Shelli's 2023 Pop Culture Wrap-Up!
An Aristocratically Horny Year
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It’s timeeeeeeeeeeeeee—for my Pop Culture Wrap-up and more!!!
It was an interesting year but filled with some shit I really dug and some MAJOR let downs from shit I was excited about…and a lot of the bad shit was gay/trying to be gay.
Anywho, let’s get into it and if you aren’t a paid subscriber consider hitting the button below and upgrading to support me in the new year!
This year was such a great fucking TV year, honestly, I think I found more new fav shows in 2023 than I have in quite a while! A lot of them were British which, should be no surprise. They simply know how to do great TV. Remember last year when Mood and Bad Sisters made my list, and Welcome To Flatch did too…and it’s a US adaptation of the UK original This Country.
Limited Series also did their thing this year. My partner really digs a LS, they consume content in a way differently than I do and it was VV cool to listen to some of their reasons why they dig a limited. They also truly dig UK series (Marcella, Gangs of London, and they were the one who got me into Bad Sisters) and one of the reasons is ‘cos most UK series wrap after like 3 seasons. They get to the point, tell a full story, and then move on to the next….When will US television take the same vibey steps? Anyway, let’s get into my favs from 2023!
The Fall of The House of Usher
FOREVER A MEMBER OF THE CARLA GUGINO FAN CLUB! This show was incredible and I dug it! It was queer, incredibly acted, I got to see
Dr. Ravi Rahul Kohli shine, and the fits were perfect. Who knew literature could be so kinky, evil, hot, and smart? I did. It’s me, 12-year-old Shelli who was obsessed with The Tell-Tale Heart to a worrisome degree…anyway another great part of this show?
This absolute psycho.
played by Ruth Codd, I wanted every single one of her crazed outfits. She was giving artsy school boy with a scoop of slut and well—Correct on all fronts.
Am I being Unreasonable?
Daisy May Cooper is a fucking FORCE. First of all, she is one of the creators of This Country which…we all know I love. and this is not the first but second show of hers that came out this year that I really dug. It’s creepy and weird, kinda slow-paced but in a way that I was patient enough to see through. Ugh, it was uncomfortable in the best way!
DAISY MAY COOPER DOES IT AGAIN! Another incredible yet SO UNCOMFORTABLE series. I can’t even get into what this is about but let me tell you the trailer is just the start. Watch it now.
Blood, Black girl superhero, more blood, some murders, and college. I really knew nothing about The Boys universe of which this show is a spin-off. I watched it a bit and it was good but honestly, I’m only watching The Boys for work and because I want to know all the Gen V easter eggs.
Survival Of The Thickest
I loved this show. Not just because I love Michelle Buteau but because it’s the first show about fatness in a while that wasn’t ‘woe is me’, ‘I am trying to not be fat so I can be happy’, or ‘I’m so happy I’m fat that I’m mean to everyone in my life and push them all away because I am assuming that they actually hate me’. It’s hard to talk about fatness on screen in a way that…isn’t trash. It’s like we’ve gotten good at sharing stories on niggas and the gays, but fat folks are still tiptoed around.
Also, I wrote about it for Vogue and you should read my review and share it with Michelle!
Why yes EYE WOULD love a show about a serial killing Black girl who just really likes music and has incredible hairstyles and also may be on the spectrum—WHY WOULDN’T I?!?! All the awards for Miss Fishback ‘cos duh she deserves.
Such Brave Girls
I never had a sister but always wanted to and so I am very into shows with sisters (not like that you prevert…yes PREvert), and this one is solid. It’s new and only premiered like, a month ago, but still is very very worth being on this list and I better hear about a release date soon. Speaking of sister—Why haven’t you watched Bad Sisters yet?
I watched this show on repeat straight through at least 10 times. It’s so fucking fun and stupid. In a world where most folks get a superpower that makes them extraordinary when they turn 18—Jen didn’t get one. It’s like a 4-hour watch and it’s perfect for passing an afternoon.
I have NO IDEA how much bullying has changed since I was in school but if it’s anything like the way Moon Dong-Eun was treated in this show, then everyone should seek similar revenge. It’s 16 episodes long and they are nearly an hour long so binge if you wanna but maybe take your time—’cos it gets kinda dark.
The Crown—I haven’t watched the final season yet because I’m not ready to let it go BUT the folks over at Netflix sent me a very cute package to celebrate the series coming to an end. This will FOREVER be a fav rewatch.
Welcome To Flatch—My partner made me laugh cos I’m always rewatching this show and talking about it like it’s new. I also purchased the entire series on Amazon to watch whenever I want because it’s not on DVD or available anywhere else. Top purchase honestly.
Fav ‘New To Me’ Series
Power Book III: Raising Kanan
I know nothing about the Power universe except for BMF which is exceptional and based in Detroit and on a (mostly) true story. I don’t know why but I decided to get into the world of Power but chronologically, and it starts with Raising Kanan.
This show is exceptional. Patina Miller as Raquel ‘Raq’ Thomas and Mekai Curtis as her son Kanan Stark is wild. She KILLS it in this role. I ran through all the seasons in about a week and a half and season 3 is currently airing and I’m caught up there too.
It’s got a queer storyline in it, the fashion is IMPECCABLE (trying to interview Tsigie White who is the costume designer on the show) and if this is what the Power universe has to offer I am extra excited to take part.
