Biggest Surprise 2016

Gomer

It is time to present the prestigious Gomer Award for the biggest surprise of the year in the world of movies.  I had a lot of choices this year, actually even coming up with a list of honorable mentions.

Previous winners of the Gomer included:  The Gift, Edge of Tomorrow, We’re the Millers and The Campaign.

This year’s list starts here…

Honorable mention The Boy, The Little Prince, Don’t Breathe, Allied.

Top Ten Biggest Surprises for 2016

#10.  Deepwater Horizon.  This was one that the trailer did not sell properly for me.  I was not looking forward to this film and yet it turned out to be one of the best disaster films in many years.

#9.  Swiss Army Man.  I loved this movie.  I did not expect to come out of the farting corpse movie loving it so much.  Great performances from Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe in one of the most original films in a long time.

#8.  Bad Moms.  Most of the time, this type of movie doe snot interest me because it usually is not that funny.  Bad Moms broke that mold and had me laughing.

#7.  War Dogs.  I am not  a huge Jonah Hill fan so I anticipated not liking this movie.  And yet, I found it very entertaining and worth the time.

#6.  Barber Shop: The Next Cut.  Another comedy that I did not expect to laugh at, and yet I did.  I had never seen the other Barber Shop films so I did not hold high expectations for this, but it turned out really enjoyable.

#5.  13 Hours.  It was a film from Michael Bay being released in January.  How could this be anything but a horrid film.  Surprise!  It was really well done.  The Bay-isms were held to a minimum and the story was compelling.

#4.  Bridget Jones’s Baby.  There was no way I was going to like this.  I did not see other Bridget Jones movies and it felt like I was the wrong sex.  Still, this was really funny and I truly liked it.

#3.  The Legend of Tarzan.  Everything I saw about this new rendition of Tarzan looked to be crappy.  And then I saw the film and I found myself engaged and enjoying it.

#2.  Pee Wee’s Big Holiday.  Saw this on Netflix and watched it.  I don’t remember why I watched it.  I have never been a fan of Pee Wee Herman and had not seen his other films.  Still, I loaded up this new film and laughed all the way through it.  I couldn’t believe it myself.

But the 2016 Gomer will be awarded to the following film….

#1.  Ouija: Origin of Evil.  This was certainly going to be one of the worst films of 2016.  The first trailer was atrocious.  This was a sequel to one of the worst horror films of the last few years.  It was just a way to sell a few more Ouija boards from Parker Brothers.  And what happened?  They gave us compelling characters in an engaging and entertaining story and shocked the heck out of me.  As of this day, I cannot believe that Ouija: Origin of Evil was good, let alone on the possible list for my best movies of the year.  This was insanity and a runaway winner for the Gomer!

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Best Documentaries of 2016

docs

 

I do not usually get to see a lot of documentaries.  In fact, I have only seen a handful of documentaries this year.  In fact, over the last 48 hours, I beefed up the resume of docs seen thanks to Netflix, iTunes, Hulu and YouTube.

I do wish I could see more, but the only documentaries that tend to come to the theaters near me are the ones like Hillary’s Evil World and How She Plans to Destroy It.  Okay, that wasn’t the actually title of that film, but I did not see it.  Those types of political hack jobs by people like Dinesh D’Souza do not interest me.  I want to see a real documentarian.

I have a Top Ten list for Documentaries that I have seen in 2016.

#10.  Team Foxcatcher.  This was the real life story behind the film Foxcatcher.  The story of millionaire John E. DuPont and his building of a wrestling group he called Foxcatcher and the tragic end to the story.

#9.  Amanda Knox.  This was the amazing story of an American living in Italy who gets blamed, arrested and convicted of the brutal murder of her roommate.  However, the evidence is not compelling and “Foxy Knoxy” has to go through the Italian court system for years.

#8.  Michael Moore in Trumpland.  This was an interesting evening with filmmaker Michael Moore as he held a show in the heart of “Trump country” trying to convince Trump supporters that Hillary Clinton was the better choice.

#7.  Audrie & Daisy.  This documentary tells the stories of two underage females who had been sexually assaulted and how the community and the schools reacted to the girls.  This was very emotional and the sheriff from Maryville dealing with Daisy’s assault is one of the worst figures I have seen on film this year.

#6.  Beatles: Eight Days a Week. Ron Howard’s love letter to the tour of the Beatles across the USA.  There was very little conflict within this documentary, but the music is always great.

#5.  Gleason.  This was the sad but inspirational story of former NFL football player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed with ALS.  Watching the disease slowly eat away at Steve and seeing how it affected his wife and his father was heart breaking. And yet, he continues to fight to this day.

#4.  13th.  Director Ava DuVernay looks at racial strife and inequality in America and how the overcrowding in American prisons is one more symptom of the racial imbalance in our country.  The stats revealed in 13th are mind blowing.

#3.  The Resurrection of Jake the Snake.  A film focusing on former professional wrestler Jake Roberts and his attempt to get clean and sober.  Roberts got involved with Dallas Page and his DDP Yoga and credits that with saving his life.

#2.  Weiner.  This documentary followed around Anthony Weiner, former congressman who resigned in disgrace after he had sexted pictures of his penis to women.  Weiner decided to try to run for Mayor of New York, and this documentary followed him through that ill-fated campaign as the scandal returned.

#1.  Tickled.  This is easily the best documentary I saw this year, and it will be making my top movies list, somewhere.  Who thought that a fluff story for a New Zealand news program involving “competitive tickling” would devolve into a dark and sordid tale of harassment and online threats and cyberbullying?  There are things that happen in this film that you can not believe.

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Spider-man 3 Disappointment of 2016

Disappointment

There are several disappointments from this year.  A disappointment does not have to be a terrible movie… just one that should have been so much better.

Previous “winners” of this award included In the Heart of the Sea, Amazing Spider-man 2, After Earth, Dark Knight Rises, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

Here are the runners-up to this year’s Spider-Man 3 Award.

