Highlights: The past 12 months in film and TV

Will Tilbrook 31 December 2016

In a year that has been undeniably pretty dreadful all round for many, we have at least been given the sweet escape of new film and television. It is now time to pull ourselves from the Christmas stupor of watching Friends and Storage Hunters on repeat, and look back on 2016. From Leo winning Best Actor to the world’s obsession with Stranger Things, TCS is here to deliver on the ten most iconic moments in film and TV over the last 12 months.

10 – Leo finally won an Oscar
2016 was the year in which 10000 memes became obsolete, with the big man finally bagging an Oscar in February for his role in The Revenant. I didn’t know whether to be happy for him or sad that I could no longer say I had the same number of Oscars as Leonardo DiCaprio. Then again, does trekking around Canada in freezing conditions and eating raw liver really measure up to the brutality of the Cambridge supervision system?

9 – Bake Off tragically imploded
Like a dampfnudel flying too close to the proving drawer in the sky, BBC’s Bake Off reached peak hysteria this year and then came crashing down towards Channel 4 on a wave of betrayal and abandonment. The competition was excellent as ever, but it was overshadowed by the backstage drama of Love Productions choosing to leave the BBC. Speculation continues about who will be replacing Mary, Mel and Sue, but hopefully Bake Off will still be good enough to make it onto the highlights of 2017 this time next year.

8 – Daniel Radcliffe starred as a flatulent corpse
While the concept of a man escaping a desert island using a multifunctional corpse seems beyond absurd, Swiss-Army Man was genuinely one of the most heart-warming and poignant films released in 2016. Everything about it, from the acting to the soundtrack, was surprisingly good, but it largely slipped under the radar. If you’re able to suspend your judgment until after Daniel Radcliffe is used as a gas-propelled speedboat, I highly recommend this film.

7 – The Rock was in a genuinely good movie
Disney had a very good year, starting it out with Zootropolis and closing it with the fantastic Moana, starring Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne the Rock Johnson himself. This was the first Disney film to use the culture of the Pacific Islands as the backbone for its story, but it works so well that it almost seems ridiculous that they waited this long. It also has a show-stealing David Bowie homage in the form of a song performed by a giant shiny crab (which I have definitely not been listening to on repeat while writing this article).

6 – Beyoncé hit us with Lemonade
A list of the cinematic highlights of the year cannot possibly be complete without the masterpiece of Beyoncé’s visual album. She showed the world how raw and powerful she can be, hitting back at the treatment of Black Americans by the police and the country’s predominately white population. The Black Lives Matter movement was addressed extensively in popular culture this year, but few things have come close to the cultural influence of Lemonade.

5 – The Internet lost its head over female Ghostbusters
Sure, this year’s remake of Ghostbusters was not the best film ever released, but the complete vitriol and outrage that it received online months before it even made it to cinemas was difficult to watch. Currently, the trailer has over a million dislikes on YouTube, with comments ranging from the sexist to the racist. This isn’t the first time that online ‘Geek Culture’ has tried to make a movie flop due to their preconceptions of it, but hopefully it’ll be the last.

4 – Computers were overrated
2016 brought new series of both Black Mirror and Humans, as well as the TV remake of 1973’s Westworld. All three showed the dangerous possibilities of technology, making everyone fear the day that artificially intelligent humans are rolled off the production lines. They also make brilliant TV, with Black Mirror being almost too easy to binge-watch on Netflix when you’re six hours away from an essay deadline.

3 – The Hodor Scene
This was 2016’s big 'Game of Thrones Spoiler Moment' – that one shocking scene they have every year that you cannot possibly avoid spoilers for. After a certain point, people just take it for granted that you already know and talk about it anyway. The drama. The heartbreak. The loud discussions about it over lunch the next day. Is nothing on Game of Thrones sacred?

2 – The Wizarding World came back to our screens with a bang
Most people had high hopes for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and amazingly the film actually exceeded them. It was far darker than the trailer suggested, but this grittiness only added to the appeal, and it still had plenty of comedic moments. Even if you never really got into Harry Potter (blasphemy) this film is definitely worth a watch, if only to see Eddie Redmayne engaging in a very strange mating ritual with a giant rhinoceros-like creature.

1 – We Were All Barb
Stranger Things was without doubt the standout series of the summer, airing on Netflix to minimal fanfare but then immediately becoming the show that everyone was talking about. The combination of the creepy supernatural storyline and the, like, totally 80s teen aesthetic made this surprisingly addictive to watch. Even more surprising was the character that audiences latched onto the most – Barb, the cautious friend who mysteriously disappeared at the end of the second episode. While she had minimal screen time, she has gained frilly-shirt-wearing immortality in the hearts of many.

So there they are – the top 10 Film and TV moments of 2016. Honourable mentions that didn’t even fit on the list include I, Daniel Blake, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War, as well as utter disasters such as Suicide Squad. With 2017 shaping up to be another potentially turbulent year in politics and worldwide events, hopefully the quality of this year’s entertainment will continue