1. Slings & Arrows
I don’t know how this incredible show managed to not really show up on my radar over the last six years, what with my routine checking of former Kids in the Hall cast members’ IMDb pages, but I’m glad it finally did. Eighteen episodes over three seasons of quality Canadian television, set at a fictional Shakespearean festival. Those eighteen episodes pack a lot of emotional punch, and the show’s case for great theatre and performances and the value of art is exhilarating. William Hutt’s Charles Kingman’s King Lear is one of the most devastatingly beautiful performances I’ve ever seen, and I can only wish that I could see him do the play front to bakc.
2. Now and Then, Here and There
There aren’t all that many new things on this list. This is an anime originally aired in Japan in 1999. It plays like a beautiful combination of Castle in the Sky and Grave of the Fireflies, set in the world of Nausicaa. Studio Ghibli references aside, it’s a powerful and thoughtful piece about violence and war, as well as the potential for goodness humanity has. It’s pessimistic and optimistic in the same breath. It’s wonderful.
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
There are few, few things I have found more satisfying than putting on my fucking demon pants and punching some demons in the fucking face. Like an inverted, Persona 3, this mainline Shin Megami Tensei game is light on story and dialogue, but incredibly expressive through its mood and design.
4. Little King’s Story
I’ve just begun this game over the weekend, but I’m already completely smitten. It’s an ingenious mix of time management, real-time strategy, kingdom simulation, charming design, and beautiful music. May be the best Wii original title I’ve played.
5. The Thin Man
I’ve been watching quite a few of the great screwball comedies of the thirties lately. Most charming in this recent batch was the incredibly funny 1934 film, The Thin Man. The banter between William Powell and Myrna Loy’s Nick and Nora Charles is some of the best stuff that’s ever been committed to celluloid.