It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives.
With the restrictions goalpost moving, it was hard to do a lot outside, so a lot of time with SuperSam was spent with games (board and video varieties) and TV, a lot of if was new to the both of us and there was a few highlights.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
This was one of the highlights of television. Watching 3-4 episodes a week, we were able to finish this quite quickly and often gave the two of us plenty to talk about. A fantasy story set in a fantasy version of Asia, it’s the story of a mythic figure questing to learn all he can to save the world. This series covered themes of loss, trauma, bigotry and took an interesting look at relationships in a war-torn world. For a kids show, it was surprisingly adult and many characters changed over time.
(SuperSam thoughts: This show was fun and had a lot of jokes that came back, like the “My Cabbages!!” guy.)
Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy
This was three 6 part stories (Siege, Earthrise and Kingdom) that were really one 18 part story about the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. This again was more adult in scope and dealt with the harshness of war and the uselessness of hatred and one can easily become the villain, despite wanting to do the right thing. It was action packed, but deep in it’s themes and plumbed the depth of Transformers lore, throughout it’s 3+ year history. If you have any nostalgia for the property, it is very worthwhile checking out.
(SuperSam thoughts: I liked this, but it wasn’t as good at the end.)
Spider-Man 94 series
This was something I was able to show him that I enjoyed in the halcyon days of my own youth. It is very 90’s in both tone, production design and which characters feature, but it did manage to tell a long form Spider-Man story that rewarded you for paying attention. It had good characterisation felt very much like the Spider-Man that I remembered. GCI animation segments aside, it stands up really well and is long overdue for a re-appraisal.
(SuperSam thoughts: Really fun, with good stories.)
This was a cute lil reboot from before Disney brought all it’s Marvel properties together. Set during the early days of Spider-Man, it was a fresh take on the Steve Ditko era with touches of high-school melodrama and crime noir. It played with familiar themes of Peter Parker’s guilt, responsibility and his life taking the punches for being Spider-Man. It took some liberties with the early stories, but honestly it made it all work and allowed us to care about Flash Thompson without having to wait 20 years for any sort of redemption.
(SuperSam Thoughts: – Made me laugh quite a lot, Doctor Octopus stood out as a cool Spider-Man villain.)
Masters of the Universe Revelation
I talked about this here and feel no need to do so again, but this series ended on quite a high note and was ideal for old fans and new viewers, which is the ideal combination for any kind of revival of this kind.
(SuperSam thoughts: Legen-wait for it-Dary, Legendary. I want more of this!)
And that was that, lots of fun TV aimed at the younger end of the market, but still enjoyed by someone old enough to know better.
Next Time: Other TV from this year.