In this very late ‘Favourites’, I will be writing about many different favourites of 2017. This includes TV/anime; film; YouTube; and games that have been released this year, both ones I’ve watched other people play, or played myself.
Although I don’t personally play video games on consoles, I do enjoy watching gamers on YouTube, and two games I found myself falling in love with in 2017 were What Remains of Edith Finch and Night in the Woods.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a first person adventure game, following the only surviving member of the Finch family, Edith Finch Jr., as she returns to her childhood home and writes a memoir about her family and their ‘curse’: that every member of the family, going back five generations, has died an untimely death, with only one member of each generation surviving long enough to have children of their own. Edith Finch is, to put it lightly, amazing. It’s beautiful, yet heartbreaking, focusing on character in a way that makes even the house seem like a character itself, teeming with a past that demands to be uncovered. The visuals are stunning, and there’s a sort of otherworldly nature to the game that actually made me quite nervous to start off with, but eventually just becomes very sad. I would recommend this for fans of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and more character driven and ethereal stories, like The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. If, like me, you don’t enjoy playing games that much, I would recommend watching Cryaotic’s playthrough.
Night in the Woods is another quite emotional, yet funny, video game. The game follows Mae, an anthropomorphic cat, who returns to her home town after dropping out of college. Although I haven’t finished this one yet, it’s already sucked me in. There’s a spontaneity to the humour and the events, while it also feels as if everything is unfolding naturally, just not in the way Mae wants it to.
Things are revealed gradually, or all at once; it’s emotional and difficult to play at times, focusing heavily on death and mental illness, and it’s quite obvious that Mae is struggling. Yet there’s a genuine sense of love and trust between Mae and her parents, and she’s building up broken friendships with her old bandmates. The art for the game is great, and I love the gameplay- it’s a lot of walking about and discovering things up to the point I’m at, with a lot of character development, which is one of the things my favourite games tend to have in common. I would recommend Cryaotic’s playthrough again, where he’s joined by Angel in doing voices for the characters!
I feel like 2017 was the year I both rediscovered my love for booktubers I’ve been watching for years, and found brand new booktubers to love. 2017 was a difficult year for me in terms of changing reading tastes and wanting to branch out into consuming content that would be beneficial for my creative writing, both in and outside of University, and I found these booktubers were the most helpful in helping with that. I really recommend you check out their channels!
Jean from bookishthoughts– I love Jean. I started watching her videos way back when she first started uploading, sort of lost her for a few years, only to find her again around a year and a half/two years ago. Her university videos were very helpful in the months approaching University, and I love listening to her talk about books, politics, her degree- honestly, I feel like I wouldn’t be as into politics and feminism as I am if it wasn’t for her.
Simon from Savidgereads– I started watching Simon’s videos in September, after randomly coming across one of his Book Unboxing videos, and within a week I’d watched nearly all of his videos. Whenever he uploads something new, I watch it within 2 days of its release. I love listening to him talk about books, and all of his vlogs are guaranteed to have at least one appearance from his cats.
Abby from booksandwhimsicals– Abby’s upload schedule is a bit more sporadic than the other two, but I still love her and her videos. I found Abby through her poetry collection video when I was beginning to sit down and write my own poetry seriously, and that video really pushed me to start experimenting with what poetry I was reading and how I was writing it as a result. I love the videos she uploads with her girlfriend, and she comes across as being very down to Earth and real about her tastes in books, something I respect as my own taste has changed so much over the years.
Let’s start off with the anime for this one.
Haikyuu!! is probably one of the most popular sports anime there are, following rivals-turned-teammates Hinata and Kageyama (as well as their own team at Karasuno) as they learn to play together and make their way up in the ranks of volleyball, beating their rivals- and understanding how to cope with losses- as they go. I’m not finished with season 1 yet, so I have ways to go, but I love this anime. It’s so dramatic and cheesy, but I still cry when I watch it regardless. You actually see them struggling under the pressure of being ‘the best’ and working their asses off, which I found quite inspirational. There are also a lot of great friendships and rivalries alike, and the humour in this series is great.
The second anime that I got reaaaally into (as well as the manga) is My Hero Academia. The main character is Izuku, or ‘Deku’, a quirkless (a quirk is basically a superhero trait) boy who wants to apply to UA, an academy where students learn and train to be heroes, inspired by his hero All Might. I won’t spoil anything, but oh my god, this is so good. Deku is adorable and driven, and genuinely one of the nicest characters to ever exist. He’s selfless and passionate, nice to everyone that doesn’t treat him like shit, and cares so much about his friends, classmates, mentors, people in trouble- he’s just really lovely. The friendships are all brilliant, too, and the way darker material is handled (these are kids having to protect themselves against actual villains who want them dead) broke my heart. BNHA is a great place to start with manga and anime alike, I think, and I wholeheartedly recommend both forms!
