2016 has already been a terrible, awful year for the human race but a surprisingly decent one for music, film and TV. Below are the 10 best things of 2016 so far.

DISCLAIMER – As always, I am only one man so there is plenty of stuff I haven’t seen yet, most notably Deadpool and Vinyl. Don’t treat me too harshly.

10. Suede – Like Kids

 

What is it?

The second single from the Britpop heroes 7th studio album Night Thoughts.

Why is it good?

Suede have no business making music this good, nay vital, 23 years since their self titled début in 1993. The glorious thing about Like Kids is that there is no attempt to change their musical sound. It sounds like it could have soundtracked a goals montage of Euro 96 such is its nostalgic feel. The lyrics however suggest a much more relaxed Brett Anderson. Probably because he isn’t doing enough cocaine to kill a small horse these days.

For fans of: Blur, James, Radiohead

9. The Crookes – Lucky Ones

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What is it?

The fourth album from Sheffield heroes The Crookes.

Why is it good?

The Crookes have quietly been releasing some of the most underrated albums in the UK music scene in the last few years and Lucky Ones is a perfect marriage of the jaunty early singles and the more melancholic album Soapbox released in 2014. Check out the amazing single The World is Waiting for proof.

Noel Gallagher said of The Crookes’ wanderlust themed songs ‘they’ve got good lyrics. All bands from Sheffield have good lyrics…’ and who would dream of arguing with the big man?

For fans of: Pulp, Slow Club, The Housemartins

8. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

What is it?

The 17th and supposedly final album from the best torso in rock ‘n’ roll, Iggy Pop.

Why is it good?

The shocking and unexpected death of David Bowie earlier this year allowed us to speculate on the remaining geniuses on the musical landscape. The perfect time then for Iggy Pop to confirm his status as a legend with one of his best albums in years. Recruiting Josh Homme and Matt Helders obviously didn’t hurt either.

For fans of: David Bowie, Greg Dulli, Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA

7. American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson

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What is it?

A 10 part true crime anthology focusing on the murder trial of OJ Simpson

Why is it good?

A cast featuring John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr and David Schwimmer would have been hot shit ten years ago but it was touch and go how these ageing stars would adapt to this fascinating and controversial story. Luckily they are all on top form and American Crime Story has been gripping throughout whilst also managing to slip in some welcome social commentary.

For fans of: Making a Murderer, The Stairway, The Jinx

6. The Fresh Meat finale

Fresh Meat Series 4: (Zawe Ashton as Vod, Greg McHugh as Howard, Kimberley Nixon as Josie, Charlotte Ritchie as Oregon, Joe Thomas as Kingsley, Jack Whitehall as J.P.)

What is it?

After four seasons and thirty episodes the Manchester students that make up Fresh Meat finally grow up.

Why is it good?

There has been a lot of talk about how the last ever episode of Fresh Meat was surprisingly poignant but in reality the entire series always had the power to inspire emotional resonance. The death of JP’s dad being a case in point. In any case the final episode was a moving but fitting end to the hectic student lifestyle. Whilst it will never be as beloved as Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong’s other show Peep Show, Fresh Meat has still proven to be a brilliant show in its own right.

For fans of: Peep Show, Mid Morning Matters, The Inbetweeners

5. Togetherness

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What is it?

The second season of the Duplass’ brothers exemplary ‘sadcom’.

Why is it good?

This HBO comedy has a great soundtrack as well as hyper realistic writing and a likeable cast. It is a real tragedy then that HBO have announced there wont be a third season. Catch the second season now why you still can and enjoy one of the most underrated TV shows of 2016.

For fans of: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Orange is the New Black

4. Better Call Saul

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What is it?

The second season of Breaking Bad spin off Better Call Saul.

Why is it good?

After all the scene setting of season 1, we are now getting a weekly pay off as the story of Saul Goodman, Kim Wexler and Mike Ehrmantraut starts to become more familiar to those of us who loved Breaking Bad. Despite being a spin off there isn’t even a whiff of cash in about Better Call Saul and the second season has seen it go from strength to strength.

3. War & Peace

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What is it?

BBC’s small screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel.

Why is it good?

On paper adapting Tolstoy’s incredibly long novel into a six part mini series seems very daunting. A strong cast of Paul Dano, Brian Cox, James Norton and Gillian Anderson among others helped to ensure that the transition from novel to small screen went smoothly.

For fans of: Bleak House, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones

2. Spotlight

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What is it?

The winner of the Best Picture Oscar at this years Oscars is a sobering account of the cover up of paedophilia within the Catholic church.

Why is it good?

The Academy got it right for once with this one as Spotlight is quite simply an acting tour de force and a quite frankly frightening story. Read more on my thoughts on Spotlight here.

1. Horace and Pete

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What is it?

Louis CK writes and stars in this teleplay that he self financed and put out via his own website.

Why is it good?

This is TV at its absolute very best. It isn’t comedy or drama or social commentary it is just life. A perfect illustration of all the nuances of life set inside a historic Brookyln bar that has had more bad luck than the Overlook Hotel. Horace and Pete takes apart the notion of protagonist’s and antagonists, instead prescribing to the theory that we all do good and bad things and this is ok as long as you are trying to do more good than bad. That is all you can do really…