In terms of the entertainment that came out in one form or another this year, to say I felt underwhelmed is an understatement. The worse thing for me is that when I think about where it is potentially headed I have little hope for improvement. For those who don't know what I'm talking about or are new to my blog (if you are, Hi) I shall run through it with you.
First off was me looking at what games were coming out this year and realizing that not only were any of them worth buying but they were exceptionally over priced. This led to me getting rid of my console, and Xbox One, and take on the project of building my own PC for gaming. It does sound like a difficult task but one of my friends on Twitter, Mike, knows a thing or two about this and helped me by working out a build and what parts to buy. I have been picking the parts off month by month and will finish it in April next year, the Xbox was traded in towards parts for the PC and thankfully before the later version came out otherwise the trade in value would have dropped. I guess you could say I got lucky with the timing on that one. Games on PC are so much cheaper so I can buy them at a much more relaxed pace than I did with console but even then, I know I'll be playing a lot of old stuff. There is only one game coming out this year that I am remotely interested in and that is if it even comes out this year, Cyber Punk 2077, but I'm not even sure what the release date of that is so I will wait and see.
Then of course, there is comics. Most would know by now how I feel about all of this but here is a reminder. Watching what happened to Marvel this year was sad, shocking, and made me angry in places. I turned away from the likes of Marvel and DC and went for the more unique stories with the independent publishers and I have not regretted it. Watching Marvel do what they did with their characters for the sake of a new audience or whatever their motivations were felt like myself and those like me who read their comics that we were the past. This new progressive audience was the future and we weren't invited for the journey. Chances are that none of their writers or artists will ever read or care about what myself or anyone like me has to say about it, but I can stop giving them my money and give them the finger. Judging by the sales drop that Marvel has suffered this year, a few other people out there came to the same conclusion.
Film and TV were also disappointments, I only went to the cinema twice this year and it has now become my record low for exactly that. My wife brought me The Shallows for Christmas and we watched it yesterday, it was a good film and I appreciated the fact that it was something original with a lead actress who can actually act. To go into why would risk spoilers so I shall just say: good job Blake Lively. What has hammered this home for me was the amount of actors (of all the celebrities) who passed away this year. Carrie Fisher was the worst as Star Wars was part of my childhood and helped influence me to write science fiction. With the passing of these greats, we are losing exactly that and being left with what to me are those that pale in comparison regarding all examples I am talking about. You may think I am being harsh and that is fair of you to do so, but we now live in an age where almost anyone can be famous for having almost zero talent. Just take the Kardashians, for god sake.
The monster that is Hollywood will continue to churn out these films with minimal effort, especially those blockbusters with a ton of CGI and very little story because they will always put bums in seats. Star Wars will no doubt continue with the Disney versions and you can bet they will milk that thing for all they can get from it. To me, it is a massive example of one of those things that should have been left alone after it finished but some people just can't help themselves. As I said though, this is Disney, if it has a chance to get a good profit and sell lots of overpriced action figures, they will do it. As for TV, there is little to speak about. The only shows I really watched were ones on either Netflix or Amazon. There was very little this year that was really worth watching and it reminded me of a quote by the writer of Network, Paddy Chayefsky, which I've probably said before. He was asked during a chat show if he liked TV and he replied "I love television. I just don't like what they've done to it". Network was the film that would predict the crap that is Reality TV about thirty years ahead of its time. Given how many accolades Chayefsky won for his writing, it is fair to say that he was on to something.
A long time ago, Bob Dylan once wrote:
"... Your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand, cause the times they are a-changing".
The quoted verse comes from the section about parents and their children but I feel like it can apply to entertainment these days. I am part of an older audience who enjoyed films, games, TV, and comics when they were at their best in the eighties and nineties; the old guard in some respects. With the releases of such films as this year's Ghostbusters, almost everything Marvel did, the games more intent on milking the customer for cash than delivering a good product, the shit that is seemingly thrown on TV to see what sticks, it feels like I am part of an audience that is no longer wanted.
So as a result, I will spend less on film unless I'm sure it is worth it, the same with games and comics as well. I will be investing more of my time in books and my own writing as a result. Penance will be finished next year and after that, I will finish off a novella that has been lurking on my hard drive for a while and after that; who knows. I have made some great connections with other writers whilst doing this, Brian Niemeier, EJ Spurrell, Bre Faucheux, Karen Long, Trever Bierschbach, C.D. Gallant-King, Robert Kroese, and a few others. I firmly believe in promoting the work of indie authors as they do not get nearly enough attention for their work, I became one myself this year so you can bet I'll do it even more in the coming year. I and those I have mentioned may not get much attention for our work compared to the more publicized folk out there, but it can be guaranteed that we can offer you something different and worth your money.
I won't just get out of the road, I'll make my own thanks.