From grim and gritty to bright and fun, 2019 delivered for capes and cowls.
Ah, superheroes. The gift that keeps on giving. Sure, the MCU may have drawn the curtains on Phase 3 with the release of Avengers: Endgame this year, but that doesn’t mean the superhero movie and TV bubble is showing any signs of popping just yet. In fact, it only seems to be getting stronger with more and more comic book stories being adapted by different studios and networks in increasingly creative ways.
2019 saw the release of HBO’s Watchmen, our 2019 show of the year, alongside other slightly-off-beat favorites like Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, Amazon’s The Boys and the final season of FX’s Legion. Add to that mix animated favorites like My Hero Academia, all-ages treats like Shazam, and quirky action-comedies like Doom Patrol, and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a really strong year for capes and cowls.
Which superhero movies and TV shows were your favorites in 2019?
When HBO announced a Watchmen TV show, the reaction was justifiably skeptical. It’s one of the most famous graphic novels in the world in addition to being co-created by one of comics’ most infamously anti-adaptation writers, Alan Moore. We’d already had a live-action movie hit theaters back in 2009 to some extremely polarized reactions from fans and critics alike. So you can absolutely imagine our surprise when, after just one episode, the Watchmen TV show managed to win us over. From top to bottom, Watchmen felt like a breath of fresh air for event TV, providing all sorts of fascinating ways for viewers to play along from digital “backmatter” in the Peteypedia to wild speculation with fellow fans about the show’s biggest and most mind-bending mysteries. It never sought to fully emulate the source material, but to update and adopt it for a new generation, layering world-building and concepts that originated back in 1985 with modern-day sensibilities to create a playground for the insanely stacked cast to tackle some truly impactful issues that are anything but flashy sci-fi superhero fluff. And to top things off, Watchmen pulled it all off like a nine-episode magic trick, delivering a complete story that welcomes continued conversation but doesn’t leave anyone or anything feel left in the lurch. If this is the future of the superhero genre on TV, it couldn’t be brighter. — Meg Downey
2. Umbrella Academy
Even by superhero comic standards, the Umbrella Academy books are eccentric, to put it lightly. They don’t seem like a likely candidate for a successful adaptation to any other medium, much less live-action, given just how surreal things eventually get, from a man with his head sewn onto a giant ape body to a time-traveling adult that looks like a child “married” to a department store mannequin. But somehow, against all odds, Netflix managed to thread the needle and pull it off. Umbrella Academy the TV show wasn’t afraid to play things a little fast and loose with the source material, a gambit that could have had disastrous consequences but instead only served to elevate and update the story into a modern context. That, coupled with a stellar cast, appropriately whimsical art direction, and a grounding emotional core, managed to make Umbrella Academy one of our favorite superhero shows of the year–and one of 2019’s very best adaptations across all genres. – Meg Downey
In the crowded annals of superhero television, Legion stood taller than most. Less cape-and-cowl crusading and more art-house experiment, the FX original series by Noah Hawley (Fargo) ended with a psychedelic, timey-wimey, insanely ambitious, and deeply cathartic bang. Season 3 proved to be one last unapologetically unhinged romp through the mind of David Haller (Dan Stevens), a mentally disturbed mutant telepath who threatened to destroy the world–whether he intended to or not. As the fabric of reality began to fray, a stellar cast including Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart, Jemaine Clement, Navid Negahban, and more battled through time and musical numbers to prevent a toxic man with a god complex from letting himself off the hook. It was one of a kind. – Meg Downey
4. Harley Quinn
Admittedly, the character Harley Quinn, the character, is not my cup of tea, but her animated series on DC Universe was one of my favorite shows of the year–and it’s still airing weekly on the streaming service. Imagine The Venture Brothers but more grotesque and no censors for the cursing, and that’s the show. Harley Quinn is a ridiculous, yet hilarious, series about the titular character moving on from Joker to become a solo supervillain–why does this plot sound familiar? Harley Quinn captures the absurdity of superhero comics and stories and pokes fun at it while telling a great story and not punching down at the audience. – Mat Elfring
5. The Boys
Amazon’s first season of The Boys pulled back on the adult content from the comic book series it was adapted from, believe it or not, and focused more on the main story of people trying to take down corrupt superheroes. The core, the heart, and the characters are still there, but Amazon’s take is much more focused on story rather than trying to go over-the-top with ridiculous moments (although those moments still exist). The Boys is a fresh take on the superhero genre, as those with powers are seen as the enemy by the protagonists. That’s a tough thing to pull off considering the cinematic climate we live in, but the Amazon series does it exceptionally well, and it leaves the viewer wanting more. — Mat Elfring
In a grimdark world of DC Comics movies that take themselves incredibly seriously, Shazam is a ray of pure sunlight and joy. This is a movie about a kid who’s given superpowers, and it’s treated as such. While there’s a villain to battle and a world to save, what Shazam does so well is making you believe this tough superhero is actually just a kid. He uses his powers to buy beer, impress his friends, and take on bullies. This is, honestly, the lighthearted superhero fare we needed in a 2019 that saw the fallout from Thanos destroying half of the universe. More movies like Shazam, please. – Chris E. Hayner
7. Doom Patrol Season 1