For live action TV, I have three shows that I really invested myself in during 2017. One of those was Dear White People, a Netflix original series based off of the 2014 movie of the same name, that follows a group of black students at a predominantly white University in America as each of them confront injustice in modern America. Each episode focuses on a different character, except for the finale. Although it is difficult to watch at times, it has moments of humour and was a show that had a strong impact on me personally, and was incredibly well acted. There were some things I didn’t like, though- for one, a character is sleeping with a bisexual woman who is engaged to another woman, which reinforces the whole ‘cheating bisexual’ trope that I’m just tired of seeing on TV by this point. However I still enjoyed the series overall.
Another show I enjoyed in 2017 was The Get Down, another Netflix original series that was, unfortunately, cancelled after only an 11 episodes long first season. Yeah, I’m still angry. Set in the late 1970s, we follow a group of teenagers living in the South Bronx part of New York, as each of them try and mark their place in the world through music. I’ll be honest, Jaden Smith was my favourite part of this show (just like how Lionel was my favourite in Dear White People), although I do think it’s a very emotive and empowering series by itself. Dizzee’s character just resonated with me the most, and I think this series was brilliant for showing off so many new, talented actors and actresses within the industry that deserve to have their voices heard. The music is brilliant, and Baz Luhrmann just has such a unique style that I loved seeing in a TV show.
The last of my new discoveries in 2017 was One Day at a Time, a sitcom-esque Netflix show following a Cuban-American family, that now also has a second season! Like the previous two, this show is also very hardhitting- there’s a lot of conversation about PTSD and medication for mental illness; sexuality and gender identity; sexism and religion; and many other themes, going into racism a lot more in the second season. I absolutely love the entire Alvarez family, and I don’t think I’ve cried harder at a sitcom than in the finale at Elena’s quinces. Unsurprisingly, Elena is my favourite, and like with Dizzee and Lionel, the development of her sexuality and identity is something I understood and could relate to. Highly recommend all three of these shows!
Ah, yes. FILMS. My 2017 film watching consisted of rewatching a lot of feel-good films, and watching a lot of films that have little to nothing in common with each other. I have a very eclectic taste in most things, and my film taste is no different, so the movies coming up are very… different, shall we say?
The first two films I’m going to talk about are a short animated film, and a longer animated film. The short film I loved was In A Heartbeat, which can be found on YouTube. Short and sweet, this follows a young boy whose heart literally leaps out of his chest and begins to follow the boy he has a crush on. I cried watching this (my general consensus for giving anything a 5 star rating is ‘did it make me cry? if yes, give it a 5’), which is very impressive considering it’s only four minutes long. And the longer animated film that I loved was the Angry Birds Movie. I watched it with my dad, and I absolutely loved it. It’s so funny and easy going, and there was never really a moment of extreme threat, unlike a lot of other animated films. I had such a great time watching it, and even though I know it’s not for everyone, I don’t think anyone should just write this one off just because it’s a game adaptation.
If you’ve read my favourite books of 2017, you’ll know that I’m very into DC and Marvel and, in general, comic book adaptations. So the standout comic book film for me last year was Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Oh, boy. This film cut me deep. It really stood up to the hype I had created for myself after loving the first one so much, which I honestly think Marvel is quite good at- I recently watched Thor: Ragnarok, and rewatched Iron Man 3, and I genuinely think they are both two of my favourite films now. Guardians 2 has all the elements of the first one that I loved- the music, the amazing team bond, the humour that made me crack up constantly. The directing is great, and I cried quite a bit watching this.
Another film I loved this year, that I think is an oldie but a goodie, is Practical Magic, which follows two sisters- played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman- from a family of witches, who must stop a spirit threatening both them, and their family’s, lives. Despite how serious the plot sounds, this is a lovely film about being a sister and learning how to love after loss. It’s also incredibly funny, and I’m planning on doing a blog post recommending different books, films and TV shows that have a focus on the family and sisterhood, two things that are very important to me, personally.
Gleaning off of the theme of family and sibling bonds, the last film that I’ve picked as a personal favourite of 2017 is IT, directed by Andy Muschietti. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, IT follows a group of seven kids- lovingly nicknamed the Losers Club- as they face off against an evil entity that takes the form of their biggest fears, as well as confronting their own personal demons. I honestly think so many smart decisions were made in this version. For one, they are now children in the 80s, which is a prime decade for an adventure-slash-horror film to be set. The entirety of the cast are incredibly talented, especially the kids, and it’s genuinely scary and uncomfortable to watch at times- Eddie’s mum just put me on edge whenever she was on screen, and I feel like Muschietti doesn’t have to rely on cheap jump scares to terrify an audience, unlike a lot of other horror films coming out of Hollywood in recent years. Richie is probably my favourite, but I found myself really attached to Bill, most likely because I’m really close to my younger sister- we have a similar age gap, although we’re a bit older than Bill and Georgie. It was just a very believable take on siblings, and the friendships were so engaging and realistic that it definitely stands out within both the coming-of-age AND horror genre for me.
And that’s it! I’m so sorry this post is coming two months after I planned to have it out, it has just been the biggest struggle at University this semester. I’m hoping to get back to regularly posting soon, at least once a week, even if that means doing more updates centred around my life at Uni and my reading. I’d love to know what everyone else’s favourites are, and your own opinions on anyone or anything I talked about here!