Okay, so much media this year: 120 movies and 64 books, which are both personal records. TV is harder to quantify, since I’m not going to count every single episode watched; let’s say at least one episode each of over 120 different shows, and at least 55 complete seasons (of varying lengths).
Time for some lists!
Favorite shows that aired in 2016:
- Yuri!!! On Ice
- Penny Dreadful (RIP ;_;)
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- The Young Pope
- The Great British Bake Off
- Animal Kingdom
- New Blood
- Jane the Virgin
- The Good Place
- Agent Carter (season 2) in Old Hollywood was fun.
- Fresh Meat (season 4) hilariously captured that “oh shit, we have to graduate and find real jobs?” struggle. Great end to a great show.
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (season 11) and Veep (season 5), which against all odds remain consistently funny in their later seasons.
- No Tomorrow (1st part of season 1) and People of Earth (season 1)—both solid comedies with weird and specific premises involving conspiracy theorists, premiering on major networks around the same time.
- Orphan Black (season 4) and The 100 (season 3) were maybe not having their best seasons this year, but were still super compelling and my highest viewing priority when they were airing.
- War and Peace, which I super loved when it was airing, even if it’s not quite all-time favorite material in retrospect.
- You’re the Worst (season 3)—still solid.
Favorite other shows watched in 2016:
Looks like I just didn’t watch that many full seasons of non-current TV this year, so I guess Happy Valley wins by default.
Shout-out to British quiz and panel shows:
Thank you for your amazing calming effects and also genuine entertainment. Specifically:
Favorite movies that came out in 2016:
This one is very much subject to change as more things come out on DVD/screener, because I do not feel strongly about this list at all.
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople
- Swiss Army Man
- Star Trek Beyond
- Manchester by the Sea
- The Neon Demon
- La La Land
- Hail, Caesar!
- Love & Friendship
- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
- High-Rise and The Lobster, for keeping things interesting.
- The Man Who Knew Infinity, for casting a super hot guy as P.C. Mahalanobis even though he only had like two lines of dialogue.
- The Nice Guys, Arrival, and Imperium, which were all just v solid.
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for being the goddamn worst.
- Suicide Squad was also awful, but I have less emotional investment in the DC universe than in the Austen-verse, so, like, whatever.
Favorite non-2016 movies watched in 2016:
- The Guard (2011)
- Kicking and Screaming (1995)
- Brassed Off (1996)
- Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
- C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
- Headhunters (2011)
- The Dreamers (2003)
- Notting Hill (1999)
- Step Up (2006)
- Bright Young Things (2003)
Favorite movies that came out in 2015, now that I’ve seen more of them:
Hmm, has this list actually changed since last year? Well, a little.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (x x)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (x x)
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Ex Machina
- Mad Max: Fury Road (x x)
- Crimson Peak
- Magic Mike XXL
- The Martian
- Mistress America
- Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
Okay, so I’m realizing it’s totally not fair to include anything by E.M. Forster in the main list. Let’s give him a separate section:
A ranking of beloved Forster materials read in 2016:
- Letters between Forster and Isherwood on Homosexuality and Literature, edited by Richard E. Zeikowitz
- The BBC Talks of E.M. Forster, 1929-1960: A Selected Edition
- Selected Letters of E.M. Forster, Volume Two: 1921-1970, edited by Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank
- Selected Letters of E.M. Forster, Volume One: 1879-1920, edited by Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank
- The Collected Tales of E.M. Forster
1-4 all basically tied for Delightful, with The Collected Tales as a more distant fifth simply because I’m not super into short stories.
Favorite non-Forster books read in 2016:
- The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
- White Teeth, Zadie Smith
- Zen & the Art of the Macintosh: Discoveries on the Path to Computer Enlightenment, Michael Green
- The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
- The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh
- The Mint, T.E. Lawrence
- NW, Zadie Smith
- Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, David Shafer
- Death and the Penguin, Andrey Kurkov
- Kitten Clone: The History of the Future at Bell Labs, Douglas Coupland
- Filth, Irvine Welsh—very Irvine Welsh-y.
- Child 44 and The Farm by Tom Rob Smith—didn’t think I would be into the whole “airport novel” genre, but I guess that’s basically what these fit under and they were super compelling.
- The Autograph Man, Changing My Mind, and Swing Time by Zadie Smith, because Zadie Smith is great and I really enjoyed all of these, but didn’t want to make a separate Smith list in addition to the Forster list (although perhaps I should have, since Forster is the reason I got into Smith–i.e. the relationship between On Beauty and Howards End–and Smith’s essay on Forster in Changing My Mind got me deeper into Forster…)
“Best Of” all my other 2016 playlists:
Obviously not best music that came out solely in 2016 because why follow contemporary music when you can keep listening to Duran Duran on loop for the rest of your life, I guess.
Most played songs:
- “Too Much Information,” Duran Duran (60 plays)
- “Papà Perché,” Zucchero (54 plays)
- “On Peregrine Wings,” Joe Satriani (50 plays)
- (tie) “Empire” and “Eez-Eh,” both by Kasabian (49 plays)
Disclaimer: these are the most played songs according to iTunes, so any plays due to “oh god I’m so sad about my life let’s fall down the YouTube karaoke rabbit hole” are not included. If they were, “Io Sono Qui” (Claudio Baglioni, not Salmo) would probably have moved all the way up to the top.
Artist breakdown of Top 100 Most Played (by # of songs in list):
- Duran Duran/Arcadia, 16
- Zucchero, 9
- The Rolling Stones, 7
- Kasabian, 6
- The Who, 6
- Daniel Pemberton (composer), 4
- Elvis Costello, 3
- Kaiser Chiefs, 3
- Pet Shop Boys, 3
- Adam & The Ants, 2
- David Bowie, 2
- Igor Kornelyuk (composer), 2
- Joe Satriani, 2
- Natalia Kills, 2
- The Sisters of Mercy, 2
- Ночные Снайперы (Nochnye Snaipery), 2
- Пилот (Pilot), 2
- Сплин (Splean), 2
- ABBA, 1 (“Lay All Your Love on Me”)
- The Beatles, 1 (“Help!”)
- Big Data, 1 (“Dangerous”)
- Claudio Baglioni, 1 (“Io Sono Qui”)
- Cliff Martinez (composer), 1 (“Are We Having A Party”)
- The English Beat, 1 (“She’s Going”)
- Erasure, 1 (“Love To Hate You”)
- Fleetwood Mac, 1 (TUSK)
- Gevolt, 1 (“Sha Shtil”)
- Grateful Dead, 1 (“Box of Rain”)
- Guns N’ Roses, 1 (“Welcome to the Jungle”)
- John Newman, 1 (“Olé”)
- Joy Division, 1 (“Love Will Tear Us Apart”)
- Klaxons, 1 (“Atlantis to Interzone”)
- Kongos, 1 (“I’m Only Joking”)
- Lily Allen, 1 (“Silver Spoon”)
- Marilyn Manson, 1 (“Seizure of Power”)
- Mika, 1 (“Good Gone Girl”)
- Morissey, 1 (“The Last of the Famous International Playboys”)
- New York Dolls, 1 (“Jet Boy”)
- Phish, 1 (“Stash”)
- Rob Zombie, 1 (“The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God”)
- Scissor Sisters, 1 (“Laura”)
- Sweet Tempest, 1 (“Mine”)
- 883, 1 (“Hanno Ucciso L’Uomo Ragno”)