2018 Entertainment Favorites

Is anybody else as obsessed with year-end-lists as I am? Every year while waiting for them I’m thinking about all the stuff I’ve loved and want to recommend to others.

This year I’ve made huge list for you! Here are all of my favorite books, movies, TV shows & music albums of the year 2018 (first consumed, not necessarily released in 2018). If you want you can recommend me some of your favorites in the comments as well – I can’t wait to hear from you 🙂 Let’s get started!

Favorite TV Shows of 2018

What an amazing year it was for television! I was looking through my list of watched TV shows and at least half of it was absolutely incredible stuff. Here are my top 3 picks of 2018!

  • Dark The first German Netflix series, and what a great one it is. The writing, sound mixing, characters, story – everything was just amazing. I don’t want to spoil the plot though, you have to experience it for yourself! This was one of those shows where I just wanted to start over after finishing the last episode.
  • The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel This masterpiece is a historical comedy about a housewife turned comedian in 1950s New York City, brought to you by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. Hilarious, heartfelt & over the top in the best way possible!
  • The Handmaid’s Tale Next to Dark this was my most binged show of the year. Once I started watching I couldn’t stop. The book is already an American classic, now the TV show about the US becoming a patriarchal society run by religious fanatics should be a must watch for everyone!

Ok, I’ve already told you: the tv productions this year were outstanding. So, here are 10 more of my favorite series/seasons of the year, the honorable mentions:

  • Better Call Saul For being a spin-off, Better Call Saul already surpassed Breaking Bad in TV greatness. Writing & cinematography that leaves you drooling. This show is getting better and better every season.
  • The Americans One of my favorite shows of all time, with a fantastic last season. If you enjoy family/character dramas and incredible acting mixed with kick ass spy stuff, this one’s for you!
  • Party Down Unfortunately not a lot of people ever heard of this 2009 comedy show. It centers around a catering service in LA. Tons of great comedy actors, unfortunately there are only 20 episodes in this series.
  • Sharp Objects This creepy adaption of a Gillian Flynn novel keeps you questioning your sanity. HBO and miniseries = a match made in heaven. Or hell, in this case.
  • The Bold Type This is probably my feel good series of the year. It centers around three friends working at a New York fashion magazine. A writer, social media marketer & fashion assistant. This show is all about friendship, female empowerment, navigating your career and lots of feminist topics.
  • American Horror Story – The Assassination of Gianni Versace Another creepy miniseries. This is the fictionalized story of the real life murders of Andrew Cunanan. Not for the easily disturbed. Fantastic acting all around.
  • Superstore If you didn’t know, my favorite series of all time is the US version of The Office. It’s not as perfect, but Superstore still fills the void of The Office. It’s another workplace comedy, this time about a variety of weird but lovable workers in a Walmart-like store.
  • Survivor Another one of my all-time favorite shows: Survivor! This year had two amazing seasons: The US ‘David vs. Goliath’, as well as the Australian ‘Champions vs. Contenders’. Survivor is the best reality show ever made and strategy has evolved immensely over the years. If you’ve never seen a season, go check it out!
  • Big Little Lies Another book adaption (this time from a Liane Moriarty novel), another miniseries, another HBO production. This is about a group of parents in California and the small town gossip and hidden hardship surrounding them. Excellent cast and story. Another must watch!
  • The Good Place In my opinion the best comedy series currently on air. This is about four people dying and going to ‘The Good Place’. Amazing writing, amazing characters, the story is getting more and more clever. A comedy show that takes a lot of risks and it pays off!

Favorite Movies of 2018

I haven’t watched a crazy amount of really great movies, but nonetheless, here are my top 3:

  • Call Me By Your Name A heartfelt, quiet movie. To me, this coming of age movie is full of nostalgia, first love, and getting to know yourself.
  • A Star Is Born I didn’t think I would love this movie as much. Cooper and Gaga deliver stunning performances with a lot of heart. The soundtrack is great as well, could have been one of my favorites of the year.
  • Don’t Think Twice About a group of improv players in New York City. One of them gets famous, the other ones stay behind and try to figure out what’s next for them.

