This isn't a review of the year but a quick top of mind ramble on some of the things I loved over the past 12 months.
New Order came back with a bang and quite possibly their best record since Technique (which is one of my all-time favourites). Music Complete showed that without the negativity of Peter Hook, they could make sublime music once more. It makes you want to dance, it makes you smile, it makes the world a better place when its playing. It shows that your best days don't have to be behind you and that as long as you can keep the love going, creativity flourishes.
The most exciting film of last year was George Miller's Mad Max. Exciting, edge-of-the-seat stuff that completely rewrote what action films could - should - be. And he's 70 years old! Again showing that age and experience can make you better. There was no need for convoluted back stories or world building or any of that other nonsense. The main character wasn't even Max but Charlize Theron's one armed Furiosa.
"Witness me!" cried the war dogs. "Witness me!" cried George. And let us witness the effect of a ride down Fury Road ripple through Hollywood.
Of course the new Star Wars is also on my list. Ironically bursting full of life after Disney bought the rights off George Lucas for a mere $4 billion. Its not a perfect film and yes, it does retread a lot of the original film (A New Hope) but my god, its fun. I loved the new characters and it was so amazing to see Han, Chewie and the Millennium Falcon fly once more.
On TV, another great character returned in season three of The Bridge. And Saga was just as intense as ever but this time, there was no hiding the vulnerability beneath that brusk, leather clad exterior. At times horrifying but always compelling, The Bridge is a masterclass in story telling.
This has also been the year of Thunderbirds in my house as a revamped show arrived on our screens on Saturday mornings and my son fell in love with it the way I fell in love with the original back when. My house is now littered with toys and we have in depth discussions on why the Hood keeps getting away.(because he's a criminal mastermind) and which plane is faster (Thunderbird 1).
I've written about my top books of the year before so I won't go in to too much detail but Pierce Brown's Goldon Son showed that a sequel can be even more powerful than the first in a series, that a middle story can be about more than just moving pieces about on a chess board and it was just so damn exciting with an ending that left you open-jawed.
Peter V. Brett has had a massive influence on me as a writer but when it comes down to it, I just love reading his books. The Skull Throne doesn't disappoint even when a beloved character dies heroically. Only one more book remains in the Demon Cycle. Bring on The Core