Sure, DC Universe may be a streaming service you don’t have–and possibly have never heard of. But it’s also some to some of the best superhero fare on TV. Take Doom Patrol, for instance. Unlike the typical comic book fare, this show is about a group of lovable and often disturbing misfits and includes some truly bizarre concepts that are absurdly fun to explore. Whether it’s a farting donkey that is home to a pocket universe or a woman with multiple personalities–each of which has its own superpower–Doom Patrol is a truly unique experience. It’s ridiculous in the best way possible, while also managing to tell high-quality stories and exploring interesting characters. Watch it; you won’t be disappointed. – Chris E. Hayner
8. My Hero Academia
It’s not uncommon for something to be lost in the translation from manga to anime, especially with a series as fast-paced and bombastic as the ones found in the Shonen Jump magazine, yet somehow the My Hero Academia anime keeps pulling the transformation from page to screen off flawlessly. 2019 saw the anime enter its fourth season and there’s yet to be a dip in quality or faithfulness to the source material. – Meg Downey
9. Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame brought the long saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an ending (not the end, but an ending nonetheless). The heroes we’ve come to know and love took on Thanos once and for all, irreparably destroying the series’ timeline in the process. Most of all, Avengers Endgame was a love letter to the entire MCU–the whole thing. It’s messy and confusing, and we spent weeks afterward debating whether the ending even made sense. But holy hell was it an emotional, fulfilling ride. It may not have completely worked, but in the aftermath, as the dust settled, Avengers Endgame felt like a much-deserved victory. – Mike Rougeau
10. Punisher Season 2
The Punisher Season 2 was very much more of the same, as far as Frank Castle’s bloody hijinks go. Season 1, which released in 2017, left Frank in the wind, having maimed but not murdered his rival Billy Russo, and been cut loose by the powers that be. When we caught up with the Punisher in Season 2, he was sort of just drifting, staying in motels and hanging out in bars. It was very un-Punisher like; he even met a nice lady, although predictably, that didn’t last long. You see, the Punisher’s gotta Punish. It’s what he does. It’s too bad the Netflix corner of the MCU is dead, because all in all, it was ultimately pretty enjoyable. – Mike Rougeau
11. Jessica Jones Season 3
The Netflix Marvel shows went through their ups and downs, but now that they’re all canceled for good, at least they went out on a high note with Jessica Jones Season 3. This season was largely concerned with power as a concept–what individuals are willing to do to get it, what they do with it once they have it, and the effect it has on the lives of the people around them. That may sound like typical superhero fare, and in a way, it was–we’ve seen Season 3’s themes and narrative arcs many times before. But when this superhero comfort food is done well, it can resonate with viewers nonetheless. And that was the case with Jessica Jones Season 3. – Mike Rougeau
It was difficult to imagine a Joker without Batman, because the Jokers we’ve grown to love over the years all existed as chaotic evil counterpoints to Bruce Wayne’s unwavering lawful good. 2019’s Joker succeeded, without equivocation, because it transformed the villain into the populist antihero we need him to be now. Joker wears its influences on its maroon sleeves, but it also carves its own gashes through the blood-soaked landscape of contemporary comic book movies, offering something that, despite teetering on the shoulders of 80 years of history, was wonderfully fresh, dangerously exciting, undeniably entertaining, and rock-solid in its artistry. – Mike Rougeau
The year’s best horror included teeth-clenching psychological terror and hilarious black comedy.
Don’t worry, horror fiends, we didn’t forget about you this year. In fact, horror had one of the strongest showings of any genre in 2019, and we have 12 selections from just about every subgenre to prove it, from hilarious black comedies like What We Do In The Shadows to the visceral psychological terror of Midsommar and everything in between.
And while you’re gathering your nerves to dive into some of the year’s biggest fights, don’t forget to check out our favorite movies, tv shows, and anime as we wrap up our year end coverage.
Don’t see your favorite horror movie or show on the list below? Let us know in the comments what your top picks were!
Ari Aster had a lot to live up to following his debut feature, Hereditary, which managed to be one of the most horrifying movies of 2018, but somehow Midsommar managed to pull it off. With a stunning, gut-wrenching performance by Florence Pugh, Midsommar threaded the needle between drama and horror in a way that both thrilled and terrified us, and it all culminated into one of the most absurdly satisfying (and brutal) endings of the year. We can’t wait to see what Aster has up his sleeve next. — Meg Downey
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out was a departure as Us delivered both very real and very unreal scares over the course of the movie. The first half of the film revolved around a family being terrorized by a family in red jumpsuits that looked just like them as they raced around their home to avoid being slaughtered. From there, the film introduced an underground world where doppelgangers live as they rise to the surface and commit heinous crimes on humanity. The combination of a home invasion movie and the world-building from the world of the tethered is an interesting mix, but it works exceptionally well, as the audience has no clue where the movie will head next. Peele’s voice is bringing in a whole new era of horror, and we can’t wait to see where his vision takes us next. – Mat Elfring
3. The Lighthouse
Robert Egger’s debut movie The Witch was one of 2017’s most acclaimed horror movies, and with The Lighthouse he went further into the realms of dark, weird period madness. Shot in stark black-and-white with vintage lenses to truly evoke the era, it starred Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two 19th century lighthouse housekeepers who find themselves going slowly insane over the course of a long winter. By turns scary, bizarre, hilarious, shocking, and weirdly moving, the potent atmosphere and incredible performances from its two leads make for utterly compulsive viewing. – Dan Auty
4. Happy Death Day 2U
