Normally I only post about books, but I’ve watched and listened to so many great things this year that I felt like they deserved their own list here. Even if no one reads it, I’ll still have a record of the shows, music, and movies I loved in 2022. And there were a lot of them, so I didn’t even limit myself to a top 10 list. That would have been simply impossible to narrow down; instead, I’ve made several top 5 lists over several different categories. There are YouTube videos, or just short videos I’ve seen on several platforms. Then there is music, then tv shows, and then longer form entertainment like films and stage productions. If it’s not obvious, I highly recommend all of these.
Also, as with my top 10 book lists, these are things that were new to me this year, regardless of when they were first released. That said, most of these were released in 2022 anyway.
5. The corn boy
This video is so stinking cute. What a sweet child; I hope he has the best life with his corn. If you haven’t seen this yet, please go watch him be the cutest!
The first time I saw this, I laughed for many minutes. I have no idea if this is staged, and I do not care—do not tell me if you know. It’s odd and hysterical and perfect. I hope that Earl and his friend are okay, and I’d also like to thank them for the laughter.
Stranger Things is a great show, and this season was excellent. But the scene where Max runs from Vecna is the show’s magnum opus. It’s a memorable and touching sequence with a powerful underlying metaphor about grappling with mental health issues. Sadie Sink’s performance is incredible, and obviously we all know the music choice was perfect. It’s a wonderful scene that I think about frequently, which is why it’s on this list.
This is such a cool channel! A film director and family therapist may seem like a weird combo, but their yearslong friendship and delightful banter make their videos so fun to watch! Their insights are both intelligent and entertaining. Whether they’re eviscerating the relationships in Twilight or applauding the growth of Mr. Darcy, they are making some of the best content.
I find food history fascinating, and Max delivers! He explores so many cuisines, his stories are engaging, and the recipes are excellent (and sometimes weird) and span almost every continent. It’s such a great channel, and I highly recommend it if you like food, history, or just any kind of interesting story. And I’ve already pre-ordered his cookbook!
5. “2 B Loved (Am I Ready)” by Lizzo
This song is so fun! I haven’t listened to much music by Lizzo, but I need to listen to more, because every single of hers I’ve heard on the radio is so catchy! I guess that can be a goal for 2023—more Lizzo for me. Excellent!
4. Hold the Girl by Rina Sawayama
This album is wonderful, tackling tough subjects like religious and childhood trauma with sensitivity and empathy. Rina has wonderful vocals and lyrics, and I want to go back to her first album. My favorite on this album is definitely “This Hell,” of course; it’s brilliant!
3. How to Let Go by Sigrid
I’ve liked Sigrid since I first heard her first album a couple years ago, so this new one was so exciting! And she continues to be so talented; her pitch-perfect, slightly raspy voice and disco-pop sound is a delightful combination. On this album my favorites are “Bad Life,” “Mirror,” and “Last to Know.”
2. Midnights by Taylor Swift
This is the year I became a fan of Swift again, after the last few years of not really caring. Lately, though, I revisited her Folklore and Evermore albums before this new album came out and found a new appreciation for many of those songs. But wow, Midnights is spectacular! It reminds me of 1989 (my favorite album of hers) but with even more incredible lyrics. She’s such a skilled writer. My favorite songs are “Bejeweled,” “Maroon,” “Dear Reader” (an underrated gem, if Spotify stats are anything to judge from), “Paris,” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” as well as pretty much all the others.
1. Give Me the Future by Bastille
If there comes a year where Bastille isn’t near or at the top of my Spotify Wrapped, something will be seriously wrong with me probably. This new album isn’t my number one album of theirs, but it’s still absolutely fantastic! I also got to see them live in concert, which was one of the best days of this year. My favorite songs are “Back to the Future,” “Plug In,” “Shut Off the Lights,” and “No Bad Days.” But let’s be real, I don’t skip a single song on this entire album.
