What I Loved: 2017
Updated: Apr 20, 2019
We're so close to 2018 which means it’s that time again when we begin rounding up our favorites of the year. A lot of people do their top 5 or 10 of whatever media it is they love the most. For myself, I find it really hard to choose just one kind of content to rank. While I could maybe come up with a list for each of all the kinds of movies, video games and books I consumed, I wanted to try this as a multifaceted list of my favorites of each for 2017.
This was definitely a great year if you love video games. With the Nintendo Switch out earlier this year and a whole host of unique, original gaming experiences there was almost too much to play (especially when you’re trying to get through grad school). But somehow I found a way to play plenty of good games. My favorite for the year though has to be Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch.
I have a lot of history with the Legend of Zelda. I still remember being 6 and watching my dad play through the Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on our SNES and being fascinated by the world, the creatures and the heroism of it's titular character, Link. I’ve played almost every version of his adventure (except the first and second which my brother is always sure to remind me that’s he’s beaten and I have not). When we got a first look at this newest entry to the series on the Switch, yet to be released, I was ecstatic.
My expectations were definitely blown out of the water. Link and his quest had been remade in a way that felt so fulfilling even for someone who had little experience with the series. In so many ways, any kind of linearity has been stripped from the game, giving you the free reign to go anywhere and do anything whether that’s straight to Hyrule Castle to defeat Ganon or to see how many different colored horses you can tame across the wide plains. The map is huge and full of life. I sincerely don’t know how they will top this with the inevitable next game, but I can’t wait to find out.
Honorable Mention: Night in the Woods
This is the only entry on my list where I’m not going to stick with books that came out this year, but books that I discovered instead. I’m a big fan of the library, so I usually don’t get to current books until they make their way to circulation. This series actually recently ended in the beginning of 2017, so it could count on a technicality.
Lately I realized that a genre of book I’m getting more and more into is fantasy. I’ve always liked the classic fairytale-like stories in magical worlds and Harry Potter was especially a favorite of mine when I was younger, so this isn’t a huge surprise. But for me, a fantasy series has to be extra special if I’m going to fall into reading sequel after sequel. The Elderling Series by Robin Hobb (spanning 16 books) hit that note for me this year.
Some have compared it to Game of Thrones with it’s huge world and large cast of characters, but for me, it’s an even more fulfilling story. While Robin Hobb doesn’t cut her characters much of a break, there is a lot of emotional satisfaction in the plot and relationships. Each trilogy takes place in the same world, but not in the same time and not even necessarily with the same characters. By the end of the series, they become connected which would please any longtime reader. It’s the kind of story I devoured over a couple months of the year and wish I could experience for the first time all over again.
Honorable mention: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
When I first heard the name of this show, like most, I immediately recoiled from it thinking it was just another throwaway network sitcom designed to make women the butt of the joke. In June of this year, I attended an editor’s summit where Kabir Ahktar, editor of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend spoke on a panel and showed one of the first scenes and musical numbers of the show. I had no idea this was a show with two fully choreographed musical sequences and songs in every episode and I was intrigued (I’m a real sucker for that stuff).
Not only is the show unique in that way, but the writing and characters really surpassed my expectations. Its title is purposely ironic (but probably not the best for marketing the show as I almost missed it entirely for that reason) and the story revolving around the main character Rebecca Bunch is one that touches multiple issues like mental health, sexuality, and gender stereotypes. This latest season especially has been a hallmark of depicting what it’s like to have an undiagnosed mental illness and finding a way to live with it.
The show is funny and touching all at once and extremely entertaining. It’s worth checking out for anyone looking for something new and fresh in a television show that still stays authentic in its writing.
Every reason you should watch this show is in one of my favorite songs from Season 1:
Honorable mention: American Vandal & The last episode of Twin Peaks Episode 3
Movies being a large part of what I do and study, it’s important to me that I try to keep up with the new releases. If you haven’t heard of it yet, MoviePass is a great deal that let’s you see practically (limited to once a day) unlimited movies for about 10 bucks a month. The system certainly isn’t perfect, but when you live in NYC (or really, almost anywhere), and tickets are more than what it costs for the MoviePass a month, you’re saving a ton of money at the theater. This has definitely contributed to my movie-seeing hobby and without it, I may not have seen what became one of my favorite movies this year: Lady Bird.
I walked into Lady Bird knowing almost nothing about it, which is becoming one of my favorite ways to see movies now. The story of a girl growing up in the suburbs of Sacramento in 2008 wanting nothing more than to become someone and move to New York City is one I think a lot of people my generation can resonate with. It was full of heart and its dialogue felt absolutely real. The main character, a teenage girl who calls herself Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan), isn’t perfect and isn’t helplessly quirky in the way it seems a lot of teen girls are written in coming-of-age stories like this. Ronan’s performance made me feel like, by the end of the movie, she was someone I knew and could be friends with.
The film was perfectly nostalgic and it was hard to keep tears back by the end of it. I fell in love with Lady Bird and how much of my story I saw in it too.
Honorable Mention: Your Name
While I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, I love Kesha and her coming back with her newest album Rainbow made me, and the teen inside of me who has always loved her, so happy. It’s the perfect healing album.
Honorable Mention: Melodrama by Lorde
2017 was objectively by most standards a pretty bad year for us all, so it’s nice to remember the media we loved throughout the year that let us escape if only for a bit. Here’s to finding even more to love in 2018!