Happy Death Day was one of the smartest, funniest horror comedies to come along for some time, and full credit to the makers of the sequel for not simply repeating the formula. While Happy Death Day 2U is still basically a horror version of Groundhog Day, it’s actually as much a sci-fi movie as a slasher film, as student Tree and her friends attempt to find out why they’ve been thrown back into the loop that sees a killer picking them off each day. Jessica Rothe gives another fantastically engaging lead performance, and the film finds time for some genuinely emotional moments amongst all the time-jumping mayhem. – Dan Auty
5. Doctor Sleep
Adapting Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining as a film provides all sorts of interesting and complicated challenges, and Mike Flanagan was happy to rise to the occasion. What could have easily been a car crash of conflicting ideas on “canon” between Kubrick and King wound up being the perfect love letter to both incarnations of the story. Doctor Sleep was a thrilling, surprisingly heartwarming look at the aftermath of trauma, the process of healing, and the legacy of one of the most celebrated horror stories of our time. — Meg Downey
6. One Cut of the Dead
Just when you thought that zombie movies and TV shows were running out of ideas, along comes One Cut of the Dead. This Japanese hit takes an inventive approach to the genre and stands as one of the funniest, cleverest, and most enjoyable examples for years. It’s one of those movies that it needs to be seen with little prior-knowledge going in; suffice to say that what you think you’re watching in the first 30 minutes–a one-take horror movie about a group of filmmakers being attacked by zombies–soon turns out to be something else entirely. There are some wonderful performances throughout, and a level of infectious joy in watching the storyline unfold so skilfully. It’s now available on the horror streaming service Shudder, and is highly recommended. — Dan Auty
7. Annabelle Comes Home
The Conjuring universe is undoubtedly one of the most consistent franchises in horror movie history, and the latest entry, Annabelle Comes Home, doesn’t break that trend. The third Annabelle spin-off takes place somewhere in the larger Conjuring timeline, and exactly where doesn’t really matter–you don’t have to know much about the Warrens to appreciate this haunted house full of scary trinkets that terrorize a young girl and her babysitters. ACH is reliably scary, brimming with tense atmosphere and jarring jump scares, with excellent performances from its small cast and several intriguing additions to Conjuring lore. For those who enjoy these movies, Annabelle Comes Home is yet another predictably fun, popcorn-throwing scare fest. – Mike Rougeau
8. Ready or Not
Ready or Not isn’t a straight-up horror film, but it contains all of the tropes you’d see in a movie in that genre. The movie follows a woman who marries into a wealthy family and must play a game of hide and seek on their wedding night. However, this is a deadly version of the game, where the family is trying to kill the bride. Where Ready or Not shines is in the fact that it steps away from traditional horror by mixing things up: the hero of the story has a backbone, the villains can be bumbling fools at times, and the ending comes completely out of left field. While there is a comedic slant to the movie, it doesn’t let the humor overshadow the story, which ultimately is very intense. Ready or Not is a weird and wild movie that ends up being a lot of fun, and we could all use a little bit of fun in our lives. — Mat Elfring
Horror TV shows have gravitated towards anthology series recently. With shows like Channel Zero, American Horror Story, and Castle Rock, fans find self-contained stories within a season to be the most appealing. However, the streaming service Shudder did something different this year with its series Creepshow. Each episode consists of two stories by two different directors offering up a variety of stories and elements of horror. Because of the various voices lent to each episode and story, there is something for every horror fan on Creepshow. From gore-driven stories to terrifying monsters to atmospheric scares, there is nothing more dynamic in horror right now than Creepshow, and we couldn’t be more excited for Season 2. – Mat Elfring
10. The Dead Don’t Die
The Dead Don’t Die isn’t so much a scary horror movie, as it is one to simply sit and marvel at. That director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Stranger Than Paradise) wrote and directed a zombie movie at all is a wild thought. That he cast Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tilda Swinton as the leads is magical. This movie is simply a mundane, yet very funny look at zombies invading a small town. It’s not big on jump scares and the gore is pretty minimal. However, what this movie does is take the horror genre and turn it on its head, instead presenting a quirky independent comedy set against a horror backdrop. It’s fun, not at all what you expect, and is strangely fulfilling to watch. – Chris Hayner
11. What We Do in the Shadows
Is it horror? Is it a comedy? Is it both? What We Do in the Shadows is one of the absolute funniest shows on TV. And while it can get pretty scary, this is a show at its best when it’s deconstructing horror conventions and the very idea of vampires–which is does flawlessly. Plus, any show that can manage to get Tilda Swinton, Evan Rachel Wood, Danny Trejo, Paul Reubens, Kristen Schaal, and Dave Bautista into a single episode of TV deserves to be celebrated.
This is a rare show that–on paper–seemed like a risky bet. The original What We Do in the Shadows film is beloved and crafting some kind of sequel for cable TV could have gone horribly wrong. Instead, it’s turned into one of TV’s most endearing comedies that also happens to play heavily in the horror space. – Chris E. Hayner
12. Castle Rock
Unlike most Stephen King adaptations, Castle Rock doesn’t just take one of his novels and pull it into a different medium. Instead, the series remixes different places, ideas, plots, and characters into something new–a sort of alternate universe take on well-known King elements. The first season of Castle Rock struggled a bit under the weight of its references, but the second season has come back to the same idea with renewed vigor, thanks largely to a phenomenal turn by lead Lizzy Caplan.
