1. Stranger Things (Season One)
In 2016, elections were stolen and won on warped promises of nostalgia. Comic book movie adaptations took perverse turns in favor of the supposedly “dark” and “gritty” aesthetic of the ’80s. We got TV reboots that didn’t stick the landing and return trips to beloved fantasy series that weren’t as enchanting as the first go-round. So when something like Stranger Things shows up and delivers a vivid, clever and original story based on the past but informed by how far we’ve come since, you pay attention. It was a complete story worthy of a second season but not requiring one. How often does that happen?
Best moment: “Thank you for the casserole. But I need you to leave.” Winona Ryder, in a mesmerizing performance, hangs onto a bundle of Christmas lights and communicates with her lost son. Don’t even pretend you could look away.