2017 was probably the most jammed-pack year that I can remember in the field of entertainment. Across the mediums of film, television, video games, comics, literature, and sports, there were too many significant releases and events to count. No matter where your interests lie, it felt like there was something memorable for you.
I am very thankful that so many of my passions were appropriately catered to last year, to the point where this annual “Favorites” list that I do here on my webpage is easily the hardest I’ve ever had to put together. After a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided on my favorite movie, novel, television show, comic book, video game, and sports event that I experienced last year.
FAVORITE MOVIE — WONDER WOMAN
Objectively, I would have said that the best movie I saw in 2017 was War for the Planet of the Apes, but right behind it was my personal favorite, Wonder Woman. She’s long been one of my favorite superheroes, so I was thrilled to see a big screen, big budget production that captured every essence of what makes the character special. Gal Gadot proved to be the perfect actress to portray Diana of Themyscira, with a performance where it was evident that both actress and character were peerlessly earnest and noble. This poignant origins story struck deep, at times, but was ultimately the uplifting superhero blockbuster that audiences needed, and deserved.
FAVORITE NOVEL — ABOVE THE TIMBERLINE
Although not your traditional read, Above the Timberline definitely made a lasting impression on me, even more so than some of the 1000+ page fantasy epics I read last year. A visual novel, of sorts, Above the Timberline offers a truly unique narrative through its blend of imagery and exposition. Long, wordy descriptions didn’t need to exist in this book when it had dozens upon dozens of gorgeous illustrations to display the polar, steampunk setting. Leaving the exposition to journal entries, dialogue, and first-person accounts gave this pulpy adventure a one-of-a-kind feel that maybe more novels should be told through.
FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW — VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER
For the second year in a row, I’m naming Netflix’s Voltron as my favorite tv show, and I do so unashamed. Even in condensed third and fourth seasons, this reboot continues to capture all of the charm from a Saturday morning, giant-robot-focused cartoon, while updating it with narrative heft and occasional moments of surprising austerity. It’s a show that’s self-aware enough to know that we want to see Voltron tear apart alien armadas with skyscraper-sized swords, but also respects its young adult audience by showing the uglier sides of war. With Prince Lotor in the mix, the history of the conflict in perspective, and the Paladins of Voltron steadily growing more capable, future seasons spell a lot more fun from this animated series.
FAVORITE COMIC BOOK — MONSTRESS
Being completely honest, Monstress probably would have won any year that I did this where it qualified. After two volumes, I have no reservations in saying that it might just be the greatest comic book I’ve ever read. On one hand, the art is astounding, but that’s just a small part of what makes the series great. It actually seems trivial when placed against the rich world building that’s been found in the story–a trait that is rare in comics. For all of the visual beauty and fascinating lore, however, this is often a grim, somber story being told. It’s a provocative dark fantasy that is loaded with heavy themes for mature, thinking adults to digest.
FAVORITE VIDEO GAME — THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
It wasn’t the ultimate Legend of Zelda game that I was hoping for; in some respects, it actually disappointed me. But I also poured around 150 hours into this adventure between the core game and the DLC, because what it did right absolutely enthralled me. This was a technical accomplishment unlike any other for Nintendo, who created the biggest, most detailed Hyrule yet, and included an unparalleled level of freedom for an action/adventure game. The game mechanics in Breath of the Wild are unquestionably the best to be seen in this revered series; they make up the perfect groundwork for the series to ascend to even loftier heights going forward.
FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENT — THE BUFFALO BILLS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS
I’m so glad I waited to post this list, because this pick didn’t manifest until the waning hours of 2017. The city of Buffalo and Bills fans across the nation got to live a real-life Major League moment when, after 17 long years, the Bills finally ended their brutal playoff drought. It was a whirlwind evening on New Year’s Eve, as the Bills hung on to defeat the Miami Dolphins en route to a 9-7 regular season finish, leaving us to watch with bated breath to see if the Cincinnati Bengals could defeat the Baltimore Ravens, thus pushing the Bills into the playoffs. By some miracle, Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton threw that miraculous touchdown pass on 4th and 12, essentially sealing the deal and assisting in slaying the dragon that has menace Buffalo for nearly two decades. It’s not just a sport here in Buffalo; the Bills team is ingrained in the fabric of this city, uniting the Western New York region every time they step out onto the gridiron. After toiling for so many years without success, the opportunity for this passionate city to see its beloved football team overcome such a hurdle provided no more joyous way for us to end 2017.
Check back for my “Most Anticipated of 2018” list!