Caplan takes on the role of Annie Wilkes, the role originated by Kathy Bates in Misery, but gives the murderous romance novel superfan a new spin in the Castle Rock-adjacent town of Salem’s Lot. Focusing on Annie and her daughter makes for a great new take on a famous character, and Castle Rock adds a whole lot to the mix with a subplot about the local politics of Salem’s Lot. This season of Castle Rock doesn’t just reference well-known ideas from King’s books, like a town taken over by vampires and a writer-obsessed nurse losing her mind–it works those elements together to make something surprising, new, and frightening. The second season of Castle Rock sees the Stephen King anthology show finally attaining its goals, thanks to a great cast and a wealth of smart twists on King’s stories. – Phil Hornshaw
A sale on the Nintendo Switch Eshop is offering solid deals on top-selling indie games. The sale lasts through midnight PT on December 28, so you only have a little while to take advantage. But it’s a great way to catch up on games you may have missed over the year and spend those eshop cards that were in your stocking.
These are all part of the Indie World library of games, which is also the name of this sale. Some highlights of the sale include Ori and the Blind Forest, Cuphead, and the standout puzzle game Baba Is You. Most of the prices are in the teens, though a few go even lower. The arcade shooter (and perfect use of Flip Grip) Downwell is less than two bucks. Two! You can check out the full listing of games and prices below.
This indies sale is running concurrently with another, even bigger Eshop sale. That one discounts a much broader range of games, including Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy, and even some other indies like Bastion and Transistor. On the whole the Eshop is offering some great deals right now so check them out.
Nintendo Eshop Indies Sale
- Baba Is You – $12
- Blasphemous – $20
- Castle Crashers Remastered – $9
- Cuphead – $14
- Downwell – $1.50
- My Friend Pedro – $14
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Remastered – $14
- Slay the Spire – $20
- SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech – $17.50
- Terraria – $21
- Torchlight 2 – $12
- Unravel Two – $5
Despite calling on the community for help revitalizing the Xenosaga series with a potential HD remaster collection, the project has officially fallen through the cracks. A producer at Bandai Namco has confirmed that a remaster of the long-dormant RPG franchise would be “difficult” to do based on current market analysis.
Katsuhiro Harada, a director/producer at Bandai Namco and the producer of the Tekken series, shared on Twitter that an HD Xenosaga remaster collection didn’t make sense from a profitability standpoint. Harada said that the project was progressing as a potential plan but was dropped somewhere along the process. According to Harada, resurfacing the project would be difficult to do.
This actually progressed to the remaster’s plan, but failed in a profitable market analysis.
Sorry guys, This plan will be difficult to resurface… https://t.co/0CRJJDPl5Z
— Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) December 26, 2019
Harada sent a request to fans on Twitter in 2014, asking the community to band together in the hopes of getting a Xenosaga HD remaster collection off the ground. At that time, Harada said he couldn’t “find the necessary market size” to make bringing the franchise back worthwhile. He said fan voices might chance those prospects.
Though the possible Xenosaga HD remaster collection remains left on the cutting room floor, Harada has kept himself and his team busy with Tekken 7, which received an 8/10 in our review when it launched in 2017 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The critically acclaimed fighting game has revealed two new combatants for its third season, one of which is an original character added to the series. Tekken 7’s latest character, Leroy Smith, launched on December 10 for all platforms.
Nintendo is keeping its 2020 lineup close to its vest as we head into the new year, but the company has given us a tantalizing peek at a handful of games on the way to Switch over the next few months. The biggest of these is undoubtedly Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the long-awaited new installment in the beloved life sim series.
New Horizons arrives nearly eight years after the last proper Animal Crossing game, New Leaf, released on 3DS, making it one of the year’s most hotly anticipated titles. We got our first real look at the game during Nintendo’s E3 2019 presentation, and since then, the company has gradually divulged new tidbits about it in the lead up to its March 2020 launch.
To help catch you up on all the details that have been revealed so far, we’ve rounded up everything we know about Animal Crossing: New Horizons below. We’ll continue to update this list as more information is revealed, so check back often for the latest on Nintendo’s new Animal Crossing game.
There are a ton of other great-looking titles lined up for next year. You can see some of the ones the GameSpot staff are most excited for in our Most Anticipated of 2020 hub. You can also catch up on our other end-of-year coverage in our Best of 2019 hub.
- Announcement And Reveal Trailer
- Release Date
- What’s New In New Horizons?
- Which Characters Will Return?
- Will New Horizons Support Cloud Saves?
Announcement And Reveal Trailer
While it was long speculated that Nintendo was secretly working on a new Animal Crossing game, the next entry in the series wouldn’t be officially announced until the company’s September 2018 Direct presentation. After revealing that Isabelle was joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a playable fighter, Nintendo confirmed that a new Animal Crossing game was in development for Switch, although it shared no other details about it beyond a vague 2019 release window.
It would be another nine months before we heard more about the title. Nintendo waited until E3 2019 to finally share the first trailer for its new Animal Crossing game–now officially christened Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The video, which you can watch above, offered our first glimpse at how Animal Crossing’s familiar, laid-back gameplay would be translated to Switch. More interestingly, it also revealed this entry’s unique premise: rather than starting your domestic adventure by moving into a pre-existing town, as in every previous Animal Crossing game, New Horizons drops you on a deserted island and lets you build your own village from the ground up.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons was originally slated to release for Switch in 2019; however, at this year’s E3, Nintendo confirmed that the game had been delayed by a few months and would now launch worldwide on March 20, 2020. According to the company, the reason for this delay was in part to ensure the development team maintains a healthy work-life balance–an important issue in the industry today, as many other studios have recently come under scrutiny for their excessive “crunch” practices.
“For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people’s faces, and we talk about that all the time. It’s our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees,” Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser told IGN. “We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance. One of those examples is, we will not bring a game to market before it’s ready. We just talked about one example [New Horizons’ delay]. It’s really important that we have that balance in our world.”
