Year in Review: 2015 Media

Last year I started logging my media consumption and I wanted to compare the last two years but there were some coverage problems. In 2014 I didn’t have the list in one place. There were different lists for different months while books mixed with tv and occasionally movies. Nothing was separated so they couldn’t easily be counted. Just as importantly, which delivery service got content to me wasn’t clear. I really should’ve just use a spreadsheet or letterboxd or something. Anyways, here are some fun stats for this year where everything is presumably bigger and badder and more everything than ever.

2015 was quite a year.

Just shy of 200 different films watched with about 110 of those coming out this year first run and about 115 in theaters.

When it comes to VOD I used streaming services just over 75% of the time. I ended up watching a traditional DVD or Blu for 18 of the 72 films that didn’t come out this year. Most of those come from box sets, the UP series of documentaries revisited a set group of children from childhood every 7 years with a new film all the way into old age. Other than hard to find on streaming kung fu movies that are easy $5 DVDs, these disc plays ended up being ones that friends own that they used for perennial exhibition. There was a Jurassic Park night where I got to see all three of the old entries as preparation for the new one. These were all a friend’s Blu box set. Similarly provided to me were first viewings of Hocus Pocus and Spirited Away as two “I can’t believe you haven’t seen it” impromptu living-room educational screenings.

3 new films came to me through independent streaming solution VHX which I always look forward to because they allow high resolution copies to be downloaded. This is something other companies would never allow though two were documentaries and not one of the three were particularly good.

I didn’t really ‘try’ to watch TV in the same way I ‘tried’ to get out to the movies. It’s tough enough, there were definitely still a handful of films that I just missed and it bugs me a bit more than missing TV shows. Not really that much though, unless of course I see them later and resent that I never got to see them on the big screen. Smaller character pieces fit this description, I like a good big face. From 2014 I missed Locke which turned out to be superb and a lot of people missed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s great middle aged spy in A Most Wanted Man which was a quiet highlight that year. There is literally infinite TV is what I’m trying to say. With volume comes a risk and value fades or diffuses. I binge watch as a caffeinated tightrope walker. Nothing quite has the potential for 10+ hours of waste like television. I’m looking at you House of Cards Season 3, or Lost (if you change hours to years).

All in all I watched 43 seasons of TV across 35 different shows. I don’t even want to do the math on this one but most of the shows are limited run 10 hour prestige series types or 6 hour, 12 episode comedy series types. So at the this estimate of 8 hours per season we’ve got about 345 hours of this logged which is just under total time spent on movies as well. Though the imprecision here skews down rather than up.

This is a lot of time and it shows in the sparseness of some of my other areas. I had an anemic 3 video games that I played in 2015, all of which are from 2014: Shovel Knight, Dark Souls 2, and Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor. Total time coming in probably less than 50 hours across all three including the addition of whatever time I spent playing couch co-opt. Those games were usually whatever Call of Duty or Battlefront type shooter was in whoever’s PS4 during bro/chill times.

I am really not a music person. A glance at my list shows 21 albums seemingly selected at random. A pattern emerges. There is a bit of a reliance on whatever live events I happened to be around like some wonderful nerdcore purchases when I was at PAX in Seattle. Other things that I saw recommended in public which I will now recommend to you are The Desired Effect by Brandon Flowers (via Chris Cillizza free for Prime Members here) and Nation of Heat EP by Joe Pug (via Jake Meador).

No proper prose fiction books, not even some garbage YA. I don’t know how that reflects on me as a person.

I did read 3 children’s cardboard books. Two cute ones by N.D. Wilson feature ninjas and judgey hegemonic sheep. Separately and probably not meant for children is this comedy one, The Last Christmas, featuring Cthulhu. A rough version of which resides for free on the internet here

Just a little side note, the name “The Last Christmas” is an incredibly popular title for the little know niche of dystopian christmas fiction. So little known that I didn’t even know it until I googled the name of that book. Many of these books feature a sullen santa with a machine gun or sickle staring off into the violence ridden arctic wastes. Santa Power fantasy is bankable as ever.

We can’t forget comics. This is a whole new world for me. I got sucked in by two Captain America arcs. The Death of Captain America which is collected in a color paperback that I picked up on a whim at half price books was well worth whatever I paid for it. Similarly, well this one isn’t an arc so much as it is the entire 19 issues of Ed Brubaker’s 2011-2012 segment. The problem as with all comics is cost. It’s a bit cheap(er) when collected together in a pack on Comixology. $9 for the first of four sections. As we move to more recent recommendations things get much more expensive. Looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have bought each individual issue as they came out. I mean I love keeping up with the stories but looking at the reduced price of the third 2014-2015 Black Widow volume ($25!) and how the series was beautiful if functional rather than thrilling in its later bits… anyway if I know now what I know now about how much it costed me maybe I would have waited or borrowed a physical copy from a friend or something. The look though is incredible and most of these reservations will go out the window once you read the first issue or two and get a look at the goods.

What I can recommend without reservation is Ms. Marvel. “Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City–until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel?”

Seriously just check this out. She’s like if Peter Parker had parents who were alive and you know PARENTS about everything. I really go for the whole “teen prob-lationships” thing so maybe it’s not exactly for you. They keep it incredibly light though not CW melodramatic. The Wolverine and Loki cameos (he goes to Prom) are worth their weight in… whatever is valuable now, loosened bond markets?

I can get into specifics about trends in TV and Film another time, though in a similar vein, superheroes are a big deal though in sheer hours on TV more so than in the theater. Also, we haven’t touched non-fiction books. I read 10 outside of class and started countless more. Even though I wish I had gone after more, they ended up being an even spread across topics. So there is some interesting stuff there. Speaking of wishes I haven’t talked about the year ahead, critiqued my own writing or any of that so hopefully there will be a follow up post soon.

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