The Great British Baking ShowI'm starting off with an old favorite. In a year that's been hard for a number of reasons, this show always brings some much-needed joy and comfort to my life. Even though I was apprehensive about the new judge and hosts, they ended up being charming in different ways than the former ones, and I'm looking forward to as many new seasons as Netflix and PBS will give me. Maybe this year, I'll even start baking more. I've always wanted to try bread.
Killing EveWhat a wacky show--in the best way. I didn't expect a show about a serial killer to be as funny as it is, but all the characters seem so real and genuine. The whole cast hits it out of the park, and I have a soft spot for Fiona Shaw's serious, enigmatic Carolyn. Sandra Oh is a particular strength, and it's wonderful to see her in the lead even if her character isn't always as put-together and in control. Despite the synopsis, this isn't simply a spy thriller cut-and-pasted to include women. I haven't read the novellas on which it's based (the first is Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings), but I think I can credit Jennings as well as show creator/writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her writing crew for featuring fascinating women who also feel real. There are lots of women in this story, all of whom are different and messy, and that's one thing I love to see on TV.
Doctor WhoAlthough I'm not quite finished with the season, I found it to be full of wonder and heart. I was excited at the prospect of a female Doctor, and Jodie Whittaker certainly hasn't disappointed. She's got a ton of energy, but my favorite thing about her character is something she said herself in her first episode: "When people need help, I never refuse." The world's been pretty dark, and a lot of times, I find that hard to deal with. Watching this show for an hour reminds me that there are genuinely good people in this world (and out of it!) who want to help. What I find even more refreshing, though, is the trio of companions--Yaz, Ryan, and Graham. I love seeing a more inclusive cast, and I love that they each have their own strengths and struggles. This is getting long, so I'll end it with one of my favorite quotes from the season:
May the saints of all the stars and constellations bring you hope as they guide you out of the dark and into the light on this voyage and the next and all of the journeys still to come for now and evermore.
Legends of TomorrowApparently, I just love wacky shows! While Killing Eve skews dark, Legends of Tomorrow skews silly while still managing to tackle important topics and hit emotional beats. Time travel has always been a staple, but the current season has added magical shenanigans! How could I possibly not love it? That said, the strength of this show is in its characters and its heart. I'm always a sucker for found-family stories, and this one features a timeship full of weirdos who stick together out of necessity before becoming friends and then family. I can't wait to see what the second half of the season has in store.
RunawaysSeason 1 was a slow burn that I didn't fully appreciate until I rewatched it in preparation for season 2, which really embraces the found-family trope as Alex, Chase, Gert, Karolina, Molly, and Nico face the reality of leaving the (relative) safety of their parents' homes. Not only does it give them a chance to bond and argue while living under the same abandoned roof, but it makes them band together to figure out and increase their powers. Karolina was always a favorite because I happen to like genuinely nice characters, and it was a treat digging into her background a bit more. But this season has endeared me to all six of the Runaways, with Nico and Molly in the running for second favorite. The show also features some kick-butt music. I'm really hoping Hulu renews this one because I can't wait to see what's next!
Stay tuned for my favorite movies and books of 2018!