2017 has been a year of exceptional television, music, books and movies. So much came out in each category over the past 365 days that it’s hard to remember every single thing. But alas, the year is coming to an end, which means it is time for us, as a staff, to take stock of the things we loved this past year. With that being said, here are our 2017 staff favorites in television, music, books and movies!
Arlene Allen: The Magicians — This has become my be-all, end-all, drop everything else, must watch viewing for me.
Allie Warner: As a self proclaimed tv addict, this area is the hardest for me. I watch a LOT of television and each show has its high points. The one show that really stuck out to me this year was The Bold Type. Yes, it is the new girly show on Freeform, but it is so much more. Tackling all sorts of issues that plague our society today, without losing the friendship at the center of it all. Plus it has an amazing cast.
Terri Clark: All my favorite shows–and I watch an obscene amount of TV–have been on Netflix. From Stranger Things 2, to the stellar re-envisioned One Day at a Time, then Santa Clarita Diet’s darkly comic new spin on zombies, followed by the wildly unpredictable OA, then the endearing coming-of-age story Atypical and the sentimental & sassy Fuller House. I gobbled them all. But my two greatest obsessions are Mindhunter and Dark. Mindhunter details the true story of how John Douglas created profiling of serial killers for Quantico. (I love the psychology of it all and the performances are riveting. Cameron Britton, in particular, stands out as he manages to make Ed Kemper disarming with his humor and charm, while also being chilling to the bone.) Dark is a German series about the small town of Winden and the disappearance of two children. Comparisons to Stranger Things aren’t surprising, but truly don’t fit. This is a dark-working brain teaser with a supernatural twist and to tell you more would be to spoil it. (Hint: watch with English subtitles and not the terrible dubbing.)
Madeline Klepec: I haven’t seen the previous seasons of Gotham, but during winter break, I watched the first half of season 4, and that show is a must-watch. It’s dark, creepy and will keep you on the edge of your seat. All of the characters are flawed and complex, which makes it that more intriguing. Now I’ll have to watch the previous seasons!
Bryna Kramer: First of all, I have to echo what Allie said about The Bold Type. It was one of the highlights of my summer. If you haven’t watched it yet, then you’re truly missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime television show. 2017 overall really was an incredible year of television in general. For me personally, it started with the first season of Freeform’s new show Famous in Love. While it might not be the critics favorite, I found myself sucked in quickly to the glamorous-yet-dramatic world of Hollywood. Younger returned to TV Land in June and continued to find ways to keep Liza’s secret just that — a secret. Netflix dropped season 2 of its hit docuseries Last Chance U this summer, which was somehow even more powerful than the first season. The fall brought new shows that I love, such as The Mayor, but most importantly, delivered strong new seasons for some of my favorite returning shows. Jane the Virgin continues to knock my socks off and be my absolute favorite show on television. The fifth season of Chicago P.D. focuses on real world themes, specifically the intersection of police reform and politics, while showcasing a lot more of the under-used characters. Grey’s Anatomy, in it’s fourteenth season, sucked me right back in just when I thought I was almost done with the show for good. If 2018 is anything like 2017, I cannot wait to see what incredible television is to come.
Traci-Anne Canada: Sadly here and gone before it could be fully appreciated, The Get Down was a cinematographic work of art. Telling the history of hip hop and giving an entertaining story, it was one of my favorite Netflix shows of the year.
Shawn Cole: So many of my favorite things came together to make The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Set in the 50s, this comedy by Amy Sherman-Palladino is a little dirty, quick witted and hilarious. The clothes are so cool, the women are all super funny and Tony Shalhoub, enough said! My other favorite, This is Us, didn’t disappoint in its sophomore season and Sterling K. Brown does everything right all the time. The Handmaid’s Tale was another favorite this year for all the beautiful and all the ugly that it reminded us of. And, because it’s cancellation freak-out time, I need to throw Jane the Virgin on my list of favorites for the year. I love Jane and the smart, unique way she tells stories – We need Jane. Please don’t cancel Jane. Like my friends here at TNWU, I watch way too much TV but I think this sums up my favorites of the year pretty well. Oh, and Mindy, how could we not say thank you and good bye to Mindy Kaling for giving us The Mindy Project. A warm 2017 welcome back (as good as ever) to Will and Grace and I’m still trying to figure out Legion, but I loved it. Ok, I’m done. Great year!
Arlene: I didn’t buy a whole lot of new music this year, but three albums do stand out. I discovered Sam Smith’s The Thrill of it All, and that man’s honeyed voice does me in every time I listen to it. “Palace” is the most beautiful and heartbreaking love song I’ve heard in awhile. I also listened to a bit more country this year (weird for this rocker, I know), and Granger Smith’s When The Good Guys Win lived in my CD player forever. My third favorite is indie artist MK Ultra’s second release, Generation Dead. MK is individual, outspoken, timely and rocking and I hope more people discover his music. It was a great year for me concert wise; I really thought the world was going to end because I saw almost all of my favorite artists: Shallow Side, Jasmine Cain, Pop Evil, Alter Bridge, Lady Gaga, and Smith and Myers of Shinedown. But my favorite was Green Day. Those boys don’t put on a show, they put on a 4 hour spectacle, with intense audience interaction. I was completely blown away.
Allie: I have been enjoying Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” all year.
