Tag Archives: Best of 2016

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Comparative Opinions – Retrospective 2016 – Episode 27

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, hosts David and Holly reflect back on their 2016, and look ahead a bit at their 2017. They expand a bit on their discussions from their “Best Of” lists. They also talk about uncompleted goals and things they are hoping to get to later. Add your thoughts for the year moving forward!

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

Julia’s Best of 2016

Best Movie – Rogue One

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This was maybe the toughest decision for me. I remember starting the year excited for the plethora of good, exciting movies that I was looking forward to so much. Then the rest of 2016 happened and sadly the excitement over movies dimmed for me. I will say, this was closest between Captain America: Civil War and what I’ve decided was my favorite movie of the year, Rogue One. I went to see it again this week, and it still holds up as one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It has action, it has struggle, it has humanity and hope, and is incredibly well done. Of all of the amazing movies released this year, I’d say this is the one I would most recommend and look forward to seeing again already.

TV Show New – Stranger Things

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I know Stranger Things has gotten a lot of buzz on the site and podcast recently, but for me I think what I loved about the show was how it blended so many genres in such a successful way. I was talking about Stranger Things with friends I would never expect to watch a sci-fi show, but because of its Goonies nostalgia and mystery. Netflix has been producing some amazing original content, and honestly I watched more new content from them this year rather than any of the major networks.

TV Show Old – Supernatural

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I’ve finally had the time to rewatch and try to catch up on Supernatural this year, and it fast became my favorite thing to binge. I’ve only made it to Season 5, but I still have seven more seasons to go until I’m caught up to the current – and that’s both exciting and daunting. But as far as best binge worthy show from years past, I’d say Supernatural is the one for 2016.

Music – Lisa Hannigan, ‘At Swim’

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I spent a lot of the year falling more in love with Hozier and Mumford and Sons, but my favorite album released this year was Lisa Hannigan’s At Swim. Hannigan got her start singing with Damien Rice, another of my favorites, but her solo work has been absolutely beautiful. Her newest album has possibly surpassed my love for her debut album Sea Sew, and I have spent a lot of time since its release listening to its eerie and captivating melodies.

Video Game New – Lego Dimensions

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Although technically released before 2016, we received Lego Dimensions as a present earlier this year and have quickly fallen in love with it. We struggle finding games we can actually play side by side, and the Lego games are always great choices for us. This one combines building Legos and playing video games, and honestly how can you go wrong with that? The ability to continue adding on character and level packs is fun if not dangerous; we foresee a future of buying lots of them to continue playing together.

Jeremy’s Best of 2016

Good day, everyone! Today, I’ll be providing my retrospective post for 2016, much like my fellow bloggers here at Comparative Geeks have been doing. An initial disclaimer: these are merely my opinions and are not intended to be absolute declarations of quality or worth. Also, there won’t be much “worst of” in my post, being as I tend to avoid spending money on things I don’t think I will enjoy. Let’s jump right in!

 

Prose: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

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I have a massive to-be-read list, so I haven’t gotten to read much actually published in 2016, but this piece stands out. The titular Black Tom is a young jazz guitarist living in 1920s Harlem who moonlights as a thief and dealer of occult items—a somewhat lucrative side gig until he crosses paths with a man attempting to wake a certain well-known elder god. If you’re a fan of modern entries in Lovecraft’s mythos, this one is not to be missed.

 

 

Movies: Star Trek Beyond & Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Enterprise-A concept art taken from here.

Now, I’m as much of a superhero movie fan as anyone, but my picks for this year are the latest entries in my favorite science fiction franchises since childhood. Both are well-crafted and allusion-filled stories of their respective universes, and Rogue One especially reached me as a tale of a band of damaged misfits making supreme sacrifices for a greater good.

 

 

Returning Television Series: Game of Thrones

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I’ve been a fan of this intellectual property for years, through books, television, games, and what have you. Regardless of the naysayers, I loved this past season and look forward to what comes next.

 

 

New Television Series: Westworld

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You should check out my column right here at Comparative Geeks to see my thoughts on this one. I love well-crafted science fiction about evolving artificial intelligence, and this is my favorite sci-fi show since Battlestar Galactica ended in 2009.

