  10. Survivor

These are the shows that are still tops for me, though there are a whole other bunch that are just below these ones that I still really like to watch.

SHOWS THAT ENDED/GOT CANCELLED

  1. Parks and Recreation
  2. Hart of Dixie
  3. Parenthood
  4. Chasing Life
  5. Graceland
  6. Hindsight

The first three shows came to their natural end, the other three were abruptly cancelled (or in the case of Hindsight, renewed then cancelled – thanks a lot, VH1). Either way, it sucks.

MOVIES

  1. Dope
  2. The Martian
  3. The DUFF
  4. The Last Five Years
  5. Brooklyn
  6. Spotlight
  7. Ex-Machina
  8. Cinderella
  9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  10. Inside Out

Mind you, there are A LOT of other movies I still haven’t seen yet, so this is a very small sampling.

So that’s that, my favourites of the past year! I hope you all had a wonderful pop culture filled year, and here’s to more fun in 2016!

5 Fandom Friday: Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done

fandom.5.friday

This week’s Fandom 5 is all about the nerdiest things we’ve done. As I started thinking about this week’s topic, I thought I was going to have trouble making the five, but once I started digging in a bit, well, let’s just say I nearly forgot how much of a nerd I was growing up, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

1.) Going to Cons

San Diego Convention Centre

That initial decision to go to San Diego Comic Con. For the longest time, I didn’t really know this idea of being a geek, and I feel like it stems from not quite negative but a stigma of sorts from general society of what it means to be a geek/nerd. Then me being a fan of a lot of things, pop culture-wise, and not necessarily being the “stereotypical geek”, I just felt like I didn’t belong in this group somehow. Like I was a fake. I knew one thing for certain was my love of TV and movies, and hearing about SDCC year after year, I just got it into me that I wanted to go. At that point (this was nearly three years ago), I hadn’t done a trip on my own and it was sort of me wanting to do something for myself. So my one cousin (who I didn’t realize was so much like me. Distance will do that to you.) and I made our first trek to SDCC in 2013. Still one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever done, because I just hadn’t experienced anything like it. I did go to FanExpo to get a sense of it in 2012, but we all know SDCC is a whole other level.

2.) “Stalking” the Nikita Set

Nov. 12, 2012 - Waterloo Airport for episode 3x10 "Brave New World"

My love of Nikita is just beyond. If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Twitter, you know that by now. Cast of actors I loved (Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Melinda initially; then Aaron, Noah, Devon, Dillon, Lyndie) in a great show that filmed in and around Toronto – they were my life for four years. Every chance I could get to be near the set, when I found out their filming location, I tried my damned hardest to go (within restraints obviously – I don’t live in Toronto so it was infinitely harder to be so close, yet so far). Of course every single time I came close, but failed miserably at meeting any of the cast members. During that same time that Nikita was filming, I cared much more about other stuff filming, trying to catch Suits or Covert Affairs filming as well. After Nikita wrapped, I haven’t cared as much…although 12 Monkeys DOES film in Toronto, as does Orphan Black, but I’m not obsessed about finding locations. I don’t really need to constantly feel like I’m failing.

3.) Warner Brothers and Paramount Studio Tours

P1050422

Because seeing TV/movie magic and sets of some of your favourite shows is awesome. Though doing these studio tours are even more nerdy when you can answer pretty much every question the tour guides ask you.

4.) Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I LOVED Sabrina when I was younger. I can’t remember why, but I did. Enough to write a fan letter, mailed it, and found a signed cast photo get sent back to me months later.

5.) Entertainment + School

Throughout my entire education years, I pretty much found every excuse to incorporate my love of entertainment into school. Started off with talent shows in elementary school, then wrote papers/opinion pieces on what was going on in pop culture at the time for extra credit in middle school. Whenever I had to be creative in high school, I always used TV/movie character names. I remember senior Econ class, saw one of the topics for a project being “Salaries of Celebrities” and I was completely all over that, just short of simply yelling out “MINE! CALLED IT!” Every time I was able to tie-in media to any of my university papers, I was damn happy: Minority representation in the media, gender equality and representation, adaptations (for a movie course obviously). In my Speech Comm course, we covered three different types of speeches and what did I talk about? Music downloading, the Writers’ Strike, and movie sequels. I wrote a thesis on attending concerts! Also took classes on history of music and pop culture AND music in film. It’s not like I went to a media school and did this; I was a sociology major.

So yeah, those are the nerdiest things I’ve done in my life.

What to Look Forward to on TV in 2015

2014 is but a distant memory now, so here’s what I’m looking forward to watching on TV in 2015!

