The Best of The Best
2019 may have had its up and downs when it came to almost anything in the everyday news, but it was also full of a bunch of great stuff. I wanted to do this post to share some of my favourites from the year with you all to give you a chance to catch up on some awesome TV, movies, music & podcasts you may have missed. So, without further ado...
Favourite movie of the year: Joker
Honourable Mentions: Avengers Endgame, El Camino, The Irishman
2019 has been a pretty solid year for movies, and my absolute favourite has to be Joker. For a movie that I was pretty sceptical about beforehand, it absolutely blew me away. Of course, the performance from Joaquin Phoenix is at the centre of it all - I almost want to call it a career best performance, but the has had so many, it's too hard to choose. The movie itself needs no introduction, and I'm sure almost all of you out there have seen it - if not, be sure to pick up on home release!
Worthy runners up include the incredible Avengers Endgame - just purely for what it managed to achieve in tying up the storylines from 20+ movies over the course of a decade. It is also a visual spectacle, with an awesome performance from RDJ. Two huge Netflix movies; The Irishman and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, were also two favourites of mine. The Irishman, while admittedly too long, it features amazing performances and it is amazing seeing Joe Pesci back on screen. El Camino, whist maybe not as appreciated as much by everyone, is a worthy follow up to Breaking Bad, and Aaron Paul, is in incredible form as Jesse Pinkman, a role he was born to play. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywaker is also a notice omission, and whilst I absolutely LOVED it, I don't think I've had enough time to process how much just yet.
Favourite TV show of the year: Succession (season 2)
Honourable Mentions: When They See Us, Unbelievable, The Wticher
As far as TV goes, there has only really been one candidate for me, and that is Succession. The moment I watched the first episode (after Kerry, my wife, had watched it), I was hooked, and the first two seasons were binged in no time. For those unaware, Succession is a dark comedy drama, that follows the Roy family (imagine the Murdochs), and their media empire. It has a whole cast of amazing characters - it's a bit like Game of Thrones set in the modern world, but with less violence and more politics. Season two ends on such a massive cliffhanger, and season three is already my most anticipated TV of 2020.
When They See Us & Unbelievable are two amazing true crime dramas both to come to Netflix this year, that both feature an amazing cast, and harrowing stories - that must be seen to be believed. While I haven't finished it at the time of writing, I'm also really enjoying The Witcher on Netflix. It's a bit like Game of Thrones on steroids, featuring a great performance from Henry Cavill. The final season of Game of Thrones is missing from this list, mainly because as much as I enjoyed it - it was just way too rushed for me to be 100% satisfying. I've also seen The Mandalorian - but that isn't released in the UK until next year, but it is INCREDIBLE.
Favourite artist/album of the year: Sam Fender/Hypersonic Missiles
Honorable Mentions: The Menzingers/Hello Exile, Dave Hause/Kick
This was a tough choice, because two of my favourite artists, The Menzingers & Dave Hause, released new records this year. As good as they both were, none of them caught my attention as must as the debut record, Hypersonic Missiles, from Sam Fender did. From the moment I first heard the single, Hypersonic Missiles, I knew that he was good, but it wasn't until he released the track The Borders, that it took it to another level. That is the single best track I've heard from a UK artist in years, and a song hasn't caught my attention so much since I first heard The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem.
Hello Exile by The Menzingers is a worthy follow up to the stellar After The Party, with particular highlights being Anna, and Strain Your Memory. Kick, by Dave Hause is an exceptional record, that showcases his talents, and how much he has grown as an artitst since his brother Tim has came on board.
Favourite podcast of the year: Finding Drago
Honourable Mentions: The Storyteller: Murder Most Foul, Triple Hopped, Bad Batch
Now, I don't even know if this podcast was strictly released in 2019, but I only discovered it this year, and I do know that it is absolutely incredible. Finding Drago is an investigative journalism podcast that starts as one thing, and ends as another. I don't want to say too much about it as to spoil the events, but it starts as a journey to find the author of a Rocky IV sequel novel named Drago: On Mountains We Stand.
