Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TQ's Year of TV (2016)

My TV tweet of the year (numbers aided by a retweet by Eric Andre)
(my favorite shows of 2016)
2011's post / 2012's post / 2013's post / 2014's life threatening list / 2014's non life threatening list / 2015's post
This list makes many people fear for the quality of my life, which is why I post it after listing the comedy and music events that I attend to prove to others that I leave my apartment frequently. The list is smaller than last year's, primarily because many of my favorite shows did not air a new episode in 2016. I won't lie to you, next year may return to a ranking list in the sixties, because I recently made a significant life upgrade (in the form of a larger television). Maybe next year I'll get to the list of shows I still want to see.

Also not on this list are shows I watched at the end of 2015 after that list was posted (Making a Murderer), quit entirely (The Walking Dead), or quit mid-season (Designated Survivor). These 50 television programs were watched in their entirely.

Shows are ranked in approximate order of how I would set my DVR series priority. Note that if your favorite show is ranked in the thirties, it means I like it too. If I didn't like a show, I wouldn't watch it and it wouldn't be ranked. There's just TOO MUCH TV... Peak TV creates an embarrassment of riches. 

50. Man Seeking Woman (FX)
The worst show I (continue to) watch.

49. Hard Knocks: Training Camp (HBO)
7-9 (you wish)

48. Mr. Robot (USA)
Its second season was a big drop off in quality (and I may not watch season 3).

47. Bloodline (Netflix)
Its second season was a big drop off in quality (but I will watch season 3, the final season).

46. Quarry (Cinemax)
Really not sure I can recommend it.

45. Last Man on Earth (Fox)
Makes me laugh every week.

44. Superstore (NBC)
Makes me laugh every week.

43. Son of Zorn (Fox)
Makes me laugh every week.

42. Narcos (Netflix)
I can't explain its (relative) low rank beyond my lack of motivation to marathon watch it.

41. Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC)
Rest In Power.

40. Girls (HBO)
A great finale saved the entire season (and will bring me back to watch its final season in 2017).

39. Easy (Netflix)
Super curious what people outside of Chicago think about it.

38. O.J.: Made in America (ESPN)
A tough, important, watch.

37. Vice Principals (HBO)
We're just getting started with this - and the end has already been planned - can't wait to see where it goes next.

36. Better Things (FX)
If you love Louie, this is a must watch.

35. Love (Netflix)
Loved it for the multiple examples of party etiquette / party politics I've ever seen on a TV show.

34. Togetherness (HBO)
Rest In Peace. Gone... at about the right time (sorry Duplasseseses)

33. Baskets (FX)
Watched the entire season on a plane (best flight I've had all year).

32. Westworld (HBO)
Every week I dropped this show to a worse ranking.

31. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
(repeating from last year) The theme song is in your head now, right? You’re welcome.

30. The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (Comedy Central)
(repeating from last year) The best showcase of stand up comedy I’ve ever seen on television.

29. You're The Worst (FX)
They did for PTSD this year what they did for Depression last year.

28. The Characters (Netflix)
If you already know what "U.C.B." stands for - you will love it.

27. Lady Dynamite (Netflix)
I wish I was as strong as Maria Bamford

26. House of Cards (Netflix)
Better than last year, but still not a show worthy of the praise it gets.

25. The Good Place (NBC)
Please support this show.

24. Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Enjoy it while it lasts.

23. The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim)
For a show that is always hit or miss, this season was all hits.

22. Atlanta (FX)
Donald Glover: an auteur for the new millennium.

21. Shameless (Showtime)
Pay Emmy Rossum whatever she wants and get this show another season. Pay Emmy Rossum whatever she wants and get this show another season. Pay Emmy Rossum whatever she wants and get this show another season.

20. Animals (HBO)
There was a gluttony of "what if animals thought like people" content in 2016. The best version of this concept that nobody knows is an animated show buried on HBO Now.

19. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX)
Many disagree with me on my opinion of the Gang. I don't think the show has slipped. I hope it keeps going. I want to see the Gang deal with life in their 50s.

18. Broad City (Comedy Central)
Simultaneously beautful, dirty, unbelievable, and real. All the cool kids are already watching it, you know this.

17. Garbage Time with Katie Nolan (FS1)
Katie Nolan is a star that is hidden on FS1. Ten years ago everyone was attempting a "The Daily Show, but for sports!" Garbage Time is that goal. It's a winner.

16. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Still great. Still important. Still a show I fear only preaches to the choir.

15. The Night Of (HBO)
The first episode was the most gut wrenching edge-of-your-seat watching experience all year. Sadly, every episode was just a tad worse than the one before it.

14. Billions (Showtime)
If I thought really hard about this show I'd probably drop it twenty plus spots in these rankings. But I won't; it's a top 15 show for me.

13. The Grinder (Fox)
Rest In Peace. Gone too soon. Self aware and hilarious. I don't understand how this show wasn't an instant hit.

12. BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
Best sight gags since The Simpsons. The underwater (nearly all silent) episode were 30 minutes for the ages. Don't be a "I don't watch cartoons" idiot.

11. Banshee (Cinemax)
Rest In Peace. What a ride. No one can be told about this show, you have to feel the adrenaline for yourself.

10. Stranger Things (Netflix)
Guess it's not cool anymore to like this fun. Get off your high horse and enjoy your life from time to time. And let's make out to its theme song.

09. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Nick Offerman never won an award for playing Ron Swanson, but that wrong can be righted if the Emmys eventually recognize Andre Braugher as Captain Holt.

08. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Sorry book nerds, this show took it to the next level once it was able to get beyond the text. I'll never call out for someone to hold an elevator door the same way again.

