It's 2020 and I'm once again the luckiest and most privileged person I know. Getting to go into another year writing for the Source Weekly is amazing, but knowing that the people of Central Oregon are reading my super nerdy words never fails to make me feel truly wonderful. I love this community and I love our readers, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me talk about pop culture with you. It's my dream come true.
In Pod We Trust:
My new year's resolution is to branch out into listening to podcasts that have subject matter toward which I'm not instantly drawn. I want to care about more varied things that aren't always mid-'80s horror movies, true crime podcasts and weirdly specific things like that. NPR's "Life Kit" is a solid step in that direction as it tends to focus on ways to improve your day to day in simple and easily quantifiable ways. One of the newest episodes is about how to start a habit of making something every single day. I tend to write about other people's art so much that it doesn't give me a whole lot of time to work on my own book or screenplay. "Life Kit" gives listeners little hints on how to make time for your own creative expression by treating it like a diet or exercise. It managed to wake my brain up at a time I needed it most.
World history is another area about which I always feel like I should know more. So to improve my sadly drooping knowledge base, I've started listening to "The Explorer's Podcast." The newest episode is about Cortés' conquest of Mexico. Host Matt Breen makes the entire thing feel like a master class, you get to audit while sitting in the back and relaxing. It feels good to learn.
I've been all over the streaming services so far in the new year without quite landing on a favorite yet. I'm caught up on all eight seasons of "Letterkenny" on Hulu—which hurts my heart because I need more and I need it now. After switching to Hulu, the show got a bigger budget and nicer cameras, but the writing is still just filled with terrible and wonderful puns, so I'm happy.
AppleTV+ launched with some interesting shows like Jason Momoa's "See," which takes places in a future in which everyone is blind and at war. It's kinda stupid but has a pretty fascinating mythology and fulfills my "Game of Thrones" desires for now. Also, "For All Mankind" is an interesting alternate history look at what life would be like if America had lost the space race with Russia. The other big launch show was "The Morning Show" with Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon, focusing on a show modeled after something like "Good Morning America," which goes through a #metoo firing of its lead male anchor. All three shows are strong, well-acted and bingeworthy. Luckily, AppleTV+ has renewed them all for new seasons, so get used to seeing these shows around for a while.
HBO Now is easing into 2020 strong with so much content it's ridiculous. A brand-new season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is here and snarkier than ever. "The Outsider" is a deeply creepy adaptation of a great Stephen King book. "Avenue 5" is a brilliantly foul-mouthed show set on a space cruise from the deviant mind that created "Veep." Oh, and "The New Pope" is a lush and visually stunning follow-up to the surprisingly brilliant "Young Pope." This is just January, HBO, who are you trying to impress? Me? Well, you've done a great job. I guess I'll take another year of Peak TV after all.