While it’s true that 2016 may not be remembered as a stellar year — we’ve lost a lot of pop culture greats, after all — on the whole, fans of movies, TV, and games have had quite a lot to be happy about. As the year comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the best of the best and select the winners of our Year in Fandom Awards. Have a look at the nominees, and cast your vote below!
Here are the nominees for Best New TV Show:
The most heavily hyped show of 2016, Westworld delivered in terms of both story and spectacle, with HBO taking Michael Crichton’s 1973 film about machines turning on man and giving it a hi-tech futuristic spin. Set in a theme park where life-like robots make holiday-makers’ wild west dreams come true, the show boasted grandstanding performances from the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood, and while the plot became pretty convoluted at times, it richly rewarded those paying attention.
Stranger Things came out of nowhere to become one of the most talked about TV shows of 2016. A love letter to the 1980s – most notably the books of Stephen King and the films of Steven Spielberg – the show was set in a small town and revolved around the disappearance of a young boy, and the efforts of his friends to find him. Those efforts brought them into contact with malevolent forces from beyond, and a mysterious little girl – called Eleven – who became perhaps the most beloved TV character of the year.
Marvel's Luke Cage
Coming hot-on-the-heels of Jessica Jones and two seasons of Daredevil, Luke Cage had a lot to live up to, but it delivered and then some. The massive Mike Colter was charisma personified as the reluctant "Hero for Hire," while Mahershala Ali gave as good as he got as his nemesis Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. Inspired by the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, the show had a gritty intensity that set it apart from the other Marvel-Netflix shows, while the carefully curated music that accompanied each episode meant that Luke Cage featured the best soundtrack of the year.
This Is Us
A world away from the zombies, robots and superheroes that are dominating TV at the moment, This Is Us was the touching, understated tale of a disparate group of individuals who share the same birthday. Though while that initially seems to be their only connection, it all becomes much more complicated as the story unfolds. Played to perfection by an excellent ensemble cast, the show was an emotional rollercoaster, but one entirely lacking in cynicism. And sometimes you just want a good tale, well told, about characters you can actually identify with.
It’s been a pretty good year for Donald Glover. As well as landing the role of Lando Calrissian in the forthcoming Han Solo movie, and releasing one of the albums of the year in the shape of Awaken, My Love, he also had a sizable TV hit with Atlanta. A wholly original blend of comedy, drama and music, the show revolved around his character’s efforts to make ends meet, with the bulk of his work revolving around turning rapper cousin Paper Boi into a star. The show was funny, raw and honest, with Glover throwing the odd experimental episode into proceedings to keep audiences on their toes.