What’s New In New Horizons?
At its core, New Horizons is very much a traditional Animal Crossing game, so your day-to-day experience will revolve primarily around interacting with neighbors and performing other familiar activities such as fishing, catching insects, discovering fossils, and decorating your home. However, the game builds on this foundation by incorporating some elements from the series’ mobile spin-off, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. In particular, you can now collect different materials like tree branches and stones and fashion those into tools and furniture at Tom Nook’s workbench. One new type of tool you can craft is a pole, which allows you to vault over the river and reach the other side more quickly.
New Horizons introduces a few other new elements to the series as well, many of which are facilitated by the NookPhone, a smartphone-like device that you receive shortly after settling down on your island. With the NookPhone, you can look up crafting recipes, invite a friend to play alongside you, access the game’s photo mode, and track your Nook Miles–points you accrue by completing certain tasks, such as picking weeds, learning new recipes, and more. These Nook Miles can be redeemed for special recipes and other in-game items.
New Horizons also makes a swathe of quality-of-life improvements. While furniture could previously only be placed inside your house, you can now lay it down outside as well for some exterior decorating. The game, blessedly, also gives you the ability to dictate where your animal neighbors live. According to game director Aya Kyogoku, before a new villager moves in, they’ll first check with you about the spot they’ve chosen; if you disapprove, you can select a new spot for their house.
Other welcome tweaks that Nintendo has confirmed: you can shovel up an entire tree and replant it elsewhere rather than having to chop it down; you’ll be able to freely select your character’s skin tone, hairstyle, and facial features, and can swap between the different options at any point in the game; and you can move furniture in half-units, as you can in Happy Home Designer.
Which Characters Will Return?
Thus far, the only familiar characters we’ve seen in New Horizons are Tom Nook and his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, who will play a more pivotal role than they did in New Leaf. This time, the Nooks will run your island’s resident services building, providing a place for you to purchase and craft furniture, tools, and other island necessities. We’ve also gotten quick glimpses at a handful of fan-favorite villagers who’ll be returning in the game, including Angus, Fuchsia, and Goldie.
Beyond that, however, we don’t yet know what other recurring characters will show up in New Horizons or what role they’ll serve. Isabelle in particular has been conspicuously absent from any footage Nintendo has shared of the game, but director Aya Kyogoku teases that she may make an appearance. “One thing that I could definitely say about Isabelle is that as the island develops a little more and it needs a little bit more support, then Isabelle might see some sort of use on the island,” Kyogoku said.
Another character that has been mentioned is the ever-irritable Mr. Resetti. In previous games, Mr. Resetti would pop up and berate players if they shut off the game without saving, but as New Horizons takes advantage of Switch’s auto-save feature, Resetti’s role has been made redundant. However, this doesn’t mean he won’t appear in a different capacity. “We also believe that Mr. Resetti is looking for a new job after his layoff. So please look forward to that,” Kyogoku told Mashable.
Will New Horizons Support Cloud Saves?
Like a handful of other Switch games, it appears Animal Crossing: New Horizons will not support cloud saves. Producer Higashi Nogami confirmed to French outlet Gamekult (via US Gamer) that the title will not allow players to back up their save data to the cloud in order to prevent them from manipulating time within the game and cheating. Previous entries in the series have similarly disallowed players from backing up their save files, so this isn’t entirely surprising, and it is hardly the only Switch title with this restriction.
Like previous Animal Crossing games, New Horizons allows you to invite other players to visit your town. One island can host up to four players locally and up to eight in online sessions. However, you’ll need to have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to take advantage of these online features. Memberships for the service run for $4 USD for one month, $8 USD for three months, $20 USD for 12 months, and $35 USD for an annual family plan.
In addition to local and online multiplayer, New Horizons also supports couch co-op. Using the Call Islander option in your NookPhone, you can summon another player who has a house on your island and play together by passing them one of your Joy-Cons. Director Aya Kyogoku demonstrated this feature during Nintendo’s E3 2019 Treehouse livestream (above) by playing alongside producer Higashi Nogami. During these co-op sessions, the lead player is denoted by a flag over their head. The camera will only follow this player, but you can swap who the leader is at any time while playing.
While no pre-order bonuses have been announced yet, you can already reserve a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons at several retailers, including Amazon and GameStop. You can learn more in our New Horizons pre-order guide.
What are your picks for 2019?
The entertainment team at GameSpot recognized a wide variety of entertainment, from the best anime and wrestlers of 2019 to the top streaming services, performances, and more. But sometimes the existing categories aren’t enough for everything GameSpot’s editors want to highlight. That’s where the GameSpot entertainment team’s editor’s choice awards come in.
Scroll down for our highlights, then check out the best and worst reviewed movies of 2019. And if you’re looking ahead to 2020, check out our looks at the Biggest Movies, TV shows, and anime to watch next year.
1. Knives Out
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that, however you felt about The Last Jedi, its problems did not stem from director Rian Johnson. I’ve enjoyed all of Johnson’s movies up until now, with his ill-regarded Star Wars movie constituting the lone blemish on the filmmaker’s record. Knives Out proves the exception, as it’s a thoughtful, complex, hilarious, impeccably cast murder mystery that cements Rian Johnson as a great filmmaker.
