I am cheating slightly.
At the time, I didn’t actually write a proper blog post to draw 2017 to a close, the same way I had in both 2015 and 2016. Various, boring reasons why not, most of which can be attributed to my own deep, deep laziness.
What I did do, though, was… well, send a friend a very lengthy email with what was essentially a very detailed plan for this post. (See what I mean about laziness?) That, in turn, means that I can largely reproduce what would have been my On 2017 roundup, even though I’m writing parts of this almost a full year later.
Fun that, isn’t it?
It would be a lie if I said I thought every article was my best; a lie if I said every article was as good as it could be, even under whatever restraints I was under at any given time. I’m proud of them all, though, even the rubbish ones – which I guess is a bit of a “can’t pick your favourite child” kinda thing. I read some advice from a political journalist I like, where she said that if you’re planning to make a living as a journalist then you have to come to terms with the fact that not everything you write is going to be the best thing you can write. It was something I’d already concluded, more or less, but nice to have it articulated anyway.
Anyway. This always requires a bit of a think back; it’s easy to pick my favourite interviews, though, so let’s lead with them:
Why were these my favourites? Chiefly because I think, content-wise, these ones were just the best. Most enjoyable conversations, most interesting end results. Others are good too, for sure; my as yet unpublished one Mark Mangini, the sound designer on Blade Runner 2049, the lost Jim Frohna interview, the Mark Gill interview, etc. Am I forgetting any? My nice Death of Stalin one, with Christopher Willis – actually, generally speaking, the composers have all been very nice and effusive people. Maybe they don’t get interviewed as often so it’s nice to talk about their craft instead of a chore, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing, some nice interviewee who was terribly polite and accommodating or something, but nothing springs to mind. Oh, a quick scroll back makes me think I had Maysaloun in mind, because we struck up a nice rapport. She was lovely. Hope she succeeds.
[Here I excised a lot of complaints about certain publications and editors I worked with, because, you know, I’m trying to maintain at least a vague air of professionalism.]
Turning to my articles, website by website, not a lot stands out necessarily. My best work for Flickering Myth, I tend to think, are the interviews I conduct, and I’ve already highlighted my favourites of those; my favourite piece of my work for Metro is of course my article on Liar, which I think I will always appreciate for having elicited the response it did, and the knowledge that it did, on some level or another, actually help someone. (Which was particularly meaningful at the time, after a run of weeks where I was questioning the value of a lot of the work I did.)
Which brings us onto Yahoo, where I tried to focus on my best stuff. And generally, vis-a-vis, I’d say my Yahoo output in 2017 was better than that of 2015 and 2016. Which is good. I mean, it’s what you’d hope for, really. I don’t know, I always think my stuff is at least decent, if not necessarily good. Today’s Black Mirror piece was decent, even if the second half probably needed more revisions than I put it through, and my clever hot take isn’t actually that hot when it’s the most obvious reading of the episode. (I liked it a lot, actually, there was a lot that could be said about it. It would’ve helped to get the screeners, to be honest, to have the time to actually go through it, but the spoiler agreement they wanted me to sign would make it literally impossible to write about any of the things that made that episode good.)
So, off the top of my head, what did I like?
- BBC Three’s Overshadowed is the perfect take on anorexia in the social media age (the ending of this, which I thought was neat, is kinda cringeworthy considering they all read it)
- How Clique masters tone to present a tightly wound thriller (spent ages trying to make this all shiny, one I put lots of effort into at the time)
- Why Beryl is the standout episode of The Crown Season Two (probably could have been much more analytical, but hey)
- Babylon Berlin is an absolutely mesmerising piece of German noir (as above, I guess)
- The Punisher is surprisingly good, if not exactly great (the scope was too limited; more to talk about and to criticise, but still, I think a good piece)
I’ve grown less keen on how/why etc style titles, I think; I prefer the ones than stand on their own a little more. Did good piece about Atypical and The Defenders, I reckon, though it’s been enough of a while since I re-read them that they could be utterly abysmal. It’s a shame I’ve not done a proper Doctor Who article all year. Ooh, actually, thinking about it, that Sherlock article about why Mary isn’t dead, the one you liked, that was fairly lit. And my Trump article from January is, I guess, vaguely interesting, if not necessarily incisive.
It would be nice I guess to be able to have a list of my favourite articles that other people wrote, but to be honest I just don’t curate them all that well. Perhaps I will next year.