#10.  Batman: Killing Joke.  I liked this film overall, but the first half was just terrible.  They added material in order to stretch the film out longer, but what they added… ugh.  It was very disappointing.

#9.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I went into this looking forward to a new entry in the Harry Potter-universe and I came out thinking how “eh” this could be.  Fantastic Beasts was okay, but nowhere near worthy of the Potter world.

#8.  Sausage Party.  It had its share of laughs, but there are only so many “f-words” and sex jokes that you can handle.  And it may have had some laughs, but it was not enough to really overcome the disappointments of the movie.

#7.  The Accountant.  A lot of people liked this film, but to me, it was pretty dull and needed to be considerably better. I was really looking forward to this film and found it a serious disappointment.

#6.  Assassin’s Creed.  I was not looking forward to this, but there were tons of people who had placed their hopes that this would finally be the movie to be made from an existing video game and be good.  It is one of the worst films of the year.

#5.  X-Men: Apocalypse.  Quite a step back from Days of Future Past.  Apocalypse was a waste of what should have been an epic villain.  The 4 Horsemen was tossed away.  The finale was not what it should have been.

#4.  The BFG.  Steven Spielberg creating a film from a property of Roald Dahl.  How could this be a miss?  You make it dull and boring.

#3.  Hail Caeser.  I had looked forward to this film for awhile.  The new Coen Brothers film was not as funny as I had hoped, and was pretty dull.

#2.  Independence Day: Resurgence.  How can you be disappointed with the sequel of one of the great summer action movies of all time?  You make a overall rotten film that spoils what you remember of the original.

And the “winner” of the Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year is….

#1.  Batman v. Superman

This was the easy choice.  Batman v. Superman should have been the greatest super hero film of all time.  It had the first appearance together of the two biggest icons of the super hero world as well as the first arrival of Wonder Woman.  And yet, there was so much wrong with the film.  From Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor to “Martha!”, B v S was the biggest disappointment of the year.

Here’s hoping that 2017 does not see The Justice League on this list.

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Best and Worst Horror Movies 2016

Horror

Whereas 2015 was the year of the “spy” movie, I do not think there is any doubt that 2016 is the year of the Horror movie.  The horror genre had a fantastic year, with multiple movies that told interesting stories with great characters.  There was a lot of originality in a genre that was in desperate need of it.  The best horror movies avoided the nonsensical jump scare and concentrated on scaring us in other ways.

Not that there still weren’t bad movies in the horror genre.  Of course there was, but this year just seemed to make fewer bad films and much better good ones.

Now, let me state this.  There are two movies that could be considered horror movies.  I have seen others list these as horror, but I am going to disqualify them from the list and just mention them here.  These two films are 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Shallows.  I really enjoyed both of these (10 Cloverfield Lane for sure will be making the big list), but they are borderline horror movie.  And with as many great one available this year, I am taking them out of the running.

What follows is the top ten list of horror movies this year.

Top Ten Best

Honorable MentionThe Witch ( I didn’t like this as much as many others did), and The Forest. 

#10.  The Boy.  This one I thought was going to be horrible, but turned out to be entertaining enough for what it was.  I enjoyed Lauren Cohen’s performance.

#9.  Blair Witch.  The surprise sequel announced at Comic Con was good, but too familiar.  Still, this was loads better than the previous Blair Witch sequel and had many frighteningly chilling moments.  I also relaly liked the time loop idea that I wished they had done more with.

#8.  I Am Not A Serial Killer.    Saw this recently on Netflix and it was a deceptively fun performance from Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.  A monster movie and a love story all combined into one.

#7.  The Autopsy of Jane Doe.  Another one I just saw recently, I really enjoyed this. It felt like a mystery story and a procedural as well as a tense horror story.  This had a great set up and basically became a haunted house in a morgue situation.  Brian Cox was great as well.

#6.  Green Room.  Great work from Patrick Stewart and the dearly departed Anton Yelchin.  Green Room was hard to watch, made you squirm, and filled you with emotion as these characters got picked off one after another.  It was a slasher film in a year without too many.  It also show us how much of a tragic loss it was with the accidental death of Yelchin this year.

#5.  Conjuring 2.  The return of the Warrens in another story of demonic possession.  This time the Warrens travel to England to deal with a little girl who may or may not be faking this possession.  This was an enjoyable sequel with one of the best uses of music of the year as Ed Warren sang Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”  I loved that scene.

#4.  Ouija: Origin of Evil.  There was no way this was going to be good.  It had a horrible trailer and was a sequel to a horrible movie.  And yet, this was great!  They focused on the characters and there were several really good performances.  Amazing.

#3.  Hush.  Another Netflix film, Hush was the home invasion film taken to a new level. It turned out to be almost a one-on-one battle for survival.  Very tense and suspenseful.

#2.  Lights Out.  A great concept for a horror movie and some really scary scenes.  Plus more development on character than on just jump scares.  Sure, there are a few plot holes in the story, but they can be excused because you are so invested in the characters.  Lights Out was an exceptional film.

And the winner of the Best Horror Movie Award for 2016 is...

#1.  Don’t Breathe.  This was another one that I thought was not going to be good.  I was not a fan of the trailer and I wondered how we could root for these kids who are trying to rip off this blind guy.  However, once I saw the film, all of those worries went away.  There were times when I literally did not want to breathe myself.  So intense.  So frightening.  This was so well done, so well written and acted that it was more than just a great horror movie.  It was a great movie.  And Steven Lang was just awesome.

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However…. every horror movie wasn’t great this year.  We had our share of failures too.  So here is the top 5 worst horror movies.

Top 5 Worst

Dishonorable mentionNeon Demon, The Disappointments Room

#5.  The Purge:  Election Year.  I am ready for the Purge movies to be over.  This even had LOST’s Elizabeth Mitchell and couldn’t be saved.

#4.  Incarnate.  Dreams.  Plus a good effort by Aaron Eckhart.  He really deserved better.  Of course, there was Mark Henry.  WWE produced.  Not good.

