TV Show Reviews

Dynamite Review Best of 2018

Each year I try to make a list of all my favorites for the year. Most years I don’t see or read or play much that came out in the actual year, but for once I was able to make lists of stuff that exclusively came out in 2018.

Black Panther

Movies
I feel like I should place a warning here before anyone can read my list. It is going to be heavy on the Superhero films. I watched Hidden Figures and Girls Trip for the first time in 2018 and loved them, but because they didn’t come out in 2018 I decided not to include them. So I apologize for the following boring list of movies.
1. Black Panther
Holy shit I still love this movie. I watched it recently, wondering if it would hold up from my original viewing and it did. If anything I like it more than I did the first time around.
2. Deadpool 2
I really need to re-watch this. I was finally able to get ahold of the unrated cut and I haven’t yet watched it. Still, the first viewing was incredibly memorable and I’m looking forward to seeing what was added. Also, they fucking made a PG-13 version with a tie in to my favorite movie, The Princess Bride!
3. BlacKkKlansman
This movie stands out like a sore thumb on my list, but I can’t help it. It was a great movie and hit me right in the soul.
4. Ant-Man and the Wasp
I loved the Wasp, she was such a badass.
5. Avengers: Infinity War
I’m still not sure about this movie. It was great, hit all the right notes, and got me super excited for the 2019 Marvel movies, but my final opinion of it is not going to be settled until those come out.

Honorable Mentions
Incredible 2
Oceans 8
The Hurricane Heist

Magic Triumphs

Books
The wonderful Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is not on the list since it didn’t come out in 20118, but it is definitely one I loved reading. Sadly, this will also be the first time I’m not including a Patricia Briggs book on my list, Burn Bright just did not cut it for me. I debated whether or not I should add Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews to my list since it’s a novella, but ultimately decided I liked having a nice round number for my total.
Like my movie list, my book list is kind of heavy on one side, namely Ilona Andrews’s book. Often in the past I’ve just listed them as one entry, but I did not read much this year, and my list would be bare without them.
So without further ado, my best of 2018 books!
1. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) By: Ilona Andrews
This was THE climactic conclusion of possibly my favorite series. It was well worth the wait.
2. A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) By: Alyssa Cole
This was my favorite find of the year. I freaking LOVED this book and I’m so excited for the books to come.
3. Ocean Light (Psy-Changling Trinity #2) By: Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh is such a great author and I was so happy to finally have a human love interest in this series. It was all so sweet.
4. Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacies #3.5) By: Ilona Andrews
This may have been a novella but it packed a lot into the limited pages. I’m beyond exited for the books coming up and looking forward to seeing more of Catalina.
5. Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) By: Ilona Andrews
Before I read this I was not excited that Hugh was getting his own series, but I have now been converted. I never should have doubted Ilona Andrews.

murphy-brown-season-11-cast-photo

TV Shows
I watch a LOT of TV. I also, rarely write reviews for what I watch. I try to do season recaps after I binge, and I succeed at that about fifty percent of the time. I do better reviewing pilot episodes.
Like everything else, I’m going to limit myself to seasons that aired in 2018, which means that one of my favorites, Dramaworld, won’t be on the list. I’ll also try and include shows that I wrote reviews for, but sadly I haven’t gotten around to writing a review for The Good Place and I have to include it on my list.
So here we go!
1. Murphy Brown
You have no idea how much I love this series. I honestly had no idea how much I loved it until it came back and I actually set my little rabbit ears up and watched it live. I know the likelihood that I’ll actually get another season is slim to none, but I can’t stop myself from hoping for more.
2. The Good Place
Holy shit this show does not fail to deliver. Every episode I have no idea what the fuck is going to happen and it does not disappoint. It’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever watched.
3. Westworld
Just when I think I’ve got a handle on what’s going on I’m thrown for a loop. Then they have an episode that shows an entirely new side of the hosts and I learn even more. It’s an interesting and beautiful show.
4. Jane the Virgin
Apparently, I love twists. That’s what my list is teaching me this year. Jane the Virgin gave me the biggest twist of the year with the season finale and I’m still on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next.
5. 12 Monkeys
The final season wrapped up a complicated story very well. It gave me closure and had me guessing right up until the very end. It was a fitting conclusion to a great time travel sci-fi TV show.