Last year (does it seem weird to already say that?) seemed like a really good year with an abundance of really good-great TV. I surely hope 2015 will only bring us more awesome TV, plus maybe enough time to actually watch these shows. On top of that, I want the networks to not hastily cancel perfectly good shows that maybe just need a little time (i.e. Selfie), or better promotion (i.e. Trophy Wife, Enlisted), or for goodness sakes, let them have proper endings (i.e. Witches of East End)! Since we’re on the topic, there will be several shows that will indeed be ending in 2015, including Parks and Recreation (Jan. 13), Parenthood (final episodes start Jan. 7), and Cougar Town (Jan. 6).

But with the end of some shows (and brutal cancellations of others), come a new crop of shows hoping to watched/loved/adored. These are the ones I’m most excited about and know of; come April-May when Upfronts rolls around and we hear about even more new shows, well, we’ll talk about it then.

  • Agent Carter (Jan. 6) – The wonderful Hayley Atwell is coming to TV, reprising her role as Peggy Carter from the Captain America films. If the tie-in to Marvel wasn’t enough, they assembled a hell of supporting cast for the show, including Dominic Cooper reprising his role as Howard Stark, James D’Arcy as Jarvis, Chad Michael Murray(!), Enver Gjokaj(!!), and Lyndsy Fonseca(!!!).

HAYLEY ATWELL

  • 12 Monkeys (Jan. 16) – I can’t tell you how excited I am for this show! Mind you, I haven’t even watched the 1995 Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie from which it was based, but the people working on this show is more than enough for me. Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, former writers on Nikita, created the show. Some of my favourite actors from old favourite shows/movies star: Aaron Stanford (Nikita), Amanda Schull (Center Stage, Suits), Kirk Acevedo (Fringe), Noah Bean (Nikita). Plus, they lined up some pretty awesome guest stars as well like Ari Millen (Orphan Black) and Xander Berkeley (Nikita). Seriously, you’d think I was casting the show or something, with all these people I adore being on it.
  • Empire (Jan. 7) – Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson star in this musical soap set in the hip-hop world. The show will feature original music from the amazing Timbaland. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun to watch, that’s for sure.
  • Fresh Off the Boat (Feb. 4) – Asian family in the 90s. That’s all I need. I have faith that this show will be hilarious and awesome, I just need ABC to not let me down.

FORREST WHEELER, IAN CHEN, RANDALL PARK, HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU

  • iZombie (TBA) – Saw a preview of this show from Rob Thomas and starring Rose McIver at SDCC. It seems very funny and quirky, and with a supporting cast that includes Robert Buckley and David Anders? I can’t wait to see more! Now give it a premiere date already, CW!

Pilot

  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (March) – Tina Fey and Robert Carlock created this show, starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who is trying to re-adjust to life in the city after being a part of a doomsday cult. The series was initially picked up by NBC, but has surprisingly found a home on Netflix.

And let’s not forget shows returning for another season: Orphan Black (Apr. 18), Salem (April), The Americans (Jan. 28), second half of season 4 of Suits (Jan. 28), House of Cards (February).

What are you looking forward to watching this new year?

Favourites of 2014

Another year is coming to an end and with that, a list of my favourites in movies, music, and TV. Again, not a “Year-End Best of” list by any means, just things that I loved this past year. Also, due to time constraints, this really is just a list of my favourites – I wish I had the time to fully explain everything but alas, December just flew by me.

ALBUMS

  1. Begin Again soundtrack
  2. Kris Allen, Horizons
  3. The Script, No Sound Without Silence
  4. Colbie Caillat, Gypsy Heart
  5. Jason Mraz, Yes!
  6. Lady Antebellum, 747
  7. Pentatonix, PTX Vol. 3
  8. Nikki Yanofsky, Little Secret
  9. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  10. Maroon 5, V

SONGS

Obviously I loved songs from my favourite albums above, but here are the other stuff that I couldn’t stop listening to this year.

  1. Tyler Hilton, One More Song
  2. Nick Jonas, Jealous
  3. Jessie J, Masterpiece
  4. Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good
  5. Sam Smith, Like I Can

MOVIES

As always, there are still SO many movies that got released this year, that I have yet to get a chance to see. But of what I did manage to see this year, these are absolutely my favourites.

  1. Begin Again
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Snowpiercer
  5. Nightcrawler

NEW TV SHOWS

There were some REALLY good new shows that came out this year.

  1. The Flash
  2. Jane the Virgin
  3. The Affair
  4. You’re the Worst
  5. How to Get Away With Murder

RETURNING TV SHOWS

And of the returning shows, these continued strong all year.

  1. Arrow
  2. Brooklyn Nine Nine
  3. Agents of SHIELD
  4. The Mindy Project
  5. Sleepy Hollow

SHOWS THAT WERE CANCELLED

These are some of the shows that got cancelled this year, which very much hurt.

