From the Blues to Gospel to Jazz, Jive, Ballroom Vogue, Hip Hop and Soul, The Wiz was a Black ode to joy and a much needed respite from the “on and on-ness” of tragedy in 2015. And of course, Black twitter was resplendent with memes and livetweets, adding another layer of humor and celebration to the already stellar live performances.
7. Broad City: “Knockoffs”
What do you do when your longtime crush unexpectedly hands you a strap-on only minutes into your first hook-up? Abby hesitates, but Ilana makes the choice clear: “Do you want to go to the grave dreaming of Jeremy’s hairy, adorable little butthole? Or do you wanna die knowing you brought him pleasure by plowing him like a queen?”
6. FKA twigs — M3LL15X
Experimental British artist FKA (‘formerly known as’) twigs surprise released the weirdest, most transgressive and ingenious 20 minutes of 2015 with the self-directed short-film attached to her 3rd EP, M3LL15X (read “Melissa”). Melding trap, industrial vogue, dance pop and extraterrestrial R&B, M3LL15X is expressive, avant-garde and just joyfully fucking weird.
Lovecraft-inspired Victorian horror Japanese action RPG is a highly specific gaming niche. Bloodborne doesn’t care. The punishing difficulty prompts players to memorize attack patterns and pre-plan escapes and dodges, making the game as strategic and mental as it is horrifying.
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Force is strong with John Boyega. The 23 year old Nigerian-English actor is a supernova of charisma onscreen, centering a film that could’ve lazily relied on special effects and Original Trilogy nostalgia for an easy box office hit. Instead, Boyega brings a richness and complexity to Finn’s magnetic, curious optimism that matches the effects.
3. Penny Dreadful Season 2
Season one of Penny Dreadful can be summed up in three words: Eva Fucking Green. Season two: Helen Fucking McCrory. The witch-off between the veteran actresses was one of many wicked delights as Dreadful hit its stride, combining a refreshingly modern, feminist stance in its storytelling with its signature Victorian horror, making it the best thing on TV this year.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
How could a movie this loud, violent and extreme be anything but macho-man-savior nonsense? Mad Max: Fury Road was the most pleasant surprise of 2015, focusing on Badass of All Badasses Furiosa, liberating women and returning water to a society that runs on blood and gasoline. The boycotts from offended Men’s Rights Activists was better promo than the marketing.
1. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Krysten Ritter’s brutal, broken “hard drinking mess of a woman” was the highlight of 2015. While Jones herself failed as hero, her journey shines as a grounded, complex exploration of the emotional aftermath of trauma and recovery and is hands down Marvel’s best release yet.