5. The Sandman (Netflix)
This is kind of a dark show, but it’s fascinating and entertaining and thought-provoking. I really like several of the characters, the world is so cool, and the storylines are so weird but often in a great way. Visually, this is a wonderful show, really showcasing its comic origins, and it’s just so nice to look at. I’m looking forward to more, and to reading the source material!
4. Cobra Kai season 5 (Netflix)
I grew up watching the Karate Kid movies, but I didn’t think I’d like Cobra Kai as much as I do. I was wrong though, because it’s great! This latest season is easily the best: it’s completely bonkers, but so much fun, and has a lot of emotion amidst all the melodrama. There’s action and laughter and heart. Plus, there’s Chozen Toguchi, who is the best character, and you cannot convince me otherwise.
3. What We Do in the Shadows (FX/Hulu)
What a delightful show! It took me a little while to watch more than an episode, but once I did I was hooked. It’s so strange and funny and clever. Also, Guillermo is the best character in this, always and forever (but so is Jackie Daytona). It’s not perfect, but I cannot wait to see what the fifth season will have in store!
2. Heartstopper (Netflix)
This is one of the cutest shows in the world, okay? It’s so wholesome and heartfelt, funny and melancholy, joyful and sweet. The acting, directing, everything is delightful. I don’t even know what else to say about it—it’s just adorable! I cannot wait for season two!
1. Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)
Yes, this is number one. Duh. If you know me at all, you know I am simply obsessed with this insane little pirate show. It is hilarious, smart, agonizing, and has caused me to lose my mind. The first time, I watched it in a single day, and have since rewatched it more times than I can count. I own a T-shirt, phone case, and many stickers that reference this show. In other words, I am utterly insufferable. Also, I will warn everyone around me: I’m only going to get worse once we get season two, and I’m not sorry at all.
5. Thor: Love and Thunder
Look, we all know the truth: this is not as good as Thor: Ragnarok, but it’s still such fun! The performances are great, the directing is wonderful, and the ending is surprisingly wholesome. I had a lot of fun watching this, and will gladly do so again sometime, even though I’m still pretty sporadic with my Marvel content consumption (the rest of this list notwithstanding).
4. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
As someone who has grown up listening to Weird Al (does anyone else here—other than my dad, hi dad—only know how to spell Albuquerque* because of this guy?), I was really excited to learn there was a biopic about him coming out. And then it got better when I found out Daniel Radcliffe was starring, and even better when it turned out to be a parody biopic. It’s quirky and hilarious and knows exactly what it’s doing. Radcliffe is clearly having the time of his life, and I’m very proud of him.
*or rather, the first few letters
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home
This one is tied with number two, and I’m just going to say it: This is the best live-action Spider-Man movie. I don’t think that’s a controversial opinion, but I’m saying it anyway. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt such exhilarating joy as I did when the villains showed up on that bridge, as strange as that sounds. I felt the entire gamut of emotions while watching this, and it’s one of those movies I wish I could see for the first time again. I love it so so so much.
2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The first Black Panther movie is still my favorite Marvel movie to date, and so I knew I’d love this one. It’s full of grief but also strength, telling a remarkable story with awesome performances. Letitia Wright is incredible, as is everyone else. It’s also the first movie ever to almost move me to tears with only the studio’s logo. Chadwick Boseman would be so proud of this work of art. Long live King T’Challa.
I saw this musical for the first time last year on vacation, but I also got to go more recently when they came to my state on tour. And this touring cast was astounding! The story Hadestown tells is tragic but beautiful, and the show they put on was wonderful. I can’t give enough compliments! I even think I preferred this Hades to the one I saw in New York City; he was a force of nature on that stage. But everyone was extraordinary, and if I could relive that night, I would. We’re gonna sing it again, after all.
So anyway, that is my favorite non-book content of the year! I’m really looking forward to a lot of shows and movies next year, and I’m sure I’ll discover new things too. As I said before, I highly recommend all of these, and if you aren’t familiar, check them out!