Happy New Year, my friends! I was going to post this yesterday, but I thought it might be better to post it today. You’ll see.
So I’m about to say something that many people may find *slightly* controversial.
Contrary to popular belief, 2016 wasn’t a complete dumpster fire.
There, I said it. Was it a horrific year? Absolutely. Between being an election year, the worst mass shooting in the US (Orlando), and everything horrific in between, yeah, it’s been a bad year. But I physically cannot just kick 2016 out the door and not acknowledge a few things that went really well this year. Because there were some good things.
And I’m here to remind you of them. You may not agree with every one of them, but hopefully you can find something in this list to make you go, “Maybe 2016 really wasn’t Howard the Duck awful.”
1. While we lost a lot of truly amazing and inspiring celebrities, many more are still alive.
The two that hit me the hardest this year were Alan Rickman (for obvious reasons) and Gene Wilder, who was always just that crazy, slightly manic man with a heart of gold from movies like Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers. I think both of their deaths knocked me off my feet–I vividly remember my mom telling me about Rickman and I legit had to take a seat. I kept saying, “No, no, no, no.”
And those hurt–they always will. But remember, we still have a number of amazing celebrities who defined generations out there. Betty White is still out there, as are Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), Patrick Stewart, Mel Brooks (who directed three of those aforementioned Gene Wilder movies), Billy Crystal, Cary Elwes (drool), Emma Watson, and so many others. (I threw Emma on the list because of how she’s come to define our generation and you never know when something will happen. RIP Anton Yelchin.)
So as long as 2017 doesn’t take them away from us, I’ll be happy. So many of them have come to define my childhood, my adulthood, my humor (looking at you, Brooks), or just the woman I want to be (cheers to you, Smith and Watson, two of the greatest fighters I’ve had the pleasure to admire).
2. The Year of Hamilton
I know I came a little late to the party, not listening to the soundtrack for the first time until February 2016, but this has truly been the year that Lin-Manuel Miranda ruled. (Forget about King George III, make way for King Lin-Manuel.) I mean, when does that guy ever sleep? Between all the shows he performed in every week, writing the Hamiltome, working on the Hamilton Remixes, and even doing songs for Moana, I’m not sure how he finds time to just sit down!
But perhaps the best Hamilton moment of the year, for me anyway, was watching the Tony Awards suddenly become the Hamilton Awards. Watching James Corden use the Hamilton opener as the show opener, watching cast member after cast member come up to accept their awards, watching everyone just lose it when Lin-Manuel’s acceptance speech about “Love is love is love” went viral in the wake of the devastating Orlando shooting.
No one can ignore that this show gave us an imperfect hero to root for, an escape from the current ever-present politics (by giving us 200 year old politics to think about), and catchy yet heartfelt songs that we can’t stop singing. I adore this show (even if I haven’t seen it yet). It truly brings people together and its diversity makes it a brilliant message about America.
3. The Return of Harry Potter
Truly, after the last book came out almost 10 years ago (OH MY GOD, it’s been THAT LONG?!) I seriously thought Harry Potter’s popularity was waning, as much as I didn’t want it to. But flash forward to 2016 and what do we have?
A play! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
A new movie! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!
New illustrated versions of each of the books being reprinted and published!
Cynics will say that these are just marketing ploys to bring in more money (and they’re probably not entirely wrong, considering I believe Disney is doing the same thing with the Star Wars franchise), but it also feels like this huge part of my childhood hasn’t completely disappeared.
As Dumbledore famously says, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
4. The Return of Outlander
I’m a huge fan of the books and the show, so it was fantastic to see season 2 of this masterpiece come alive on the small screen. I was so excited to see Bri and Roger that I about bounced myself out of my seat every week, waiting to see if they were there. The episodes are raw and sometimes emotionally demanding (Faith), but it’s so so good.
And this was the year this show started to garner some critical praise in the form of a few awards. I don’t think they’ve won as many as they deserve. (Seriously, Catriona Balfe deserves something for that Faith episode.)
Now I’m dying in Droughtlander waiting for season 3. Voyager was my favorite book in this series, so the hurt is real.
Alright, we’ve covered great things of 2016, so what can we look forward to in 2017?
1. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST STARRING EMMA WATSON
I CANNOT AND WILL NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT FOR THIS ONE. MY FAVORITE STORY EVER WITH MY FAVORITE ACTRESS AS THE HEROINE? #IWillLoveYouForever #Hyperventilating
2. Book 3 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
Officially, it’s called A Court of Wings and Ruin and it’s set to release May 2, 2017. If you’re not looking forward to this book, you’re crazy. After book 2, I seriously have no idea what this could even possibly throw at us. But it’s going to be a doozy.
3. SEASON 3 OF OUTLANDER
AGAIN, CANNOT AND WILL NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT. #FraserReunion
See? With these things to warm our hearts, there’s no way 2017 can be an even worse dumpster fire, right? …Right? ….RIGHT?!