Features Music Year End 2019 2019: A Year In Review

Year End 2019

Music: 2019: A Year In Review

It's the end of a decade, and what a final year it's been. In this last piece of our 2019 feature series, we look back on the previous twelve months to explore the best TV shows we streamed, the coolest album artwork, weirdest records, best non-punk/metal and a couple of other lists of music-related stuff we dug in 2019. Read on to find out what you might have missed.

Best Programs I Streamed in 2019

In a year that saw Game of Thrones stumble across the finish line, even with an ever-increasing amount of programming options of any and all varieties, finding something good to watch was sometimes a challenge.  Here's the best movies and series I found to watch on streaming services in 2019.

1

Climax

streamed on Amazon Prime

While working at SXSW this past year, one of the fellow volunteers told me that, although she liked horror movies, she wasn’t planning on seeing any of the festival offerings since they would pale in comparison to a movie she had recently seen. That movie: Gasper Noe’s Climax. Lo and behold, she was right. Genuinely disturbing due to both its overall intensity and method of execution - and boasting a bumping dance music soundtrack to boot – this technically dazzling film still baffles me as to how it was actually pulled off.  Several mesmerizing dance numbers (!) are highlights. 

2

Suspiria

streamed on Amazon Prime

While I like horror movies, I’m always a bit skeptical when it comes to remakes, reboots, late-to-the-game sequels and the like. Director Luca Guadagnino’s reimagining of fellow Italian Dario Argento’s acclaimed 1970s tale of witchcraft in an unsuspecting dance studio proved many of my basic hypotheses about remakes wrong however. Though incredibly transgressive even by modern genre standards, the almost painterly quality of the images and hyper-surreal mood puts this in a league of its own as perhaps the most blatantly arty horror film ever produced.

3

Chernobyl

streamed on HBO Go

Though shows like Euphoria, Big Little Lies, and yes, Game of Thrones among others were massively impressive in their own ways, Chernobyl was my favorite HBO original drama.  Based on the fascinating true story of the titular 1986 nuclear accident, this tense miniseries not only captures the look and feel of hellish conditions in the destroyed plant, but also in the overwhelmingly drab surrounding communities. A masterpiece from both technical and storytelling standpoints, it’s also a frighteningly timely examination of how misinformation on the part of a government can cause significant problems in the wake of genuine disaster.

4

Dark

streamed on Netflix

Similar to something like Primer, a viewer has to remain sharp to stay on top of the narrative going on in this heady German-produced time-travel show, particularly in a second season that threw even more craziness at its audience. Stranger Things may get all the attention, but this is Netflix’s strongest sci-fi series for my money. The prospect of new seasons of both this and the similarly outstanding Babylon Berlin in 2020 gets me pretty excited.  Also, that opening stands up there with the mighty Twin Peaks in terms of giving me goosebumps.

5

GLOW

streamed on Netflix

Having been a pro wrestling fan since ECW played on syndication back in the mid ‘90s, and being familiar with the short-lived female wrestling group this comedic drama series was based on, this show has remained one of my most enjoyable guilty pleasures over the past couple of years. The nostalgia is glorious, but the compelling characters and story are what really elevate GLOW over the type of soap opera nonsense found in modern mainstream pro wrestling.

- Andy

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Words by the SPB team on Jan. 7, 2020, 1:58 p.m.

Main calendar photo by Hana Loftus.

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Series: Year End 2019

Our wrap-up of the best music and more from 2019

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