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Juliette's 2016 Year in Review

This year, I am taking the bold step of making up my own categories for my Year In Review. This
inevitably means they may be quite boring categories!

I keep detailed records of all the films I see at the cinema, but not of all the TV shows I watch, so there may be a tendency for more detail in the Film categories. I've also watched surprisingly little TV this year, comparatively speaking, but hey ho, quality over quantity!

Binge-watch of the Year

Having commissioned a new four-part special to continue the story/provide the ending Amy Sherman-Palladino had originally intended for Gilmore Girls, Netflix very sensibly put the whole series on a few months beforehand. I know I was not the only person who responded by binge-watching the entire series from beginning to end in time to watch the new episodes along with everyone else - which meant, unusually, it was possible to watch an old series along with quite a few other people! Gilmore Girls is a good show for a binge-watch, partly thanks to the slow burn nature of the stories and the appeal of the show being mostly to do with wanting to spend time with the characters, but also partly because Sherman-Palladino had a habit of finishing seasons on really depressing episodes. Aside from the series finale, which was written and produced by others, only season 3 has an actual, happy, satisfying season finale - the others are all miserable. I'm very glad I didn't watch it as it aired, ending on such a downer every year!

Sadly missed TV shows of the Year

No Doctor Who until Christmas Day and no Downton Abbey at all. Sniff.

Inspired Casting of the Year

Phoebe Buffay as Kimmy Schmidt's flakey mom in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Yes, I know she is an actress and her name is Lisa Kudrow. But let's face it - this was Phoebe Buffay appearing as Kimmy Schmidt's mom. And it was brilliant.

Best Tribute to a Fallen Colleague

These were sadly prevalent this year - I felt particularly for the makers of Star Trek Beyond, who had worked hard to include a thoughtful tribute to Leonard Nimoy woven into the plot of their film, only to be hit by the death of Anton Yelchin weeks before release. The careful re-editing of the scene in which the crew toast absent friends to include a shot of Yelchin was very nicely done. However, my favourite tribute this year was the giant portrait of Edward Herrman that hung, literally and figuratively, across the whole of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, observing everything with a perfectly captured kind if weary eye.

Re-boot/Belated Revival of the Year

Nominees include:
The X-Files, Season 10
Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life
Bridget Jones's Baby
Independence Day: Resurgence

I really like Ghostbusters, which I am aware is a controversial viewpoint - even more controversially, I don't like the original film all that much, and I think the new one is funnier. However good that and A Year in the Life were, though, for me, this category has to go to Bridget Jones's Baby. Not a perfect film by any means, but it was funny, heartfelt and satisfying, avoiding all the problems that befell some of the other nominees.

Not a Reboot or Revival of the Year

Amazon's new car show, fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, is not Top Gear. It is not a reboot of Top Gear, or a new series of it, or a re-vamping of it. Top Gear, indeed, still exists as a show on BBC2 with an array of presenters (which was all right, really, if not great). The Grand Tour, however, is Not Top Gear. It is just as infuriatingly sexist, cheeky, funny, engaging, silly and appealing as Top Gear has been over the last 14 years or so, but it is Not Top Gear.

It's so nice to have (Not) Top Gear back!

Original Film of the Year

I saw 32 films at the cinema this year. Here is a complete list of those not based on a true story (including documentaries), a sequel, spun off from or continuing a pre-existing franchise, re-making an older film, based on a book, short story, comic or other literature, or any combination of the above:

Hail Caesar!
The Witch
Eye in the Sky
The Secret Life of Pets
Cafe Society

Fun as Zootropolis and Hail Caesar! were, The Witch and Eye in the Sky are the clear stand-outs here, and Eye in the Sky is one of my films of the year - a brilliant, heart-breaking, intense story and a great swansong for the much-missed Alan Rickman.