#3.  The Darkness.  Honestly, I don’t remember anything about this except for the movie poster with the prints on the bed.  (After a quick Google search)-oh yeah, this is Kevin Bacon and the kid who plays Bruce Wayne on Gotham.  That kid was in Incarnate too.  He really played the same character in both.   Bad horror year for him.

#2.  The Other Side of the Door.  This one has so many stupid things going on that it even gives horror movies a bad name.  Just don’t open the door.

#1.  Shut In.  Probably the stupidest killer ever.  This was a film that had Golden Globe nominated actor Jacob Tremblay and they had him be mute and deaf.  He had zero lines!  There were so many things that you had to accept to believe this movie was even possible.  What are Naomi Watts and Oliver Platt doing in this?  It had 0% on Rotten Tomatoes until recently.  It is now at 3% with one fresh review.

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The John Carter Memorial Award 2016

John Carter

It is time, once again, to give out the John Carter Memorial Award.  This award is given every year to the biggest flop of the year.

A flop can be a fun movie.  It can be an entertaining movie.  However, it is one that fails to connect with the public and, because of that, fails to make any money or to reach expectations for said movie.

Now, these days, films are bolstered by their overseas numbers.  Many of these films in the running for The John Carter Memorial Award made a healthy chunk of their money back with overseas ticket sales.  Something like Warcraft could have been considered in this category except it had such a huge opening in China.

There are those films that opened poorly, but few people expected huge numbers from.  Films such as Rules Don’t Apply, Morgan, The Brothers Grimsby all had low low opening weeks (Rules Don’t Apply was the 6th worst ever in 2000 or more screens), but these aren’t massive blockbusters.

The BFG could have claimed this award, but, again, it has gained second life overseas as it was released in October and is still gathering money from other countries.  Whereas the USA rejected the film, the world seems to understand it more.

Previous “winners” John Carter (2012), The Lone Ranger (2013), A Million Ways to Die in the West and Expendables 3 (2014), and 2015’s trio of winners, Jem and the Holograms, Pan and Rock the Casbah.

So we are down to the final choices fro 2016.  The three runners-up and the “winner” of the John Carter Memorial Award.

  • 2016 Runners-UpGhostbusters, Gods of Egypt, The Divergent Series: Allegiant

The 2016 John Carter Memorial Award goes to….

Alice Through the Looking Glass.

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The first Alice in Wonderland movie surpassed $1 Billion dollars.  This film only made $77 million domestically.  It made some money back overseas, but the expectation of this film reaching the monetary levels of the original was gone very quickly.  It made $700 million less than its predecessor.  Amazing.  And well deserving of the John Carter Memorial Award.

The EYG Stan Lee Movie Cameo Award-2016

Stan Lee

Yes, it is the time to present the 2016 EYG Stan Lee Movie Cameo Award.  This prestigious award has been given in the past to such luminaries as  John Cena, Stan Lee, Chris Evans, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman.  Who will join this list as this year’s winner?  Let’s see, shall we?

And of course…SPOILERS!!!!

#10.  Justin Bieber (Zoolander 2).  One of the only things worth the time in Zoolander 2 and it was spoiled in the trailers.  Bieber is killed at the beginning of the film, giving the iconic Zoolander look.  That started off one of the worst films of the year.

#9.  Ben Affleck (Suicide Squad).  Ben Affleck’s Batman was one of the best parts of B v S this year, so he returned in cameo as Batman in Suicide Squad.  However, the best part of the cameo came when Bruce Wayne showed up to face off with Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller in the post credit scene.  It indicated what could be happening in the DCEU’s future.

#8.  Johnny Depp (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them & Yoga Hosers).  Depp showed up at the end of the film as Grindelwald.  He will probably be in a larger role later. If you add the cameo Depp had in Yoga Hosers as his reoccurring character, Guy Lapointe, then Johnny Depp may have rediscovered his niche.

#7.  Hugh Jackman (X-Men: Apocalypse).  One more turn as Logan, we see the iconic moment when Logan breaks free from the Weapon X program.  We also see a sample of his blood which might be leading directly into next year’s Logan.

#6.  Bill Murray (Ghostbusters).  None of the cameos in the new Ghostbusters were great.  They all seemed to pull the viewer out of the movie and send them back to a happier time, when Ghostbusters was a great movie instead of a so-so one.  Bill Murray’s charatcer was a skeptic of the new Ghostbusters and that made it interesting if nothing else.

#5.  Justin Timberlake (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping).  There were a ton of cameos in Popstar, but the Timberlake cameo as a chef was the best.  Justin Timberlake has shown a willingness to be funny, even if he is the butt of the jokes.

#4.  Melissa McCarthy (Central Intelligence).  McCarthy showed up at the end of the film as an old flame of the Rock.  She was unexpected but funny addition to a decent buddy “cop” film.

#3.  C3PO & R2D2 (Rogue One).  They have been in every Star Wars movie to date, and it was just a matter of time before they reared their droid heads in Rogue One.  Their cameo set up that they would be needed soon and was a good bit of fan service for two of the most popular characters in the franchise.

#2.  Chris Hemsworth (Dr. Strange).  Seeing Thor in one of the post credit scenes with Dr. Strange did two things.  One, it reminded us all about Thor and his problems with Odin and his brother Loki.  And Two, it placed Dr. Strange squarely in the middle of the MCU.  The Dr. Strange movie was fairly isolated from the MCU, but this dropped our soon to be Sorcerer Supreme smack dab in the middle of what is to come.

And our winner of the EYG Stan Lee Movie Cameo of the Year is………. our first time repeat winner of the award…. and who would be better to be the first two-time winner than the man whom the award is named after?

#1. Stan Lee (Deadpool).  This is arguably the greatest Stan Lee cameo of all time. Stan Lee as a disc jockey at a strip club?  Perfect!

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Congrats to Stan for his the second victory in this category.  You are clearly the King of the Cameo!  (Stan Lee has appeared on this list every year since we started giving the award).

