Favorite Media of 2015

It’s my annual tradition in December to write up a list of my favorite media that I consumed throughout the year, that was released that year (here’s my 2014 edition). This is a HIGHLY subjective list, and is made up of stuff that I liked the most out of the stuff I got to experience. As the title says, it’s not a “best of” list, it’s the stuff that tickled me the most, that excited me the most, that gave me joy, so basically, the stuff that rocked my world this year. Each category is made up of a top 5 that I list alphabetically, and then I include honorable mentions, to round things out. I do this every year as an exercise to reflect on the things that I took in throughout the year (which I try to log regularly here), and by sharing it, it can act as a recommendation sheet of things I’d tell anyone that they should check out.

Also, I do often update the list up until January, as I’ll often have forgotten to include something, or to add stuff that I’ll be experiencing over the coming weeks.

Favorite Games
I usually have a separate category for mobile games, but I found that over the past year I’ve rarely been playing games that way. It’s not to say that there aren’t some great games that came out on mobile (like Lara Croft GO, which I’ve included below), but I didn’t end up playing enough of them to warrant a separate list.

  • Destiny: The Taken King (PS4)
  • Mario Kart 8 (DLC Pack 2) (Wii U)
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)
  • Splatoon (Wii U)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

Honorable Mentions: Broken Age (Mac), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4), Galak-Z: The Dimensional (PS4), Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4/Vita), Her Story (Mac), Journey (PS4), Lara Croft GO (iOS), N++ (PS4), Super Mario Maker (Wii U), The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS), Undertale (Mac)

Favorite TV
As I continue to move away from watching things on a weekly basis (with a few exceptions), instead preferring to wait for a full season to be done, you’ll probably find my choices to be light on things that launched in the fall.

  • Game of Thrones
  • Mad Men
  • Master of None
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Honorable MentionsAsh vs. Evil Dead,
Better Call Saul, Louie, Marvel’s Daredevil, Saturday Night Live, Sense8, Shameless, Star Wars Rebels, The Comeback Kid (John Mulaney stand-up special)

Favorite Movies
Let’s face it, there’s a very good chance that The Force Awakens will join this list. Or maybe it won’t. (Edit: It has.) Also, I’m noticing that I didn’t watch a lot of new movies this year (I watched a lot of movies, but not really stuff that was released this year). And I keep wanting to watch Ex Machina, which I think I’ll really like. (Edit: I did.)

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • SPECTRE
  • The Assassin
  • The Force Awakens

Honorable Mentions: Chappie, Hotel Transylvania 2, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Martian, Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Favorite Music
I had a really hard time coming up with a favorite 5 in this category – my only clear favorite albums this year were California Nights and Ibeyi. I did love a ton of great records this year though, and I could easily have added more to my “Honorable Mentions” list, but tried to keep it relatively short.

  • California Nights (Best Coast)
  • Ego Death (The Internet)
  • Ibeyi (Ibeyi)
  • I Want to Grow Up (Colleen Green)
  • No Cities to Love (Sleater-Kinney)

Honorable Mentions: Acorn Man (Wild Billy Childish & CTMF), Art Angels (Grimes), Before the World Was Big (Girlpool), Brace the Wave (Lou Barlow), Currents (Tame Impala), Depression Cherry (Beach House), Eurydice (Moonsocket), Every Open Eye (Chvrches), In Color (Jamie XX), Magnifique (Ratatat), Slowtown Now! (Holly Golightly), Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Courtney Barnett), Teens of Style (Car Seat Headrest), Thank Your Lucky Stars (Beach House), Time to Go Home (Chastity Belt), V (Wavves)

Favorite Comics
As I say every year, I tend to read serialized stuff throughout the year, and then catch up on great graphics novels at the end of the year and beyond (for example, I haven’t read Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying yet, which I’m sure I’ll love), but here’s what I can say are most of my favorite things I was reading this year.

  • Billy Bat
  • Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels
  • Inuyashiki
  • Southern Bastards
  • The Multiversity

Honorable Mentions: Avengers/New Avengers (written by Jonathan Hickman), Doctor StrangeHead Lopper, James BondStar Wars comics (Star Wars, Darth Vader, Lando, Kanan), Stray Bullets: Sunshine and RosesSunny, The Goddamned, The Legacy of Luther Strode, VisionZero

Favorite Media of 2014

In what has become an annual tradition – I’ve done it for the past 4 years, although those posts are now all lost to the ether due to my big server shutdown of 2014 – I like to end the year with a big post that goes through my favorite media of the year. This is a HIGHLY subjective list, it’s a list of the stuff that I really liked from the stuff that I experienced – and I of course do not experience everything that comes out. I do it more as an exercise for myself, as I enjoy looking back at what I took in throughout the year, and to have a think at what brought me the most joy. The way I do it is that I narrow it down to a top 5 – that I list in alphabetical order – and then I add in a few honorable mentions. I usually forget to include some things, and so I sometimes go in and update this post if something I really liked comes to mind.

