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.
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.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes