4YE’s Year In Review: Lara’s 2018 Favorites List

Before we get started, I want to stress that this is an abbreviated list and the favorites are listed in no particular order. Also, my favorite things may not be your favorite things and variety is the spice of life, friends. So please feel free to comment below with your favorite 2018 moments/debuts/returns and let’s celebrate a year that offered some great entertainment while an absolute political dumpster fire raged on all around us.

Favorite debut series – BBC’s Killing Eve

Credit: Spoilertv

This show also made my list for Verena’s 20Gayteen roundtable. The series focuses on assassin for hire Villanelle (played by Jodie Comer) and the MI6 agent charged with hunting down Eve Polastri (played by screen Queen Sandra Oh).

While Comer’s Villanelle is often the focus of my praise (I love a villain who loves what they do and has fun doing it), Oh’s Eve stands out for sheer unpredictability. The character almost reminds me of Alison Hendrix a la Orphan Black, in that neither Alison nor Eve fully understands what they’re capable of or what they might do next.

Honorable Mention – The Haunting Of Hill House

Favorite Album/Concept Album/Narrative Film experience – Dirty Computer by Janelle Monàe

Credit: Electric Literature

I was in awe of Dirty Computer. Not only were the songs immediately catchy in a way that had me humming and tapping along on the first listen, but the film that accompanies the album was absolutely stunning. Every time I checked Twitter to see what my mutuals were saying about this absolute triumph, I found threads and screencaps deconstructing moments and hidden meanings I had completely missed.

But don’t listen to a small white lady tell you why Dirty Computer matters. Read these comprehensive reviews by women of color:

Rahawa Halie for Pitchfork

Cori Murray for Essence

Favorite Surprise Hero(es) – The long-suffering Marthas of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Credit: Daily Express

All season we followed June on her brave but ultimately doomed attempts to escape from Gilead. There were strange, confusing, and unwelcome moments of humanity for Serena. There was hope made all the more painful through the knowledge that June could not possibly escape her captors so soon (narratively speaking).

But the true superheroes of the season were revealed to be the largely overlooked Martha’s and the escape route they forged and protected at great personal risk.

The Handmaid’s Tale reminds us that women who are not sex objects/birthing tanks are ignored and discounted in patriarchal societies, something the brave Marthas used to rescue those in the greatest peril.

Favorite Documentary – Wild Wild Country

Credit: The Playlist

I first heard the abridged tale of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the Rajneeshpuram compound in Oregon on every murderino’s favorite podcast My Favorite Murder. So when I heard that Netflix was set to debut a six-part documentary detailing the rise and fall of this massive cult, how could I possibly say no? This stunning documentary was developed by two brothers: Maclain and Chapman Way. 

Everything works. The present-day interviews with those seduced by and integral to the cult, the music, the pacing. It was the best documentary I’ve watched in ages and frankly if you disagree with me on this one: “tough titties” as Ma Anand Sheela would say.

Favorite Podcast Debut – Death In Ice Valley from BBC World Service and NPK

Credit: The Independent

Death In Ice Valley is a mystery and a cold case. The podcast details what is known about the mysterious death of a woman in 1970 outside Bergen Norway. The trouble is, next to nothing is known about the woman dubbed the Isdal Woman by BBC documentary maker Neil McCarthy and Norwegian investigative journalist Marit Higraff. To further complicate matters, almost every investigating officer present at the scene when her body was discovered has since passed away.

This podcast makes my list for truly capturing the mood and atmosphere of a Norwegian noir. Hopefully, more answers will be brought to life because of the efforts of McCarthy and Higraff. I know I’ll keep checking back for updates.

Honorable Mention: Unobscured by Aaron Mahnke, a deep dive into the Salem Witch Trials.

Were any of my favorites this year your favorites too? What did you watch/listen to/read that you absolutely loved? Leave a comment below and let us know.