Westworld

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.

Westworld Season 2 (2016-?)


Westworld Season 2 (2016-?)

Network:

HBO

Starring:

Evan Rachel Wood

Thandie Newton

Jeffry Wright

Ed Harris

James Marsden

Zahn McClarnon

Plot:

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.

Review:

The end of season 1 had Delores, Evan Rachel Wood, going on a killing rampage. Bernard, Jeffry Wright, discovered he was one of the hosts. And Maeve, Thandie Newton, decides fuck it I’m going to find my daughter and not leave. It’s a pretty climactic ending and season 2 seriously does not disappoint.

Delores leads a revolution. She’s angry and she wants humans to pay in blood and she doesn’t care who’s in her way. Her love, Teddy, James Marsden, can’t even stop her, though, he doesn’t really try. When she realizes he’s going to be a possible hindrance she does what her enemy does and changes him. When he realizes it, he can’t keep going. It’s sad. In the end her desire for revenge matters more than anything. She basically becomes her enemy.

Bernard’s story is probably the most confusing. He too is free, basically, and trying to save his people. However, he doesn’t want to destroy the humans like Delores. He wants everyone to live and thrive and be happy. He is very much Delores foil and the end of the season sets that up handily for the next season.

Maeve, my favorite character of the bunch, could easily be brushed off by saying she only cares about herself, but that’s too easy. She cares about others, but she is not currently a big picture player. She wants her family to be happy. One of my favorite parts of the season was when she met Delores and basically called her out and said if you really believe what you’re spouting then you can’t stop me. It was great.

The Man in Black, Ed Harris, gets more background. Through his story there are more revelations about the entire place. He seems to be going crazy, if he isn’t already there. His story is what really confuses things as a whole and makes you wonder what’s going on.

My favorite episode of the season didn’t have anything to do with these characters, though. At least, not really. It was a new character, Akecheta, Zahn McClarnon, a Native American warrior. His story is just so amazing. I loved that episode so much.

What has me most confused and excited about this season was the end credits clip. It basically throws everything into question and I have no idea which way is up. I am so excited and really looking forward to the next season. Westworld has become more than I ever could have imagined.

5/5

Westworld (2016-?)

Westworld (2016-?)

Network:

HBO

Starring:

Anthony Hopkins

Evan Rachel Wood

Jeffery Wright

Ed Harris

Thandie Newton

Plot:

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged without consequence.

Review:

I remember the first time I watched the Westworld movie. I was at my grandmother’s house looking through her boyfriends VHS tapes and I saw one with Westworld written on it. I liked westerns so I figured, sure why not. Holy shit, it was nothing like what I expected and it was awesome.

I think I’ve maybe watched the movie two times, but it has stuck with me and when I found out that HBO was doing a TV show I was excited. The longer it took to come out the more concerned I was, until I just tried to forget about it. However, since we decided to try out HBO I couldn’t not at least watch the first episode, right? So glad I did.

It took me longer than it probably should have to finish the season, but it’s not a show I can watch with my daughter around. It ended up being one of the few shows out there that I didn’t end up using my phone through, I loved it. It wasn’t like anything I expected, but I think I’m alright with that, though I do hope we see more of the other worlds at some point.

Anthony Hopkins character, Ford, always had me guessing whether he was good or bad, still not sure. Deloris, Evan Rachel Wood, was so innocent appearing and watching her realize what was happening to her was entertaining. Maeve, Thandie Newton, was a bit violent and unfeeling for my liking, but considering what she’d been put through it was understandable.

It wouldn’t be an HBO show without gratuitous sex scenes and even though I’m far from a prude I find them difficult to watch. Thankfully, the season wasn’t full of them so I only had about one an episode I had to look away through.

I only saw a couple of the revelations coming at the end and because of that really enjoyed it. I liked that last episode a lot and I can’t wait to see the next season, I’ll probably make sure we have HBO at the time so I can watch as it airs.

4.5/5