In 2023, the editors, staff writers, and freelancers of Nerdist combined our creative powers to once again deliver unparalleled coverage of genre entertainment. (It is true. We are the best.) With each article, our team strives to adhere to and uphold our media values as entertainment journalists. We’ve built a system based on these four alliterative principles: impassioned, irreverent, inclusive, and informative.
Whether we are discussing the morally complex history of a comic character or riffing about an illogical yet amusing aspect of our fave TV show, Nerdist never shies away from research and facts. Every Nerdist feature is all about trying to give readers some new knowledge to tuck into their mental Rolodex.
We love to stir up a great debate but not in the form of ridiculous clickbait and mean-spirited verbal teardowns. Sometimes our best op-eds are ones that provide critical discourse alongside acknowledging progress. We are a passionate group here at Nerdist but we are also guided by honor.
When we aren’t flexin’ our knowledge or giving you a new perspective on media, we spend a lot of our time trying to cultivate joy. Above all else, fandom is meant to be FUN and we know how to whip up something fun for you to read. The weird backstory of some random thing? Yeah, we know about it. An ode to an inanimate object that’s cemented itself into pop culture history? Sure.
Being a champion of geeky and nerdy TV, film, comics, gaming, and more is all about making all fans feel welcome. There are no gates to climb over nor parameters any of us have to meet to label ourselves a fan of anything. We simply have to enjoy the thing. And there’s more than enough room in our universe—and every fictional one, too—for everyone to be included and celebrated. Period.
We did all of this in 2023 and we’d love to share some of our best articles with you.
Nerdist’s Shining Features of 2023
From Ahsoka to Barbie, we had a wide variety of subjects and universes to discuss this year. Sometimes, we gave an ode or insight into fictional pop culture greats. Other times, we took a deep look into religion and mythology. And, we rarely miss an opportunity to be completely silly.
We love an informative post about comics gems. And when it comes to comics, Staff Writer Eric Diaz possesses knowledge that is beyond what one person should be able to contain in a single brain. He dug into the complete history behind Kal-El’s majestic home that pays tribute to his long-lost world.
Barbie took over the first half of 2023 with its brilliant marketing scheme. The Margot Robbie-led film about the iconic doll piqued the interest of nearly every human on the internet, for better or worse. It was clear that the film’s messages about patriarchal society and manhood would upset a certain subset of society; however, Staff Writer Mikey Walsh realized that Barbie shows love to those who dislike it the most. He carefully examines Ken’s story arc and how Barbie teaches us about self-destructive foundations that ultimately benefit no one.
Yellowjackets’ second season gave fans what they’d been waiting for since the show’s inception: cannibalism. But, as News Editor Ro Rusak notes in her feature, Yellowjackets takes an alternative approach to this act. It trades the expected brutality for depictions that give it a deeper spiritual meaning. This piece left readers buzzing, indeed.
Over the past few years, grief has been a central topic in our collective real-life experiences. A global pandemic, warring factions, and personal losses will do that to you. In times of sorrow and strife, we often turn to the arts to help us parse through our complex emotions. Freelancer Jules Greene opens up about a significant childhood loss and how this film taught him how to grieve.
Since The Walking Dead’s first episode, Rick Grimes’ hat has been a silent yet critical mainstay in the series. Features Editor Tai Gooden goes through the complete history of this family heirloom and a bridge between the old world and a post-apocalyptic society. While this post was born from silly Slack chatter, it looks at what prized possessions mean to us in times of great transition and trouble.
Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon touches on a heartbreaking and violent piece of history involving the murders of Osage Nation members in the 1920s. The film is lauded for its cast, screenplay, and other elements; however, it is always vital to make sure that we have a holistic view of anything involving real-life tragedies, specifically those that happen to marginalized people. We are grateful that freelancer Logan Boese wrote about how Killers of the Flower Moon should have shifted its focus in an alternative direction.
The Nerdist staff respectfully disagrees on a lot of things. Some of us liked Scream VI while others thought it was terrible. Opinions are subjective, after all. But if there’s one 2023 offering that we all watched and thoroughly enjoyed, it is The Fall of the House of Usher. Freelance writer Lindsey Romain broke down the show’s use of color theory with each member of the Usher family and how it plays into their character arc.