 

“I See Kid Actors” Award-2016

Kid Actor

The year 2016 actually saw quite an upswing in young children acting in both TV and movies, so this category is filled with a bright future for the entertainment community.

Here are your runners-up and the winner of the “I See Kid Actors” Award for 2016.

Runners-Up

Image result for boys from stranger things#6.  The Boys from Stranger Things.  Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Metarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp.  These four young boys are one of the major reasons why Strangers Things was such an amazing hit.  They boys were so relatable that we all fell in love with them immediately and cared what would happen to them.

 

Image result for lulu ouija#5.  Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil).  She was really creepy in this surprise sequel.  This movie works in part because of the great performance by this young girl.  Who would have guessed it?  The trailer for this film looked horrendous and yet Ouija was all kinds of entertaining.

 

Image result for Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street)#4.  Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street).  Ferdia had to carry this film and he did a brilliant job of it.  This was Ferdia’s film, including the singing and Sing Street succeeded beyond all wish.  Not only did he carry Sing Street, but it was his film debut.  He has a bright future in the entertainment business.

 

Image result for Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys)#3.  Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys).  Rice was one of the best parts about The Nice Guys and she held her own opposite Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.  That is asking a lot of a young actress.  And we will be seeing more of her because she has the role of Betty Brant in the upcoming Spider-man: Homecoming film.

 

Image result for neel sethi jungle book#2.  Neel Sethi (Jungle Book).  This performance is all the more impressive when you realize that the boy has no one to act off of.  Everything is CGI here.  I mean…everything.  And yet, Sethi is wonderful as the lost boy Mowgli.  Jungle Book is not as successful as it was without the performance of Neel Sethi.

 

And the winner of the “I See Kid Actors” Award for 2016 is….

 

Image result for millie bobby brown stranger things#1.  Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things).  Once I saw the performance of Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, I knew who was winning this award.  Eleven was a brilliant performance.  She was haunted by a past and confused by a world she did not know.  Eleven was such an anchor to Stranger Things that this role had to work.  And Millie Bobby Brown showed that she could do anything.

Worst TV

Shows I stopped watchingThese may not be bad, but they were shows that I began to watch but for whatever reason, I just let slip off.

#4.  American Horror Story: Hotel (FX).  Fell behind this show and just did not feel the need to catch up.  I did love the episode with the ghosts of the serial killers though.

#3.  Fear the Walking Dead (AMC).  A weaker version of the parent show.  Just could not get into the new characters.

#2.  Secrets and Lies (ABC).  I watched season one, and I started on season two, but it was on Sunday night and there were more interesting shows on at that same time.  I never caught back up on Hulu or other streaming services.  Plus, the character of Detective Cornell was the most annoying character on TV.

#1.  Grimm (NBC).  I really enjoyed Grimm for several years, but I got annoyed by its repetitive plots and twists.  Each season was basically the same, just with a different character.  I still watched because I liked Monroe and Nick, but it got to the point where I just did not care any more.

 

Worst StorylineWho’s going to die? (Agents of SHIELD).  This was very anti-climatic since the answer was Lincoln and the world as a whole said, Ok.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that it wasn’t Coulson or May or Mac.  It was the choice of least impact.  Runner-up: Flashpoint (Flash)

Worst Return:  Fish Mooney (Gotham).  Probably the only misstep Gotham made this year was bringing back Fish Mooney.  And they even did that reasonably well.

Worst Season Finale:  The Walking Dead (AMC).  Sure it created a great cliffhanger that paid off in the season opener, but the tease of the episode was uncalled for.  We did not see Negan until the very end and by that time, who cared?  It almost drove the viewers away, and it could be part of the reason why The Walking Dead has been hemorrhaging viewers since.

Worst character design:  Diamondback (Luke Cage).  See….

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Biggest Mistake:  ABC canceling Agent Carter for Conviction.  Hayley Atwell was doing just fine as our favorite secret agent in the 1940s era USA until ABC pulled the plug after season 2.  Then they cast Atwell in a series that lasted only a handful of episodes.  Big mistake!

Biggest Insult to a Character:  Barb (Stranger Things). Hey, didn’t Barb get stuck in the Upside Down world too?  Ah, who cares…we got Will back.  To be fair, we did see the dead body of Barb in the other dimension, but it was the “so what” feel that everyone had in the real world that was insulting to the character.

Bad Trend:  General Hospital (ABC). I have watched GH for decades, but this season, I found myself skipping weeks at a time, not caring too much about what was happening.  The writing was pretty poor this year and characters were doing things I hated.  Even the death of Morgan could not get me back full time.  I hope this trend can correct itself soon or maybe the days of network soaps might be ending.

I Miss:  Top Ten Show (Collider).  John Rocha and Matt Knost would come up with a topic and would create their own top ten list of movies and then they would debate what the show’s top ten list would look like.  I miss this show that I would watch every Wednesday on YouTube.  Come on Collider…get this show back!!!

2016 Best Shows that I Don’t Watch

Better Call Saul (AMC)

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I loved Breaking Bad, but I have never gotten into Saul’s solo prequel series.  Maybe one day I’ll binge it like I did Breaking Bad.

This is Us (NBC)

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Apparently the pilot of this was just remarkable.  I was not interested.  Sterling K. Brown is amazing though.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

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This is probably the biggest hole in my TV viewing, but I feel like I am too far behind to catch up.  Maybe one day….

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Veep (HBO).  Julia Louis-Dreyfus is always winning awards for this show, but since I do not get HBO, I have to go out of my way to see it and that makes it a time commitment that I just do not have.

 

 

 

Atlanta (FX)

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Collider’s TV Talk crew loved Atlanta, but I have not made time to see this either.  TV Talk has recommended other series before so maybe this will have to be a binge.

 

Best TV-Streaming

The third and final new category to divide the TV shows into is the Streaming category.  This includes all streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime as well as the pay television networks such as HBO and Showtime.

