2014 Year in Review – Part 3

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me, with Marc Evan Jackson, at the special recording of The Thrilling Adventure Hour
me, with Marc Evan Jackson, at the special recording of The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Note: And here we have it: my 2014 was quite busy, and so my (very delayed) year in review was divided into three parts. Part 1 was a general overview of the year, focusing on work and health and my writing. Part 2 detailed some of the neat things I got to do (which, as mentioned previously, you can also see in my slideshow). This part summarizes some of the things I read, listened to, and watched over the year. 

I watched a lot of television and films in 2014, and didn’t do so much theatre or reading as I have in the past. However, here are some of the highlights and things I recommend:

  • Of course, attending the live shows of both The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale (already mentioned in part 2) was one of the highlights of my in-person events.
  • Sherlock series 3 premiered in January for British audiences, and late January/early February for US audiences. As you can read in my three reviews, I had a mixed reaction to the series as a whole and am currently in a weird limbo of waiting to see where they are going with it (especially with the pictures of #Setlock I’ve been seeing on Tumblr).
  • And speaking of not sure what to think about it, Doctor Who‘s 8th series premiered. While I was eagerly awaiting Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, having fallen in love with him just from his interviews prior to being in it, overall, I was whelmed by the series, and felt it didn’t do much to raise my disinterest in most of series 7. I had hoped Capaldi would be a breath of fresh air, and instead we got a Doctor who was basically how Moffat writes Sherlock, turning Clara into John Watson from time to time.
  • I once again got a chance to see National Theatre Live’s production of Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature. This was my second time seeing it, and I still found it a fascinating take on the tale.
  • The Lego Movie: while yes, much has been said about how this is yet another movie where a woman technically is perfectly capable of being the chosen one, only to train and step aside so a man can do it, I thought it was a brilliantly funny movie that – despite basically being a commercial for Lego products – ended up being all about how important creativity is.
  • The crowdfunded Veronica Mars movie, which I reviewed for SciFi4Me, was in 2014. I enjoyed it, primarily because how it broke the mold for Kickstarter and fan interaction.
  • I got to see Martin Freeman in the Oscar-nominated short “The Voorman Problem” (was good, but could have been great) and Benedict Cumberbatch in the crowdfunded short “Little Favour” (I still want to write up a review of this: I was blown away by it).
  • Speaking of Martin Freeman, the television version of Fargo ran throughout 2014, and while I started watching because of him, it was actually Allison Tolman who stole my heart in the show. I hope to see more of her in the future.
  • Thanks to meeting author John Scalzi at the LA Festival of Books, I finally got around to reading Redshirts. If you love things that break the fourth wall and are extremely meta, and have a fondness for humorous science fiction, you have to check it out.
  • London: not only did I get to see Martin Freeman live in Richard III and Richard Armitage live in The Crucible during what I ended up nicknaming Geek Week, I ended up catching a total of 9 theatrical shows (10, if you count that I went back to see Richard III, and some of which I’ve reviewed), two previews and the actual recording of John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, Neil Gaiman at the Barbican, the mini-con “Doctor Who: Mythmakers” where I got to hear a lot of folk from old Who talk, the Verity Lambert Appreciation event (where I got to see An Adventure in Space and Time on a big screen), a screening of Delicious, and a viewing of the first two episodes of the second series of Utopia (beautifully violent, and made me want to catch up on the show: I hope to write up something eventually).
  • The first movie I caught when I returned to London was Pride, which was hilarious as it was basically a flashback for me. Read my review and then go watch it if you haven’t.
  • The We Cause Scenes documentary about Improv Everywhere is an interesting take on the origins of this great group of people who are committed to making life a little more fun. (Would make a good partner with I Know That Voice and Stripped, both excellent documentaries about the voice over industry and the world of comic strips respectively.)
  • The first time I caught Guardians of the Galaxy in September, I thought it was okay, but not great. Maybe my expectations were too high, expecting a much more Firefly-esque take on the superhero genre, but when I caught it a second time, I actually ended up liking it a lot more.
  • I started watching Gotham, and am still finding highly enjoyable, if for Sean Pertwee’s Alfred than for anything else.
  • I got to join a friend for the opening night of Jersey Boys at the Pantages, which included a special appearance after curtain call by the real Frankie Valli. I found the show much more adult-oriented than I expected, and highly enjoyable as a result.
  • USC had a special screening of Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem: I’ve been a long-time fan of Gilliam, ever since someone suggested Time Bandits and said it was the guy from Monty Python. As most of his work, it’s a movie that makes you think.
  • I read The Girl Who Never Was, and highly recommended it in my review.
  • I caught The Imitation Game when it opened at the end of November, but had really bad seats, so it was hard to judge. Having just seen it again from a better vantage point, I have to say it is a captivating take on Turing’s life. I can’t remember when I first heard of Turing, but I’ve been intrigued by him for a while now. I was excited that there was going to be a movie in the first place: the addition of Cumberbatch playing Turing was just icing on the proverbial cake.
  • I attended my first performance of a group at the Upright Citizens Brigade, and was not impressed. I told one of the groups from Kansas City that they had nothing to worry about, as they were immensely better than that group. (Addendum: when I caught another group at UCB in January, it was much better.)
  • The final Hobbit film, Battle of the Five Armies, came out in December, and I’m still trying to decide what I thought of it. I didn’t hate it, by any means, but do think it was the weakest of the three films.
  • Martin Freeman hosted Saturday Night Live in December. I watched, and was reminded why I don’t watch that show anymore.
  • My love of podcasts continues, and I started listening to Wits thanks to a crossover to The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and a few LA-specific podcasts.
  • Finally, other audio adventures includes the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Good Omens (a fairly decent one, with cameos by writers Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett), and the last two episodes of Cabin Pressure (which did NOT make me cry as bad as I thought I would: if you like British comedy, you have to check this series out). And, of course, finally listened to all prior series of John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme in preparation of the two ‘tryouts’/actual recording I attended for series 4. (As with most British comedy, it’s smartly funny and clever.)

2015 has started with the continuation of the roller coaster, as I’m still trying to find a job. But I don’t regret making the move out here to Los Angeles, and I continue looking for adventures, wherever they may be.