Happy New Year! Hope you’re having a great start to 2017. In our second and final Best of 2016, we look at the best movies, television and gear from the year. As with our first Best of 2016: Comics and Games, we’ll just present our nominations, without actually voting on the best, because nothing defines 2016 better than pretending democracy doesn’t exist.
Best Geek Movie of 2016
To qualify for this category, the movie has to have been released (in Singapore) in 2016 and have some appeal to a geek audience. Your definition may vary, of course.
Hands down, it’s got to be Deadpool. Not a huge fan of the comic book but the movie made me enjoy and appreciate the character so much more than I expected. So many Easter eggs, Marvel jokes and cool soundtrack. (Melvin Yong)
Finally justifies my insisting that Ryan Reynolds is awesome (loved him in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, as well as Blade: Trinity). Everyone involved was passionate about ensuring the movie stayed true to the potty-mouthed, R(A)wesome comic, and they succeeded. Other special mentions include: Rogue One – Arguably better than Episode 7. The last 30 minutes were the best non-Jedi related Star Wars battles ever. Zootopia – The kids will love it, plus you get to talk about some very serious issues (prejudice and the like) when they grow up. Moana – same reasons as number Zootopia, but I thought that Zootopia tackled more important issues.
(It’s important to note that I didn’t put any of the Marvel or DC movies in this year. That’s how good 2016 was for movies. Deadpool doesn’t count cos it’s a special shitty snowflake.) (Kakita)
The Big Short
A comedic, yet informative and accessible movie for geeks who seek entertainment and tutoring on how the subprime mortgage crisis unraveled the global economy close to a decade ago. Michael Burry, an eccentric and brilliant manager notices weaknesses in mortgage-backed securities peddled by leading financial institutions. He purchases a type of financial instrument that bets against them, and is literally laughed out of the biggest investment banks. We know who had the last laugh in the end. (SataySauce)
Arrival is going to have to contend in 2017’s list. With it due out next year, this makes 2016 the Year of the Mouse. From Moana to Star Wars: Rogue One to a surprisingly good Doctor Strange, all the top spots are filled up right there – even with the Marvel-linked Deadpool.
But for the top choice it’s gotta be Zootopia. Wonderfully animated, it comes with a strong story that all of us in 2016 need to hear. (Direcow)
The problem with 2016’s geek movies is that they were good but not great. And while I will vigorously defend the value of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (especially the much superior Director’s Cut) to the DC Extended Universe, I cannot choose it as the best movie of 2016. Only one movie succeeded in being almost perfect from beginning to end, and packed so much heart into a most timely allegory about prejudice, negative stereotypes and how even the best of us often perpetuate discrimination. Take a bow, Disney, Zootopia will go down as another classic that will stand the test of time. (Peter Lin)
Best Television Series of 2016
To qualify for this category, the series has to have some appeal to a geek audience. Your definition may vary, of course, especially since one reviewer didn’t really get to watch much TV in 2016. No prizes for guessing who.
While Westworld and Stranger Things are probably on everyone’s lists, I got to give props to The Exorcist. I wasn’t expecting much from it especially after the first couple of episodes but a major plot twist in the middle of this 10-episode series made me fall in love with it. If you are familiar with the classic movie of the same name and liked it, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel likewise here. (Melvin Yong)
Toggle’s brief description of Tanglin does the series no justice by calling it a “daily drama that centres on the lives of multiracial and multi-generational families”. Where the series really shines is in its realistic depiction of Singapore living which throws the spotlight on day-to-day issues that are rarely covered by feel-good TV documentaries. From paternity tests to struggles with cancer and love triangles, the cast makes run-of-the-mill Singaporean characters feel more down-to-earth and authentic than their Channel 8 counterparts. The good-looking cast makes this series an even easier pick. (SataySauce)
Robot uprisings, existential dread, and some Matrix-ey moments. Special mention: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – in a year without Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow scratched the timey-wimey time travel nonsense itch. And they did it a lot better than Flash. (Kakita)
It’s been a pretty interesting year for TV, especially with Netflix doing well with genre shows like The OA, Stranger Things, as well as the MCU series. But my pick comes from a slightly more traditional source – HBO’s Westworld.
From it’s wonderful premise to the deep looks into bigger questions (Do androids dream? Yes) – Westworld sets a high mark as to how genre shows should be done. Anthony Hopkin’s sublime acting is just icing on the cake. (Direcow)
Heading into 2016, I wanted so much to enjoy Marvel’s Luke Cage, but it unfortunately floundered in the second half of the season. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featured a return to form with the introduction of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider, but it got unnecessarily bogged down by the splitting up of the team due to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new leadership, a move that proved largely inconsequential. But if there was one series that managed to entertain consistently for 10 straight weeks – it was Westworld, a tour de force of a compelling premise, brilliant writing and a cast that could only be described as genius. (Peter Lin)
Best Tech Gear of 2016
We’ve recently doubled down on hardware reviews thanks to our guest contributor SataySauce so for the first time we’re including a Best Gear of 2016 category! To qualify, the device must have been released in 2016.
Apple Watch Series 2
Since I just bought one, I’ll have to convince myself that it’s the slick and lightweight Apple Watch 2. But seriously, the fitness apps are amazing and I suppose it’s the closest thing to wearing a computer on your wrist. (Melvin Yong)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
This smartphone made a rather explosive entry into the market. Shortly after its launch, some customers complained about the device spontaneously exploding. Samsung first believed that the issue was caused by defective batteries, but was eventually forced to recall all Note 7s because even some replacement phones blew up. Some believe that the aggressive design of the Note 7’s batteries meant that the polymer separator layers that keep the battery safe were simply too thin. This could have been avoided by reducing the capacity of the battery, but would have resulted in lower battery life. Although no one was hurt, a few hundred thousand Note 7s are still circulating the market. These phones are essentially ticking time bombs if they are still in use, instead of sitting battery-less in a display case. (SataySauce)
Razer Blade Pro
Quite simply – the Razer Blade Pro. I don’t own one, but you don’t even have to read the reviews to lust after it. It is the best out there in terms of laptops – and it isn’t just built for gaming. Full power with portability? Count me in, once my budget makes room for it. (Direcow)
And that’s it for 2016! Here’s to 2017, the year of LEGO Batman, Logan, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League and last but definitely not least, Star Wars: Episode VIII! Phew.