It’s no secret that our Star Wars content is incredibly popular among readers. This is in large thanks to the many experts here, especially our Editor-in-Chief Amy Ratcliffe. If there’s a question about anything in the universe, she’s guaranteed to have an answer. So, with Ahsoka on the horizon, Amy took us through a detailed timeline of the character’s most important moments over the years. It’s the type of post that will leave you feeling hella smarter.
The MCU has no shortage of funny moments, including M.O.D.O.K’s dying declaration that he was an Avenger. We get a good chuckle, of course, but our creative minds always begin to wander to those QTNA. What actually makes someone an Avenger in the first place? Senior Editor Kyle Anderson tackles this question with humor, heart, and, as always, big facts.
Nerdist‘s Lists With a Twist in 2023
Who among us can resist a fun list? No one, that’s who. Nerdist did quite a few lists this year and, as always, they come in an unorthodox form.
The phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer” made us wonder if there were any other big box office showdowns between two very different films. Eric Diaz put his research cap on and went to work, digging into decades past to uncover forgotten (or overlooked) weekend competitions. Did you know that The Matrix and 10 Things I Hate About You hit theaters on the same day? A wild pairing for sure.
Rankings are a great way to stir up some good-natured debate. Kyle Anderson unearthed a few nostalgic Marvel animated series and ranked them from best to worst. It is a post that we didn’t know we needed until it hit the web.
There are several Lord of the Rings movies in the works at Warner Bros. Naturally, this made us wonder what kinds of stories we’d love to see in the next chapter of this enduring franchise. Ro Rusak came up with five very important stories that we should get in film form.
Nerdist‘s Stellar Reviews of 2023
We don’t review every single thing in our wheelhouse. But when we do, we aren’t givin’ ya a run-of-the-mill recap with paper thin thoughts. Our honesty is anchored with tact and care and our analysis expands far beyond surface-level.
Hi, Barbie! Surely there isn’t an entertainment website in existence that didn’t review this box office smash. Freelancer Lauren Coates dug into the film’s feminist messages, compelling characterizations, and so much more. Her thoughts were more than Kenough to encourage others to check out Barbie.
Kyle Anderson’s reviews are a Nerdist staple every year. One of his best reviews was undoubtedly Oppenheimer, the type of film that stirs up conflicting emotions for viewers. As always, Kyle is honest, thoughtful, and thorough.
Freelance writer Nicole Hill dove under the sea to dissect this fresh take on a Disney classic. Her review reflects the Nerdist way of delivering wit, passion, and sharp commentary.
The Interviewing Genius of Nerdist in 2023
One of the coolest aspects of working in the entertainment industry is getting a chance to speak with creatives. Unlocking new information and getting answers to fandom’s deepest burning questions will never, ever get old. We admire their work and stood in solidarity with creatives during this year’s strikes. From book authors to showrunners to celebrities, Nerdist always occupies a unique space in the interview landscape.
A few years ago, the educational and highly introspective documentary Horror Noire dropped and changed the landscape of the genre. But what many people may not know is that it was based on Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman’s 2011 scholarly text Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present.
So, when we found out that Dr. Means Coleman would team up Blackhorrormovies.com founder Mark H. Harris for an educational dive into Black horror, we knew we had to speak with them. Tai Gooden took the reins for this interview, chatting with them about horror history, intersectionality, and how they brought their project to life.
Amy Ratcliffe caught up with actor Sean Gunn to talk about a wide variety of subjects, including his role as Guardians of the Galaxy character Kraglin and being a cat-dad. If you thought you knew a lot about his life before, surely this interview will reveal something surprising.
The Ms. Marvel star and freelancer Maryam Ahmad are a match made in interview heaven. The pair chatted about Vellani’s role in The Marvels, her comic creator hopes, and what she wants for Kamala Khan’s MCU future. We hope her dream of penning a Deadpool comic comes true.
Nerdist, Home of the Explainers
If ever there were a character who needed explaining, it would be The Fall of the House of Usher’s Verna. The enigmatic and frankly frightening harbinger of death had fans scrambling to understand exactly what she represented in the series. Mikey Walsh examined the realm of possibilities, from obvious connections to questionable symbolisms.
Sylvie in that ’80s era McDonald’s made for quite the Loki post-credits scene. While the average fan would only see it as a fun moment, comic lovers knew exactly why an Asgardian would be in a small Oklahoma town. Eric Diaz gave us the full comic history scoop on Broxton, Oklahoma and its comic history.
