You've heard that old chestnut, "New Year, New You" before, right? I always assumed that meant most people get depressed during the holidays (especially about themselves and their place in the world), so we look at the new year as a way to start living our best life. But here's the thing: I'm not sure our brains are designed to ever be aware of our best life when we're living it. We're mostly only ever aware of happiness with ourselves or our life in retrospect. So, I'm passing along my rewriting of that old cliche with something a little different: "New Year, Be You."
Be kind to yourself. Never feel guilty about taking a mental health day. Let's try loving ourselves even when we're not at our best. That's more difficult than being stoked when things are great, anyway. Speaking of great things, this year is going to be jam-packed with excellence in the realm of podcasts and shows, so I'm going to try to make a concentrated effort to check out things that make me happy in 2023. Here are a few of them.
In Pod We TrustI've been so predictable in my podcast listening over the last few years that I tend to give new 'casts I've discovered an episode or two, but then I fall off as a regular and just go back to my favorites. Podcasts such as "Blank Check," "Last Podcast on the Left," "The Flop House," "My Favorite Murder," "WTF" and "Welcome to Night Vale" are such staples to me that it's hard to fit more into the regular rotation, especially if I want to go back to the beginning on some of them and start from the top.
So, in the spirit of branching out and trying to become a more well-rounded person, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon with a few classics that I still haven't gotten around to delving into. First, I'm starting from the top with "Stuff You Should Know." There are so many topics I have zero frame of reference for, so it was lovely to learn about altruism, grassoline, anti-bacterial soap, dogs and tornados in just the first few episodes. I'm so excited to learn about a ton of stuff that my short-term memory loss will struggle daily to hold onto.
Another one I'm checking out from the top is the newest podcast from Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the visionary minds behind my favorite podcast of all time, "Welcome to Night Vale." It's called "Start With This" and the premise is pretty cool: Each episode centers around a topic that has to do with some form of artistic expression and then at the end they give the listeners an assignment: something to consume and something to create. If you feel in a funk creatively and artistically, "Start With This" is a genuine lifesaver for those looking for a spark of inspiration.
Now StreamingOh, sweet irony. In the previous installment of this column, I talked about how much I loved the bonkers Netflix series, "1899." Within just a few days of that writing, the show was can-celed, leaving us with yet another Netflix series that will never have an ending. I don't know about you, but that makes me never want to start another Netflix series again unless I know for sure it does or at least will wrap up in some way other than a cliffhanger.
Seriously, just in the last few years I've been left hanging on "The OA," "The Santa Clarita Diet," "Black Spot," "GLOW," "I Am Not Okay With This," "Sabrina" and "October Faction." If Netflix doesn't have enough faith in its own original programming to at least spring for a 90-minute episode to wrap things up, then I'm not going to trust it, either. Imagine years from now how hard it will be for them to get new subscribers when so few of their shows end satisfyingly.
It looks like this year we'll have a final season for "Stranger Things," which is nice since the most recent season was its best since the first. We'll also get a final season of "Umbrella Academy" in 2023, which is kind of amazing since I'm not sure that many people watch the (absolutely fantastic) show.
Now if we get renewals of some of the Netflix shows currently on the bubble, including "Russian Doll," "Black Summer," "Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun," "Master of None" and "Murderville," I'll be a lot more likely to renew my subscription. How about you? Are you done with Netflix already or are you still holding on for a few more shows? Let us know!