We can safely say 2016 was quite the ride in terms of pop culture. We’ve had a fair share of anger and sadness, but we’ve also joyously embraced new shows, songs, movies and more. Here is a list of great things in the world of pop culture that brought smiles to our faces.
Joanne by Lady Gaga: Ditching her usual electronic and disco vibe, Gaga’s album – released in November – is softer and more in line with country music. The album showcases her raw and unique voice and the deep bass and raw-sounding guitar strums make Joanne a must listen.
Death of a Bachelor by Panic! At the Disco: Each and every Panic! At the Disco song has been tamed so that it is out of control, this album especially. And we can finally read the names of each song before they end. Loud with heavy bass and electric guitars, Death of a Bachelor will have you jamming in your bedroom, in the shower, wherever.
Wings by BTS: K-Pop fans, we have you covered. The Korean boy band BTS released a new album in October. This album features solos from all the band members and fans can get a better understanding of each of the individual members’ voices.
Finding Dory: After a long 13-year wait, the widely popular sea creatures in Finding Nemo finally returned! This time, it was the forgetful Dory’s quest to find her long-lost parents. Although sequels to big-hit movies are often anything but spectacular, Finding Dory successfully captured viewers’ hearts with adorable characters and heart-warming scenes.
Central Intelligence: A mix of action and comedy, Central Intelligence certainly gave us the best laugh of 2016. Starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as old schoolmates, the film follows them as they try to stop a terrorist plot. Although the story is ridiculous, it is good comedy. For us stressed students, this movie is one that helped us relax and have a good laugh.
Doctor Strange: When Benedict Cumberbatch revealed his moustache and cape in the movie Doctor Strange, fans went absolutely beserk. He played an extremely skilled, but also extremely arrogant (sounds familiar ... reminiscent of Sherlock, perhaps?) surgeon who loses the use of his hands in a terrible car crash and spends his fortune trying to heal them. This movie will leave you on the edge of your seat as you follow Strange’s journey to Nepal, where he learns that the world isn’t as black and white as science would have it be.
Suicide Squad: Who wasn’t excited when the trailer for suicide squad came out? With the Joker and Harley Quinn on a top mission, there was a lot of hype surrounding this film well before it came out. Whether or not the movie lived up to fans’ expectations is debatable, but the costumes, music and special effects are undeniably good. The Joker and Harley Quinn provided inspiration for many a Halloween costume, and it’s safe to say the impact of the movie has lasted all year.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Potterheads were extremely excited about this film. Based on JK Rowling’s fictional textbook of the same name, which Harry and co study at Hogwarts, the film is about Newt, a wizard, and his struggle to round up magical beasts in 1920s New york. Compared to Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts is much darker, while still delivering on the fantasy and Potter-related levels that fans expect.
Deadpool: One of the strangest but most highly-anticipated Marvel movies yet, Deadpool went out there and plopped itself right in the number one spot as “highest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide”. It’s a hilarious movie, especially with the strange element where the main character – Deadpool – breaks the “fourth wall” by directly addressing the audience. This film will make you laugh until your sides hurt, and he’ll also make you rethink everything you think you know about the definition of a hero.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Though this movie wasn’t hyped up as much as the 2015’s Star Wars: the Force Awakens, it was definitely just as good, if not better. Along with the Death Star and the rebels, this movie is jam-packed with action and suspense, it’s both comic and tragic, and is a must watch for anyone: whether you’ve been a fan of Star Wars your entire life or if you’ve never even heard of Darth Vader.
Nerve: Nerve is truth or dare, minus the truth. When Vee gets fed up of her friends telling her to "take risks” and “live more,” she joins Nerve, a sketchy online game where the dares can cost lives. The game learns more and more about Vee, and slowly she becomes a prisoner of it. If this movie doesn’t make you bite your fingernails in anticipation, we don’t know what will.
Haikyuu!! Season 3 - Our beloved volleyball players of Karasuno High School are back for a third time – this time battling their sworn enemy Shiratorizawa Academy. Although only ten episodes long, this anime never fails to surprise us with breath-taking volleyball and stunning character development. Seeing Karasuno defeat Shiratorizawa and moving onto the nationals almost brought us to tears, way to go guys!
Yuri!!! On Ice – Spectacular animation, relatable characters, catchy music ... You name it and this show has it. This original anime has caught the eye of various otakus, not only because of its ice-skating, but also how it addresses issues such as mental health and LGBT relationships. The sweet Victuri moments and mesmerising jumps will certainly turn even the coldest of hearts warm and gooey.
Stranger Things: This thriller follows the story of an 8-year-old boy, Will, who has gone missing, and his mum, Joyce, his friends and the authorities as they search for him. During their investigation, they discover bizarre things, such as secret government experiments, a strange girl and unknown forces. There was a lot of hype surrounding this Netflix original series, given the success of other Netflix shows, and, brand aside, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of mystery? With the great effects and acting, the TV show has been a great hit.
Westworld: The sensational HBO series took viewers to a theme park, where they were greeted by artificial intelligence hosts. Yet, these hosts have started to retaliate against the humans, who have freely imposed their will on the park. The sci-fi Western thriller show certainly will not disappoint.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany: 2016 seems to have been a spectacular year for Potterheads, given the release of Fantastic Beasts in the same year. The book is not a novel, but the script of a play based on Harry Potter's life after Hogwarts, and the main character is Harry's son, Albus. It has shadows of classic Potter and is a good reminder of many people’s childhood.
Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan: Known as the famous Greek god of music, medicine, poetry, and many other things, Apollo angered his father Zeus. As punishment, Zeus cast Apollo down as a mortal, into the world of humans and demigods. Apollo must learn how to control his ego in order to survive in the mortal world. But Apollo also has plenty of enemies on land, and the only place he can truly seek refuge is the modern demigods’ home of Camp Half-Blood.
And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel: The author of this book, is not your typical journalist. Hungry for juicy news, Engel went to the Middle East and spent twenty years there. This book documents terrorist activity and conflict in the region, and is an account of Engel’s various adventures. Although a true story, this gripping book reads like fiction and will certainly give you a good idea of what’s going on in these war-torn countries.