Mala’s Best of 2019 Pop Culture Round-Up

Yes, it took me more than a week into 2020 to get my year-end post up. Things happen! Here is a look back at my 2019 in pop culture—from things I wrote, to things I watched, to things I read. All the loves and raves in one place!


Greg, Rondell, and Evan from AMBITIONS

Best Interview I Did: I am really proud that I got to chat with showrunner Jamey Giddens about his gloriously wicked and wonderful new soap opera, Ambitions on OWN.

Best Pop Culture Critique I Engaged In: Mad, Bad, and Way Too Dangerous to Know  — a look at how bad boys of TV and film are getting worse but somehow becoming even more alluring to fans. I wrote this long before The Rise of Skywalker discourse demanding a hero’s arc for Kylo Ren and can’t help but feel it was a little prescient.

Best Fanfic I Wrote: I’m not even going to pretend to be modest. “Just Enough Reason,” a Game of Thrones story set after the end of the TV series, was a goddamn masterpiece. I did a great job capturing both Tyrion and Sansa, and proved to myself that I do have a voice for fantasy or historical romance should I choose to explore those genres. Honorable mention to “Just Take it Like it Comes,” a One Day at a Time tale featuring Penelope and Schneider.

Favorite Books
Internment by Samira Ahmed
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole
Teach Me by Olivia Dade
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe
Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Three Part Harmony by Holley Trent
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Favorite TV Shows
Ambitions (OWN)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
One Day at a Time (Netflix/Pop TV)
Pose (FX)
The Punisher (Netflix)
Siren (Freeform)
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)
Watchmen (HBO)
Wu Assassins (Netflix)

Favorite Movies
Always Be My Maybe
Avengers: Endgame
Gully Boy
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Knives Out
Hobbs & Shaw
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Mj Rodriguez as Blanca from POSE

Favorite Lead Actor: Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Far From Home; Jon Bernthal, The Punisher; Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian.

Favorite Lead Actress: Mj Rodriguez, Pose; Regina King, Watchmen; Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder.

Favorite Supporting Actress: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place; Olivia Rose Keegan, Days of our Lives; Michelle Yeoh, Star Trek: Discovery.

Favorite Supporting Actor: Paul Telfer, Days of our Lives; Siddhant Chaturvedi, Gully Boy; Manny Montana, Good Girls.

Favorite Scene Stealers: Ash Tyler’s hair, Star Trek: Discovery; Keanu Reeves as himself in Always Be My Maybe; Sammi Haney as Esperanza on Raising Dion; Kristen Stewart as Sabina in Charlie’s Angels.

Favorite Chris Evans: Chris Evans.

Biggest Pop Culture Disappointment: The eighth season of Game of Thrones—especially the finale.

Best Pop Culture Surprises: The earnest handling of Fred’s death on Riverdale; the utterly brilliant CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.

    (I blame the scarf for the crush, honestly.)

Most Random Pop Culture Crushes: Perfect Harmony‘s Arthur (Bradley Whitford); Virgin River‘s Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson).

Fave New Shows of the 2019-20 Fall TV Season: All Rise, Evil, Perfect Harmony.


Favorite ‘Ships: Sansa/Tyrion, Game of Thrones; Beth/Rio, Good Girls; Ben/Ryn/Maddie, Siren; Angel/Lil Papi, Pose; Xander/Sarah, Days of our Lives.

Thing I Did Because Sometimes You Just Have To: See Cats in the theater, aided by two glasses of wine and edibles.

Best Overall Pop Culture Thing of the Year, the Century, My Life, Etc: The Child from The Mandalorian. I would die for my tiny green son.

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