Happy New Year: 2022 Review! - Falcon's Blog

Happy New Year: 2022 Review!

Greetings and welcome to the last blog update of the year! 2022 will undoubtedly be remembered as a historic year for the turbulent events that transpired within these past twelve months. From the outbreak of conflict in Europe on a scale not seen since the harrowing days of the Second World War to the public assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it is safe to suggest that the year won’t be fading from our minds too soon. In Britain alone, Number 10 saw three Prime Ministers enter its famous door in quick succession of each other as one premiership flamed out after the other. Of course, the most striking and profound change was the end of the modern Elizabethan Age with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of her son Charles to the throne which commenced the Carolean era.

While all these important events were unfolding, I busied myself by delving into many great television shows, films, games and books to keep myself entertained. There was a lot of excellent content that I indulged in throughout the year and I have listed some of the best I experienced and reviewed during this time below.

Television Show of the Year: The Prisoner

It was certainly tough to choose my television show of the year after watching a lot of gripping series but I believe ‘The Prisoner’, the cult hit from the sixties, stands out the most to me. I was intrigued by the unusual premise of this show and its colourful strangeness years before I had even seen a clip of it. Like a lot of my first impressions of cultural works, I was introduced to the series when it was spoofed in a classic ‘Simpsons’ episode. The plot revolves around an unidentified British spy who wakes up in a mysterious society known as the Village after being gassed and knocked unconscious in his home. Relegated to the moniker of Number 6, the protagonist tries to escape the Village after it becomes clear the authorities there want to extract highly sensitive information from him that he must protect at all costs.

Book of the Year: Doctor Sleep

It is always difficult for authors to build on top of a much beloved work and carrying on from a novel as highly acclaimed as ‘The Shining’ must have been a daunting task for King but he did it admirably. Many decades after the first book was published, ‘Doctor Sleep’ follows a now adult Danny Torrance, who works in a hospital, as he is haunted by the same spectre of alcoholism that his father Jack fought against and lost to. With the help of copious amounts of alcohol, Danny is able to supress his unique talent of the ‘Shining‘ which so troubled him and his mother, Wendy, at the Overlook Hotel in his childhood. He may have learned to overpower the ghosts but there is a new evil named the True Knot that Danny must face and save the gifted young Abra Stone from.

Happy New Year 2022 - 2023!

Game of the Year: Tomb Raider: Legend

‘Tomb Raider: Legend’ is a game from 2006 which saw Lara Croft return to her well renowned gaming series ten years after her first outing in the original PlayStation days. It is the first entry in the ‘Legend’ trilogy which also consists of ‘Anniversary’, a remastering of the trailblazing 1996 title, and 2008’s ‘Underworld’. I certainly enjoyed this game which has a good mix of action and puzzles to solve, as one would rightfully expect from a Lara Croft game, but it doesn’t have much of a complex plot or well fleshed out supporting characters. This is particularly the case for its one dimensional villains who I found to be unfortunately quite forgettable. On the other hand, Keeley Hawes’ performance as Lara Croft is of note as she brings a lot of fun to the role and captures the essence of the character nicely.

Film of the Year: The Founder

This biographical film from 2016 is a must watch in my opinion as it follows businessman Ray Kroc as he transforms McDonalds from a small restaurant in San Bernadino into a corporate juggernaut that conquered the world through the revolutionary idea of fast food. The film has a great cast that is comprised of Michael Keaton, who displays a level of smarm and sleaze that is reminiscent of his earlier Beetlejuice role, as well as Nick Offerman and John Caroll Lynch among its main talent. It is a fascinating if ultimately bleak movie to watch as the audience is all too aware that the hardworking and innovative McDonalds brothers are going to be slowly pushed out of their rightful success by the crafty and ambitious Kroc. ‘The Founder’ greatly succeeds in making the audience sympathetic towards the struggling Ray Kroc at the beginning and turning him into a loathsome character by the end of the movie.

Did you have any favourite media yourself that you watched, read or played these last several months? If so, feel free to leave your highlights or recommendations in the comments. While I’d like to give an optimistic appraisal of the coming year and be more uplifting, I believe we are in for a troublesome period ahead to put it mildly which even the most apolitical of laymen should be able to see at this point. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that 2023 will be a good year on a personal level regardless of what is going on in the world at large and I’ll be back to blogging in January with my usual reviews. Have a Happy New Year and all the best for 2023!

Quote of the Day

My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know.

Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Written by Falcon, Saturday 31 December 2022

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Falcon  1 year(s) ago (16 months)

Thanks for your comments! You have noted some interesting stuff below which I will have to check out at some stage. 'In the Dream House' in particular sounds like a fascinating read and unlike anything I have encountered before. It might even inspire a Write Wise entry in the future with its unusual genre mixing. As for 'The Prisoner', it certainly is worth a watch but it is a series that is more about the journey than the destination as any answers you get in the finale are vague at best.

I also really liked 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' and I enjoyed every minute of its bizarre story, mostly due to the creativity involved and its limitless possibilities. It was very refreshing to see Hollywood try something new, instead of rehashing old properties again, as well as the cinematic return of Ke Huy Quan who I haven't seen since his role as Short Round in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' I'm very much looking forward to 'The Esoteric Podcast' and seeing where that goes.

Joh  1 year(s) ago (17 months)

Nice post, and good picks.

The Prisoner definitely sounds like a good show that I should check out sometime. The idea sounds very interesting and I'd wonder where it ultimately goes.

I haven't read Doctor Sleep, but I really enjoyed the film. I wasn't sure what a sequel to The Shining would look like, but I really like where they went with this one. Arguably you could cut most of the ties to the original story and make the main plotline a standalone story without having to change very much, but I think the connections to the original make sense and definitely weren't a problem.

I haven't played Tomb Raider: Legend, but did enjoy Anniversary and Underworld back in the day. That trilogy had pretty fun gameplay, interesting environments and pretty nice graphics for the time.

I really enjoyed The Founder. It's a solid period drama and Ray Kroc's story is very interesting and well told in it.

For most categories, I didn't really experience a lot of new things, but it seems right to try and limit myself to things from 2022 where possible. Anyway, let my try and pick something worth mentioning for most categories...

Movies is the category within which I have the most to select from as I seen quite a few films from 2022. That said, I find it hard to find many real notable contenders. I'll probably have to go with Nope which I really enjoyed. The movie wasn't perfect, but I did really enjoy it. I was hoping to have a few other notable movies to mention as well, but I'm struggling to pick anything of particular note when looking over the list of what came out this year.

For games, I think FIFA 23 is the only game from this year that I played, but I really enjoyed it and it was my most played game this year. The addition of women's club teams and cross platform play are really good additions that I enjoyed. Cross platform play in particular was a nice addition, as it's usually quite hard to find players in the less popular gamemodes (such as the five-a-side Volta mode) on PC and the much larger player base from the consoles should keep the game's online a lot healthier than usual.

I didn't read any books from 2022, and so I'll not limit myself by release date in that category. My favourite read from this year was "In the Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado. The book is a memoir of the author's experience in a longrunning abusive relationship. Each chapter is very creatively written through a different lens or storytelling device, a mechanic which doesn't really make sense unless you actually read the book. To use some of the more easily describable examples: one chapter is in the style of a choose-your-own-adventure (with the gist being that all choices eventually trap you into ultimately incurring the wrath of the abusive partner), another is written as stage directions, another as an analysis of the film Gaslight (which becomes quite fitting with the subject matter, mainly about how a partner can entrap and control someone by getting into their head) and another as a comparison with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (in which Cardassians interrogate Captain Picard). I really like Machado's style of writing and her storytelling, and the forever changing devices made this a very refreshing read.

I didn't watch a lot of TV shows from 2022. The new series of Stranger Things was a highlight and I think they did a good job of making a season storyline that was by far their most ambitious to-date. I was unsure how fresh this show would be given it's their fourth season, but I think they really pulled it off. By the end, I was thinking they perhaps should've made this the last one, as they would've ended on a really good note if it had have been. I'd wonder if they really could pull off a next season as satisfyingly as they pulled of this one.

Aaron  1 year(s) ago (17 months)

2022 is definitely the latest in a series of turbulent years. As you say, though, when the world falls apart it can be best to turn one's attention to the small personal world.

For myself, this year I discovered my new favourite author, the Jewish American writer Chaim Potok. His novels are a wonderful exploration of the twentieth century through a religious and Jewish lense. They're also full of humanity and compassion, despite wrestling with topics like the Korean War and the Holocaust.

My favourite movie of the year was easily Everything Everywhere All At Once. Not only is it a great film, that managed to explore existentialism and nihilism, it was also a lot of fun. And frankly there isn't that much competition this year to dethrone it.

I didn't really watch any TV of note, but I enjoyed playing Life is Strange True Colors in September.

I'm hoping 2023 will be a good year for writing. Indeed I am currently working on my own Imposter take on your bibliography, Falcon, and am having a lot of fun writing it. More on that later.