Knives Out is a classic murder-mystery-mansion story–the type of movie Clue satirized over 30 years ago. It’s also a deconstruction of that genre, asking why we always seem to suspect the butler or the maid, and not just “whodunit?” And thanks to key performances from the likes of Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, and, especially, Ana de Armas, Knives Out sticks the landing hard on its ultimate message: that in a world where justice and truth actually matter, it’s still important to try to be a good person. In 2019, that’s a message we needed. – Mike Rougeau
Undone is not only my favorite TV show of 2019, it’s my favorite piece of media this year. This beautifully animated series mixes science fiction, the supernatural, and a murder mystery to tell the story of a young woman named Alma (Rose Salazar) who is dealing with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The rotoscope animation style allows Undone to take viewers into the world as Alma sees it during this strange time in her life, following a near-fatal car accident.
As she questions her own sanity when her late father (Bob Odenkirk) begins appearing to her, Alma begins to realize she exists outside of normal space and time and works to discover how to use that to her advantage. It’s an interesting and often heartbreaking approach to a story that, at its heart, is an exploration of mental health and how easy it is to feel disconnected from those you love simply because they don’t understand you. This is a rare gem of a series that can explore these heavy topics, while remaining entertaining and–at times–lighthearted. That it’s capped off with an award-worthy performance by Salazar is all the more reason Undone deserves your attention. – Chris E. Hayner
3. The OA
The mind-bending sci-fi series The OA was the sort of show that never played by the rules, and fans of Season 1 had to wait nearly three years for the second batch of episodes. Thankfully the wait was fully rewarded. Creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij delivered an incredible season that, while following directly on from the events of Season 1, was very much its own thing. It continues the story of Prairie Johnson (Marling) after she escapes from insane scientist “Hap” Percy, but it also introduced a gripping thriller subplot, as a detective hunts for a missing girl in San Francisco.
There are parallel dimensions, supernatural houses, sanity-consuming video games, dancing robots, and psychic octopuses, and it takes several episodes for the pieces of the puzzle to start to fall into place. But viewer patience is rewarded by some absolutely gripping sci-fi and moving emotional drama–and the ending has to be seen to be believed. The OA was canceled by Netflix soon after it was released, so there won’t be a third season. But as disappointing as it is, we should be glad we got such an ambitious and unique show in the first place. – Dan Auty
4. Bill Hader
OK, he may not be a movie or a TV show exactly, but listen: Bill Hader had a fantastic year in 2019 and we all need to acknowledge that. Between Barry Season 2 and It Chapter 2, Hader displayed some of the most gut-wrenching, tear-jerking range on both big and small screens–and he did it all with his trademark charm and humor. Though It Chapter 2 may have been, all told, kind of a disappointment as a whole, Hader’s performance as Richie Tozier alone elevated what may have otherwise been a wash into an engaging, thoughtful, and heartbreaking story of love and loss, elevating even the classic source material to something entirely new–and igniting a fervent fan community where artists and writers are now making the otherwise mediocre movie into something all their own. Meanwhile, with Barry, Hader only solidified what many of his diehard fans have known for years: He’s not someone to be underestimated in any area, be it comedy, action, or drama. In a year populated by letdowns, bummers, and major disappointments, Bill Hader was like a shining beacon of reliable, rewatchable light. – Meg Downey
5. This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Story
Wrestling is admittedly weird. While WWE tends to dominate the spotlight, a documentary about an independent wrestler wound up being one of my favorite movies of the year: This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Story. Following the titular independent wrestler–who had a video that went viral in 2015 of his signature and infamous move the Dick Flip–This is Wrestling is a love letter to the sport.
It shows how wrestling is just more than muscle-men and women rolling around in the ring. There is a side to this unreal sport that brings nothing but laughter and joy to the audience, and Ryan has become a master at the balancing act between comedy and athleticism. Sure, he flips people with his dick, but he’s also really good at actual wrestling, with a well-defined character you love to hate or hate to love. Sadly, This is Wrestling has not been released on home video or digitally, and the only way you could have seen it was to attend one of the showings the movie had throughout the year. And that’s the only real problem with this movie. Who knew a movie about a wrestler with a powerful penis could be one of the most joyful documentaries of the year? – Mat Elfring
6. Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong and Randall Park proved that they are a comedic force to be reckoned with as the screenwriters and stars of the Netflix original film Always Be My Maybe. It’s not only my favorite comedy of this year, but perhaps the best romantic comedy of this decade. Wong and Park play famous chef Sasha Tran and struggling musician Marcus Kim, two childhood sweethearts who have a falling out and reconnect 16 years later. Wong and Park are incredibly charming to watch, delivering solid comedic performances and electric chemistry together on screen. The dialogue is smart, self-aware, refreshing, never too cheesy, and full of side-splitting quips that you may miss on your first viewing from laughing too hard. Adding to the hilarity is a scene-stealing cameo from Keanu Reeves, who plays an over-the-top version of himself and is a must-watch for any Keanu fan.
Aside from the brilliant screenplay and notable performances, something truly special about the film is how it accurately captures Asian-American culture. Marcus’s Korean-American family and Sasha’s Vietnamese-American family feel like real, complex and relatable characters, not mere exaggerations or stereotypes of their cultures. This film isn’t focused on Asian identity–it feels like a movie about two American kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area who just happen to be Asian. As an Asian-American myself, it’s incredibly satisfying to watch and feel represented. But regardless of the viewer’s background or culture, Always Be My Maybe is a solid and powerful comedy that leans into classic rom-com tropes and masterfully shapes them into something special. I hope that Wong and Park team up to write many more movies. – Chastity Vicencio
The Avengers might be the heroes making headlines as they smash box office records but it’s Noah Hawley’s Legion that should take top billing this year as the most creative and mind-bending storytelling in the Marvel universe. The third season of the ambitious FX series wrapped up David Haller’s (Dan Stevens) weird and uncanny tale beautifully. Unlike those Avengers, Legion actually got time travel right. And visually, you won’t find a more arresting show on TV. The production design and direction have pushed the series into a league of its own.
