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It’s that time of year, friends: When we spend our time running around like maniacs looking for last-minute holiday presents, trying to fit into our clothes and instead settling on stretchy pants, and reflecting on the year that was. We’ve been doing a lot of reflecting at EW, looking back on nearly 365 days of entertainment that included tremendous highs, devastating lows, and some serious WTF moments (we see you, Academy Awards accountants).
Narrowing down the picks for our annual Best & Worst issue was no easy task. 2017 was the year that brought us the first-ever best drama Emmy for a streaming service (The Handmaid’s Tale), a record-breaking horror movie about race (Get Out), and a galvanized movement of voices speaking out against sexual harassment and abuse (#metoo). For those of us who love pop culture and entertainment, there was an embarrassment of riches in television, with many of us forsaking loved ones to instead stay home and bond with our real friends, Mr. Robot and Rick and Morty. It was the year we repeatedly tried to hit Kesha’s high note in “Praying,” to the disdain of our roommates, and the year we watched Wonder Woman stalk through No Man’s Land with her head held high (then watched it again with our mom and again with our nieces and maybe one more time by ourselves so we could sob without feeling self-conscious). Once we did manage to whittle down our picks, we were left with a stellar (and not-so-stellar) list that we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Our 15 entertainers of the year — ranging from Gal Gadot to Jordan Peele to Kumail Nanjiani — cover a wide range of artistic accomplishment but have one thing in common: They delivered some of the most important, affecting, and simply enjoyable moments of the year. For Jimmy Kimmel, 2017 was a year of metamorphosis: “I learned that it really makes an impression when someone most of the country believes is a moron speaks intelligently for a change. It’s like watching a chimpanzee do math,” he told EW. For Insecure creator and star Issa Rae, an epic year did little to quell her signature and title emotion: “Is anybody really fully secure? I’m accomplishing a lot of things I want to accomplish, but there’s a part of me that’s uncertain. But I’m certain of my weaknesses.” (In case you’re reading this, Issa, we’re certain of your strengths.)
Elsewhere in the issue you’ll find interviews with some of the year’s breakouts (like Timothée Chalamet and Tiffany Haddish) as well as 2017’s best and worst movies, TV shows, albums, books, games, podcasts, plays and musicals, and more. And lest you think we paid more attention to the good than the bad, we went back and spent a lot of time poring over the truly horrid stuff so you wouldn’t have to (you’re welcome) — because the same year that gave us Lorde’s heavenly Melodrama also gave us a 45-track Chris Brown LP that nobody asked for or needed; and the time of Dunkirk (and #metoo) somehow also birthed Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, which was not only not good but also had many wondering how it had landed in theaters in the first place.
While the news of 2017 left many feeling emotionally depleted, entertainment — as it often is — was here to save the day. Even some of the bad stuff was good in its own way if you approached it right. (Grab a drink and try hate-watching Book of Henry. You may actually enjoy yourself.) This issue is jam-packed, so pick it up, break out the stretchy pants, and settle in to relive every good, bad, and ugly moment of 2017 before we send it on its merry way. Happy new year, y’all. Praise be.