Best Shows

Honorable Mention:  Black Mirror (Netflix), Edge and Christian’s Show that Reeks of Awesomeness (WWE)

#10.  The O.A. (Netflix)  This was just released last weekend and I binged it on late Saturday and Sunday.  I really enjoyed this series about a girl who returned after being missing for years but she was now able to see.  I especially liked the ending, which I know caused a lot of uproar in the online community.  I hope the series does not get a second season because I love the way the show ended with an ambiguous conclusion.

#9.  11/22/63 (Hulu).  Based on the Steven King novel, 11/22/63 was the story of James Franco going back in time to try and prevent the assassination of JFK.  Instead of releasing this all at once, Hulu released one episode a week just like normal television outlets.  Every Monday night I looked forward to the next chapter in the saga.

#8.  Orange is the New Black (Netflix).  Orange had another solid season, but there is only so much you can do by this point.  The accidental death of Poussey was shocking and traumatic. but I really disliked the season ending cliffhanger because it did not make sense with the rest of the narrative.

#7.  The Night Of (HBO).  Great crime drama that not only explored the world of racial stereotyping, but also looked at what the prison system can do to an innocent man.  Greta performances from both John Turturro and Riz Ahmed made The Night Of appointment TV.

#6.  The Tick (Amazon Prime).  This is just one episode that Amazon allowed you to vote on to decide whether or not it should go to series.  This episode was great.  It looked at the Tick in a different light, particularly Arthur who was darker and more troubled.  The Tick will be back for a full series order and I cannot wait.

#5.  House of Cards (Netflix).  The trouble between Frank and Claire highlighted this season as they tried desperately to get Claire as his running mate for the upcoming election.  The Underwoods are better together than apart and so is House of Cards.

#4.  Westworld (HBO).  Cowboys and robots.  How can you go wrong?  Westworld is based on a 1970s movie of the same name and it had amazing performances and a central mystery of exactly what was going on that engaged the viewer.  We have to wait until 2018 for season two of Westworld and that is truly a crime.

#3.  Luke Cage (Netflix).  Sweet Christmas!  Luke Cage came front and center in his own Netflix series based in Harlem.  This was funny, exciting, dramatic and full of great music and performances for the ages.  Luke Cage continued the trend of sensational Marvel series on Netflix.

#2.  Daredevil (Netflix).  Speaking of great Netflix Marvel series, the original series returned this year for season two and only upped its game.  Daredevil brought us the best ever cinematic Punisher and the best ever cinematic Elektra.  Daredevil and Frank Castle in the graveyard is one of the best episodes of TV of the year.

#1. Stranger Things (Netflix).  Didn’t see this coming.  This eight episode series dropped this year and became a huge pop culture phenomenon.  Set in the 1980s, Stranger Things touch on our nostalgia as well as creeped us out.  The great cast of young actors engaged us and we fell in love with them.  Millie Bobby Brown was one of the best young actors we have seen in a long time.  And the central mysteries and mythology of the show were some of the best since LOST.  It felt like the X-Files, ET, The Goonies, Alien, Silent Hill, Akira, John Carpenter all mashed into one.  I loved Stranger Things.

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Best Actor-Streaming

#5.  Charlie Cox (Daredevil)

#4.  Mike Colter (Luke Cage)

#3.  Riz Ahmed (The Night Of)

#2.  Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

#1.  John Turturro (The Night Of)

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Best Actress- Streaming

#5.  Sarah Gadon (11/22/63)

#4.  Thandie Newton (Westworld)

#3.  Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

#2.  Robin Wright (House of Cards)

#1.  Winona Ryder (Stranger Things)

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Best Supporting Actor- Streaming

#5.  Griffin Newman (The Tick)

#4.  Ed Harris (Westworld)

#3.  Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)

#2.  Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)

#1. Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)

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Best Supporting Actress- Streaming

#5.  Simone Missick (Luke Cage)

#4.  Blair Brown (Orange is the New Black)

#3.  Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black)

#2.  Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)

#1.  Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)

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2016-TV Cable

The second of the new categories for 2016 in television is cable.  The onslaught of cable TV has been only increasing each year as the number of cable TV networks have increased.  Here are the top ten shows from 2016 on cable.

Top Shows

#10.  Dead of Summer (Freeform).  This show from creators of LOST started really strong, starring LOST alum Elizabeth Mitchell, but it got silly as the season progressed.  I lost interest about episode 8, but I did wind up finishing up.  The horror genre had a great year in 2016, and this was a television example of that.

#9.  Orphan Black (BBC America).  I will admit to not having finished season 4 of Orphan Black.  It is something that I need to get done, but it is still worth inclusion on this list, if not only for Tatiana Maslany.

#8.  OJ: Made in America (ESPN).  From the 30 on 30 series, this five part documentary was remarkably engaging.  It did not just focus on OJ Simpson, but the way the country was- with race relations and celebrating celebrity.  One of the best pieces ESPN ever did.

#7.  Preacher (AMC).  Based on a comic book, Preacher is another one that took some time to gather itself.  However, by the finale, Preacher was cooking with gas.  The whole Heaven-Hell aspect of the show is something we have never seen before and Cassidy is the best vampire currently on TV.

#6.  Mr. Robot (USA).  This is easily the show that is too smart for me.  Half the time I am not sure what is happening on Mr. Robot, but I am always entertained.  The “sitcom” episode of Mr. Robot is one of the year’s best episodes and Rami Malek is a gem.

#5.  Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America).  One of the most recent additions to the list, Dirk Gently was a book written by Douglas Adams and adapted for television by Max Landis.  It was weird and funny and worth every second.  Great chemistry with the show’s stars (Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood), who might be the best buddies of the year.  Plus, the moment when Gordon arrives and Dirk and Todd expect explanations only to discover that Gordon doesn’t know what is going on either is one of my favorite TV moments of the year.  I laughed loudly at that.