Legion’s final season introduced us to some new faces, like the mutant Switch, played by Lauren Tsai, pursuing a Matrix-like adventure through time. Of course David’s father, Professor X, also made his long-awaited debut on the series. Harry Lloyd, best known as that Targaryen who died by golden crown in Game of Thrones’ first season, was tasked with bringing the iconic X-Men character to life. His performance was beautiful and subtle, portraying a man haunted by his past decisions.
Legion’s creators, like the show itself, have been thinking outside the box. Or maybe there isn’t any box at all. Instead of a magical hammer or a photon blast, Legion used dance-offs and rap battles as the good and bad guys clashed. The final season didn’t erase David’s mistakes, or try to make you forget about them. It magnified his fall into darkness and gave us perspective on all those damaged in his orbit, particularly his Rachel Keller’s Syd Barrett. By the end of the series, we returned back to where we started. It’s both an ending and a beginning. Who knows if we’ll see Legion again, but what we saw was well worth the trip. – Ryan Peterson
From comedy to drama and everything in between.
It stands to reason that a year full of stellar movies and TV would also have some phenomenal performances, and no shortage of actors we believe deserve recognition. Across every genre and every medium, 2019 was jam packed with some of the very best of the best.
We’ve rounded up 13 different roles to give special accolades to as we wind down our end of the year coverage, from comedic brilliance like Bill Hader in the title role of HBO’s Barry to the gritty, sea-shanty singing psychological drama of Willem Dafoe and Robrt Pattinson in The Lighthouse–and everything in between.
Let us know who and what your favorite performances of the year were in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our 2019 year end round ups, like the year’s best comics, best anime, and best pro wrestlers.
1. Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Barry has an outstanding ensemble cast and isn’t exactly short on good performances. But while they all do great work in Season 2, it’s Anthony Carrigan who steals the show. His portrayal of Chechen gangster Noho Hank was played mostly (and brilliantly) for laughs in Season 1, but the second season allowed the actor to give the character a darker, more dramatic edge. Hank’s desperation to be liked and his bumbling approach to the criminal life makes it easy to forget that he’s still a ruthless killer, but there are moments in Season 2 where we are truly reminded of this, most notably the scene in Episode 2 when he turns on Barry–up to that point his hitman idol. It takes real skill to make us laugh so much while retaining a menacing edge, and Carrigan proves himself an absolute master of both. – Dan Auty
2. Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
We wouldn’t normally pick two performances from the same movie, but it’s hard to separate these two. Robert Eggers’ wonderfully weird psychological horror The Lighthouse features Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in almost every scene, and the brilliance of each performance is entirely reliant on its interplay with the other. Dafoe has the louder, more verbose role, as the experienced older Thomas, who has spent decades manning a lighthouse, while Pattinson’s mysterious Ephraim is more guarded and reserved. But the relish with which both actors deliver Eggers’ archaic but often filthy and hilarious dialogue is a joy to witness. – Dan Auty
3. William Zabka, Cobra Kai (Season 2)
Honestly, William Zabka isn’t a name anyone could have possibly have expected on a best performances list two years ago. The one-time Karate Kid star didn’t have any high-profile roles after the 1980s. That is, at least, until Cobra Kai came around, allowing the actor to revisit the Johnny Lawrence role he made famous. While Zakba shined in Season 1 as he brought Johnny back to life and dropping him into a modern setting, the latest season let the actor dig even deeper into the role, allowing for a nuanced performance that explored a man coming to terms with his past and trying to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Cobra Kai–and Zabka’s performance in it–shouldn’t be this good. Revisiting a movie like Karate Kid over three decades later should not work so well. But it does and we’re thankful for it. – Chris E. Hayner
4. Brian Cox, Succession
Succession focuses on one of the most powerful fictional families in the world, the Roys, owners of the media conglomerate Waystar Royco. At the head of this empire is the patriarch, Logan Roy, one of the most menacing and power-hungry characters on television. It takes a truly talented actor to bring Logan to life, and Brian Cox is more than up for the challenge. In Succession’s second season, Cox terrified us (“Boar on the floor”, anyone?), made us despise him with his greed and despicable treatment of his family, and at times made us laugh as Logan. But despite his raucous outbursts and power grabs, we also saw through to Logan’s vulnerable side as someone who was afraid to lose control and who deep down, loves his family in his own narcissistic way. Cox continues to shine as the truly foreboding Logan, and we can’t wait to see how he handles season 2’s cliffhanger ending. –Chastity Vicencio
5. Bill Hader, Barry
Bill Hader’s had a pretty killer year, performance-wise, but Barry absolutely takes the cake. The former SNL superstar has pushed himself further into the heartbreaking, anxiety-inducing character of a hitman trying desperately to break good as an actor across both seasons of the HBO show, but Season 2 elevated him even further. Barry is brutal to watch because no matter how desperately you want him to win, the constant reminder of his darkness–the same darkness that drives him to literally murder people–is always looming just over his shoulder. — Meg Downey
6. Zendaya, Euphoria