 

 

Returning/Ongoing Comic: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Saga returned a few months back after a brief hiatus, and Vaughan and Staples’s weird character-driven science-fantasy drama is still just as addictive. Get back on board!

 

 

New Comic: DC Comics’s Rebirth Line

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For the first time in recent memory, DC is truly giving Marvel a run for its money in the comic book market. Rebirth keeps what worked about the New 52 and reintroduces older concepts and characters established fans have been missing since 2011—the return of the original Wally West and the pre-New 52 Superman paramount among them. The new connections established with Dr. Manhattan and the Watchmen universe are also intriguing concepts that I’m eager to see play out over the next couple of years.

 

 

Video Game: Dishonored 2

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I haven’t gotten to play many new games yet (and not very much in this one so far), but I’m giving it to this dieselpunk first-person revenge/stealth sequel. I love this setting!

 

 

Music: Blue & Lonesome by the Rolling Stones & the Westworld soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi

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The Rolling Stones’s newest album blends their signature sound with the emotional resonance of the blues. It doesn’t seem like it would work, but it does so well. Also, the instrumental music of the Westworld soundtrack (composed primarily by Ramin Djawadi, of Game of Thrones and Pacific Rim fame) is a great companion for thinking and writing, especially the player piano song covers.

 

 

A Note on Loss:

2016 saw some of the most contentious and vitriolic American politics in decades, and the blame for that rests with all of us regardless of slant or belief. I can only hope things will somehow get brighter, and people wiser. And I hope we can truly stem the spread of terrorism and war across the world. Time will tell.

We have also lost a seemingly gargantuan number of well-known faces this year: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, Ron Glass, Kenny Baker, George Michael, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, now Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, and many, many others. I’ll be glad when it all finally stops.

Thank you all for coming by and reading my thoughts. Let me know your own thoughts in the comments below. Please take care of yourselves this coming year, and keep coming back here to visit. Thanks again!

Diana’s Best (and a few of the Worst) of 2016

It’s that time of year again—the time when we reflect on all the things that have happened this year, all the things we’ve read and watched and played, and decide what we loved and what we…didn’t love. This has been an odd year all the way around, full of political strife, natural disasters, and the deaths of some of our most beloved pop culture icons–David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, and Gene Wilder, and so many others. But while 2016 has certainly had its share of horrible moments, there have also been some great moments, particularly in pop culture. Here are some of my favorites (and a few not-so-favorites):

Movies
I didn’t make it to see as many films as I would’ve liked to this year, especially given that we have an annual pass since my husband works for a company that owns and oversees a lot of the major theaters in the area. And while we have watched a lot of movies this year, we’ve mostly watching movies that weren’t new. So, with that disclaimer, here are the best movies of 2016 that I’ve seen–

Deadpool.
This is an odd entry for me, because I’ve long had superhero fatigue. I’d generally rather Sam and the Little Jedi watch the superhero films while I’m doing something else or while I am elsewhere. But I watched this one, because Ryan Reynolds, y’all. I’m quite glad I did, because the movie was irreverent and amusing, poking fun at all the things I’ve gotten tired of seeing in those other movies while being one of those movies.

The Witch.
This one is going to be contentious, but…I loved this debut from Robert Eggers. It was dark and moody, with an extraordinary amount of tension building up to those rare witch sightings. Just the right amount of monster, really. And while the film seems simple on the surface, with a small set and cast, there is quite a lot of complexity in the subtlety of that simplicity.

Most Anticipated Movies I Haven’t Seen Yet: 
Star Wars: Rogue One
Moana
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Hidden Figures

Television
We did watch quite a bit of TV this year. It’s an easy thing to pick up and put back down, and I tend to enjoy long, more involved stories (I also tend to read a lot of series books). We kept up with some old favorites–some of which have only improved (ahem, Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you, since you almost lost me last year), while others didn’t do so well (looking at you, Walking Dead, since I’m still reading the comics but have only seen the first episode of the show this season).

New:
Stranger Things.
Netflix once again proved that it can churn out a well-conceived and well-developed show with the Duffer brothers’ Stranger Things. The show functions as both a love letter to the culture of the 1980s and a fresh take on sci-fi horror, and I’m more than excited about the upcoming second season.

Westworld.
I came to this one a bit late, when the show was about to air its penultimate episode of the season. But I could not look away. My husband and I watched the first 8 episodes in about two days–a feat not unusual for me but definitely for him, as binge-watching is not his forte. The HBO reboot of Michael Crichton’s 1980s directorial debut offers a fascinating perspective on our ever-developing anxieties and fears about technology and artificial intelligence.

Returning:
Orange is the New Black.
This might have been my favorite season of the Netflix show. It was certainly the most nuanced and the most emotional, with astounding performances from its cast as the characters dealt with parenting from prison, emotional abuse and sexual assault from staff members, the effects of solitary confinement, and the brutalities of life in a for-profit prison.

Black Mirror.
The 3rd season of the show, released through Netflix, churned out several solid episodes. The anthology format continues to serve the show well, with “Man on Fire” and “Hated in the Nation” being two of the most haunting episodes I’ve seen throughout the entire run of the show.

Biggest Disappointment:
Penny Dreadful.
It makes me sad to put this show under my biggest disappointments of the year in TV, but the series finale (which was not billed as such until after it aired) left a lot of questions unanswered and shoe-horned endings for many of the shows’ most interesting characters. The season had actually been quite a strong one, with Billie Piper giving a spectacular performance virtually every week, but the finale was an unforgivable error in the show’s history.

Books
I did a lot of reading this year–a *lot.* I’m still reveling in my post-graduate-school-freedom-to-read-things-for-pleasure, and books have been a welcome distraction from the various looming political crises during what turned out to be a rather traumatic election year.

Comics:
Monstress:
The world-building here is enormous and complex, the art is beautiful, and the story is dark and haunting. Not for the faint of heart–in addition to an incredibly dense story, the content is sometimes truly horrifying, with extreme violence and sometimes truly terrible characters. The comic is female-dominated, with almost no male characters, a refreshing take on a vengeance quest as Maika Halfwolf, a fugitive and former slave with a literal demon inside, works to avenge the murder of her mother.

East of West:
This is a comic I came to late in the game, having just read the first 5 volumes last week, but damn if it isn’t one of the best things I’ve read. As with Monstress, the world-building in East of West is extraordinary, a huge part of the comic’s overall success. All things considered, the alternative history of the comic is a fascinating comparison to our current political climate. And this comic may have my favorite incarnation of the four horsemen of the apocalypse–certainly of Conquest and Famine–actively working to end the world.

Fiction:
The Wolf Road:
Beth Lewis’s post-apocalpytic landscape is a fitting landscape for the haunting, bleak tale of 19 year old Elka as she comes to terms with the true identity of the man who raised her. Elka runs from her home in the deep woods after finding out that Trapper, who she has come to think of as a father, is actually a wanted murderer. Elka’s journey is both a literal journey and a metaphorical one, down the Wolf Road and back to herself.

The Star-Touched Queen:
When handsome and mysterious Amar offers to marry Maya, a raja’s daughter whose horoscope has declared her cursed, Maya’s world is turned upside-down. She finds herself in a place full of locked doors, married to a kind but mysterious husband, queen of a land that doesn’t quite seem to obey the laws of the physical world. The story is heavily influenced by Hindu myths, and the tale is a lovely one.

Nonfiction:
The View from the Cheap Seats.
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I particularly enjoy his shorter works. I was excited to finally get my hands on some nonfiction from him, and I was not disappointed. The book collects essays, lectures, and various other musings on everything from the craft of writing to classic horror films to the comics industry.

Holly’s Best of 2016

Another year of media consumed and in a year of generally terrible things it is nice to look at what was good during this year. This year was difficult because with GeekBaby it can be difficult to find the time and we are slowly figuring it out. The lack of time that we have does mean that we are more particular about what we consume, which can make it hard to decide what was the best for this year. Now the other issue is the fact that for these it is not about whether it was released this year, but whether we consumed it this year. So without further adieu here are my best of 2016

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