Year in Review: Sifting through the Media Muck

Anthony Fanara, Reviewer

Due to the quarantine, I have consumed quite a lot of media throughout the year of 2020 in order to occupy my time when I was not working out or doing schoolwork. Today I will focus on both comics and TV shows in order to ensure this article isn’t extremely long. 

Beginning with comic books, I read Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, a strange comic which has a complicated plot. It was just being wild for the sake of being wild although this could be partially due to the fact that Grant Morrison himself is not the most sane individual so I dropped it relatively quickly. 

The highlight of comics I had read this year was the Tokyo Babylon/X duology by the manga –Japanese comic– group CLAMP. While Tokyo Babylon is a tragedy, its beginning is a lighthearted story of a group of friends with light supernatural elements slowly deteriorating before reaching its climax and conclusion leaving the reader heartbroken, as the veil of peace is broken. 

X on the other hand is tragic to an extent but deals with ideas such as prophecy and a morally grey situation: letting the Earth reclaim itself even if it destroys humanity. The two lead characters are neither painted as heroic nor evil as their goals are not a simple question of right or wrong; X is also a great example of subverting expectations once the true antagonist is revealed. I would highly recommend the Tokyo Babylon and X duology to anyone looking for an exciting read.

As for television, the two highlighted shows of my year were the 1979 classic, Mobile Suit Gundam from Sunrise, and the legendary HBO Drama: The Sopranos

Mobile Suit Gundam is an excellent war drama, blending the awesome action of the mecha genre with the drama of constant warfare on the young mind. As Amuro Ray, the protagonist, is forced into a battle he is not ready for. Despite its limitations, I still found Mobile Suit Gundam to be an excellent watchChar Aznable, the prodigy of the Principality of Zeon acting as a wonderful antagonist, as even he was against his own faction. A detail I enjoyed was that despite the fact Char and Amuro had faced one another on the battlefield, they had not known each other physically, making their out of combat interactions so heavy with palpable tension.

The Sopranos was a pleasant surprise, all my life I had heard excellent things about The Sopranos, yet never really heard from anyone on why it was excellent, it was simply just a fact of life.The Sopranos was great and there was no questioning it. 

So then, one day out of boredom, I decided to begin The Sopranos and I see all the excitement which derives from the show. It is a great psychological drama, which surprised me, as I did not expect such a large part of the show to be focused on Tony Soprano’s mental health which greatly humanized him. It felt as though Tony Soprano was a real person, leading to genuine sympathetic moments as he struggled with being both a man of the mafia in the early twenty-first century and being a father struggling with his own family.

While I had completed and consumed a lot more media than these five examples, if I were to make a complete list, I would be writing all day, night, maybe even week. I do hope in 2021 I will continue to find gems in the rough, among a sea of schlock. Have a happy holiday!