In Euphoria, Zendaya delivered both a career-defining performance and one of the most vulnerable performances on TV in years. In the HBO drama, Zendaya completely sheds her Disney image as 17-year-old recovering drug addict Rue Bennett, who feels completely empty after a brief stint in rehab and is struggling to stay clean. The show deals with heavy subject matter, exploring a group of high school students’ experiences with drugs, sex, relationships and trauma, and will make you dread the idea of raising a teenager in modern society. Rue serves as both the main character and narrator of the series, and the show would not be as convincing and effective as it is without Zendaya’s exceptional and realistic performance. We suffer with Rue, we root for her, and we feel everything she feels with a heavy heart. — Chastity Vicencio
7. Regina King, Watchmen
HBO’s Watchmen is a stellar achievement in TV, but it wouldn’t have worked half as well without the fantastic performances of the whole cast, anchored with unflinching resolve by Regina King and her character, Angela Abar. Time and time again King brought layers of complexity and emotion to an already massively dense concept and world, making the show’s universe feel at once fantastic and grounded. King sold every second of Angela’s violent inner turmoil, tumultuous past, and vulnerable core. — Meg Downey
8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Playing one role in a movie can be trying enough, but Lupita Nyong’o not only delivered a standout performance for the matriarch of the Wilson family, Adelaide, she also terrified audiences with her character’s doppelganger, Red. While Adelaide may be a mother who loves her family and will do anything to protect them, Red is stalking, menacing, and her voice will send shivers down your spine. Individually, both of these characters are worth mentioning for the best performances of the year, and Nyong’o nailed both of them in one movie. — Mat Elfring
9. Ruben Rabasa, I Think You Should Leave
While Tim Robinson’s Netflix series I Think You Should Leave was a standout for 2019, Ruben Rabasa’s portrayal as a guy with terrible ideas in a focus group was the most talked about character from the bizarre sketch series. While he’s only on screen for roughly three minutes of the entire first season, he steals the show. His dedication to this out-of-place madman makes the turn for the sketch–against Paul and his terrible ideas–such a hilarious moment, as we see Rabasa’s character dab and do that bottle flip meme twice. Sure, this character may seem easy to play, but Rabasa delivers a ton of variety to his chaotic character. – Mat Elfring
10. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as the Clown Prince of Crime joins the growing list of career-defining Joker performances, gleefully matching predecessors like Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, and others in sheer, joyful lunacy. But Phoenix’s Joker brings something that no previous version has had: humanity. Fleck-turned-Joker isn’t simply an insane foil for Batman or a naturalistic force of chaos. He’s a man who was born with the deck stacked against him, nudged and shoved endlessly toward an inevitable explosion of violent self-acceptance. Fleck is absolutely a bad guy, but thanks to Phoenix’s dark, weird, committed performance, you might just find yourself rooting for him regardless. – Mike Rougeau
11. Ana de Armas, Knives Out
The performance that holds all of Knives Out together, through twists and turns, attacks and betrayals, laughs and tears, is Ana de Armas as the murdered family patriarch’s nurse and friend, Marta. Knives Out turns the murder-mystery-mansion genre on its head, but the whole thing would fall apart without de Armas’s incredibly expressive, sympathetic performance at its core. Granted, Daniel Craig’s Kentucky Fried Chicken-flavored detective comes in a close second. – Mike Rougeau
12. George MacKay, 1917
Sam Mendes’s instant World War I classic 1917 comes with a strong gimmick: The whole movie appears to take place in one extremely lengthy single take. The whole thing wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does without a strong performance at its core, and the movie’s success arguably rides on actor George MacKay’s shoulders. His Lance Corporal Schofield is initially reluctant to embark on this suicide mission, and MacKay’s vulnerable, relentless performance drives home the movie’s twin themes of heroism and tragedy. – Mike Rougeau
13. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
The talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge doesn’t just star in Fleabag–she created it, too. The acclaimed comedy is a terrific showcase for everything Waller-Bridge does so well, from huge laughs to real tears as her titular character attempts to navigate life as someone who can only be described as a rather lovable jerk. She’s far from perfect–that’s kind of the point. But Waller-Bridge’s portrayal of her is. – Mike Rougeau
With Netflix’s The Witcher getting a second season, actor Henry Cavill may be busy busting through Geralt of Rivia’s leather. But the superstar actor has admitted in a new interview that he would much rather be playing video games right now–particularly, 2017 turn-based strategy tactics game Total War: Warhammer 2.
In speaking to GQ magazine, Cavil confirmed his love of gaming as a means to escape his ever-growing popularity. “At home, I get to sit playing games for ridiculous amounts of hours and escape there,” Cavill said. “Because going outside has the opposite effect.” To date, Cavill has played Warhammer 2 a total of six times with six different races and “[loves] it each time.”
Warhammer 2 isn’t the only game Cavill is fond of. The actor, who’s currently playing Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher, said CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a title he is two-and-a-half times to completion. CDPR’s interpretation also happened to be Cavill’s “first involved experience [with The Witcher franchise]” and one of the pieces that prompted him to chase Netflix’s adaptation. In addition to Warhammer 2 and The Witcher 3, Cavill spoke about Delta Force and Half-Life as being among his gaming loves.
The Witcher’s complete first season is now available to stream on Netflix. The adaptation, however, is getting slammed by critics for its confusing timelines and cliched fantasy tropes. We scored the series a 4/10 in our The Witcher review, saying, “If you’re utterly devoted to the world of The Witcher, you’ll certainly enjoy the familiar aesthetic and characters, but beyond that, this series is hard to recommend.”
- What’s New On Netflix In January 2020