David’s Best of 2016
Here we go again! Time to reflect back on the year and our favorites. We’ll be getting several of these out over the next couple of weeks, so you’ll get a variety of choices and opinions. Maybe there’ll be some duplication, but we’ll also have some reasons why!
When this started with just Holly and I, it was easy to compare our two lists and try to avoid duplication. At this point… nah, not worried about it. Nor about there being all the same categories. And I know for Holly and I at least, there are some categories where we didn’t really have a lot to choose from this year, or at least not a lot new… still, there’s been some good stuff this year too so we want to celebrate that!
Movie – Best
I’ve said it on the podcast, and I’m holding it as true: this might just be the best movie of the year. Certainly that I’ve seen, so the couple that I think might beat it out are Arrival and Rogue One. Also, there’s the usual trouble of trying to choose between the different Marvel movies, resulting in not being able to say any are the best…
And besides, Kubo and the Two Strings might be better than all of those anyway.
The movie is beautiful, with a great story, some surprises… it’s one that I am truly excited to show to the Geek Baby. Or to friends and family who haven’t seen it yet. Hey, you should see this movie!
Movie – Worst
It’s hard to do worst for a lot of media, because it’s easy to just stop watching a show, or avoid paying too much for a video or board game (most games are good at a certain price point)… but with movie, it’s easy enough to find yourself sinking 2-3 hours into a movie that just ends up awful. That said, the three that I know Holly and I are deciding between were all ones we rented or caught on streaming, rather than seeing in theaters… so that’s something.
I think I’m going to have to go with Batman v. Superman for this. Because of just about any movie this year, this one had the most riding on it. DC is moving forward with their extended movie universe, so they’ve decided this did well enough… however, I’m far more doubtful. This one just kind of hurt to watch. There were plenty of other movies to compare it to (Civil War being the easiest), and it doesn’t stack up well to those (is it an Amazing Spider-Man 2?).
So why I think this one is truly my worst for the year is because… dang it all, I’m probably going to see those other DC movies, despite this. I have not a lot of confidence in them (and I’m not sure Suicide Squad added much), but we’ll see them anyway.
At least Wonder Woman looks great…
TV Show – New
I mean… it’s gotta be. Show’s so good! That, and the fall didn’t add a lot for us (although Speechless continues to be hilarious). But Stranger Things was such a wonderful genre blender with a strong historical element. And despite watching it late and hearing tons of word-of-mouth hype, we still thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m guessing many or most of you did as well, and you haven’t watched it, you’re in for a treat!
TV Show – Returning
This is a harder category to choose from, as plenty of shows have had solid seasons this year. Of course, there’s also the how-do-you-choose-among-all-the-superhero-shows problem, as I tend to enjoy them in tandem and not just individually. But there’s one I think that truly got to surprise me this year.
Game of Thrones season 6 is the point at which we’ve finally gotten ahead of the books, and they got to (potential) spoiler territory for both show watchers and book readers. It could all be true (as in, in the book) or it could all be conjecture. Or somewhere in-between. And all of those reveals and all the speculation… I love it. Definitely looking forward to next season!
I’d heard great things about John Scalzi, and he did not disappoint. The novel’s main story was itself just a solid meta story like you might expect, a story about Star Trek-style redshirts. Especially once you add in the fact that they realize they are Redshirts.
Oh, and they’re being killed by the plot.
The super genre aware story was great, but then, to fulfill on the story’s main point (write good stories, not ones full of shortcuts or cheap emotional hits), it concludes with three codas, each exploring a non-main character from the story from a totally different angle than the main story. As such, this might even be a good book to assign for writing classes… it both shows and tells when it comes to storytelling.
I Kill Giants! Not from this year, but one I read this year on a recommendation… it was amazing. Similarly to Stranger Things, actually, it uses a D&D sort of metaphor for how the main character views and interprets the world. It doesn’t end up the same, though… This young girl makes it through some major life stuff nonetheless. Great read, and an award-winner in its time, so one you can likely hunt down.
This one probably wins out because I’ve been listening to it basically all year. I just keep coming back to it, just keep listening. Definitely one I’ll be listening to for a long time to come, and excited for more albums. Of course, I was just doing some looking for this post and was surprised to find this is apparently a band of five guys from England, which is not at all what I would have predicted! That voice!
It’s impressive that I’ve listened to this as much as I have, actually, because it’s often the one that comes to mind when I am asking my phone to play an album while in the car, and Siri has a LOT of trouble finding Nothing but Thieves. It’s often taken 3 or more times asking, with Siri presenting a different album each time I ask. But I’m persistent, because this album is worth it.
So far, I have been loving Deus Ex Mankind Divided. The natural world exploring and places and angles for moving around the world… the feeling that when I choose a path that seems good, there are indications that I’m right… the fact that I’ve barely had to touch my weapons… it’s a great sneak game. I recently hit a big decision point, with two things happening at once and you can only do one of the two. Since the end of Human Revolution got me fired up against the Illuminati, I figure I have to keep going with that.
But it’s hard. Which means they’re doing their storytelling right!
Table Top Game
I mean, you check my Instagram feed, and you know what I’m going to say. It’s Warmachine and Hordes for me this year. Picking up the Trollbloods – followed by a new rules edition that pushed things closer to how I wanted to play in the first place – has been a ton of fun. It’s definitely time to push myself into painting mode, so be watching for some work-in-progress pictures of that! I’m at two horrible indecision spots: what to do for paint scheme, and what to paint first. At some point here, pretty sure I’m going with “standard” and “something cool” as my answers!
More on the top items from the year soon! But for now I’ll ask, what are your favorites of the year?