Seen, Read, Heard 2017

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You’d think with two small and adorable babies  I’d be hard pressed to find much time to watch, read or listen to much of anything last year. Well, you would be surprised. I certainly was.In 2017, I engaged in an effort to keep a log of all (okay, most) media consumed to be shared with a group of friends at the end of the year. (For more on what and why, visit my Seen, Read, Heard page.) At first it seemed like a daunting effort, but pretty quickly it became an enjoyable ritual and a fun challenge to keep up to date. And now, it produces content! Also, it’s a pretty cool way to look back at how I was entertained during the year (apart from the aforementioned adorables).

You can see my full 2017 media log by date here (seriously, take a look – I spent all year working on this!).

Overall I recorded 256 days of content consumption, which doesn’t include the days in between starting and finishing books where I was actually reading them. Over that time I watched 297 episodes of TV over 28 different series and managed to watch 47 movies – including 13 in the theatres! (I’m surprised too!)

Below, I’ve summarized the year by TV shows, movies, books, plays and live concerts, and podcasts, along with a few poignant and not-so-poignant thoughts and recommendations. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you think, or if you have any recommendations to see, read or hear in 2018.

[Note: The lists below are not ranked]

TV Series (297 Episodes)

If you had told me at the start of the year that by its end I would begrudgingly enjoy a James Franco performance, I’d have called you nuts. I generally can’t stand the guy, and he made the miniseries adaptation of one of my favourite recent books – Steven King’s 11/22/63 – painfully unwatchable (I only made it through 2 episodes). But in HBO’s The Deuce, he just delivers.

Also topping my list for favourite shows in 2017: The Leftovers, Glow, The Handmaid’s Tale, Mozart in the Jungle (all three seasons binged), and most recently The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (an absolute must-watch).

Here’s how I spent 2017 in front of the TV.:

  1. The Crown (S1, E7-10)
  2. The OA (S1, E1-8)
  3. The Simpsons (S28, E10-20; S29, E1-7)
  4. Boardwalk Empire (S1, E1-3)
  5. The Young Pope (S1, E1-5)
  6. Suits (S6, E11-16; S7, E1-10)
  7. Scandal (S6, E1-2)
  8. This Is Us (S1, E1-18; S2, E1-10)
  9. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (S4, E1-30)
  10. The Good Fight (S1, E1-10)
  11. Big Little Lies (S1, E1-7)
  12. Designated Survivor (S1, E11-20; S2, E1-8)
  13. American Gods (S1, E1-3)
  14. House Of Cards (S5, E1-13)
  15. The Leftovers (S3, E1-8)
  16. Glow (S1, E1-10)
  17. The Handmaid’s Tale (S1, E1-10)
  18. 3% (S1, E1-3)
  19. Game of Thrones (S7, E1-7)
  20. Love (S1, E1-4)
  21. Mozart In The Jungle (S1, E1-10; S2, E1-10; S3, E1-10)
  22. The Deuce (S1, E1-8)
  23. Star Trek: Discovery (S1, E1-9)
  24. The Good Place (S1, E1-13)
  25. Stranger Things (S2, E1-9)
  26. Longmire (S1, E1-3)
  27. Ozark (S1, E1-10)
  28. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S1, E1-8)

Movies (* in theatres)

I started the year on a real low. Silence was, well…lets just say actual silence would have been preferable to this interminable slog. But it wasn’t the worst movie I saw this year. That honour goes to Mother! And I choose not to waste any words in explanation.

I definitely surprised myself on how many movies I managed to squeeze in this year (TV shows tend to be easier to commit to these days), and even more that I managed to see 13 films in the theatre. Of those, Get Out, Lady Bird, Wonder Woman, and The Shape of Water were the most memorable.

Here’s my full cinematic reckoning of 2017:

  1. Silence *
  2. La La Land *
  3. The Spectacular Now
  4. The Pirates of Penzance
  5. The Book of Love
  6. Cloudburst
  7. Whip It
  8. Arrival
  9. The Edge Of Seventeen
  10. Miss Sloane
  11. The Handmaiden
  12. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
  13. 20th Century Women
  14. Rogue One
  15. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
  16. Get Out *
  17. Strictly Ballroom
  18. The Commune *
  19. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
  20. Pitch Perfect
  21. The Lego Batman Movie
  22. Pitch Perfect 2
  23. Wonder Woman *
  24. Magic Mike
  25. Ant-Man
  26. Captain America: Civil War
  27. Jason Bourne
  28. Gifted
  29. Nocturnal Animals
  30. Wind River *
  31. Dunkirk *
  32. Strange Brew
  33. Jackie
  34. Sing
  35. Mother! *
  36. Hidden Figures
  37. Independence Day: Resurgence
  38. Blade Runner: 2049
  39. San Andreas
  40. The Big Sick
  41. Lady Bird *
  42. Charade
  43. Star Wars; The Last Jedi *
  44. Pitch Perfect 3
  45. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
  46. Crimson Peak
  47. The Shape of Water *

Books

You’ll see a lot of Jasper Fforde on this list. If you haven’t read his Thursday Next books (there are seven in the series), I highly recommend. They are entertaining, meta, and quick to binge. Perfect fare for commutes and end of day exhaustion. But the best book I read this year was A Little Life: A Novel. Fair warning, the book is not little, and I spent more than enough time getting through it’s 800+ pages. Definitely worth it though.

Goal for 2018 is to double the length of this list:

  1. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
  2. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
  3. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  4. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu (unfinished)
  5. A Little Life: A Novel by Hanya Yanagihara
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  7. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  8. Thursday Next: A First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
  9. One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
  10. The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde
  11. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (unfinished)
  12. Ways To Disappear bu Idra Novey (unfinished)
  13. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking (unfinished)
  14. A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman (unfinished)
  15. Where Are You, Sweetheart by Mariana Enriquez (short story)

Plays, Opera, Live Concerts

One day I might write about how Ira Glass met me, but for now the clear favourite this year was A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Central Park, including the rain delay (and subsequent seat upgrade).

  1. The Magic Flute (Canadian Opera Company)
  2. Ladysmith Black Mambazo (concert at Koerner Hall)
  3. Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Public Theatre NYC Shakespeare in the Park)
  5. A Doll’s House 2 (NYC)
  6. Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in High Park, Toronto)

Podcasts

I didn’t track podcast episodes in the same way I did with everything else in 2017, but I may try to do so in 2018. S-Town was the best overall thing I listened to, but I start each morning with The Daily from the New York Times. I hope to add much more to my podcast repertoire this year. Recommendations, anyone?

  1. S-Town
  2. The Daily
  3. This American Life
  4. Reply All
  5. Birds All Day
  6. Slow Burn

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