The year is almost over. Thank god – most people agree that 2016 has been a hell of a thing to survive, and we all want a fresh start. But in terms of the incredible art we’ve gotten to consume this year, 2016 has been a knock out of the park, with tons of great movies, comics, podcasts, games and television lighting up our life to take away from the painful punches real like has been delivering on the daily. We wanted to take a moment away from the darkness and fear of the year to recognize the great moments we’ve had escaping to other worlds. So with that in mind, it’s time for 2016’s Ace of Geeks Awards!
Here’s how this worked: Our team of esteemed writers, editors and podcasters were asked to submit their picks for the top five in each category. The choice they rated number one got five points. Number two got four, number three got two, and so on down the line. Then we compiled those results and came up with our winners.
PODCAST OF THE YEAR
We start with one of our most hotly contested categories – because there are so many great podcasts out there, it was hard to pick just one. But there was one that leapt out of our car stereos and into our hearts, and it was the story of a lazy, fat man trying his hardest not to get home to his wife. Also there’s a talking badger (shapeshifter!) and a Wizard who’s name is too long to print here. Hello From the Magic Tavern is a hilarious improv show that interviews a new denizen of the magical world of Foon each week, and does it’s best to avoid the questions of its overarching metaplot. Arnie, Chunt and Ucidor win their way into your hearts each and every week with hilarious, off the cuff banter, despite the fact that they might all be terrible people. You can listen to our interview with Adal Rifai, who plays Chunt, right here.
COMIC OF THE YEAR
Saga thundered from our number three slot last year to number one this year, and it’s not hard to see why. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ weird and wonderful space opera is now in its fourth year and fourty second issue, and is only taking us to new heights of incredible storytelling. It is diverse, inclusive, and not afraid to pull its punches in an exciting way. If you haven’t been reading this, grab the trades and catch up, you’ll thank us.
TELEVISION SHOW OF THE YEAR
Stranger Things received almost double of the votes of any other item in any category this year, so it’s a bit safe to say we liked it. Matt and Ross Duffer created a perfectly crafted send up to the adventure movies we grew up loving in the 80s, right down to the soundtrack. If that had been all they created, the show would not have turned into the monster hit and cultural milestone that it did. But Stranger Things took the best lessons that have been learned since those Spielberg days and added them to the formula, giving us a show that had incredible characters held down by amazing performances from both child and adult actors. Winona Ryder in particular drags you into the show and refuses to let go. If you haven’t binged this sucker on Netflix yet, now is the time.
#2: LUKE CAGE
GAME OF THE YEAR
This one will surprise no one, but it’s kind of hilarious how much Overwatch ran away with this category. It received 28 points. The next closest game, the very deserving Firewatch, received 9. Overwatch was more than just a game this year. It was a cultural phenomenon, mostly because of the characters. The game itself is very fun, but low on story. To make up for that, Blizzard invented 23 characters and counting, all of whom have interesting personalities, backstories, and even looks that draw fans into the game. To play Overwatch is to feel like you’re playing as a huge group of friends in a sandbox, despite how many of them are mortal enemies. We want to hang out with the heroes and villains of Overwatch – even you, emo Reaper. That means piles of fanart, videos, fiction and more without Blizzard having to do a thing. It’s brilliant, and the fact that the game is very, very good is just the cherry on top.
#3: OXENFREE/FINAL FANTASY XV
FILM OF THE YEAR
Following last year’s upset of Mad Max beating The Force Awakens (which really wasn’t that much of an upset, it was the better film), it was time for The Empire to Strike Back. Rogue One was the make-or-break film of the new Star Wars franchise. If it didn’t work, Disney would likely have heavily scaled back their plans to make a new Star Wars every year and just focused on the numbered titles. But the fact that it was a massive success, both commercially and artistically, guarantees Star Wars the freedom to play with more than the Skywalkers. The film was a grim, deadly war movie, but didn’t stray so far from being a Star Wars film that you felt alienated. And while there’s still many ongoing debates about its strength as a film, it battled its way to the top of our heap on much more merit than just a name.
#2: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
And that’s our awards for this year! What do you think? Where would you rank the entertainment of the year? Let us know in the comments.