My Best 2016 Discoveries: TV, Music, Film, Books and Theatre!

Whilst I have been quiet for the last few months, I cannot leave 2016 without doing a list of my favourites. Though some things have made it onto the list aren’t 2016 releases I want to share them because they are things that I have gotten round to watching/listening/reading this year.

Television:

I’ve been binge watching a lot of shows recently but I’ve been struggling to find something that I absolutely love. In the past two months I’ve watched: Outlander (Season 1 & 2), Crazy Ex Girlfriend (Season 1 & 2), Humans (Season 1 & 2), Westworld, Fleabag & Mr Robot (Season 1 Only). Out of the lot I would recommend…

  1. Westworld
    It’s about a Western-world theme park which is occupied by robotic “hosts” that roam the park for humans to enter and interact with. Westworld enables people to live in their fantasy world where they aren’t in real danger as hosts are not able to harm humans.
    It’s very cleverly done and everything is very tightly-knit. I feel like the network knew it’d be something big so it is an all star cast, with some new faces to give them some fame. Hopefully there will be another season.
    And also, James Marsden.
  2. Mr Robot
    I’m very behind when it comes to TV and I have only watched Season 1 of Mr Robot. And I’m completely mindblown by it.
    It follows Elliot who’s a cybersecurity computer programmer during the day and an hacker during the night. He’s sought out by a secret hacking group to help take down the conglomerate ECorp, but this is also where he is paid to work during the day. Told with a first person narration, you quickly become to know Elliot’s internal voice and his moral and personal struggles.
    The pacing for me is super slow and I was close to giving up, however I stuck through it does turn around.

Music:

Once I find a selection of albums I like, I tend to repeat them over for the rest of the year. My top albums for 2016 are:

  1. X Ambassadors – VHS
    Imagine Dragons discovered X Ambassadors and I think there are similarities in their first albums. They’re known for their single Renegades but their song Unsteady is featured in the Me Before You soundtrack.
  2. Chainsmokers – Bouquet & Collage EP & Major Lazer – Peace is the Mission
    Joint second are two electronic dance music albums. It’s a bit of a weird music choice when studying but it’s worked for me – the upbeat tempo and catchy words make it an easy escape. Though I don’t like to acknowledge the fact that the Chainsmokers created Selfie.
  3. Oh Wonder – Oh Wonder
    An electropop indie group from London, their music is quite soft and relaxing… A recommendation from my sister – she has great taste.
  4. Griffin Peterson – From All Sides
    Griffin Peterson is attached to Colleen Hoover’s novel Maybe Someday, which is where I first discovered him. His album is simple and easy, mostly led by guitar strumming and drum beats.

Films:

Watched films are lacking in 2016…

  1. You Before Me
    I managed to get early screening tickets for this film and I sobbed/ugly cried/completely broke down. That in itself is an amazing achievement because I’m not an emotional person when watching most things. I was not as emotional when reading the novel but the film tore me apart.
  2. The Prestige
    Directed by Christopher Nolan, this film is about two magicians who compete to outdo one another with their illusions. It’s a pretty intense competition as they become more and more obsessed with trying to top one another and it leads to tragic endings. Less intense than Inception but still a great watch.

Books:

I did manage to read a lot during the beginning half of 2016 but from that point onwards, I hardly touched a book of my choosing. The books that I did pick up more were cookbooks!

Fiction:

  1. Vendetta and Inferno by Catherine Doyle.
    I have reread this duo more than three times this year. It’s a great modern twist on the overused Romeo and Juliet retelling. People mess up, fall in love and fall out of love. It’s pretty darn perfect, but not in the fairytale kind of way, in the ‘it is realistic’ kind of way.
  2. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
    I saw so many negative reviews attached to this novel and I approached this book with caution. I’ve read some of Ahern’s adult novels and enjoyed them but I didn’t know how to compare them since Flawed is a dystopia. Find my review of the book here.

Non-Fiction:

  1. Elly Pear’s Fast Days & Feast Days by Elly Curshen
    Perfect for quick and easy recipes!
  2. Twist by Martha Collison
    This is the first Bake Off contestant book that I’ve owned and it comes with beautiful drawings and plenty of sweet recipes to try!
  3. The Minimalist Baker Everyday Cooking by Dana Schutz
    Dana Schutz runs the blog The Minimalist Baker, which I have followed for a while now, and I bought the book as soon as it was released. A must for those plant-based eaters!
  4. Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden
    Stirring Slowly focuses on the hearty meals. It’s all about speed nowadays and it’s really lovely to have something on the stove brewing for a little longer than ten minutes. There is one one person serving recipe however most of them are for four servings, so definitely one for people who need to cook for a family or friends!

Theatre:

I made more trips to the theatre than usual at the end of this year. I’ve always loved going to the theatre but the trips lessened after finishing secondary school. Everything about the theatre is really exciting to me, I’ve always said that if I get a chance I’d love to work in one, even if it’s simply front of house!
Anyway after my birthday that included a trip to see The Phantom of the Opera, a musical I have wanted to see for so long, I booked three solo trips to see three musicals. They included: The Murder Ballad, The Last Five Years and The School of Rock. Only two of the four have made it into my highlights of 2016.

  1. Taking the number one highlight is The Phantom of the Opera. I have wanted to see it for so long and it really exceeded my expectations. It was dramatic in all the right ways and I found myself almost tearing up when the chandelier started to rise. I was more surprised about how quickly the action moved, getting chills when “The Mirror/Angel of Music” began.  The famous songs “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Music of the Night” lacked in richness and power from the actors, though it didn’t ruin my enjoyment.  “Masquerade” was a delight to watch with the full company in dazzling costumes. It’s no surprise why it’s been running for as long as it has and I can imagine revisiting it. I would love to see the tech behind it as well. It’s really a feast for your eyes.
  2. The Last Five Years had a very short run at the St James Theatre. It’s a small and intimate performance with two actors, Samantha Barks known for playing Éponine in the film version of Les Mis and Johnathan Bailey, who played Olly in Broadchurch. I’d heard a lot about the musical before and knowing Barks was part of it made me really want to see it. The musical follows a five year relationship between Cathy, a struggling actress, and Jamie, a novelist. The whole structure of the musical was new to me as we follow Jamie’s side of the story in a chronological order (falling in/out of love with Cathy) and following Cathy in reverse. The most surprising part was hearing Bailey sing. Just completely blown by his voice as I only knew him from Broardchurch and I hate his character too. It was really nice to see in something completely different. The songs are upbeat and occasionally funny to other members of the audience, yet I was left put-down and heartbroken, I Can Do Better Than That being the worst of them all for me.
    I’ve listened to the soundtrack non-stop all in order. It’s become the music I listen to when I work!

And that’s it!

 

What’s if your 2016 discovery? Comment and share below – I would love to see what everyone else is watching/reading/listening to! Maybe I’ll check it out in 2017 😉

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