Best of 2016

As with last year, this is a list of the best media I saw/read/played/heard in 2016, not necessarily stuff that came out in 2016. And I went for five in every category except for TV, because it's my list I can include whatever number I like.


10: The Good Place (2016)
A terrible person accidentally ends up in heaven and has to try to avoid being found out. Meanwhile, her presence appears to be causing random and chaotic events. It's got Kristen Bell and Ted Danson in it.

9: Braindead (2016)
Alien bugs are getting into people's brains and making them crazy. The best thing about the show is the musical recaps at the start of each episode.

8: Letterkenny (2016)
A Canadian comedy about "hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians" with really sharp, rapid-fire dialogue.

7: Mr Robot (2015)
A group of hackers plot to take down a giant corporation, but the protagonist is such an unreliable narrator even hwe doesn't know what's really going on. This show has a tendency to make people guess the most ridiculous twists, but the actual twists are all things that make sense and it's also really good about technical accuracy with the computer stuff too.

6: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016)
Pretty much forget the books (even more so than the Stephen Mangan version from a few years ago) because it's a totally different thing, but it's still good. A lot of coincidences come together to form a fairly simple plot that seems a lot more complicated than it is because none of the characters have enough information to put anything together and run around at cross purposes. Some really funny scenes and a fairly satisfying conclusion, although it could have done with less of the stuff that was just there to set up season 2.

5: The Expanse (2015)
Hard sci-fi about a future in which humans have colonised Mars and the asteroid belt. It's all about politics and greed and regular people who get caught up in it and have to try not to get crushed.

4: Wrestling (2016)
Technically it's more than one show, but I'm including here WWE Raw, WWE NXT and Lucha Underground, because its all the same thing. If you like super heroes but don't like how they expect you to take them seriously, wrestling is the answer, because it knows how dumb it is and embraces it. My favourite 2016 story has been Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens: They're these two arrogant, narcissistic cowards who just decided to be best friends for no apparent reason and I hope they stay best friends forever. People keep trying to turn them against each other and fail every time, and sometimes they seem to fall out only to reveal that it was all a trick and it's the best.

3: Angie Tribecca (2016)
A parody of cop shows that takes every possible opportunity to squeeze in extra jokes. The second season's not quite as rapid-fire, but still pretty great.

2: The Katering Show (2015)
You already know what this is. And if you don't, watch the first season on YouTube.

1: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015)
I avoided this show for ages because it's sounds terrible. A sit-com about a woman who moves across the country to stalk a guy she used to date? I'd have a hard time coming up with a worse premise. And yet, it's absolutely nothing like you'd think. Not only is it actually funny, it's pretty clever about it. It's like, the writers know how dumb the premise is and deliberately chose that in order to subvert your expectations of it. Which doesn't sound like a smart strategy, but it's a great show.

Video Games

5: Murdered: Soul Suspect (2014)
First-person adventure game with a neat premise: you've been murdered and, as a ghost, have to catch the killer. Unfortunately it's a bit buggy and has a few mechanics that drag it down (such as the "combat") so I didn't make it all the way through, but it's worth checking out if you can get it cheap.

4: Magnetic: Cage Closed (2015)
First-person puzzle game a bit like Portal (but without Portal's obnoxious attempts at humour or those bits where you were just in some giant room trying to figure out where you're even meant to go). Short and relatively easy, but fun while it lasts.

3: Shadowrun: Hong Kong (2015)
I did a full review of this when I played it, but in brief, Harebrained Schemes have got the formula down pretty well at this point and if you enjoyed the first two games then you'll also enjoy this one. If you haven't played any of the series before I'd recommend Dragonfall (the second one) as the best, but they're all good.

2: Mortal Kombat (2011)
If you, like me, liked the first three Mortal Kombat games, played the fourth one a little bit, and then basically stopped paying attention to the series entirely, this is the game for you. All your favourite characters, a cleaned-up version of the first three games' plots, and pretty much the same gameplay you remember, but updated to be a little less harsh and arbitrary.

1: Never Alone, aka. Kisima Inŋitchuŋa (2014)
A fun puzzle platformer that you can play solo or (two-player) co-op. Frequent checkpoints so you don't have to replay the same bit too many times (unless you're Kimberly and me and get stuck on one tiny bit for 15 minutes), plus some (optional) educational stuff about Iñupiaq history and mythology.


