A new year has unapologetically arrived. I hope it treats you all kindly. 2014 has not been a great year of vintage entertainment consumption and I struggled with a few of the sections below; book and gaming were tough to choose than previous years while I didn’t pick up a new OST that I could recommend.
Before I let the old year be cast out from memory here’s my picks of the past twelve months of being entertained:
Graphic Novel/Comic book
Sex Criminals vol.1 ‘One Weird Trick’
- notable mentions: Revival & The Bunker.
Monthly subs dominated my 2014 but it was at the detriment to my reading. For 2015, all those subs have been cancelled with my eye just on buying and reading title collections. I prefer reading titles as a TPB and read them far more often than I do single issues. It makes perfect sense to keep to the collections and save some money in the process.
The one graphic novel that grabbed me has to be Sex Criminals which I recommended the title here. The second volume, “Two Worlds, One Cop’ is due to be released in February and I’ll be looking to read it in the weeks after that.
- notable mentions: ‘Crosses’ ††† & ‘Royal Blood’ Royal Blood.
One of the bands that I did get to see in 2014 was Phantogram at Oval Space, London in May. ‘Voices’ is an excellent progression from their first album, ‘Eyelid Movies’ and has been a constant on my iPod playlist throughout 2014. Sarah Barthel’s vocals and allure have that hypnotic effect with music that moulds something unique from the layered guitars with beats you’d hear in more obvious electronic artists.
- notable mentions: True Detective & Penny Dreadful.
Ah the land of TV!
Where soap operas roam free…
I’d truly had given up on ever seeing anything remotely engaging on a terrestrial TV channel many moons ago. I rely on box sets borrowed or not to get my fill of drama from either Europe but mainly from the USA. However 2014 showed that a collaboration between the UK and Europe can produce some very good drama namely with the 8 part drama The Missing. If my wife hadn’t decided to watch this I may well have been put off by the casting of James Nesbitt. That said the cast were excellent and the story was a tale of twists and turns that look to have led into a further future series.
- notable mentions: Interstellar & Edge of Tomorrow.
Less visits to the cinema in 2014 meant a general downturn over the number of movies I watched compared with 2013. I predict a higher number visits in 2015 and it’ll be nice to reach the 100 movies mark in this new year. Am still weighing up whether to take up a Cineworld Unlimited card for this years releases.
Of the releases from 2014, the one that stayed with me the most was Gone Girl. David Fincher has to be my favourite director from the last few decades and I just hope his work continues to impress in the future. His movies are by no means perfect and there have been a few I didn’t enjoy. Overall his direction in Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been some of the best movie experiences I’ve had since the mid ’90s.
The Walking Dead – Season Two
- notable mentions: Far Cry 4 & Alien: Isolation.
Not until December, when I begun to play the second season of The Walking Dead, did my decision change on the best gaming experience of 2014. It’s not been my favourite year for gaming both with what has been released and the attitude of many that claim to know whats best for the industry.
Alien: Isolation was one of the brightest lights to come from the year. Less reliance on gunplay and more focused on how the player can outwit the Alien, human and the environment(yes I loved the old school save system too!). I wrote a review of the game for here.
But with December the one gaming related present I did receive turned out to be The Walking Dead – Season Two. My fond memories of the first season(played on PS3) caught me of guard. A point and click adventure that captured the essence of the comic book and tv show, it also added an element that is very lacking in gaming in general. Having characters to care about is still a rarity in a medium that is still hooked on big being better.
Hats off must go to Telltale Games for letting players experience the game from Clementines POV. Many other developers would bulk at casting an 11-year-old girl as the protagonist.
‘Annihilation’ Jeff Vandermeer
- notable mentions: ‘I am Pilgrim’ Terry Hayes
Not my strongest year for paperbacks but I did get through Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion right at the start of 2014. I am Pilgrim stalled around the 300 page point when pages began to fall out of the binding I had with me on holiday. It’s a big book and I’d hoped to finish it while I had all the break from work but alas it may go the way American Gods went(another big book that had weak binding that I didn’t finish).
Thankfully Jeff Vandermeer had his Southern Reach trilogy of books published in 2014, from which I read the first – Annihilation. At only 195 pages I devoured the book over five days and loved every page of it. Although short in page length, the story was well-balanced and fired the imagination. I put my own words into a review of the book here back in September.
Onwards into 2015…