For my final year-in-review list, I present Kevin's 7: Video '21!!!
Upon review, it was actually far easier than I thought to find seven shows and movies to populate my lists. I considered at one point, combining them into a single list. But, man, that was a tough thing to pare down. So... one post, two lists. I guess I could've just done two posts like I used to. Oh well. Here goes...
Kevin's 7: TV '21
1. Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Admittedly, I'm late to the game on this show. I was hesitant because I am not a Jason Sudeikis fan. Much like Jason Bateman and some others, he comes off as smarmy and I don't like that. But in May, I finally forced myself to watch the first episode of season 1 and loved it. But then I didn't watch any more until I talked Katie into watching with me. In June, we tore through season 1 and watched it twice before actually paying to renew Apple TV+ so we could watch season 2 when it came out in July. Season 2 just blew me away! It was actually better than season 1 and mostly because I enjoyed how they were able to give a little more focus to lesser players. I love how much Toheeb Jimoh's Sam Obisanya has grown this season and become my favorite character on the show. And, oddly enough, I really disliked the "Beard's Night Out" episode that was an extra shoehorned into the normal season flow. But, as I watched it more and more, it had become one of my favorites of the series. Strange how that all works out.
2. Magnum, P.I. (CBS)
I constantly worry that this gem of a network show cannot possibly stay as awesome as it has. That each new season remains fun and rarely strays from the crime-of-the-week formula and Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks remain my favorite on-screen non-couple year after year is just great. And I’ll keep tuning in so long as they keep going.
3. Outer Banks (Netflix)
Part Romeo & Juliet. Part National Treasure. Full angsty teen drama. Three teens from the wrong side of the tracks in Outer Banks, NC, along with their two female friends from the right side discover that the father of their de facto leader, who went missing in search of a fabled sunken treasure near the coast, was actually onto something. Now they must finish his quest. We just tried watching this for kicks and wound up tearing through season one in three nights and then season two in pretty short order after that. Season three was greenlit about a month ago and we cannot wait.
4. Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Is this 40-years-later spinoff of the Karate Kid films cheesy? Yup. Campy? Duh. Unbelievably unbelievable? You bet. And I love every second of it. Even the characters that annoy me, I love. No, I have not watched season four yet, it only dropped today. But season three was basically a 2021 drop for me and that counts. I can’t wait to see how Terry Silver plays into this ongoing story.
5. WandaVision (Disney+)
I enjoyed this drama about Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living their best suburban life but it was quickly supplanted by more action-based MCU dramas like Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki. However, as I thought more about them all, WandaVision resurfaced in my mind as the best of the bunch. I can’t wait to see more from her character, purportedly in a future film offering and then in the Agatha Harkness series.
6. Amphibia (Disney+)
Yes, I know this is a Nathan cartoon but I enjoy the heck out of watching it especially this new season where Anne Boonchuy (Brenda Song) and the Plantars are transported back to modern Los Angeles and must live life avoiding an X-Files-esque FBI agent in Mr. X (RuPaul) as well as attacks from the other side by King Andrias (Keith David). This show has really taken on a slightly darker vibe with a couple episodes actually including parental warnings for disturbing content but is still fun. I can’t imagine not watching it.
7. The Rookie (ABC)
Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) is still treading the waters of new officer-dom and working with one new rookie officer while dealing with the normal pressure and stress of life. It’s not the best season so far mostly due to the loss of Officer Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.) in the off-season but they’ve also added Firefighter Bailey Nune (Jenna Dewan) as a mostly regular love interest for Nolan. While I love the crime of the week storylines, I worry that they may be treading into the realm of season-long arcs which is where a lot of cop serials tend to lose me. We shall see.
