I’m sure we’re all very glad that 2020 is finally over! I have no doubt 2021 is probably going to be the same, but for the moment, a new year always feels like a fresh start, so I’m going to ride that wave until it inevitably changes.
In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to share the things that got me through 2020 — from books, to shows, to podcasts, to movies and everything else in between!
- Boyfriend Material: I read this book twice this year because it was so freaking amazing. Luc and Oliver are incredible characters who I ship so freaking hard. Also, this book is so hilarious it’s just a delight. Such a fun book to make you forget you’re in lockdown.
- A Gentleman Never Keeps Score & Two Rogues Make a Right: These are books 2 and 3 in the Seducing the Sedgewicks series and I became a bit obsessed. The audiobooks are so great, I listened to them back to back and did it again. It’s a lovely romance series that tackles some hard topics but does so in a lighter manner, but is still respectful.
- The Mandalorian (season 1 & 2): Last year, I watched The Mandalorian for the first time and adored it so much! This show is so different from other Star Wars films and shows out there, and I think that’s why I love it the most. It’s literally about a bounty hunter who comes across a baby and, instead of handing it over to the people who want it, adopts the baby himself and goes on the run to protect it. #DADGOALS. Also the season 2 finale? CRIED FOR DAYS!
- The Haunting of Hill House: Oh damn, this show! I watched the whole series twice last year — which were already rewatches from 2019. It’s just such a beautiful, well-constructed and well-plotted show. I can’t get over the amazing characters, the tension, the horror — so visually pleasing. And the way they successfully partner the past with what’s happening in the present is just *chef’s kiss*
- The Good Place (4 seasons): I rewatched The Good Place twice in 2020! Think it’s pretty obvious I needed a really happy show to get me through it. For anyone who doesn’t know, this show follows Eleanor after she dies and ascends to the Good Place because she was the top 1% of incredible people back on Earth. There’s only one problem: she wasn’t, and they’ve made a terrible mistake. So much fun and I learned so much about philosophy too!
- Avatar the Last Airbender (3 seasons): I rewatched this series twice last year, once on my own and then with my sister who had never seen it before. Even though this show came out in 2005, it holds up so well and is a literal masterpiece. I’ll never get over these amazing characters, and this amazing story!
- The Untamed: This show. THIS SHOW! I watched it back in April during the first stages of Melbourne lockdown and it literally got me through the whole ordeal. It’s about Wei WuXian, the grandmaster of demonic cultivation, who is resurrected after having died 13 years earlier into the body of a lunatic. Together with his old rival, Wei WuXian travels the countryside trying to find the person who was responsible for his downfall all those years ago. If you can handle 50 episodes in one season, you need to watch this!
- History 3 Trapped: This show is absolutely wild but it got me through the hard lockdown we had in Melbourne, where we were in lockdown for 129 days. This show is campy, over-dramatic, and just perfect in my opinion. It follows a police detective named Meng Shao Fei who is obsessed with crime boss Tang Yi who was the only survivor of a shootout that killed three other people, including Meng Shao Fei’s mentor. Meng Shao Fei soon finds himself working with Tang Yi to find out what happened all those years ago, and eventually falls for him.
- Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens: This is my favourite Star Wars movie and I rewatch it a couple of times a year. This year I really needed something fun and visually beautiful to watch during Covid lockdown, and this movie definitely helped!
- The Old Guard: GAY IMMORTALS! Does anything else need to be said? I watched this film a couple of times in 2020 and it made me so freaking happy. It has literally everything I love in fiction: god-like immortals, gay enemies to lovers, found family — I need the sequel ASAP.
- Homecoming: I FINALLY watched Beyonce’s Homecoming Coachella performance this year … and then rewatched like 3 more times. Beyonce really outdid herself here, she was incredible. And the dancers, the music, the whole show was just phenomenal. Like, no one has done what she did — and probably never will.
- Little Women (2020): I watched this film twice in 2020 because it was so homely and lovely and so visually beautiful. This movie just made me so happy and I’m just in awe over how the two timelines overlap and makes the film so unique. Really amazing movie, I want to rewatch yet again.
- Hamilton: I loved this soundtrack when it came out years ago and then my sister and I were super lucky to get to see it in New York. And then Disney released a filmed production of the show and it was so great! Felt like seeing it back in New York again, but this time I could pay attention to everything that you can’t see from a seat far away.
- The Chronicles of Narnia movies: For some reason, I decided to watch all of these films this year and loved them! Can’t believe I’ve been putting off watching The Chronicles of Narnia for so long. The first film was great, the second incredible, and the third was average but still so much fun. Now I want to read all the books.
- You’re Wrong About: I am so glad I discovered this podcast this year! This is a PHENOMENAL podcast that I literally can’t stop listening to. I think I’ve listened to each episode at least twice, and some definitely more. It’s run by two journalists, Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, who discuss famous events and people that have been misremembered by the public, mainly due to inaccurate reporting by the media. They did a series on Princess Diana (my favourite), the murder of Kitty Genovese, the disappearance of Chandra Levy, Human Trafficking, the belief that Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles, Shaken Baby Syndrome, and so much more. I love this podcast so much, I hope they keep recording episodes forever.