Honorable Mentions

Timeless

Doctor Who
Anne with an E
Sense 8

20180924183849_1
Games
I love playing games, but it is one of my hobbies that ends up getting pushed aside for other things, so I don’t play as much as I would like. I also, don’t review many games, but here’s a list of my 2018 favorites.
1. No Man’s Sky: Next (PC)
I’ve enjoyed No Man’s Sky since the beginning, but the Next expansion brought me back to the game. The added content was amazing, and was quickly followed by more expansive updates. I spent well over 100 hours playing it this year and had so much fun doing it.
2. Smash Bros Ultimate (Switch)
Smash Bros Ultimate just came out and I haven’t had much time to play it. I’ve definitely not beaten the “story mode” yet, but I’m having a blast. I haven’t liked a Smash game since the original on N64 and I’m so excited to finally be enjoying the franchise again. There is so much content that it’s going to take some time before I’m able to finish it, if I’m able too.
3. Splatoon 2: Octoling Expansion (Switch)
It honestly feels like this came out forever ago. I downloaded it day one and somehow ended up beating it. The Octoling Expansion felt like the story we should have gotten with Splatoon 2 originally. It was fun and creative, several times infuriating, and just an all-around pleasure to play.
4. Civilization VI (Switch)
I love the Civilization franchise. I’ve been asking for it to come back to consoles ever since I moved away from playing on the XBOX 360 and I finally got my wish this year. I’ve only had it for about a month, but I’ve already spent over 60 hours playing. It’s so easy to say just one more turn and since I can play in bed, instead of at the PC, I’m playing it more than ever. It doesn’t have as much as the PC version, but so far I’ve been incredible happy with all that’s been included and with how it runs. I tend toward the Standard map, so I’m not sure how well it goes on larger maps, though.
5. Overcooked 2 (Switch)
My husband and I beat the original Overcooked together and for Christmas we started the sequel. Overcooked 2 is everything that I love about the first, but with polish. It looks nicer, the mechanics are better, and it still has all the fun and frustration of the first. It’s been a great game to coop with my husband and we’ve both been enjoying it.

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A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy

A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy

A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy

Network:

NBC

Starring:

Chrissy Teigen

John Legend

Plot:

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen get into the holiday spirit with family and friends, including Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Raphael Saadiq, Meghan Trainor, Awkwafina, Neal Brennan, Kim Kardashian West, Zach Galifianakis and many, many more.

Review:

Chrissy Teigen is smart, funny, and beautiful; and I’ve recently started spending more time on Twitter where she is queen. Since I don’t have cable I wasn’t sure if I would be able to watch her holiday special with her husband, John Legend, but I was excited to see it uploaded to Hulu.

So much fun! Of course, there was amazing holiday music, but it was also super funny. The mac and cheese focus group had me screaming with laughter. Loved it!

Christmas music, laughter, family, and celebrity cameos, what more could you want from a holiday special? Highly recommend and I hope, maybe, it becomes a yearly tradition for them and all of us.

5/5

Maniac (2018-?)

Maniac

Maniac (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Creators:

Cary Joji Fukunaga

Patrick Somerville

Starring:

Jonah Hill

Emma Stone

Sonoya Mizuno

Sally Field

Plot:

Two strangers are drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical trial that will, they’re assured, with no complications or side-effects whatsoever, solve all of their problems, permanently. Things do not go as planned.

Review:

This started out super weird and I wasn’t sure what was real or not. The world was not our own, they had tech we don’t, but it wasn’t magical. It was very odd. As the show progressed I no longer had that issue, even though, they were reality hopping. Things were still weird, but I knew what was happening.

