This year I travelled quite a bit—almost 90 hours in the air. When I fly I always have my Kindle, but I usually find myself binge-watching a tv show, and keep my Plex loaded on my iPad with things to see. I watch shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime as well, but the local storage and caching isn’t always dependable for planes, and nothing is more disappointing than getting on a plane and finding out that your shows won’t play. These shows are a mix of joyful, and melancholy, and I loved each one.
Sad spies. This isn’t a very well-named show, as many folks have covered. Reviewing this show feels a little redundant because so many folks have talked about it in my sphere of tech news, but it’s amazing. If you like whimsy, and dark comedy, this is a splendid blend of both.
Terrace House: Boys and Girls Next Door
This show is the one that started it all. I loved Boys and Girls in the City, and the bonkers Aloha State, and this year meant the end of the fan-subbing of the original show. There was a movie at the end of this series called Closing Doors that made me cry quite a bit as well. From the introduction of Seina, to the tireless Tecchan, and some of the weirdest folks ever on Terrace House, this season is spectacular. It’s a gentle show, that shows what randomly living with 5 strangers is like when the drama is low.
Another spy show, this time set in Berlin. I don’t want to spoil much, but it’s a show about parallel universes, memory, and growth. I love the vibe of this show, and the way they play with modern and old technology. In some ways this reminds me of Fringe, but with a more serious tone. Well-worth a watch, if you can find it—it plays on Starz.
This year I watched all of Veep, and in a time of political turmoil, when everything feels farcical, this show was perfect. Dreyfus leads a cast of masterful comedians, and the stories felt timely and fresh. I can’t wait for the next season. Everyone is so accidentally clever, idiotic, or hilarious.
Lesbian tension + spies & international assassin ladies. It’s perfect.
Another dark comedy that I initially dismissed. Zach Galafanikis plays two brothers and Louie Anderson plays a perfect suburban mom with so much heart. I never quite knew what to expect from this show, and it took me from uproarious laughter to tears in a single episode.
Another show I initially thought was not my thing, but got sucked deep into. This show, similar to Veep, felt like a great way to satirize and use current events to tell a wild story of a determined state prosecutor and his battle against a hedge fund manager. I’ve loved Damian Lewis since his turn as a marine-to-terrorist in Homeland, and he is outstanding in this.
10 comedians. One room. A ticking clock. The last one standing wins their own $1000 and everyone else’s too. The level of goofy, absurd, and scatological comedy is off the charts, and I learned of a ton of weird comedians through this. This is a Japanese show, and I hope that it continues to be translated by Amazon, because there are 4 more season in Japan than the two we have so far.
Girl’s Last Tour
Post-apocalyptic queer anime girls. A friend told me the writer of this show wanted to illustrate how it felt to be queer in Japan. I’m not sure how true that is, but it’s a great show about friendship, and exploration.
A Place Further Than the Universe
Beautiful and sad. This is a show about a woman’s journey to the South Pole to visit the site of her mom’s death, and the friends she makes along the way. It’s gorgeous.
A show about family and time-stopping dimensional shifting. Out of the shows this season, this was one that I was excited to go back to each week. My friend Ren got me into watching anime again this year while in Portland, and it was lovely to get together with her every week with fried chicken wings and anime time.