It’s that time of year again.
Not really. But it is still far enough out that any of these ideas can make it under your tree before that time of year comes around.
I can’t decide whether 2015 has been a good or bad year for content. In film’s case, I think it has been fairly forgettable insofar as tentpole films are concerned. (Yes, I’m aware we’re days away from a new Star Wars.) But actually I think I rather like that. It has been one of those years for me, so I haven’t seen as much cinema as I’d like. A lot of these happened because there were last minute tickets going on the day at work. It was all highly unplanned, which means the list skews more indy than most. I will say I’m disappointed no Australian films made it onto the list, purely for nostalgic reasons.
TV has been pretty good. Books have been mixed, but much of that has been my own fault, as I’ve been reading for research rather than pleasure.
A reminder of the rules:
- In all cases, the media in question has to have been released in 2015 in the UK and has to be new in 2015. (Which is a pity because South Park has been astonishing.)
- This list is based on the precision science of my personal opinion of the randomly consumed media of the previous 12 months.
- The ordering may change based on shortlists of TV shows and films I have yet to watch but come highly recommended, spelled out below.
- The lists are in no particular order until the final two.
The Best Films of 2015
Hard to be a God
Love and Mercy
A Girl Walks Home Alone and Night
Maps to the Stars
While We’re Young
Mistress America (runner up)
This was really a foregone conclusion. I saw this in the cinema as a work event. No dry eyes in the house. A wonderful story of music and artistry and humanness.
Not Yet Seen
Obviously I haven’t seen Star Wars yet, either. But it will likely get its own post. Plus it’s not like y’all aren’t going to see it eventually.
The Best TV of 2015
TV actually had a pretty good year. The Netflix/Amazon Prime effects are coming into their own. Speaking of… Yes, I’m aware Man in the High Castle isn’t on this list. Didn’t love it. You should probably watch it though.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This almost could’ve won. But too many Actual Worthy Shows came out this year. Nevertheless I laughed till I cried, threw up in my mouth and my flatmate came downstairs because he thought I was seriously injured.
The Last Kingdom
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Bloodline (runner up)
I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this show. It’s wonderful. It’s like some kind of operatic, Shakespearian thing set in the Florida Keys. Do yourselves various favours and watch it.
Wolf Hall (winner)
I don’t think I have seen anything so masterfully played as this. Yes, Mark Rylance is probably Britain’s best actor working today, but this is… I have to say masterful again. I was astonished. You will be astonished. Nothing about this is any less than flawless. Nothing.
Not Yet Seen
The Best Books of 2015
Didn’t get through a vast amount of new fiction this year on account of a backlog of books purchased but not yet read. Also, it turns out writing two books of your own really throws a spanner in the ‘reading for pleasure’ works.
I’m going to split out a few as subcategories here, as it is inevitably a broader church than film or TV.
The Watchers (fiction winner)
Not exactly a long list, to be fair.
A shamefully short list.
Night Sun Tarot (tarot, obviously)
By Steppe, Desert and Ocean
The Cambridge Book of Magic
The Book of Oberon
Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin
Techniques of Solomonic Magic
Death on Mars
Manual of Psychomagic
Lucifer: Princeps (runner up)
Would be the winner if the following book were not mandatory for you to press into the hands of everyone you know this Christmas, magician or not.
The Internet is Not The Answer (winner)
To the shopping list! Go!