Countdown to 2023: 2022 TV

Disclaimer: I only rank shows that I watch and I’m not a TV critic. Also, there are some spoilers. Read at your own risk…

Last year I watched 12 shows from 2021. This year I watched 13 shows from 2022–doing well! Last year I also watched 11 seasons from previous years. This year I watched 14, as well as a entire series rewatches of The Good Place with my family and the Saved by the Bell reboot with my partner.

A young boy and girl lie on sand in preppy clothes.
Will and Lyra from His Dark Materials season 3, weirdly looking like they are in a Gap ad instead of traversing worlds. They eventually get dirtier.

Here are my top 10:

1. His Dark Materials
While the third and final season wasn’t perfect or even my favorite season of this limited series adaptation of the His Dark Material books, I am just so grateful for its existence that it has to be number one while it still can. This book series is one of my favorites, second only to A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Marisa Coulter one of my favorite characters not just in the books but in anything. Having Ruth Wilson in this role, though she doesn’t look exactly as I pictured Mrs. Coulter (that would be Vivien Leigh), gave me everything I needed from this characer and more. The writers really made this adaptation as much her story as it was Lyra’s, with a beautiful character arc that was only really hinted at in the books. I am sad it’s over, although I guess they could always adapt more of the His Dark Materials universe books…

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Countdown to 2023: 2022 Books

Last year, I read 10 books! This year I read 11. I am a little over my usual goal of 10 books per year. I also listened to a lot of podcasts, which I have included at the end of this list.

Each book listed in this post laid out on a yellow rug with the New York Magazines and New Yorkers
2022 Books and Magazines
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Countdown to 2023: 2022 Movies

Run Lola Run on TV

Last year I saw 31 movies, all at home, and this year I saw 30, also all at home or on a plane. I saw 2 new movies (last year it was 7), and 28 older movies streaming/on a plane (same as last year).

I saw 2 new feature-length movies either in the theater, from theaters, or new movies streaming that would have been shown in theaters this year. Both were on streaming services after being released in theaters. I saw all these movies for the first time.

The major movie moments this year were finishing the Inifinity Saga with Avengers: Endgame, as well as doing a 4-movie marathon of Time Loop movies over Christmas (Edge of Tomorrow, Run Lola Run, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, Groundhog Day). We also had our Halloween movie of Clue and our Valentine’s Day movies of The Thin Man and Educating Rita. We watched E.T. on its 40th anniversary.

My rating system for new movies uses stars and equates as follows: 1=bad, 2=ok 3=really good 4=great.

My favorite new movies (4 stars) this year were:
Everything Everywhere All At Once

Runners up (3.5 stars):

My favorite old movie I saw for the first time:
Edge of Tomorrow
Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame

My favorite old movies I loved seeing again:
The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened (Netflix)
The Last of Sheila

The (Not-So) Big List:

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Countdown to 2023: 2022 Theater

Two women, smiling, standing on either side of a poster for The Skin of Our Teeth

Last year I saw 36 showsThis year I also saw 36, so the same as last year’s drop. 22 of those were in person, 2 outdoors. While I did see more in person shows than streaming this year, I was very thankful for the opportunities to watch streaming shows.

I performed/read in the 3 Thornton Wilder Society readings. 1 show was connected to an article I wrote, although I did not know it at the time. I watched 3 operas (last year it was 7).

I have highlighted my favorites, although it’s kind of arbitrary, everything felt equally good this year. And after the favorites is the HUGE list of everything I saw. Then, I have listed some fun panels, exhibits, and events I also attended this year.

Top 10 Favorites (in no order, I swear):
The Skin of Our Teeth (Lincoln Center Theatre)
Be Like Joe (University of Wyoming)
A Strange Loop
The Magnificent Seven (Theatre Row)
Twelfth Night (Classical Theatre of Harlem)
Los Otros (Premieres/ART New York)
Camp Siegfried (Second Stage Theater)
Becky Nurse of Salem (Lincoln Center Theater)
A Man of No Importance (Classic Stage Company)
Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova)

Runners Up (Also in no order):
Company
The Tap Dance Kid (New York City Center Encores)
The Hang (HERE)
Prayer for the French Republic (MTC)
In the Time of Butterflies (Harlem Stage/Repertorio Espanol)
The Theater Lovers: Couple Goals (Green Room 42/Livestream)
Suffs (The Public Theater)
Mr. Saturday Night
Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom (AOP)
Parade (New York City Center Encores)
MAC BETH (Red Bull Theater)

The Big List:

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New Year 2022!

It’s a bit late into the new year, but I finally have time to update and I wanted to highlight some cool things I did at the end of 2021. I’m looking forward to more cool things in the new year!

Parenthood Pals: The hosts of Parenthood Pals, which covers each episode of the TV show Parenthood, had me on to talk about my experience growing up with an autistic brother (we talk about an episode featuring the autistic character Max). I talk throughout, but I talk the most about it at about a half hour in. Listen to the episode.

Riffs and Scripts: Check out this interview with me on the podcast Riffs and Scripts. The host Amber was a guest on my podcast Scene to Song for the Rock Musicals episode, and she interviewed me about being a writer.

Disney Inside Out: I was a guest on my friend Ryan Wright’s podcast Disney Inside Out to talk about one of my favorite films, the original The Parent Trap from 1961. Check out the episode and also the whole podcast if you are a Disney fan.

