NOCs of the Roundtable: Goodbye 2020

Thank god this trash fire of a year is finally over. Still there were some things that made us happy. It’s been a few years, but we’ve reassembled the NOCs of the Roundtable to recount the best nerdy moments of the worst year ever.

PATRICK (@templefareast): First off, I don’t ever want to hear the phrase hindsight is 20/20. Even though 2020 has nothing to with the meaning of that phrase, it has been corrupted by the term 2020 much like naming your child Adolf. Just don’t. Anyway, we all know it was a dumpster fire but pop culture / nerd culture does as it always does and provided an arena of escapism to get away from our troubles.

DOMINIC (@dommah): I don’t really know what a dank ferrik is, but I’m sure it’s what this year was because Chadwick Boseman, who was so good at taking us to those greater imaginary places, is no longer with us.

SWARA (@spiderswarz): Yes, goodbye to the trash fire of 2020 forever! 

LAUREN (@akolaurenlola): Entertainment has been the light in the darkness throughout this pandemic. While there are very few things I want to remember from this year, my favorite nerd culture moments are the ones worth carrying forward.

MIKE (@tidybowlboy182): Despite being a tough year all around, looking on the plus side of things, there were still a lot of highlights and opportunities I was very grateful for thanks to The Nerds of Color. I’d say the top three out of the gate were the opportunity to interview John David Washington for Tenet, joining a Zoom roundtable with Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins (and ask Gal a question), and meeting the Birds of Prey cast at the Harleywood event back in February (and take a pic with Cathy Yan)!

MELISSA (@melasia88): Birds of Prey (aka the last movie I saw in theaters during the Before Times)!

DOMINIC (@dommah): Birds of Prey was the last movie I saw in a theater too, and was also perfectly good at home; I think the theatrical model will be a necessary sacrifice of these times.

SWARA (@spiderswarz): Birds of Prey is my top nerd culture moment. With an amazing screenplay by Christina Hodson, direction by Cathy Yan, and an amazingly diverse and badass cast including women of color, it was everything I could want in a comic book film.

KEITH (@the_real_chow): Man, I knew Birds of Prey was going to be my favorite DC movie of 2020… since 2019!

SWARA (@spiderswarz): In terms of live-action series, this was the year I became a Trekkie by watching the extraordinary show Star Trek: Discovery. Also with a diverse main cast and creators, it pushes the boundaries of what science fiction and television can be and inspires its audiences each and every episode.

SHAWN T (@reallovepunk): Third season of Star Trek: Discovery finally felt like the Trek that was missing in the first season, and only hinted at in season two. This season had all the character beats, humor, and Big Ideas that exemplifies the best of Trek.

PATRICK (@templefareast): I enjoyed Picard on CBS All Access but I still need to check out Discovery!

LAUREN (@akolaurenlola): My favorite moments span across pop culture of the past, present, and future. Seeing Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra experience a renaissance through gaining new fans this year makes me very happy to see. I’m a long-time fan of both shows, and so getting to now see more people experience the incredible world-building, character development, and storytelling for the first time is just truly incredible.

SWARA (@spiderswarz): Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power have been my highlights. Kipo, in my humble opinion, feels like the spiritual sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender in terms of how good it is and some of the themes it tackles. Kipo and She-Ra are also wonderfully diverse and inclusive shows that keep pushing the boundaries of where western animation may go. It may have been a horrendous year, but all this amazing art made it all the more bearable.

LAUREN (@akolaurenlola): Star Wars has also made poignant timing with the release of the final season of The Clone Wars towards the beginning of sheltering-in-place and the release of the second season of The Mandalorian as we near the end of this dumpster fire of the year. There has been such good storytelling going around in both shows, and the balance between nostalgia and something new has been genuinely enjoyable to see.

MIKE (@tidybowlboy182): The Mandalorian Season 2 was the gift we all needed!

PATRICK (@templefareast): I love this Sci-Fi Western and all of the amazing cast of characters that inhabit this universe. I love even more the amount of amazing strong women that get the opportunity to shine with the finale further illustrating that fact.

SHAWN T (@reallovepunk): Season 5 of The Expanse. Episode 4. That’s all I have to say.

PATRICK (@templefareast): The characters and stories that interplayed with real life events made Lovecraft Country both entertaining and educational. I love that it sparked these conversations and helped some of my Black friends speak more openly about their love for the horror genre.

MIKE (@tidybowlboy182): TV runner-ups include Umbrella Academy and The Boys Season 2, followed by Normal People and Queen’s Gambit.

MELISSA (@melasia88): Yes to the second season of Umbrella Academy (and the companion podcast I worked on for it!) 

PATRICK (@templefareast): The Boys on Amazon illustrates what if superheroes existed in real life and I’m here for it. We don’t deserve powers and here’s why.

MELISSA (@melasia88): The Boys is a fave, specifically the moment when a queer woman, a white woman, and an Asian woman team up to kick the shit out of a Nazi.

JAMAL (@xprospere): I was super stoked for the release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales for PlayStation, as well as Tenet finally streaming online. Both titles have really been the highlight of the holidays for me!

DOMINIC (@dommah): My homebound escapism soaked up two Marvel video games featuring the young brown characters: Kamala Khan, delightfully big in the eh-OK Avengers game, and Miles Morales in his superlative solo game (the storyline in that is so touching, like a Xmas special).

MIKE (@tidybowlboy182): Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ghost of Tsushima were the most fun and addictive video game experiences I’ve had this year!

MELISSA (@melasia88): Here are other fave moments (in no particular order): John Boyega’s GQ interview, Hamilton on Disney+, Staged on Hulu (starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen), Jodi Whitaker’s Doctor Who COVID PSA, Britney burning down her gym, the #UnapologeticallyAsian video, the voter engagement done by NERDS: the Hamilton reunions, the Princess Bride readings, the fundraisers, all of it powered by nerds!

LAUREN (@akolaurenlola): I’m looking forward to 2021 for a lot of reasons, and the release of Raya and the Last Dragon is one of them. Ever since I first learned that Disney was doing an animated film inspired by several Southeast Asian cultures, I’ve been intrigued to see how it would appear. The trailer alone does not disappoint and I love the attention to detail. I want March to come as quickly as possible so that I can finally see this in its entirety.

KEITH (@the_real_chow): Here’s hoping that Raya (and eventually Eternals) will be able to succeed in ways that Mulan and Wonder Woman… well… didn’t.

DOMINIC (@dommah): I really loved exactly one shot in Wonder Woman 1984 (didn’t love most of it) that seemed to pose the question “if we gave up on all this fantasy-fulfillment would we recover the more wonderful aspect that was lost?” and which, as Diana starts to run, offered one helpful way of looking at 2020.

KEITH (@the_real_chow): Yes. 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. However, my highlight was getting the opportunity to combine two of my favorite genres — ‘90s grunge and musical theater — for the #PearlJamuelMiranda tag I created on Twitter.

Even got Lin to laugh:

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