Another year is in the books! Thanks so much for making RPad.TV a part of your 2016. To celebrate and reflect on the year that was, let’s take a look back at some of the best things of 2016. Naturally, when I mean “best,” I really mean “favorite.” (The idea of a movie or a record being “best” is…stupid.) Below is a “Best of 2016” list of my favorite movie, vaping gear, album, WWE Superstar, and more. I’d love to hear about your favorite anything and everything of 2016. Please share your personal highlights in the comments section. Now let’s do this!
Best Movie of 2016 — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One is a Star Wars movie for longtime Star Wars fans with evolved sensibilities. The tone is darker and more serious than the other movies in the series. The writing and some of the performances totally exceeded my expectations, while the special effects were as glorious as I expected them to be. Although Rogue One has a distinct tone, it’s very much a Star Wars movie. The writers and director did a superb job at making a movie that stands on its own, while still fitting into a treasured franchise. I wrote a bunch of thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars story here and here. If you’re a nerd and haven’t already seen the movie then there’s something wrong with you or you’re a Cuban gasoline monger from Miami.
Best Vaping Gear of 2016 — Vapourart GP Dripper
The vaping world experienced some crazy changes in 2016. While many feel that the FDA and TPD regulations will greatly harm this excellent form of harm reduction, that didn’t stop great vaping companies from releasing great gear. Out of all the sweet vaping products I tried, the Vapourart GP Dripper was my favorite. It’s a versatile and exquisitely made rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) from one of the very best companies in vaping. Prior to picking one up, I was thinking the Psyclone Mods Hadaly RDA would end up being my favorite. While the Hadaly offers brilliant flavor, the GP Dripper also offers phenomenal flavor. The Hadaly can’t touch the GP Dripper when it comes to versatility and build quality. I shouldn’t have been surprised since it came from Vapourart, but the GP Dripper unexpectedly ended up being the best RDA of 2016.
Best Album of 2016 — We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
Part of this pick is pure nostalgia — A Tribe Called Quest hadn’t released new music and founding member Phife Dawg died in March 2016. Part of this pick is because the album is just frickin’ excellent. Like the best Tribe records, the lyrics are thoughtful, the samples are cleverly blended, and the performances are distinct. While I was pleasantly surprised by Jarobi’s verses, it was awesome hearing the call-and-response between Phife and Q-Tip one last time. Oh yeah, We Got if From here…Thank You 4 Your Service is also an album in the truest sense of the word. While you can enjoy any track you want at any time, the record tells a story with music that’s meant to be listened to in a certain order. In a world of singles frequently “listened” to on YouTube, that’s a novel concept.
Best WWE Superstar (Female) of 2016 — Charlotte
Women’s wrestling is the best that it has ever been. The Four Horsewomen of the WWE — Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley — were responsible for taking women’s wrestling to new heights. Remember when WWE “Divas” matches were thought of as bathroom breaks? That’s no longer the case, with WWE television shows and PPV events being headlined by these spectacular ladies. Charlotte and Sasha had the hottest feud of the year, Bayley is the most lovable product the WWE has ever produced, and Alexa Bliss is the sexiest wrestler I’ve ever seen. While there were many people involved in WWE’s “Women’s Revolution,” Charlotte lead the way. She was in the best matches, delivered the best promos, and did the most with the toughest gimmick. (Ric Flair’s daughter wrestling is like Michael Jordan’s son playing basketball. Jeffrey Jordan never made it to the pros, while Charlotte is queen of the WWE.) While Charlotte isn’t my favorite female competitor in WWE (I’m a Bayley mark and Alexa drooler), she was clearly the best female wrestler of 2016.
Best Videogame of 2016 — I Am Setsuna
I was hoping my pick would go to Final Fantasy XV or The Last Guardian, but those games had several irksome flaws. While I enjoyed both of those games and played a ton of Hearthstone in 2016, my favorite game ended up being I Am Setsuna. Perhaps it’s a sign that more and more of today’s games aren’t for me. With that in mind, I absolutely loved I Am Setsuna’s throwback graphics and gameplay. I’ll never get tired of turn-based combat in RPGs and linear stories (open world is overrated). If you’re a fan of classic Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger then you’ll probably adore this game.
Best WWE Superstar (Male) of 2016 — Chris Jericho
Jericho was outstanding in 2016. He helped carry WWE through many transitions and talent injuries. The crazy thing is how he did it — with the clever use of a scarf and a list. “The List of Jericho” is so silly, but it was one of the most over things in WWE. I’m amazed by the way Chris Jericho continually reinvents himself and succeeds. He’s like the Madonna of pro-wrestling.
Best TV Show of 2016 — Game of Thrones
I almost gave this pick to Lucifer for its witty writing and strong performances, but Game of Thrones S6 was too good. “The Battle of the Bastards” was intense and dramatic. Lyanna Mormont completely owned. Hodor’s heroism was beautiful. R+L = J was confirmed. While last season of Game of Thrones didn’t have ample amounts of the usual elements I enjoy — Tyrion being Tyrion and boobs — it was still superior television that was consistently great. Sure, there were some episodes of Arrow and The Flash that I loved, but those shows are terribly inconsistent…and those shows don’t have Lyanna Mormont giving death stares.