Every year the greater pop culture universe serves us up things to hopefully enjoy, and thankfully 2015 was no different. Here's a list of a dozen things that particularly resonated with me last year.
Breaking Ground - NXT has been one of the best aspect of the many-headed WWE beast for a few years now, and it has been fun to see it grow from the outside. The WWE Network series Breaking Ground allows us to see that growth from the inside as we follow a wide array of wrestlers, trainers, and company execs through the past year, in which NXT transformed from WWE's minor league developmental program into a starmaking, compelling wrestling program/brand in its own right. Even if you know a lot about pro wrestling in general or WWE in particular, this kind of access and insight is rare. In our house, NXT has long-since eclipsed the main roster WWE shows like Raw and Smackdown to become our wrestling show of choice, and Breaking Ground goes a long way toward explaining how that happened.
The Goldbergs - I had sort of dismissed this out of hand as another nostalgia-based vanity project, but I sort of stumbled upon this a few months back and was impressed by the chemistry and likability of the cast, the just-the-right-amount of warmth and good feeling, and the fact that not only are there numerous, legitimately laugh-out-loud funny moments in each episode, but that they're doled out pretty equally among the characters so that everyone gets their shot at being "the funny one." Also appreciated is the fact that every episode is said to take place in "1980-something," so it gives all of the stories that "foggy memory" sort of feel and you therefore don't get hung up on any anachronisms in the setting, like playing NES while eating Pac-Man cereal and listening to Beastie Boys tracks.
I wrote about Mystery Show a while back, and anything I'd write about it now would just reiterate what I said then so I'll save you the time, but I would like to add that I hope it comes back soon.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - As I said after I saw it last month, yes, that will do nicely. Also, I have to admit that I like it even more now after George Lucas made that noise to Charlie Rose about selling his "kids" to "the white slavers" at Disney, if only out of spite. It's no secret that George has grown increasingly out of touch with what made his creation so well-loved in the first place, but a doughy white billionaire comparing anything to slavery after cashing that $4 billion check from Disney... yeah. On the one hand, thank you for Star Wars and all, George, but on the other hand, fuck that guy.