By almost any reasonable measure 2017 was a terrible year. You wouldn’t piss on 2017 if it was on fire. And it was on fire, for 12 straight months.
But 2017 was a good year for #content.
2017 was a year where I enjoyed a great many things. Here are some of them.
Twin Peaks Season 3
I believe that Twin Peaks Season 3 was a miracle. A pure miracle.
Not only was someone brave enough to bankroll a Twin Peaks revival in 2017, they were mental enough to grant David Lynch full autonomy over the entire project. In a lot of ways I feel privileged just to be able to watch it.
Twin Peaks Season 3 is an explicit example of a creative force going buck wild, satisfying all their creative impulses and giving absolutely zero fucks about their audience. Which bizarrely is precisely what fans of David Lynch and and Twin Peaks wanted in the first place.
But by god did he push us to the edge. We didn’t get to see our beloved Coop until three episodes before the end. Then there was the ‘fuck you’ of an ending.
And of course there was episode 8: an intense visual nightmare that’s less an episode of TV, than a fucked up visceral art project. Something you’d watch in a dark room deep in a modern art exhibition — but cranked with the budget of a modern television show. It’s the wildest shit I’ve ever seen in my life.
I could go on and on: there’s Dougie, the greatest arm wrestling scene in history and — get this — Jim Belushi being fucking awesome. Twin Peaks Season 3 made Jim Belushi awesome.
That might be the highest compliment you could pay a TV show.
I also liked… The Sinner, Stranger Things Season 2
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
I can already sense the opinion shift. The backlash is looming.
For about a month after its release, it seemed like everyone was gushing about Breath of the Wild. Now for some its greatness is like a fading dream you can’t quite grasp at.
But guess what motherfuckers: I’m back to remind you that Breath of the Wild is almost certainly the best game of the last ten years.
I certainly can’t remember being as enamoured with a video game as an adult.
Breath of the Wild is probably the purest expression of video game adventure I’ve ever interacted with. It redefines the open world video game by stripping it back. It removes the icons and the XP points and says “adventure is out there“. I’ve never played a video game that was so comfortable and confident in its own systems. Breath of the Wild is a game that understands itself, is secure in the world it has built. It’s a pleasure just to be in Breath of the Wild. A pleasure to explore it.
It’s my favourite game ever.
I also liked… Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon: Zero Dawn
You get the sense that Lorde’s second album had about a million different ways it could have gone wrong, and only a handful of ways it could have gone right. Precocious young pop stars don’t generally follow up critically acclaimed debuts with something better.
It’s understandable. Their lives become unrelatable, a distance is created. Lorde gets around this by writing about the most relatable and human sensation of all: loneliness.
Melodrama really is an album about loneliness, and heartbreak, and trying to manage those feelings — sometimes unsuccessfully. It’s incredible.
The production is top notch as well. Lorde’s debut was all about hard hitting snares and basslines, Melodrama is more layered and delicate. There’s some interesting sounds going on there — particularly in ‘The Louvre’, with its slow build walls of noise and tonal shifts. It’s just an interesting song to listen to.
The whole album is consistent as hell.
I also liked… All this music!
Depending on where you sit, making racism the central theme of a horror movie in 2017 is either risky, terrifying, or the worst idea this side of Battlefield Earth, but Get Out is so good, and so subtle that it elevates itself above practically every horror movie I’ve seen in the last ten years.
It made me feel uncomfortable. Not because it was scary or tense (it’s all of those things) but because it made me question my own behaviour, and re-evaluate some of my own prejudices. As a white person trying his goddamn best not to be racist, it made me aware of the things I might be doing or saying that just… aren’t quite right. Or make life difficult for minorities. It’s a wake up call really, but also an honest evaluation of some truly in-built, difficult shit we all have to navigate every single day.
I don’t want to say too much. But if you haven’t seen Get Out, make sure you do. It’s amazing. And brutally honest and real.
I also liked… Blade Runner 2049
What stuff did you like this year? Drop the knowledge in the comments below!