Coostin’ 2016: TV


“Fuck You, 2016” has become the theme of this past year. But trust us, some good stuff came out of the last 12 months. These are our favourites of 2016; the pieces of art that made us think, feel, laugh, dance, and love. This is/was Coostin’ 2016.

The Night Of

The opening episode of this HBO miniseries was absolutely compelling television, and while the subsequent fractured storyline alienated some viewers, The Night Of was certainly not guilty of resting on its laurels. Variously touching on issues of drugs, race, gender, the prison and justice systems, as well as a healthy dose of eczema, the series was captivating throughout and left its audience clutching at straws for hidden meaning. What was this really about? Hint: it’s got nothing to do with the cat.


Planet Earth II

There are times when Planet Earth II seems like a crazy piece of hyperrealism. Like the animals are performing specifically for the camera and working according to script. This causes reactions that go far beyond the usual awe and wonderment. “There’s no way they could actually capture what they are capturing.” “Is that CGI!? It could be CGI!?” “I totally wouldn’t be surprised if this is an unannounced advancement in CGI technology that will only be confirmed years down the track.”

It is real, of course, and presented in 4K (Ultra-high-definition). It’s easily the most incredible nature documentary ever put together, made all the more wonderful by the behind-the-scenes Planet Earth II Diaries that conclude each episode, showing how some of the more stupendous footage was recorded.

Each episode is dripping with money shots: Baby iguanas hatching into snake pits on the Galapagos Islands, majestic Himalayan snow leopards, never-before-filmed river dolphins swimming in Brazil, the same country where jaguars are fighting caimans. There’s dazzling aerial dancing by starlings in Rome, and a heartbreaking wake-up call for the dominant species of our planet through the plight of young Barbadian turtles. I could provide links, but that would detract from the sheer wonderment of experiencing it as the geniuses behind the series intended. In fact, I’m gonna stop writing now and go watch it again…


Stranger Things

This show isn’t as good as the hype would have you believe. We’re not talking the Ouya here or anything. This show is awesome and I loved the shit out of it, but holy hell it must have tapped into something that the masses have been craving because even as I sit here in my living room, strangers are popping their heads through the door asking if I’ve seen it. I don’t know how these people watched it ‘cos where I live everyone’s TV seems to be smashed on the nature strip and surrounded by shopping trolleys.

The best thing about Stranger Things is the child actors. Children on television that you don’t want to punch in the face are a rarity, as you know, and not only did these kids absolutely kill it, they outshone Winona Ryder, who spends the eight episodes flailing about and shrieking with a shrillness that would rust metal.


Black Mirror 

It’s hard to vocalize how great Black Mirror is without spoiling the experience of actually watching it. All the recommendations that I got from close friends were pretty much in the ballpark of “just trust me, you’ll love it.” And in an almost cult like fashion I find myself repeating the same thing to others. I wish that could be enough to convince whoever is reading this to drop what they are doing and go watch all episodes, but alas I know I need to give some sort of context.

The show is basically what I imagine Hitchcock would write if he’d travelled to our present day and spent a good week studying our culture at the height of his cinematic career. Each episode is a standalone vignette not unlike The Twilight Zone, but with an exploration of our society’s very accurate relationship with technology rather than supernatural themes. The general oh-my-god-this-actually-happened unease that you feel when watching a horror movie based on a true story is something that sticks with you throughout the entirety of each episode. This could totally happen, if it isn’t already. And that feeling kicks in again even when someone innocently asks, “have you seen Black Mirror?” It really is that good. 



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