2016 WAS THE YEAR...
The 90s came back with a vengeance:
So much of 2016 was like a weird retake of the 90s. Suddenly everyone was playing
again and the movies were full of questionable throwbacks, including the reappearance of
Independence Day, Absolutely Fabulous, Zoolander, Big Fat Greek Wedding
. Nelly, Blackstreet and a tonne of 90s hip-hop artists came on tour again for no apparent reason, and even the Spice Girls made a comeback, with three of them releasing a new song together. Between all of that and the resurgence of choker necklaces, dark lips and overalls, let's just be thankful that at least Myspace stayed away. For now.
Of disappointing New Zealand dramas:
The rest of the world may be in a golden age of television, but it seems to have passed New Zealand by. This year we saw money wasted on the gross, pointless
quickly faded away (with TVNZ screening double episodes in a bid to make it disappear more quickly). Adding insult to injury, NZoA agreed to fund a second season of
next year. Ouch.
But good New Zealand movies:
On the other side of the ledger, local cinema was in top form this year. Bouncing back from several slow years, we saw
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
become international success stories, boosted by film fest darlings
in a much needed resuscitation of our local film industry. And next year the good times are set to keep rolling, with the local remake of
Goodbye Pork Pie
already earning Hollywood buzz.
We spent crying over legends:
2016 kind of sucked from the beginning, with David Bowie passing away in early January. After that it seemed to just be hit after hit: Alan Rickman, Prince, Anton Yelchin, Phife Dawg, Gene Wilder, and Leonard Cohen all passed away this year, and that short list is just the tip of the iceberg. RIP you beautiful souls, and thank you for everything you gave us.
Kanye West was everywhere this year.
The Life of Pablo
came out, the latest Yeezy fashion line launched, people queued for Yeezy kicks, the videos for
made headlines and his beef with Taylor Swift was legendary. Now his family's in trouble after Kim was robbed in Paris and Ye suffered a mental breakdown, but if the rumours are to be believed, it won't impact the music as the rapper was reportedly trying to work even from his hospital bed.
Lorde went AWOL:
She kicked off the year teasing us with the title of her new album, and we've had sporadic updates ever since. Yes, she's finished writing it. No, Joel Little isn't producing it. Yes, it's got an album cover. No, it's unlikely to feature a cameo by Psy. But where exactly is Lorde's second album, the follow-up to her chart-topping 2013 debut
As yet, we still don't know. "I can hardly stop myself from typing out the name," she wrote in November. We're still waiting Ella. We're still waiting.
Breakfast TV went to war:
Paul Henry launched his assault on breakfast television last year but the battle reached fever pitch this year when newsreader Hilary Barry quit TV3. Rumours soon swirled she was switching sides before TVNZ finally confirmed what we all knew - Hilary would take over the
couch in September. After unceremoniously dumping Rawdon Christie and Nadine Chalmers-Ross, Hilary and Jack Tame had no sooner unpacked their shiny new white desk before Paul Henry dropped his own bombshell: He too was quitting. Game over.
Zombies died and AI arrived:
Five million viewers have bailed on the latest season of
The Walking Dead
in the US, and spin-off
Fear the Walking Dead
isn't doing much for us either. Zombies are yesterday's blood-splattered news. What's replacing them? Robots. This is the year we fell in love with realistic bags of nuts and bolts. From the slowly awakening wild west gang of 'bots on
to the marauding troublemakers on the still great
we're loving all the metal mickeys shaking up our screens. Bring on more of them in 2017, please.
Virtual reality arrived:
It's not cheap, but it sure is thrilling. Yes, 2016 will go down as the year virtual reality arrived en masse, thanks to Samsung's Gear VR, PlayStation VR and the Oculus Rift. Immersive? Yep. Freaky? Uh huh. Disorientating? For sure. Downright scary? You betcha. Just look how much fun we had testing out
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.
If this is our new reality, we're all for it.
Pokemon made a comeback:
Let's not kid ourselves:
owned 2016. Outside of political dramas, nothing commanded the world's attention more than Pikachu and its friends.
was the perfect combination of nostalgia, exercise and distraction, a viral sensation and obsession that the world needed this year. It proved that even after 20 years, there's just no stopping this franchise.