My Favorite Television & Music of 2017
Twin Peaks: The Return
There’s no question for me that Twin Peaks: The Return is my favorite media experience of 2017. Out of all the books, movies, music, etc. of the year, nothing affected me and meant as much to me as this revival. David Lynch delivered the most surprising piece of art I have seen in many years. I was continually shocked, awed, and frustrated in all the best ways. I wept at the opening titles of Part 1 and found myself sitting in dazed silence and wonder at the close of Part 18. While some people talk about wanting a Season 4, I believe this was the perfect place to end the series. I first watched Twin Peaks when I was nine years old so to be able to return to this world at the age of 36 will always remain one of the most profound honors of my life.
Nathan for You Season 4
Nathan Fielder continues to create some of the most unique comedy out of reality. With this latest season, he managed to repeat the magic of previous season yet deconstruct his entire shtick in the feature-length finale. The episode is a full-length documentary where Nathan helps pursue the lost love of an actor that was hired for a bit part on the show last season. As he learns more about this actor’s past and reality behind this tragic relationship, we delve deeper into Nathan’s psyche. Or do we? A final glance into the camera by Nathan throws a lot of what we’ve seen into question. Brilliant, subtly subversive comedy.
Halt And Catch Fire Season 4
Like a lot of fans, it took me a bit to warm up to Halt, mainly the shift in Season 2. To look back from the end of season 4 it is quite amazing to see how many years were covered and how these four core characters have developed from their introductions. While Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) was the axis of the series, it wasn’t just about him. The way Cameron, Gordon, and Donna came into their own ultimately finding a place of peace in all their varied and different ways. While a fictionalized version of events, Halt also gives a strong sense of the mindset of the burgeoning tech industry and how truly ahead of their time many of the most brilliant minds were. But ultimately, Halt is shown to be about characters and relationships, and it was these conflicts and bonds that kept me coming back every season.
The Leftovers Season 3
The Young Pope Season 1
The O.A. Season 1
Channel Zero: No-End House
Search Party Season 1 & 2
Crack-Up – Fleet Foxes
I first came to Fleet Foxes during a rough time in my life and have returned to them as they have produced more music. With each album, Foxes become less “radio-friendly” and meander more. Crack-Up is a sonic ocean that carries you away, and you float inside of. This makes an excellent companion piece to Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy. Both have a less than stellar outlook on mankind but with very different styles of music.
Twin Peaks: The Return OST
Much like the television series, the soundtrack to Twin Peaks: The Return dominated most of my summer. Lynch supervised the selection of music featured in The Roadhouse scenes that concluded each episode. There was surprisingly little work from composer Angelo Badalamenti but when it did appear it had a substantial impact. Lynch brought in artists like The Chromatics, Au Revoir Simone, Nine Inch Nails, The Veils, and more. It was an eclectic group of performers, yet somehow the music merged with the themes and tones of the show to create something extraordinary.
Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
If there was ever an album to serve as the theme for 2017, it was this third release from Father John Misty. Yes, it becomes overwrought and didactic at points, but Josh Tillman seemed to be the Greek chorus for what was going down in the United States during Trump’s first year as president. It’s an angry, bitter, nasty album but so was 2017.
Painted Ruins – Grizzly Bear
Lead singer Ed Droste explains that he needs at least five listens of an album before he can know if he likes it or not. Painted Ruins, Grizzly Bear’s fifth outing took me a bit to warm up to, but once I did, I had it on repeat for months. This is a much more synth heavy, and pop-y album than Grizzly Bear have made, but it works. Plus, nothing beats the vocals of Daniel Rossen.