5: Tights and Fights (2016)
OK, this one is really just for if you watch WWE, but if you do then it's great. I tried a few others before I found this one and mostly they seem to go into more sort of behind-the-scenes stuff or expect you to follow the various WWE social media and whatever, whereas this one just kind of talks about it like it's a normal TV show, discussing the plot and characters and speculating on what might happen in future episodes. The hosts do watch some of the other WWE Network shows and follow some of the social media stuff and whatever, but they don't expect the listener to do so, which is great because I don't.
Recommended episode: Holiday Extras

4: Chainsawsuit (2013)
Kris Straub and Mikey Neumann just discuss whatever they feel like. They make fake commercials for ridiculous products and services, they review films they haven't seen, they pretend to take stupid things seriously, and just generally have fun.
Recommended episode: Fourth for Four Thors

3: Kurt Vonneguys (2016)
Alex Schmidt and Michael Swaim (of Cracked.com) read and discuss every Kurt Vonnegut book one by one, in order.
Recommended episode: Player Piano

2: Sunday School Dropouts (2016)
Lauren O’Neal and Niko Bakulich - "an ex-Christian and a non-believing sort-of Jew" - read and discuss each book of the Bible one by one, in order. They come at it from a non-religious perspective, talking about them as stories and as writing, in a very light-hearted and fun way.
Recommended episode: Genesis

1: I Don't Even Own a Television (2014)
JW Friedman Chris Collision read bad books and make fun of them. There's songs and games and guests, and a lot of books you've definitely heard of and possibly even read, as well as more obscure stuff.
Recommended episode: The Da Vinci Code


5: Clickhole
A parody of clickbait sites like Buzzfeed, although it's sometimes hard to tell the difference. Often their articles are just an excuse for a funny headline, but I find the site is always worth skimming.

4: Point & Clickbait
Basically it's Clickhole for video games.

3: Reductress
Basically Clickhole for women.

2: The Comics Curmudgeon
Keeping you up-to-date with and making fun of newspaper comics. Not as good as the comic strip megathread, but easier to get into and keep up with.

1: SBS Comedy
News satire.


5: Scary Go Round
Slightly twee characters solve mysteries, usually involving strange and supernatural creatures.

4: Judge Parker
Used to be about rich people getting whatever they wanted, but since Francesco Marciuliano took over writing it things have gone very badly for all of them and it's glorious.

3: Oglaf!
Sort of a parody of fantasy stories but with lots of (mostly unnecessary) sex and nudity. Better than it sounds.

2: Pros & Cons
Satire of cops, lawyers and some other people they know. The art style takes some getting used to, but it's really good when you get into it.

1: Sally Forth
Family sit-com by Francesco Marciuliano.


5: Insane Cherry
Takes short clips of animals making sounds and uses them to create covers of popular songs. It's great.
Recommended episode: System Of A Down - Chop Suey!

4: hbomberguy
A few different things (including some video game stuff) but mostly making fun of MRAs, PUAs, alt-right and dark enlightenment types.
Recommended episode: The Sarkeesian Effect: A Measured Response

3: Henry's Kitchen
Parody cooking show. Very cringey in a good way. Just watching him try to cut an onion is enough to make you want to die.
Recommended episode: How to Make Henry's Anytime Chili for One

2: You Suck at Cooking
Parody cooking show with actual recipes made entertaining by absurdity.
Recommended episode: 7 Ways to Chop an Onion

1: Don't Hug Me I'm Scared
It's sort of a parody of children's television but mostly it's just weird.
Recommended episode: Episode One


5: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (1889)
Meanders a bit but when it's on target it's funny.

4: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2016)
A fun, easy read, but nothing special.

3: Wrap It In A Bit Of Cheese by David Thorne (2016)
Exactly what you'd expect if you've read Thorne's previous books. Not his best, but still very funny.

2: Stasiland by Anna Funder (2003)
A sort of memoir, sort of journalistic type of thing, where the author went and interviewed people who'd lived in East Berlin before the wall came down. I normally don't like the style of writing where the author inserts themself into the story like this, but it's pretty low-key here and you mostly get the stories of the people who were actually there. It's really fascinating and engaging. I'm not sure how good it is if you're already familiar with what East Germany was like, but I came into it knowing very little so I found a lot that was interesting or surprising.

1: Oh God Not Again! by Sarah1281 (2008)
A pretty good Harry Potter parody in which he accidentally rewinds time from after the defeat of Voldemort back to the start of the first book, then uses his knowledge of the future to make things work out better and fuck with people. It's not something that's going to have much impact on you, but it's a fun read.

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