#4.  The Walking Dead (AMC).  The show that normally had ruled this category has slipped a little bit.  The big cliffhanger reveal could not mask the fact that the show has had some pretty poor episodes over the last couple of seasons.  The Walking Dead is still appointment TV, though and with the best villain of the year, Negan, anything could happen.

#3.  American Horror Story: Roanoke (FX).  After AHS: Hotel, I felt that AHS might be finally slipping.  I was not a fan of Hotel, so I approached the new, “mysterious” AHS with trepidation.  And they just knocked it out of the park.  I loved everything about Roanoke.  The faux reality show set up with actors recreating the parts to the “real” people giving commentary were all fabulous.  And then, the second part of the season was even better as they returned to the spot of the horror from “My Roanoke Nightmare” for even more frights.  Awesome job from Ryan Murphy and crew.

#2.  Bates Motel (A & E).  Just a fabulous season as Norman Bates creeps closer to the persona of the Psycho killer that we knew was coming.  We see how Norma Bates dies this season in one of the biggest surprises there was.  Making it all the more tragic was the amazing relationship the show created with Norma and Sheriff Romano.  Norma and Alex stole my heart in their all-too-few scenes together.  Seeing Alex holding the dead body of Norma was heart wrenching, and makes me want him to get Norman.  Of course, he probably won’t do that.  Bates Motel will be entering its final season this year and it should be epic.

Image result for people vs oj#1.  American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ (FX).  On a normal year, Bates Motel would have taken this place easily.  However, we had one of the greatest 10-episode series ever in The People vs. OJ.  I could not believe how engaging this show was, considering we all knew the outcome.  The world watched this trial develop in real time during the 1990s, so you wouldn’t think a scripted show about that same trial would be successful at all.  Yet, it was magnificent.  Each role was perfectly cast and deserve the awards that have been heaped upon it.  This might have been the overall number one show of the year for me.

 

Best Actor- Cable

#5.  Dominic Cooper (Preacher)

#4.  Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)

#3.  Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)

#2.  Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)

#1.  Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ)

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Best Actress- Cable

#5.  Lily Rabe (American Horror Story: Roanoke)

#4.  Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead)

#3.  Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

#2.  Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)

#1.  Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ)

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Best Supporting Actor- Cable

#5.  Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead)

#4.  Joseph Gilgan (Preacher)

#3.  Christian Slater (Mr. Robot)

#2.  Nester Carbonell (Bates Motel)

#1. Sterling K. Brown (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ)

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Best Supporting Actress- Cable

#5.  Lauren Cohen (The Walking Dead)

#4.  Ruth Negga (Preacher)

#3.  Adina Porter (American Horror Story: Roanoke)

#2.  Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Roanoke)

#1.  Carly Chaikin (Mr. Robot)

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Best TV- Network

TV

I split the television categories into three separate sections.  They would be Network, Cable and Streaming/HBO/Showtime.  It is amazing that there are so many great TV shows out there now a days that I have to categorize them.  It was just a few years ago (after LOST went off the air) that I thought I had nothing to watch.

First category to cover will be Network TV.  This will include ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW shows.

First up:  TV Shows

#10.  Scandal (ABC).  This one has been higher up in past years, but it has been damaged for me.  Ever since the “Olivia Pope was kidnapped” story line, I have found Scandal to be slipping.   I still watch it every week though, so I haven’t given up on this Thursday night staple.

#9.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS).  Another long time show that has seen better days.  I do like the advancement of the three main couples on the show, and it is still a funny show.  Sheldon Cooper has probably changed the most of any main character on a TV show.

#8.  Flash (CW).  The Flash has been up and down for me.  I go through time when I think the show is really great and other times when it feels like the same old stuff.  This year’s midseason finale was very strong though so hopefully the second half of this season will be solid. The Flash has great characters and entertaining actors.  The whole “Flashpoint” part of this show felt rushed and weak.  I have enjoyed the addition of Tom Felton.

#7.  Speechless (ABC).  This one was unexpected.  A comedy about a boy in a wheelchair who has cerebral palsy?   Who thought that would work?  But it is really funny.  They took it to the only reasonable level… making these characters anything but the typical lovable characters we see on TV.  These characters have edges to them.  And Minnie Driver is just fantastic!  Kudos to Micah Fowler as well.  He is really good in this show.

#6.  Agent Carter (ABC).  Sadly, this looks to be the final season of this show.  Agent Carter was a great show with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as an early age agent and the scene stealing star Jarvis (James D’Arcy).  We also got Madame Masque in this season!  What happened on Agent Carter has also affected the world of Agents of SHIELD.

#5.  The X-Files (FOX).  Mulder and Scully returned for some fun episodes and some serious nostalgia.  The episodes were uneven, but it was great just to see Mulder and Scully back together again.  And the episode “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” was classic X-Files fun.

#4.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC).  This show recovered from a weaker season two to recapture some of the magic from the first amazing season.  It did it on the back of a serious surprise.  SPOILER… Wes was the dead body under the sheet.  Wes?  Who saw that coming?

#3.  Designated Survivor (ABC).  The highest new series on the network list, Designated Survivor brought Kiefer Sutherland back to TV and put him in the White House.  It also threw a ton of behind the scenes Machiavellian tricks and machinations.  Is it kind of hard to believe?  Sure, but it is always exciting.  And the midseason finale?   I can’t wait for this one to come back.

#2.  Agents of SHIELD (ABC).  This one had Ghost Rider!  That’s right…Robbie Reyes was a regular on Agents of SHIELD.  His scenes with Daisy were great and these two had chemistry off the charts (unlike the lack of chemistry Daisy had with Lincoln).  The end of last season had knocked this show down a bit, but it returned strong this year.  Plus, we got a “Slingshot” online mini-series.

Image result for gotham season three mad hatter#1. Gotham (FOX).  Yes, I typed that.  I know… I can’t believe it either.  Season one of Gotham was pretty bad.  Season two got better early, but slipped into the realm of camp during the second half.  I was not thinking much about Gotham.  Then this season started and we were introduced to Jervis Tetch (aka The Mad Hatter) and the season was off to a sprint.  And it just got better each week.  Each story was exciting and must see.  Everything was working.  I just hope it can maintain this pace in the second half of the season.

