2020 in media


2020 brought us a lot of crap — see my post yesterday — but it also brought some great movies, books, and video games. Today, a round-up of what I liked, and what I didn’t like.

2020 in books

I read a number of books this past year. Less than I normally do, but I did read a couple of them.

I read the e-paper version of the last two parts of the Interdependency trilogy, by John Scalzi and that’s a good read. A new Murderbot book came out as well.

In April I decided I needed a new way to work out and started jogging. I used to hate that, but I’ve settled into a routine of 5km (3-mile) runs while listening to audio books, and that has helped me getting some reading — listening? — done. The jogging has also actually grown on me.

Which leads to my favorite of 2020. This has been the Miriam Black series. It’s been my go-to series for jogging for the second half of the year, and I’m now in the sixth — and final — installment. I can highly recommend it. A word of warning, it is disturbing, and drifts somewhere between supernatural thriller and horror. So, you have been warned.

2020 television and movies

As with books, I had less time for TV shows and movies in 2020, but I did watch some. A year at home is a pretty long time.

I only saw a few movies this year, but Tenet was awesome. It was the only one I saw in a theater, in fact. It isn’t the greatest movie ever, but it is a brilliant piece of art.

That said, I think my favorite movie would have to be The Old Guard. It’s not perfect, and not as brilliantly complicated as Tenet, but it was good. It actually had me at the edge of my seat at times, which doesn’t happen often.

TV shows have been a mixed bag this year. I loved the Witcher and Dead to Me. Those two had strong characterization and an interesting plot, especially Dead to Me. I had my doubts about the The Witcher, from the trailers, but it turned out very well.

I’m not a fan of the Mandalorian, the other big hit of the year, which is a shame, because I love Star Wars so much. But the Mandalorian was just boring drivel to me.

I really hated Cursed and Dracula, worse than the Mandalorian. As for another big one, Picard was just… okay. All three of those are full-season-story-arc shows. It seems television has really gone all-in on the idea of season-long plots, and that’s just too long. You’re basically watching a many-hour movie, and that’s just too long. I think writers should pull back a bit. The Witcher strikes a good balance in this, and I hope more will do so, going forward into 2021.

2020 video games

I played quite a lot of video games, this year. Not that they came out this year. I’m mostly playing last year’s game. Still good enough for me, and cheaper to obtain.

I sank 200 hours into Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and over a hundred in Battletech. It was a good way to unwind during the first lockdown. Oddyssey was good, but not great — no open-world game can get pacing right, of course. Battletech had little story — but it is a great strategy game, and also a time sink.

A very inappropriate, or maybe strangely appropriate, game I played was A Plague Tale: Innocence. Nothing better during a pandemic than a game about the Black Plague, I guess. Still, it was very good. The story is fresh and the game mechanics were fun.

To make up for not being able to play Gloomhaven, a few friends and me started co-op-ing Divinity: Original Sin 2. That game is also bloody brilliant. Especially if you play with friends. We’ve had a lot of fun, and I hope to continue soon (one of the group having a baby got in the way of finishing it).

Game wise, 2020 has brought quite some interesting things. I’m currently grinding myself through Ori and the Will-o-the-Wisps, and a review will follow — at some point, probably.


What will the new year bring?

I’m hopefully getting a Playstation 5 soon, and since I skipped the Playstation 4, I have a long library of games to catch up on. And I expect to be working at home at least until the summer.

The coming year will also bring a new Murderbot book, some Marvel TV shows, and I hope to see the new Wonder Woman at some point. I also have a second season of ‘the Boys‘ to watch, and Star Trek: Discovery season 3, so enough to do.

With Dutch healthcare on the verge of collapse, 2021 is off to a bad start, but hopefully it will quickly get better. And creatively, it should be fine.

Although, I dread the slew of literary fiction takes on the pandemic. That’s just going to be horrible.

Martin Stellinga Written by:

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands