Look, no one is going to argue that 2016 didn’t suck. But some great stuff happened this year, too! In the last few days of 2016, The Debate Team is going to do their darnedest to remind you that 2016 wasn’t a complete loss.
What can I say that everyone else hasn’t already? The cast was great, the tone was perfect, and the music was transcendent. Stranger Things falls into one of the rarest popular culture categories: Near Perfection. The best litmus test for that is this: When something is good, you want more of it. When something is perfect, you don’t want more because you can’t imagine them successfully catching lightning in a bottle a second time. For me, Stranger Things falls into that second category (though it won’t keep me from watching season 2.
Vision by Tom King, Gabriel Walta, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles
Despite what people will tell you, there are a lot of good comics being published by the Big 2. Tom King, whose work for both Marvel and DC, has proven to be thoughtful and thought-provoking has had his hands in several of the best comics of the last couple of years. His heartbreaking examination of the enemy-other and humanity through Vision’s eyes is a perfect example of the kind of work he is routinely turning in. Also, Walta, Bellaire, and Cowles make the book one of the best looking comics on the stands.
World of Warcraft: Legion
An expansion to a 12 year old game? Yes. Though WoW just hasn’t been the same through the last couple of expansions, Legion returns some of the lustre by completely revamping the end-game and giving returning players more than ever to sink their teeth into.
Blizzard has made an entire business model out of taking game genres and concepts and perfecting them. Did they invent MMOs, RTS, or dungeon crawlers? No. Did they perfect MMOs, RTS, or dungeon crawlers? Pretty much. This year, they proved they could do the same thing with the competitive shooter. Overwatch has that Blizzard polish and an addictive feel.
Hot Takedown’s “Ahead of Their Time” Series
It was only four episodes, but the Fivethirtyeight sports podcast Hot Takedown released an audio series about sports strategists that were ahead of their time. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, it is likely that you will find these portraits of innovators interesting. If you enjoy sitting down to watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries, you’ll love “Ahead of Their Time”.
Fallout 4: Far Harbor
I totally understand that there are valid criticisms of Fallout 4. Longtime fans of the series have legitimate complaints about the story and the forced settlement building. However, none of these things bothered me because Fallout 4 is my first trip into the franchise. Even though it stresses me out to no end, I have poured hours into the game. So, when Far Harbor came out earlier this year, I jumped in with both feet. Navigating the fraught three way conflict on the irradiated island of Bar Harbor, Maine led to some of my favorite moments in all of the game.
Marvel’s Netflix shows seem to be getting better. Luke Cage’s cast, visual style, and music make it one of the best superhero shows or movies made by the media juggernaut.
Polygon’s Cool Games Inc.
The McElroy Family media empire continued to grow this year. Gaming website Polygon’s new podcast where Griffin McElroy and Nick Robinson spitball new video games into existence from listener suggestions is consistently one of my favorite podcasts to see in my feed each week.
The fight scene from Captain America: Civil War
I did not love Captain America: Civil War. It felt bloated and the plot makes very little sense. HOWEVER, the fight scene in the middle of the movie is pure comic book gold. Somehow they perfectly translated into the movies the kinds of super-powered melees we’re used to seeing in comics.
Childish Gambino announced as Young Lando
Here’s your syllogism for how much I love this casting choice:
Trey is not interested in a Young Han Solo movie.
Donald Glover is cast as Young Lando.
Trey is now interested in a Young Han Solo movie.