Big Shiny Robot: The best of 2023 in geek media | Arts & Entertainment | Salt Lake City Weekly

Big Shiny Robot: The best of 2023 in geek media 

Favorite books, movies, TV and more for all your nerdy delights

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Star Trek: Picard - PARAMOUNT+
  • Paramount+
  • Star Trek: Picard

Every year, I wonder how we could get any more spoiled in the world of geekdom, and every year we seem to get some of the best nerdy content the world has ever created. I feel lucky to be alive at this particular moment in history, because all of the things I love are in something of a new golden age. So, without further ado, here are some of the best things to come out in the world of the nerds in 2023.

Star Trek: Picard - Season 3 [Paramount+]: When Patrick Stewart agreed to return to the character of Jean-Luc Picard, he had some stipulations, chief among them that it would not turn into a reunion for Star Trek: The Next Generation. By the time the third season rolled around, however, that reunion felt right for the story and for Stewart himself, and we were treated with a season of television where I don't think there was a single episode that didn't elicit tears.

Ahsoka - DISNEY+
  • Disney+
  • Ahsoka

Star Wars: Ahsoka [Disney+]: Star Wars wasn't going to let Star Trek get all the credit on this list. The problem with Star Trek and Star Wars on TV is that it's hard to just pick one show, but Ahsoka takes the crown for Star Wars on TV this year, giving us an emotionally-moving continuation of Star Wars Rebels and bringing Grand Admiral Thrawn into live-action and back to a galaxy far, far away. More than that, it put Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker in the midst of the Clone Wars, interacting in live-action with his Padawan who had heretofore only been seen in animation.

Loki [Disney+]: Not to be outdone, Marvel brought us a second season of Loki that bent time, space and a character we once thought would be irredeemable. Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson bring such a natural and fun chemistry to the show; throw in Ke Huy Quan, and you have something truly magical and unique in the Marvel universe.

Indiana Jones - LUCASFILM
  • Lucasfilm
  • Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny [Disney+]: Lucasfilm really knows how to do clever and meaningful deconstructions of characters whose heydays are behind them, and who have to come to grips with the wrongs they've done before passing things off to another generation. This fifth Indiana Jones installment, directed by James Mangold, brings Indy into the 1960s—and he's not quite equipped for it. Equal parts action-packed and emotional, it's the perfect coda for our favorite adventuring archeologist.

Honor Among Thieves - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves [Paramount+ / Amazon Prime Video]: This movie was far better than it had any right to be. Starring Chris Pine and Hugh Grant at the top of a brilliant cast, it showcases the feeling of actually playing Dungeons & Dragons in a way that makes you want to leave the theater and play more. It's full of pathos and fun, never committing the sin typical of previous filmed adaptations of the property: taking itself too seriously. And let's be honest, Pine's charisma could float Atlantis back to the surface.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse [Netflix]: Marvel's best movie this year was easily this sequel to 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with The Marvels coming in at a close second. (Seriously, go see The Marvels, it's actually terrific). There were a lot of hopes riding on this film and it exceeded all of the heavy expectations. The only downside is that we might have to wait until 2025 now to get the conclusion to the trilogy.

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor [Electronic Arts]: In the world of video games, there was only one I played all the way through and finished, and that was Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. The reason is simple: It was such a terrific story. With so much replay-ability and customizability, it's a standout in roleplaying games of this nature.

Bookshops & Bonedust, by Travis Baldree: I didn't think Travis Baldree could top his incredible novel from last year, Legends & Lattes, but he managed to create a prequel novel (featuring a tantalizing look into the future of the series) that offers all of the same cozy fantasy vibes as the first book, but in an all-new setting, opting for a bookstore instead of a coffee shop. It's a wondrous piece of art, and one of the most comforting reads I've had all year.

The Narrow Road Between Desires, by Patrick Rothfuss. For Rothfuss fans still awaiting the third book in the epic fantasy Kingkiller Chronicles, our thirsts were slaked—at least for the moment—by The Narrow Road Between Desires. This novella-length work follows Bast on a fascinating journey through a moral dilemma, and asks us to be more patient for that last book. This work reminds me that The Doors of Stone is worth waiting for, because Rothfuss really knows what he's doing.

That's all the space I have for some of my favorites of 2023. I hope you've been able to find some common ground with me, or a new favorite to check out for yourself.

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