As for the runners up, Storyteller: Murder Most Foul is a true crime podcast set here in Aberdeen, telling an absolutely horrible story, yet a story that needed to be told. Triple Hopped is a podcast all about craft beer in which each episodes the host talk about a certain type of beer, or a certain brewery. Bad Batch is the latest podcast to come from the team behind Dirty John & Dr Death, Bad Batch tells the story of a bunch of patients who were offered a miracle cure, yet were all rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
So there you have it, my favourites for the year. I would have liked to have maybe included books and games too, but I don't think I read a single book all year, and I didn't play enough games that blew me away to justify making a list.
What were your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.
More Podcast Goodness For Your Ears
It's a little over a year since I published my first non-beer related article, which listed my favorite podcasts at the time. Since a whole year has passed, and I've listened to countless new podcasts since then, I thought it was time to update this list. So in this post I'm going to run through some of my favorites from the last year
Up And Vanished (Season 2)
In the Dark (S2)
Monster - The Zodiac Killer
Now, for something of a lighter tone, with my non-true crime recommendations.
Complete Load of Podcast
Creative Me Aberdeen
So, that's it for now. I hope you have enjoyed reading, and maybe even found a new podcast to listen to. Do you have any recommendations for me? If so, leave them in the comments below.
I'll try and not leave it so long until my next list of podcasts...
Podcasts are great. Whether it's at work, in the car or doing something around the house, I will quite often be listening to a podcast. Most podcasts I listen to are pop culture related; movies, TV shows & video games etc. but I am also a huge fan of true crime podcasts - they are so addictive! In this blog post I am going to run through some of my favourite podcasts, starting with the pop culture ones before going through some of my true crime picks.
IGN UK Podcast
The IGN UK Podcast is a long running weekly podcast (418 episodes & counting) from the IGN UK team that I haven been listening to for years now. For those of you that are not familiar with it; IGN (uk.ign.com/) is one of the biggest entertainment websites in the world which covers games, movies, TV shows, comics & much more.
The podcast itself is usually hosted by 3 different members of the team each week - which is a good format because it keeps things fresh in my opinion. Usually released every Friday the podcast normally follows a loose running order - the team will run through some of the big news stories in the last week, anything they've been playing/watching, listener feedback & depending on the host, an awesome game called Keyword Countdown.
The IGN UK Podcast is probably my favourite weekly podcast as it gives me a mix of topics that I'm interested (including beer), the hosts are hilarious & very informed on the subject matter & it has a BANGING theme tune.
You can find the IGN UK Podcast on iTunes or your dedicated podcast app. Also, you can find the team on Twitter.
Kermode & Mayo's Film Review
Kermode & Mayo's Film Review (also known as Wittertainment) is a weekly film review show that is broadcast on BBC 5 Live then released in podcast form shortly after. Wittertainment is yet another long running show (the podcast has been going since 2005!) that I have again been listening to for years now.
Hosted by Simon Mayo - a long serving BBC radio DJ & Mark Kermode - one of the most respected movie critics in the UK, Wittertainment gives a run down of the box office top 10, weekly reviews of all the latest movie releases as well as interviews with guests & general (often hilarious) nattering. Each week, they always pick a movie of the week (cinema release), TV movie of the week & DVD release of the week.
This podcast great & it's always an entertaining listen. I usually end up spreading it out over a couple of days because they normally come in around 1.5-2 hours in length. Mark Kermode's reviews are thorough, very informative & usually extremely useful when deciding whether to spend your money on cinema tickets or not.
You can find Wittertainment on iTunes, your dedicated podcast app or on the BBC website. Also, you can follow the show on Twitter.
The Cundy & Nathan Shown
The Cundy & Nathan Show is one of my absolute favourite podcasts; it was actually almost cancelled over the Xmas break (due to Dubai Skype laws), but thankfully they found a way round it! The podcast itself focuses primarily on video games along with some well...interesting contemporary references & genuine laugh out loud moments.
I have followed the hosts Matt Cundy & Nathan Irvine since I discovered the TalkRadar UK Podcast back in 2010 and have listened to everything they have done ever since. These guys are not just absolutely hilarious but they offer fantastic insight into the world of video games & their latest podcast is a must listen for me every week. The podcast itself is (usually) released each Friday & the do a good job of reaching out to the listeners for questions etc. on Twitter before they record.