  1. Selfie
  2. Enlisted
  3. Trophy Wife
  4. Witches of East End
  5. The Tomorrow People

Confession of a Non-Comic Reader

On Tuesday, October 28th, Marvel held a huge fan event to announce Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I, along with almost everyone else in the world, followed along on Twitter, seeing what exactly Marvel was going to be bringing us for the next 5 years. In case you need a reminder, here’s the upcoming slate:

  • May 1, 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • July 17, 2015: Ant-Man
  • May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War
  • Nov. 4, 2016: Doctor Strange
  • May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  • July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok
  • Nov. 3, 2017: Black Panther
  • May 4, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War – Part I
  • July 6, 2018: Captain Marvel
  • Nov. 2, 2018: Inhumans
  • May 3, 2019: Avengers: Infinity War – Part II

I got excited with everybody else – Civil War! Doctor Strange! Black Panther! Captain Marvel! Infinity War! Truth be told though, I actually have no idea what any of it means. Now I read articles, blog posts, Twitter updates and such every time there’s something about anything comic-book related (usually when a new movie is announced or released) to make myself familiar with the material, but I’ve never read any comic books.

I’m among the people who love the MCU and DC TV, but know little to nothing of the source material. Despite not knowing character origin stories, I still get genuinely excited over these movie announcements or when they say [insert character name] will be coming on Arrow or The Flash. I mean I’ve never tried to act like I know more than I do and I sure hope I don’t come across as a so-called “fake geek girl” (whatever the hell that means really), but I can’t help but get this weird feeling after the initial excitement. I almost feel bad that I don’t know most comic-book characters or comic storylines to justify my excitement over them. Of course, the simple solution would be to start reading comic books, which really would only lead to a bigger question “WHERE WOULD I START?!”

I by no means am ashamed by my lack of comic-book knowledge, I just find it weird and actually kind of hilarious that I’m really into these comic-based movies and TV shows without knowing a damn thing. A lot of credit has to go to all these producers and writers who create these other entities. Crafting entertaining stories with engaging characters for the general masses can’t be easy; having to do the same thing with a known character and adapting it from page to screen is a difficult task. With the MCU, it took a while for it to get to where it’s at. Look back at it now and you can’t help but wonder, who would’ve thought any of it would work? Sure we’ve had comic-book/superhero movies way before Iron Man came around, but Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man really turned things around. Since then, Marvel hasn’t really made a wrong move. I started as having no idea who any of these superheroes are, but now, like everybody else, I’m invested in this universe and look forward to every Marvel movie (whether it be Marvel Studios or FOX’s X-Men movies or Sony’s Spider-Man).

Even with DC films attempting to play catch-up to the MCU (which honestly, I’m a little meh about), you have to admit that DC TV has been on fire, especially when you look at Arrow and The Flash. And again, most of the time I don’t know the characters that get introduced but I get excited about every new one regardless because they’re just really good characters and well-written. Take for instance this past week’s episodes – 1×05 “Plastique” for The Flash, 3×06 “Guilty” for Arrow. [Out of consideration, slight spoilers ahead.] At the end of “Plastique,” viewers are shown Dr. Wells talking to a gorilla that’s being kept at STAR Labs, with its name plate showing Grodd. My initial reaction was “Okay, interesting…” which is pretty much in line with what I say every time they end the episode with Dr. Wells doing something sketchy. A minute later, I’m informed via my Twitter feed and various internet recaps, that the show is inferring to Gorilla Grodd, one of The Flash’s biggest villains in the comics. Well, suddenly it makes sense, or as much sense as it could to a non-comic reader. As for Arrow, there was a part in one of the fight scenes where Oliver puts a boxing glove at the end of his Arrow and then shoots it to punch Ted Grant (aka Wildcat) – I just thought it was a cool thing, turns out its something that’s straight from the comic books!

You know what else – and it’s something I say with complete love? Nerd enthusiasm is contagious. Going through my Twitter feed during the Marvel event and seeing how everybody else was reacting to it, I honestly couldn’t help but get excited with everyone. But it’s not like, my excitement was without merit. I mean, Captain America versus Iron Man? I don’t know the Civil War storyline (well I have an idea now that everyone has talked about it) but that’s a BIG DEAL yo. FINALLY, a POC character headlining a movie? Big deal. FINA-freakin-LY, a female character headlining a movie? HUGE DEAL. But yeah, call it a weird form of mob mentality, but it’s really easy to get caught up in excitement.

There, I confess my love of comic book movies and TV shows, despite not knowing anything about the source material. Who else is in the same boat as me (this is a safe space, so feel free to share)? Which movies (Marvel or DC) coming out in the next 5 years are you looking forward to? And who wants to offer up a starting point for comic book reading? I’m thinking that might be part of my New Year’s resolutions and would love to hear some recommendations.