The Last of Us did not stray too far from its source material for good reason. The game franchise is wildly popular and known among fans for its excellent storylines. Freelancer Ariel Kling kept up with all the big moments that the TV series adapted from the games for a comprehensive post. It’s a bit of a twist on the explainer into a more informative/Easter egg territory.
Nerdist‘s Very Weird Yet Wonderful Stories
One thing we can count is weird news. There’s always some disgusting food, odd creation, or downright disturbing new tech in the world that is guaranteed to elicit eyeball emoji responses.
Burger King Thailand did the absolute most this year by taking the word “cheeseburger” way too literal. Their stomach-churning burger with only slices of American cheese (the WORST cheese, btw) caught our attention and haunts us to this day.
Getting a lil’ tipsy and having all the flavors of breakfast without forking over cash for brunch sounds like a win. Eggo’s breakfast sippin’ cream is weird but also sort of a vibe. It will never replace the greatness of Egg Nog or rum cider, but there’s always room to try something strange.
We love when science and pop culture cross paths in odd ways. An entirely new spider species is now known as the Roddenberry genus with three spiders named after Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. It is literally the perfect news writeup for Nerdist.
Nerdist Gets Into the Game
Games are a lovely part of nerd culture. They can be a solo activity or experienced with a group of close friends. We can immerse ourselves in another existing world or make the choice to build our own. Whether it’s tabletop or video games, we are down for it.
An RPG about hope and healing that is made for three players only? Sign us up. Our resident tabletop gaming expert Amy Ratcliffe brought this project to the attention of readers. Now it is successfully funded via Kickstarter and likely heading our way next year.
Come on exclusive! Once again, Amy is on the job and giving our readers a first-look at new Disney Lorcana cards. The trading card game had quite the popular run this year and we’ve been on top of every single update, including this reveal.
One of the biggest games in 2023 was Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Eric Diaz got into all the Easter eggs and teases that the game packed into its action. Hello Silk!
Nerdist Does the Most with Most Posts
To compliment last year’s shocking list for The Boys season 3, we counted up all the wild moments from Gen V’s freshman year. Tai Gooden continues to be a fan of all the chaos, carnage, and blood-soaked scenes that make this universe unlike any other on TV.
Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the scariest Joker of them all? Jules Greene took a definitive and perhaps unorthodox stance on deciding the “most scary” version of this famed Batman villain.
Once again, we have a twist on the “most” with Lindsey Romain’s take on one really strange vampire movie. She dug into the past and unearthed a classic that involves some weird armpit action.
Nerdist Explores the Horrors of 2023
Once again, horror had a nice run on TV and in theaters with movies like Evil Dead Rise, Scream VI, Talk to Me, and M3GAN. Nerdist really amps up our coverage for Nerdoween but we (well, most of us) love scary s**t all year long.
All horror villains are killers but they have different personalities and motivations. Once again, we took some lengthy Slack chatter and turned it into a fun and interesting post. Somehow, Tai ends up writing these kinds of things.
Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Wolf Man are Halloween icons just like your everyday witch or zombie. But, how did these monsters become such icons? This post is a mix of history, explainer, and just overall fun feature by Eric Diaz.
Nerdist Honors Marginalized Creatives
These posts are all about our mission of amplifying independent creators. It is vital to make space for those from marginalized communities and identities and amplify their word in the fandom space.
Entertainment podcasts and vlogs with LGBTQ+ hosts are crucial to having a more holistic perspective of a property. Sometimes, these podcasts are about the host(s) specific identities but, even when they are not, their viewpoint usually illuminates aspects that others may miss because of their lived experience. We gave a big shoutout to a few podcasts that are doing their thing in 2023.
This is a Black History Month celebration that we like to see. Several comic creators like Stephanie Williams and N.K. Jemisin came together to write about DC’s Black heroes. It’s a win-win for all.
Let’s Come Together for the Link Up
We like to do collaborative posts from time to time! It reflects how different we all are and how our strengths come together to make something magical.
Long live horror tropes. A few horror loving members of Team Nerdist and freelancers came together to talk about a horror trope that we loved (or hate) that will not go out of style. Falling down? Sure. Mirror gags. Oh yes.
For most of us, our first introduction to scary content was through cartoons. We went back into our pasts and thought about that one episode that really frightened us long before our Nerdist days.
Thanks to everyone who wrote for Nerdist in 2023. And thank you to the many, many readers who took time to engage with our content. We cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for us!