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Jill’s Top 19 Things of 2019
December 22, 2019

As per tradition, I’ve compiled a list of awesome things from over the course of the year. Check out posts from prior years:

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018


19. OK Boomer

“OK Boomer” was born in 2019 and then spread like wildfire. The younger generations are tired of explaining their politics, their worries over climate change, their lack of financial stability, and their impatience with the glacial speed of social change. After a decade of anti-millennial articles, having a line to pull out has been something of an energy- and time-saver when a debate is just going nowhere.

 

© HBO

18. Veep Final Season

Veep was so smart and dark and painfully close to what political life is actually really like. Stop paying attention for a second and you’d miss ten to twelve jokes. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is nothing less than perfection.

 

17. Good Omens

What is not to like about this series? Seriously.

The delightful David Tennant as a slinky demon with a heart of gold? Michael Sheen as a shy, bookish angel? A cute dog? A cool witchy lady? Jon Hamm as (basically) Jon Hamm?! It’s got everything!

 

16. What We Do in the Shadows (TV)

What We Do in the Shadows is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. It’s silly and clever. I was a little nervous about the TV series because I tend to get hesitant about TV adaptations and sequels in case they damage the quality of the original… but What We Do in the Shadows on FX was really, really good. It has a slightly different feel to it from the movie but keeps the general silly, mockumentary style of the movie. Two thumbs up.

© FX

 

© Disney

15. Baby Yoda

In a time of political strife and a climate crisis, it’s nice that one thing could unite all of humankind. And that thing was Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian. With his widdle cup and giant eyes and ears.

 

14. Arya Stark

She did a cool thing on Game of Thrones. That’s all I’m saying. Too bad about how the show ended.

 

13. Jojo Rabbit

© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Taika Waititi is probably one of my favorite people on the planet and certainly one of my favorite creators. His weird sense of humor is just so my shit. Jojo Rabbit is a comedy/action film about a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in the Nazi Youth in 1940s Germany. Waititi plays his imaginary friend… Hitler. Davis proves himself to be a great little actor while Waititi’s screenplay and directing make the viewer laugh, and then feel incredibly troubled. Sam Rockwell is, per usually, also damn good.

 

13. Gentlemen Jack

Costume dramas are my jam. I think I first heard about a series featuring Anne Lister a couple years ago and I’m thrilled to say it exceeded my expectations. I loved this show and I’m so happy it’s getting a second season. Anne is so smart and tough and confident, and the snarky looks directly at the camera get me every time. The show is witty and fun and heartbreaking, and costumes are, well, hilarious.

 

© Amazon Prime

12. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amazon Prime’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an Emmy darling for good reason. Its third season premiered earlier this month and the quality of the writing hasn’t decreased at all. The dialogue is snappy, the jokes are plentiful, and every single cast member is perfect. Also, Tony Shaloub is a treasure.

I adore this show because there’s conflict but it’s never life-or-death. It’s like a nice break from the world while still drawing you in completely.

 

11. Russian Doll

© Netflix

I want to give Natasha Lyonne a hug but she’d probably punch me in the face. This show was bizarre and wonderful. It shouldn’t be, but it’s thrilling to see a show helmed by a woman who doesn’t fit the TV mould. The mould is boring. With that being said, I’m very uncertain of the second season. Not sure how that will work…

 

9. Chernobyl

© HBO

Ready to get real spooked, real grossed-out, and real disappointed in humanity? Go watch Chernobyl. A haunting, beautifully crafted series.

 

8. The Huntress by Kate Quinn

I think I’m at the point where I’ll just read anything Kate Quinn publishes. She’s so, so good at writing tough ladies. Read my full review here.

 

7. The Five: The Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Women by Hallie Rubenhold

Prince Edward Island was in Hurricane Dorian’s path in September. Our power went out for several days. I had borrowed The Five from the library and I sat on the floor by the windows as the storm raged outside, just so I could finish reading it before I ran out of daylight. This book was so good that I went out and bought it after I returned that copy to the library because I just had to have it. So excellent. You can read my full review here.

 

6. Lizzo

YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS

I adore her.

 

5. Billie Eilish

The girl has landed.

I don’t get into popular music much these days but holy shit, Billie Eilish is crazy good. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is a really, really, really good album. She’s still a teenager and yet she already seems so comfortable with who she is and doesn’t seem to give a crap about smiling. I love that.

 

4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We’ve never seen a politician quite like AOC before, and it’s hard to stop watching her effect on American politics. She’s inspiring. When she’s questioning people like that doofus who runs Facebook, you can just tell she’s going to absolutely obliterate them because she is probably the smartest person in the room.

Young women (particularly non-white young women) aren’t used to seeing people that look like them in congress so they tend to not be able to see themselves in that kind of career path. AOC is doing great things but she’s also showing other young women that they could be in that career path too.

 

2. Impeachment

I’m not going to get into it too much, but watching Donald Trump finally, finally see the least tiny bit of punishment for crimes for once in his miserable life has been extremely satisfying. In the words of Lindy West in her 2019 memoir, responding to Trump’s constant use of the term “witch hunt”:

“Yes, we are witches, and we’re hunting you.”

 

1. Climate Change Acceptance

No, not everyone believes climate change is real or caused by humans, but 2019 saw a major swing in how the world views the environmental scientists that have been warning the world for decades.

  • the UN banned single-use plastic
  • 300,000 attended the September 2019 climate strikes
  • teenage activist Greta Thunberg became a household name after she spoke at the U.N.
  • my home province of Prince Edward Island banned single-use plastic grocery bags and elected Canada’s first Green opposition party to the provincial government

For the first time, people seem to be paying attention and begging powerful governments to force change upon the corporations doing the most harm to the planet, on a much larger scale than ever before. I mean, it’s probably because we’re seeing things like hurricanes in areas of the world that don’t usually get hurricanes and towns are getting decimated by floods more often than ever before entire.

Now that we can see the actual effects of climate change on a regular basis, perhaps authorities who have the power to make significant change may actually start paying attention. Until then, the rest of us can make small changes in our habits, like using reusable grocery bags. It may seem small on a global scale, but it’s not nothing.

 

UPDATE: December 27, 2019

Well. I just inhaled the audiobook for Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I now see why it won the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction. It was phenomenal and deserved to be a late addition to this post.

If I had to place it somewhere in this list, I’d shove it somewhere around the 6-7-8 mark.

I’ll be writing a full review soon.

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Jillianne Hamilton is the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle and the Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire trilogy. Learn more.

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