2020 winners & losers in geek
The year of 'Rona meant a lot of changes in the way we do things hence the term "new normal", and Geekdom wasn't left unscathed. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it was all bad. There are things we enjoyed watching this year with all the time we had on our hands and fan events that we "attended" right in the comfort of our own home that we wouldn't be able to normally attend. At the same time, there were some things that sadly suffered because of the pandemic and a certain something that fell flat despite all the hype. Here's the winners and losers of 2020 in geek.
Slick marketing and well-curated gameplay footage made us all hype for Cyberpunk 2077 with more than eight million pre-orders. We waited anxiously and patiently as the release dates got moved back, and now that it's out, we realise that it would have been better if it was delayed again. There's a full review of the game in this issue so I won't spend too much time on it, but with CD Projekt Red's shadiness in keeping gameplay of console versions away from the public, the inevitable backlash and now Sony taking it off the PlayStation Store, Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably the biggest loser of 2020. The gamers but especially the devs who worked hard on the game deserve better.
Movies and theatres
Though I am being mostly snarky at the losers in this list, this is the exception. Fortunately for us in Thailand, our cinemas didn't stay closed for too long. However, they do remain closed in other parts of the world and that meant movie companies decided to postpone the release of many films. 2020 was supposed to be the year of A Quiet Place Part II and Black Widow, both of which have been pushed back to 2021. Because Black Widow was postponed, this is the first time since 2010 that we've gone a year without an MCU film. So despite cinemas being open in Thailand, there weren't a lot of movies to see.
Movies and TV Shows, or at least those you can stream
Yes, theatrical releases have been pushed back, but that just put the spotlight on streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video. Months of quarantine meant prime time for binging everything, but it's also been a great year in terms of content. We all were obsessed with Carole Baskin in Tiger King, got into chess with The Queen's Gambit and laughed/cried/got angry with the second season of The Boys.
Fans at home
"Stay at home" was the bane of our existence this year, which meant we did almost everything at home. Depending on what those "things" were, this could be good or bad. For example, working from home can be considered a good thing since you can take nap breaks but it becomes bad when you nap for three hours. One of the things the pandemic has forced people to do is to hold online events which made it even easier for people all around the world to "attend" them. The biggest one in geekdom would arguably be the San Diego Comic-Con, which was held online for the first time in its history. DC also held its own online event, DC Fandome. And the best part? All of it was free.
Speaking of DC, 2020 has been pretty good to them. For starters, they were able to release two films this year: Birds Of Prey and Wonder Woman. Sure, Birds Of Prey wasn't a critical hit but Wonder Woman has had great reviews (its commercial success is yet to be determined). Plus, their DC Fandome event made us excited for all their upcoming projects. We even got our first look at The Batman and despite Robert Pattinson's twinkly past, he definitely looks like he fills the shoes of the Caped Crusader perfectly.
The Mouse overlord of all media has had a pretty good year but it was their recent announcements at the Disney Investor Day that had all of geekdom hyped up. Marvel, which Disney owns, may have gone this year without a theatrical release. But president Kevin Feige gave us a glimpse of upcoming shows like The Falcon And the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, shows MCU fans have been waiting patiently for. The announcements for the future of the MCU didn't end there though. New shows were revealed like Secret Invasion and Ironheart, as well as new films, the biggest one probably being the return of Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four. On the Pixar side of things, a new film called Lightyear will look at the origins of the real-life person that inspired the beloved toy and will be voiced by none other than Chris Evans. Finally, in the world of Star Wars, (yes, they're under Disney, which is why "overlord" is accurate), a follow-up to the popular "Clone Wars" animated series called The Bad Batch (please read that slowly) was unveiled along with a slew of other shows. However, one of the biggest announcements was that Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the prequel trilogy, will be reprising his role alongside Ewan McGregor in the series Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
MANDO & GROGU
Staying in a galaxy far far away for a moment, the second season of The Mandalorian premiered more than a month ago and completely shattered the minds of every Star Wars fan in the world. We saw the return of Boba Fett, scarred from the Sarlacc pit yet still badass. We saw Ahsoka Tano make her live-action debut (and she's getting her own show!). And we also got to see the one and only Luke Skywalker albeit in mildly disturbing deepfake CGI. But revelations and welcomed fan-service aside, the heart of the show and what keeps us watching is Mando himself, Din Djarin, who showed his face more than once this season, and his relationship with the Child, who we now know is named Grogu. The little guy was also a winner last year and I think we can all agree little Grogu is still a winner this year.
PS5 Release in Thailand
It's been more than a month since the PS5 was released in countries like the US, Australia, Japan and Singapore. For other countries like the Philippines, it was released earlier this month. Others like Indonesia are waiting for January until they can get their hands on it. What do we have in Thailand? A microsite that says "Out later this year" as the days left in 2020 tick by. As of the writing of this, there's been no update or release date given yet. All we can do it watch enviously as others enjoy their DualSense controllers and play games in Performance Mode.