Best Actor

#5.  Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)

#4.  David Duchovny (X-Files)

#3.  Grant Gustin (Flash)

#2.  Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor)

#1.  Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD)

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Best Actress

#5.  Gillian Anderson (X-Files)

#4.  Felicity Huffman (American Crime)

#3. Hayley Atwell (Agent Cooper)

#2.  Minnie Driver (Speechless)

#1.  Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder)

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Best Supporting Actress

#5.  Candice Patten (Flash)

#4.  Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)

#3.  Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)

#2.  Bellamy Young (Scandal)

#1.  Chloe Bennet (Agents of SHIELD)

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Best Supporting Actor

#5.  Jack Falahee (How to Get Away With Murder)

#4.  James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)

#3.  Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

#2.  Gabriel Luna (Agents of SHIELD)

#1.  (TIE) Cory Michael Smith and Benedict Samuel

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Best and Worst Sci-Fi Movies

Best Sci Fi

We’ve had  better years in the past in science fiction than in 2016.  Still, we have our first official movie award for 2016.  That is the Best and Worst Science Fiction Movie of the Year.

Best

Arrival.

Arrival is a true science fiction film.  It is smart, well-acted, well-written and full of drama.  Amy Adams is magnificent and Jeremy Renner is great as well.  Arrival is the best Sci-Fi movie of the year!

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Runners-Up

#2.  10 Cloverfield Lane–  This one was actually close, because this is such a great movie.  John Goodman is exceptional in this surprise sequel.

#3.  Star Trek Beyond.  A great sequel for the Star Trek series.  This is the third strong film in the new world of Star Trek.

#4.  Midnight Special.  It was a bit of a familiar story, but great performances elevated this.

#5.  Nerve.  One of the surprises of the year.  I enjoyed this online game more than I ever thought I might.

Worst

Independence Day: Resurgence

How do you follow up one of the classic movies of the 1980s?  With garbage, stupidity and bad, bad writing.  The characters from the original were jokes, there was no sign of Will Smith (I wonder why…) and the new characters were waste of time.  A terrible movie.

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Runners-Up

#2.  5th Wave.  One of the YA adaptions that were terrible.  An alien invasion?  Yawn.

#3.  Max Steel.  a movie based on a toy?  I didn’t know that when I saw it.  It was just bad.

#4.  Allegiant.  This film is so bad that they decided to take the conclusion of this series and make it a TV show with new actors.  Hm.

#5. Morgan.  Bio-engineered girl who kills people.  Oh well.

Best and Worst of WWE

wwe

This year has been an up and down year for my favorite wrestling company.  They did  a brand split, Smackdown went live, but I found it harder to cheer for very many performers.  Gone are my favorites such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan (in ring, at least), and some of my other favorites such as Cesaro and Sami Zayn seem to get passed over for other, less interesting wrestlers.  I will admit to being bored by much of RAW lately.

Still, there are many positives out there as well.  And I am going to hit on them here.

Related imageWrestler of the Year:  AJ Styles AJ Styles arrived at the Royal Rumble this year and went into a feud with Chris Jericho.  From there, he tore down the house with John Cena and became one of the few to win a feud with Cena.  He is the WWE Champion on Smackdown Live and should be considered one of the best performers in the world.  Runners Up:  Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn

Image result for new day wweTag Team of the Year:  New DayThe combination of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods held onto the WWE World tag Team Championship for most of the year.  They set a record for holding the title for over 483 days before losing the title at Roadblock.  The New Day was consistently entertaining and funny and worked as both a heel team and a face team.  They had been given a losing gimmick, but they made it amazing.  Runners-Up:  The Revival, American Alpha, DIY, Cesaro and Sheamus

Image result for charlotte wweWoman of the Year:  Charlotte.   Charlotte Flair won the RAW Women’s Championship four times this year.  She main evented a PPV.  She and Sasha Banks were in a Hell in the Cell.  Charlotte and Sasha switched places multiple times this year and either one could have been the Woman of the Year,  Charlotte ended up on top and so she gets the duke.  Runners-Up:  Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka, Becky Lynch. 

Misused Superstar of the Year:  Sami ZaynSami Zayn has many match of the year matches yet creative seems to not have much for the talented star to do.  I will never understand why they let someone like this sit on the back burner when he could be a main event star.  I have a slight hope since they have been doing something with Sami and Braun Strowman but I am still afraid that that program is more for Braun than for Sami.  Runners-Up:  Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper

Image result for cwc wweWrestling Show of the Year:  CWCThe Cruiserweight Classic was must see TV for several months on the WWE Network.  The best 32 Cruiserweights in the world participated in a tournament to crown the first ever CWC Tournament Champion.  Many performers from outside the WWE came and participated and we got several amazing matches.  Plus with Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan on commentary, it was clear that you had two men who loved the sport we ere seeing.  This is far and away the best show of 2016.  Runners-Up:  NXT, RAW, Smackdown Live

Feud of the Year:  John Cena vs. AJ StylesCena and Styles were great together and Cena did not wind up winning the feud.  The had several amazing matches.  Styles is a perfect opponent to put opposite Cena.  And this one may not be over yet.  Runners-Up:  Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan

Image result for kevin owens universal champMike Man of the Year:  Kevin OwensKevin Owens is great on the mike.  He is funny, but he is also a true heel.  He yells at the crowd.  He insults people.  He can talk them into the building.  His combination with Chris Jericho near the end of the year is just gold.  Runners-Up:  Paul Heyman, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, The Miz

Breakout Star of the Year:  Braun Strowman. He looks like a monster.  He is destroying people and he looks so much better than when he was stumbling around with the Wyatt Family.  He is one of the biggest successes from the brand split.  Strowman looks to be a huge mountain for anyone to climb.  Runners-Up:  Bayley, American Alpha, New Day, Cedric Alexander

Daniel Bryan Shining Through the Crap Award:  Sami ZaynJust for the fact that Sami Zayne has multiple match of the year contenders, Sami has been used poorly this year.  I just can’t believe they don’t do something with this stud while he is young and healthy.  Runners-Up:  Cesaro, Kevin Owens, The Miz, Dean Ambrose

Top 12 Matches of 2016

#12.  Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (Wrestlemania).  Charlotte came out on top, but Becky and Sasha were great as well. 