I having a feeling this podcast may be lost on you unless you have followed Cundy & Nathan for a while...but if you like video games & you like to laugh, then you should give these guys a go.
You can find The Cundy & Nathan Show on iTunes, your dedicated podcast app or on their Podbean site. Also, you can follow the show on Twitter. If you are atall interested - you can also find old episodes of the TalkRadar UK Podcast here.
Next up is Final Games; a podcast about the games that inspired us.
Hosted by Liam Edwards, final games is a podcast similar to the format of the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs. The premise is that each week a guest will "cast away" to a video game related deserted place of their choosing & they must pick the 8 video games they would want to have with them.
The podcast themselves often come in at least 2 hours in length, with the latest episode around 3 hours long! The conversations are extremely in depth & very interesting. Before the weekly guest talks abut each game on their list a segment of music from the game in question is played & quite often this can be a massive nostalgia trip.
The schedule itself can be a bit indifferent, but the host has promised to try and have a bit more of a fixed schedule going forward this year.
You can again find Final Games on iTunes, or on your dedicated podcast app. Also, you can follow the show on Twitter.
Now, on to the true crime podcasts. I'm not going to say too much about these, because I don't want to spoil any of the mystery.
First up is S-Town, an investigative journalism podcast by the creators of Serial & This American Life. Hosted by Brian Reed, S-Town starts off by setting up an intriguing murder mystery to hook you in before unravelling into a bizarre treasure hunt.
Set in Woodsock, Alabama in the American deep south, S-Town is full of colourful characters, massive twists & is guaranteed to keep you listening. All 7 episodes are available to download in full, so it is perfect for binging - I did it over 2 days at work.
You can find S-Town on iTunes, or on your dedicated podcast app of choice. You can also find out more about S-Town on the shows website.
Next up is Crimetown from Gimlet Media. Hosted by Mark Smerling & Zac Stuart-Pontier; Crimetown is a serial documentary podcast that will focus on how organised crime has shaped a particular American city each season.
Season 1 focuses on the city of Providence, Rhode Island & particularly the rise & fall of it's former mayor; Buddy Cianci. In a story that spans decades, Crimetown has a huge cast of interesting characters all coming together in a political scandal that wouldn't look out of place in a Hollywood movie.
The hosts first worked together on the Catfish movie before moving on to jaw dropping HBO documentary The Jinx. For me, just knowing these two collaborated on The Jinx was enough to get me listening & I was not disappointed. Crimetown is a fascinating story & I can't wait for season 2. Again all episodes (18 of them) are available to download, making it binge perfect.
You can find Crimetown on iTunes or on your dedicated podcast app. Also, you can follow the show on Twitter to keep up to date with any updates on season 2.
Up And Vanished
This podcast blew my mind. I only wish I had been listening to it live to experience it in real time.
Up and Vanished is a podcast about the 2005 disappearance of high school teacher & beauty queen Tara Grinstead in Ocilla, Georgia. Hosted by Payne Lindsey, Up and Vanished started as a planned 6 episode experiment into the world of podcasting but quickly turned into something much bigger; ending up as a 24 episode full blown missing persons investigation.
I can't recommend Up and Vanished enough. There is a twist roughly 3/4 of the way through of jaw dropping proportions. The host himself is extremely thorough & interesting & there is huge array of colourful characters that he interviews along the way. Up and Vanished is available to listen to in full.
You can find Up and Vanished on iTunes or on your dedicated podcast app. You can also follow the show on Twitter, or check out the website.
Last but not least is the podcast that I am currently listening to; Atlanta Monster. I don't have too much to say about this podcast because there has only been 3 episodes released so far.
Atlanta Monster is the new podcast from Up and Vanished host Payne Lindsey & focuses on the horrific Atlanta Child Murders which resulted in the disappearance & murder of 25 African American children & young adults nearly 40 years ago.
This seems like it's going to be another massive success for Payne Lindsey & another gripping tale - something happens at the end of the second episode that had me saying WOW.
Atlanta Monster is released weekly every Friday. You can find the show on iTunes, or on your dedicated podcast app. You can also follow events on Twitter, or on the shows website.
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