- Morbid: Alaina and Ash (an aunt and niece who are really close in age so they just call each other sisters) take turns in telling each other true crime stories, conspiracy theories, creepy events, and more. They have such infectious, fun personalities, it’s hard not to fall in love with them … even when they’re describing very gruesome murders. But damn, I love this show! My favourite episode is the murder of Australian Phoebe Handsjuk — this murder will make you so fucking mad.
- Witch, Please: I love this podcast so much! Hannah and Marcel are two scholars/professors who analyse each of the Harry Potter books and movies. They take a fascinating, in-depth close reading into the series and do not shy away from criticising J.K. Rowling, who absolutely deserves the criticism — from the lack of characters of colour, to her treatment of queer people, and more. Such an amazing, fascinating podcast!
- Why is Cats?: This podcast is so damn funny! Hosted by two Australian comedians, Cameron James and Ben Ellwood, the series dissects the 2019 film Cats, and interviews a bunch of people involved in the film and the musical. It’s actually really interesting how the film came to be and people’s interpretations of it, but what I love most is how Cameron and Ben LOVE the film so much and try to understand why everyone else hates it.
- Animal Crossing: Oh man, this was the first game I bought when I bought my Switch, and I adore it so much. This game got me through a lot of lockdown (I just checked, and I’ve played 145 hours of it) because it’s so relaxing and so much fun. It’s a low-stakes game where you just create a village — so much fun 😭.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: I only just started playing Breath of the Wild in December, but it really got me through the last month of 2020. I can’t believe how amazing this game is! It’s a massive, open world, beautiful game that I cannot stop playing. Literally played for 6 hours last weekend and had a crick in my neck by the end of it. Everyone who loves this game is right: it’s amazing and you’re gonna love it too!
- Lego Harry Potter Years 1-7: This game is so much fun! (And I bought it on sale — $30 for 7 games, woohoo!) Anyway, it’s a Lego version of the Harry Potter movies and follows them pretty straightforwardly, but in Lego format. And you have it’s a sort-of puzzle game as you have to complete challenges and work out the puzzles in each scene.
- Chromatica by Lady Gaga: I adore Chromatica and binged the entire album non-stop for about two months. In fact, one of the songs (Stupid Love) was my number one song on Spotify, and Gaga herself was my favourite artist too.
- folklore & evermore by Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift literally saved 2020 for everyone. Not one, but two surprise albums in ONE YEAR? Thank you 😭. And all of the songs are so beautiful and heartbreaking and make me want to cry. And somehow I can’t stop listening to them.
- Homecoming by Beyonce: I started listening to the album of Homecoming long before watching the show, and in 2020 I binged it way more than I used to. Beyonce can do no wrong!
- Tom Harlock: Omg, I love this guy. He is absolutely my favourite YouTuber and I’m so thankful I discovered him during the Plague Year. He’s so funny, so clever and witty, and just so damn pretty. I could watch his videos all day, every day. Most of his videos are weird little commentaries about things he finds interesting. The video above is my favourite!
- Dylan is in Trouble: Another favourite, Dylan is truely hilarious and he makes me so happy when I watch him. He’s such a loveable person, you can’t help but binge all of his videos — which I have absolutely done. Most of his videos are film reactions, and his Twilight one is the best! But I recommend them all! He will make you laugh and smile and have a good time.
- D’Angelo Wallace: I adore D’Angelo so much! His videos are all commentary, but he puts in so much more research, he honestly feels like a journalist at this point. His video on Shane Dawson is so analytical, so well researched, and so well done — he goes into so much more detail than any other YouTuber I’ve watched. I always get so excited when I see he’s uploaded, because I know I’m about to get some amazing content. Highly recommend!
Things that don’t fit under categories
This is going to be so random, but I became obsessed with Princess Diana, and learning about her life really helped me get through this year. I listened to a five-part podcast episode about her, from You’re Wrong About (which I’ve listened to four times each), and quickly became hooked. Then, I started watching documentaries about her, watched movies about her, borrowed two books about her from the library (which I’m currently reading), and started watching a bunch of YouTube videos about her. 😅 When I get obsessed, I really get obsessed.
She was just such a beautiful person who was taken from the world too soon. Even though she comes from a life of immense privilege, her deep feelings of unworthiness and suffering resonated and still resonates with so many people — myself included. She just made so many people feel loved and feel happy, and it’s so devastating that she’s not around to continue that legacy.
Also, I started using Notion this year to keep track of my reading (like an online bullet journal) and she is the inspiration for January! It’s not quite finished, but still take a look:
And some more random things:
- Sitting outside under the pergola in my backyard, reading a book
- Listening to audiobooks while doing chores
- Going for socially distanced walks around the river near my house
- Volunteering for an online fantasy and sci-fi magazine, and then becoming Secretary
- Listening to music through my new Wonderboom
- Discovering Recipe Tin Eats website and baking her caramel slices
- Finally settling on a good skincare routine that works for me