I never warmed up to Jonah Hill’s character. He seemed very devoid of emotion and I had a hard time caring about him at all. Emma Stone, on the other hand, I loved. She wasn’t a very likable character, but I got her emotion and I enjoyed watching her.

I hesitate to say the show was entertaining. I don’t think I enjoyed hardly any of it, but it wasn’t bad. It just ended up not being my cup of tea.

3/5

The Rookie (2018-?)

The Rookie

The Rookie (2018-?)

Network:

ABC

Creator:

Alexi Hawley

Starring:

Nathan Fillion

Titus Makin Jr.

Alyssa Diaz

Melissa O’Neil

Plot:

The series follows John Nolan, a forty-year-old man, who moves from his comfortable, small town life to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He must navigate the dangerous, humorous and unpredictable world of a “young” cop, determined to make his second shot at life count.

Review:

I liked Nathan Fillion in Firefly and Castle so I figured I’d give this a shot. He plays a forty year old rookie cop that’s recently divorced and looking to find himself. He is of course wonderful at talking to people because apparently working as a construction worker gives you all kinds of people skills and the ability to read people like a shrink. He is also hooking up with the hot rookie, Melissa O’Neil, that trained with him.

The first episode was pretty cliché. It wasn’t as fun as Castle, but it wasn’t as serious as some other cop shows. It wasn’t as over the top as Hawaii Five 0 or closer to real life like a Law and Order show. It was very middle of the road, in all aspects.

Acting was good. People were attractive but not CW level of ridiculous. It was a cop show with Nathan Fillion. Not sure if I need to watch, though. I might give it one more episode, we’ll see.

3/5

Charmed (2018-?)

Charmed

Charmed (2018-?)

Network:

CW

Starring:

Melonie Diaz

Madeleine Mantock

Sarah Jeffrey

Rupert Evans

Plot:

Follows the lives of three sisters who, after the tragic death of their mother, discover they are powerful witches.

Review:

This show had a lot working against it and just a little for it. I loved the original series. Shows about witches were banned in my house so I used to watch it on mute, with another show on the ready to switch to in case I heard my parents coming. I used to watch it every year, though, it’s been a couple years since I did that. I loved Charmed.

The reboot got a lot of bad press from fans when it was first announced. It didn’t have the original cast on board and in some instances it almost seemed like it was bashing the original series. There’s a lot wrong with the original series, but it is still an amazing show, so I didn’t like any of that.

What it did have going for it, though, was that some of the writers from Jane the Virgin were working on it. I love JtV, it’s a great series, and ultimately, I want more shows that star women in a Supernatural setting.

I’m looking at you Wayward Sisters.

The first episode aired Sunday. I only watch Murphy Brown live, so I waited and watched it on the app late Monday night. It was…not as bad as I was expecting.

The bad. I hated the magic effects. Like HATED. Where were my swirling white and blue lights for the whitelighter? Wtf!! I really didn’t like their whitelighter, Rupert Evans, period and I’m hoping that he’s not permanent. Leo, Brian Krause, was a handy man, sweet, smart, but rarely condescending. The whitelighter in this series comes off as patronizing too often. Maybe it’s his accent, I don’t know, but there is no romance there either.

The girls all seemed really young, though, the actresses are all age appropriate for where they are, I’m probably just getting old. Based on the trailer I thought they were in highschool, but they are in college. I thought they had good chemistry by the end of the episode, there was definitely potential there, and I loved that the cast was racially diverse. LOVED. I also really LOVED the feminist message. It was heavy handed and I don’t care.

The old house is being used, though, the interior is changed. Obviously, some of the old terms, I thought their Book of Shadows seemed very lacking, though.

All in all, the episode was much better than I anticipated, it has potential, but there are some things I’m hoping get better.

3.5/5