#11.  Zack Ryder wins Intercontinental Championship in Ladder Match at WrestlemaniaBiggest surprise of the year.  Who saw Zack Ryder win this match?  No one. But he did.  Of course, he lost it the next night, but that did not take away from the improbable victory on the grandest stage of them all.

#10.  Raw vs. Smackdown Live Survivor Series.  Smackdown Live came out on top, but this match went all over the place and was full of dramatic moments.  Especially Roman Reigns spearing Shane McMahon while Shane was doing the coast to coast.  Shane was legit hurt and the visual was astounding.

#9.  AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose TLC Match (TLC). A great Tables, Ladders and Chairs match that ended when James Ellsworth, Dean’s “little buddy”, caused Dean to lose the match. 

#8.  Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa (CWC). Tag team partners from NXT, “Johnny Wrestling” and Ciampa tore into each other in the Cruiserweight Classic in an amazing show of athleticism and drama.  At the end, the team survived and Johnny Gargano moved on.

#7.  American Alpha vs. The Revival (NXT: Takeover: The End).  The Revival is a team to watch.  They are like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.  These two are fantastic old school type wrestlers.  Put them in with the athletic American Alpha and magic happens.  The Revival won this match to regain their titles.

#6.  John Cena vs. AJ Styles (Money in the Bank)AJ’s first big win over Cena, but this was not clean.  In the end, his buddies in the Club helped him win.  Better was yet to come.

#5.  DIY vs. The Revival 2 out of 3 Falls (NXT Takeover: Toronto). This was a show stealer for sure.  Gargano and Ciampa finally got the victory over the Revival that had been eluding them.  It was such a feel good moment that you wonder why the main roster cannot put on matches like this on a regular basis.

#4.  Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover: Dallas)NXT is all over this top twelve list.  This was the best NXT match of he year.  This was Sami Zayn’s last NXT match against the debuting “King of Strong Style”.  You kind of new what was going to happen, but the pathway was spectacular. 

#3.  Cedric Alexander vs. Kota Ibushi (CWC)This was the best match in the CWC and it brought Cedric Alexander a WWE contract.  You knew this one was going to be fantastic and these two did not disappoint. 

#2.  John Cena vs. AJ Styles (SummerSlam).  Remember these two?  They were in an earlier match of the year candidate, but this one was a clean victory by AJ Styles.  He kept John Cena from tying the Ric Flair record.  I did not expect that.  This was a classic.

#1.  Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (Battleground).  This was billed as the final match between the two former friends (although it was not) and they always have a great match.  This was the best of their series.  Sami Zayn picked up the win.

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2016 Kick Ass Females

Woman Power in 2016 once again!  Here are our top ten female kick ass character from TV, Movies, comics etc.

Image result for tulip o'hare#10.  Tulip O’Hare (Preacher).  AMC’s new series based on the comic book featured the strong female presence of Tulip.  Played by Ruth Negga, Tulip showed her bad ass side through the entire season.

 

 

Image result for elektra#9.  Elektra (Daredevil).  Elektra joined in on season two of Daredevil on Netflix giving Matt Murdock a love interest and the Hand a dangerous weapon.  Sounds as if she will be back for Defenders.

 

 

Image result for captain marvel#8.  Captain Marvel.  Carol Danvers was one of the two major sides to the battle over the Inhuman Ulysses in Civil War II.  Captain Marvel believed that they should be using Ulysses‘ foresight powers to prevent crimes while Tony Stark did not like what was happening.  Carol became the authority.

 

Image result for jyn erso#7.  Jyn Erso (Rogue One).  Jyn Erso is the daughter of the man who built the Death Star and she led the mission to retrieve the plans for that very station.  Jyn was played by Felicity Jones.

 

Image result for lee from american horror story#6.  Lee (American Horror Story: Roanoke).  She was the lone survivor of the bloody reality show that took place at Roanoke, and she actually got away with the murder of her husband.  Lee was not a heroic character here, but there can be no doubt that she was a survivor.  Not even the Butcher could bring her down.

 

Image result for harley quinn robbie#5.  Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad).  One of the best parts of the Suicide Squad movie was Margo Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn.  She was so popular that Warner’s Brothers wanted to give her a movie of her own.  Gotham City Sirens is the reported title.

 

 

Image result for wonder woman gal gadot bvs smile#4.  Wonder Woman (Batman v. Superman).  Also probably the best thing about this movie, Gal Gadot eased a lot of concerns over her casting as Princess Diana.  She came into the final battle with Doomsday and looked like she was having a blast.  Plus, she was involved in one of the best trailers of the year.  Wonder Woman could be higher on this list next year.

 

Image result for moana#3.  Moana (Moana).  Disney’s newest “princess” is different than normal.  Moana stands up to The Rock and makes it clear that she fits with him.  Plus, she sings like an angel.  Moana brings the Polynesian culture to the big screen in an animated Disney film for the first time.

 

Image result for dolores westworld#2.  Deloris (Westworld).  We thought Deloris was just a “host” at the park, but she became so much more than that as the HBO show progressed through the season.  Yes, she was an artificial intelligence, but pop culture is filled with moments where AIs are trouble.  And Deloris is all the trouble that can be handled.

 

Image result for marvel mockingbird#1.  Mockingbird.  She was the star of the best comic of 2016.  Bobbi Morse was funny, intelligent, and full of energy.  Written by the wonderful Chelsea Cain, Mockingbird was the most original comic and the best female character of the year.  It is still a shame that Marvel couldn’t have stuck with her for a longer run.