2013, contrary to the opinions I held in childhood, did not mean hover-cars, clones, and trips to the moon. But it was still a pretty weird year for all that.
For one, though this isn’t my first time at the year’s-best-list rodeo, I’m noticing how challenging it is to list stuff from this year. I’d like to put stuff on here that I discovered this year, but a lot of it came out ages ago. I was never too great at reading books right after they come out—but thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, now my TV and movie diet is pretty asynchronous too these days (mostly thanks to number 1).
So here are my standouts from the year that was:
Once upon a time, Netflix was this little envelope service that occasionally sent me movies on disc. I say occasionally because that’s how often I got around to watching the actual movies and remembering to send them back. Today, the power of the ‘flix is hard to ignore. For example, Sea World had kept its head down, riding out the Blackfish controversy in silence—until last weekend when the documentary debuted on Netflix. Suddenly Sea World was taking out ads in major papers all across the country to share their side of the story. This was the year of Netflix. They even broke into programming with a bunch of original shows. It’s a coach potato dream come true.
At the start of 2013, I barely knew what it was. Now everywhere you look: gluten. Well, the word is everywhere...the actual substance is being subtracted from food all over the place. There are even books, like Grain Brain, claiming that wheat is making us dumber.
Crackers and pasta: maybe they’re the reason I’m so bad at math.
I’m hoping next year the big discovery is that trans-fat is actually pretty good for you, and there’s a fad to eat more snack cakes and Cool-Whip.
While there weren’t any in real life, that I’m aware of, hands-down the best new show I watched this year was Orphan Black on BBC America. Tatiana Maslany is a genius—I’ve lost count of how many roles she plays...just do yourself a favor and watch this if you haven't already.
I don’t mean glass and plastic—I mean stories. It’s not a new phenomenon, but a look at this past fall’s network TV schedule is full of lots of cutting edge new tales—like Dracula, an oldie but goodie from 1897, the story of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman, first published in 1820, and all the motley crew over at Once Upon a Time from lots of way-old fairy tales (along with the spin-off about Alice, who was hot off the presses in 1865.) And lots of these were movies and scads of books before they ever made it onto the TV lineup.
I guess it’s because hardly anybody’s writing books anymore. Shame about that.
5. New deals
We are seriously getting a Veronica Mars movie next year, thanks to Kickstarter. I know of several authors who broke out this year whose work came out first as a self-published e-book. That girl from Tumblr who’s upset she’s in her twenties is getting a TV show. Everywhere you look, people are finding creative paths to success.
Here's to an even more interesting 2014!