Last year, I hopped on the bandwagon and did a “favorites of 2021” post. It ended up being fairly popular, and I enjoyed writing it, so I thought why not do another write-up of everything I enjoyed in 2022? Several categories have an honorable mention as it was too tough to narrow it down to just one thing! (Affiliate links included, fyi.)
Best New Movie – Top Gun Maverick
I am always hesitant about remakes or re-imaginings of my beloved 80s films, and for Top Gun it was no different. I was a huge fan of the original film, as well as the killer soundtrack. I had low expectations for the sequel, but I was absolutely blown away by Top Gun Maverick! I was afraid it would be a horrific CGI-fest but that wasn’t really the case. The heavy use of practical effects was incredibly welcome. This should be the template for all retro remakes going forward.
Best “New to Me” Movie – Moon
I knew little about this film going in, and that added to my enjoyment greatly, so I will avoid anything resembling a spoiler here. This film was incredible, very thought provoking, and one that I definitely want to rewatch again soon. Sam Rockwell is brilliant; please seek this one out soon if you haven’t seen it.
Best New TV Show – Star Trek Strange New Worlds
I’m an old school Star Trek fan, and have watched at least a few episodes of every entry in the franchise over the years. I enjoyed the Kelvin films very much, but Discovery and Picard didn’t grab me like I expected them to. I prefer Star Trek when it’s episodic, and Strange New Worlds scratched that itch while still offering plenty of character development and story arcs. If you’ve been hesitant about Nu Trek, give SNW a shot!
Best “New to Me” TV Show – In Search Of
In Search Of was a mystery/documentary TV show from the mid 70s, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. It’s basically my favorite bits from Unsolved Mysteries with Spock, how could I not love it? Watching the show took me back to my days checking out every book on the low Dewey Decimal number shelves in the library, dealing with Bigfoot, UFOs, and the Bermuda Triangle. So much to love here!
Best Book – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
I guess I’m an Agatha Christie fan now, because every time I read one of her books I love it. After first reading And Then There Were None, I moved on to her most famous works, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on Nile. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is less well known than those two, but I think is a much better book overall. The ending absolutely blew my mind!
Honorable Mention – Redshirts by John Scalzi
A friend of mine recommended this book to me years ago, and insisted I listen to the audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton. I finally got around to it and it lived up to the recommendation! The whole conceit is very clever and if the first chapter really grabs you. Fans of Star Trek should read this, it’s a blast.
Best Video Game – Live a Live
Despite finally getting a PS5, my favorite games this past year were for Nintendo’s system. Just goes to show you that polygons and framerate aren’t the be all end all! Live a Live is a remake of a RPG released only in Japan in the mid 90s. It uses the retro pixel art style (think Octopath Traveler) and offers multiple storylines through wildly different settings, including caveman times, the Wild West, outer space, and more. It also avoids the typical JPRG super-length, which I appreciate as an older gamer with less free time.
Honorable Mention – Bayonetta 3
The Bayonetta games shouldn’t be something I enjoy so much. I’m very bad at games like this, but I really do love the series. Bayonetta 3 has got to be the wildest, craziest, most offbeat game I have ever played, from start to finish. I can’t explain a single bit of the story and don’t understand at all what’s happening, but I don’t care, I just enjoy the ride. Kudos to the developers for including Naive Angel mode to disable some of the more risqué elements.
Best Tabletop/Board Game – Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Odyssey
Cosmic Encounter is among my favorite board games of all time, and this year, the best expansion for it EVER came out. Cosmic Odyssey includes more of the stuff first introduced in other expansions, plus offers a campaign mode where you emulate other editions of the game. There’s a whole lot of gaming goodness packed inside this box. This expansion reignited my long-term love for the game, making me appreciate it even more.
Honorable Mention – 7 Wonders Architects
My wife is my most frequent gaming partner these days, and our sweet spot is less complex games that provide a fun experience but do it in 15 to 45 minutes. 7 Wonders Architects is perfect for us. With all the different wonders, there’s lots of replay value, and there’s enough crunch to keep yourself engaged throughout. I expect we’ll be playing this one regularly for years to come.
Best Toy – Delta Magnus (Shattered Glass Ultra Magnus)
The best toy of the year has got to be Haslabs Victory Saber, but that feels like cheating. As far as regular retail releases go, Delta Magnus is the toy I enjoyed the most this year. Technically, it’s supposed to be Shattered Glass (that is, evil) Ultra Magnus, but he’s in the Diaclone colors and comes with the standard good-guy head, so I’m calling it Delta Magnus. It’s a solid mold, very chunky and sturdy, and looks fantastic in both modes. Wonderful toy!
Honorable Mention – Magnificus
I really love the callback redecos that reference figures that predated Transformers history. This is one of the best! A black, evil version of Autobot scientist Perceptor might seem like an easy cash grab recolor, but this really works. What I enjoy most of all is the toy-based head; I wish all the Diaclone/Microman redecos had them, as I really appreciate the original toys’ aesthetics.