TV Episodes of the Year

10. The Last Leg: Election Special
9. New Girl: Road Trip
8. War and Peace: Episode 1
7. The Crown: Hyde Park Corner
6. Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Bureau
5. The Grand Tour: The Holy Trinity
4. Gilmore Girls: Winter
3. Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter
2. Orange is the New Black: Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again
1. Supernatural: Don't Call Me Shurley

I haven't seen any of season 12 of Supernatural yet, but 'Don't Call Me Shurley' somehow managed to pull off the impossible feat of covering an event hinted at, longed for and avoided for 11 years, and doing so in a satisfactory way, which is a miracle all of its own.

There's a weight of expectation around the ninth episode of each series of Game of Thrones, which is of a problem, as it is impossible to meet. That's why the best episode last year was the eighth, and the best episode this year was the tenth, in which the plot finally kicked into gear for its final act. And possibly also why the producers have decided to sidestep the problem all together by never having an Episode 9 again.

Films of the Year

10. Bridget Jones's Baby
9. Dr Strange
8. Ghostbusters
7. Captain America: Civil War
6. Eye in the Sky
5. Deepwater Horizon
4. Deadpool
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. Star Trek Beyond
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Deepwater Horizon was a extraordinary film in some ways, a real life disaster movie complete with fire, explosions and so on, while staying respectful of real people who lost their lives in the disaster on the titular oil rig. But my film of the year is easily Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a magical, thrilling, captivating and really fun entry into the Harry Potter universe, and the first time I've ever gone to see a Harry Potter film without knowing the ending in advance. Loved it!

Juliette Harrisson will be spending Christmas trying to catch up on all the things she hasn't got around to watching, and failing, and watching her new complete collection of 'Allo! 'Allo! on DVD instead.


  1. Loved your post, Juliette. My favorite of your made-up categories was definitely "Best Tribute to a Fallen Colleague." I hope Edward Herrmann would have enjoyed how visible, acknowledged and loved he was in those four episodes. I like to think I would have if it had been me.

  2. Loved your Year in Review, Juliette! (As usual, I should add). As a HP fan who feels completely satisfied with the ending of the series, I've been strugling to decide if I should watch Fantastic Beasts or not, and you might've pushed me in the yes direction. :)

  3. Ah I haven't seen so much! FBaWtFT was cute but not in my top films of the year probably.

    Totally agree about Ghostbusters. I didn't see the original until this year and I was kind of like meh about it. The new Ghostbusters was funnier, in my opinion, and without the weird stalker vibe coming from Bill Murray.

    Haven't seen Bridget Jones's Baby yet. I've heard it's cute I just get kind of fed up with all the unnecessary sequels, you know? And Renee Zellweger's gotten so bizarre. But...Colin Firth. I'm torn.

    Zootropolis was called Zootopia here and I have no idea why they changed the name. But it was cute.

    I love that you broke it down by best episode! What a brilliant idea. You're like your own mini awards show. :D

    Loved The Crown. And I always love Brooklyn Nine Nine and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

    Great piece, Juliette! And I agree with Billie; "Best Tribute to a Fallen Colleague" is a brilliant category.

  4. When I heard about "Don't Call Me Shurley," I decided to catch up on a couple of seasons of Supernatural, and I'm really glad I did.

  5. Season two of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" is soooo good. I'm still watching it and loving it. Now that I now Lisa Kudrow appears as Phoebe Buffay as Kimmy's mom? I might have to binge watch the rest of the season.

    "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" was good. I thought the first half of the movie was more book-y than movie-y, but I loved the tale as a whole. The message of how damaging self-oppression can be was great.

  6. Thanks everyone! I was really impressed with how both Star Trek and Gilmore Girls paid tribute to late actors, it was very sweet.

    sunbunny, I'm so glad it's not just me who gets a weird stalker vibe from Bill Murray in the original Ghostbusters! That plus all the 'humour' around what happens with Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver's characters while possessed really put me off the film (plus I just didn't find it that funny!).

  7. Juls:
    I loved Eye in the Sky so much, too. It's still with me, many many months later. Great list!!

  8. The death of Antonin Yelchin is really painful. Youth and talent and not someone you can hold responsible for drugs or bad habits - just a wretched accident.


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