Quick thoughts on other series
I’m A Virgo was very bad and I did not like it
The Other Black Girl was also…not great
We must stop employing Jane The Virgin
Quick thoughts on canceled series
Canceling Welcome To Flatch was a terrible idea
So was canceling A League of Their Own—a story with such great well-written and thought-out Black queer storylines. It was even flyer because it was a historical show and we so rarely get depicted so well in those times
Single Drunk Female was also stupid to cancel. A recovering alcoholic that was not lazily written and the other characters were so full
A Black Lady Sketch Show had run its course and ending on that is very great. A very British media-style move!
I still haven’t finished the last season of The L Word Gen Q. That shows you how shitty it was. But anyway campaign to bring back Abby in Work In Progress.
Miracle Workers season 1 was great but then it fell off.
Extra Favourite Bites
Dead Ringers, 90-Day Fiance (THE OG and The Other Way SPECIFICALLY), Wilderness, Based on A True Story, The Real Housewives of Potomac, The Horror of Dolores Roach, Little Women Atlanta and LA
We all need to address the Fishes episode of The Bear because WHAT THE FUCK THAT IS ONE OF THEE MOST PERFECT EPISODES OF TELEVISION I HAVE EVER FUCKING SEEN
*These are presented in no particular order….except Rye Lane because it is exactly where it is supposed to be which is right at the top.
This movie is my favorite of the year and also made its way to my Letterboxd top 4.
It’s Black, it’s a tiny bit queer, it’s a love story, damn near everybody is dark-skinned, the characters have flaws, the cinematography is wild—it’s perfect.
We haven’t had a young Black rom-com in years, especially not one this well done.
I had the chance to show the film to about 30 Black Chicagoans in a private screening that I curated. I shared this film that I fell in love with with a handful of folks and what a fly moment that was.
Past Lives - Greta Lee fan club for life!
You Hurt My Feelings - HELP I LOVED THIS MOVIE AND I MADE THE DIRECTOR LAUGH
Dilating for Maximum Results - IMPECCABLE
SALTBURN - I LOVE THIS MOVIE IT’S PERFECT I LOVE IT AND NOW WATCH BARRY AND JACOB TALK TO EACH OTHER AND GET AS OBSESSED AS ME
SCRAPPER - Stole my fucking heart, give me an absentee dad and precocious daughter duo any day.
Fav ‘New To Me’ Films
Planet of the Apes Series - I don’t know guys….don’t ask. Had a long week that week I guess.
Films That Let Me Down
Mutt - Not Great
My Animal - Really Bad
Priscilla - Yikes
Eileen - What in the fucking fuck is this heap of trash?
Turns out lots of gay movies (or those pretending to be) really let me down! I don’t know, maybe if they stop focusing on Queerbaiting and instead on actually curating queer films we’d be in a different place. But instead—
Extra Favourite Bites
Barbie, Cora Bora, The Script, Rustin, Totally Killer, A History of Sitting in Waiting Rooms, Theatre Camp, First Time Female Director, The Blackening, A Thousand and One, They Cloned Tyrone, May December
Fav Albums & Songs
I am still not a music head. The only times I really get hyped about music is when I recommend a song to my partner and they dig it. Other than that—same songs on repeat for days, big Taureaun energy I guess. BUT my top song this year? I Wrote A Song by Mae Muller—it’s so good!! Her whole album is pretty good actually.
I found it ‘cos I love Eurovision and Mae was competing this year!
Also very much enjoy aprtment life—
Also also I loved What You Wanna Try by Masego!
Shelli Extra Bits
Fav Pieces I’ve Written
The one I’m MOST proud of though—this perfection here on this very Substack. I wrote about my feelings on my surprise firing from Autostraddle. A place that was once special to me that ultimately did me dirty. I know I could say they did me a favor because I’m starting my solo moment far sooner than I planned—but it hurt.
I was pissed, I was sad, and I got to share it right here. That felt fucking good.
Fav Non-Writing Stuff
I was sent to Martha’s Vineyard by Netflix to cover The Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. I got to stay at a beautiful hotel, visit a city I’d only known of through movies, and be a first-timer at a film festival I’d never heard of but fell in love with.
It was such an incredible experience. I felt so seen in my work and I felt that finally I was getting this really fly moment that I deserved—and I didn’t pay a dime. I met icons and fellow journalists who went from Twitter mutuals to friends. I visited a lighthouse for the first time, I covered the series Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop and it was such an experience and I will NEVER forget it.
I went to Sundance for the first time!!! and I was invited back this year to cover it but for MY OWN SITE—THIS ONE YOU’RE READING NOW!!
I went to Miami on my first press trip!
I got to see another beautiful city that was new to me, got to see my parents, and had some of THEE BEST food I’ve had in forever, especially from El Turco.
Fav Photo Of Myself
Fav IG Post
Wishing and Hoping for In 2024
To be taken more seriously in journalism in terms of pay and critique like a lot of my Black writer friends are hoping and demanding too.
For success in going out on my own in a big way. I’m scared in a different way than before. 6 years ago, I gave my all to freelancing and writing to massive success. I built a name for myself and showed the world what I could do, and learned what I wanted to put back into this that I love.
This time it’s different. I’ve got my shit together business-wise to go for it but I’m nervous financially, professionally, and creatively…and that’s okay.
I hate asking for help—I always have. But I’m going to be my PR babe, reach out to folks to share my site and work, and I feel nothing but great vibes coming my way.
I made a vision board with the love of my life this past New Year’s Eve and it feels good to look at. I can’t wait to come back here next year and let you all know just how much came true. but y’all will already know cos you’re here to follow, share, and jump in my joy and successes with me along the way.
I appreciate your support, I appreciate your dollars, and I appreciate your vibes.
ready for a pop culture filled 2024!