It’s time to write about the movies and TV shows of yesteryear, and as an illustration photo I’ve chosen the TV series Vikings from 2013. This is probably what the historical vikings would’ve dressed like in battle. They weren’t all rich lords able to dress in steel and chain from toe to nose, most didn’t even have helmets. Some had chain mail under their clothes. Their tactics and skills with weapons were excellent, and combined with fearlessness derived from their belief that if they died in combat they would soon sit by Thor’s left side in Valhalla and drink mead from cups made of horn, they were indeed fierce fighters.
I watched a total of 121 movies last year, 80 less than the year before. That’s the lowest number ever, since I started keeping a record back in 2002. The reason is that I was busy learning Chinese in Beijing and finishing my novel. Also I didn’t have my home theater with me. Those 121 movies are spread across the following formats:
Blu-ray Disc: 85
Blu-ray 3D: 14
Blu-ray Disc reigns supreme, also in my collection, which swelled to 1,547 titles in 2014. I added 72 BDs, 13 BD3Ds, and -6 DVDs. The negative number of DVDs represents the switch from DVD to Blu-ray Disc. Each title represents one movie, movie box, TV show or TV show season, all depending on the packaging. The collection is now:
Blu-ray Disc: 961
Blu-ray 3D: 60
I’m quite proud of the number of Blu-ray 3D, which is the newest format, until Blu-ray 4K appears later this year. I don’t suppose I will buy a lot before then, just a few necessities. Which leads us to the next item on the agenda: Best movies seen in 2014. Same procedure as last year, James. It doesn’t have to be movies released in 2014, but it has to be the first time I see them, disregarding format. I will also—same as last year—nominate movies in both 2D and 3D, ranging from 1 to 3 (1 being the best):
So there you have it; The winners are Ender’s Game and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in 3D and Extended Version. Ender’s Game I watched on BD in my apartment in Beijing, still remembering the novel that I read ages ago. I loved the movie adaptation, even though it would’ve been even better in 3D. Shame on the makers for robbing us of this opportunity! The Hobbit movie we watched in our new apartment on my 65 inch plasma with active shutter 3D glasses, simply the best movie experience possible, short of 4K.
Over to TV shows. I watched 208 episodes in 2014, spread over 19 different series, no less. A little less than the prior year, when I watched 247 episodes. The best series seen for the first time in 2014 are:
Vikings is a reasonable fresh show with a great storyline and high production value. The makers have gone out of their way to make it as realistic and accurate as possible. They even hired the Norwegian band Wardruna to make the soundtrack using authentic instruments from that era. Almost Human is a great sci-fi show with elements from Ghost in the Shell and RoboCop. It also smells like Judge Dredd, which of course Karl Urban plays in too. Masters of Sex is entertaining and funny, and stars Michael Sheen and Beau Bridges, two of my favorite actors. Vikings win because of its originality and authentic ambience.
Have a great movie year, and don’t forget to support the legitimate movie industry!