Favorite Games (Consoles)
I try to keep these lists filled with media that came out in 2014, and for games it’s always a tough one since I tend to buy a lot of stuff when it goes on sale, which means in the early part of the year I played a lot of stuff that actually came out in 2013 (and I still do). One of my favorite gaming experiences of the year was playing Wind Waker HD, and Super Mario 3D World was a close second (I got my Wii U in January). For each game, I indicate the platform I played it on.

  • Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
  • Broken Age (Mac)
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)
  • Fantasy Life (3DS)
  • Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Honorable Mentions: Azure Striker Gunvolt (3DS), Banner Saga (Mac), Costume Quest 2 (PS4), Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4), Hyrule Warriors (Wii U), Luftrausers (Vita), Pushmo World (Wii U), Rayman Legends (Vita), Rogue Legacy (Vita), Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (3DS), Shovel Knight (Wii U), Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within (PS4), Stick It to the Man (PS4), Super Smash Bros. (Wii U/3DS), Super Time Force (360), TowerFall Ascension (PS4), Transistor (PS4), TxK (Vita)

Favorite Games (Mobile)
Over the years, I sometimes have a separate category for mobile games (that I pretty much all play on iPad, as I’m not really a big iPhone gamer) and sometimes I don’t (like last year), but this year I felt there was a lot to highlight. Sure, some of these are multi-platform, but this is how I experienced them.

  • Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series
  • Monument Valley
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • The Sailor’s Dream
  • The Wolf Among Us

Honorable Mentions: 80 Days, Deep Under the Sky, FTL: Faster Than Light, Hearthstone, Hitman GO, Joe Danger Infinity, Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf, Out There, Papers, Please, République, Star Wars: Commander, Threes

Favorite TV
This year I started binging more and more on seasons instead of watching stuff weekly, and there are still series that are on my watch list (like Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, and a few more). I’d also like to highlight Amnesia Fortnight 2014, a documentary video series that followed Double Fine Productions’ 2-week game jam, that aired on YouTube.

  • Arrow
  • Game of Thrones
  • Mad Men
  • Monday Night War
  • True Detective

Honorable Mentions: Black MirrorConstantine, Gotham, Halt and Catch Fire, House of Cards, Louie, Orange Is the New Black, Over the Garden Wall, Rick and Morty, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, Shameless, Star Wars: Rebels, The Flash, The Walking Dead, Top Gear

Favorite Movies
This is a tough one too in terms of really covering the year, since being in Japan, I don’t really get to see a lot of the stuff that comes out in the latter part of the year until the following year. So keeping that in mind, here’s what I most enjoyed this year. Also, I can honestly say that Jodorowsky’s Dune was my absolute favorite film of the year. I’m also noticing that I slowed down in my movie watching this past year, and there’s still a lot I’m looking forward to watching.

  • Automata
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Enemy
  • Jodorowsky’s Dune
  • The Zero Theorem

Honorable Mentions: Appleseed Alpha, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, SnowpiercerThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Favorite Music
In past year I would have a separate category for tracks and albums, but since I stopped doing my Codex podcast, I don’t really keep track of the songs that really stand out for me, as I tend to listen to albums as a whole. Also, I don’t include these because they are made up of old material, but some of my favorite releases this past year also includes The Pixies’ Doolittle 25: B-sides, Peel Sessions, and Demos (with the “Demo 1” version of “Wave of Mutilation” being a particular standout) and Fugazi’s First Demos.

  • Intro Bonito (Kero Kero Bonito)
  • Michael (Les Sins)
  • Our Love (Caribou)
  • Pom Pom (Ariel Pink)
  • St. Vincent (St. Vincent)

Honorable Mentions: Atlas (Real Estate), Brill Bruisers (The New Pornographers), Here and Nowhere Else (Cloud Nothings), It’s Album Time (Todd Terje), Lese Majesty (Shabazz Palaces), LP1 (FKA Twigs), Morning Phase (Beck), Nikki Nack (Tune-Yards), Rips (Ex Hex), Sylvan Esso (Sylvan Esso), Syro (Aphex Twin), You’re Dead (Flying Lotus)

Favorite Comics
Even though I read a ton of comics throughout the year, I always very much look forward to all of the year-end “best of” lists that come out, as I constantly find tons of stuff I missed that I want to read, especially when it comes to graphics novels.

  • Black Science
  • Deadly Class
  • Harley Quinn
  • Alex + Ada
  • The Multiversity

Honorable Mentions: Andre the Giant: The Life and the Legend, Avengers/New Avengers, Futures End, Gotham Academy, Hawkeye, Injustice: Gods Among UsJustice League 3000, Low, Moon Knight (1-6), Seconds, Sex Criminals, Stray Bullets: Killers, Supreme: Blue Rose, The Fade Out, Velvet, Zero

Favorite Podcasts
This is the first time I include a list of favorite podcasts, and I figure it’s about time since listening to these is something I spend so much time on.

  • 8-4 PLAY
  • CAGcast
  • Canadaland
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • Serial

Honorable Mentions: All Songs Considered, DLC, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews, WTF with Marc Maron