I performed one of my songs at the 7th Annual McGuire & Simon Holiday Salon!

I performed one of my songs, “New Year’s” (music by Tina Lear) on Thursday, December 16th at the 7th Annual McGuire & Simon Holiday Salon. Watch it here:

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Countdown to 2022: 2021 Books

Last year, I read 11 books! This year I read 10. I just made my usual goal of 10 books per year. I also listened to a lot of podcast and have started including those at the end of this list.

2021 Books

Overall, I read 4 fiction books (3 contemporary, and 1 classic of short stories–same number of fiction books as last year), 5 non-fiction books (1 design/disability book, 1 history book, 1 product/business book, 1 book of letters/biography, and 1 Political Science/Abolition–last year I read 3 non-fiction), and 1 book of poetry. I read 2 non-American authors this year; last year I didn’t ready any. Last year I read 6 female authors, with 2 being women of color; this year I read 5 female authors with 1 being a woman of color. 8 books were for book clubs: 1 for my virtual book club with my college friends (last year there was 1), and 3 were for the fiction book club at work–last year there were 3, and then 1 was for the product book club at work, 1 was for the abolition study group, and 2 were for the ERG discussion groups at work. Usually I try to read 1 book by someone I know, and I did not do that this year. Last year I read 1 book because it related to something I was writing/working on (same as last year), but I did not do that this year either.

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Countdown to 2022: 2021 TV

Disclaimer: I only rank shows that I watch and I’m not a TV critic. Also, there are some spoilers. Read at your own risk…

Last year I watched 11 shows from 2020. This year I watched 12 shows from 2021–doing well! I technically didn’t finish all of Dickinson because they put out two seasons this year, but since I watched the bulk of it I am keeping it on my 2021 list. Last year I also watched 7 seasons from previous years, including one that I watched twice (with two different people), plus a PBS doc. This year I watched 11–back to previous year’s numbers. 

Saved by the Bell, Full House, and Dickinson all in one photo.

1. Saved  by the Bell
The second season started off a little slowly but then really picked up steam with the spirit competition. I definitely did not see those twists coming! By the penultimate and final episode I was in tears from the emotional rollercoaster. There was more focus on the adults this season but it was still a pretty even split with the kids, which is good because I care about both the kids and the adults equally at this point.

2. The Babysitters Club
The most comforting comfort show, and I definitely sobbed through more than one of these episodes as well, especially when Claudia’s grandmother died. I was sad that they didn’t have as many episodes this second season–I wish there were as many episodes as there are books and more. 

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Countdown to 2022: 2021 Movies

Sisters with Transistors

Last year I saw 29 movies, the first year I combined movies watched at home in my total. This year I saw 0 movies in the theater because of Covid, 7 new movies and older movies streaming from movie theaters, and 24 older movies streaming, all for a total of 31 movies!

I saw 6 new feature-length movies (1 of them twice) either in the theater, from theaters, or new movies streaming that would have been shown in theaters this year. 1 was from film forum, 1 was from Metrograph, 1 was originally from theaters but then I watched through PBS, 1 was independent, 1 went to Netflix for streaming, and the other went to HBO for streaming. 1 was an older film and 5 were new.  I saw all these movies for the first time.

My rating system uses stars and equates as follows: 1=bad, 2=ok 3=really good 4=great.

My favorite new movies (4 stars) this year were:
Tick… Tick… Boom

Runners up (3.5 stars):
Sisters with Transistors

My favorite old movie I saw for the first time:
Hannah Arendt

My favorite old movies I loved seeing again:

The (Not-So) Big List:

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Countdown to 2022: 2021 Theater

The Alcestiad on Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedom’s Park

Last year I saw 87 showsThis year I saw 36. 4 of those were in person outdoors (one an outdoor screening of an opera). Last year I watched 65 streaming shows. I’m not sure why that slowed down this year. Maybe there were fewer of them. Maybe I got tired of watching so many. Maybe I had less time. Indoor theater did come back in the fall, but I didn’t go to it. There was a lot I wanted to see, though.

I performed/read in 4 shows: 7th Annual McGuire & Simon Holiday Salon and the Thornton Wilder Society readings. 0 shows were connected to an article I wrote (1 fewer than last year). I watched 7 operas (last year it was 10). I’m grateful for the in-person pieces that also streamed and the pieces done just for streaming.

I have highlighted my favorites, and after the favorites is the HUGE list of everything I saw. Then, I have listed some fun panels, exhibits, and events I also attended this year.

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THE QUESTIONS I NEVER ASKED SONDHEIM

In 2007, in my second year of grad school at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, my class had a program with Stephen Sondheim at the Dramatists Guild. I don’t really remember much from this talk except Sondheim said the word “kerfuffle” and I found it amusing enough to write in my notes. But in preparation for the talk, the teacher organizing it had us submit questions that he would then combine to form the more general topic questions he asked at the talk.

I took this opportunity to write out every question I had for Sondheim thus far. They are very specific and I was annoyed that I couldn’t ask him each one directly, although I understand why things were done the way they were, I guess…. I don’t know why I never had the desire to try to ask him these questions myself, especially after learning that he responded to letters. I’ll have to go over this with my therapist next week. But here are the questions I wrote in 2007 and never directly asked Sondheim.

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