Now, howsabout we move on to…
Kevin's 7: TV '21
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
I almost tried to force this post out yesterday. But I’m truly happy I waited because today we went out to see this film. It was mind-blowingly good! With Peter Parker’s identity revealed to the world by Mysterious at the end of the last film, Peter and his friends Ned and MJ are facing the penalties for their actions in the Court of Public Opinion. In an attempt to fix it all, Peter seeks out Doctor Strange to wipe the memories of everyone in the world of who he is. But he gets cold feet and interferes with the Sorcerer Supreme mid-spell. This opens our universe up to everyone Spider-Man has ever battled from any universe, whether it was this Peter who battled them or not. So so so good! I was openly cheering as the movie progressed and both Nathan and Katie loved it as well. Stay through the absolute end. Seriously.
I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve watched this Cruella de Vil origin story with Emma Stone in the lead as the duotone-haired villain Estella/Cruella who will soon become renowned for kidnapping 101 dalmatians. Stone is amazing as is Emma Thompson as her fashion magnate mentor The Baroness. But I’d be remiss if I left out the trio Joel Fry as Jasper, Paul Walter Houser as Horace, and John McCrea as Artie… all complicit in Cruella’s plots. Oh, and the soundtrack is amazing!
3. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Shortly after his death at a remote Oklahoma farmhouse from a “heart attack,” the only daughter (Carrie Coon) of famed Ghostbuster Dr. Egon Spengler and her two children (Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace) take possession of his house and all the random ghost hunting paraphernalia he has amassed in his reclusive life. And that’s when things get really interesting. Showing even more heart than I ever thought possible, I found myself getting teary eyed watching this amazing tribute to the fallen Harold Ramis. Both times.
Luca is a young sea monster who longs for more… a friend, a life outside of shepherding, and a Vespa. When he meets Alberto, another sea monster who has split time as an air-breathing, bipedal human, he is immediately smitten with the promise of freedom. But when his parents find out he has spent time amongst the “land monsters,” they threaten to send him to live in the deep sea with his uncle. In response, Luca runs to Alberto and together they head for the Italian shore village of Portarossa to live as humans. It’s a story that’s been told many times, but it’s so beautifully realized that it’s impossible not to love it. And the follow-up short Ciao, Alberto is great.
I had such ridiculously low expectations for this third attempt at adapting my all-time favorite Frank Herbert sci-fi novel that it could’ve been Gigli in the desert and it would’ve ended up higher than I dreamed it could be. Thankfully it wasn’t Gigli, it was infinitely better. The casting of Timothee Chalamet turned out much better than I expected. And they smartly divided it into two movies, a la Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with the second film greenlit shortly after seeing the first weekend’s theatrical haul.
This is the story of the Madrigal family of Colombia. When the patriarchs and their triplet infants flee a revolution, the father is killed by an armed posse. The matriarch, Abuela Alma, her life suddenly infused with magic, starts a home for her family that then grows into a village for dozens of people who come to look at the Madrigals and their magic home as protectors. When the magic starts to dwindle, Mirabel, the only blood member of the family who does not have her own personal magical gift, takes it upon herself to find the cure for their home’s ails. But what is the cure? It’s a cute story, one that has kept Nathan entranced the several times he has seen it. But what really gets him is the soundtrack from Lin-Manuel Miranda. He LOVES it. He and his cousins sing it ad nauseum and even make up their own lyrics. Hard not to enjoy that even if I never want to talk about Bruno ever again.
7. Ron’s Gone Wrong
Ron is a B-bot, a companion robot made for kids to help them gain friends using a friendship algorithm developed by the youthful and well-intentioned founder and CEO of Bubble, an Apple-esque tech company. But Ron is defective. He fell off a delivery vehicle and was damaged. But when his dad realized that Barney is the only kid at his school without a B-bot and, well, without any friends at all, he goes hunting for one and finds a deal in Ron. But how defective is Ron? Well, you’ll have to tune in and see. Featuring the voice talents of Zach Galifianakis as Ron and Jack Dylan Grazer (in his second appearance on this list after Luca) as Barney, it’s quite a ride.
I know there are a ton of other shows and movies that may have made the cut if I’d gotten around to them. Stuff like Hawkeye that I haven’t watched past episode 2 or Judas and the Black Messiah or Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that I’ve wanted to watch for some time but just haven’t. Oh well.
What did you watch this year?