And another 4 honorable mentions:

  • Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. Excellent documentary about the British/Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. and her efforts to be the voice for an oppressed Sri Lankan minority.
  • Coco Pixar always delivers. This might not be my favorite animated feature film, but it’s still a great story. It’s about a Mexican boy who wants to be a great guitar player, but doesn’t get the support he needs from his family – a supernatural adventure ensues.
  • A Quiet Place It’s a horror movie that is actually quiet most of the time! Find out why! A great concept with the fantastic Emily Blunt & John Krasinski.
  • Table 19 A nice little comedy movie about a bunch of people meeting because they share the same table at a wedding. Lots of known actors in this one.

Favorite Books of 2018

These are my favorite fiction novels of the year:

  • One True Thing – Anna Quindlen Literary fiction about a young woman caring for her cancer stricken mother. This is all about family dynamics in its many forms. A fascinating book by a wonderful author.
  • Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb Book 2 in the Farseer trilogy. Hobb writes beautiful character focused fantasy.
  • Rules of Civility – Amor Towles New York City in the 1920s if I remember correctly. A Great Gatsby vibe, but with more modernized relatable characters. Beautiful writing.
  • Guards, Guards! – Terry Pratchett If you want to laugh for hours straight, pick up any Discworld novel. This one’s the start of the sub series of the city watch!
  • Exit West – Mohsin Hamid A literary fiction novel about the refugee crisis using magical realism.
  • All Grown Up – Jami Attenberg A great character study of a woman in her 30s (or was it 40s?). Lots of themes about growing up in general, losing sight of your dreams & your dream career, wanting to remain child-free.

And these are my favorite non fiction books of the year:

  • Night – Elie Wiesel Probably the most famous Holocaust memoir. It chronicles Elie Wiesel’s life from the start of the prosecution of the Jewish people in Bulgaria to his time in the Auschwitz & Buchenwald concentration camps.
  • The Essence of Watercolor – Hazel Soan This fantastic watercolor book needs its own blog post someday. Beautiful illustrations, inspiring.
  • Everybody writes – Ann Handley I’ve been learning more about copywriting and this book is an excellent resource for writing in general, as well as writing for very specific situations.

Favorite Music of 2018

This year I’ve tried to listen to more artists and try out some new to me genres (so that I’m not always stuck with listening mostly to rock music). Besides the John Mayer album (from 2001) all those albums were released in 2017 or 2018.

  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour Modern pop country music with a chill vibe and fun lyrics. My pop album of the year.
  • Florence + The Machine – High As Hope Every Florence album just soothes my soul, this one is no exception. ‘Hunger’ is probably my song of the year.
  • Gorillaz – The Now Now Maybe not as great as Plastic Beach, but an awesome album nonetheless.
  • John Mayer – Room For Squares Perfect pop rock album, with lots of bops, as the cool kids would say.
  • Kali Uchis – Isolation What is this even? R&B? Pop? Electro? Funk? Latin? To me it sounds like Kelis mixed with Gorillaz and some pop & latin music thrown into it. As a whole I think this is definitely in the top 3.
  • Lily Allen – No Shame I was always a big fan of Lily Allen. This album still has to grow a bit on me, but her music and lyrics are always top notch!
  • Alice in Chains – Rainier Fog I often feel nostalgic when listening to AIC, so it’s always a treat to get a new album. One of the few new rock records I’ve loved this year.
  • The Band’s Visit (Broadway Cast Recording) This is only for Broadway fans, but it’s a good one. After I’ve seen the show I’ve loved the music so much more. Such a cheeky but heartfelt show, lovely orchestrations.
  • Steve Wilson – To The Bone My favorite rock record of the year, although it’s very poppy in comparison to other Steven Wilson records. Beautiful songs on here either way.

Favorite Concert of 2018

I’ve seen Pearl Jam five times this year. My favorite concert (energy and fun wise) would probably be the second Amsterdam or the Prague show. But for this category I go with the most unique setlist which was the Kraków show. If you love Pearl Jam and have never seen them live, what are you doing??? They are the best live band on the planet!

🙂 Hopefully you’ve found something you like and can add to your list of things to see/watch/read/listen to.
Make the most of your two remaining weeks of 2018 <3

Love,
Franzi