The year is coming to a close and publications around the globe are dropping their annual best of lists of anything and everything. Whether it's movies, moments, music, TV, or anything else one could think of, there's a list. In an effort to follow the trend, but also provide a fresh take, we decided to not only shorten our lists from the more conventional ten to five (peak innovation) but also provide five categories within the categories.
The categories are as follows: music, movies, TV, podcasts, and sports moments. Within those five broad categories, our staff has come up with five divisions within the groupings. Here are the five, with a breakdown of the criteria for choosing the winner of each group.
This section is reserved for the things that made us feel in 2016 (hence the name). More than just the warm fuzzy's we were looking for things that captured our attention and reeled in our emotional investment. Nostalgic value, excitement, and a diverse range of feelings were all factors as well.
Every year there are things that slip through the cracks and don't spread to the masses. Our hope here is to compile some of less talked/written about things of 2016.
What are the things you watched/listened to this year that you aren't rushing to bring up at a dinner party? We all have them; it's time to come clean and experience the refreshment of confession. This category is all about mindless, light-hearted, good old fashioned entertainment.
What is art?
If there were a polar opposite of the guilty pleasure, this would be it. This category is reserved for the most challenging, thought-provoking, and abstract pieces of pop culture from this year.
This category is not for the faint of heart. The winners in this category usually, like the what is art group, inspire thought, but they also depict a truth that is particularly difficult to swallow.
Top five, top five, top five...
A few months, writer and speaker, Malcolm Gladwell launched this fascinating podcast. The topics are all over the map, from sports, to innovation, to religion, Gladwell delivers a little of everything. Running between thirty and forty minutes these are the perfect pod for a long commute to work or to throw on while cleaning the house. While all the episodes are entertaining, the standout of the first season is "Generous Orthodoxy." Gladwell tells the story of a Mennonite pastor in rural America and the inspirational way he balanced his deeply held convictions with the love of his own son.
Honorable Mention: Invisibilia (NPR)
If you're a regular reader of The Ringer (The Bill Simmons pop culture and sports site) then the array of podcasts they offer probably aren't under the radar, but The Watch is one of the less popular pods in terms of sheer numbers, that The Ringer produces. Hosted by Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald, discussions revolve around anything from TV, music, movies, culture. Filled with keen insights and a fair share of humor The Watch is a fun listen for anyone who enjoys enthusiastically unpacking some of the best media our culture has to offer.
Honorable Mention: Bret Easton Ellis Podcast
Pardon My Take
Brought to us by Barstool Sports, Big and PFT Commenter bring their scolding hot sports takes to the masses. Far from anything resembling analytics, these know how to bring humor to the world of sports and have a helluva time while they're doing it. Purely entertaining, this pod is perfect for anyone who wants to have a good laugh and enjoy some sarcastic commentary on all things sports.
Honorable Mention: The Herd (Colin Cowherd)
WHAT IS ART?
Blurring the lines between the real and the absurd, this pod's ironic, tongue-in-cheek, self-mocking tone is almost too out there to be entertaining. If you jump in without knowing the operating premise it's easy to give up and move on to something more straightforward, but once you get a couple episodes in it starts to click. Hosts Sean and Hayes operate with seamless conversation and feed off of each other's comments in a damn near flawless comedic fashion. The general commentary elicited about some of the ridiculous functions of Hollywood are so precisely hilarious they serve as great reminders to never take the world of show biz as seriously as it takes itself. If you're thinking of giving it a whirl, the Donald Glover, Pauly Shore interviews, or the Deadpool episode are perfect starter episodes.
Honorable Mention: Fresh Air (NPR)
Just six episodes in, Crimetown has captured listeners and filled the vacuous hole left in podcast lovers lives since the finale of Serial's first season. If you love true crime (Serial, Making of a Murderer, or The Jinx) then you are sure to enjoy this episodic mob story. Told through insightful and sometimes haunting interviews, Crimetown tells the story of deep corruption and crime embedded in the very heart of America's puniest little state, Rhode Island. From murders, to heists, to crooked cops, this pod is as juicy as they come. Some of the content is tough to stomach (as most mob are stories typically are), so probably don't listen right before bed. This one of the most captivating podcasts to come along in quite some time and is only six episodes into its 17-20 episode season so it's the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.
Honorable Mention: Lore