Ah 2016, the coffee stain on the desk that is the 2010’s. It’s certainly been a bit of a weird year! Politics have turned down a road that no-one expected. Not even those leading the way saw this coming! On top of this, there are claims of the year being cursed thanks to a constant stream of big name deaths from all corners of the entertainment industry. 2016 has certainly been a year that many want to be over!
Politically, 2016 has been a huge year. It’s shocked and surprised people at the most important of times. I’ve found myself becoming a lot more interested in politics. Lets be honest, 2016 was one of the most politically active years in recent times. With the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the U.S.A. Presidential Election taking place, it was hard not to take notice. I even took the time to become a member of the Labour Party so that I could vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership elections. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the only trustworthy, main-stream politician we have at the moment. It’s just a shame that people are so disenfranchised from modern politics, that right-wing parties such as UKIP are becoming an appealing alternative to what we have right now.
As well as what I consider to be a bad year in politics, there seemed to be a ‘curse’ of 2016. Big name celebrities of all ages seemed to be passing away. While many will claim this started with Lemmy, he passed at the end of 2015. David Bowie was the first big name we saw wiped off the board this year, followed by many more. The list seems endless but includes names such as Prince, Alan Rickman, Andrew Sachs, Terry Wogan, Kenny Baker, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder and Muhammad Ali. However, the most tragic deaths in 2016 have been Carrie Fisher, followed by her mum, Debbie Reynolds, the next day.
While it looks like 2016 had a bone to pick with our icons, it’s a sad fact of life that people die. However the timing of such big icons all passing so closely to each other has sent everyone into a frenzy. Lets Make a deal though! We need to keep David Attenborough under watch and wrapped in bubble wrap until at he at least releases Planet Earth 3!
Despite the doom and gloom above, there are also some fantastic breakthroughs and positives to 2016, as pointed out by Matt Strange on Facebook.
- The gene responsible for ALS (Motor Neurone Disease) has been found. This was found purely off the back of funding raised by the 2014 #IceBucketChallenge that went viral over Facebook and Twitter.
- Giant Pandas, Manatees, Green Sea Turtles and Humpback Whales are no longer endangered.
- Seaworld announced they’re stopping their Killer Whale Breeding program off the back of mounting public pressure.
- A solar powered plane flew around the world.
- And we can’t forget that Leo finally won his Oscar!
Speaking of Oscars, 2016 has been a pretty decent year for films. Superhero/Comic films have shone though. Particularly, with the likes of Captain America: Civil War (★★★★½), Doctor Strange, Batman Vs Superman (★★½☆☆), Suicide Squad (★★★★☆) and my personal favourite Deadpool (★★★★½). Deadpool allowed comic films to be fun again and smashed all expectations at the box office. I personally can’t wait for the next one.
How can we also talk about movies without mentioning some of the awesome animated films to hit the big screen. First we had The Secret Life of Pets (★★★☆☆), followed by Pixar’s hit, Finding Dory (★★★★☆) with the year capped off with Moana. While I haven’t had chance to see the latter, I’ve heard good things and can’t wait to take the kids to go see it!
TV & Streaming
You only have to look at the likes of the suspense provided by The Walking Dead leading in to season 7. Match this to the high budget episodes of Game of Thrones, averaging $10 million to make each episode, to know that TV is now a well respected medium.
Taking a sideswipe at traditional TV are streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, both of which are producing award winning original content of their own.
While I don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime, I’ve heard nothing but good things about shows such as Mr. Robot, Bosch and The Man in The High Tower. I do, however, subscribe to Netflix and my, oh my, what a wonderful display of original content!
The powerhouse that is Marvel have used Netflix especially well to flex their muscles with shows such as Daredevil Season 2 and Luke Cage season 1. Both have been a huge success and are making great tie-ins with the already established Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On top of this, the continuation of hits such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Narcos and Marco Polo, has secured Netflix’s spot with the big boys such as HBO and Fox. Of course, how could I bring Netflix up without giving a tip of the hat to Stranger Things. This was the runaway success of the summer. It hit 80’s nostalgia on the head whilst tipping it’s hat to the famous directors of that era.
I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings, especially with the likes of Stranger Things season 2, Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘The Punisher’ and the final series of Bates Motel. Couple these with the obvious choices of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and it’s shaping up to be a good year!
Musically, there weren’t too many releases that caught my attention in 2016, however the few that did found themselves caught on repeat. January saw Panic! At The Disco release their fifth studio album, ‘Death of a Bachelor’ (★★★★☆). To me, this felt like a huge step forward, showing a new level of creativeness and maturity from Brendon & Co.
Come summer time, there were some more big releases. First came ‘California’ (★★★★☆) from Blink-182. This is the first release since Matt Skiba has joined the band in place of Tom Delonge. Skiba’s presence adds a whole new depth to the already catchy pop-punk riot that Blink-182 bring. With their classic catchy hooks and sing-along choruses, I found myself hooked in no time!
Next, ‘Ellipsis’ (★★★★☆) by Biffy Clyro saw them catapult in to the mainstream. Coupled with their main stage headline slot at Reading Festival, as well as their UK arena tour, it truly has been Biffy’s year and they have big things ahead of them.
There were also a few other releases that didn’t quite catch my attention like I hoped they would. Thrice released a solid album with ‘To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere’ (★★★½☆), however I didn’t find it as exciting as previous releases. Metallica also reentered the scene with ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’ (★★★☆☆). While there were some damn good riffs and the critics seem to love it, I just couldn’t get in to my groove whilst listening to it. It’d definitely one for the back bench.
My biggest disappointment however, came in the form of ‘Tidal Wave’ (★★☆☆☆) by Taking Back Sunday. I’m a huge fan of Taking Back Sunday and some of my best gigs have been theirs, however I found Tidal Wave to be pretty lacklustre. While I can see the direction they’ve tried to head, it feels like it’s missing the typical TBS fun. It didn’t feel like there was much heart and soul in the album. I won’t be in a rush to play this through again any time soon.
However, my album of the year, simply has to be ‘Low Teens’ (★★★★★) by Every Time I Die. This album was written while vocalist, Keith Buckley, was experiencing some of the darkest times of his life. This opened the band up to a whole new level of song-writing. They seem to have drawn from each of their previous albums and presented us with a rip-roaring, southern-tinged, belter of an album. ‘Low Teens’ is most definitely a career defining album that will go down as one to remember.
To round this all off, 2016 has been an interesting year for everyone! It’s one for the history books and the outcome of many events will most certainly shape the years to come!
I’m looking forward to see what 2017 has to offer, both in the real world and some of the upcoming releases. Marvel will once again dominate the silver screen with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2’, ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Combine this with a new ‘Pirates of the Carribean’, ‘Alien: Covenant’, ‘Kong: Skull Island’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ and many more, it truly will be a huge year for cinema.
Alongside this, Stranger Things will be back for season 2, as well as returning performances from Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead and countless others. It will be a struggle to keep up to date!
Anyway, I think that’s pretty much all I have to say, so over to you! What were your highs and lows from 2016? What films, TV and music did you like, or even not like? Let me know in the comments below!
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