It was a year that saw Drake become the first musician to have every frame of his video turned into a meme. A year that streaming services become the official home for “must see TV.” It was also a year that saw Jurassic World snag the title of Biggest Movie Of All Time…and hold it for about six months until it got BB-8’d right out of their claws. Now that we can assess the damage wrought by 2015, the editors of Co.Create have selected their top picks of the year, and what they’re most looking forward to in 2016. Happy holidays!
To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
Lamar has solidified himself as one of the most gifted storytellers in rap and To Pimp a Butterfly is by far his most stunning example of his grounded message through his unearthly flow. If he doesn’t walk away with at least one Grammy next year (he leads in overall nominations with 11), there will be significant hell to pay.
The sleeper hit and Austria’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the Oscars is redefining modern horror as a cinematic wonder with gag-inducing gore.
Words Without Music: A Memoir by Philip Glass
You may not know Philip Glass’s name but you definitely know his music: His compositions have been nominated for Oscars (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and transformed into breathtaking operas and symphonies—and hearing how his game-changing career came to be in his own words is a masterpiece of its own.
Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s deliver’s one of TV’s most refreshing takes on not only the haziness of navigating life and love as a 20-30 something, but of first-generation struggles pegged to identity and generational disconnect.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2
Season one left us with way too many character cliffhangers: Titus’s (straight) past, Jacqueline driving off into the distance to reconnect with her family, Kimmy’s love life with Dong hanging in the balance—season two, we’ve been waiting for you.
The Leftovers, season 3
HBO’s sleeper hit is about to wake you the f*ck up. Seriously, season one and two are like the trippiest puzzles missing handfuls of pieces—how can you stop watching now?
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Judging from the trailer, this will potentially be filed under “so bad it’s good.”
Silicon Valley, drugs, marriage, and racism as explored by Chelsea Handler, documentary-style? Yes and please.
BoJack Horseman, Season 3
Probably the most underrated show on Netflix, BoJack Horseman is one of the darkest and hilarious cartoons to date.
Hello, My Name Is Doris
A woman of a particular age finding her groove? Meh. But make it Sally Field’s adorkably sweet heroine Doris and you suddenly have our attention.
Don Cheadle’s film directorial debut breaks down one of jazz’s—nay, music’s—most idolized and troubled artists.
Galifianakis. Wiig. Wilson. Sudeikis. Done.
The Little Prince
The amount of feels this adaption of the French classic will produce is just incalculable.
Where to Invade Next
Because, believe it or not, sometimes ‘Murica gets it wrong. Please show us the way, Michael Moore.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
Comfort food recipes from a supermodel? Oxymoronic, maybe—but then you don’t know Chrissy Teigen
Blackstar by David Bowie
David Bowie’s 25th is so badass it doesn’t even need a name. The title is actually just a black star.
This Is Acting by Sia
Everyone’s favorite enigmatic hitmaker returns—but will we see her face this go ‘round?
Amy Schumer’s screenwriting and film acting debut was as assured—and hilarious—as her Comedy Central show promised.
The Hateful Eight
A satisfying meal of a movie, Quentin Tarantino’s stunning post-Civil War epic has an immoral center and never telegraphs its next moves.
Pixar’s latest is as inventive as it is warm and funny—and it also carries the important message that it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
Shades of Fight Club, sure, but the style, sleekness, and pace of this very now show made for the most riveting summer TV this year.
You’re The Worst
This year, the unabashed comedy took the BoJack Horseman route and took a very serious looks at clinical depression.
Last Man On Earth
Will Forte’s weirdness finally found the right prime-time polish with some help from the unstoppable creative dup of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Another shifting perspectives masterwork from the noted technophobe. He may have annoying opinions in real life, but damn, can the man write a sentence (and a novel.)
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
Simply put, you will never ever read a more gorgeous book about surfing.
Art Angels by Grimes
More accessible than anyone might have ever expected, smashing the patriarchy never sounded so danceable.
Currents by Tame Impala
Bar none, the greatest breakup record in recent years, and an interesting experiment in what happens when a virtuoso guitarist practically abandons guitar.
Vega International Night School by Neon Indian
Alan Palomo finally marries his DJ instincts as Vega with the woozy electro stylings of his Neon Indian project to make an album that bangs, but maintains its essential weirdness.
Channel 33 – The Watch Podcast.
Formerly known as The Hollywood Prospectus Podcasts, with the implosion of Grantland (RIP) Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan rose like a phoenix with a new version of the same show on Bill Simmons’s space.
Pop Rocket Podcast
With its variety of voices and topics covered, the Guy Branum-led pop culture podcast distinguished itself as one of the best out there this year.
The Coen Brothers latest would be a must-see no matter what, but the fact that this one reteams them with reliable muse George Clooney, along with 21 Jump Street alumni Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum—and the fact that it’s set in Old Hollywood, well, this one seems promising even for them.
If the idea of remaking a beloved childhood movie gives you pause, just pretend that this film is merely the fourth collaboration between director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy and it happens to do with a team comprised of SNL all-stars fighting paranormal phenomenon. What more could you ask for?
When Louis CK and Zach Galifianakis team up for a project, you sit up and take notice. This show, in which Galifianakis stars as a man striving to be a clown, will at the very least be interesting.
