It's not easy to find time to watch movies or TV (especially the grown-ups variety), so when I do get a chance to indulge, I try to make it count. Here's my personal list of sure-fire winners.
The Good Place - season 3. Good Janet, Bad Janet. Lots of laughs.
I love good science fiction, especially when the writers bother to respect the laws of physics and basic high school science. The Martian, Interstellar and Gravity all get high praise for not dumbing things down.
Other favorites include Avatar, The Matrix (sadly, they never made a sequel), Moon, District 9, Ex Machina, the original Blade Runner and Bladerunner 2049, Looper, Starship Troopers, Close Encounters, Arrival and Aliens.
Hollywood Action & Fantasy
Somehow, I never got into Game of Thrones though (sorry Adam). I didn't (and still don't) have HBO, and I had young kids roaming about at the time it all started, so I missed the on-ramp. I did enjoy the Harry Potter movies.
Raiders of the Lost Ark and the two sequels (yes, there are only two!) are high on my list of favorites. I was lucky enough to see Raiders in the theater as a kid.
Same for the original Predator, which I saw in the theater with friends and with no prior knowledge of the plot, so the sci-fi aspect was a complete, and utterly delightful surprise.
Here's the funny movies I didn't put into one of the other sections.
Tropic Thunder is an instant classic.
I usually don't get super excited about superhero movies, but I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool.
Possibly the least-known Tom Hanks movie, Joe vs the Volcano, and the classic Better Off Dead are both cult classics that I love no matter what anyone else says. A Fish Called Wanda is a must for Python fans. Big Trouble in Little China is a great action/comedy. Hot Tub Time Machine is a must for any 80's kid.
I'll put Little Big Man under drama, but it's also quite funny.
Boogie Nights is painfully wonderful.
My taste in horror movies runs from the horror-commedy of Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs Evil and What we do in the Shadows, to disturbing and suspenseful The Thing, Alien, The Cabin in the Woods, The Dead Zone, Donnie Darko, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Descent.
On the Small Screen
For TV time, The Expanse series is at the top of my list, but other favorites include: Doctor Who, Good Omens, Sherlock, The Good Place, Love Death & Robots, Dark Mirror, Altered Carbon and of course, Stranger Things (another decadent treat for any child of the 80's).
On the scary side, American Horror Story has had some really good seasons (1 - 5, with season 2's Asylum being my favorite, though I haven't seen some of the most recent ones yet).
The rest of my family is very into Supernatural, and I'll occasionally watch the two underware models fight evil and yell each other's names (SAM!!, DEAN!!).
I also have some guilty pleasures like Larva Island which had me and my kids rolling on the floor at the farting little worms.
There is no better WWII depiction than Band of Brothers, and I've re-watched the "Day of Days" and "Bastogne" episodes countless times.
With a daily commute of between 45 and significantly more minutes each way, I have lots of time in the car to listen to podcasts.
My two favorites are the Escape Pod science fiction podcast and Pseudopod horror podcast. I'm rapidly burning through their whole back-catalog of narrated short fiction, and can't recommend them enough. Often, I'll start an episode as I'm leaving the driveway, and it will end just as I'm parking at work, making the commute fly by.
Please spread the word and contribute to support them. Both podcasts are ad-free, pay the authors the going industry rate and are funded entirely by donations.
Favorites from Escape Pod
- #693: The Great Scientist Rivalry on Planet Sourdough. Weird, hilarious, and contains one of my new favorite AIs.
- #691 & 692: Lab B-15 (Parts 1 & 2). I work in building B-15...
- #690: The Things. A must for any fan of "The Thing".
- #683: Flash Crash. Great AI story.
- #673: Optimizing the Verified Good. Battle robots!
- #672: She Knits the Universe a Pink Angora Sweater. Really original and really amazing.
- #661: A Fine Night for Tea and Bludgeoning. Hilarious and brilliant. I played it for my wife just so we could talk about it.
- #658: Beatrix Released. I played this one for my kids.
- #652 - #655: And Then There Were (N-One) (Parts 1-4). This story is exceptional, thought-provoking and explores some really interesting space.
- #632 & #633: Lucky Shot (Parts 1 & 2). For any fan of "Enemy Mine".
- #630: Midnight Blue. I played this one for my girls while going to school.
Favorites from Pseudopod
- #660: Tiny Teeth. For the Handmaids Tale fans.
- #656: House Party Blues. Nosy Linda!
- #655: Black Matter. I love crash investigations, so this ticked a lot of checkboxes for me.
- #652: He Dies Where I Die. One of the scariest of the bunch.
- #647: The Algorithms for Love. Deeply disturbing computer science.
- #639: Of All the Things the Girls Had Ever Said. For Silence of the Lambs fans
- #629: Slipping Petals from Their Skins. Flower fairies were never scary before.