Terri: After discovering her on Dancing with the Stars I’ve become obsessed with all things Lindsey Sterling. I’m also LOVING Harry Styles new self-titled album, especially “Sign of the Times” and “Carolina.” And when he sang with Stevie Nicks at the Troubadour…I swooned and nearly died of happiness. Lateral to him, of course, is Niall Horan. “This Town” and “Slow Hands” from his Flicker album get me every time.
Madeline: Taylor Swift’s Reputation was finally released in November. After three long years of waiting for Taylor to release an album, she didn’t disappoint. Gone is the sweet, country love songs. This time she’s giving herself a new reputation with a bit of an edge, and it’s something I am totally loving. It’s a different sound, but nonetheless, still a stroke of genius.
Bryna: There were so many incredible albums that came out in 2017 that I couldn’t stop listening to. The first one that comes to mind is Brett Young’s self-titled debut album. I can listen to that album, on repeat, from start to finish. I also really enjoyed Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me. I haven’t enjoyed an entire Demi album in a long time, but she absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s honest and raw yet flirty and exciting all at the same time.
Traci-Anne: I have loved Halsey for a few years now, but Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was a masterpiece. Her mixture of different genres of music blended into something that anyone could enjoy.
Shawn: My year was compete with the release of Rainbow by the elusive of late Kesha (sans $). I wouldn’t wish the turmoil of her life on anyone but what she created at the other end of her trauma was nothing short of POP-Powerful. I love that she wrote through everything she experienced, named it and is now back with all the fierce and fire that we expect from her…on her own terms. Behind all those auto-tuned anthems of a few years ago is a truly talented warrior.
I’m also digging Macklemore – Gemini because, well, I’m from Seattle and he’s just cool and makes me feel cool for listening. Pink – Beautiful Trauma is likely my favorite PINK album so far because I love when these women grow up and have things to say! And since we’re talking about music, Chris Blue has emerged as my favorite Voice winner ever because…dude is mega-talented!
I should also mention that Garth Brooks ended a THREE YEAR World Tour this year that was every bit as good as the concerts I went to in the early 90’s. How does this guy do it?
Arlene: I went for quality over quantity this year, and I read a slew of great ones. My favorite though, hands down, is Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic. This is a prequel to Practical Magic and is even better than that one, which has always been a favorite. This is the story of the aunts – and the uncle, whose grandchildren have their tale told in Practical Magic. This is a novel of family, of loss, of surviving; but most of all it is about love, the one true magic that keeps us alive. I can’t think of the last time I’ve read anything so beautiful and moving and true.
Allie: The one book I read this year that I just could not put down was The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I devoured that book.
Bryna: Ever since I graduated from college in May, I found myself trying to play catch up on all of the books I’ve wanted to read for fun over the past four years. But I did find time to read one new release: Shea Serrano’s Basketball And Other Things. Each chapter of the book tries to answer a different question about basketball history, both pivotal and ridiculous. It’s hilarious and is truly a love-letter to any hardcore basketball fan who has gotten into a lengthy debate about the nuances of the NBA.
Arlene: I don’t think I had a better year at the movies! I loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which made me laugh and cry! Wonder Woman was the girl power movie I wished I’d had as a little girl – but it also was well scripted, well directed, and well acted. Thor: Ragnarok was a superhero film that poked a little bit of fun at itself and I loved that. Thor was such a dork. Logan ripped me to shreds emotionally; that had to be the first superhero movie I ever cried at. I loved non- genre films The Book of Henry, and Gifted, with Chris Evans as the uncle of a brilliantly gifted little girl. But I think my two favorites of the year were Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which made me fall in love with the franchise all over again, and Guillermo del Toro’s exquisite The Shape of Water
Allie: For some reason this year I did not make it to the theater as much as I usually do and missed several great movies that I wanted to see. That being said, I did see a few pretty fantastic ones. When I think of my favorite thing from a movie this year, it has to be the opening title scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when Groot is dancing around while the other Guardians are fighting. I LOVE that scene and it makes me smile just thinking about it!
Bryna: Like Allie, I hardly made it to the theater at all. But of the few movies I saw, Gifted sticks out to me. Starring McKenna Grace, Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer, Gifted tells the story of an intellectually gifted 7-year-old who becomes the subject of a custody battle between her uncle and grandmother. I have always been a huge fan of Chris Evans and this might be one of my favorite roles of his. The best part of the movie, though, is McKenna Grace. She is a young star in the making and truly steals the show in every scene she’s in. I also really enjoyed the live-action Beauty and the Beast and Home Again.
Traci-Anne: I saw Get Out at the beginning of the year and it is still in my brain. The psychological tricks it played on the viewer made for a great experience and “the sunken place” has earned its way into our cultural lexicon. I also loved Girls Trip. It wasn’t the highest grossing comedy of the year for nothing. I was laughing every minute of the movie, and, even while I was laughing, the movie pulled on my heartstrings.
Shawn: Wonder Woman was the hero we all needed in 2017! For me, the feeling that I got seeing a strong, beautiful, powerful woman take the lead in an action movie was something I didn’t know I was missing in my life. Sure, there is controversy surrounding everything these days but this was a perfect example of girl power at every level. From the writing, directing and production of the film, everything was done well. I felt a little stronger and little more in control when I left the theater. It is no surprise that we had a record number of women running for office and an onslaught of sexual harassment allegations brought to light shortly after the film’s release. We might not have shattered our glass ceiling but Diana Prince and Patty Jenkins helped to push us just a little closer!
Let us know in the comments below what your favorites of 2017 were!