Can Steve Carrell and his former Daily Show colleague/wife Nancy Carrell do for Rashida Jones what Mike Schur did for Andy Samberg: turn him into a compelling comedic cop? Find out when this show premieres.
HBO has yielded some all-time classic series and passed on projects like Mad Men and Breaking Bad in lieu of John From Cincinnati. So the HBO imprimatur alone isn’t enough. But when Boardwalk Empire‘s heavyweight team of Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese are behind it (along with Mick Jagger) and the focus is the late-70s music scene in New York, that’s a bingo, my friends.
So Sad Today by Melissa Broder
Not every novelty twitter account should be made into a book, but Broder is a wise, funny poet, steeped in self-knowledge, and the book adapted from her So Sad Today side project will be required reading for 2016.
Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements by Bob Mehr
How much do you love “Bastards of Young”? Enough to read a whole book about Alex Chilton and co? Buckle up, you’re in luck.
What We Do In The Shadows
Spinal Tap-meets-vampires in this hilarious peek at the everyday life of your average bloodsucker.
A perfect mix of American and Irish humor spikes the modern rom-com.
Self Titled, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
It’s not reinventing the wheel, but this retro soul with some indie grit will make that third beer taste even better.
Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi by Anthony Bourdain & Joel Rose
A cool, fun prequel to the original foodie culture, samurai style graphic novel.
The Message podcast
The Serial of branded podcasting.
The Nice Guys
An irresistible combo of Baby Goose, Fat Russell Crowe, 1970s Los Angeles, and the dude who made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
New Bill Simmons HBO show
Exiled from ESPN, his new podcast network already on the rise, looking forward to seeing what Simmons puts on screen to follow up his success with the 30 for 30 documentary series at his former employer.
Still Mine by Amy Stuart
Mystery in a deserted mountain mining town with an unlikely detective.
RTJ3 by Run the Jewels
Can’t wait to see what they make rhyme with “compassionate capitalism.”
Comic books have blown up in pop culture, but Jessica Jones shows they can grow up, too. A funny, sexual, brutal, scary, and all-around awesome series that was far from a typical “comic book show,” JJ rode on strong leads (Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachel Taylor) and the best Marvel villain since Loki (David Tennant’s Killgrave).
Mad Max: Fury Road
This was a tough call in a year that saw a triumphant return of vintage Star Wars, but Fury Road should have been a disaster. Director George Miller has been slogging through this production for the better part of the 2000s and all the set troubles and delays relegated it to a “we’ll believe it when we see it” punchline. When it finally hit, though, it HIT. A frenetic work of beautiful action cinema.
Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton
The second collection of Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant comics is the funniest mix of highbrow and lowbrow humor since the heyday of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. You’ll laugh, you’ll laugh again, you’ll learn something about Canadian history.
Ghost Notes by Veruca Salt
I didn’t want to double up on Grimes’ Art Angels (but seriously, that album is really good. “Easily” is the best song of 2015 you probably haven’t heard) so I went with an album that surprised the hell out of me. Because it’s 2015, and it’s Veruca Salt, and it’s…good? These things should not go together–but “Prince of Wales” and “The Sound of Leaving” are solid cuts.
Coldplay’s Game of Thrones, The Musical
Why? This. All day.
Silicon Valley, Season 3
Last season closed out with an episode that had more tension than the Game of Thrones finale, while still managing to be hilarious (and less violent). Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley satire has been a slow burn, but it keeps getting better and better. Season three can’t get here soon enough.
Captain America: Civil War
Sick of these yet? Even though Avengers: Age of Ultron was iffy, the return of the Russo Brothers (who directed Captain America: The Winter Solider, which may still be the most solid all around Marvel movie yet) and the introduction of personal favorite character Black Panther is too good to resist.
Star Wars: Rogue One
…And the first “spin-off” movie in the Star Wars universe is an intergalactic heist film lead by a Han Solo-esque Felicity Jones? Yes, please.
Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA by Amy Shira Teitel
Always love a good historical read, so what could be better than a tome about the salad days of space travel, especially since we’ll all be taking off for Moon-based Spring Breaks by 2017, right, Elon?
Wild Stab by The I Don’t Cares
The I Don’t Cares are Juliana Hatfield and Paul Westerberg. If I have to explain why their collaboration is highly anticipated, you obviously were not of college age in the ’90s (see also: Veruca Salt, above). If they had J Mascis, Kim Deal, and Thurston Moore in this group it would be the Expendables of ’90s Angst Rock.
This holiday season into early next year will mark the official arrival of consumer VR and I’m curious to see how the platform develops. Will people want to strap unwieldy devices on their heads to play games or watch movies? Will the movies in question be a completely new experience in VR? Is the format’s true purpose still undiscovered? We’ll see.
The Dead Zone (February – March)
Normally, the months of February and March are a cinematic wasteland littered with the corpses of Nic Cage movies. But in 2016, these chilly months could be more fun than they’ve ever been. Deadpool (Ryan Reynold’s gleefully violent Marvel antihero), Zoolander 2 (the return of Blue Steel), Hail, Caesar! (the Coen Brothers return to old Hollywood hijinks), I Saw The Light (if anyone can lift up an otherwise pedestrian-looking biopic, it’s Tom Hiddelston), The Brothers Grimsby (yes, it’s another spy spoof, but Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong are a duo worth watching), and finally Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (likely a fascinating–but fun to watch–trainwreck)