07. Silicon Valley (HBO)
I have a "Conjoined Triangles of Success" image on my cubicle wall at work, which wasn't even the season's best joke.

06. Veep (HBO)
JLD is still G.O.A.T. but what do we call Timothy Simons and Sam Richardson? I wish I could vote for Ryan and blog for Splett.

05. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
JUICE! This show (JUICE!) deserves every (JUICE!) acting award it gets. We all (JUICE!) knew how it (JUICE!) ended and were still (JUICE!) captivated through it all. JUICE!

04. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (USA)
I once said that Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was the most important show to watch on television. That title now belongs to Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

03. Black Mirror (Netflix)
The worst season in Black Mirror history is ranked third. I was late to this party, but it's not too late for you. Watch the first six epiosdes (and the Jon Hamm starring "White Christmas" episode) before the latest season. This season should have also only been three episodes in length ("Nosedive" / "Playtest" / "San Junipero").

02. Better Call Saul (AMC)
Better Call Saul is really ranked 2a and 2b for 2016. It's two excellent shows in one. Anybody who thinks the only the Mike half is exciting and the Saul half is boring needs to get their head out of their ass. We all know the stories will merge soon. It's a dagger than hangs over every minute of the show.

01. The Americans (FX)
The show that spent most of 2015 at the top of my rankings didn't have to fend off any late year Fargo push this year. I'm so happy that we will get two more seasons and a definite, known, end for the show I've been recommending ffirst to all four years running. Don't be a [character name redacted] (and figure it out too late).

Monday, December 19, 2016

The 2016 TQ Music Awards

music related tweets of the year
Welcome to my 6th annual Music Awards / year in review post. I’ve also embedded my Spotify playlist of my favorite tracks at the post along with my Instagram log of shows I’ve attended. [Previous Year End Reviews: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011]

Song of the Year:
"Eye to Eye” by VARSITY

 Full disclosure: I personally know the people in this group and have high personal opinions of each bandmate. Because of that, I gave this band a chance – but the reason why I keep listening to them is because of their quality. “Eye to Eye” was a song I loved when I first heard it released on Spotify and have loved it ever since. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this song live in my favorite venue (Lincoln Hall), a crappy basement (that goes by “Flood House” as an apt nickname), and cool places I rank between the two (Schubas and Empty Bottle). It is eternally catchy.
[Runner up: “Here In Spirit” by Jim James]

Album of the Year:
Eternally Even by Jim James
The second album is better than the first solo effort by Jim James, which was an accomplishment in its own right (the first solo album includes my 2013 Song of the Year). The timing worked out perfectly as I was able to give the album a solid month of listens before seeing it performed live last month. Jim James is one of my favorite people in all of music.
[Runner up: Escapements by Beacon]

Concert of the Year:
My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks Amphitheater
2016 was packed with concerts from my all-time favorites including Radiohead and multiple Broken Social Scene performances. However, the pairing of the band that I’ve seen more than any other and an iconic venue I’ve wanted to visit my entire life makes this an easy choice. I went to Colorado over Memorial Day weekend and saw a two night concert event that was in effect a 5 hour long concert in the most beautiful venue I’ve ever experienced.
[Runner up: Radiohead at Lollapalooza]

Song of the Summer:
"All Night" by Chance The Rapper
This whole album was the summer. It was the sound you wanted to hear at any cookout you attended and everyone in Chicago hoped that Chance would make a surprise appearance at whatever fest you were attending.[Runner up: "No Problem" by Chance The Rapper]

Cover of the Year (seen live):
"Pump Up The Jam" by El Vy (covering Technotronic)
I don't think I've been more happily surprised or danced more drunkenly in years.
[Runner up: "Closer" by Father John Misty (covering Nine Inch Nails)]

Becoming Too Big To Not Easily See Again:
Carly Rae Jepsen
I think the next time our Continental Treasure returns to town it will be in an arena. She certainly deserves it (there’s no “maybe” about it). 
[Runner up: Bully]

Must Now See Every Time They’re In Town:
Tame Impala
After years of barely missing tour stop after tour stop, I was in jeopardy of over-hyping the experience. Thankfully, Tame Impala met all my expectations and I can’t wait to see them again.[Runner up: Explosions in the Sky]

Regret of the Year:
Wasted tickets to Foals
Not only did I attend more shows than any other year, but it was also the year I ended up throwing away unused tickets to shows for multiple reasons. I think I pushed too hard this year, and don’t expect to go to as many shows in 2017 as a result.
[Runner up: Wasted tickets to Daughter / Special Mention: Not going to Beacon at Schubas]

Most Disappointing Album:
22, A Million by Bon Iver
Sorry gang, but I just couldn’t get into the sound that isn’t too different from the first two albums, but just not what I was hoping to hear at all. 
[Runner up: Junk by M83 / Special Mention: Any album released only on Tidal]

Most Disappointing Concert:
Eagulls at Subterranean
I will have to really love this band’s next album to get me out to see them again.  Their stage presence was nearly nonexistent. 
[Runner up: Wicker Park Fest (storm cancelled)]

Guilty Pleasure Track of the Year:
"Panda" by Desiigner
Had way too much fun with this song this year. 
[Runner up: "Juju On That Beat" by Zay Hilfigerrr]

Best Decision I made in 2016:
Trip to Red Rocks
Who’s going with me to Red Rocks next time? This is going to be an every-other-year vacation for me.
[Runner up: Finally buying fancy Bose headphones]

"TQ's Best of 2016" playlist (from Spotify):

Thank you very much for reading. To close, here is the concert log (through IG posts) from 2016:
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